After we’d seen many Smithsonians, the night before the rest of the group left from DC, we all went to a great restaurant, called The Mussel Bar and Grille, in Arlington, Virginia. The restaurant, had come to me highly recommended from a gentleman that I know, and his suggestion delivered. While it’s name speaks seafood, the restaurant is Belgian-inspired and it’s menu is an eclectic mix of seafood, (mussels of course) wood fired pizzas and meats and seasonal salads, and it is where I first tasted tomato jam.
Aside from coffee, I had been eating seafood for literally the first 2 weeks of the trip and just wanted a break from it…so I scanned the menu and found the MB&G burger. The burger was topped with smoked mozzarella, arugula and the revelation that is tomato jam. Yes, tomato jam…not ketchup, tomato jam.
I had passed on a tomato jam and peanut butter burger, in DC the weeks prior, as it just seemed too rich, too weird, just too much. But, at the Mussel Bar, ( Musselbar.com ) I figured I could wipe the tomato jam off the burger if it was glorified ketchup, as I’m just not a ketchup fan. But, ever since I had that burger, I never want to eat another burger without tomato jam on it.
The sweetness of the jam (as tomato jam is just tomatoes and sugar ) on the burger counter-played the grilled meat and smoked mozzarella and the opposites captured my senses. In fact, I spent the rest of the trip scanning menus for burgers with tomato jam and searched every gift shop and store for the same, in hopes that if I didn’t find another burger slathered with the jam, I could make my own. But to no avail, eventually the only place I found the jam was on Amazon from the Amish. I also asked at the Mussel Bar and Grille if they used a certain brand, but they told me they made their own.
Tim, Robin and Kenny all opted to eat mussels, which they all admit were the best muscles they ever tried. Tim ordered the Mediterranean Mussels, while Robin and Kenny shared the White Wine variation. The mussels come in a cast iron skillet soaking in the sauce with bread baskets, that were never empty on the side, to soak up the sauce. It was one of the few times during the trip where the table was completely quiet while we ate…the restaurant, and of course the food was just that, delicious.
More to come..,