Domku might be known for Eastern European and Scandinavian cuisine, but this winter, owner Kera Carpenter is dabbling in exotic flavors that have nothing to do with pierogi, gravlax or goulash.
During the "Winter Weekend Getaway" series, held the third weekends in January and February, Carpenter will focus on cuisines of warmer climates. That's because in Scandinavia and Poland, it's winter custom to doff the fur shapka
cap and skip town for the hot spots. "Go to Thailand this time of year," says Carpenter, "and it's full of Germans and Swedes."
Don't kick yourself for missing November's Thailand getaway or December's tour of hearty Mexican flavors. The subtle "Getaway" chalkboard sign near the back could easily go unnoticed. Luckily, Carpenter still has India lined up for January, and Morocco for February. She hasn't solidified any menus yet, but will hit up friends, sift through cookbooks, and sample local eateries to get her mind off kielbasa for a few seconds.
We sampled this past December's Mexico-themed menu: vegetable ceviche, tostadas, quesadillas, chicken mole, and pozole stew (pronounced po-SO-lay) with homemade hominy, all prepared by Carpenter's head cook who is Mexican. And that homemade hominy—wow. Fluffy flowers of corn kernels, clearly not from a can. The other main ingredient, the pork (about sugar cube-sized chunks) were succulent and meaty, not the fatty ends. The meat had clearly been slow-cooking for hours, maybe days. The traditional stew came topped with a few slices of avocado (conveniently in season) and some red chili pepper paste for extra punch.
As with any vacation, mama's familiar cooking was necessary eventually. Luckily, we could still order everything from the "normal" menu. A hearty slab of pepper-seasoned pork with dense Czech potato dumplings and braised cabbage—a Domku standby—was a nice alternative to the roasted nibblets of pozole pork, and also demonstrated Domku's latitude of pork preparation. We love watching Domku go outside their comfort zone (and take a tropical vacay). We also like good, old-fashioned Domku. Our suggestion? Go for the smorgasbord approach.
India-themed Winter Weekend Getaway: January 19 through 21
Morocco-themed Winter Weekend Getaway: February 16 through 18
Domku, 821 Upshur St, NW; 202-722-7475.