The Washington Post

A laid-back tour of D.C.’S food scene

- — as told to Thomas Floyd

In D.C. Dream Day, we ask our favorite people in the area to tell us how they would spend a perfect day in the District.

When restaurate­ur Jeanine Prime decided to follow up her beloved Trinidadia­n eatery Cane with another Caribbean venture, the name came naturally: St. James, a moniker derived from the Port-of-spain district known for its vibrant nightlife, markets and street vendors.

“It’s a great place to hang out to really sample the diversity of Trinidadia­n cuisine,” says Prime, 47. “So that’s sort of the concept for St. James: We do small plates, shared plates, so that our guests can get a bit of that experience. Trinidadia­n food is influenced and shaped by a range of different ethnic groups that have made Trinidad their home, and that makes for really interestin­g and unique food.”

With Prime pulling the strings as owner and chefs Alfredo Romero Contreras and Emma Hernandez overseeing the kitchen, St. James opened earlier this year. Among the offerings at the airy 14th Street location: callaloo, a vegetable dish of West African origins; aloo pie, a fried dumpling with Indian roots; and pork pows, a Trinidadia­n spin on Chinese steamed buns.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Prime spends her perfect day embarking on a diversifie­d food tour, starting with savory pastries and ending with Thai delicacies — while tasting a cocktail or two in between.

My dream day would be very food-oriented — not surprising­ly. It’s nice when I’m not working at the restaurant to be on the opposite side of the fence and actually get to enjoy being a diner. I often, on my days off, like to hang out with some of my best girlfriend­s, sampling the great food that D.C. has to offer. And I love to support other women-operated or -owned and minority-operated or -owned businesses.

I’d start at Souk, which is a bakery owned by a childhood friend, Winnette Mcintosh Ambrose — we went to the same middle and high schools together in Trinidad. I love to go to Souk because she has these really delicious savory turnovers — I think my favorite is the mushroom and goat cheese version. She also has a golden milk latte with turmeric and even a little bit of cayenne. That would be a really great way to start off the day.

I love all of the waterways in D.C., because it’s such a scenic city, so I’d go to

the Georgetown Waterfront for a stroll, then take a water taxi to the Wharf. I really love oysters and I like to do a light lunch, so I’d probably go to Hank’s Oyster Bar for Jamie Leeds’s proprietar­y Salty Wolfe oysters and a burrata salad.

Then I’d head over to Union Market, which is developing and changing and adding so many interestin­g restaurant­s and shops. I’d have a rose daiquiri at a lovely cocktail bar there called Serenata. I also really love the sidecars at St. Anselm — they have a really delicious grilled potato salad with smoked trout, so I actually go there quite a bit just to have that and cocktails.

For dinner, the flavor in Thai food reminds me of the Caribbean — the use of coconut and peanuts and all of the chiles — and I’m a huge fan of a pretty new restaurant called Sura. Everything I’ve tried there I’ve really enjoyed — the cocktails, the quail egg wontons, the spicy chili noodles.

I live in Brookland, where one of my favorite neighborho­od restaurant­s is Primrose, and I often have drinks there, since they do an amazing sidecar, too, and a French 75. So I might stop there on my way home. And that’s a dream day for me: a day of eating, and just not being on a schedule, not having to be anywhere and just taking the day at my own pace.

 ?? Dayna Smith For the Washington Post ?? St. Anselm in Union Market serves grilled meats amid clubby, Americana-themed decor. Restaurate­ur Jeanine Prime is a fan of the sidecars here; she’ll often pair a cocktail with a serving of the grilled potato salad with smoked trout.
Dayna Smith For the Washington Post St. Anselm in Union Market serves grilled meats amid clubby, Americana-themed decor. Restaurate­ur Jeanine Prime is a fan of the sidecars here; she’ll often pair a cocktail with a serving of the grilled potato salad with smoked trout.
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 ?? Craig Hudson For THE Washington Post ?? Jeanine Prime loves D.C.’S waterways, including the Georgetown Waterfront, seen here at sunset. On her dream day, the owner of the restaurant­s St. James and Cane would go for a stroll here before taking a water taxi to the Wharf for a light lunch, perhaps at Hank’s Oyster Bar.
Craig Hudson For THE Washington Post Jeanine Prime loves D.C.’S waterways, including the Georgetown Waterfront, seen here at sunset. On her dream day, the owner of the restaurant­s St. James and Cane would go for a stroll here before taking a water taxi to the Wharf for a light lunch, perhaps at Hank’s Oyster Bar.

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