Tuesday, June 30, 2009

commonwealth

commonwealth (now closed. sad.)
1400 irving street NW (btwn 14th & hiatt), washington, DC 20010
tel: 202) 265-1400

what was consumed: jacket potatoes, fried chicken, rocket w/farmstead cheese & lemonette, bucket of chips, grilled squid, smithwick's beer battered fish & chips, ploughman's lunch surrey ham& wildflower cheddar&pickled cabbage&apple&bread, puffed bread thing (i don't remember what it's called)

after seeing commonwealth (and loving gastropubs), i finally got a chance to make my own visit (thanks for the suggestion, christine!). and with this being in ines's neighborhood, it was fun to have her come along.

so, on a day where we were looking for something close (and good, of course), we picked up ines and head over to commonwealth.

common wealth has both outdoor and indoor seating. despite the ominous clouds, we grabbed a seat outside (the last one with an umbrella, mind you) and started to peruse the menu. so many options! so i want a collection of gastropub "snacks" or a meal meal? do i want something heavy or light ... or a combination of all of these things? when our very attentive server came over and over again to take our order, this was the dilemma i was under. of course, the server was really nice, answered all of our questions, and paiently waited for us to make our decisions.

our meal started with bread - a really nice white with herbs and stuff along with a really nice brown with raisens. and while i'm not a fan of the sweeter breads, there was something about this otherwise dense bread that made me want slice after slice after slice (which i refrained to do after ordering the massive amounts of food that we did. why do we do this?! gluttony, i say, gluttony. oh, and food envy). and while i was thinking a nice beer could go along with the meal, we opted for some club soda (and cola for ines) instead. one of the neat things is the cups that commonwealth uses - these oval glasses! love the detail.

next, appetizers. loaded potatoes, salad, puffed bread, grilled squid. omg, so delicious. the grilled squid (my choice) came on a bed of zuccini noodles (always delicious) and was grilled just the right amount. i have to admit that it was a bit on the salty side, but i do prefer my food salted less than the norm, so i can't really say too much about that. but the loaded potato? good choice, ines! she got the creme fraische and bacon topping - you can't go wrong with that! and apparently europeans call arugula "rocket." i don't know why i thought that was so funny ...

by the time the entrees came out, i have to admit i was pretty full. meh~ of course, that didn't prevent me from continuing to eat. the fried chicken, the beer battered fish, all delicious. but the de-constructed sandwich? right up my alley. so delicious! the different meats, the salty cabbage, the mustard. yum.

ok, i'm finished talking about the food. it's making me hungry ... again.

in other news, the very convenient location of commonwealth (right off the columbia heights metro) make this a likely place for return. it's too bad, though, that the reviews for commonwealth aren't better (i wonder if it suffers from the same unreachable/unreasonable expecations that i have for korean restaurants). some people were disappointed with their beer selection (hmmm ... i'm afraid that i'm turning more and more snobbish when it comes to beer. that's not bad!). no matter - i will have to go back and try commonwealth at other times of the day ... and i will be happy to do so!

las brisas

las brisas
361 cliff drive, laguna beach, CA 92651
tel: 949) 497-5434
what was consumed: weekend breakfast buffet - YUM.
i'm not a big brunch person. i don't necessarily super love pancakes and waffles, i don't really crave bagels (though i have to admit, i can eat bacon any time, any day ... and while not a connoisseur, coffee is often running through my veins. oh, and mimosas. love the mimosas). then again, i'm also not going to deny an invitation to brunch. also, because i'm not a huge brunch person, i don't know that much about brunch in so.cal. it used to be my job to find the restaurant we'd have easter morning brunch/breakfast, but that was about it (and usually, we would eat around my church in the northern parts of the o.c. in contrast to my residence in the south). so, parents wanted to go to brunch and suggested going to las brisas. was it my suggestion? was it theirs? i don't remember. point is, we got ready and head over to the beach for some good eatin'.
las brisas is a hotel right on the water of laguna beach. the restaurant is right on the water and the view is amazing. it's supposedly a restaurant that has mexican flair, but seeing that i've only been there for breakfast, that makes it hard to judge. when i was growing up, we would go to las brisas to take photos (for the tennis team, for example).
the early birds that my parents are, we were at the restaurant right as they opened. this turned out to be a good thing because we got our pick of the seats in the restaurant. i.e., right next to the windows facing the beach. awesome. the sun was shining (but it was nice and cool inside), they skies were blue, and not a cloud was to be seen. hooray for grrrreat so.cal weather! i knew that after breakfast, we could head over to the beach and enjoy the beach (i miss being so close to the beach while here on the east). i guess i'm more of a so.cal beach gal than i'd like to admit and more than i'll usually share. ahhh, the beach.
but i digress.
the food at las brisas is delicious - let's just start with that. it's buffet style, with an omelette station, hot foods, cold foods ... the works. usually buffets vary in quality, but it seemed like the chefs at las brisas were attentive and made sure the food stayed fresh and delicious. the omelettes were made to perfection and to order (that's the best!). they provided quite a few toppings for the omelettes and that always yields fat and delicious omelettes - so delicious. quiche, crepes, fruit, bacon, scrambled eggs, toast, muffins, cereal, etc. all of the usual breakfast favs were a part of the menu as well (of course, i found myself eating other delicious things - YUM).
my parents proceeded to take out a bunch of their friends in subsequent weeks and those old farts (haha - just kidding) all totally enjoyed las brisas as well. i look forward to going again!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

bistro d'oc

bistro d'oc
518 10th street NW (between e street & f street), washington, DC 20004
tel: 202) 393-5444
what was consumed: bread, mussels, sausage, tripe, anchovy salad ...
i've passed in front of ford's theatre on my way to/from landmark e street cinema (one of my favorite theatres here in DC) what feels like a hundred times, but i had never seen bistro d'oc. or maybe it's that i just never payed any attention to it ... so, when friends proposed having dinner there, i was curious to see what it had to offer. per usual, i did my internet search to see what was recommended, what other people thought, etc. the reviews were hopeful, but not stellar - too bad!
we walked in, having made reservations (note, there weren't very many people in the restaurant to begin with), but the host/server seemed to be confused that reservations were made at all (i found this rather odd ... or maybe they just never get reservations? i don't know). no matter - we were immediately seated and the hostess/server came to take our drink orders. while they didn't have a large selection of beers or wines (and they only have bottled sodas), they did have hoegarden, which i like. we were given menus; additionally, the server brought out a large white-board with the day's specials ... and this specials list was as long (or longer!) than the menu. i was happy to see mussels on the specials list, though, because i had read about them, but didn't see them on the regular menu.
anyway, we quickly ordered and waited for our food to come out, which it did in a timely fashion - total plus. the mussels i ordered were good, though not anywhere near the best that i've ever had (unfortunately). they were mostly creamy and could use a bit more seasoning (but again, these are just my opinions). of course, that didn't prevent me from sopping up the sauce/juice with bread (which was pretty good). the best part of the meal? the fries. i love fries, but these were really delicious! and all this despite the reviews that i had read about them. turns out, they're fried in palm oil (i think she said palm), bringing out a different flavor, a delicious flavor.
there seem to be quite a few french and belgian restaurants in the city. while i am glad to have visited bistro d'oc and try their cuisine, i have a feeling i'll select other options for future dining experiences. - sigh -

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

good stuff eatery

good stuff eatery
303 pennsylvania avenue SE (between 3rd street & 4th street) washington, DC 20003
tel: 202) 543-8222
hours: monday-saturday 11:30am-3:30pm, 5:30pm-11pm
what was consumed: vegetarians are people too shroom burger, spike's village fries, cliff’s homegrown vidalia onion rings, soda (they had a few bottled beers, but i wasn't feelin' it. i know, weird)
so, christine (sister) had been to good stuff eatery a number of times before i got a chance to go (she, of course, rubbed it in my face each time - thanks for nothing! haha). in her defense, every time we tried to go, it was a sunday and good stuff eatery is closed on sundays (yes - one of the (many) downsides). finally, when thinking about where to go and have dinner, some other friends and i decided to check out chef spike's DC eatery.
right when i got there, there was a huge line ... which, of course, only led me to wonder if there would be enough seating (per usual, these worries were in vain. people don't seem to sit around at good stuff eatery; rather, they eat, then go). when my friends joined me, we grabbed a table and reviewed the menu. i then took the menu and went downstairs to order. after ordering, they give you a buzzer that goes off when your food is ready (it sort of took a long time. long compared to fast food restaurants, that is. and because the mood of the eatery is fast food-esque, i couldn't help but to have fast food preparation expectations).
after 15?20 minutes, our food finally came out. we were quite excited about the food, but i have to admit, i thought the burger portions were quite small ... especially for the almost $7 price tag. maybe i'm just spoiled. anyway, i took a bite of my mushroom burger and immediately thought that my $7 was worth it. 2 portobello muchroom caps stuffed with/separated by cheese. lovely lovely cheese. the entire patty was covered in a panko crust (which was a bit too thick for my liking) on a bun that seemed more like potato bread than anything else. my "burger" also had all the regular fixin's - lettuce, etc. yum. i had a bite of the other burgers and while they were also quite good, my mushroom burger was my favorite. good think that's what i ordered! haha ...
in addition to the burgers, we got an order of the fries (which i totally recommend) and the onion rings (which i don't recommend so much. clumps of onions (i.e., not rings) were fried together, leaving the onion bites uncooked. i just happened to prefer my onions cooked when deep fried).
in other comments, good stuff eatery is definitely more fast food than sit down. there isn't much ambiance and it's fast food style in that you stand in line, order, wait for your food, eat, then go. this doesn't really matter to me, though.
and for those of you looking for the pseudo-celebrity, you'll see spike running around, running his business (as any good business owner should). while we were unable to catch up to him with camera in hand, there were some other people who did. next time, teresa, we'll get photos! hee hee ...
honestly, i probably won't come back to good stuff eatery for a standard burger. as many other reviewers have also mentioned, i'd probably go else where for a fast food-esque burger (i.e., five guys ... or just sit at home missing in 'n out. ahhh, in 'n out). but for the portobello burger and the fries? most definitely. in fact, i'll probably be back just for that. thanks, spike!