Just returned from a convention in DC this week. Although I didn’t have much extra time and was pretty much tied to the area around the convention center, I was able to find some pretty good food! The first night in town I met up with friends Eric and Tini (who got married and moved to DC last summer) at Haad Thai restaurant. We pre-arranged our meeting, and it wasn’t until I arrived at the restaurant that I realized I had been there before – when I was in DC for a conference 2 years ago! I ordered “rama in jacuzzi” – steamed watercress and chicken with a spicy peanut sauce.
The next morning, I walked a few blocks to a diner across from Ford’s Theater called Lincoln’s Waffle Shop. The name would suggest that waffles were the star of the menu, but it was really only one of many options.
It was the most diversely populated greasy spoon I’ve ever seen, with asian, latino and black servers and cooks working together behind the counter; and patrons from the construction worker taking a break from his work down the street, to 4 guys in suits having a breakfast business meeting. All the while, a Latina cook was singing softly in the background. And it was “redskins country” – what more could you ask? :) I had scrambled eggs, bacon and french toast – they brought me so much food that it came on 2 plates and I couldn’t finish it all!
For lunch that day, 4 of us from the convention went together to Ping Pong for dim sum. I didn’t get any photos of that meal, because we were trying to rush back to our work at the exhibit booth, but it was delicious. And in the evening on Tuesday we had dinner at the NC Reception, hosted by our Center and the Department of Commerce at the Newseum.
The next morning, I went to Eastern Market to meet up with Megan – a friend who participated in our Service Adventure unit in Raleigh a few years ago and is now finishing college and doing a summer internship in DC. The market wasn’t very exciting that early on a Wednesday morning, but we found a lovely cafe with outdoor seating for breakfast. We both had Belgian hot chocolate and the special omelet of the day, made with turkey chorizo and cheddar cheese.
Since it is Italian month, I also looked up some Italian restaurants around the convention center. Most of those are very pricy, but I noticed that Potenza Trattoria has a reasonably-priced lunch option. In addition to their restaurant, they have a bakery that offers a daily “blue plate special” with a new set of specials each week. Wednesday was baked ziti with homemade salami and roasted vegetables, with a drink and a slice of bread pudding for only $9. Delicious and highly recommended!
That evening after we closed up at the booth, we decided to try Zaytinya, an upscale Mediterranean restaurant that my friend Amber really wanted to visit again after having eaten there on a previous trip. It is a mezze restaurant (like Spanish tapas) where you order small plates and share around the table. Three of us ordered 9 wonderfully flavorful small dishes, followed by dessert. I took pictures of some of the favorites.
I forgot to take a picture of the yeasty fresh-out-of-the-oven pita bread that was served with the meal, probably because we were gobbling it up so fast! As an appetizer, we ordered hummus, baba ghanoush and a roasted red pepper and feta dip to eat with this bread. Even though we were incredibly full by the end of the meal, we couldn’t resist trying the small desserts as well.
This was my dessert, a couple of scoops of walnut ice cream, sitting on what I think was apricot and honey flavored yogurt (or something similar), a piece of crunchy phyllo crust, toasted walnuts, a drizzle of honey around the outside with 4 little cubes of apricot jelly.
That’s pretty much it for my DC dining experience. Thursday morning I had hot chocolate and a blackberry white chocolate scone at Caribou Coffee with a former high school classmate Krista. After a final couple of hours working at the booth, we headed back to Raleigh. I’m very glad to be back in town with no major travel plans for the month of July. As expected, I haven’t had much of a chance to really dig into Italian cuisine yet, which is why I planned for two months of Italian cooking!