Boqueria

The Paleta Ibérica de Bellota is pricey, but well worth the money.

The Bombas de la Barceloneta are a potato and beef filled croquette, deep fried to perfection.

I’m not entirely sure I have this right, but I think these are the Torrada

Matrimonio. Alternating quail egg with jamon serrano and lamb skewers.

The Carne a la Plancha, or hangar steak, is an absolute must.

Farrah Olivia

Have you ever seen a Matryoshka doll? They’re the wooden nesting dolls, with a doll inside of another doll inside of another doll. Sound familiar yet?

That’s exactly what comes to mind for me when I think of the “restaurant inside a restaurant” theme. In similar ingenuity, a restauranteur can open a smaller, specialized restaurant inside one of their existing spaces without necessitating the need to find an appropriate retail space. Such is the story of Farrah Olivia, the higher end Italian themed mini-restaurant inside of Kora. Both are named after the daughters of Chef Morou, having appearances on both Iron Chef America and The Next Iron Chef under his belt. It would be natural then, to have at least somewhat higher expectations of this restaurant than Kora.

On a weekend night, it’s surprisingly easy to obtain reservations for a table here, but the Crystal City area in Arlington isn’t exactly known for being a hotspot for yuppies and yupsters looking to hang out on a night off. Jen and I ended up being one of two tables dining there during our entire meal, served by a lone waiter who was unavailable often enough for me to believe that he was servicing tables at Kora as well.

Aside from a basket of warm housemade bread and a quartet of spreads, the chef further extends a warm invitation with an amuse bouche of a deep fried dumpling sliced in half and served atop a small pool of sauce, a touch that I greatly appreciated, almost doubly so as I thought about eating Jen’s as well while she was on an excursion to wash her hands in the ladies’ room. No fancy molecular gastronomy or bleeding edge cooking techniques, but just a simple, well prepared start of a meal. The dough is fried crispy to the point of adding texture without being excessively crisp.

The Painted Gazpacho is a beautiful dish (ever so slightly tipped over by our server), a yin and yang combination of chilled eggplant and tomato basil soup.  It sings notes on your palette as beautifully as the presentation of the dish itself.

The Goat Cheese Gnudi here is the exact same served at Kora, and to this day remains one of my favorites. Jen and I both ordered it- Jen as her entree, and for me, as my appetizer. Served with tomatoes, artichokes, onions, and arugula, this is a hearty and enjoyable dish. That is, if it’s prepared correctly. My dish was served with just a bit of dressing, enough to give the dish an adequate amount of moisture, whereas Jen’s dish was devoid of the same sauce altogether and being a much less enjoyable affair to eat.

As an entree, I ordered the Fillet of Beef, served with foie gras butter, fried shiitake mushrooms, date wine, and a spinach gratin cake, served on a painter’s palette as you dabble and mix flavors. A literal encouragement to play with your food. Everything on my order was served perfectly, from the fillet being cooked to a medium rare, to the complementing tastes of the sauces, butters, and condiments on my plate. All this to my relief, as I had previously overheard one of the patrons at the other table sending back her fillet several minutes prior for being way too undercooked.

All of this is to say that while Farrah Olivia aims to be of the highest caliber, it seems miss the mark on several points for being what could be conceivably considered “the fancy Kora”. Lacking consistency in its dishes and what appeared to be a server shared between two restaurants, I’m glad to to know that Chef Morou is able to keep Farrah Olivia afloat on the shoulders of a much more successful Kora- I doubt this restaurant would be able to continue purely on its own.

See Farrah Olivia on a map here.

Recommended For:

  • Wandering Wayfarers
  • Business Jerks
  • Special Occasions
  • Gnudist Camp

Not Recommended For:

  • Hotspot Hunters
  • Starvin’ Marvins
  • Paleoheads
  • Frugalistas

Hawaii Food Tours’ “Hole in the Wall Tour”

One of the things that I’ve been really looking forward to on our vacation in O’ahu was recommended by a friend, called the “Hole in the Wall Food Tour”. I was sold on the idea of being carted around sampling some of the island’s best “cheap eats”, which can be easily overlooked on a stay at an exotic tropical vacation. Jen and I had a bit of difficulty finding the exact pickup location of our tour, navigating the massive parking garage from our directions of the Ala Moana Center to the Ala Moana Hotel with just a few minutes before the start of the tour, but managed to hop on our bus just before the departure time and nothing but seconds to spare. We hopped on our tour bus, a large, black, luxury Mercedes Benz people mover, was already filled with the eight other tourists, along with our guides Matthew and Keira, proprietors of the Hawaii Food Tours company. Matthew’s pedigree includes a long career from an apprentice to an executive chef in LA, as a personal chef to celebs, and as the food and restaurant critic for the Star Advertiser, Hawaii’s largest daily newspaper. It would prove to be the exceptional resumé that really added the depth of knowledge and love for food that made our tour something beyond the ordinary.

Our first stop off was the Royal Kitchen, a small where we were treated to the baked manapua. The recipe takes the traditional baken Hawaiian sweet bun, and fills it with ingredients of your choosing. I opted for the savory Cha Siu (chinese barbecue pork), while Jen ordered the super sweet Black Sugar filling. I’ve had these types of buns at various dim sum locations back on the mainland, but none as piping hot fresh or delicious as the one I had here. I made short work of my bun and made googly eyes at Jen’s as she enjoyed each bite of hers, giving me the evil eye for quietly calculating how I could get it away from her hands.

As we loitered about in front of the restaurant, Matthew and Keira peppered us with tidbits of history and trivia, giving some color and personality to the area and time understand that the island has a rich history that doesn’t simply revolve around leis, luaus, and dolphins. So there. Suck it, dolphins.

Before we left, a short Chinese woman (are there really any other kind?) came running out with a styrofoam box and thrust it upon Matthew with a string of inaudible words, to which he thanked her, and presented to us with a box of sliced, roasted Chinese barbecue pork. If there’s any meat that can beat out bacon for me, it’s this stuff. I had many childhood summers in Hong Kong plowing through pounds upon pounds of this stuff, and to this day I start making prehistoric grunting noises of delight whenever I come across a particularly good serving of it. While Royal Kitchen is definitely known more for their baked manapuas, they’re no slouches when it comes to their pork.

Our next stop on the tour was Liliha Bakery, such a historic landmark of O’ahu that it was even used as the backdrop for one of the scenes from ABC’s television show Lost (the diner in Season 2 where Kate had a flashback of meeting with her Mom).

 The crown jewel of Liliha Bakery is their Coco Puff pastry – a round pastry shell nearly bursting and overfilled with a chocolate pudding, and topped with a supersweet chantilly frosting. Another dish in the tour where I nearly devoured the food whole, and jealously eyeing Jen’s food. The tension was palpable. She silently cursed me and I relented, leaving to enjoy her food in peace. These things are meant to be eaten without hesitation. The flaky pastry was already on its way to a soggy disintegration as we ate them outside the restaurant, and I doubt they’d make it all the way back to our hotel room, whether due to the nature of the pastry, or me getting my grubby hands all over them to shove them into my mouth.

Our next stop was where we’d spend a majority of our time on the tour, Honolulu’s Chinatown, which I credit to being much more of a real Chinatown than DC’s Chinatown has even proven to being. The streets are lined with diminutive shops and open air markets hawking fresh seafood and plentiful, inexpensive produce. If you’re going to be in Oahu for a significant amount of time, this is the place to do all your shopping and avoid the “sticker shock” of imported produce from major supermarkets on the island.

We were given a behind the scenes look at the Ying Leong Look Funn Factory, a dying industry of hand made noodle factories. The process is amazing, watching sheets on sheets on sheets of noodles get steamed and hand folded, then served delicious strips coated in sauce and fixin’s. Seeing things like this always interest and amaze me, the will the dedication of masters of older generations tenaciously holding onto their craft doing things the old fashioned way, things that shouldn’t be forgotten entirely, but are, all in the name of modernization. I’m a sucker for nostalgia not of my own.

We sampled three varieties, the shrimp & spring onion, pork & spring onion, and plain, along with a heaping portion of Korean BBQ chicken from Jackey’s Kitchen in the Maunakea Marketplace. The Marketplace was filled with tons of vendors of shops hawking fresh, exotic fruits and vegetables of all kinds. After a 20 minute shopping spree, it was back to sampling the foods that Keira had gone off order and bring back to us, a circle of foodies intently listening to Matthew describe each food and awaiting our turn to get our sample, all the while blocking out curious locals looking to possibly grab a free sample of their own.

The first tray being filled with “Half Moons”, or steamed dumplings filled diced vegetables and meat in a gelatinous wrapper and served with a sweet dipping sauce, while Jen was served a deep fried banana coated in a sticky caramel sauce.

Next up, a Hawaiian specialty – a small bucket of Ahi Poke (pronounced pokey), tender chunks of raw tuna served in seasonings, along with Spam Matsuba, or spam sushi, another island favorite meat. We also were treated to two varieties of Hawaiian Gold pineapple, one sprinkled with a salty sweet li hing powder, and the second, plain, which was just as great on its own.

The last tray, a serving of apple bananas, a variety of bananas that are ripe only when the skin looks bruised, beaten, and way past its prime. Deceptive, no? The flesh of the banana was actually perfectly ripe, and not in the slightest bit mushy, with a distinct taste that I could only describe as a cleaner tasting banana. Along with those were a plate of Coconut Tarts from the Rainbow Tea Stop in Chinatown. The tarts were good, but surprisingly, I enjoyed the bananas a good deal more.

To wrap things up before moving out and visiting other shops, we had a Keira cocktail – a cold lychee-pineapple-vodka smoothie, with just a hint of li ning powder. BAM! I passed on the vodka, knowing that I would have landed flat on my face just a few steps away if I had indulged.

Our last stop was off to Leonard’s Bakery for a box full of malasadas. These infamous deep fried treats are akin to donuts in their appearance, but with a light, fluffy texture when they’re fresh, and sprinkled with a(n) (un)healthy dose of sugar. The bakery also offers an cinnamon sugar variant, along with custard filled ones as well. The custard fillings change throughout the year, and flavors include macadamia, pineapple, banana, mango, guava, and lilikoi, a flavor that’s not unwholly like passionfruit.

There were several other places we visited on our food tour, entirely too many for me to mention and not make this into a full out novella. The experience was without a doubt unique and enjoyable, not only for the food, but for the energetic and pleasing nature of our guides, Matthew and Keira. If you’re visiting in Oahu, I definitely recommend taking a trip around Honolulu with them.

Visit the Hawaii Food Tours website here.

Recommended For:

  • Gastronoms
  • Honeymooners
  • Beachlovin’ Brünos
  • Adventurous Palettes

Not Recommended For:

  • Salty Sheilas
  • Hangry Harriets
  • Zone Dieters
  • Steak’n'Potato Joes

Aloha!

Jen and I are on vacation, but I’ll try and have a post up from our trip, as soon as I get a few more hours in the sun. See you soon!

Fried Chicken Tenders

This is one of my favorite recipes, because it’s super easy and makes chicken strips for days. I’ve found that while coconut flour gives these fried chicken tenders a nice, fluffy texture, the tend to be very dry. Meanwhile, using purely almond flour gives the recipe an excellent moisture, but the fried crust tends to be extremely crumbly. A 1:1 mixture of both coconut and almond flour makes for a perfect batter. Avocado oil works well for frying because of the high temperature smoke point, something that olive oil and coconut oil just can’t match. As for vegetable oil, well, you should know better! Grapeseed oil and bacon grease, however, will both work in a pinch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt (or seasalt)
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 eggs, cage free, vegetarian fed
  • 1 lb cage free, vegetarian fed chicken tenders, or breasts cut into 1″ strips
  • Avocado oil
Directions:
  1. Mix coconut flour, almond flour, salt, pepper, and chili powder in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Beat two eggs in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Take a chicken strip, and coat both sides well in your egg wash bowl. Let the excess drip, and then transfer the egg coated chicken strip to the mixed powder. Coat both sides well, and place your battered chicken strip aside on a large plate. Repeat process until all chicken strips have been coated.
  4. Heat a large skillet on medium high until surface is hot.
  5. Using as much bacon grease or avocado oil as necessary to completely cover the face of your skillet. I used approximately 1/2 cup of oil. Let oil heat for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Using tongs, gently place chicken strips down into the oil, and allow strips to fry for 3 minutes. The chicken strips should have just enough space between them so that they are not touching as they cook.
  7. Using your tongs again, gently flip over your chicken strips in the oil. The cooked side should have a nice, golden brown color. Allow the other side to cook an additional 3 minutes.
  8. Remove cooked strips. If there is no oil in your skillet, add another 1/2 cup as necessary between each cooked batch of chicken strips.
  9. Serve with dipping sauce. I really enjoy using Trade Joe’s Mustard Aioli.
Enjoy!

Ray’s Steak & Cheese

Rosslyn is almost a complete dead zone for high quality, satisfying food, save for a few restaurants that tend to get a majority of the patronage. Michael Landrum, owner of the various Ray’s restaurants include Ray’s the Steaks, Ray’s Hellburger, Ray’s the third, closed the popular Ray’s Hellburger Two a few weeks ago without announcement. Not that it was a huge loss, with Ray’s Hellburger just a few doors down, still slinging out the best burgers in the area.

With a similar unceremonious gesture, the old Ray’s Hellburger Two was suddenly reopened and christened Ray’s Steak and Cheese. Clearly delineating the difference between his sammich from a ‘cheesesteak’, or even a ‘Philly cheesesteak’, the restaurant has a very limited menu of an 8 oz. sirloin and ribeye steak and cheese sammich served on a toasted roll, with your choice of lettuce (gratis), tomato (gratis), peppers, charred jalapenos, and sauteed mushrooms, cooked to a medium rare unless asked otherwise.

The problem is…well, there is no problem. The sammich is incredibly delicious. The tender cuts of ribeye and sirloin are heightened with a generous coat of cheddar, nestled in a soft sub roll and only further heightened with the addition of peppers and sauteed mushrooms. Do yourself a favor, however, and just skip the lettuce and tomato. There’s no need for any of that to defile this work of beauty. Each bite is as good as the last, and I was only dissuaded from going to order a second were it not for the line that had appeared in front of the register.

You do have the option to order a side of tater tots, extra crispy and piping hot pillows of potatoes and salted for just the right amount of flavor. Beer, root beer, and wine are all also available to help you wash down a meal that has enough staying power to keep with you for the rest of your day.

The restaurant is cash only, so be prepared to pay with paper, your plastic card won’t do you much good here. That is, unless you’re willing to brave the world of ATM fees, with a machine situated conveniently next to the registers in the back of the establishment.

The sammiches, which run $10.99, seemed a bit on the expensive side to me. But given the fact that they’re made with such high quality cuts of steak, I’d say in retrospect that’s it’s a pretty reasonable price for the meal.

Service is overwhelmingly accommodating and easy, as long as you know the process. Go towards the registers in the back, order your meal, take your receipt, and hang out while you wait for your meal to be delivered to your table. Easy, right? Try and get there before noon and you’ll have a better chance of beating the crowds.

See Ray’s Steak & Cheese on a map here (there’s no sign anywhere near the restaurant itself).

Recommended For:

  • Moo
  • Burgered-out Bonvivants
  • Cheesesteak Cherubs

Not Recommended For:

  • Vegetarians
  • Paleoheads
  • Zone Dieters
  • Lipitor Lovers

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

photo by Jonathan Bruskin

Jeff Black, who owns restaurants such as Addie’s, Black’s Bar & Kitchen, Black Market, and BlackSalt recently opened Pearl Dive Oyster Palace on 14th Street, a lone oyster shucking house on the DC corridor. Step in past the doors and you instantly get the feeling of having stepped into a weathered Cape Code restaurant that’s served hundreds of thousands of people over the decades, rather than a restaurant that’s just opened a not more than a couple of months ago. Indeed, every detail is put together to compose a tribute to the fresh seafood shacks of New England with reclaimed distressed wood walls to rickety chairs that feel as if they could collapse beneath you if you leaned at just the right angle in one.

The restaurant reads almost entirely of seafood dishes, which is great if you’re looking for food and not a discount warehouse for jewelry robbed from shelled mollusks. That being said, you shouldn’t shy away from the land dishes like the Braised Pork Cheeks. This dish explores the tenderness of the often overlooked pork cheek and complements it with a creamy bed of stone grits, flavored with a vibrant chipotle-ham hock broth.

For those looking to get down with the rawest of raw oysters, you’re in luck. The restaurant offers a wide array of varieties hailing from both the East and West coast, although having heard the server list out the different kinds twice, I simply noted that there were ‘regular priced’ ones and ‘more than regular priced’ ones.

Our table took a dozen of the former, and you know what? They tasted like raw oysters. Deliciously raw, with almost no discernible aftertaste, I would have gladly eaten the entire dozen myself if I weren’t sharing the plate with several others.

photo by Jonathan Bruskin

The cooked oysters are equally as good if not better, especially the Angels on Horseback. A quartet of oysters wrapped in strips of bacon and grilled, then served in a vin blanc and vinegar reduction. Amazing, succulent, and full of flavor. The salty slight crisp of the bacon exterior gives way to a juicy oyster inside, with the vinegar and vin blanc pulling the flavors together for possibly the best oyster dish I’ve ever had, although I might be slightly biased because of the bacon. I would, however, have several other suggestions for a renaming of this dish, including:

  • Angels on Piggyback
  • A Mermaid and a Pig Walk Into a Bar
  • Unicorn Bacchanalias in your Mouth
Ah, well, I guess Angels on Horseback is as good of a name as any.

photo by Jonathan Bruskin

I took it upon myself to be the judge of just how good the restaurant’s Oyster Po’boy was, but I needed a comparison ready at hand. Thankfully, the restaurant also offers a C.E.B.L.T. Po’boy (fried catfish, over easy egg, bacon, lettuce, tomato) and, being your diligent gastrohead, ordered both as my main course.

You might think of it as a little extreme, I just call it ‘a regular dinner’. The oysters used in the Oyster Po’boy (pictured in the foreground) as deep fried to a golden brown and served with housemade pickles, a spicy cayenne aioli, and served on Leidenheimer bread (THE bread to use for a Naw’lins Po’Boy) for something as good an authentic Po’Boy outside of Louisiana. It’s greatest challenge, by far, is that the C.E.B.L.T. is leaps and bounds better, with deep fried pallets of catfish, a creamy pocket yolk and strips of bacon to match.

Advantage, fish.

You’re given the option of having a side salad or fresh cut fries, neither of which were a disappointment.

There are a number of other dishes available, including mussels, seafood gumbo, duck confit, grassfed hangar steak, and more mysteriously, the Que Sueno de los Gatos, or, ‘What Cats Dream Of’, a large dish of Pearl Dive Seafood Stew served with Shrimp, Redfish, Squid, and Mussels in a Saffron Milk broth.

There’s not much to dislike here, if at all. The service is outstanding, the seafood is standard setting, and the large open bar that spills out to the sidewalk makes it the perfect place to meet up and have a quick drink or bite on the warmest of District days. If that’s not enough, there’s a separate Prohibition Era dressed bar upstairs called Black Jack, and rumor is that there’s two bocce ball courts on the premises, too.

Being that Jen’s not exactly keen on meats, anyone want to take a visit with me? First drink is on me.

 See Pearl Dive Oyster Palace on a map here. Recommended For:

Not Recommended For:

  • Vegetarians
  • Mikimoto Mavens
  • Frugalistas
  • Barnacle Barry

Rocking Horse Cafe

Spicy. It has to be spicy.

Jen’s words that had us searching for food. Urban foraging, armed with a smartphones and a front desk manager.

Spicy is abundance in Chelsea, more so if you really know what you’re looking for. However, Jen and I were only looking for dinner. We ended up at Rocking Horse Cafe, a modern Mexican restaurant with forward thinking menus.  Galleons of tortilla chips float at the bar, flanked by margaritas and pools of fresh made salsa, just barely making their mark on the scoville scale.

The guacamole is served fresh and extremely fast, almost unexpectedly so. The Quesadillas de Hongos are a delight, with the crisp texture of the tortilla giving way to the fragrant roasted wild mushrooms griddled with warm, melted manchego cheese.

Jen’s Chile Relleno de Hongos was just what she needed. A half foot roasted poblano, split lengthwise, and overstuffed with sauteed wild mushrooms, topped with a charred tomato-smoked chile cream sauce. A smoldering dish of burn your face off hot, topped with flames on a brimstone plate.

My entree, the Cordero Enchipotlado arrived with angel horns blaring. A war hammer sized chipotle braised lamb shank, with a bone that you can take home and mount as a trophy on your desk if you manage to finish the damn thing. Succulent chipotle braised lamb, accompanied by caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes, and epazote atop a generous nest of creamy cotija polenta. I wanted to wave the shank bone wildly in the air, but Jen backhanded me as I started to started to rise from the table with a crazed look in my eyes, narrowly avoiding disaster and bringing me back to my senses. Like you’ve never need a good bitch slapping before.

I recommend passing on the yuca and goat cheese cake as a side- not for any reason of it being bad, but for the fact that it’s lacking in flavor. It did serve as a nice, spongy cake to sop up our respective sauces, but with a plate of fresh tortilla chips, it seems a bit unnecessary.

Prices are extremely reasonable for the city, and I was eternally grateful that we weren’t subjected to tapas portions for our meal. Highly recommended.

See Rocking Horse Cafe on a map here.

 

 

 

This week’s post will be a little late…

Jen and I were traipsing through New York City this weekend, so this week’s post will be a little later than normal. I’ll hopefully have a spicy review for you to read by midweek!

District Commons

The Foggy Bottom area has for the longest time been a vacuous hole on the map for better places to eat. The area shares a number of tenants, the most notable being George Washington University. With the recent installation of a Whole Foods nearby, the area has been opened up as a new destination, and District Commons hopes to remedy what the area needs.

To start, the build out of this restaurant is amazing. A large, open space with black and white photos of dapper gentlemen adorn the walls. The furniture is, by contrast of the vintage imagery, extremely modern, reasonably comfortable, and the accompanying decor rich with textures and hues. The restaurant sits on Washington Circle near GW Hospital, so make no mistake with the number of varying addresses floating out there on the interwebs. I even commented my appreciation of the slate stone walking paths that cut across the median islands dividing the roads nearby, perfect for pedestrians hopping across like us.

The menu has a wide mix of food that include flatbreads, mussels, and a number of Americana entrees. I quickly eyed out the Pig Board, which comes out true to form, on a pig shaped board, served with prosciutto, creamy Vermont Butter, Acadiana biscuits, and pickled cherries. The pig board takes the emphasis off of just the meat, sharing the spotlight with the accoutrements that come with cured ham. Unfortunately, the biscuits were a bit too hard and dry, indicating that the recipe could probably use a good deal more butter or lard. The pickled cherries were interesting and unique, but didn’t quite go well with the ham, and didn’t quite go well with the biscuits. The real problem with these cherries would manifest itself much later, but I digress. The ham itself was delectable, and the butter was as smooth as one could ask for.

Jen didn’t fare as well with her appetizer, the White Bean Soup with Cheddar Cheese Beignets. She felt that the dish really lacked substance and flavor, while I thought it did have a good garlicky, beanish flavor, just something that was more on the subtle side. Being served in a cup was a nice touch, and I tipped it up to my lips as I polished off her soup for her.

For her entree, Jen ordered the Vegetable Pot Pie, a deconstructed pot pie in a cast iron pan that I’ve seen done before, with a flaky, warm pastry on top rather a crust being baked directly on top. Again, Jen found the dish lacking in flavor and more importantly, in serving size. She’s thankfully a light eater, but had it been me ordering this dish, I think I would have been a bit more upset that I was getting a second appetizer trying to pass as a main course. “Cute” isn’t something I’d want to call sitting on a plate in front of me, but oddly enough it seems fitting for this dish.

For my entree, I hesitated between ordering the Pork Rack Chops and the Roasted Duck “Low & Slow” before taking our server’s suggestion and opting for the latter. I’m glad I did. One half of a roasted duck, piled high over a wild rice and sweet potato hash with a roasted pepper to top it off. The duck here is out of this world tasty with a sweet sorghum chili glaze, although the skin could have used a crisp texture to offset the moist and flavorful meat below. Still, a very, very good recommendation on my server’s part and a saving grace for the restaurant from the appetizer before it.

There are plenty of desserts on hand as well, including this Roasted Marshmallow Sundae, served with chocolate ice cream, roasted homemade marshmallows, whipped cream, and a cherry on top.

Now this is where I have to go and bring up old shit. Having been scarred after eating the vinegarish pickle cherries on the Pig Plate, I had it in my mind that this was yet another pickled cherry on top of my sundae. I knew it wouldn’t be a pickled cherry, I told myself it wasn’t a pickled cherry, but my mind kept screaming back at me.

“IT’S A PICKLED CHERRY ON YOUR ICE CREAM! ENJOY YOUR VINEGAR INFUSED SUNDAE, JERKFACE! OH MAN YOU’RE GONNA GET PICKLED!”

I actually ate half the sundae scooping around the cherry before finally just eating the damn thing. No pickled cherries, but they do look exactly the same. Pickled cherry. Sweet cherry. One looks like a cherry. The other looks like a cherry.

I hate my overactive imagination.

But boy do I love food. I mean, I really, really, riiiiiilly love food.

I think District Commons will do great just where it is, breathing new life into what could be a hotspot for GW students, and a great place for the students to take their parents for dinner on campus visits. There still needs to be some work done on the menu from my point of view, and for being placed near such a liberal school, it’s surprising that there’s not a wider selection of vegetarian options, or a stronger set of vegetarian options, at that. One soup, one flatbread, one small pot pie dish. Completely fine with me, but not the most accommodating menu for the non-meat eaters like my woman. Sad. The bar scene should be huge for grad students to meet up and unwind after evening classes, as it lends a lot to the area as far as being a viable drinking platform to make poor decisions and calling in sick the following day.

The service is average, with our server completely forgoing bread service to our table, as we noticed towards the end of the meal with the tables around us starting to get their gluten loaves served with their meal. Not a big deal for me, but again, for Jen, it really cut down on the available food for her to eat.

Would I go back? Probably, but with reservations about the consistency of the menu, and only if it were suggested as a spot to eat with companions rather than something of my own choosing. I still think that this place has promise and could really anchor the area as a place to visit.

Bonus Tip: At 10pm, the bell rings for Family Meal, where the service meal is opened up to the public. Each night offers something different, but they all look like delicious meals your imaginary television show mother used to make. Only better.

See District Commons on a map here.

Recommended For:

  • GW Parents
  • Zone Dieters
  • First Dates
  • Late Night Drinks

Not Recommended For:

  • Frugalistas
  • Vegetarians
  • Messy Public Breakups
  • Ladies who fall at the top right of the Vicky Mendoza diagonal
Update: The aforementioned loaf of bread is actually the pretzel loaf, and does not come gratis to each table. Apologies to District Commons!
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