Follow the culinary adventures and misadventures of the Cooking Agents (Ray and Katie). Watch as we eat/cook our way into adulthood.
This afternoon, I departed the Washington DC metro area back home to NJ before I ship up to Boston next weekend. While I was sad leaving a lot of people behind, I sure as hell enjoyed the dining farewell tour (mostly dictated by my remaining Groupons). I ate at the Morrison Clark Inn, Sticky Rice, Dangerously Delicious Pies, Kinkead’s, Comet Ping Pong, Zentan, Meskerem, PF Chang’s, The General Store, Uptown Deli, Hinata Sushi Carryout and Cafe Deluxe.
Morrison Clark Inn was hoppin’, and by that I mean for the 40+ crowd. I was definitely feeling out of place. There was only one other table with a younger couple. The food was decent, but pricey, so the value was lacking. The Striped Bass with Tarragon Fennel, Potato Risotto, and Butter Nut Coulis was rich and comforting. The crispy skin on the offering a nice salty contrast to the risotto and coulis swimming in butter.
I’ve decided that Sticky Rice should be seen less as a restaurant and more of bar with inventive food. Purists would cry foul at a lot of the special house rolls, but a lot of the items on the menu would make a great bar snack or meal. The atmosphere far outweighs the food. Dangerously Delicious Pies was located nearby Sticky Rice so I thought it’d be nice to finally get around to try a slice. A whole pie runs about $30 here so I was hesitant to invest in an entire pie when I’ve seen them at the nearby farmers’ market. I tried the Baltimore Bomb, which includes melted sandwich cookies that’s mixed into a vanilla chess pie. I liked what I was tasting, but I’ve had better pie at a lower cost.
Sticky Scallops and Samurai Shrimp
During my farewell tour, DC restaurant week and Bethesda-Chevy Chase restaurant week decided to try and mess up my financials, but I was strong enough to show restraint and only dined once at Kinkead’s for the RW menu. I had the Grilled Squid with Tomato Fondue, Pesto and Creamy Polenta for an appetizer (good), Crusted Hake with Mushroom Duxelle, Potato Gnocchi and Porcini Cream (excellent), and Strawberry Almond Cake with Lemon Bavarian and Strawberry Sauce (excellent). I’m extremely excited for Sibling Rivalry in Boston.
Grilled Squid with Tomato Fondue, Pesto and Creamy Polenta
Crusted Hake with Mushroom Duxelle, Potato Gnocchi and Porcini Cream
Strawberry Almond Cake with Lemon Bavarian and Strawberry Sauce
Comet Ping Pong left a lot to be desired. the toppings were bare on The Smokey (smokey mushrooms, smokey mozzarella, smokey bacon, melted onions, and garlic) and Yalie (clams, garlic, melted onions, thyme, Parmesan, lemon) suffered from a soggy crust. The wings and meatball apps were also not up to par. The restaurant’s food seems to suffer as a result of focusing on the bar and atmosphere rather than execution in the kitchen.
Zentan met my expectations as Susar Lee’s performance on Top Chef Masters drove me to make a trip out to Logan Circle. The sushi chef recommended the Escolar Crudo (excellent) and I ordered the half serving of the Singapore Slaw (excellent). The Carmelized Black Cod was good, but small and pricey ($26 for 4 2 bite piece s of fish). Paying $4 for a bowl of jasmine rice was highway robbery as well.
Meserkem was my first time trying Ethiopian food and it was quite disappointing, we ordered a beef and vegetarian (cabbage, potato, carrot) Sambussa both good (because they are fried) and a sampler (Meskerem Messob) of a few dishes (bland, luke warm). Next time I’m having Ethiopian food, it’s going to have to be with a seasoned expert.
Well, my time is really winding down quickly in Washington DC. In addition to finding housing in Boston, finding a replacement in DC for my apartment, and getting rid of furniture, I am trying to use my remaining Groupons, LivingSocial Deals, etc. Today I’ve managed to use 2 and sell 2. Let’s take a look at the damage.
Yama’s Mediterranean Grill Used- Lunch with Co-workers
Wing Hub Used- Beer, wings, chicken tenders, and fries
Kushi Sold to Co-worker
Kushi Sold to Co-worker
Kinkead’s– Well known DC establishment by brothers who also have a restaurant in Boston called Sibling Rivalry that I look forward to trying
The General Store– Odd hole in the wall restaurant by well known local chef that was featured on Diners, Dive Ins, and Dives. Southern food with a twist.
Morrison Clarke– Hotel restaurant, which I wouldn’t have bought except it was on sale during the height of my addiction
Comet Ping Pong– Pizza joint featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives. Restaurant is also decked out in ping pong tables due to the owners love of the game.
Sticky Rice– Funky sushi and Japanese influenced dishes. Would make a purist cry. better known for atmosphere than food. I liked it enough the first time.
Meskerem– Ethiopian cuisine. I just promised myself I would try Ethiopian cuisine before I left DC. I hope they represent.
Zentan– Susar Lee’s restaurant at the Donovan Hotel.
Charlie Palmer Steak– Capital Hill staple filled with lobbyists and government officials.
A lot of eating in just a little over a week left. I’m sad I didn’t get to return to Kushi, which made a real splash when it showed up on the dining scene. It made the new 2011 list of top 100 restaurants in Washington DC. These dining deal sites have really burned a hole in my wallet the last year, but I’ve deeply enjoyed being encouraged to try new restaurants and also getting a larger sampling of the menu. I will look forward to some of the new places I can try in Boston now that I’m not a broke college student.
As for the list of restaurants I regret not being able to try in the DC area:
Blue Duck Tavern
Ray’s the Steak/Ray’s the Classics
Tune Inn Restaurant & Bar
Taqueria Distrito Federal
Florida Ave Grill
El Pollo Rico
As of February 7th, I will be starting at a new job in Boston! So cooking from Cafe Boulud Cookbook will be on hold as I will be working to empty the pantry/fridge, making stops to DC area favorites, and working to cross off additional places on my to eat list. Mixed in with DC restaurant week, Bethesda Chevy Chase restaurant week, and using my Groupons, it will be a busy 3 weeks.
I’m really excited and nervous to move to Boston, happy that I will be familiar faces a lot more frequently and nervous about starting at a new job at a new company. Living in Boston as a professional should also give me a different perspective on the city. Having more disposable income should also help in the trying new places department. No. 9 Park! In addition, a friend of mine looks to be opening a French Fry and Waffle shop.
In leaving DC, I’ll be sad to leave an up and coming food town that I am proud to say changed for the better after my 2+ years. I’ll be disappointed to leave all the new friends I’ve made and the establishments that provided great meals. I’ll be leaving a town that is currently having a food truck renaissance and seeing big name chefs like Eric Ripert and Wolfgang Puck sprout their new restaurants around town. In addition, I’ve learned about the local icons like Ben’s Half Smoke, Central’s Lobster Burger, and Ray’s Hell Burger. God help my health.
Obama and Biden stopping in at Ray’s Hell Burger.