NO, IT IS NOT the Metrobus public relations office out there on lower Wisconsin Avenue with a silver coffeepot. It is Georgetown Bar & Grill selling croissants, danish and coffee to commuters waiting for the bus. The waiter is in uniform, the cart is decked in a white tablecloth, the danish are from Sutton Place Gourmet and the coffee is only 50 cents. All this happens right in front of the Georgetown Inn, weekday mornings from about 7 to 8:30.
This morning sybaritism is the brainchild of the Georgetown Inn's new general manager, Bill Anderson, who promises juices and fresh fruits, and later on even more surprises from the sidewalk cart, perhaps including roasted chestnuts around Christmastime. Anderson, last seen in Washington inaugurating Chardonnay restaurant, has also brought back Chardonnay's original chef, David Everett, to revamp the menu into "an updated American bar and grill," says Anderson, going after more volume and keeping prices low (lower than Chardonnay but a little higher than City Cafe, as he put it). He also expects to "keep a high wine profile."
AN OLIVE FOR YOUR LAPEL? --
The diner at Cities had hardly settled down and ordered a drink when he realized that he'd sat in something and his suit was in danger. The staff rallied to mop him off, and his wife asked for some club soda to deal with the stain. The club soda they brought didn't look bubbly to her, so she tasted it and discovered that instead they'd brought a martini. So she issued another request for club soda, and this time around got club soda, all right, in a glass with ice. British suits, I'm told, prefer stain removers at room temperature.
CAJUN TO GO --
Trend-watchers may be saying Cajun dining has peaked, but Cajun-restaurant-opening is going strong around Washington. We've had upscale and downscale, chains and individually owned, chicken places and seafood restaurants. Now we have a fast-food New Orleans carryout with slow-burn food: Mardi Gras, 210 Second St. SE. Overall the food is better than expected for fast-food, though no threat to our best New Orleans restaurants. Fried catfish is the most satisfying of the main-dish foods, the fish juicy and the spicy crumb coating crusty. Fried chicken is also good, fried oysters aren't bad and shrimp is a little tough and iodine-flavored. All those come as po'boy sandwiches (average $4), baskets (average $3.50) and entrees (average $5). Mardi Gras' french fries (called tater babies) are spicy and crunchy, then there are a nice slaw with hot peppers and capers and homey potato salad with lots of egg. The gumbo needs more flavor to back up the pepper, but it is the real thing, and while the red beans and rice are made with navy beans rather than Louisiana red beans, it is nicely homey food for a carryout. The best and most homestyle things on the menu, though, are the soft, gingery Bayou Cookies and pralines creamier and more irresistible than any you are likely to find on the streets of the French Quarter.