Living in Philadelphia, it’s easy to become a foodie. We have tons of great restaurants, both of the high-class reservation sort, and the street-vendor type. Almost anything you want, we have. So a belly like mine can be fed pretty easily on whatever I fancy on an afternoon in Philly. But this isn’t about Philly, this is about Washington, D.C. Imagine my surprise to see how much of a foodie town DC is!
I went there this past weekend, courtesy of my sister-in-law, who put us up in a bed-and-breakfast as a birthday present (Mrs. Lydonwrites’ birthday is 2 days after mine). The bed and breakfast was very pretty, and the morning breakfast they provided was simple and good, but didn’t prepare me for the food I found in DC this weekend.
For dinner on Saturday night, my in-laws, wife and I ate at a restaurant called Rosemary’s Thyme. The focus is Mediterranean fare, with fresh fish dishes, as well as Mediterranean staples like humus, pita, baba gannoj and so on. I got an “Adana kebab” along with a Caesar salad. The adana kebab was ground lamb and beef, cooked up together and served over a bed of rice with tzatziki sauce.
I’ve been on a kebab kick since Musikfest in Bethlehem. Ate 2 or 3 from Hogar Crea’s food tent during the `Fest, and I’ve been needing it ever since. Problem? I live in Bensalem, and kebab houses are in painfully short supply here. Not so in DC, as I saw no fewer than 4 places near my sister-in-law’s apartment. So, how did the adana kebab taste?
Lamb and beef should go together more often, like maybe all the time. And why don’t more restaurants have tzatziki sauce on their menu? Embrace your inner Greek, restauranteurs. I will frequent your establishments more frequently if you add tzatziki sauce to your usual complement of ketchup and mustard.
Late night on Friday, when it was just my sister-in-law, wife and myself, we had sangria in the Smithsonian Sculpture garden (where I had a kebab for dinner!), drinks at this pseudo-speakeasy called The Gibson where I had the best alcoholic drink I’ve ever had called the Rites of Spring, and afterward, to stave off the tipsy totters, we needed to find food. We had gone to a place called Tryst, where my sister-in-law likes to telecommute from during her workday, but they wouldn’t let us in, due to a snafu with the BnB having retained my sister-in-law’s license for some paperwork. There were lots of options, but I spied Julia’s from across the street and said, hmmm… I haven’t empanadas in probably 5 years! So we went over.
Julia’s is a chain throughout DC, and I can understand they’re popular. Quick, cheap and so flavorful, empanadas are way better than hot pockets, and all 3 I ate were awesome. This one is a Saltena, with chicken, olive, onion and spices:
I actually had that AFTER the Chilean empanada (beef? turkey? something good!) and the strawberry and cream-cheese empanada I ate for the dinner special. Man alive, SO good! Hot Pockets should transition to empanadas and call it a day. They’d get me back as a customer. Here’s another shot of Julia’s:
I know this one is sort of cheating, as there is a Fado in Philly, where the menu is the same. I’ve eaten at the Fado in Philly (Trinity Steak Boxty, represent!), but on Sunday, my mother in law requested we eat some “good old American food”… and we ended up in Fado in DC’s Chinatown. I certainly wasn’t complaining.
My in-laws got burgers, my wife, a chicken sandwich, and my SIL got a corned beef sandwich. Me, though? I decided I needed to get something IRISH if we were eating in Fado, so I got Bangers and Mash, which I’d never had before, but which re-reading James Joyce and Roddy Doyle always make me wish I’d tried. Wish no longer, friends, as I have eaten Bangers and Mash, and have seen the face of God.
At least a God made of mild pork sausages cooked just right, Colcannon mashed potatoes, and peas in a delicious onion gravy! It looks something like this, only the presentation was much nicer at Fado.
(picture from Jennieworld Today!)
I wanted to move to DC after the food I ate there this weekend. But then I think my wife would miss me, and honestly, I’d miss her, too. The compromise? Eat at Fado downtown more, and possibly make regular visits at Istanbul Kebab House in Levittown. Though THAT I still have to try… but seriously, it’s KEBABS! What could go wrong?
Keep eating, everyone!