Like what you see? Follow dc wrapped dates' Kim on Twitter for last-minute date ideas and other food news. @dcwdkim

Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Munchies: Uprising Muffin Company

Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: Shaw/U Street

The Setup


Quick breakfast on the go? Time to try out the Uprising Muffin Company. I'd already previously sent Official Sister of DCWD Rissa over to the Progression Place eatery beforehand, who had provided a fairly middling review herself. Still, we found ourselves in the area with a hankering for breakfast and the desire to switch up our normal Blind Dog Cafe routine.
The inside of the muffin shop is like if you took a Starbucks and switched green to yellow: modern coffee shop feel with heavy hits of brown; a central counter with some outlying bar and two-top seating; a brisk, impartial feel that sits on the opposite side of the spectrum from the more relaxed, lived-in feeling you get from more casual espresso-slingers. It's not for lack of trying: certain design elements, like small square tiling or gray and white trim try to push for a hipper (or at least Home & Garden-er) aesthetic. Still, doesn't feel the kind of place you'd want to hole up for the day.


As for the food, we grab two muffins and beverages - none of which are exemplary. Texas's pumpkin muffin is saccharine and gooey - which makes the whole affair fairly unpleasant, the sugar only outdone by the incredibly cloying chai latte we split. My spinach, tomato, and parmesan muffin fairs better, but it's still dry and pedestrian.

The Verdict


With so many other coffee stops within just a few blocks... skip it.

Food Rating: * 1/2 
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 2 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
N/A
Vibe:
Calm
Cost:
$
(out of 5) (less than $25 for two)

Click to add a blog post for Uprising Muffin Company on Zomato

Monday, June 8, 2015

Monday Munchies: DCity Smokehouse

Plaudits: Washington Post 2014 Fall Dining Guide
Neighborhood: Bloomingdale/Truxton Circle

The Setup




Riding back on one of the 90 buses, Official Co-Writer/Wife of DCWD Texas and I suddenly realized how hungry we were. What better time to get off the bus and try out the buzzy DCity Smokehouse?

The Vibe
Blink and you'll miss it. Despite what seems like a large storefront, DCity Smokehouse consists only of a walk-up counter and four bar seats along one wall. It's cute though: some slate and white walls decorated with assorted DC kitsch lit by an assortment of Edison bulbs. If you're looking for seats, be prepared to battle for them, and to have a constant line behind you.

The Food


We ordered two sandwiches, the Brisket Champ and the Z-Man; the first a brisket sandwich on Texas toast with fried onions and pickles, the second chopped pork on a potato roll with cheese and fried onions. To say these were decadent seems self-obvious; to say they were delicious is a necessity. Meat that's juicy and complex, toppings that feel like home, and a feeling of indulgence that's contagious.

As her nickname suggests, Texas has strong opinions about barbecue. To these sandwiches she said, "can we get some more?"

The Verdict


Superlative barbecue in a low-key spot.

Food Rating: ****
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 2 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
 N/A
Vibe:
Chatty
Cost:
$
 (out of 5) (less than $25 for two)

Click to add a blog post for DCity Smokehouse on Zomato

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

First Look: The Room at McGinty's

This post from Official Friend of DCWD HR Intern

Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: Silver Spring

The Setup


We got invited to part of the soft opening to try out the new Room at McGinty's, and to see the talents of Chef Nico Amroune at work.

The Vibe

The Room at McGinty's is a new spot out in Silver Spring. Formerly McGinty's Dining Room, "The Room" bills itself as "a restaurant within a restaurant," showing off an upscale dining experience inside of a traditional Irish pub. Inside the bar and up the stairs, you'll find a nice and cozy atmosphere, intimate enough to make you feel like you leave the pub behind and focus on the company you're with and the food and drinks at your table.

The Food


The Chef put together a fun tasting menu for us to give us a sample of what he works with. We started off with some caramelized onion foccaccia and olive oil, and ordered some beers - when in a pub, right? Our first course soon followed - chilled spring gazpacho. This was not your mama's gazpacho. The delicious twist was the addition of black brioche croutons, soaked in olive brine and squid ink. The soup was solid in its own right, but the croutons made this one of the best dishes of the night.

We moved on to the second and third courses, which had a pleasantly Italian spin to them. First we had a veal tonnato with caper berries, lime segment and more of those delicious croutons. The tonnato had a tartare-like quality to it, thinly sliced to let the meat soak up the flavors that accompanied it, including the tuna stock and the veal stock. Then we moved to the lemon-asparagus panna cotta. This was by far the most intriguing dish that we saw. When you think of panna cotta, you tend to assume sweet, but this was in fact a savory dish - a beautifully prepared pyramid of asparagus to give us some vegetables in a new and creative way. The blood orange side salad was an excellent addition to go with it.


At this point we turned to cocktails to try some of the offerings on the menu. We first sampled the Stewart G&T - hendrick's dry gin, jack rudy small batch tonic, served with a cucumber slice. It was the cucumber that made this one nice and refreshing for a summer day. Later we tried the Anna's New Fashioned - Jameson, Benedictine, Regan's Orange Bitters and Peychauds Bitters. For an old fashioned lover like me, this was absolute perfection. Great work, team.


We moved on to the fourth course, a lobster ravioli with romesco sauce and fried leeks. The ravioli was delicious, with a perfect sized portion to get a delightful few bites of the lobster without feeling too heavy. I could have eaten a whole lot more of the fried leeks (think fried onions in texture, but lighter and seemingly healthier), but thankfully we were served the right amount to accompany the ravioli rather than overpower it.

We took a brief break with a passion fruit sorbet course, served in a glass with champagne. It was a nice way to break up the courses before moving towards the finale.


We had been taking guesses on what the fifth and last dinner course would be after they brought out what looked to be a steak knife. I was pleasantly surprised to find a venison loin, prepared with tender leeks, red cabbage and brandied sour cherries. The venison was incredibly well prepared, and meshed well with the flavors around the plate. The star of this show was by far the cherries, which paired perfectly with the venison, but provided a mixture of sour and sweet to the dish that they continue to be what I remember most from the meal. When I mentioned this to the owner, he said he felt the same way about the dish.

In case that wasn't enough, we even had dessert, a chocolate hazelnut tarte with coffee cream and orange sorbet. Despite being stuffed, we forced ourselves to go through it (they clearly twisted our arms). The coffee cream added a nice balance to the chocolate and hazelnut, and paired well with the coffee and espresso we ordered to finish off the meal.

The Verdict

All in all, we walked out feeling well fed and excited about a new place in Silver Spring as a nice change of pace from our DC neighborhood. And to garner even more excitement, The Room is about to celebrate its Grand Opening in style. If you're interested in checking it out, they're offering 50% off the total bill on June 2, 3 and 4, so be sure to stop by!

Food Rating: *** 1/2 (out of 5)
Date Rating: 4 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code: Casual
Bar Rating: N/A
Vibe: Chatty
Cost: $$$ (out of 5) ($50-$75 for two)

McGintys Public House and Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 1, 2015

Monday Munchies: Maki Shop

Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: 14th Street/Logan Circle

Sushi is something that I crave every so often, in a way that even Official Co-Writer/Wife of DCWD Texas can't understand. So when Maki Shop, from the former owners of Kushi, opened up on 14th Street, I had to give it a try.

The set-up is fairly simple: like a Starbucks for sushi. Enter to find a display case of pre-rolled maki rolls, perhaps augment it with a side of sashimi or seaweed salad, and either take it on the run, or sit at the sparse amount of bar seating around the restaurant. As for the food, the first thing to notice about the rolls is the diversity; while a lot of traditional fish rolls abound, room is made for rolls with proteins like soft-shell crab or curried chicken. On this stop, I go with a straightforward salmon roll and a braised short rub.

The second thing you notice is that the rolls seem generously stuffed with the protein - a likely reaction to some early social media which panned what was perceived as the restaurant's cheapness. Rolls come packaged in plastic, but with an outer layer of seaweed yet to be applied. The net result is a crispier piece of nori and a slightly better taste experience; the downside is that some assembly is required.

Oh, and the taste? Straightforward and hit the spot. The interesting bits come from the variety of mayos and sauces that the eatery provides - with flavors like yuzu, wasabi, sriracha, and ponzu; I'm not sure if dipping sauce was their intention, but it does make the short rib a bit more fun.

The Verdict


If you're on the run and need sushi fast, sure. It's decent, satisfying sushi.

Food Rating: ** 1/2 
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 2 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
N/A
Vibe:
Calm
Cost:
$
 (out of 5) (less than $25 for two)

Click to add a blog post for Maki Shop on Zomato