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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Thing 6: Toddies at the Tabard

I can't say that it is often that I want a drink in the morning. It happens on the 4th of July, when GFD hosts the Annual Pancake and Mike's Hard Lemonade Breakfast. And I do enjoy the occasional bloody Mary on a Sunday morning, after a particularly grueling Saturday night. But in general, a Wednesday morning comes and goes without my hankering for a drink.

Well friends, I took one look at the snow falling from the sky this morning in the second week of March, and immediately I wanted a hot toddy. I didn't even know what a hot toddy was, but I knew I wanted one, and a nice cozy bar in which to sip it and watch the snow fall. Maybe the kind of bar where I could even read my book in this cozy corner, while sipping my hot toddy, and making idle conversation with the boyfriend.

Enter: the Tabard Inn.

The Tabard Inn's cozy bar is perfect for winter DC nights.The Tabard Inn, a bar, restaurant and hotel, is the perfect place to cozy up to a fire and sip a hot drink. Tucked away on a quiet block of N St, NW, just around the corner from the hustle of Dupont Circle, it is a strange composite of rustic fire place, second hand furniture, Magritte-style murals of animals wearing clothing, skylights and low lighting, fancy foods, expensive cocktails and friendly service. It is a place where regulars go to enjoy a glass of wine after work, first dates go to enjoy a meal and the candle light, and expense accounts go to talk business in a quiet corner.

Unfortunately, there were no more spots on the couches next to the fire when I arrived after work -- I was not the only one who was inspired by the snow to seek out cozy. So I siddled up to the bar, ordered that hot toddy I'd been wanting all day, and took out my book of short stories.

Hot toddy and cold beerThe bar tender brought me my hot toddy, and it lives up to its reputation of being a soothing, warming weapon against the cold. Made of hot water, lemon, honey and whiskey, mine came garnished with a lemon wedge, orange wedge and cinnamon stick. Those continued to steep, and the drink got better as time went on. The first sip tasted mostly of whiskey, the last sip of honey and cinnamon and orange.

I read and sipped at my corner of the bar until the boyfriend arrived after work to join me. Apparently less mindful of the cold, he ordered a cold beer and we asked to look over a menu, hoping for a little snack before we fixed dinner back at my apartment. I finished my toddy and ordered a hot apple cider with buttered rum for my next drink. All thoughts of snow disappeared.
Black Bean dip with goat cheese...not as good as hoped.
All the food looked comforting but also with a twist, and we ordered the hot black bean dip with goat cheese. This was a poor choice. We were hoping for a gooey, runny, piping hot black bean dip with the pungent taste of goat cheese. What we got was a tepid, dense, pot of black beans the consistency of refried beans, with so little goat cheese we couldn't find any in most bites. I regret not ordering the grilled sardine and octopus salad. The Tabard Inn has a good reputation for food, and I am curious to see how they handle some of the more innovative food ideas on their menu.

We finished our drinks and prepared to leave. One final warm up by the big fire place, embers blazing, and we braced ourselves for the cold and headed for the door.