Sunday, October 31, 2010

Restaurant 3

Our travels take us outside of DC for the first time to try one of the most unique meals that I have ever had. I decided take a group of friends to Restaurant 3 in Clarendon VA to sample a three course meal centered on bacon.

Earlier that week I learned that a number of restaurants around the USA had dedicated a week solely to a cut of pork that millions of Americans enjoy on a daily basis. Bacon has become a staple of American dining with people finding any excuse to incorporate it in their meal. So it would only make sense that an event like this would naturally arise.

(Photo Brought to you by Yelp)

The drive there did not take more than 15 minutes and it was also fairly close to the Clarendon Metro station. We came in on a Thursday night and were told that we had to wait to find seating since there were no reservations left (we called the day before). So we found ourselves a small table near the end of the lounge and ordered drinks until a table opened up.

I decided to go outside the box and try their bacon infused martini while my other friend tried their bacon bloody marry. While I was glad to have ordered my drink (simply for the experience) I soon found it to be overwhelming (most people would), while my friend thoroughly enjoyed her bloody marry prompting me to order one of my own.


We all ordered the three course bacon infused diner which cost a reasonable $30 per person. My meal started off with a bacon cheddar soup which was magnificent to say the least. The bacon played well with the cheddar and potatoes to make for a solid opening dish. My only complaint is that the dish was too simple and it was a soup that I have already had at another restaurant. I thought that they could have been a bit more creative with an appetizer.

(Bacon Cheddar Soup)

For my second dish I had to choose between pork chop wrapped in bacon with bacon mashed potatoes or BBQ shrimp with grits and bacon. I am not that much of a glutton so the idea of having meat wrapped in meat prompted me to chose the latter of the dishes even though I find grits to be repulsive. I did enjoy my dish, especially the grits to my astonishment which were fairly tasty. But after sampling my friends main course I regretted the choice I made, the bacon mashed potatoes were solid and bacon wrapped pork chops were juicy and succulent.

(BBQ Shrimp and Grits)

After finishing our main course we all waited for what I believed would be the best dish of the meal. We all ordered the bacon infused waffles with maple syrup and bacon ice cream. Needless to say I was correct in my assessment. The dessert played off a very rudimentary culinary idea yielding a stupendous meal. The sweetness of the vanilla and maple syrup played well with the saltiness of the bacon making for a memorable dish.

(Bacon-Studded Waffle With Maple Bacon Ice Cream)

In the end we all enjoyed our meals and it did not put a dent into our wallets. While I can't really recommend going here because I did not sample their regular menu the quality of our meal will not discourage me from going here again. The crowd was mixed (both young and old), the service was good, and with reasonable prices I do not see why anyone in Clarendon would not want to give this place a chance.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Flippin' Pizza

Washington DC like every city has its own set of characteristics; one of these axioms is the lack of quality pizza, especially pizza by the slice. Although there are an array of restaurants that serve dependable gourmet pizzas, there's hardly anywhere you can grab a good slice of pizza.

Knowing this it would not seem to be a huge accomplishment to be voted best pizza by the slice in DC, but it did arouse my attention. Which is why I decided to venture to Flippin' Pizza, both to try some authentic New York style pizza and see if it lived up to the hype.

I myself do not believe the hype surrounding NY style pizza, I have tried it on several instances both here and in the big apple. I also prefer Chicago style deep dish which to date is the best pizza I have ever eaten.

Regardless of my opinions I came in with absolute objectivity and also decided to dine with a few friends to get their perspective. We came in late on a saturday night (around 11 PM I believe) and laid our eyes on the display case featuring 6 of the 8 pies (NY lingo) they have to offer. I chose to have the Brooklyn and the Whitestone with a soda (pictured below) that set me back $5.50, a steal in this city. The brooklyn featured pepperoni, meatballs, mushrooms and garlic while the Whitstone had ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, basil and garlic.

(Brooklyn and Whitestone Pizza)

After our meal my friends and I were very satisfied by both the quality of the ingredients and the taste rendered by their combination. I left with my appetite quenched and no complaints. I will although reserve to my right to decree this place in the pantheon of pizza paradise. It was good but I have had better in this city.

However I will highly recommend giving this place a chance. It is very cheap and is open very late, it's also a spot that you can take your friends from New York who brag about DC not having good pizza. This is also the kind of place where you can have a late night experience mingling with the inebriated crowd scurrying for a late night snack at 2 AM.

Fast service and good prices make this the ideal place for a quick lunch or snack. There isn't that much seating available so I would recommend going during off peak hours or taking it to go. They also deliver to a local radius but I did not get specifics on it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Red Hook Lobster Truck

Our travels continue to the highly sought after Red Hook Lobster Truck. I personally follow it on Facebook to check on their daily location, hoping to one day sample what has quickly become one of the most sought after meals in this city.

After two previous attempts which were met with utter despair (in both instances the I was informed that they had run out of lobster rolls) I was finally able to sample the beauty of the sea.

The picture below is no way indicative of the average line which tends to average anywhere from 50 to 200 people (the latter of which I personally witnessed during the Curbside Cook-off). On this past saturday the food truck was located at my Alma mater George Washington University to serve parents visiting their children over weekend.

My short wait seemed like an eternity as a stood in anticipation to try this piece of culinary excellence. My Odyssey finally ended when my number was called and my eyes laid what I believed would be one of the best sandwiches I have had in my life.

To say that the long lines were indicative of the quality and taste of the food would be an understatement. From the first bite to the last I was in culinary heaven. The sandwich was around 6 inches long and came with a generous portion of high quality lobster mixed with a blend of spices and scallions on a buttered bun. The sandwich was comparable in quality and taste to one I had at Tackle Box in Georgetown.

(Lobster Roll Meal)

I finished off the meal with chips and soda imported from Maine. The whole meal set me back $18 but was well worth it. Ideally this would be a meal that I would like to enjoy once or twice a month mainly because of the price.

Both my sister and friend found the lobster roll to be both delicious and filling. Drowned in the euphoria of this meal I found the motivation to go back and order the shrimp roll which only cost $8. While they conversed over other matters all my attention was focused on the meal before my eyes.

While I did not eat it with the same enthusiasm as the lobster roll I still found it to be quite appetizing. The quality and mixture of spices meshed harmoniously rendering a delectable sandwich that I will have again.

(Shrimp Roll)

In the end I thoroughly enjoyed my meal and had the luxury of not having to wait in line as long as most people do. The food was great and the experience will never be forgotten. I look forward to eating at the lobster truck again in the near future and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys seafood.

Be aware that the lines are long and a bit pricy (more than $15 on a quick lunch is pricy to me), especially if you get the lobster meal which will set you back $18, so plan ahead. You can get their daily location on Twitter or Facebook. Don't be dissuaded by the long lines, I assure you the wait is well worth the experience.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

La Madeleine

Our journey continues to a popular French Cafe in the heart of Georgetown. La Madeleine is a chain restaurant that offers patrons both a taste of French cuisine and the environment that it is enjoyed in.

(Photo brought to you by Yelp)

Walking in gave me a glimpse of what I perceive to be an ideal day in a Cafe in Paris. The rustic interior exemplifies French culture. Once I came up the stairs I was greeted by middle aged woman who took my order. I proceeded to walk along the food line and saw the salad bar and the French sweets in the display case.

(Interior Salad and snack bar)

From there I chose the drink that I desired which was lemonade on two different occasions. I paid and took a seat and waited for my sandwich to arrive. During my wait I scanned the room and could not help but see how the decor evoked french culture. People were reading and sipping on red wine, on casual date, or enjoying a delectable French sweet.


On this specific occasion I was reading Camus' The Stranger and enjoying a chicken cordon bleu sandwich with chips and a raspberry lemonade. I found it to be good but was a bit disappointed primarily because the chicken was a tad dry. If this were not the case then I would believe this sandwich to be a success. The lemonade was great and the black pepper chips went well with the meal. I stayed a bit after my meal just reading and enjoying the harmony that the environment provided.

(Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwich and Raspberry Lemonade)

Before I would return I decided to look at the reviews to get a gauge at what the most popular dish was. I came to find very positive reviews on the Croque Monsieur and decided to try it. This sandwich is very popular in many French bars and cafes so what better excuse to try it and get embedded with French culture.

(Croque Monsieur, Lemonade and Lime Tart)

My stomach was not feeling particularly well during that week and ordering this sandwich only made matters worse. Although it was tasty it quickly became overwhelming and I could not find the motivation to finish it. The lemon tart that I had to go with it did prove to be fantastic.

(Lemon Tart)

Needless to say I continue to dine here on a weekly basis for a quick lunch. Whether it be French onion soup (pictured below) on a cold or rainy day or quiche (Loraine or Spinach) on a breezy fall day I have never been dissatisfied by my meal. My meals typically range from $10-15 depending on how much I get. The meal below set me back $14 which is good deal anywhere in DC.

(French Onion Soup, Strawberries Romanoff, and Fruit Tart)

The strawberries romanoff were interesting and the French onion soup is great with free croutons and cheese. I hope to one day try some of their pastas and breakfast items when I have a chance. My favorite meal here is one of the three quiches that are served on a daily basis along with a bowl of French Onion soup

(Quiche Loraine and French Onion Soup)

Seating is never a problem for me because I usually take later lunches, the service is fast and the food is fairly dependable. I now consider myself a regular mainly because of my love for French dining and quick and the dependability of the food. I would highly recommend this place for quick lunches during work or for an after hour snack