Sunday, April 29, 2007


Laughing, from the insidious truth, tagged me to list my five favorite restaurants:

1) The best meal I ever ate was on a cruise in Alaska. My mother-in-law and her cousin each arranged for their children and significant others, grandchildren and a couple of great-grandchildren to all spend a week on a Celebrity Cruise from Seward to Vancouver. Altogether 37 folk, many who'd never met. It was wonderful.

As anybody who's been on a cruise can tell you, the food is unbelievable, bountiful, beautiful and delicious. On the first day you walk on as a passenger. On the last, they roll you off as cargo.

This particular ship had a special restaurant with food one cut above that. RFB's siblings and significant others took her mom out for dinner at this special restaurant one night in the middle of the cruise. Eight adults in all.

The service was royal and the food was simply the best I've ever eaten --- from appetizers through dessert. Everyone ordered different things at every course and everyone shared. I wish I remembered the name of the restaurant.

2) If you're ever in D.C., find your way to the Adams-Morgan neighborhood. Georgetown is for tourists. Adams-Morgan is for locals. It's full of ethnic restaurants, taverns, boutiques and it's hopping til 3:00 am. On 18th Street, across the street from one another, are the Amsterdam Falafel Shop and, M'Dawg Haute Dawgs.

They're owned by pals of mine, a couple who are 1st-class human beings and who deserve every success. So in part, this is a shameless plug for friends.

But the other thing that makes these a favorite is that when I need to force myself to follow my pshrink's advice to take a full lunch hour as often as I can manage, Scott and Arianne's restaurants take me exactly an hour to drive to, order, eat, read a newspaper column and get back to work. Hot dogs and falafel are not exactly a prescription, but they do help me retain my sanity.

3) America. When I first got to DC, in 1980, the old train station was a dump. The roof leaked, pigeons roosted in the rafters and the place had become an ad hoc homeless shelter. But in the 80's the place was refurbished. In addition to bookstores, a movie theatre and a food court, the place is home to several restaurants. One is a Pizzeria Uno just like the one Laughing ate at in Georgetown, except even more overpriced. But another is wonderful place called America.

Dress is casual, and the menu is vast. They have full entrees, sandwiches, salads, specialties, a PB&J sandwich and you've just gotta love a menu that actually offers green eggs and ham. If you ever go to Capitol Hill, plan to eat lunch or dinner at Union Station.

4) Fortune: Dim sum heaven and less than half a mile from home. RFB and I go there for a late breakfast/early lunch treat whenever we both have the day off and Monkeyboy doesn't (His idea of restaurant heaven starts with a "Mc" and ends with a "Donalds").

I can't get enough of the shark fin dumplings. The shrimp in a noodle crepe. The sticky rice served in a lotus leaf. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

5) City Diner: Every neighborhood should have one. They serve breakfast all day, everything in the dessert case makes you want to save room for it and the Greek family who own the place make you feel like family once you're a regular. Which takes about 2 visits.

They serve a little bit of everything.

The Latino waitress who knows Monkeyboy is in a Spanish partial immersion class at school (math and science in Spanish for half the day and the other subjects in English for the other half) makes him order in Spanish and praises his vocabulary and accent.

And when I want to be especially bad about cholesterol, there's no place I'd rather order a platter of steak and eggs.

Hey Ash: any way I can coax you back to blogging by tagging you with this meme?


Churlita said...

I've never been on a cruise. Sounds like it's worth it for the food alone.

Mrs. Hairy Woman said...

It all sounds great..I've never been on any type of cruise.. I'm sure the food varies from ship to ship.. or does it?

Ezer K'negdo said...

Is Cafe Lautrec still in AM? That was one of my favorite hang-outs in college. Great Jazz. And I know it is cliche, but I used to love the bar at the Old Ebbit Grill. Best Old Fashioned I have ever had.

laughing said...

I've never been on a cruise either.

After I win the lottery, I'm going to take cruises to Hawaii and Alaska, and then I'm going to do one of the Star Trek cruises.

dmarks said...

I've never been on a longer-than-one-day cruise. I have a brother, however, who seems to go on a few a year.

David, why not tag Anon1 as well?

David in DC said...

Churlita, Babybull: I've been on three real cruises and one 3-day Disney Cruise.

The food on the real cruises is sumptuous. So is the service. It varies from cruise line to cruise line, but the least good of the three I've been on was still un-effing-believable.

The Disney Cruise was inferior in every way. Even the kids camp part.

EK: I don't know if Cafe Lautrec is still open. But I sure do remember being a law student and being awed by the old guy who used to tap dance on the bar.

Old Ebbitt Grill is a Washington cliche, all right, but cool nonetheless. The rooftop bar at the Hotel Washington right near the Old Ebbitt Grill is the same kind of place.

You know it's pretentious but it does capture a slice of Washington.

Laughing: All three of those ideas sound great to me.

dmarks: I can't keep using A1 to boost my readership. That's the lazy man's way.

I must build this blogging juggernaut's readership into double digits --- and on to the time that I can't even count my readers after I take off my shoes and socks --- on my own hook.

Ezer K'negdo said...

I remember taking my parents to the rooftop bar at the Hotel Washington - it really has one of the best views of the city. And I still have never had an Old Fashioned like the one the OEG used to make. Even I can't make one that good, ane believe me, I've tried. Perhaps it is the DC mystique that was that extra ingredient ;-)

Moonbeam said...

David, you really have a knack for writing a restaurant review. Makes me wanna fly cross country for some tasty delights and a good watering hole.

Maybe you should consider a part time job as a restaurant reviewer.

I have never had a hankering or opportunity to sail the seas, but your description of the food makes me kinda wanna.

mielikki said...

I had to take notes reading this post, now I know where to go eat during my trip! Perfect timing, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Sounds good to me.

I think the only cruise I would go on is to Alaska. I hate the heat.

I have been in the DC area a few times and always managed to miss anyplace good to eat. The next time down there I will have to use some of the suggested venues.

Aunty Christ said...

Argh ... I'm dyin' here. You're talking D.C. restaurants and no mention of any Ethiopian joints? Seriously, I've wanted to come to your fair city for years, and that's the only reason why. Fuck the memorials, museums, history ... I just want some authentic injera and tibs!

David in DC said...

aunty, you've caught me out. I am the pickiest of eaters, and, while I like Ethiopian breads, I do not like the cuisine.

If you'll notice, most of the venues in the post are praised for having a variety of choices. That's code for, "even DiDC can find something to eat here."

Friends, aunty is right, the Ethiopian restaurants of D.C. are reputed to be very, very special.

David in DC said...

moonbeam, thanks.

A cruise is an ultimate, decadent pleasure.

Mielikki: glad to be of service.
I'll try to do a tourist's tip sheet post soon.

e-e "always managed to to miss anyplace good to eat" is a great phrase.

Happy gustatory trails everyone. :)