Chat n’ Chew with Tish at Zaytinya – A Staple for Mediterranean Food

Hey TAT Family!

In this episode of the new series, Chat n’ Chew with Tish, I’ll be featuring Washington, DC Blogger, T-Mac from Fat Girl N’ Motion, who I met up with when I was on vacation in DC. I had a chat with her over dinner at Zaytinya, and it was an absolute delight. Fat Girl N’ Motion was gracious enough to let me select the restaurant for our blogger meetup, and I chose Zaytinya because it came highly recommended by a few of my fellow foodie friends and bloggers. I also wanted to try it out, before they opened their new location at The Star in Frisco, Texas.

Food Bloggers – Tish from Tish Around Town & T-Mac from Fat Girl N’ Motion

Zaytinya is one of Chef José Andrés numerous restaurants scattered all over the US and Mexico. Chef Andres is an internationally-recognized chef, culinary innovator, and owner of the ThinkFoodGroup. He is known for championing the role of chefs in the national debate on food policy and has a non-profit organization, World Central Kitchen, which empowers communities and strengthen their economies using the power of food. Chef Andrés was named one of “Time’s 100 Most Influential list” and has earned several awards including the “Outstanding Chef” award by the James Beard Foundation and the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from International Association of Culinary Professionals.

Zaytinya, which opened in 2002, is a Mediterranean restaurant, and I love Mediterranean food and the culture. I usually go to more casual Mediterranean restaurants, so Zaytinya was a nice change for an upscale dining experience. The outstanding restaurant offers innovative food, which is inspired by Greek, Turkish and Lebanese cuisines. It is considered one of the top restaurants in Washington, consistently ranking as a Top Dining Destination in the city, and has earned numerous great reviews from the Washington Post and other publications.

When we arrived, we decided to sit at the bar, and we were immediately attended to by the bartender, Camila, who was attentive and delivered impeccable service. She walked us through the menu, gave us great suggestions and helped us pick our meal. The menu featured excellent cheeses and spreads, seafood, poultry, beef, vegetables, creative desserts, and more, as well as unique Mediterranean wines, cocktails, coffee and tea. We settled on the Kabob Tasting Sampler, Crispy Brussels, and Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie), all of which were delicious.

Kabob Tasting Sampler, Crispy Brussels & Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)

Kabob Tasting Platter – lamb, kofte, chicken, adana, tomato, onion, garlic toum, harissa

After dinner, we asked Camila if we could meet the head Chef. I was secretly wishing that we would luck up and Chef Andrés would be around and available as well, but no luck. Anyway, Chef Michael Costa, the head chef of Zaytinya in DC, was available and was so gracious to come meet us. He also gave us a dish to try from his private six-course dinner he was preparing that night – a one of a kind six-course meal with a 90lb Tunis Sheep featuring meat from the entire sheep and paired with wines selected by Master Sommelier Andy Myers.

Food Bloggers Tish & T-Mac with Chef Michael Costa

Tish Around Town Tip (#TATTip): Zaytinya is popular with the locals and travelers, so if you are planning to go during the peak dining hours, I strongly suggest you make reservations.

Dinner with Fat Girl in Motion was utterly fun. Our conversation flowed seamlessly, as though we were old friends catching up. We chatted about how she got started blogging, the DC food scene, favorite foods and restaurants, and so on. See the below Q&A to learn more about Fat Girl N’ Motion.

Tish: Where are you from, and how long have you been living in DC?

Fat Girl N’ Motion (FGM): I’m a native of Washington, DC. I’ve lived here for over 30 years.

Tish: How long have you been blogging?

FGM: I’ve been blogging for a couple of months – 6 months. I started in July 2017.

Tish: What inspired you to start your blog?

FGM: I was inspired to start a blog by my fellow foodie friends, who often asked me several foodie questions like, “Where did you get that meal from the other day?” or “Where can I go for the best brunch/happy hour?” I tend to keep this level of detail to myself depending on who’s asking. However, I came up with the idea to create a blog, so my foodie friends can stop asking these questions and alert restaurateurs/owners/staff of the industry the diner’s experience, either good, bad, or indifferent!

Tish: When did your love affair with food start?

FGM: My love affair with food started post-college years.

Tish: What is your favorite restaurant in DC and why?

FGM: My favorite restaurant is Matchbox, which opened in 2006 and now has nine locations in the DC metro area. Consistency is key when running a restaurant, and Matchbox has been able to stay consistent. Although they’ve changed their menu countless times, their authenticity has remained the same since they opened years ago. I, especially love their juicy Porcini Rubbed Ribeye entrée. You can check out my blog for the delicious details of my experience at Matchbox.

Tish: Tell me a little about you, and your blog.

FGM: Okay. My blog name is Fat Girl N’ Motion, and I’m just a fat girl who loves food, not a cook or critic. Watching a lot of Food Network programs inspired me to step out of my comfort zone and start to try out several dishes. I used to just post about my food experience on my social media profile until I started my blog. My blog helps me document and share my foodie experience. When I go to a new restaurants or try a new foods, I try to understand what/why I like the food while enjoying its comfort and then document it on my blog. I also have reviews of my favorite restaurants on my blog.

Thanks Fat Girl N’ Motion! See you next time I’m in DC for another fabulous dining experience!

Make sure you check out one of Zaytinya locations in Washington, DC, and now open at The Star in Frisco, TX.

See you around town!

Photos by Tish Around Town