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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Chaia

Plaudits: None


Neighborhood: Georgetown

For a long time, I - and therefore by extension this blog - had very strong feelings about vegetarianism. Since then, I've married a flexitarian and become a lot more indoctrinated into a meatless lifestyle. Still, it's infrequent when something vegetarian dazzles me. Chaia was one of those places. 
The relatively new brick-and-mortar spot, it's a replica of Chipotle/Cava Mezze Grill: fast casual, order one of five things, customize to a degree. Much like its contemporaries, the space is fun and clean, tucked away from M Street in a cute bright wood space.

As for the tacos: they range from the straightforward (mushroom, feta, and red sauce) to the very unexpected (winter squash, ricotta salata, caramelized onion, yogurt, mint). The truly laudatory one is the roasted beet and goat cheese with cilantro lime yogurt, which is bright and lively; Official Co-Writer/Wife of DCWD preferred the creamy kale and potato with its poblano and pepperjack spice. About the only one that didn't work as well? The smoky collards - a little dense for me.

The Verdict


Fun, veggie-friendly, and charming. What more t ask for.

Food Rating: *** 
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 3.5 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
N/A
Vibe:
Calm
Cost:
$
 (out of 5) (less than $25)

Chaia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Texas Jack's

Because when you're an adult it's hard to keep things like this going. We're switching to a new format, that's going to be a little be faster and sleeker (read: it's starting to get hard to find time to write all this stuff down, so I'm going to try and be more economical about my words, except for the truly noteworthy. Let's start that today.

Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: Clarendon

We don't really venture out to Virginia that often; like most people who have lived in D.C. as long as I have, there's just something about crossing that river that is now firmly entrenched as a mental barrier. But family is one of those reasons, and when Texas-adjacent - both geographically and Official Co-Writer/Wife of DCWD Texas-ly - a barbecue place named Texas Jack's seems apropos. The former Tallula/Eatbar space, the inside has been transformed into something resembling Hill Country, but if you took all the brown out - save of course, the picnic tables - and throw black and slate in. A post-industrial, nay modern, barbecue spot.

If the setting is a little less traditional, the food is pretty much spot-on. The table orders a meat medley - a half pound of brisket, a half pound of pulled pork, four pork spare ribs, half a chicken, and a pork habanero sausage - as as a smattering of sides, chief among them mac and cheese and smashed cucumbers. As someone who served barbecue at his wedding, I hold a high place in my life for good barbecue; this place counts as that. Juicy, punchy, and tender, each of the samplings displayed an attention to good smoking and time well used. The brisket sits atop my list, with the sausage an equally nice surprise; perhaps the only pass was the cucumbers - too blegh.

The Verdict


Maybe even worth crossing the river for.

Food Rating: ***
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 3 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
Party in the USA
Vibe:
 Noisy
Cost:
$$
 (out of 5) ($25-$50 for two)

Texas Jack's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, May 9, 2016

Monday Munchies: Bub and Pop's

Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: Dupont Circle

The Setup


Lunchtime near the office for both me and Official Co-Writer/Wife of DCWD Texas. Figuring we were right there, we decided to see what all the hullabaloo about Bub and Pop's was about.

The Vibe

A sandwich shop in the ground level of a rowhouse, this place is cozy. As in, they are maybe 15 seats in total, and around lunchtime - which is the only time they're open - this means that there will be a line to the door snaking through the room the entire time. Not exactly the kind of place you want to have a private conversation, but I mean, it's not exactly trying to be that place either. I'll say this: the staff are incredibly friendly for a place pushing as many sandwiches as they are.

The Food


Between the two of us, we order the bolognese parmesan - a ragu with meatballs, pork belly, italian sausage, along with arugala, caramelized onions, provolone, and pecorino; and the tuna melt, which comes with similar accoutrements. These are heart-stoppingly good sandwiches. They are rich and heavy, but in the same way that homemade things are - with the ragu specifically feeling like a particularly poignant grandmaternal thing of beauty, with flecks of meaty goodness popping up among stewed tomatoes. Sometimes, I feel like the mark of a good sandwich is when you can pull the halves apart and see the gooey innards stretch out; if by only that metric, these are great.

The Verdict


Eat your heart out, Subway. This is the real deal.

Food Rating: ****
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 1.5 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
 N/A
Vibe:
Energetic
Cost:
$
 (out of 5) (less than $25 for two)

Bub and Pop's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato