My boyfriend and I are workaholics. We hate that term—we’re just entrepreneurs. When it’s your baby, there’s always something that needs to be done. Fortunately, as they say, when you love what you do, the work is fun. And brunch is fun, am I right?
I can do all that I do from anywhere, as long as there’s a strong WiFi connection. I like to say I have work-life flexibility and no work-life balance. Unfortunately, the boyfriend cannot, as his brick-and-mortar business is in Washington and he is understandably loathe to leave. One pain point in our relationship is the lack of travel—we both love to travel. He’s holding out for the future and I, like any demanding female, want it now. As compromise is our key to success, our solution is staycations.
Years ago, we had a spectacular staycation at Capella on an early date. I adore the posh, boutique hotels scattered through downtown Washington. Just a few blocks from my home, the Jefferson is a place I visit regularly for brunch and cocktails. So, I was thrilled when we were invited in for a night and brunch.
We arrived in the early evening on a cold Saturday in January. Despite the complimentary valet, beau insisted on parking the car in the snow storm—Marines, ever the independent gentlemen. So, I waited at the table with a flute of rosé and a bowl of gougères and began to make friends with the delightful sommelier, Jen. At our request, Jen ended up being an active participant in our dinner—beau and I love learning about wine (and coffee!). Jen dropped quite a bit of knowledge, educating us both on the wine pairings, their flavor profiles, regions, and grapes throughout the four-course meal.
Our dinner began with a delightful amuse bouche and then we set off to select our three-courses. I was utterly overjoyed that it was truffle season, selecting the most decadent dish on the menu: the Parmesan truffle risotto topped with white truffles from Alba and a slow-cooked Amish hen egg. Meanwhile, the boyfriend selected the scallops with peanut and dorn puff, cauliflower purée, Arabia coffee oil, and chorizo. He let me steal a bite and I will say that the flavor profiles of coffee oil and chorizo were delectable.
For my entree, I chose the lobster gratin , a whole lobster tail drizzled with a yuzu-infused Hollandaise sauce. It was messy and delicious. Our culinary experience with truffles continued with his entree of a spiced honey-glazed venison loin, served atop a white grits cake with pears, cabbage, pistachios, hazelnuts and topped with Burgundy truffles. He really enjoyed the venison but complained that the dish was too small.
We enjoyed one last cocktail at Quill before meandering up to our room a few moments away. I adore Quill for so many reasons. The classic, leather-booth, upscale ambiance is perfect for a pre-dinner drink or a nightcap on a date. The service is quick and attentive without being overbearing. They have great cocktails and an impressive wine list (the same as Plume). They serve my favorite olives (Cerignola, the big green ones), pickled carrots, and a nut mix with your cocktails that’s perfect if you have the munchies. And, last but not least, they have a piano man there Tuesday through Saturday evenings. He plays classic tunes, and it’s been the same guy since the hotel opened years ago.
The rooms at the Jefferson are simple and posh—with a turn down service of bedside chocolates, bottled sparkling water, and bedside slippers. Exhausted and groggy from a long meal, we were grateful to be so taken care of so well.
The next morning, we hopped down to enjoy brunch together before diving back into work—because yes, we both work on Sundays.
We were seated again in the Greenhouse, which is known by its alter ego, Plume, in the evenings. The space is even more beautiful by day, with light flooding the atrium even on a snowy winter day.
We began with black coffees and bread service. I will always adore the Jefferson’s grey toile china and silver flatware—I’m a sucker for a classic table setting. When I have brunch or breakfast at the Jefferson, or anywhere for that matter, I order a fruit plate to start and a side of bacon for the table. The Jefferson does both impeccably. The bacon was crispy, but not too crispy—and had just the right amount of grease.
The fruit plate did not disappoint, despite that it included the dreaded and dreadful honeydew. It was filled with berries—blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries—as well as sliced cantaloupe, honeydew, and peeled, sliced navel oranges. The fruit was incredibly fresh and a great way to start our day!
I was enjoying life in the lap of luxury at the Jefferson, so I ordered lobster for my second meal at the hotel. My eyes seized upon the lobster eggs Benedict from the moment I opened the menu. After all, the last time I brunched at the Jefferson I had the traditional breakfast of fried eggs, sausage, roasted tomatoes, and potatoes.
“This is a memorable omelet,” said beau, the ever-thoughtful yet rare bruncher. “Sincerely, this will go down as one of the better omelets I’ve had. I’m impressed.” As he’s super strict about his Paleo lifestyle, he opted to fill his omelet with vegetables and bacon. He appreciated that the dish was clean yet flavorful.
The Bitches say: A. The Jefferson maintains its reputation as a chic and charming boutique hotel with impeccable service. It’s still one of my favorite spots for a cocktail, business breakfast, or lovely upscale brunch.
The Jefferson serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays and breakfast on weekdays.
1200 16th St. N.W.