To Yelp means to cry out in pain. Ironically, that works well in Washington D.C. Our culinary adventure in the nation’s capitol wasn’t quite as exciting as NYC. The density of Manhattan is far more conducive to grazing. Feeding a family in D.C. meant finding nourishment before we collapsed in most cases. You do a lot of walking to see all the highlights in the nation’s capitol. I relied on Yelp to navigate our way.
In the spirit of efficiency, here’s a quick look at our finds:
- Innovative menu, great value – Teaism (3 locations)
- Cultural adventure on a budget – Burma in Chinatown
- Authentic atmosphere (and best french fries) – The Tune Inn on Capitol Hill
- Lovely ‘hood with multiple options at a Metro stop – Ardeo in Cleveland Park
- Best environment for a hot dog lunch – Hirshhorn Museum gardens
- Disappointing service – Le Pain Quotidien at Eastern Market
Yelp came through our first day with a great place for breakfast: the Galley Cafe, one of those family-run places tucked into an office building. That evening, I ventured back to my old neighborhood just a few steps from the Cleveland Park Metro stop to Ardeo restaurant. It was fun to be back in familiar surroundings and spend time with a long-time friend over a dinner of spinach salad and roast chicken. Classic bistro stuff and girl talk.
The next day, after our tour of the Capitol, I Yelped again and found Capitol Hill’s best known dive bar The Tune Inn. Animals hanging from the walls and the sticky tables were only part of the atmosphere. Our chatty waitress made us feel right at home. I dug into a BLT while the guys had burgers. And the fries were the best. Later we met family for dinner at the Beacon Bar and Grill. I can’t remember what I ate — obviously not memorable. The outdoor tables and lively crowd suggested this place would be far better for happy hour.
Friday lunch at Cafe Soleil at Lafayette Park — a spendy crabcake sandwich. By dinnertime, we decided to hit Chinatown — a frenzied street scene on a Friday night. Momij – good sushi, friendly waiter – hit the spot.
On Saturday, while waiting for entry to the Spy Museum, I yelped for tea. We meandered a couple of blocks to Penn Square and one of my favorite finds in D.C.: Teaism. The selection of teas and snacks (and lovely bento boxes) was impressive. The free refills on iced Moroccan Mint iced tea was a deal. After the spy museum, we made our way again to Chinatown in search of Zagat-rated Burma restaurant. Though we had to wait a while for a table due to lack of staff, the meal was simple and delicious: golden eggplant; spring ginger salad; fried noodles with pork; and sour mustard plant (an odd-sounding dish, but worth a try — mustard green leaves pickled, diced and sauteed with shrimp).
Our trip ended with a trip to Eastern Market where I recalled a lively farmers’ market and delicious street food from my time in D.C. The market building was closed, still under renovations due to last year’s fire, so we ended up at Le Pain Quotidien. Horrible service, okay food. Ah well, time to go home!