Happy Spring! Is it spring where you are? Not where I am, at least not on the first day of spring as I write this! It is in the 30’s/40’s, grey, and we’re in and out with the snow and rain. And this is in a more southern state than where I live! My mom and I decided to visit my Uncle for a few days. He lives in Virginia, just moved here from Maryland. I’ve been to DC many times, so we’ve done a lot of the touristy stuff. I’ve been to most of the museums and taken a tour inside the White House, so we’re doing some other stuff in these short 4 days. I hit up Anne from fANNEtasticfood and my fellow BGBers, and here’s my recs!
*Beware of the long post! I like my food ;)
Where to Eat
We arrived around lunch time, and my Uncle to us straight to Bethesda. We parked, walked around for a few minutes (it was chilly! and rainy! wish we could’ve walked more), and he suggested a few places. We stopped at a Japanese/sushi restaurant, RAKU, even though I wasn’t in the mood, but the menu looked good and the noodle soup bowls sounded AMAZING and made me second guessed myself as we walked away… I wish we could’ve gone back!
But we were on our way to a Mexican restaurant, Uncle Julio’s, what we were all in the mood for, and it ended up well! I RARLY EVER see tamales without cheese so I was all over that, and I ended up getting a chicken tortilla soup, since they *said* they use high quality ingredients (I usually shy away from any meat not knowing the source, but I was in a soupy mood), along with a small salad, an my mom and I shared a bit- she got the veggie fajitas with a side of black beans and a side of rice. My uncle got the chicken quesadilla, and they both got Margs and shared the chips and salsa. The salsa was warm and fresh! Featuring roasted veggies; I mixed it into my food.
After chilling around the house, I was browsing on Facebook and gawking over Tessemae’s (again) and found out they are made in Baltimore!! Their headquarters were about an hour and a half from his house (about 20-30 minutes past the airport), so that was out, but I figured stores there would have a larger selection. We ended up at Whole Foods, lol. It’s not really a vacation until you check out the local WF, right?!
Sadly, they did not have more But they did have: A bunch of local milk, bulk eggs (!! … ?!?!), and as for their restaurant, ramen!! It seemed to be calling my name that day,, but I knew I couldn’t say no to the hot bar.
They had a Santa-Fe/Tex-Mex section, Indian, and regular “American”(?) hot food, and I didn’t see the soup until after I ate (but it was a small selection- nothing I liked). I got channa dal, vegan chili (with seitan), pinto beans, grilled tofu, my favorite kale, superfood salad, some other veggies. 1 dinner and 2 snacks out of it!
I worked out in the morning (next post) and we headed into town. The plan was to go around Georgetown, and I wanted Sweetgreen for lunch! Well, my uncle took us to the mall location, and being the particular foodie I am, I would rather go to a restaurant location to get the “full” affect. Well, the Georgetown location is a to-go location, AND NO FRO YO. So, the 2nd location was an even worse situation, but hey, WE HAD SWEETGREEN! <3 moral: all Sweetgreens are different. know your location. We ventured down to the river (a 15 min walk), and I suggested we sit inside of the chipotle (still recommend if it’s not nice out), but we ended up in a Starbucks.
I got the hummus tahina- tahini was SO yum. the falafel was more of a potato/chickpea patty, but still delicious. I swapped tofu and veggies for the feta, onions, and pita.
Mom got the red thai (shrimp instead of tofu) and uncle got the spicy subzi. I had the subzi when I was in NYC for Spoon last summer, so I can vouch that it’s amazing as well. Also loved the bread- salty, whole grain, and still warm!
DINNER WAS THE BEST
My uncle said he frequents this HUGE Asian market, he wasn’t kidding. I’d compare it to Jungle Jim’s in Cincinnati, if you’ve been there! (comparable produce/fresh meat/seafood section, but smaller grocers). They have a HUGE produce area- 2 full rows of potatoes and sweet potatoes/yams, tons of fresh small cucumbers, several kinda of eggplant, exotic fruits and vegetables, a diverse section of greens… just amazing! They then had fresh seafood and meat along the back wall (with a strong smell..), the groceries all along the middle, including 1 row of organics, and the rest is international. I also picked up some seaweed- just seaweed, olive/sesame/grapeseed oil, and salt, and one with green tea powder! A lot of them have sugar, corn oil, and MSG, so be careful! They also have store events, there are 10 store locations!!
Now, what we ATE:
They have an Evergreen Sweets counter, which I’ve NEVER seen outside of India! These sweets are fresh, made up of nuts (mostly cashews and almonds), dried fruit (figs and dates), and a little bit of jaggery (pure unrefined sugar). We got a few pieces of burfi (the only sweet I like- and I LOVE it!), then later went back and got more to bring some, since everything tasted so fresh, and wasn’t sweet or oily at all! I also loved al the fruity/fig varieties, I haven’t seen them before!
They had 4 restaurants inside, and a few outside. We got chaat from the Indian place: papadi chaat and bhel pori, and pani pori, which we didn’t even touch. Food wise, we got gobi masalam (I just had a few bites, I really liked the yogurt sauce it was in, but it was very oily- it separated on my plate) and tandoori chicken (mom & uncle said the marinade was super flavorful and the meat was very tender!). But seriously, for the price, this was a HUGE and delicious serving of chaat!
I also still wanted some other Asian style food, so I got a simple stir fry from the Japanese store. It was alright, but came with kimchi and a carrot slaw! A few other people got Pho which looked PERFECT and the Korean soups looked so good. My uncle said he’s only eaten at the Indian place, but everything he’s had has been phenomenal, better than most restaurants, but the Korean Chinese restaurant was very popular
We toured the capitol in the morning, then Uber-ed into the center of the city (troublesome- with very bad network connection) to find a place to eat lunch. Well, the first day, we had stopped into this café after lunch so I could look around, and the adults got coffee. The second day, I stopped into get coffee (decaf soy cap- extra foam and cinnamon nommms). And finallllly we went to eat! Where? Le Pain Quotidien! I love the huge rustic wood communal tables and booths. They have all day breakfast, soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees, and desserts galore.
The first day just took pictures in awe, bought some crunola, and tried a piece of their sprouted rye bread with my tea. I love how they have jams, spreads, oil and vinegar at all the tables to use! my mom and I got a large lentil salad, split pea soup (soup of the day) and the crispy quinoa cake to share. The cake was only okay, a little pricy, but the soup was delicious and so was the salad! I loved that it had a fair amount of lentils (my half is shown, not the whole plate); I feel like most places just had a spoon whereas this had a full serving
For dinnah, we stayed in the area all day, and were deciding between Indian and Tapas for dinner (though I also saw a temping pizza place on the way!), but when I saw the menu, it was a no brainer. We ended up at Zaytinya, a Turkish, Greek, and Lebanese inspired restaurant of mezze plates.
We got the lebneh (with zatar), roasted stuffed eggplant (small, oiled and roasted, with garlic, onions, tomatoes, and walnuts with maple syrup), kabocha squash salad (came with feta- which was not on the menu & we don’t/can’t eat, but the garlic yogurt was sooo good, so we picked at it and ordered something else), brussel sprouts (again with the yogurt !! ), and red lentil patties (not pictures, served in little lettuce cups, yum!), the lamb (my uncle said it wasn’t as tender as it usually was) and the branzino (served over chopped sauteed nuts and olives), then added on the cauliflower (with raisins, parsley, and tahina on the bottom, YUM). They were accommodating to all questions.
All AMAZING! The lebneh was my favorite- slightly salty, sweet, and perfectly creamy and tangy. The bread was only alright, I had them bring out some fresh veggies for me and out came a huuuge plate of cucumbers and carrots! Second favorite would be the cauliflower and lentils! 100, 1,000% recommend it.
I wish we could’ve been in DC/Virginia longer, I didn’t realize I would enjoy it that much!
More eats reccs:
Pasadiso Pizzeria! The place we passed on the last day. Great ingredients, good prices, and the Siciliana is calling my name.
Red Velvet Cupcakery. My mom and I went there last time we visited DC So good! I love their ingredient philosophy online. They also have 2 vegan cakes!
The Protein Bar. A nice big salad bar, sort of like sweet green, with juices and other healthy cooked breakfasts and snacks. Something for anytime, grab and go or sit down. Locations in DC, Chicago and elsewhere!
Rasika. My uncle said it was a good restaurant, but slightly more catered to the working crowd. AKA a pit pricy, and very good food, but it has lost a bit of its authenticity. He still reccomends it! You usually need a reservation, and we couldn’t get one our last night. Also, the menu didn’t appeal too much to me.
Some more from the BGBers,:
Vermillion– upscale modern American cuisine, with a huge focus on local farms. twice a month, they have farm table menu by reservation only, this is special! —Chrissa
Busboys & Poets– a community gathering place with room for art and discussion (read more about their story!) with several locations, serving up brunch through dinner. wish I’d read about it before!! —Liz, Chrissa
Chaia DC– for the best tacos. LOVE the veg options! –from Lindsey
Oyamel– high end, creative Mexican. probably most likely better than Julios! –from Liz
Red Rocks Pizza– —Chrissa
Ted’s Bulletin– good, traditional home cooking. and homemade POPTARTS. treat time! –from Jennifer
Graffiato– very nice Italian!! —Jennifer
SOO. That’s all just the food! THIS is why I’m a foood and travel blogger. I’m such a foodie! It’s a good and bad thing, haha. My dad is so thankful at times! (Others…. that’s another story!)
Stay tuned in the next few days for things to do, including a capitol tour and crossfit!
share some travel stories with me :) ever been to DC?