Little Serow: the BEST dining experience was enjoyed behind this unmarked basement door in the dupont circle area of DC. people lined up before opening to get a table, and that was a tuesday night. this is place is perfect for the adventurous foodie. the menu changes weekly and you have no choices or substitutions, all or nothing. SPICY Isaan style food!
very dark down there and all the food is served family style (share with partner)
the khao tod was my favorite.
the si krong muu (pork ribs) was also delicious but we were not crazy about the laap meuang (back left)
Henninger's Tavern (fell's pt baltimore):
the wife and I had our first "official date" at Henninger's tavern 14 years ago. it was a few blocks from where we lived, we were shifting from a landlord/tennant relationship to something much more esoteric. so we returned with THREE kids. their delicious steamed mussels are partly to blame/credit.
we were pleased to see they still have the best food in fell's point. this quickly became our go-to place while we lived near. our regular meal consisted of steamed mussels with extra bread to sop up the juices, caesar salad and a bottle of cline (lodi) zin.
John Steven Ltd (fells pt baltimore):
I've frequented John Steven for more than 20 years. I was so glad to see that it is exactly the same, nothing has changed. we enjoyed a "steamer" of shrimp coated with old bay and some raw oysters.
the boys passed out at a booth and slept there for over an hour. kat and the daughter went shopping while I stayed and supervised (enjoyed another beer from their fanastic draft list)
BOB'S NOODLE 66 (ROCKVILLE):
kat was very excited about finding this place serving authentic taiwanese food. I was less than thrilled with the service. after we were seated, the servers all congregated around the lady with an ipad (manager?). they watched videos and laughed and giggled. NOBODY came over to offer us water or food or anything. we eventualy gained one girl's attention and she did take our order. kat saw I was getting annoyed and had suggested I have a beer, to relax. but the girl took our beer order, went over to the kegerator and leaned her ass on it and played a game on her phone... the food started to come from the kitchen and land on the table and this girl was still there leaning on the beer... I had to get up and ask her for my beer, or I was about to fill a mug myself. kat was happy, she was finally able to satisfy her craving for an authentic taiwanese oyster pancake.
the oyster pancake (right) was eggy, oystery and the sauce is like a thin sweet ketchup. the "taiwanese hamburger" (left front above) was an odd sort of experience. it's like a braised thick slice of beef with garlic, scallions and cilantro, then a liberal coating of sugar in a steamed bun. I had no real opinions on it, wasn't bad, wouldn't seek one out again.
he had no ambivalence concerning the hot and sour soup. he can't get enough of that stuff and Bob's noodle 66 hot/sour soup was good. food good, service sucks, and remember to bring cash only, bob hates credit cards.
NICK'S OYSTER BAR (cross street market/federal, hill baltimore)
I love the communal experience of seafood and beers at Nick's at the far end of the cross street market. they serve beers in these giant 32 oz clear plastic cups. the girl above was kind enough to realize I was being cheap when I ordered one 32 oz instead of two 16 oz for us. she charged us for the 32 and split it for us. the food was good, the beer was good... I want more.
Monaco Kimpton Hotel social hour:
our hotel had complimentary (FREE!) wine and appetizers from 5-6. the app was some sort of compressed water melon with ginger and mint... (as best I can recall)
DOGFISH HEAD ALE HOUSE (gaithersburg md)
they have great craft beers at dogfish head. kat enjoyed her petite and fancy beer, but she soured on it after she realized it was nearly $11. she was missing the cheap shiner heffe weizen we enjoy here in austin.
the cheasapeake pizza was ok but the kids mostly enjoyed the brownie w/ ice cream.
ROCKET TO VENUS (hampden, baltimore):
we also lived in the Hampden area of Baltimore (the city that breeds). that area has really evolved into a nice escape from the urban jungle for locals (and tourists in our case). RTV was not around when we lived there, but twice we met up with old friends (upcoming third dc/balto blog post). the kids enjoyed the fried PBJ, it was an epic mound of fried sweetness.
one of my old partners in crime is chef'ing it at RTV. chef craig henige and I both worked in a fell's point french/seafood restaurant called foster's, 17 years ago?. craig was the sous chef, I was the pantry chef, we worked under Executive Chef Gwen Kvavli Gulliksen. those were some good times, before wife/kids/house... I didn't even own a car. we worked hard at making amazing food in the kitchen, then worked hard at trying to explore/violate every bar in fell's point. I'd sleep the day and do it all again.
anybody that has enjoyed seared salmon here at austin modhouse can thank chef gwen as I learned to love and make that stuff from her. (a chef gwen seared salmon recipe link here)
and if you are into kale salad, it's your lucky day! chef gwen has a kale salad blog HERE
RYLEIGH'S OYSTER HOUSE (federal hill, baltimore):
I highly recommend ryleigh's. they had a great lunch special for $9, sandwich and a cup of soup. daughter enjoyed the BLT and I enjoyed the md cream of crab soup. and the oysters were delicious/fresh!
JIMMY'S (fell's point):
nothing fancy about jimmy's. just great diner food at reasonable prices. pancakes, hash browns and kat enjoyed housemade cornedbeef hash. cheap and easy, this was our neighborhood breakfast spot when we lived near.
MaGerks Pub (federal hill baltimore):
I used to hang out at this fun dive bar called Tio Loco's. one day the owner (brian) got tired of it all and closed. it's now magerk's. like a salmon returning home to spawn... we found magerk's had a great courtyard that was perfect for kids. the kids had selected several cakes and sweets from cross street market. we had planned to find a park bench to enjoy the nice weather and let them snack, but we found none. magerk's ended up being the perfect place and they didn't mind that the kids brought their own food in. we did later return for a second magerk session and enjoyed the food. we liked it!
ETETE Etheopian (U street area DC)
I can't recommend you going to etete. the DC restaurant scene offers great etheopian food. when I lived in DC it was easy to walk to adams morgan and get some cheap etheopian extra spicy and a pitcher of beer. the U street area is now popular for etheopian food. so after spending all day on the mall, we made it to U street and landed here. I asked the waitress for help and explained that three entrees would be plenty, she pointed to a few and I agreed. then she asked if we'd like a pastry first. I agreed once again. then she returned with 5 pastries.... somehow we figured we'd be sharing one but ok, it was good. then we received our food, served as you see above. I'm not that familiar with etheopian food but it was all good. but when we received the bill, we were charged for four entrees. I reminded the waitress that I'd asked for three, but she got the menu and mated each pile of food on the table to four different entrees. it was WAY more food than we could eat. instead of it being a cheap easy fun meal, it was $100 of frustration.