Monday, September 20, 2010

Eating Out - Food Trucks

Kathryn said I should start taking pictures of the truck because it's more interesting than just plates of food.

Fojol Bros. of Melindia (Indian)

Several of the city's food trucks were on hand at the H St Festival this Saturday. I used the opportunity to try Fojol brothers, one of the few remaining on my "to try" list.

  • This was my first non-solo dining experience at a food truck, so I made the most of it. Kathryn and I each ordered a two entrée plate (with basmati rice) and then switched halfway through. We got the chance try the buttered chicken, curry chicken, lentils, and cauliflower & potatoes.
  • There is no possible way rank the dishes because they were all delicious.
  • It's getting harder and harder to pick a favorite food truck. At this point, it's like asking me to choose between my kids (although I don't have kids).

Giant portions for only $6.

Getting Out - Ultimate Frisbee

Kathryn in the half time cheer.

This weekend we started our WAFC fall rec league season. The teams are randomly assigned each season, so we're playing with a whole new crop of folks - except for our buddy Tani who we "baggaged" with. She also convinced Tom to join us. Fortunately, the team is also full of super talented ringers who will hopefully lead us deep in the tournament this season.

At the start of the point.

Kathryn laughing it up between points.

Patience... patience...


Getting Out - Run Geek Run

And they're off...

Last Saturday I ran the Run Geek Run 8K. I completed the roughly 5 mile out and back course, along the Potmac and around Hains Point, in 55:38. A great way to start a Saturday.

At the finish line.

Getting Out - H St Festival

We had gorgeous weather on Saturday, and my good friend Mike was in town for the afternoon. We decided to take in the H St Festival - a great time in my favorite DC neighborhood (hands down!).

The festival featured an "art car show." Here's Mike and me with one of my favorites.

Here's Kathryn enjoying a slice of coconut at Dangerous Pies. Bonus - Mike got to try his first Nati Bo.

There were three stages with free live music (plus there was a boxing ring, a fashion runway, and arm wrestling table, to name a few). Here's DC punk legend and former Bad Brains front man H.R.

We ended up hitting a total of 4 bars on the day. Here's Kathryn and I at Little Miss Whiskey's Golden Dollar. It was Kathryn's favorite. It's the earliest I've ever been at a dance club (around 6:30pm), but there are no windows and they have the best DJ in town.

We switched to Stroh's at LMWGD. We almost hit the cycle of crappy regional beers.

Dinner at Popeye's.

Mike and I with some giant devil horns in front of one of the art cars.

We played a round of putt putt at the H St Country Club. This was the hole that did me in. Kathryn was the big champ by more than a stroke a hole.

Putt putt Washington Monument complete with King Kong.

Found the best homemade sign ever on the walk home.

Eating Out - Irish and Jewish

Nothing goes together like matzoh balls and shepherd's pie.

Star and Shamrock Tavern and Deli (Irish and Jewish - seriously)

Last weekend we met up with our good friends Tom and Tani to try out one of H St's newest curiosities - Star and Shamrock. The establishments bills itself as "a place where two ancient cultures come together." Although the mix sounds rather odd, they pull it off as well as can be expected. Here's the run down.

  • The restaurant and bar is more of a bar. There are only a few tables, and the entire room is dominated by a giant wooden, well, bar. Unless you come before peak drinking hours, there probably won't be a place to sit. Fortunately, we just barely beat the rush at 8:30 on a Friday night.
  • The food was damn good (although tough on the stomach). I had the aforementioned matzoh balls and shepherd's pie. The shepherd's pie is authentic, made with lamb instead of beef. I prefer the grade school cafeteria version with tater tots and ground beef. This was our first time trying matzoh balls, but Kathryn and I were both impressed. With potatoes, broth, and onions, where can you go wrong?
  • Kathryn's dinner was something else entirely. The Latke Madness is a Reuben sandwich with potato latkes instead of rye bread. It was essentially an Irish Double Down. Amazing....
  • Kathryn tried the blueberry wheat beer (and really liked it). I, of course, had a Miller Lite (and really liked it).
  • My only complaint with Star and Shamrock is that it was more of an Irish bar than a Jewish deli. I'm not the biggest fan of Irish bars in part because they (i) rarely have "regular" beer (i.e., Miller products), (ii) play that terrible music people pretend to like when they are at Irish bars, and (iii) are filled wall-to-wall with d-bags. This place was no exception on the last of that list, but the band was actually pretty tolerable.
Somehow they never gave some cheesy toast. Cheers to them!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Eating Out - Food Trucks

I was so busy I had to eat at my desk while I worked.

Red Hook (Maine Lobster)

One of the major features of most DC food trucks is their blending of different styles (see the turkey meatloaf bahn mi from my Floridano post). Red Hook deviates from this trend by staying faithful to serving an authentic Main lobster roll. How committed? They drive to Maine every week to buy lobster and bread.

There's a saying in the food service industry. Food can be cheap, good, and fast - but you only get to pick two. There is no doubt that Red Hook is good (in fact, it's great), and the food is also very fast (well other than the enormous line, but that's not their fault). However, lunch at Red Hook costs more than most restaurants, and you don't even get a table to rest your elbows on.

  • I'm almost timid to admit that I spent $18 on a sandwich, bag of chips, and a soda. (The chips were also authentically Maine as well.) It violates every one of my small town Midwestern principles.
  • To add insult to injury, the sandwich is pretty small. Granted, it's chuck full of giant chunks of lobster meat. Their lobster salad, unlike most places, isn't made up of mostly filler - like cheap celery.
  • I was still hungry after I ate.
  • This post probably reads like I'm apologizing for Red Hook, which to some degree I am. I guess it's because I recognize that it's very good. It's also a great lunch option compared to standard Subway or PotBelly's. Despite all of this, I have a bit of buyer's remorse. That's not to say I won't go back. I just need a little time to forget about the price and remember only the tasty, tasty lobster.

Eating Out - Cupcakes

There were three cupcake shows on TV last night - at the same time. Nothing to do with this picture really, just sayin'.

Red Velvet (Cupcake)

I'm only writing about this joint because I'm a completist, but I'll understand if you don't want to read about cupcakes again. I'll try to keep it brief.

  • The place is called "Red Velvet." Their red velvet cupcake on the other hand is called "Southern Belle." The regular yellow cake (with a hint of almond) with chocolate icing is called "B Day." Caveat emptor: be prepared to read the small font on the display or have no idea what you're getting.
  • I brought a box home from work as a surprise. Here's the flavors we had in order of tastiness: "B Day," "Southern Bell," lemon, and espresso. Those last two probably had annoying alternate names but I can't remember them.
  • I could eat an endless chain of B Day cupcakes. The rest, I'll pass.

Another lovely day at the National Zoo...

The great weather was a nice excuse to check out the brand new elephant enclosure.

There is a new area where you can play tug of war with an orangutan. I tried like heck to get them to challenge me, but they weren't really interested.

How cute is that face?

Went to the invertebrate house for the first time. It was way cooler than expected.

Stopped at DuPont circle for some frozen yogurt after our three mile walk home.

Eating Out - Italian

Dinner for two.... food for four....
Carmine's (Italian)

We rarely eat Italian food. It's something we've never really had a taste for (and I don't have much of a stomach for), but once in a while, we go all in. When we were in New York last spring, we ate two Italian dinners, both at the same place - Carmine's. Last weekend we ventured out to Carmine's new location in DC's China Town. Carmine's has a couple of locations in New York, as well as the two obvious locations for expansion - DC and the Bahamas(?).

  • Carmine's is really new and in a busy part of town, so the wait was well over an hour at 6:30 on a Saturday evening. We opted to sit at the bar instead.
  • The sangria was pretty good (and pretty potent).
  • Carmine's sells everything family style and measured by the pound. Therefore, we split the veal scalopinne over linguine. There was enough left for both of us to have lunch the next day.
  • I love tiramisu, and it's hard not get it whenever I have Italian food. The genius solution - get a piece to go and eat it at home. At Carmine's though it's the size of a pie (literally). We were able to nibble on it for days. (Kathryn's edit: we actually had so much we threw some away. A rare occurrence in this house.)
A week's worth of desert to match.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day Trip - Maryland State Fair

A view of the midway from the grand stand.

We are big time fair fans - street festivals, county fairs, state fairs, etc. Kathryn gets excited about the start of fair season in a way that can only be rivaled by Kathryn's excitement for the start of basketball season. We love the food, the entertainment, the animals, the people watching (the people watching!), and the food. We're still a couple of displaced Midwesterners, but here's what we thought of a Mid Atlantic state fair.

  • The fair was much, much smaller than we're used to. Not in terms of offerings, but geographic footprint. It was more packed-in than spread-out, consistent with most Midwest vs. Mid Atlantic comparisons.
  • The same exact people go to state fairs in the Midwest and Maryland. That's all I need to say.
  • The food offerings weren't as plentiful, but all of the major bases were covered: midway corn dogs, state ag producer associations (pork, beef, poultry, and dairy), and, of course, fried weird stuff. We had the deep fried buckeyes (see below).
  • One of the things we did have at the fair that was distinctly and appropriately Maryland - sea food. Crab cakes and clam strips, specifically. Amazing!
  • We got to see the girls equestrian competition - a first time for both of us. It felt very Maryland to watch gals on horses jump over stuff.
  • Kathryn was very impressed with the baking competition claiming it was the best she's seen.

How much fried food can we eat in one day? A lot.

Deep fried buckeyes. For those keeping score the layers from the inside out go peanut butter, chocolate, fried dough, powdered sugar. They aren't as healthy as you would expect.

Kathryn can't resist petting the baby pigs.

or the draft horses.

Here you can see the only adult without kids who milked a cow at the fair. I was a natural.

My next hobby - falconry.

The fair has live thoroughbred racing in a delightfully old school setting.

View of the finish line from the grand stands.

Eating Out - New American

Our raw meat adventure continues.

1905 (New American)

As you can probably tell, we've been keeping pretty busy this summer with (what feels like) lots of traveling, plus frisbee games, and DC United snooze fests. We feel like it's been a while since we've gone out for a nice romantic dinner, just the two of us, so last week we headed out to 1905 in the U Street Corridor.

  • 1905 was a great place for a date night. The small dining room and bar are tucked away in the second floor of a converted row house without much of a sign out front. It's the kind of place where you feel "in the know" for eating there. It's dimly lit, ornately decorated, and cozy.
  • 1905 was a terrible place for a date night. It's very expensive (even with our discount coupon), loud, and stuffy. The food is good, but not worth the price. They also make you (well, just half of the table) sit on wooden benches.
  • Both of these statements are true. Although 1905 is not large, it contains multitudes.
  • We were in the mood to try something new, so we opted for the spicy tuna tartar appetizer with wasabi-lime whipped cream topping and taro root chips. For some reason I was a bit intimidated by what ended up tasting like sushi on a chip (delicious!), but the consistency of the ground tuna was still a bit unsettling.
  • Kathryn had mixed luck with her sea scallop entrée. For the price, we both expected more than three scallops, but Kathryn loved the caramelized cauliflower and parsnip puree side dish.
  • For my entrée, I had a plateful of (sort-of-German-inspired) comfort food: roasted pork loin, red cabbage, apple cider au jus, and roasted sweet potato mash. Oh and one curiosity, "sweet corn creme brulee."
  • I should mention that Kathryn had some raspberry and thyme cocktail that was pretty tasty, and I nursed a pretty decent (yet girly) glass of white sangria. (The girly part was my fault, not theirs. I knew what I was getting into with that order.)
  • Overall, meh.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Eating Out - Food Trucks

I hope you can forgive me because this post might be deceptive. It's a two-fer, but the two food trucks I visited were on different days. I've just been lazy about updates. Ahhhh... I feel better now that I have that off my chest.

Pizza in a box.
DC Slices (Pizza)

DC Slices is a mobile pizza truck that is usually parked near my office on Fridays, which Slices calls Farragut Funday. The Bangles be damned, Friday is also my fun day.

  • DC Slices serves pizza that is very similar to New York style, giant hand tossed slices that are easiest to eat when you fold them in half.
  • They usually offer about five flavors. I was pretty hungry, so I went with one slice of sausage and onion (the best!) and one slice of veggie. I wish the former had bacon (my all time favorite pizza, the S.O.B.) and the latter had broccoli, but that's probably because I miss St. Louis' Cecil Whitaker's. (Kathryn does not!)
  • You can get a slice of pizza and a soda for $5, an unbeatable deal in Farragut/DuPont. Highly recommended.

Curbside Cupcakes (Cupcakes)

Curbside Cupcakes represents either a smooth transition from one culinary trend to the next, or an annoying combination of two despised food fads. It's up to you, but I feel pretty mixed.

  • Curbside was parked right outside of my building the other day, so I ran down to pick up a sampling to take home to Kathryn. We have this thing where we cut two cupcakes in half and trade so we can try both flavors. Here's the four I picked up: carrot cake, strawberry, peanut butter, and "the black cupcake" (milk chocolate with dark chocolate icing).
  • Here's how we rank the flavors: strawberry > black > carrot > peanut butter
  • The cupcakes are bit smaller than the industry standards Georgetown and Cakelove and not quite as tasty. In fact, here's how we rate the cupcake joints so far: Georgetown > Cakelove > Curbside = Hello, Cupcake > Red Velvet.
  • The cupcakes were tasty, but we don't feel the need to get them again.