I was having drinks at The Brixton, like I do most nights of the week, apparently, when I noticed someone who looked very familiar a few seats down the bar from where I was perched.
“Hello, I’m Becca,” I interrupted her conversation with her bar mate, and she just stared, a bit startled.
“Yes, sorry, I recognize you from lots of events, and, gosh, I don’t mean to be rude, but just wanted to introduce myself …”
She kept staring.
“Ah, you’re Philippa!” I remembered, “Yes, yes, you run the Pink Line Project. I love your website …”
OK, now I’m the creepy fan. How to fix this?
“I have a website of my own, Bitches Who Brunch, have you heard of it?”
She cracked a smile. Ah ha! I shall continue, then …
Yes, I totally picked up a girl in a bar. I even got her business card. And then I reached out, because, well, Philippa Hughes just sort of seems like the interesting artsy chick that you would totally want to sit next to at a D.C. dinner party. She calls herself a “Chief Creative Contrarian,” but most in D.C. call her the Patron Saint of Washington’s arts scene.
And, well, why wouldn’t you want to be friends with someone who quit her cushy law firm job to found and run D.C.’s biggest arts website? She not only has her finger on the pulse of every arts event and artist in town, she is more than likely the woman behind them.
So we scheduled brunch, duh, and I suggested Mintwood Place, which is nestled between Perry’s and Cashion’s Eat Place on the edge of Adams Morgan. She arrived late; she had walked there in the heat from her 14th Street pad, still reeling from the prior evening’s artistic adventures (namely: a rooftop music session with Margot MacDonald. Um, awesome.)
Cori Sue and I had snagged one of the window booths at Mintwood, which are full of comfy, colorful cushions and bathed in warm sunlight from the huge windows. Outside, there’s a lovely patio for people-watching on Columbia Road. Inside, the restaurant is nonchalant but gorgeous. The décor is perfect, from the light fixtures to the intricately tiled floor.
By the time Philippa arrived, I already had my champagne in hand. The hibiscus-orange champagne cocktail had an orange-infused sugar cube at the bottom, keeping it bubbly. It was very sweet, and I could only have one. Cori Sue asked for a concoction of juices, orange grapefruit and pineapple, which they whipped up with no problem.
Because we simply couldn’t decide what to order from the over-sized menu, we got the brioche toast and French fries to start. The French fries were nicely peppered and perfectly fried. Thick enough, but not too thick. The mustard ketchup they were served with them was fabulous, too.
Philippa went for the classic, the Eggs Benedict served on an English muffin, which surprisingly came with two extra slices of ham in between. It was centered on the plate, and came with no sides, so she also ordered the asparagus. The asparagus was amazing—perfectly cooked and topped with spices.
I got the heritage ham dish, which was like a deconstructed Eggs Benedict: wood-fired heritage ham, asparagus, poached egg, Hollandaise. It was fabulous. The ham was amazingly thick and tasty, and I made a point to pile it on the toast with the egg and Hollandaise sauce in a build-your-own-benedict attempt.
Cori Sue couldn’t decide between dishes, but eventually settled on the smoked salmon flammekueche (how on earth you pronounce this, I do not know). The flat bread was covered with a creamy sauce, salmon, onions, capers, chopped red onion, and parsley. The bread itself was eggy, dense and thin—a very good consistency to pair with the salmon, better than a bagel, even, we’d dare to venture.
We loaded up on the side dishes. In addition to Philippa’s asparagus, I got a side of bacon, and Cori Sue ordered the cantaloupe and blueberries to share. The bacon was thick and cooked perfectly, just like the ham. They’re nicely generous with their meat at Mintwood.
We were so engrossed in conversation with Philippa—the woman has amazing stories about events and people in D.C.—that we didn’t want brunch to end. So we went for dessert and split the strawberry rhubarb with ice cream among the three of us. It was the perfect mix of hot and cold, crumbly and soft, and set us up for the waddle home.
The Bitches say: A. The food was spectacular. The service spotty, but very kind when they were at the table.
1813 Columbia Rd. NW
Mintwood Place serves brunch Saturday and Sunday.