Every year since 2015, I’ve attended the Sitar Arts Center annual gala, an event which drives awareness about the incredible impact Sitar has in the community, and this year was no different. At this year’s gala, my wife Abby and I attended with the goal of donating more money than we ever had before. As my grandmother had died just a few weeks before, my grandfather sent us grandchildren checks from his savings, so he could see us enjoy the money while he was still alive. Abby and I decided that a lot of that money would go to Sitar, via the gala’s silent auction.
Abby bid, and bid, and bid, and we ended up winning several silent auction items, one of which included a one-night stay at the Kimpton Glover Park hotel and dinner at Casolare, the Italian restaurant in the hotel’s lobby. The auction was provided a company called Friedman Capital, a group I’d never heard of but one located in downtown DC. Following some back-and-forth email with Sammy, an employee at Friedman Capital, our arrangements were secured for the night of December 1st.
This past Saturday afternoon, Abby and I packed a bag and took an Uber the four miles to our “staycation” on Wisconsin Avenue. We arrived at the hotel and walked through a small, but upscale lobby and checked in at the front desk.
“The room is already paid for, but I’ll need a credit card for any incidentals,” the host told me.
“Room 315,” she said pointing. “The elevators are right behind you.”
The room was impressive and much bigger than most other hotel rooms in the District. It had a good-sized bathroom, a closet with two robes, and multiple floor-length mirrors. Further into the room, we found our king-size bed and enough room for a full-length sofa. A large flat-screen television was placed on the dresser, under which I found a stocked mini-bar.
After dropping our bags and changing into comfortable clothes, I turned on one of the many conference championship college football games that afternoon. We hopped into bed, loving the extremely comfortable sheets and pillows.
Before we knew it, we were out, waking up after what was close to a two-hour nap. At around 7 p.m., we got ready for dinner as our reservation was at 8 p.m. Arriving just a few minutes early, we were promptly seated at our table. “Trustic,” is how I described it to both our server and Abby. “It’s a mix of Tuscan and rustic,” I said to them, only getting a smirk from Abby.
At least I thought it was clever…
So our evening began with prompt drink service to the table, followed shortly after by perfectly cooked Italian bread and olive oil. As we ordered our appetizers and dinner entrees from our server, I explained that the dinner was part of a complimentary evening and I wanted to ensure everything was in order. Our server said that she was aware but would send over the manager, just to be sure.
A man walked up to our table and introduced himself as Chris, the general manager of Casolare. After some pleasantries, he asked about the details of the evening.
“We received this as part of a charity auction,” I told him. “It was sponsored by a company called Friedman Capital.”
“Oh, I know Friedman Capital very well,” he responded. “They are part owners of the hotel and the restaurant.” Now things seemed to make sense in my head why the company picked this as the auction items…
“So don’t worry about a thing,” he told us. “We’ll take care of everything. The Friedmans are great and they come in on a regular basis. They’re really great people.”
“Well, I’m happy that they donated this as part of the auction, and we’re happy to be here.”
Chris handed me his card and told me to reach out if I needed anything. He wished us a pleasant dinner and an enjoyable night at the hotel.
Shortly after, our first course arrived, consisting of three plates. We ordered a plate of prosciutto (my favorite), a Caesar salad made with kale (romaine was still an issue), and the server-recommended handmade tortellini stuff with prosciutto.
You can never have enough prosciutto…
The salad was great, lively while not being drenched in dressing. The meat plate had prosciutto sliced so thin you could almost see through it. And the tortellini…they would stop you in your tracks. So much salty-flavor packed into each one. They were perfect.
For our main courses, Abby ordered gemelli, a small twisted pasta, which came with fresh Italian truffle that we were told would be shaved on to the pasta by the head chef at our table. I ordered a rib-eye steak, something I hadn’t done in years.
When the time came, the two plates of food were delivered, and a few seconds later, the chef approached and introduced himself. “Madame, fresh truffle shavings for you,” he said as he carefully shaved about 12 slices of truffle on to Abby’s plate. Her eyes widened in awe. Neither she nor I had ever had something like this.
“I hope you enjoy,” the chef said. “And we’re going to make you something special for desert, on the house.”
We both smiled. “Thank you, chef,” I said as he turned to head back to the kitchen.
As we predicted, our first bites were how we wanted them to be. My steak was a perfect medium-rare, flavorful and juicy. Abby’s bite of her pasta with the first truffle shaving sent a sensation down her spine. We both looked at each other. This is amazing…
After another glass of wine for Abby and another martini for me, we moved on to our desert, which to our surprise consisted of two cannolis (one vanilla and one orange) and a chocolate/blueberry/cream/something-or-other. Although usually not a fan of cannolis, this was the best I’d ever had. The shell was crispy yet soft and the filling was sweet but not overpowering. It didn’t stand a chance. Abby and I shared some bites of the different desserts but stopped before we were too full.
The prompt service continued and the serving staff removed the remaining plates. Our server told us that everything had been taken care of on the bill, except for the tip. Abby and I grabbed $60 from our wallet and handed it to her.
“Thanks for a great evening,” I told her.
We went back to our room and watched the rest of the Ohio State-Northwestern Big Ten Championship game before falling asleep. We had a great night of sleep as the blackout curtains kept the room dark. Waking up around 8 a.m., we continued to hotel tradition of watching one of three television channels: Food Network, HGTV, and A&E. As much as we disliked Guy Fieri, we couldn’t turn away from his show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, which we loved. But it wasn’t on. We were hoping for Fixer Upper on HGTV, but the only thing on in the morning was Love It or List It. So we went to our third choice and found our favorite: Hoarders. Such a fascinating show, we laid in bed and watched it for three straight hours. At 11:30 a.m., we went downstairs, checked out, and took an Uber back home.
Overall, it was a great 20 hours in which we didn’t leave the hotel property. We had great service, a comfortable room, a fantastic dinner, and a wonderful night of sleep. Thank you to Chris, manager at Casolare, and his staff for treating us so well. And thank you to Friedman Capital for putting the night together. Hopefully, you’ll do another one next year.