Also on my DC mac & cheese list was Equinox, a restaurant on the corner of Farragut Square (my old Metro stop to get to work), down the street from the White House, and a few blocks down from the school dormitory. I made a reservation for 1 through OpenTable and had a solo lunch reading my trashy vacation novel (I think it was Kushiel’s Dart; I finished it at the end of my trip and left it in the sublet). I felt guilty and cheapo just ordering the mac, so I also got this salad which was a way better version of caprese–I think it was mache or microgreens with heirloom tomatoes and fresh, hand-pulled mozzarella tossed with some pesto breadcrumb mixture. I was less well-versed in food ingredients back then, so I really don’t remember. Anyway, the mac was one of the better truffled versions I’ve had with a perfect top crust and baked in a little cast iron gratin dish.
I don’t know if it was a DC thing or a 2009 thing, but both Equinox AND Zola had these flatbreads with butter (I think Zola also had real bread). Not my favorite, but it scoops up chunks of butter really nicely.