• 21Jul

    Everyone loves food. Everyone loves tacos. Everyone loves a good deal, and what’s better than buying two tacos and getting an additional for free? Few things come free in life, my friends, especially tacos, so when the opportunity comes, I say go and eat it.

    Such is the case at Fruitive, an all plant-based, organic-certified restaurant in City Center DC. I realize that the most popular type of tacos come with a meat base, but before you wipe Fruitive off of your radar because they don’t serve meat, believe me when I say Fruitive doesn’t sacrifice taste for health, just as they don’t sacrifice health for taste. You get the best of both worlds. Just peep the pictures and close-ups of the tacos I bought this Tuesday; I mean talk about total food envy!

    L to Rt: The Sesame Ginger, Tuscan, and the Southwest Tacos

    So, what exactly is this taco deal, and what exactly are your options? Every Tuesday, Fruitive holds a Taco Tuesday Special: buy any two tacos, you choose a third for free. Fruitive has three taco options: Sesame Ginger, Southwest, and Tuscan. You can mix and match, and try each one or, if you so desire, get three of the same flavor! I tried all three, but my personal favorite were the Tuscan tacos. The basil pesto “mayo” they put in them is an utter game changer, and the butternut squash totally tastes like mango. As surprising as that combination of flavors may be, it honestly works! The other two tacos were mighty fine, don’t get me wrong, but everyone has a personal favorite.

    So, if you’re someone who is a taco fanatic, someone who is looking for a new food joint, someone who is health-conscious, or someone who, like me, loves food with a great price tag, I encourage you to check out Fruitive’s tacos any Tuesday! The atmosphere is great, and the tacos are even better.

    I’ve included links to their website, official Instagram, as well as their main menu below, so click away, and I hope to see you there next Tuesday!

    -Mela (MEL), Guest Blogger

  • 16Jul

    Oklahoma Joe’s at Dunn-Loring Metro is now District BBQ.

    We recently read Time Carman’s article entitled “District BBQ and three other runners-up for best barbecue in the D.C. area,” leading us to believe that more had changed at this establishment than just the restaurant’s name. We’ve been to Oklahoma Joe’s a few times, and after finding the pulled chicken and pork, and sliced brisket to be bland, mainly returned a few times for the baked beans, French fries, and chicken chili. We headed to the restaurant in question this weekend (hoping for improved BBQ), but when we arrived, they assured us the food had not changed at all. We were already there and hungry, so ordered the Grand Champion ($29.99), which includes sliced brisket, burnt ends, pulled pork, pulled chicken (we substituted turkey) and three sides (not counting the bed of French fries the meat rests on).

    The Sides:

    Yes, we ordered two sides of beans, since it is something that is done well here. The chicken chili would have been a good option as well. Yes, we asked for extra pickles. The onion rings had a thick crunchy coating and were well-executed. No complaints about the fries either. We really wish they would add a vegetable side such as collards or some other kind of cooked greens to the menu. I realize that the closest Oklahoma Joe’s come to a vegetable is green beans in only one of its locations in OK, but now … the name has changed, so that excuse doesn’t hold. Green beans would suffice if they were fresh and prepared well.

    The BBQ:

    The pulled pork, turkey, and sliced brisket lack flavor, but are edible if you cover them in BBQ sauce (including their vinegar BBQ sauce). The ribs and burnt ends were enjoyable enough (because they already have BBQ sauce added).

    We wouldn’t travel out of our way to eat here, but it’s a decent option if you live or work nearby, are craving BBQ, and order well.

    Recommendations:

    • Burnt Ends
    • Ribs
    • Beans
    • French Fries
    • Onion Rings

    -JAY

     

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  • 08Jul

    DC recently welcomed the Pod Hotel to its Chinatown neighborhood. For those that aren’t familiar, the Pod offers small rooms with large amenities and a fun vibe. Founded in NYC, they are just starting to branch out. Having stayed at the original Manhattan location, I think the DC outpost stays on brand. While I didn’t see the rooms, the lobby, staff, and diner were exactly what I’d expect from a Pod.

    Hushpuppy

    So why was I at the Pod, if I didn’t see any of the rooms? To sample sips and tastes from Crimson Diner, one of the hotel’s three eateries. While the Pod opened in April, this was their official launch party. The atmosphere was energetic and you could tell that everyone was really excited about this project. The diner is an all-day sort of place with a focus on Southern favorites and boozy milkshakes, is on the main level, and has just opened. Crimson Whiskey Bar is beneath the diner, and opens in July. Crimson View, their rooftop bar, opens in August. While the menus will differ, all three seem like places that will attract visitors and residents alike. Backed by the Hilton brothers, it’d be hard to go wrong here.

    For drinks, we sampled the Crimson Old Fashioned and cava. The Old Fashioned was strong yet balanced, and my favorite. You’d be remiss not to order it. The cava was dry, bubbly, and perfect for summer. Samples of the Tennessee Transplant, a boozy milkshake, were passed. Concocted of vanilla ice cream, Jack Daniel’s, peanut butter, and cola syrup, it wasn’t overly sweet, and I’d consider ordering it. For a non-boozy milkshake, we had the Georgia Belle, which is vanilla ice cream, peaches, and hibiscus syrup, and it was basically dessert in drink form.

    Fried Chicken Sandwich

    Food definitely focused on Southern fare. We tried biscuits with ham and apple butter, crab hush puppies, and fried chicken sandwiches. The fried chicken was savory and crisp, and I’m hoping it’ll be an entrée on their full menu, in addition to the sandwich. I’ve never even considered ham and apple butter on a biscuit, and while slightly salty, I loved this combination and it was my favorite nosh of the evening. It was texturally interesting as well as being delicious. I thought the hush puppies lacked flavor, and while crispy, I’d not go for those again.

    The highlight of the evening had to be that DC Mayor Muriel Bowser stopped by to speak and cut the ribbon to officially launch the Pod. She was just as excited as everyone else, and her energy was really great.

    Crimson Diner seems to be just what is needed in Chinatown—casual, but not “fast casual,” with thought and creativity behind the food and drink. Keep Crimson in mind when in the neighborhood.

    -LEM

  • 24Jun

    The Tysons Private Event Group (TPEG) is an informal group of restaurants with private event spaces in the Tysons area. They meet quarterly, discuss a topic of mutual interest, and refer business to each other. Thursday evening, TPEG gathered a crowd at Convene to sample some of the great catering options Tysons has to offer. After trying the evening’s offerings, it is clear why so many DC area companies hold their events in Tysons. Above are some image highlights from an evening of great food.

    The restaurants which sampled offerings from their private events menus included:

    Convene
    Flemings
    Fogo de Chao
    Gordon Biersch
    Lebanese Taverna
    Maggianos
    Ruth’s Chris
    Seasons 52
    The Capital Grille
    Ten Pehn
    The Palm
    Wildfire



    -JAY

  • 12Jun

    Congrats to Federalist Pig on winning the DC Lamb Jam for Best in Show and People’s Choice! Kudos to the judges!

    This was a great year for the Lamb Jam with most dishes being stand outs. BBQ is apparently a GREAT theme for lamb! We are already looking forward to next years event!

    Now that I’ve tried the Urban Butcher ‘s lamb salami with coriander and orange, I need to make another trip to the restaurant (or farmer’s market) in Silver Spring. Meat Crafters’ Skinny Salamis (the lamb versions) were also delicious, and are available at the Silver Spring Farmer’s Market.

    -JAY

  • 09Jun

    Alatri Bros. in Bethesda may only be a few months old, but don’t let that deter you from visiting. This “neighborhood pizza joint,” as they refer to themselves, is well worth a stop. It’s fun and funky, with interesting décor and a great soundtrack, along with fantastic service and food.

    Verdura Pie

    Over the course of two visits, I tried cauliflower fritti, wings, buffalo-style Brussels sprouts, and two pizzas: the Tomato & Mozzarella Pie and the Verdura. The cauliflower fritti is perfectly fried and deliciously addictive with its feta and red pepper dipping sauce. Buffalo-style Brussels sprouts seems like something that could easily go awry, but here the sprouts are crisp and have right amount of buffalo sauce. This dish might even convert a Brussels sprouts hater into a lover. Wings definitely hit the spot if you are looking for that classic wings and pizza combo. The pizza is great. The crust has that rustic wood-oven char that adds flavor and depth to a pizza. The pizzas are not heavily-topped (not that the toppings are skimpy), but you don’t end up with a mess, and they reheat well the next day. It’s hard to say which pizza I prefer, as I loved both. If you are a traditionalist, stick with the Tomato & Mozzarella Pie. If you need your vegetable fix, go with the Verdura, which is all about the veggies.

    Their liquor, beer, and wine selection is small but well-curated; I haven’t had a cocktail, though there’s some choices that have piqued my interested. I have had the red sangria, and it’s a good (and strong!) choice. Alatri Bros. has a rather full happy hour menu and dining al fresco, and it shares its patio with sister restaurant Gringos and Mariachis.

    Alatri Bros. is on par with some of my favorite DC pizza places, and I look forward to returning. It is worth seeking out, and you won’t be disappointed.

    -LEM

  • 26May

    Osteria da Nino replaced a favorite restaurant of mine, but there are no hard feelings here. I had been looking forward to visiting, and recently got the opportunity. The hostess was warm and welcoming, and the space follows suit. It’s a big space, with room for groups and a bar in the middle. Service was fantastic, as was the food.

    The complimentary bread basket, always appreciated, is huge and delicious, and the basil dipping oil is a nice pairing. We shared appetizers of warm olives and a lightly dressed salad of greens, tomato, and watermelon radish. The salad was super fresh and I’m slightly addicted to the dressing. I love warm olives, so they were a nice start to the meal.

    I ordered the cavatelli with lamb ragu and pecorino as my entrée. The cavatelli is cooked just al dente, so do note that if you plan to order it. The dish was great, but I think a bit more seasoning would have made it pop more. My companions had the eggplant parmigiana and veal marsala. The eggplant was perfectly cooked and covered in cheese. The marsala with thick and a bit sweet, but the roasted carrots and fingerling potatoes were great accompaniments. To complement my meal, I ordered the Limoncello Martini, and if you like limoncello, you’ll really enjoy this one this. It was tart, sweet, and strong. There was no room for dessert, but I’ll try some next time, as I’m looking forward to returning.

    When you’re looking for great Italian cuisine, Osteria da Nino should be on your list.

    -LEM

  • 22May

    Summer Thursdays always brim with excitement. It’s not quite the weekend, but it’s close, and everyone seems to be out and about. If you’re looking for a Thursday spot with great food, great drinks, and an amazing vibe, look no further Bar Dupont. Located on Dupont Circle, Bar Dupont is the perfect place for people-watching and cocktail-sipping. They recently launched Dupont Live every Thursday through July, starting at 6:30 p.m., featuring local musicians on their patio, along with their newest menu additions.

    The Evening’s Performers

    Throughout the evening, we were able to try a variety of Bar Dupont’s new cocktails and appetizers. Their take on a Tom Collins, the aptly named Dupont Collins, was my favorite. The introduction of St. Germain provides a bit of a floral note, and the cocktail light and refreshing on hot summer nights. The Moto Guzzi, an Aperol spritz, is another perfect-for-the-weather option, albeit one that goes down a bit too easy. The Green Variety Margarita is tasty, and makes you at least feel somewhat healthy, due to the green juice. And who doesn’t want to sit on a patio while sipping a rosé? No patio menu would be complete without at least one option, and their Chateau Jouclary Bardes option is a great one, though they have several. Bar Dupont also focuses on offering local wine, beer, and spirits.

    Though “bar” is in their name, don’t let that fool you—their food is also fantastic. The two standouts for me are the tuna tacos (crispy shell, Ahi tuna, slaw, avocado) and the curried cauliflower (fried cauliflower bites with chimichurri). The tacos were not only tasty, but texturally interesting due to the crispy shell and tuna. The cauliflower was perfectly fried and went well with the tangy chimichurri sauce. It was also slightly addictive, and you might end up wanting a second order. The oysters were huge and delicious, though I didn’t care for the mignonette on them. But you can’t go wrong ordering those. I didn’t get to try the beef tartare or the Wagyu bacon cheeseburger, but those all went fast, so my guess is either one is a smart choice.

    Dupont Live will feature various musical genres and local musicians. The duo we heard played a bit of light jazz, which really set the tone for a chill atmosphere. Each act will be a surprise, so you never know who you might see!

    Bar Dupont should definitely be in your regular rotation, especially on Thursdays for Dupont Live. With impressive food, drinks, and musicians, you won’t want to miss it.

    -LEM

  • 11May

    I did what most young professionals do on a Friday night,  look for an after-work chill, cool down spot with a nice view of the city and good food.  Well, I think I might have found this “diamond in the rough” at the Embassy Row Hotel Rooftop Bar located at 2015 Massachusetts Ave, NW,  in the District.

    Opened over the weekend, the Embassy Row Hotel Rooftop Bar just had their kickoff event, and was  named “One of the World’s Most Amazing Rooftop Pools in The World” by Weather.com and “One of Best Rooftop Pools in America” by USA Today. They also received an awarded for “Best Chef in DC” with Chef Guy manning the grill.   Some popular items that were ordered include:

    Starters: Roast Piquillo pepper hummus,  Street Fare Kabobs Skewers of beef, chicken, steak, and vegetables, and Grilled Wings, which all will run you about $10.

    Sandwiches: Basil Chicken Breast, and “Juicy Lucy Burger.”

    The drinks: “Red Bull Mango Manic” sold out quickly. The shot girls appeared with the featured alcohol of the night (Tequila shot and Coronas in honor of Cinco De Mayo).

    Upon entering the Rooftop, there were some chairs near the grass-like area in front where people can sit and talk and pose with different selfie props. Around the pool area, there was some seating.  The lower desk has different games that people can play such as Checkers, and Connect Four – the adult version.   More games are featured downstairs in the “Underground Playground” which features:  Foosball, Ping Pong, Shuffleboard, and Air Hockey.

    The only downside that was a constant was the long line for drinks and food since Chef Guy was his own one man band and there were only 2 bartenders for thirty people.  However, with the long line came the shot girls to quiet the masses and the line moved with the sweet tunes of DJ Nick manning the tables.   He definitely played to the crowd and took my requestto play the Macarena – in honor of Cinco De Maya – I was in heaven.

    According to the Event Calendar, some notable events:  “Silent Disco” on Fridays, each guest gets a pair of headphones and then tunes into each 3 DJ different stations from 7pm until 11pm – this a cool millennial spirited event.  “Yoga Monday” starts the week out with some calm by the poolside. Events are listed on their website.

    Follow them on social media as well  (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) @EmbassyRowHotel, #MyDCRooftop, #EmbassyRowLove

    To access The Rooftop pool, you can purchase a day pass for $30 on The Rooftop, starting at 3 PM each day; if you’re dining on The Rooftop, you don’t need to purchase a day pass. The Rooftop is typically open May – September, weather dependent.

    Embassy Row Hotel features different options for those who want to spend the night:

    LOVE,

    -CLF

     

     

     

     

     

  • 10May

    When you’re looking for a mini oasis in DC, look no further than the Penthouse Pool Club U Street (above VIDA Fitness). This gorgeous rooftop features a pool with cabanas and lounge chairs, plus a bar and restaurant with tables, couches, and fire pits. Oh, and some of the best views in the city, of course.

    Garlic Hummus and Fresh Guacamole

    Penthouse Pool Club brought on a new chef this year, Sean McIntosh. His menu is filled with fresh, delicious options that are perfect for summer. We started with fresh guacamole and garlic hummus. The hummus comes with pita and crudité, and the guacamole with tri-colored tortilla chips and pico de gallo. Both were not only beautifully presented, but quite good as well. I could actually go on and on about the pita—it was warm and fluffy, and was one of the better pitas I’ve had. We then moved on to the tabbouleh, chicken banh mi, and scallops. The cauliflower-based tabbouleh offers a lighter, yet flavorful, take on a more traditional version. The scallops were perfectly cooked, and rich and buttery, which was offset by an arugula and fennel salad. For heartier fare, you’ll want the grilled chicken banh mi. It’s quite filling, with crunchy vegetables and crusty bread, plus a kick from sriracha mayonnaise. Don’t ignore the side of chilled pesto pearl couscous either—I’m not typically a pearl couscous fan, but this was addictive.

    If relaxing at the Penthouse Pool Club puts you in the mood for a few drinks, they have you covered. Look no further than the sweet and tart Frozen Blueberry Lemonade for something cool you down. You can taste the fresh blueberries, but not the vodka, which can be both good and bad. The Sparkling Berry, with strawberries and prosecco, is also a great option for a seasonally-inspired cocktail. And for those who just want something classic and refreshing, the Ginny Hendrick’s is your best bet, though note that it is quite floral, due to elderflower liquor, but I loved it.

    I’d be remiss not to mention the service. Everyone we encountered was knowledgeable, friendly, and overall on point.

    The Penthouse Pool Club is members-only, but if you’re not a member, you can visit as the guest of one. With this menu and those views, you’ll want to visit, and you’ll want to return.

    -LEM (Lia)

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