Lunch


For five years (since I moved to DC), I had been meaning to go to Super Tacos & Bakery (formerly Tacos Pepitos Bakery II).  But when I would go, they’d run out of meat for the sandwiches.  I finally made it early enough to be able to order their sandwiches.  BTW, here’s some of their menu — the rest can be found here

Super Tacos & Bakery  Super Tacos & Bakery  Cuban Sandwich  Super Tacos & Bakery Sandwich Menu  Super Tacos & Bakery Sandwich Menu  Super Tacos & Bakery Sandwich Menu  Super Tacos & Bakery Combo Menu  Super Tacos & Bakery Combo Menu  Super Tacos & Bakery Combo Menu  Super Tacos & Bakery Tacos Menu  Super Tacos & Bakery Burrito Menu  Super Tacos & Bakery Fries and Tamale Menu  Super Tacos & Bakery Breakfast Menu

  • Food:I ordered two — the Cubano (photo on the left) and Carnitas (photo on the right).  The sandwiches are absolutely enormous and I didn’t even order the large.  For $7, they are some of the best deals .  There’s fresh tomatoes and avocado — yum.  For me, there were 4 meals — 1/2  a sandwich is definitely enough! 

Super Tacos & Bakery Cubana Sandwich  Super Tacos & Bakery Carnitas Sandwich

  • Service: While Spanish is the predominant language spoken, they do understand English. 
  • Atmosphere: There’s only a few (4-5) stools inside and a couple of tables and stools outside (when it’s nice) so eating in isn’t really an option.  On the right, there’s a huge wooden cabinet full of baked items. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall: For those days you’re feeling poor, I’d definitely go here and get a couple of sandwiches for a grand total of $15.40 (tax included).  The good news is that they deliver for free (with a $10 minimum) so anyone who lives in the area can get their fantastic food!  I think next time I’ll try their tacos. 

Details:

  • Hours: Mon-Thu 8 am-10 pm; Fri-Sat 8 am-11 pm; Sun 8 am-10 pm
  • Address: 1762 Columbia Rd. NW, Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: 202-232-7121

While I’ve been to Iron Gate tons of times, but never ventured across the street to Tabard Inn — until recently.

  • Food: They offer a bread basket with a few different types of bread.  I tried the kalamata olive bread and it was pretty good.  I ordered the fried catfish tacos with house-made tortillas, jicama salad, refried beans, mango salsa.  Instead of the jicama salad, they put a huge scoop of guacamole.  Now this was pretty good stuff with big chunks of avocado (although not as good as mine…).  While the fish wasn’t crispy, the coleslaw-type topping (cabbage and carrots without mayo) was delicious.  The black beans were over-salted though.
  • Service: Our server was nice and my ice tea was refilled when needed.  Good stuff.
  • Atmosphere: If Iron Gate is the perfect place to go in the summer, Tabard Inn is the great place go to in the winter.  With fireplaces all over the restaurant and inn, it would seem like it’s a bit like Russia House.  But to be honest, I think Tabard Inn would be even better than Iron Gate for the summer too because they have a decent sized porch with 10-15 tables and a huge mesh cover for the top that helps shield the sun (photos here).  With hardwood floors,  low ceilings, and a comfortable bar — it seems almost like you’re in a person’s house. 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: With a decent menu and a good atmosphere, this is a fun place to go.  I’d gladly go back to try other items.

Details:

  • Reservations recommended (although they keep a few tables open for walk-ins)
  • Hours: Breakfast Mon-Fri 7 AM-10 AM, Sat 8 AM-9:45 AM, Sun 8 AM-9:15 AM; Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30 AM-2:30 PM; Dinner Sun-Thurs 6 PM-9:30 PM, Fri & Sat 6 PM-10 PM; Brunch Sat 11 AM-2:30 PM, Sun 10:30 AM-2:30 PM
  • Address: 1739 N Street NW; Washington, DC 20036
  • Ph: 202-833-2668

Organic To Go has taken over downtown DC (or at least it seems).  This chain has come out of no where to suddenly seem as ubiquitous as Pot Belly or Cosi.  I had to check it out and see if there was substance to the hype. 

  • Food: I have to combine service, atmosphere, and food together for this one.  First of all, from their cafe menu, it appears they have a lot of great sandwiches.  However, what they don’t tell you is that more than half of them are actually pre-made.  I hate pre-made sandwiches so that immediately removed a number of the sandwiches.  To see what is available, you have to look at the limited list of sandwiches on the board (above the cash registers) and then there’s more sandwiches at the sandwich counter (but they’re not labeled so you don’t know what kind they are).  Now that you know what sandwiches are actually available and you determine which one you want, you then order at the register and pay.  Then your sandwich can be picked up at the counter.  Anyway, I finally figured out I wanted the turkey veggie (photo on the left) and my friend ordered the turkey pepper jack (photo on the right).  The turkey veggie was good.  But my friend’s description of the turkey pepper jack was awesome — she said it was greasy and tasted like McDonald’s Sausage McMuffin.  Strange and relieving I didn’t order it.  Oh, and they were doing inventory when I was there (at about 11:30 AM) — kinda strange to do it at that time.  

Organic to Go Turkey Veggie  Organic to Go Turkey Pepperjack

  • Service: The cashier people were nice, but the counter people were not, so I never did find out what was in the counter sandwich display.
  • Atmosphere: See “food” section above.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall:I have to wonder if they thought the fast expansion through.  For being a chain with multiple stores in multiple cities, it seems they grew too fast and didn’t take the time to make sure they could actually make the food correctly.  Plus, they had a sign when I was there that said they were no longer making pizza since they couldn’t guarantee uniformity with corporate.  Before they open up any more stores, I’d suggest first streamlining the ordering process and making it clear which sandwiches are available freshly made versus pre-made.  Then we can talk about what exactly is in that turkey pepper jack that makes it taste like a Sausage McMuffin…

Details:

  • Hours: M-F / 6:30AM – 4:00PM
  • Address: 927 15th Street NW; Washington, DC 20005
  • Ph: 800-304-4550

I’ve been to Vidalia several times over the years and have always had a great meal.  While I wasn’t planning on participating in the Summer 2008 Restaurant Week, I ended up going to Vidalia during this time period. 

  • Food: Before I tell you what was ordered, I need to tell you that I didn’t eat all this. I swear. But because I was going with a client who was starving and wanted to do the five course meal, I had to do the five course meal. Thankfully, my client’s super cool so I was able to try a bite and then pass it on to him. I ordered the thinly sliced raw hamachi with cucumber, Fuji apples, lime basil, and smoked scallop essence. It was very good and fresh. He ordered the house smoked Wild King Salmon with vidalia onions, salmon roe, yogurt-cucumber soup and croutons.  My client won for ordering the best first course. For the next course, we both ordered the Point Judith calamari that was stuffed with oyster sausage, avocado, tomato, and periwinkle vinaigrette – delicious. For the third course, I ordered the Maine diver scallops with surry sausage crust, chow chow, rice beans, and bouillabaisse emulsion. This was the least favorite part of the meal — the scallops were overcooked and the crust was burnt. He ordered the Tasmanian sea trout roulad with warm cauliflower panna cotta, curry-golden raisin puree, and smoked trout roe. It was awesome. 4th course, still with me? He ordered the slow roasted Shenandoah baby goat with sweet garlic confit, cucumber-yogurt riata, zucchini, and flat bread. There were a lot of smaller dishes on the plate. It reminded me of one of the Top Chef episodes where one of the chefs compartmentalized their dish too much. The flat bread had no flavor and was stale. I ordered the corned Japanese Kuroge beef brisket with yellowfin potato pave, King Trumpet mushrooms and ginger beer reduction — it was seriously delicious. The brisket was so tender and the reduction was a fantastic pairing. The final course was dessert. We ordered the “Whopper” which was meringues with malted milk chocolate mousse with condensed milk emulsion, but the winner was the Georgia pecan tart. I’m not usually a pecan fan, but this was absolutely ridiculous. It’d make a pecan tart fan out of anyone!
  • Service: They hire good waitstaff who are knowledgeable and attentive (without being annoying). 
  • Atmosphere: After walking down the stairs, you’re actually in a basement restaurant.  While there are no windows, you easily forget that when you’re eating.  The bar has 12 stools and there are 3 sofa areas for mingling and waiting for your table.  The restaurant itself isn’t large, so if you want to go for lunch or dinner, make sure you make reservations! 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$$
  • Overall: I don’t know if I can do 5 courses again, but this is a great place to test all their courses.  It’s perfect for impressing anyone or for a quiet meal.  While the restaurant may be packed, they have good acoustics so it’s rarely too loud. 

Details:

  • Reservations strongly recommended.
  • Hours: Mon-Thu 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30pm-10pm; Fri 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30pm-10:30pm; Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm; Sun 5pm-9:30pm
  • Address: 1990 M St NW; Washington, DC 20036
  • Ph: (202) 659-1990

So I accidently participated in Summer 2008 Restaurant Week.  Let me explain.  I think RW, when it first started, was a lot of fun. It was exciting and people — from the waitstaff to the restaurants to the attendees — enjoyed it.  After my January 2008 experience, I decided I was done.  Some of the restaurants that participated offered such limited options; their waitstaff clearly hate this week; and it stopped being fun. 

That being said, I went to Grillfish.  It was a restaurant I’ve been meaning to try, but it’s also pretty inexpensive if you go besides RW.  So whatever, it gave me a chance to try three different courses.  Unfortunately, when I went at 12:30, they had ran out of a lot of the options so choices were limited. 

  • Food:I ordered the fried calamari which was hot (temperature wise), but had the weirdest batter ever.  I can’t describe it.  It wasn’t right at all for calamari.  The tomato sauce they included wasn’t complimentary to calamari (with a couple of new spices added, it would have been better over meatballs and pasta) and had too many large tomato chunks that made it awkward to dip the calamari.  For my main course, I ordered the shrimp po boy which was such a disappointment I can’t even begin.  First of all, the shrimps were so tiny (alright, more small — they weren’t the canned stuff).  Then when I started to eat it, the sandwich was ice cold.  There was way too much mayo which overpowered the shrimp.  The fries were really crispy though and hot.  So cheers to them for serving some good fries.  Then I originally wanted to get their chocolate bomb cake, but they were out.  So I ordered their chocolate cake with ice cream.  Good cake, but nothing too memorable.
  • Service: Our server was fine. 
  • Atmosphere:The interior reminds me a little bit like Logan @ The Heights (and yes, I know it’s owned by the same restaurant group) with very high ceilings and a comfortable atmosphere.  They have giant chalkboards that list the various fishes of the day. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall:Hmm, not sure what I think of this place yet.  I definitely wouldn’t order what I had this time again, but would try some of their grilled fish.   

Happy Hour: Monday-Friday 4 PM-7 PM and Saturday and Sunday 5 PM-7 PM with half-priced appetizers and drink specials.   

Details:

  • Hours: Lunch Mon-Fri 12 noon-4 PM; Dinner Sun 5 PM-10 PM, Mon-Thurs 4 PM-10 PM, Fri 4 PM-11 PM, Sat 5 PM-11 PM
  • Address: 1200 New Hampshire Ave NW; Washington, DC 20036
  • Ph: (202) 331-7310

Next to Java Green (the best vegan place), Cafe Chopsticks opened.  Well, actually the restaurant opened in July 2008 and after giving them a month to sort out any “bugs,” I thought it was about time I tried the place out.  BTW, here’s their menu:

   

  • Food:I ordered the veggie ramen which at first, was delicious.  I’ll talk about my initial thoughts on the food first, then go into the after-thoughts.  The broth wasn’t too salty and had a little heat.  The ramen noodles were cooked perfectly.  The problems with the vegetable ramen?  There weren’t a lot of veggies — a couple of bean sprouts, spinach, and tiny shreds of what appeared to be carrots, zucchini, and green onions.  I slurped my way through the bowl and while I was incredibly full, I also felt there was a weird after-taste.  Is there MSG in their soup?  Does anyone know?  And while I was there, I saw someone’s bento box.  It was huge!  Think the size of a cafeteria tray — wow, a lot of food I think!

Cafe Chopsticks Vegetable Ramen Soup  Cafe Chopsticks Vegetable Ramen Soup

  • Service: When you walk in, you can either look at their board or at takeout menus.  Then you order and pay at the counter.  They give you a number and you wait until it’s called.
  • Atmosphere:The interior is quite spacious and comfortable — a bit Zen-like.  Unlike some restaurants, they don’t cram too many tables and chairs.  Plus, they use eco-friend containers and utensils, recycled napkins, etc.  All good stuff!
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall:I really liked the veggie ramen, but would love it even more if they had more veggies in there.  Also, I’d love to know if they add MSG to their soup.  I think for now, I’ll stick to Java Green’s “chicken” ramen.  But I’ll go back to try their very reasonably priced sushi and a bento box.  BTW, they do offer delivery, but only within a 3 block radius, a $70 minimum order, 5% delivery charge, and 24-hour notice. 

Details:

  • Hours: Monday-Friday 10:30 AM-9 PM
  • Address: 1020 19th Street NW; Washington DC  20036
  • Ph: 202-429-1705

First, let me just say that for the last five years, I thought I didn’t like Ethiopian food.  I had gone to this one restaurant twice and didn’t like it.  I thought I had tried it and it wasn’t for me.  I had been talking with a friend and we agreed we wanted to try Ethiopian — specifically, Etete.  Well, I used to not like it.  But then I went to Etete.  I love it!  Here’s their menu.

  • Food: First, we ordered Sambusa with lentil.  This was delicious!  The fried pastry was hot (temperature and spice).  I can’t remember exactly what the title of what I ordered was, but it was the spicy lamb while my friend ordered the spicy beef.  My lamb was awesome.  It was tender and spicy.  The beef was good, but I definitely think I ordered the best!  On the side, were given sauted cabbage (in butter?) with carrots which was yummy.   Then there was a plain iceberg salad with tomatoes and lots of oil.  I ordered an ice tea which had a strong but yummy nutmeg and cinnamon flavor and smell.   And here’s the shocker — it also had cardamon but I liked it.  BTW, I’ve been here twice with the same friend.  We still ordered the sambusa but changed our main entree.   I ordered the Etete Kitfo with minced meat and it had a sutle but good kick.  I really liked it.  My friend ordered the vegetarian Goman and it was good. 
  • Service:  Despite the fact the restaurant wasn’t busy, our server was frequently MIA.  We had to find her to ask for a refill on water and get another round of beer.
  • Atmosphere: Inside it’s very comfortable and cozy.  Be prepared to have neighbors listen to your conversation — at least we did!  Seriously, they didn’t talk to each other at all during their meal.  Instead, they listened to our conversation.  Funny.  The downstairs has a bar with 10 stools and there’s a few tall tables and stools as well.  There’s a wall of wooden bench seats which are higher than the chairs.  So if you’re sitting  in a chair, you’re going to be shorter than the person on the wooden bench.  Photo gallery is here.  Upstairs there’s more seating, another bar, and another bathroom.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: Can you tell I ws surprised to love Etete?  I talked to my friend post-dinner a few days later and we concurred that we must go back and soon!  I’m starting to have a serious craving for Ethiopian.  Etete is absolutely one of the best Ethiopian restaurants — if not THE best.  It changed my opinion of Ethiopian food!

Details:

  • Hours: Daily 11 AM-1 AM
  • Address: 1942 9th St NW; Washington, DC 20001
  • Ph: (202) 232-7600

This is only going to be a drinks and appetizer blog posting for District ChopHouse.  I still haven’t had a meal there.

But I went after work and it was surprisingly not very packed.  They have a couple of homemade beers that were 1/2 price, but otherwise not really a great place for happy hour (no wines or food).  But their extensive homemade beer list is what drew us to the place.

Happy Hour runs Monday – Friday 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Anyway, we ordered their calamari, chicken tenders, and Pancetta wrapped shrimp.  I’ll start with my least favorite and most disappointing – calamari.  It was long calamari (not rings) but that’s not why I didn’t like it.  It wasn’t crispy which is the biggest sin when talking about fried calamari.

The next was the shrimp which were really small.  The reason it wasn’t my least favorite was because anything wrapped in Pancetta is going to be good.  Pancetta solves all. 

The winner was the chicken tenders, which are usually not my favorite at all.  But these were seriously tasty.  They were crispy and the inside was seriously moist and, well, tender.  Plus, the honey mustard and BBQ sauces were pretty good. 

Side note: Onion rings passed by our table and my eyes were almost as big as they were.  They looked awesome.  Alas, we were full or we would have ordered some.  Anyone try them?  Are they as good as they appeared?

Details:

  • Hours: Mon.: – 11:00am – 10:00pm; Tue. – Fri.: 11:00am – 11:00pm; Sat.: – 11:00am – 11:00pm; Sun.: – 11:00am – 10:00pm; Sat. and Sun. Brunch – 11:00am to 3:00pm
    Address: 509 7th Street, NW; Washington, DC 20004
  • Ph: (202) 347-3434

Next to LIMA, I have walked by this place on numerous occassions thinking, “I wonder how it is…”  Well wonder no more.  I went to Bangkok One.

  • Food: Seriously, do you even have to ask?  I ordered pad thai with tofu and medium spice.  When I opened my container to dig in, the TOFU pad thai smelled like seafood which I thought was weird.  Then when I started to dig in, I realized there were three shrimps included.   Thankfully, I’m not allergic to seafood, but heads up in case you are.  Once I started eating, I noticed there was a great balance between sweetness because the instant I thought, “Oh, that was really sweet” I’d get hit with the spice.  But what was the most disappointing was that I ordered pad thai with TOFU and there was no tofu.  You can see in the photo.  Seriously, do you see any tofu in there?  The restaurant wasn’t very busy so I have to admit that I am surprised at the bad order.  It was a bit greasy, but not too bad at all.  There was only 2-3 bean sprouts (no lie) and a couple of green onions.  If I had to guess, they had an order for pad thai with shrimp and when I put my order in, they decided to double up in the wok.  So to the person who ordered the pad thai with shrimp, I think your order got the good stuff.  Mine stinks.  It was basically noodles.  Where was the tofu?  Bean sprouts?  Green onions? 

Bangkok One Pad Thai

  • Service: They were very nice when I ordered to go.  If you’re ordering to go, walk straight back to the bar. 
  • Atmosphere: Inside there’s 30-40 tables.  The walls are painted sea blue and while the decorations aren’t the greatest, it’s not bad.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: Well, considering I ordered pad thai with tofu and there was no tofu, this was a disappointment. There were no bean sprouts or green onions either.  And the to-go container only had a fork and no chopsticks.  Bummer.

Details:

  • Hours: Mon – Fri: 11:30 am – 10:30 pm; Sat: 12:00 pm – 10:30 pm
  • Address: 1411 K St NW; Washington, DC 20005
  • Ph: 202-393-6277

You’re going to be mad at me when I say this…but the first time I went to the Greek Deli, I wasn’t a fan.  But my office neighbor said that I had to go back and try it again, so I agreed.  Their menu can be downloaded here.

  • Food: Before I tell you what I ordered, I want to tell you what my office neighbor ordered because it looked SO good (and she said it really was).  She ordered the meatballs in this cream-like sauce.  The meatballs were the size of baseballs (alright, a little smaller but not much smaller!).  I went on the safe side and ordered the chicken gyro.  First, the bad.  The chicken was dry.  But there was enough feta cheese that made it juicy but the cheese was very thick so there was no dripping.  There was an abundance of dill and that added a great flavor to the gyro that most Greek places don’t add.  This was one of the better chicken gyros I’ve had in DC.

Greek Deli Chicken Gyro  Greek Deli Chicken Gyro  Greek Deli Chicken Gyro

  • Service:The line, when you go at 12 noon (or anytime after), is out the door and a quarter of a mile.  It’s crazy.  But what I love is you can tell they know and remember their regulars.  The chef, Kostas Fostieris, is always at the front and is the one who assembles your meals. 
  • Atmosphere: With Greek food items on either side of the line, the restaurant isn’t very big.  You order and pay with the cashier.  To try to help speed up the line, once you’ve paid and ordered, move to the left.  You can eat outside, but there’s not a lot of tables so most people just grab and go. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall: I’ll definitely go back and branch out to other items.  But seriously, I’ll only go before 12 noon so I miss the line.   

Details:

  • Hours: Monday through Friday, 7am-4pm; Closed on Saturday and Sunday
  • Address: 1120 19th Street NW; Washington, DC 20036
  • Ph: (202) 296-2111

I am not a bourbon drinker.  I’ve tried it but it’s just not my thing.  I’m not a fan of dark alcohol.  But I am a fan of Bourbon, the restaurant in Adams Morgan.  Wow!

  • Food: While Bourbon is a bar, the food is upscale bar food.  I ordered the grilled chicken and it was delicious.  The bourbon sauce on the sandwich was a perfect combination of tangy and sweet.  The baked beans had a little too much sugar for my taste, but it was good.  We ordered onion rings which were perfectly fried crispy.  The seasoning was interesting — it wasn’t as mixed throughout the onion rings as much as it should have been so there were some bites that had a little kick while others were a bit bland.  My friend ordered the veggie burger which wasn’t frozen, but a handmade veggie paddy. 
  • Service: Our server was nice and quick with the ice tea refills.
  • Atmosphere: They have an outdoor deck in the back and an upstairs dining/bar area.  But we stayed downstairs at the bar.  I loved the casual atmosphere.  And while we were there on a Sunday morning, there was no smell of the previous night and it was very clean.  So yes, you can definitely take your parents here!
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: While my expectations may have been a bit low, I really enjoyed their food and would gladly go back for dinner and brunch.  Plus, for anyone who is a serious bourbon drinker, they’ll love it! 

Details:

  • Hours: Dinner daily 6 PM-11 PM; Brunch Sat & Sun 11:30 AM-4 PM
  • Address: 2321 18th Street NW; Washington DC 20009
  • Ph: 202-332-0800

So another friend is leaving the city and so we went out for a last DC meal.  Now she has promised she’s coming back to the city and I am going to visit her, so that will work out.  But it still stinks.

Anyway, we were feeling indifferent on where to go and so she picked Rumba Cafe.

  • Food: We ordered an appetizer to split — the Arepa de Carne Flour corn cake with mild beef stew.  It was pretty good.  My friend ordered the Ropa vieja shredded beef stew with a huge yellow plantain, and rice and beans.  The beef was tender and had good flavor.  I ordered the Mero entomatado which is a filet of Red Snapper with garlic, bell pepper, red onion, tomato, and white wine.  I thought my meal didn’t have a lot of flavor. 
  • Service: The servers have a tendency to hoover around the tables, but they are very nice.
  • Atmosphere: There are 8 very closely put together tables outside, but it is nice place for a leisurely meal.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: While the food was decent, I thought it was a bit more expensive than necessary.  There are lots of other yummy Latin American restaurants I’d rather drop $30-40/person. 

Details:

  • Hours: Restaurant Mon-Fri 5 PM-12 midnight; Sat & Sun 11 AM-12 midnight; Weekend Brunch 11 AM-4 PM; Bar Mon-Thurs 5 PM-2 AM; Fri 5 PM-3 AM; Sat 11 AM-3 AM; Sun 11 AM-2 AM 
  • Address: 2443 18th St NW; Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: (202) 588-5501

If you’re like me, you find that when you step outside for lunch from your office, you find you go to the same spots.  So thanks to this blog, I’ve been going to new places all the time.  The Brown Bag is another one of those new spots.

  • Food:I ordered the Love at 1st Bite sandwich.  There is some mayo on this tuna sandwich, but not a lot so it worked for me (and we all know I hate mayo!).  There’s a perfect combination of onion to tuna to lettuce.  The multi-grain bread is fresh, but it might be even better if they toasted it.  My only complaint is that I would have liked to see more tomato.  I bet next time, if I ask, they’ll put more on.  Sweet.

The Brown Bag Love at First Bite

  • Service:It’s merged with the atmosphere information, but basically, you never have to talk to anyone.  You can also customize your sandwich and unless you have horrible writing, you’ll get exactly what you asked for without worrying the person behind the counter misunderstood.  I like the fact you can order it online too. 
  • Atmosphere:Inside it’s cute with three different lines — one for salads, noodles, and sandwiches.  They also have a bunch of pre-made items in the front cooler.  When you walk in, determine which you’re going to order.  Then they have the laminated order cards and you circle which item you want.  There are 10-15 tables inside in the front of the restaurant.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall:It’s a good sandwich place and I was shocked that I liked their tuna salad sandwich.  The shock comes because I hate mayo and normally don’t order tuna salad out because of the mayo.  I know you’re going to laugh, but I didn’t realize it was tuna salad — I thought it was just going to be albacore tuna.  I’ve never tried their pasta (has anyone else?), but would go back. 

Details:

  • Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30 AM-3:30 PM
  • Address: 818 18th Street NW; Washington, DC 20006
  • Ph: 202-293-0092

I love what has happened with Columbia Heights.  There’s a great energy to the area.  I love visiting and checking out the new places.  So while I know Logan @ The Heights isn’t new, it was to me!

  • Food: I ordered the mixed greens with jicama and orange vinaigrette.  The salad was good and refreshing, but I think it’s because I love jicama.  I also ordered ginger fried calamari.  The sauce was too sweet and the calamari wasn’t crunchy at all.  Quite disappointing.
  • Service: We ordered at the bar so our service was lacking.  While it wasn’t that busy, he kept disappearing. 
  • Atmosphere: I love the interior.  It’s simple and comfortable.  There’s dark wood and tons of seating. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: While the ginger fried calamari was disappointing, I really liked this restaurant.  It has a great neighborhood feel.  I’ll definitely go back to try out some other food.  It seems like simple cuisine is going to be the best bet.  Oh, and if you’re looking for a place with the most Bloody Mary options, you’ve found it.

Happy Hour: Monday-Friday 4-7 PM at the bar with cheaper food; Sam Adams $3.50 and Brooklyn Lager $3.75; wine for $3.25.  To see the full menu, click here.

Details:

  • Reservations are taken Sun-Thurs Dinner & Weekday Lunch: Any size, any time; Fri & Sat Dinner: 7 – 10 pm, Parties of 5 or more only; Weekend Brunch: Parties of 5 or more only
  • Address: 3115 14th St. NW, Washington DC, 20010
  • Hours: Dinner: Mon-Fri, 5 pm; Sat & Sun, 4 pm; Lunch: Mon-Fri, Noon – 5 pm; Brunch: Sat & Sun, 11 am – 4 pm
  • Ph: 202-797-7227

I continue with my quest for finding great Thai in DC.  To be honest, so far, it’s been a bleak with a few bright beacons.  Anyway, I finally tried Thai Kingdom (menu is on their Web site).

  • Food: Surprise, I ordered Pad Thai (no peanuts and medium spice).  I also ordered the squid salad.  I think I’m going to stop ordering squid salad at Thai places because it seems that all squid salads use cardamon.  While their salad was totally different from Pasara, I think I liked Pasara’s better.  The Pad Thai had a lot more veggies included than I’m used to and I liked it.  There was a good amount of heat and flavor.  There was more grease than I like to see in my Pad Thai, but I did like it. 

Thai Kingdom Squid Yum  Thai Kingdom Pad Thai  Thai Kingdom Pad Thai

  • Service: I ordered to go, but I do applaud them for including chopsticks! 
  • Atmosphere: Inside there’s a lot of decoration.  When you walk in, on your right is an elevated (only by a foot or so) platform with a wall that’s all window so it makes the restaurant seem much bigger.  There’s about 10-15 tables.  Then on the main floor, there’s another 20-25 tables so it is a big restaurant.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: If you’re looking for a casual and comfortable dining atmosphere, I’d check it out.  It’s decent Thai at a good price. 

Details:

  • Reservations are unnecessary
  • Address: 2021 K Street NW; Washington, DC 20006
  • Hours: Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30 PM; Dinner Mon-Thur 5-10:30 PM; Dinner Fri 5-11 PM; Sat 12 noon-11 PM; Sun 12 noon-10 PM;  
  • Ph: 202-835-1700

I had been to Thai Chili/Sushi Go Round once before a few years ago and recently stopped by again for a quick bite. 

  • Food: The sushi conveyor belt has 4 different color plates — blue, yellow, green, and red.  They clearly label the prices each plate color cost (but I can’t remember their prices).  I think the most expensive is around $5 and the cheapest is $2-3.  I’ve tried a lot of their sushi and it’s good.  They offer a good selection, but as with all sushi conveyor belts, you do have to know your sushi/nigiri!  Otherwise, you may end up paying for something you don’t like. 
  • Service: I’ve only eaten at the Sushi Go Round, but they are quick to clear any garbage you have and the covers to the sushi plates.
  • Atmosphere: It’s like there are two different restaurants.  Neither one has a lot of seats, but the Thai side has 10-12 tables and chairs while the Sushi Go Round has 20-25 stools around the conveyor belt.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: If you’re in the Penn Quarter/Chinatown area and are looking for something quick and healthy without going to a chain, I recommend trying this place out.  It’s decent sushi and let’s be honest, the conveyor belt is fun.  Ha ha.   

Details:

  • Hours: Mon-Thurs 11 AM-10:30 PM; Fri 11 AM-11 PM; Sat 12 noon – 11 PM; Sun 12 noon – 10:30 PM; Delivery Hours: Mon-Fri 11 AM-3 PM, 5-10 PM; Sat & Sun 5-10 PM (min $20)
  • Address: 701 7th Street NW; Washington, DC 20001
  • Ph: (202) 393-2905, (202) 393-2906

I love The Diner.  It’s like those old jeans that are perfectly broken in.  It might not be fancy, but it’s just good and you know what you’re going to get at all times.  So imagine my joy when they opened Open City.  Oddly enough though, I hadn’t gone until just recently.

  • Food:I ordered the chorizo scramble which was pretty good.  There was lots of chorizo in the eggs.  The hash browns were shredded and I was bummed because they weren’t crispy.  But they did have good flavor.  And the coffee they served was in the big cappuccino mugs, like what they serve at Tryst.  I wonder why they don’t do that at The Diner.
  • Service: Our server was fine, but like The Diner, they’re a bit scattered.  Sometimes you get a refill on coffee, sometimes you don’t. 
  • Atmosphere:They have horrible acoustics so don’t go with a low talker!  It’s really loud and I kept having to ask, “What” when I was trying to talk with my friend. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall: Unlike The Diner, Open City has outdoor seating which is really nice.  But Open City has more options than the standard breakfast and that makes me a fan.  Plus, I love the big mugs of coffee.  Like The Diner, expect a line on the weekends!  But here’s a tip — if you get there before 10 AM, your wait won’t be too long.

Details:

  • Reservations not accepted.
  • Hours: Mon-Fri 6 am – midnight Sat-Sun 6 am – 1 am
  • Address: 2331 Calvert Street NW; Washington, DC 20008
  • Ph: 202-332-2331

It was raining and crappy and so my friend and I decided to order in.  Plus, I had a bottle of Rose that I wanted to try. 

I don’t like Rose.  I never have.  But for some reason, when I was in the liquor store to buy some sparking wine (loved this one he recommended — Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad Cava from Spain), the liquor store guy told me that even though I don’t like Rose, I’d like Juno Rose from South Africa. Now why is it that even though I know I don’t like Rose, I still ended up buying the wine?  Regardless, my friend was a super trooper and joined me in trying this bottle.  It was fine, but I didn’t love it and won’t buy it again.  The Cava was dry (but not too dry) and was a great sparkling wine to cool down from the humidity!

Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad Cava from Spain  Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad Cava from Spain  Juno Rose from South Africa

Anyway, we decided to order from Jyoti.  Menu here.

  • Food:I first need to tell you that I don’t like cardamom.  I never have.  So ordering Indian is a bit of a challenge, but I do like Indian food!  I just need to be careful.  My friend ordered paneer makani (the orange container) which had a strong cardamom flavor.  I ordered the lamb rogan josh which was really good.  Then we got a side of roti and raita.  I thought it was really good!  They also gave us a huge portion of rice — look at it! And yes, their naan was better than the one I make (but they have a tandoori!). 

Jyoti Restaurant  Jyoti Restaurant

  • Service: Our delivery took over an hour.  And we were starving.  So it gets poor marks for taking more than an hour. 
  • Atmosphere: No idea, they delivered!
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall:I was excited to hear that there’s Indian delivery ($15 min).  On their menu, they tell you it’ll take 45-60 minutes to deliver and if it’s bad weather or traffic, it’ll take longer.  My next order is going to be chicken tikka and samosa. 

Details:

  • Hours: Sun-Thurs 12 PM-10:30 PM; Fri & Sat 12 PM-12 AM
  • Address: 2433 18th St NW; Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: 202-518-5892

Yes, I made out to Virginia!  I was putzing one day and was surprised when I found myself at Seven Corners.  But also so happy because I knew I was in store for outstanding pho!  I decided to go to Eden Center and I wandered into Pho Xe  Lua.

  • Food: They only serve pho but I ordered my standard — Tai pho and an iced tea.  The beef was raw and so paper thin it was awesome.  I slurped my way through the meal and I was contemplating getting a second bowl for the next day.  It was delicious and it’s my favorite bowl of pho so far!

Pho Xe Lua Large Tai Pho  Pho Xe Lua

UPDATE 10/2008: I went again but ordered it to go.  This time, they had ngo gai — Asian cilantro that’s prickly with a kick and awesome.   This is still my favorite pho place…

Pho Xe Lua To Go Pho  Pho Xe Lua To Go Pho

  • Service: There is an older guy who seated me, took my order, and ran the cash register.  There was an older woman walking around as well and a busboy.  They leave you alone to linger as long as you’d like, but this also means they’re not stopping by constantly to refill your soda or ice tea glass. 
  • Atmosphere: There’s 15-20 tables and the interior won’t impress anyone.  When I first sat down, it wasn’t busy but by the time I left, it was almost completely packed.  And in the corner, there was a table of men playing some sort of domino-type game. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall: Bring your cash because it’s cash-only!  The large bowl of pho and ice tea was about $11, but it was seriously amazing.  I can’t wait to go back!

Details:

  • Hours: Daily 7:30am- 8:00pm
  • Address:Eden Center; 6755-A Wilson Blvd; Falls Church, VA 22044
  • Ph: 703-533-3130

My friend and I had tried to go to Inti Peruvian earlier but they are closed on Mondays (something they don’t tell you on their Web site).   

  • Food: To start, we shared the chicken tamale.  I’m not usually a huge tamale fan, but this one was really good.  What I loved was that the ingredients weren’t chopped up so fine that you couldn’t tell what it was — there were nice chunks of egg, pepper, shredded chicken, etc.  Then my friend ordered the Seco a la Nortena con Frijoles which was so tender and delicious.  I thought it was a great choice!  I ordered the Picante de Mariscos and was disappointed with rubbery seafood.  But the sauce was really good, especially when I added their green chili sauce.  There were two huge mussels though on either side of the seafood which were quite impressive.  BTW, the green chili sauce wasn’t really spicy, but it did add a tiny amount of heat.
  • Service: Our server was really polite and I liked her.  She also had good timing — she was there when we needed her and otherwise, left us alone.  I like that.
  • Atmosphere: So when we walked down the steps, we weren’t sure if we should go to the door on the left or the right.  We went to the door on the right, although I think both would have worked.  Then they told us that we could sit outside.  Really?  So we were surprised that outside was an option.  Inside they have 12-15 tables but outside, they have a cute deck with 8 tables with huge umbrellas that keep you covered.  At night, they have holiday lights on the inside of the tables.  The inside of the restaurant doesn’t have a lot of atmosphere, but it works.  It seems to be comfortable and cozy, but I’d suggest sitting outside if you can.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall:So other than my chewy seafood, I also have to complain about the fact that they didn’t give us any bread (even though we saw everyone else on the patio get a basket!) but we did get this interesting corn thing — kinda like corn nuts but without a lot of flavor.  Overall, I’d go back.  I love their small, but comfortable patio.  Next time, I’ll try their beef or chicken entree.  

Details:

  • Reservations not required
  • Hours: Tues-Thurs 11 AM-10 PM; Fri & Sat 11 AM-11 PM; Sun 11 AM-9 PM; Closed on Mondays
  • Address:1825 18th St. NW, Washington DC 20009
  • Ph: (202) 797-0744

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