Wednesday, June 27, 2007

w domku

w domku
821 upshur street NW, washington dc
tel: 202-722-7475
hours: monday-thursday 11am-11pm, friday-saturday 10am-midnight, sunday 10am-11pm

what was consumed: butter lettuce salad, gravlax salad, carrot and ginger soup, schopska, curried egg open sandwich, georgian eggplant caviar, cabbage rolls, pate, mussels, gravlax sandwich, gypsy kielbasa, chicken and cheese nalesniki, pierogis, red onion and cheese pie, serbian gibanica, tilapia, lamb burger, spicy grilled cheese sandwich, salmon hash, swedish (?) pancakes, bigos (hunter’s stew), goulash, and lots of beer (i love the belgian drafts and the baltika 8)

so, i’ve had a lot of stuff from the menu. but there’s a reason for that – i work as a server at domku … so please, don’t get mad if the server isn’t the bestest in the world – i’m seriously doing what i can! … usually …^^;;

christine started bartending at domku (she had mentioned, to the owner, that she was looking for a bartending gig. the owner then proceeded to ask her if she wanted to work at domku. as an individual with no bartending experience, this would be a great opportunity) and after i had visited her at the bar, the owner came and asked me if i’d like to work there (especially while i was still unemployed. make a few extra dollars while serving a few tables – sounds like a great plan, huh?). despite my current employment, i still put in a few hours a week (usually on the weekends) not so much for the extra dollars, but because i really enjoy working with some of the people that i do. even if i wasn’t working, i’d probably frequent the café/restaurant/bar.

there’s something about domku that makes it really comfortable. the eclectic array of furniture allows for people to lounge, eat, study, whatever. though there are stints of only madonna or only the police in the music selection (something that has been addressed and will be changed), the also eclectic collection of music has certainly opened my hearing eyes to other genres, artists, and types (i especially like the song about the whale and singing about “f-word” … seriously). though serving tables outside in the newly opened sidewalk café is sometimes a pain in the butt (because they're hard to see from inside and those tables are just so darn heavy), it’s a great place for patrons to enjoy the outdoors (granted, it’s the outdoors of petworth), especially on a nice night (when will we have those again? darn these hot & humid summers!).

the polish/scandinavian/eastern european collection on the menu is definitely something new to me. i had never had nalesniki prior to my experience here (and it took me about a month before i could even pronounce it!), but it’s definitely delightful and recommended. in fact, there hasn’t been a salad/appetizer/sandwich/entrée that i haven’t enjoyed yet. i’ve worked at domku since the middle of february and i still enjoy eating much of the menu, despite the many times i’ve chosen from its offerings.

for the newbies … here are a few recommendations. not being a breakfast person, i can’t say a whole lot about the breakfast items, but i’ve sampled some of the menu and what i’ve had has been fantastic. the salmon hash is fantastic (i’m a huge salmon fan and hash (sautéed (?) carrots and potatoes) is always delicious) as are the crepe-like pancakes. for other meals … the sandwiches all come with either chips or salad (which i initially always forgot to ask patrons, requiring me to sheepishly return to the table to “finish” taking their orders) and at this moment in time, my favorite sandwich is the gravlax (but i love gravlax (a cured salmon). christine thinks the gypsy kielbasa is the most fantastic while i find that the spicy grilled cheese is the most popular … i think). there are also so many great entrees to choose from. there is a slightly different menu in the winter than there is in the summer. in the winter, the bigos (hunters stew) or the goulash definitely will warm you up. and if it’s fish you want, the tilapia is prepared deliciously and it comes with some super fantastic pea risotto. as an appetizer, i’d probably recommend the eggplant caviar or the mussels (i love the mussels!). other appetizers are delicious as well, but … just personal preference. and my favorite salad is a toss up between the butter lettuce salad (which has been on both the winter and summer menus) and the schopska (stacked slices of cucumber and tomatoes, sprinkled with feta cheese and a light sauce … just on the summer menu). we usually have a range of desserts (from 0 to 5 … depending on the chef’s time availability to create/make dessert). a pretty standard staple, though, is the almond cake. definitely worth a try – delicious! sometimes (no … often), there are things that are not available that day. but no fret! there are bound to be other things on the menu that will be pleasing to the pallet.

what’s also great about domku is their beer selection. yes, many a day we are out of certain beers, but, again, there is bound to be another that will suffice. the owner has a good sense of her drafts and not only are the bottled beers significantly larger than the “standard” everywhere else, they are mostly eastern european in origin (when else are you gonna get to try those?). for the more adventurous, i’d recommend a beer with some of the fruit syrups. though that sounds a bit strange, all who’ve tried come back for more.
come join us at w domku in petworth!

Friday, June 15, 2007

bagels & baguettes

bagels & baguettes
236 massachusetts avenue NE, washington, dc 20002
tel: 202)544-1141
hours of operation: mornings? i think they open for business around 6am and probably close in the early afternoon …

what was consumed: sun dried tomato bagel with light vegetable cream cheese, roast beef bagel sandwich, chicken salad bagel sandwich

on my walk to church (i currently attend national community church and attend the services at union station), i always pass this little, almost hole in the wall, bagel and bread shop. in the back of my mind, i always told myself that i should check it out (sometimes, i crave the californian/new yorker goodness that is a bagel, both in sandwich form as well as with shmears, as they call it at noah’s). now, not being a huge bread person, i wasn’t naturally inclined to look for a great bagel/bread place right off the bat. but when jess (christine’s bf … i think it was him who mentioned it to me first) had said that he read some great reviews of it in the washingtonian (i think it was the washingtonian), i knew i had to check it out.

i think the first time i ate at bagels & baguettes was when my parents were in town back in february (2007). while walking to church, christine and i mentioned how the place was supposed to be good and on our walk home, my parents suggested that we try it out, sort of as a “snack.” good suggestion, parents!

upon entering this little eatery, one will notice that there is hardly any seating. i imagine most people order to go and then eat at stanton park, just a hop skip and a jump away … or just at home. they have a nice variety of bagels to choose from and just as many ways to have the bagel prepared – breakfast style (which eggs, cheese, ham, turkey stuff, etc.) as well as sandwiches for lunch (or those who prefer that sort of thing for breakfast, i.e., me). and their bagels are delicious! not too soft, not too hard, not too chewy. just right (do i sound like goldilocks?). in any case, i could probably eat the bagel just by itself (which is to say a lot because i normally prefer some sort of spread/topping accompanying my bread, when i eat bread at all), but the fillings definitely add great flavor as well. i enjoy the sun dried tomato bagel (that has always been my favorite), but have also had the combination (i think that’s what it’s called), sesame, and plain (all delicious). i have also tried a number of different fillers – honey wheat something (a little bit sweet, but great for those who have sweet tooths (teeth?) on a plain bagel), lox and cheese (always a favorite), and … some others, but they have currently slipped my mind. point is, every time i go, i try to order something different and i have yet to find something to be “just” average.
a downside, if at all? they only take cash (some people find this to be a huge inconvenience), but because the eats are not horrendously expensive (i personally find them to be rather affordable – nothing out of the ordinary … pretty standard fare for breakfast and lunch sandwiches), so i can usually scrounge up a few dollars in cash to cover the cost of such deliciousness. YUM …

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

cosi

cosi
1350 connecticut avenue NW, washington, dc 20036
tel: 202) 296-9341
hours: monday-thursday: 6:30am-midnight, friday: 6:30am-1am, saturday: 8am-1am,sunday: 8am-11pm

what was consumed: tuscan pesto chicken sandwich, lentil soup, soda

one of the dominant coffee/sandwich shops in the area (from what i've seen) – cosi! wherever i turn here in DC, i see a cosi (among other places, that is). i had always wondered about their food, but never really took the opportunity to see what they had to offer. now, in retrospect, i’m glad that i did!

there’s a cosi next to the school i teach at in dupont circle (mind you, there are many cosi locations; i just frequent the one in dupont circle). prior to this, i would have lunch/dinner at baja fresh, especially if i was in a crunch for time. one day, though, i wanted to eat soup and decided that that would be the day to give cosi a try.

cosi has a pretty large menu, including soups, salads, pizzas, and sandwiches as well as a number of different (what they refer to as) shareables and even some entrees! they have a wide variety of sandwiches which are made to order (so if you don’t want something in the sandwich, the sandwich maker may accommodate – that’s always a plus). i very much enjoyed my sandwich – sun-dried tomato pesto spread with grilled chicken and romaine lettuce. what i really enjoyed was the bread that my sandwich came on. it was this sort of flat bread, cut into half, stuffed with all of the goodies that made up my sandwich. i’d imagine that this is great for the carb counters and people like me who are bigger fans of the inside of sandwiches (yum!).

i also had the soup of the day, which was lentil soup that day. i not as familiar with lentils as i am with other things so while i was a little hesitant about having lentil soup, i decided upon ordering the soup because i could already smell it, and it smelled delicious. in fact, the smell matched the taste – delicious! the size of the soup bowl was smaller than i thought it would be. so you can be sure i totally gobbled it all up! next time, i want to try their vegetable soup …

on top of the food, the relaxed atmosphere of cosi as well as the indoor and outdoor seating available (in dupont circle) as well as their free wifi is what i’m sure draws individuals back to cosi. i know i’ve been a couple of times since my first visit and will surely visit again!

Friday, June 8, 2007

dukem

dukem
1114 - 1118 u street (12th street NW), washington, dc 20009
tel: 202) 667-8735
hours of operation: sunday-thursday 11am - 2am, friday-saturday 11am - 3am (kitchen closes 1hr before closing time); carry out: 9am-midnight

what was consumed: combination sampler platters consisting of lamb, beef, chicken, and vegetables

i really really REALLY enjoy enthiopian food. A LOT. if there's ever mention of it, i'm totally game and will go high and wide (more or less) to consume of its deliciousness.

now, according to a number of sources (some professional, some personal), one of the best places to enjoy ethiopian food is here - dukem. found in the u st. corridor (one of the up and coming hotspots of dc), dukem offers a variety of dishes until the wee hours of the morning, as well as carryout services. delicious!

the first time i tried to go to dukem, my parents were in town and they had never had ethiopian food before. with dukem's reputation, i knew that it was a safe bet. too bad everyone else in the world thought so too. the entire restaurant was packed, with a wait of almost an hour (whoops). granted, it was dinner time. i had thought, earlier in the day, to make a reservation (which they take), but foolishly thought that it would be ok. i was mistaken and my family and i decided to venture to another location (which we totally enjoyed).

so, the first time i actually went to dukem, my friend, stacey, was in town. she had never had ethiopian food either (though she's had multitudes of dishes from all around the world, being the world traveler that she is). it was a monday night, there were 2 of us, and it was well before dinner time, so i (once again) did not make a reservation. luckily, my thoughts about the circumstances were correct and we were quickly shown to a great spot next to the window. since stacey had never had ethiopian food before, she left the ordering to me. too bad i had no idea what i had had in the past. our server, though, graciously pointed out the combination section (a sort of "set" menu with a variety of different things), which we quickly decided upon. the combinations have a variety of different options, so for newcomers as well as veterans to this cuisine, it's a good way to go. anyway, we got 2 "combinations," a combination of lamb, chicken, beef, and veggies. when the food came out, we knew that we were going to eat to our hearts' content and still have left overs. between the injera (which i ABSOLUTELY love ... i can't get enough of it!) and the different dishes, there was definitely enough to feed twice the number of people at our table (and still have some left over).

the next time i went to dukem, it was with my friend, angelina, and a larger party of individuals. because of our number (there were 6 of us), i made sure to make reservations. the servers were accommodating (though they thought my name was "rice." yeah, i don't know where that came from) and were seated pretty promptly. the restaurant wasn't too packed, yet, but it was a good thing the reservations were made because we would've had to wait a good amount of time before being seated. again, this time around, we ordered a number of different combinations. if i recall correctly, we ordered 4 combinations (or was it 5? point is, it was fewer than six) and the six of us were able to eat until our bellies were totally filled (we also had a couple beers each, adding to the fullness that we felt).

dukem also has a line of "raw" foods. we didn't know what that was and asked our server if we should order it. she sort of gave us a look that said, 'well, you would know if you wanted it,' so we decided to pass (seeing that some people, aka angelina and also jess (i believe), were having ethiopian food for the first time). but next time, i want to try! even if it's only to taste ...

now, about ethiopian beers. whenever i go, i always forget which beer i enjoyed the previous time and end up having a number of different ones, only to conclude that i find myself enjoying the same one over and over again. of course, it's always the last one i try. oh well~ so, i finally just took a picture of the ethiopian beers that were available (that is, the ones that we chose, one of which was the one that i like most). but now that i look at the picture i've taken, i forget which one i liked! darnit. it's either the meta beer (on the left) or the harar beer (in the middle). i want to say that it's the meta beer, but if i am incorrect, it won't be the first time. but heck, it's beer! definitely a nice compliment to the meal at hand. enjoy!

online:
http://www.dukemrestaurant.com/

Sunday, June 3, 2007

matchbox

matchbox
713 h street NW, washington, dc 20001
tel: 202) 589-4441
hours: monday – friday 11am – close, weekends 12pm – close (the kitchen closes at 11pm)

what was consumed: mini burgers; salad (tuna, calamari, apple pear, spinach); pizza (spicy meatball, matchbox, flat-iron steak, q-special); pepperoni & meatball roll; salmon; steak; pasta; beer

when people come to visit, and i’m looking for a nice little place for a nice little meal, one of the first places that comes to mind is matchbox.

the first time i came was after i had already eaten dinner. granted, that hardly ever stops me from eating again, but i probably didn’t eat as much as i would have liked/could have. my friends had been waiting there for a while (probably close to an hour – very rarely have i not waited. if there was no wait, it was because i arrived at an off hour, such as right when they open, just before they close, etc.), but they said it was worth the wait. i totally agree. there’s a whole history behind how matchbox got its name, how it started, how it expanded, etc. i read up on it while waiting for the bathroom. (how fantastic is it that there not only is reading material to keep you preoccupied while you wait, but also, it makes you forget that you’re waiting to use the one restroom for patrons in the entire place! ok, so maybe that’s not too fantastic …) anyway, i had a few beers and tasted their mini burgers for the first time. yes, mini burgers are available at a number of different eateries; however, the mini burgers at matchbox are so delicious! the thick patties, the variety of cheese options, the buttered buns … YUM. they also come with these string-y friend onions that have been sprinkled with salt and cheese and stuff (i don’t know what the other stuff is, but …) so delicious! this was then followed by the grilled tuna salad – seared tuna in a bed of greens with a nice vinaigrette.

matchbox has a great selection of beers on tap. a couple of belgian drafts, widmer hefeweisen (which is often my choice … after a few belgian beers anyway), and so on. some of the beers are seasonal while others are there year round. they also have this really cool beer glass cooler that they put your glass on before serving your beers. another cool thing that they have is a dumb waiter between the bar on the first floor and the seating area on the 2nd and 3rd floors. keeps the beers cold! just the way i like it~ they have a couple of happy our specials as well, but it’s usually so crowded in there that i opt to be seated. (but that’s just my preference.)

since my first time at matchbox, i’ve returned to the eatery a number of times. each time, i try to get something different, though the same dishes often seem to find themselves before me. the people i tend to go with are also big advocates of “sharing is caring,” so i’ve been able to sample quite a wide variety of their menu options as a result. so, whether it’s for a date or just some friends out to grab a bite, matchbox is definitely one place to put on the “must eat” list.