Monday, August 9, 2010

comet ping pong

comet ping pong
5037 connecticut avenue NW (at fessenden street), washington, DC 20008
tel: 202) 364-0404
hours: tuesday-sunday 5pm-10pm

what was consumed: arugula salad, the smoky (smoky mushrooms, garlic, smoky mozzarella, smoky bacon, melted onions), the hottie (jalapeno, comet sauce, pepperoni, fontina), the philly (as a pizza, not calzone - house-roasted pork, garlic, red pepper, grilled broccoli rabe, provolone), stanley (our own italian fennel sausage, comet sauce, mozzarella, roasted peppers), and the one with the egg (as had by guy fieri on 'diners, drive-ins, and dives', but isn't on their online menu!)

i've been to comet ping pong a number of times, but have been there to try their pizzas only once. in fact, i was very excited to have pizza and chicken wings, but they were out of chicken wings when i went! sigh. our server did profusely apologize (though it's not her fault) and even stated that this sort of thing (not having their famous wings) hardly ever happens. oh well. anyway, their woodfired pizza (is that what this style is called?) is simply delicious, though it does take some time for your order to come out (be patient - it's totally worth the wait). comet ping pong's ingredients are fresh and the combinations of flavors are well thought out, while not ordinary (they have ordinary combinations and allow you to make your own pizzas as well). i also like that comet ping pong has a nice selection of libations - they have dale's for $4 a can! good pizza with some good beer is wonderful (granted, i'm partial).

comet ping pong, as depicted in their name, also offers a number of ping pong tables for you to play on. not being a ping pong afficionado myself, i'm not sure what the rules are for using the tables (is there a fee? do you have to purchase food/drink? do you get in line? do you bring your own ping pong paddles and balls? etc.), but i have seen quite a few people play ping pong. some even bring their own paddles (does everyone have to bring their own?) which i find funny. for whatever reason, i equate that to the people who bring their own bowling balls and shows to the lanes. and i laugh and laugh and laugh ...

i've also been to comet ping pong to hear bands play (yes, this is where i saw this one band where there were more people actually in the band than there were audience members. the band was huge!). they clear out the area in the back where the ping pong tables normally go and the musicians set up there. it's not really an area with a stage, but the space is large enough while being intimate at the same time.

guy fieri also visited comet ping pong on his show. i looked it up and saw that he had a "fresh from the farm" sort of show, which then made sense (i wouldn't call comet ping pong a diner, drive-in, or dive). i'm happy that comet ping pong has gotten some well deserved national attention.

i can't wait to go back to comet ping pong. this time, they'd better have wings. can't wait!

Friday, August 6, 2010


1320 19th street NW, washington, DC 20036-1610
tel: 202) 293-3244
hours: monday-thursday and sunday - 11:30am-10:30pm, friday-saturday 11:30am-11:30pm
what was consumed: the day's special (stuffed tomato and pepper with fries and salad), baked zuccini (zucchini filled with ground lamb and rice, topped with tomato-yogurt sauce), fries, bread ...
i'd passed levante's a number of times in my back and forth in and around dupont circle. and when it was time to consider a place for a "going away" lunch, levante's came to mind - lots of food variation (i.e., for all omnivores, herbivores, and even carnivores), space to accommodate large groups (though it sort of gets loud as a result - be sure to speak up when you order as to be clear about what you want), and they take reservations. since the first lunch, i've been back 2 more times - it's turned into a pretty popular selection! i'll have to say that the good food options definitely puts levante's on my list for places to visit. the wait staff is attentive and will even do separate checks for your large group! on my first visit, we stated which reservation we were with, were quickly shown our seats, drink orders were taken, and we began to peruse through the menu and make our selections.

the beginning of the meal begins with bread. i always find myself eating far too much bread at the start of my meal, partly because i'm so hungry by the time i make it to levante's, partly because the bread is so yummy. warm and delicious, especially dipped in olive oil. i'm not a sucker for bread, but i just can't resist when it's warm and placed right in front of me. on this day, i opted for one of the daily specials (levante's usually has a few daily specials that the server knows about and is not written on the menu. if interested, be sure to ask! though the server will probably say something about it). the special of the day was stuffed tomato and pepper. which was delicious. the tomato and pepper were stuffed with seasoned rice and meats (beef, i think. levante's does have a lot of lamb) covered in a tomato sauce and yogurt sauce (i think). the meal came with a side of salad or fries. i asked for both and they were happy to oblige (thanks!). a subsequent time, i had the stuffed zucchini, also stuffed with seasoned rice and meat (lamb this time) covered in a tomato and yogurt sauce. yum yum yum ... every time i leave levante's, i leave very very full (and happy), worried about the food coma that will have already set in. sigh. darn food coma.

i have yet to visit levante's for dinner, though i imagine it's good for dinner as well. especially when the weather is good (they have a pretty large outdoor seating area), i will have to think about visiting levante's for some good eats! yum yum yum yum yum ...



781 7th street NW (between G street & H street), washington, DC 20001
tel: 202) 393-2929
hours: monday-thursday 11:30am-2:30pm, 5pm-11pm; friday 11:30am-2:30pm, 5pm-12:30am; saturday 5pm-12:30am, sunday 5pm-11pm
what was consumed: pork belly steamed buns (with grilled pineapple and salsa verde), wakame-hijiki seaweed salad (with cucumber, carrot, daikon, apple, ginger vinaigrette), carnitas rice noodles (with pork shoulder, mushroom, cashew, soft egg, hot 'n sour sauce), roasted scallops al mojo de ajo (with bacon, corn, sushi rice, and yuzu-sriracha)
zengo zengo zengo ...
everytime i pass through chinatown, i see zengo. for the longest time, i wanted to try it out ... and i finally got a chance (thanks tom!).
in the (now) bright and shining area of town, zengo is right outside the chinatown exit of the metro, right on the 7th street strip next to so many other restaurants, bars, and other places to go. in passing on my way to the metro, i was fascinated by their decor and curious about their fare. it has that sort of chic metropolitan and contemporary feel, appropriate for the area (and perhaps the clientele).
tom and i went for a quick dinner before seeing the trans-siberian orchestra at verizon (the show, btw, was AWESOME). we didn't have reservations, though the host asked. luckily, we were there relatively early, so there wasn't too much of a wait. we were shown to our seats and our drink orders were taken. zengo has a pretty extensive cocktail menu. there were quite a few things one the list that i'll have to say i would like to try, but maybe not an entire glass of (primarily because i'm not a huge fan of adult beverages that have pineapple and/or mango juice in them - not that zengo's menu was filled with it, but cocktails often are). their beer menu (which is usually my focus) was unfortunately not as extensive as i am growing accustomed to. does this make me a beer snob? i hope not, especially since i usually end up selecting a pretty light lager - ha!
we started with some pork buns and seaweed salad, the followed up with rice noodles and scallops on rice. while these sound very asian, the accompanying flavors were very latin - carnitas, salsas, etc. i can see how a lot of asian flavors may meld well with latin flavors. i particularly enjoyed the noodle dish. i love rice noodles! the hot 'n sour sauce coupled with the pork was quite delicious and flavorful. i wish the dish had more veggies and peanuts (and maybe even a bit more spiciness), though that's usually what i say about dishes with veggies and peanuts. all in all, yum. the rice the scallops sat on was cooked well in that sort of "fried rice" sort of way, which is good. unfortunately, i felt the scallops were a bit overcooked, making them a little rubbery (i imagine this was an isolated event?). of course, this didn't prevent me from consuming far more than my share. oops. oh, and while i understand and appreciate the role of green onions/scallions (and actually love their flavor), i'm not a fan of consuming them. so, i spent a lot of time picking them out (i know - so un-lady-like. oh well~).
after having had dined here, i don't know if i would regularly go back. then again, i'm not one to protest (i.e., i'd probably go back if someone else wanted to go). maybe it's just that i'm not the biggest fan of asian fusion (except for, maybe, kogi tacos - ha!) or maybe i'm just a pure-ist (i'm really not). thanks for the good time, zengo! perhaps i will see you again~

da moim

da moim
7106 columbia pike, annandale, VA 22003
tel: 703) 354-3211
hours: sunday-thursday 11am-11pm, friday-saturday 11am-2pm
what was consumed: galbi tacos (korean barbecue tacos are served on warm tortillas with sesame-chili salsa, a slaw of julienne lettuce and scallions, and a sprinkle of crushed sesame seeds), kimchee quesedilla (caramelized kimchi and perilla leaves with cheddar and jack cheeses), ddukbokki (rice pasta, (gnocchi-like), sauteed with vegetables in spicy sauce), korean fried chicken (wings)
i have a soft spot in my heart for bars, restaurants, and all other things korean-style-esque (despite my "harsh" criticism of them, of course). as much as i kick and scream about not wanting to go to "those" kind of places, it's just a part of who i am, figuratively and literally, and i really love it. then again, what's more awesome than eating and drinking all at the same time?
i heard about da moim and tagged along with friends who were going to check it out. in particular, they mentioned da moim doing their rendition of tex-mex/korean fusion - kogi tacos, kimchee quesedillas, that sort of thing. so exciting! friends and i were quickly seated (in any empty place, by the way. admittedly, we got there pretty early - way before drinkin' time. mind you, we were there to try their tex-mex/korean fusion more than the booze) in their main dining area (i think they also had a few private rooms towards the back ... or maybe i'm getting this place confused with some place else). da moim has the same "look and feel" that you get from a lot of other korean/korean american places. anyway, da moim's server was really attentive and did his best to answer all of our pesky questions (and, per usual, we had quite a few).
the korean fare at da moim was pretty tasty. nothing is as good as the food you get in korea (of course), but if you have a hankering for ddukbokki, go for it! nicely chewy dduk in a spicy spicy sauce - yum. i wished there was soon-dae to go along with it. ahhh~ their tex-mex/korean fusion, however, left much to be desired, unfortunately. the kogi in the taco was marinated well and was quite fitting for such a fusion dish, but i was a bit disappointed with the "mission tortilla"-esque flour tortilla (i like corn tortillas better), though perhaps the flour tortilla was intentional (???). but now that i've had the tacos at the kogi truck, and have made home-style versions of kogi tacos (in super yummy cork cakes!), really, my bar has been set much higher. my expectations were pretty high, which definitely affects my opinion of the place. i did really enjoy the kimchee quesedilla. i want to pull one of those "oh, i could totally make that," which may be true (and has already been done), but da moim's was still pretty tasty. when i visit again, i will order it! oh, and their korean-fried-chicken was pretty good, but took a long time to come out (which they warned us about, so we were ready for it). but really, what compares with bonchon? very little. no offense, of course.
i will add da moim to my list of places to visit when out in annandale (it is on that annandale strip 'o places, more or less) for imbibing and consuming, korean style and recommend you try it out and draw your own conclusions. but remember - you can never really have too many korean places to visit!