XO Bistro

After walking through a torrential downpour without an umbrella or a hood, all I wanted was a few stiff drinks to warm me up; instead I found warmth, light, and a couple of well-crafted martinis at Capitol Hill's XO Bistro. Ochre-walled and perpetually candlelit, the bistro at happy hour (5–6:30 p.m. weeknights and 9–10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays) was inviting to mes deux amis and me. My drinks ($2 off during happy hour) were French and dirty—martinis, that is. Thanks to a splash of cranberry, XO's French martini ($6), made with Grey Goose, Chambord, fresh lime, and pineapple juice, isn't too sweet. The dirty martini ($8.50) balances the French's fruitiness with the bold, salty flavor of olive juice and the bite of Ketel One vodka and a little dry vermouth, perfectly accented by two blue-cheese-stuffed olives. Our dainty, butter-saturated escargots covered in ground parsley and the petit tarte flambé, a virtual mini-pizza topped with bacony bits and the same ground parsley (both $3.75, like all happy-hour apps) satisfied our craving for a rich, generously seasoned bite. It should rain more often. 2359 10th Ave. E., 206-328-6444. CAPITOL HILL

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