DC Food

Kristan may be here for the Government Disney theme park of monuments and museums, but I love DC for the restaurants.

After driving up from Baltimore on Sunday, we were starving and randomly chose a restaurant near the hotel: Trio’s. The kitchen was swamped and we waited for some time before they brought out meat, rather than vegetarian lasagna, so I waited even longer; but the server was gracious and I was patiently enjoying the people watching. It turned out to be worth the wait, I don’t think I’ve had a better meal without seafood.

Monday we again stumbled upon great food at Lauriol Plaza, a trendy Mexican place where a waiter spilled salsa on me right after we arrived. Both our dishes were so incredible, though, that we began to worry that great food in DC is must be predicated by a service faus pax. Thankfully, this was disproved that evening at America, a Union Station cafe that defied my tourist-trap expectations.

Wednesday saw the typically excellent fish at Legal Seafoods on 7th (if Kristan gets Hard Rock in both cities, I get Legal.) Thursday found a little French cafe (Lavandou) with true-to-form wide open windows in uptown for lunch. Dinner was calamari at Anna Maria’s, a tiny Italian place recommended by locals.

Friday we made the mistake of believing tourist-oriented reviews and went to the waterfront for Phillips Flagship, DC’s largest restaurant, where we waited, in the only smokey environment I’ve found, for long enough to realize that this was a place known for it’s ability to seat large groups and all-you-can-eat buffet, not for food quality or atmosphere. So we jumped back out of line and ventured into downtown (the area north of the mall and between the White House and Senate buildings) and ate at Cafe Atlantico. I had an excellent salmon dinner with a papaya sauce, noticed that the fashion in DC is for meals to be tall (stacked in the middle of the plate), and paid too much for a pretentious atmosphere.

Saturday I was reminded that great seafood doesn’t have to cost $50 a person and be served by waiters who think they are better than you by choosing snapper at Pesce, where I believe I would eat several times a week if I lived here.

Sunday night we continued the tour of local favorites with Kramer’s. Less of a bookstore with a small cafe, Kramer’s is more like a cafe with a small bookstore (with a great selection) for waiting. The crabcakes were good, but the atmosphere is what keeps people coming back here.

Finally, I don’t want to forget our local ice cream stop, Sweet Licks, or the only decent museum cafe (of a cast of thousands) in the {National Gallery of Art|http://www.nga.gov/ginfo/cafes.htm}'s sculpture garden.

I posted this in April 2004 during week 1573.

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