Archive for the ‘Food and Drink’ Category

Taco Bell Truck In Rosslyn Today

Photo courtesy New York Times

Thank goodness I live in Clarendon and work in Court House. I don’t think I would be in good shape if I was any closer to the truck.

What truck you may say? Why the Taco Bell truck that’s giving away free food today in Rosslyn. Just make sure you check out it’s Twitter feed to get the latest info on where it is and line up to get a free taco- no base stealing required!

The Taco Bell truck appears to be a myth to some, reality to residents of Huntington Beach, CA. So if you are up to it, get down to Rosslyn and get on the hunt for the truck, there aren’t that many places it could hide- unless it’s pulling a shady “deep throat” like exchange.

UPDATE: It looks like the truck will be in Foggy Bottom until 3:30- however don’t go there expecting Chicken, they are fresh out.

Restaurant Week Is A Good Thing

I love Restaurant Week!  My former coworker GW doesn’t mess around when it comes to his food, so each time RW is announced he is right on top of reminding everyone and we organize an outing, usually composed of employees and ex-employees of The Firm.  It’s a nice excuse for me to go over and visit old friends, but trust me, sometimes the grass really is greener.

Occidental Restaurant (localkicks.com)
Occidental Restaurant (localkicks.com)

Anyway…we went to The Occidental, which is one of those places that’s stereotypically Washingtonian (walls covered with politicians’ photos, luxe banquettes hiding the fat cats as they wheel and deal) and which I have always wanted to visit.  It is also, however, located in the Willard and is one of the more expensive places in town, so naturally I haven’t been there.  So, Restaurant Week is the perfect time to check it out.  This year’s price point, $35.09 for three courses, is lower than the price of several entrees on the regular menu, so that is what I call a bargain!

The place is, of course, beautiful; our server was crisp, friendly, and fast, and the food was omnomnom delicious.  Reasonable portion sizes, beautifully presented.  I had risotto, steak, and a chocolate dessert.  All of which was fabulous!  My companions each had different appetizers and one of them had a different entree, and we each tried a bit of the other.  I can tell you that everything which came to the table was wonderful.  The plating was nice, the aromas were terrific, and the flavors were great.  Our cocktails were even mixed well.

Now, Occidental is one of the best places around.  It’s not surprising that the food and drink were thoroughly enjoyable.  What was especially pleasant for me, was that the service was just as wonderful as if we were running up a $500 check.  Folks who complain about RW often complain that the service is bad because the places are so busy.  I’ve been RW-ing for long enough, though, to realize that the best bargains are at the best places.  Occidental, 701, Tosca, etc.  They know how to run their dining room, and they know that the real purpose of RW is to give a person like me a wonderful experience, so that I will go back and pay full price.

Which I will.

Bravo, Occidental!

DC Restaurant Week, August 24 – 30.  Don’t despair, many restaurants (including Occidental) are extending their RW offerings.  Book your table!

Chinatown Coffee Company A Welcome Perk

Photo courtesy Chinatown Coffee Company

Earlier this week I met with the big man himself, Sean Bonner (the father of Metblogs and all around mysterious person.) We talked about all sorts of business and other matters over a coffee at Chinatown Coffee Comapny. I learned while I was there that it’s operated by former Murky Coffee owner Nick Cho. I’m happy to see that their operations and some of the baristas found a new home in DC after they left Clarendon.

The coffee is definitely top notch and the baristas make sure that your special cup is perfect before they hand it off, all hallmarks of Murky, and from my view the experience was rather drama free. I didn’t know how expressive Chinatown Coffee Company’s current Coffee guru was until I read the write-up on WCP’s Young & Hungry.

Besides great coffee I was intrigued by the environment. Fans of Murky would remember a hodge-podge of second-hand couches and chairs. For Chinatown Coffee, owners Max & Katie Brown enlisted Robert Gurney to create a space that is both minimalistic and modern. When you walk in you’ll see an undecorated orange wall on the right side of the store and exposed brick on the left. Don’t write off the design as lacking however, I thought the metallic finishes and bare lights above the prep areas tell you that the design was thought out- not unfinished.

I walked in to see the typical crowd of laptops, indicating that the store’s Wi-Fi was alive and kicking; and I was happy to have been able to grab a street parking spot right next to the store- however the easy parking was probably more because the store’s location is on the fringes of Chinatown. Despite it’s somewhat odd location, Chinatown Coffee Company should be a hit to those in the neighborhood looking to escape the corporate chain brews and environments.

Chinatown Coffee Company
475 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 559-7656
www.chinatowncoffee.com

The Java Shack A Welcome Change Of Pace From The Coffee Grind

Courtesy Java Shack

“I need coffee,” I said when I stumbled into my co-worker’s cubicle last week. I don’t know if it’s the stress of my job or my terrible choices of staying up late at night, but I find myself needing a caffeine boost more often than not recently.

I asked my co-worker if there was anything near our Court House office besides Starbucks that would be good for coffee, I like the ‘bucks but I wanted a change of pace (and give me wallet a breather.) She suggested Java Shack, right next to Mr. Tire where I get my oil changed. I’ve passed by the place driving down Wilson Blvd, but it’s a little set into the side street so I’ve never felt the urge to go there for coffee.

However after the reminder of it’s existence and an endorsement, I decided to walk on down.

The atmosphere really puts the “shack” in Java Shack, the hodgepodge furniture and overall lived-in feel makes it a place that belongs on the West Coast more than the East Coast. There were plenty of tables on the front patio and a few more inside, perfect for those looking for that Third Place.

I could tell that social consciousness was a big part of the store as well, from solar panels (for charging what?) leaning against the front window to the biodegradable cups and fair trade coffee. I don’t demand so much from my Batista but it was cool to know.

The prices were also right and I grabbed an iced coffee and walked out a happy man.

Java Shack will definitely get a return visit from me for mobile blogging and look hipster cool, I defiantely recommend it if you are looking for a homey feel that you just won’t get at any big franchise.

Java Shack
2507 N Franklin Rd
Arlington, VA 22201-3939
(703) 527-9556
http://www.javashack.com/

Tonight: DC Blogger Happy Hour

When it comes to things to do in DC, I’m not as good as the folks over at Going Out Gurus, Washingtonian, or DCist- nor do I try to be.

However as a lowly DC Blogger I will suggest that if you want something to do tonight, then I’d like to introduce you to a really fun group of people.

All of my DC Blogger friends are holding a happy hour tonight at Evolve 1817 at 7 PM. For anybody that actually reads my personal blog, you know they are a good time.

I’m so confident that tonight will be a legendary that I feel compelled to spread the word of this event, even though I am flying out to be with my family back in Massachusetts.

You don’t understand how much it kills me that I’m missing this happy hour.

So head on down to Evolve and tell Lilu, Lexa, and the Restaurant Refugee that Patrick sent ya- you’ll be welcomed warmly.

hhaug7th

Update: Bayou Bakery Not To Open In Clarendon, Liberty Tavern To Open New Coffee Shop

Photo courtesy of Flickr user geekstinkbreth

In an earlier post I wrote about the future of the empty space where Murky Coffee once stood. It looks like David Gaus will have to find another place for his idea- a southern haunt called Bayou Bakery.

According to The Going Out Gurus, Liberty Tavern (now the owners of the ex-Murky Coffee space) and Gaus have parted ways on the joint venture, with Gaus retaining his concept and idea. Gaus is currently working to find another space which to make his Bayou dream come true.

Meanwhile there will be something in place of Murky come this September. The owners are working with Liberty Tavern chef Liam LaCivita to instead open up a coffee shop (how original) where Murky once stood. Liberty Tavern co-owner Stephen Fedorchak hopes that the shop will also include sandwiches, salads, ice cream, and “a few surprises” on the menu for the yet un-named shop.

DC Summer Restaurant Week 2009 Date Leaked

While it’s the complete information on this summer’s Restuarant Week will be released on Monday, it looks like some of the information- including the dates are already online. Even though the Going Out Gurus are reporting that the entire list is up, the Washington tourism site they linked too isn’t completely updated- but the Open Table link does have the updated graphic with the dates: August 24 – 30. If you are itching to get a spot at that place you’ve never been able to try- you could start speculating using the Winter 2009 list or you could wait til Monday for all the information to get out.

I’m pretty excited about Restaurant Week, every year it comes by and I never get a chance to go out- this time around maybe the year I actually check it out. Leave you recommendations in the comments on where I should go!

Daily DC Item: Burritos & Books

Photo coutesy of Flickr user thomwatson

I am always a fan when California Tortilla puts on a great promo, and it looks like they have another great one going on today.

For today only, Wednesday July 22nd, if you stop by any one of their many locations you and buy a burrito- you get a free burrito coupon that you can use on the spot or later (you never know when the craving will return!)

All you have to do is hand the cashier a piece of paper with the password: “Crock Pot.”

The BOGO free deal is in recognition of California Tortilla earning top ranks in Washingtonian Magazine. To me a free Burrito with purchase beats a free pastry with coffee any day!

Also tomorrow next Thursday trendy fashion boutique Ginger is holding a “Books, Jewels, & Cocktails” event at their Bethesda location from 6 -8. You can preview their latest collection and check out Cathy Alter and her new book, “Up For Renewal” which launches in paperback.

13-Colonies Bike Ride

13colonies

On the July 4 weekend, we plotted and executed a bike ride through all thirteen original colonies.  It seemed a patriotic thing to do!  (Yes, we mean the streets, not the actual, you know, states.)  We’d seen the WABA map showing 13 colonies in 15 miles and thought we could do better, and we did, managing it in just over 11 and a half miles.  Kudos to G for excellent planning.  See the map at right for the actual route.

The best part of the ride?  Stopping at Eastern Market for a pickle break.  A nice salty, crunchy snack is the perfect thing between North Carolina and New Jersey!

Coming up in August:  All 50 states in about 45 miles.  Y/Y?

In search of Rickey

rickey1I am now zero-for-two at ordering my favorite summer drink – the Gin Rickey.  Okay, that’s not technically true that; I had one at Gibson (14th and U) a few months ago which was quite delightful. 

However, I had two very similar experiences trying to get one of these at Sequoia in Georgetown (June 24) and Bar Louie at Gallery Place (July 2).  Here’s what happened:

  1. Order the drink
  2. Server takes order, then comes back and asks how to make the drink.  Recipe is recited.
  3. Server delivers what seems to be either a gin-and-tonic or a gin-gimlet-with-soda
  4. Recipe is reiterated, server disappears again
  5. Server delivers what seems to be either a gin-gimlet-with-soda or a gin-and-tonic (whichever wasn’t served earlier)
  6. Recipe is again reiterated
  7. Rickey is delivered!

And this a drink with a long DC history.  It was named for Colonel Joe Rickey, an infamous lobbyist, and what is more DC than that?  Only a year ago, the DC Craft Bartender Guild declared July as Rickey Month.  They’re dead easy to make — three ingredients — and are on the cocktail wiki, which I somehow assumed that bartenders in DC knew about.  Do bartenders not have recipe books or web access? 

Or maybe I need to stop going to chain establishments, eh?

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