Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cafe Tu-O-Tu

I recently stared my first job after college and decided to treat myself by going out and getting lunch for the first two weeks. My initial intention was to try a new place every day to contribute to this blog but that was broken once I ate at Cafe Tu-O-Tu .

This chic cafe is situated in the outskirts of Georgetown and has loyal following of both local residents and workers. Waiting in line I would constantly hear fellow patrons applauding the food saying that it's their favorite place to eat in Georgetown which is high praise in a neighborhood known for it's culinary excellence.

(Picture Brought to by Yelp)

With both interior and exterior seating this cafe is suitable for eating year-round. Their menu features food for all times of day and sways more towards the health conscious. Inside and out the decor is modern which adds to the experience and with an outdoor patio in the back your lunch or quick snack is sure to be nirvana.

(Upstairs Seating)

For breakfast I stopped by and ordered the Istanbul which consists of a bagel with feta cheese, cucumbers, and tomatoes. The meal could summed up in one word, refreshing. The combination of ingredients, which are commonly used in many Mediterranean foods make for an outstanding breakfast.


For lunch I tried three different paninis all of which were good in their own way. I first tried the Palermo panini which consists of prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, and tomato with basil pesto spread. This common European sandwich went perfectly with my orangina and economist magazine which is my ideal lunch.

(Palermo Panini)

Next I tried the Mino's panini which consists of marinated chicken, sucuk, roasted red peppers, mozzarella and provolone cheese with sundried tomato pesto. The flavors in this panini work well and offer you a sample of the brilliance that is mediterranean cuisine. As with the previous meal I topped it off with an orangina and chips and left very pleased with my meal.

(Mino's Panini)

The last sandwich that I sampled was the roast beef panini which consists of brie cheese and the aforementioned roast beef with your choice of mayo or dijon mustard. I foolishly chose to put both condiments on and would recommend you not to make this same mistake. The dijon mitigated the savoriness of the melted brie by adding an unwarranted spice. Although I did enjoy the meal I was disappointed at the mistake I had made for this would have truly been an outstanding meal.

(Roast Beef Panini)

In the end I was not disappointed with any aspect of this restaurant. The service was good the food was astounding and the environment was relaxing. With reasonable prices (every meal cost me about $10) and a large selection of meals I have yet to try Cafe Tu O Tu will be a regular destination for me.

I recommend all of the meals that I have had and have heard that the salads are great as well. The service is good and the lines are not too long but I do usually have a late lunch so do not take my word for it. This is definitely a top 20 spot in the city for lunch and maybe a top 10 in Georgetown.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tackle Box

Imagining a quick getaway to enjoy seafood right on the water, then look no further than Tackle Box in Georgetown. Located in the heart of Georgetown this swank eatery servers delectable seafood and gives you a beach/boardwalk eating environment.

A local favorite of neighborhood residents the food and presentation erect the illusion that you areon vacation eating fresh food and enjoying everything the sea has to offer.

(Photo via Prince of Petworth)

I usually go to for that very reason, but also enjoy the fact that this is one of the only places where you can get good seafood at a fast food pace. There are several options that you can choose, from appetizers to meals Tackle Box offers you satisfying food at reasonable prices.

I make it a habit of attending every Wednesday for their half price fish tacos. I usually order two which only cost $4 as opposed to $8 on regular days. I usually pair these with an appetizer such as fried calamari, mac and cheese, or french fries. The tacos are always spot on, the fish is fresh and the simple slaw that accompanies it makes for one of the best lunches or even meals of the week.

You can also choose a number of other appetizers including crispy shrimp, oysters. They also have a basic meal which comprises of choosing one fish with your choice of two sides for around $13. If you have deeper pockets you could go for the lobster pot which goes for $40 per person.

Another favorite of mine is their lobster roll which is has a sticker price of $20. The lobster is fresh and the bread is soft and buttery. While it is not the best lobster roll I have had in this city it holds it's own weight.

(Lobster Roll)

Recently they have made a number of additions including an upstairs bar with some appealing beer specials. They have also opened up another store in Cleveland Park which is a God send for residents in that culinary challenged neighborhood.

I am actually a bit jealous because I wish that I had the opportunity to devour a trio of fish tacos similar to those below on a daily basis. While I am assuming they are nowhere close to the quality you can get on the west coast they are some of the best I have had in this city.

(3 Fish Tacos)

Overall the prices are reasonable, the food is pleasant and the atmosphere transports you to a day out on the boardwalk without actually having to go there. Lines aren't too long and but finding seating can be a problem at times.

I would recommend going late on Wednesdays, recently I have noticed that their fish tacos are gaining popularity which in this case translates to longer lines.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pizza Boli's

Whether your too lazy or tired to cook a meal, have friends over, or have nothing in your refrigerator there is always an excuse to order food. If you find yourself in one of these predicaments then you should consider ordering from Pizza Boli's.

With several locations in the DC area Pizza Boli's offer you quick food at a reasonable price. I have ordered from here several times and find their food to be modest, especially for the prices they offer. On this occasion I ordered the Gyro platter and a soda which cost me around $9. This specific meal was sub-par but managed to fill me up.

(Gyro Platter)

You can easily fill two people for under $20 here and have some cold pizza for the morning (ahh the good old days in college). I usually order their white pizza or a sandwich with an appetizer. For sandwiches I would recommend the cheese steak, cold cut, or meatball sub and add some french fries or mozzarella sticks to finish it off. I wouldn't recommend this place for it's pizzas because they are average at best, the only one I would vouch for is their white pizza.

Their low prices and quick delivery is the reason I still order from here; I have never gotten an order that was fudged or a late delivery. But if you are looking for a great slice of pizza (which is scarce in this city) I would not order from here; but if you looking for a quick means of eliminating your hunger without leaving your home then give this place a shot sometime.


There is no other restaurant that tests my ability to abstain from morbid obesity than Chipotle. This national chain draws it's origins from Denver, Colorado and has grown immensely since its inaugural opening in 1993. Chipotle prides itself using the freshest and most environmentally friendly ingredients to make their renowned burritos. Constantly ahead of the curve when it comes to agricultural sustainability as well as safe food practices Chipotle diverges from the status quo when it comes to fast food chains.

Their philosophy has drawn the attention of several food activists as well as everyday customers and plays a big role in their prominence around the US. I for one fully support their practices (aside from their recent immigration hiring debacle) and that is a big reason I continue to go here.

I was sadly introduced to Chipotle at a very late age with my first dining experience coming in high school. More than 8 years removed I continue to come here. When I was blessed with my fast metabolism I made it a monthly ritual to go here with my friends. In college I carried on that tradition and to this day use it as a remedy to fight a fierce hangover.

I unfortunately had to cut down on this habit of mine because the college experience coupled with the death of my metabolism caused a weight gain of immense proportions. Thankfully due to more than two years of hard work and a healthy lifestyle I am in the best shape of my life.

(Barbacoa Tacos)

With that in mind I would like to share my favorite dishes as well as some tips to enhance your burrito experience here. At this juncture in my life I have all but eliminated eating burritos and have made the clean transition to their tacos.

Having tried all the meats I would have to say my clear cut favorite is the barbacoa with the steak coming in a close second. I keep it simple and add some pice de gallo, sour cream and corn and top it off with my favorite drink which is a coca cola with lemons.

(Steak Burrito)

My standard burrito is the culmination of years of experimentation which through the process of elimination has yielded what I believe to be the ideal burrito. For starters I don't put any beans because they have such a distinct and powerful flavor that including them takes away from all the other components. I get steak with some pico de gallo and add sour cream, cheese, and corn. That along with my coke with lemon makes for a great cure for my saturday morning hangover or an ideal meal to recover from a long and arduous workout.

All in all Chipotle is a great destination for fresh and reliable fast food. But don't let that fool you, these minature Mexican babies can pack a whopping 1000 plus calories so eat with discretion when dining here. I try to make it a monthly destination but with this blog that has gone down considerably.

Ben's Chili Bowl

Our next visit takes us to one of the most popular food destinations in Washington DC. Ben's Chili Bowl, founded in 1958 by Ben and Virginia Ali has been a staple to residents in the tri-state area. This retro dining stop located in the heart of the historic U. St. Corridor has been serving the same delicious meals for over 50 years. Once the hot-spot for local musicians such as Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole and Miles Davis this restaurant has evolved to grow a enormous fan following. The biggest contributer to the success of this establishment has to be Bill Cosby who is one of the longest standing patrons and even has a item on the menu named after him.

(Picture brought to you by So Good)

One only has to peak inside the dining hall to see the vast number of famous patrons who have once dined in this historic landmark. My recommendation is a chili cheese half smoke which is pictured below and an order of chili cheese fries to split with a friend. You can also go with the Bill Cosby special or a chili burger. They also have shakes and dessert cake which I have yet to try; but in the end you have to go for a chili cheese dog.

(Chili Cheese Half Smoke)

What separates Ben's Chili Bowl from any other local restaurant is that it's followers span the entire spectrum of social life. While waiting in line you will be standing next to business men, yuppies, and hipsters. People from all walks of life converge here to enjoy this simple yet amazing food and most come out enjoying the experience (I personally know only 2 people who did not like it).

(Chili Cheese Fries)

This food is perfect at any time of the day, whether it be a quick lunch in between work or ending a long night on the town Ben's Chili Bowl will certainly never disappoint. It's open late every day of the week and is never empty. During peak hours expect you should expect to see a line coming out of the store. The longest waits are usually on a weekday night around 2 a.m. when you can wait up to 30 minutes to get your food and you will rarely see people leave to go somewhere else; a true testament to the quality of food served here.

The prices are fair, the only drawback is that the store accepts cash only and you will probably have to wait in line. But all of this is trumped by the experience you will have dining here. My recommendation is to go during an off-peak hour so that you have a chance to sit and enjoy your meal. Afterword you should take a chance to look at the photos of the famous people who have dined at this restaurant.