May 29, 2006

Bests and Wursts

From the $30 foie-gras-and-shortribs-stuffed hamburger at the DB Bistro Moderne at lunch to a Bauernwurst at Hallo Berlin, you could say I had an interesting gastronomic day [May 4th - I started writing this post a while ago ... better late than not at all, I guess].

My editor decided to take me out to the Daniel Boulud's Bistro Moderne for lunch to thank me for my three months of service, and I'm pretty sure it was my first lunchtime in a powerlunch-y kind of place. Beautiful atmosphere, but full of suits.

We started off with a bright-magenta, naturally-sweetened hibiscus tea paired with asparagus soup. Not the most elegant pair, but both were excellent. The cream-based soup had a generous number of tender white and green asparagus tips floating around.

The original db burger (flickr photo) was an experience. It came highly recommended and didn't disappoint in the least (except that I could hardly fit it in my mouth). The thought of a hamburger stuffed with short ribs, foie gras, and truffles still boggles my mind. The taste was intensly meaty and savory - the earthiness of the truffles and foie gras gave the burger an unbelievably rich my-god-i'm-a-capitalist taste to them.

It came with three different sauces - a mayonnaise, a mustard, and a superb horseradish mayonnaise. The latter completely rocked; it struck a perfect balance of mellow mayonnaise mellowness with spicy horseradish kickyouinthefaceness.

Then Meg took me to the Daily Show. Rock.

Afterward, Liz, Lyssa, Meg, and I went to Hallo Berlin where we got some great cheap wursts. I've had the knockwurst (beef and pork), bauernwurst (also beef and pork), and the currywurst (just beef but with a curried mustard) and they're all good in a standard way. It comes with mustard, sauerkraut, and onions unless you specify differently (try it the first time to get the experience). The schnitzel is nothing special but the potato pancakes are so full of greasy wonder that I'd eat them every moment of every day. Well, maybe not every moment, but often. Each of the single wurst platters are enough for a meal if you share a potato pancake and a beer. They've got a great beer selection, like the Germans are want to have. The atmosphere is about what you'd expect from a beer garden - tacky, sticky picnic tables, European techno, etc. A great place to go with a large group.

I love New York. Four-star $30 hamburger for lunch and four-star, $8 bauernwurst for dinner.

Technorati Tags: , , ,
A big 'ol danka shoen to diddi over at flickr for the great bratwurst photo and being cool enough to surrender enough of his creative writes to let us republish it.

May 18, 2006


I've been remiss in posting. I apologize. However, since the quality of my recent fooding has not been so high (unless you count the holiness known as Popeye's Chicken), I offer you this in lieu of bloggerly succor:

Todd Kliman, formerly of the City Paper, is now the Dining Editor at the Washingtonian. Might I also recommend his excellent food writing and very fun "chog"? Yes, I might. SO GO READ IT if you eat in D.C.

Also, this shameless plug brought to you by the fact that his wife was my amazing voice teacher in high school, and a ridiculously cool/knowledgeable person who I had lunch with at Malaysia Khopitiam recently.

(Malaysia Khopitiam: Basement Malaysian restaurant near intersection of Connecticut Ave, Rhode Island Ave, and M Street/St. Matt's Cathedral which is where my high school choir teacher Mr. Culverhouse currently conducts the choir and Schola Cantorum. We see where this is all connected. I've only eaten there once, and had a ginormous portion of chicken something which was delicious and lasted me for THREE DAYS. And you've not seen me eat yet, but let me say this: it is prodigious. Apparently, their fish-ball soup is to be lusted after. And they have a picture menu for Malaysian food-noobs! Go. Hear the Schola. Eat some Malaysian. But I digress.)

Go. Read. ::waves hand imperiously::
Technorati Tags: , Writing,

May 5, 2006


First of all, due to its out of the way location, cozy mood-lit atmosphere, and potential for food sharing, we determined that Sushi-Ko is the perfect date restaurant. Provided you like sushi. And if you don't, none of my friends want to date you anyway.

Sushi-Ko is, from the outside, a hole in the wall. It basically looks like a shack, and when you first see it from the outside, you think, " thanks, I'll go to the dive bar up the road." (Or, seeing that it's in Georgetown, you'll go to one of the swanky uptown dive bars.) But - SURPRISE! - you walk in to a lovely restaurant where classiness abounds.

Granted, I am a bit of a sushi novice. I think, about a million years ago, my family and I tried sushi when we were at a random Wolfgang Puck restaurant in Orlando. And of course, I've had the WM Sexchange sushi many times, but I feel like that doesn't count (since as Katie says, it's the McDonalds of sushi). So I was very excited for some real sushi, and was not disappointed. Because any restaurant that gives you warm lavender-scented wash cloths to wipe your hands with is a winner in my book.

As for the food, the menu offers some non-sushi offerings, for those freaked out by the thought of seaweed rolls. But we decided to be classic and stick with sushi. The menu had the three types listed: sashimi (just fish...of an amazing quality), nigiri (small chopstick-sized rolls), and tamaki (large handrolls). We got the nigiri and ordered about 8 bajillion different kinds...including:

*3 orders of California rolls
*Asparagus & red pepper
*Cucumber & avocado
*Spicy scallop
*Spicy tuna
*2 Crunchy shrimp
*Softshell crab
*Smoked salmon

Keep in mind, we started with sake-tinis. I have no idea what was in them, but they were delicious (more viscous then I was expecting, but no matter - they each had a booze-soaked raspberry waiting for us at the bottom of the glass). Also keep in mind we were 30 minutes late for our 7 pm reservation - the maitre d' said to me, "you're those people," in the nicest way a maitre d' can - so we were hungry enough to each eat an entire ocean of sushi. Which clearly, we did.

I really enjoyed the crunchy ones - the extra bad-for-you pieces with fried fish inside. The texture difference, as well as the added saltiness/fattyness really added a lot to my sushi experience. MMM fried.

Fried parts aside, sushi is always so refreshing because you can eat so much of it and not feel grotesquely full, which was the case at Sushi-Ko also. So much so, that we went to the Daily Grill afterwards and each downed two pints of beer.

Overall, a great experience. It was more expensive than most of us were expecting, but when you saw the amount of food we had and how great it was SO worth it. Plus they were very nice to us even though we were late, which is a plus. Now I just need to find some cheaper lunchy-type sushi places. My co-worker Jackie says that there's a place called Wok & Roll in Chinatown that has dollar-a-piece "happy hour" specials. Heh heh. Wok and roll...

Technorati Tags: ,
Special thanks to Very Good with Computers, flickr, for the photo.

May 2, 2006

Diversity in small...plates.

Sunday evening I hit up La Tasca on the border of D.C.'s Chinatown, outside the Gallery Place stop with a few friends. It wasn't terribly pricy - for four people, nine tapas, a pitcher of sangria, and two desserts, it worked out to about $84 total (including tip). We chose dishes ranging from Calamares a la Andaluz (served with an excellent garlic aioli) to the Tortilla Espanola (no tilde - too lazy, but egg, potato, onion in fluffy form), and I think we sampled a good range of what their menu had to offer. We chose the white sangria as an accompaniment, and I might be odd, but I prefer my sangrias a bit more fruity and liquor-y than wine-y, so I wasn't all that impressed with La Tasca's variety. Dishes were on the dry side, but service was very good and very speedy, which might be a consideration if you're thinking about catching a game at MCI - no, I'm sorry, Verizon Center after dinner. It's also right next to a Marvelous Market outpost, which I'm unfamiliar with, but I do believe Joanie has mentioned.

Overall, the restaurant was good, but not great, which led me to consider a couple of the other small-plate restaurants in the area I've visited, and which ones really got my attention. I'm not going to extol the virtues of small plates as many foodies have of late, but the concept is pretty nice when you have a party of terribly indecisive people, or just want to hang out, and nibble as you go while you talk.

Las Tapas is in Old Town Alexandria. Tasty, a bit pricey, but if you're lucky, you can snag a table and chair there on Flamenco Night, if that's your kind of thing. I enjoyed this place a lot, but reviewers seem to note inconsistent quality of serving, which may be a risk you'll have to take.

I liked 100 King a lot in terms of atmosphere, but tiny tables covered in condiments can really cramp your ability to order a lot of different tapas to try. And the (delicious) servings really seem more planned for two than four, which can make picking out a variety for everyone to try complex, especially with small tables. Bread was especially tasty.

Jaleo has been extremely well-received in Washington dining circles. If the web page is to be believed, Tom Sietsema of the Washington Post picked it as one of his faves. However, for some reason, I was not terribly impressed with their food. I found it a bit bland when I went, during the "Squash Flower Festival." And yes, I did eat a lot of squash flower items. Their restaurant design is pretty sweet, though it's a bit unnerving to have a Day of the Dead diorama hanging out behind your head in the bathroom...

Ethnic restaurants besides those of the Spanish variety are also getting into the small-plates craze. I know Korean super-restaurant Woo Lae Oak has begun offering them at their Tyson's Corner location, which is very strange, considering the amazing gluttony (at $45 per person) their set menu seems to involve.

Then again...small plates do seem to have become synonymous with appetizers, so perhaps it's all just re-branding anyway.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

May 1, 2006

Silver Moon Bakery

After lounging in the sun all day Saturday, we decided to go for a pasterylicious breakfast late Sunday morning. The cupcake craving I'd had the evening before hadn't abated, but I regular old breakfast pastries would do.

We'd tentatively decided on the Hungarian Pastry Shop, on Amsterdam near 112th street, but on the way we passed one of my flatmate's favorites: the Silver Moon Bakery. The line out the door attested to its popularity, so we gave it a shot. The selection of freshly baked breads was impressive and daunting; the pastries and cakes all looked spot-on.

One croissant, a chocolate/raspberry brioche, and an apricot brioche later, we were happy, full and only kind of sticky. The croissant was about what we expected; neither too terribly moist or dry, flaky, and just a little chewy (it was right then that I missed the Hungarian Pastry Shop's complimentary orange marmalade).

The chocolate/raspberry brioche was a treat. Though a bit dry, it was generously filled with its namesakes. It unrolled as we ate it like a cinnamon bun (except without the overpowering sweetness) and it was monstrously large, for which we were both grateful.

And finally, the apricot brioche. This one was practically perfect: moist with a mild, fruity filling. It was about 1/4 smaller than the chocolate/raspberry, but the subdued filling let the delicious bready brioche have part of the action.

Breakfast of champions. So completely worth it.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Technical Difficulties

Sometimes blogger just sucks. You could have had a new post today, but it just wouldn't work. Perhaps it's IBS (irritable blog syndrome).