Wednesday, July 14, 2010

food for thought

food for thought (at the black cat)
1811 14th street NW (between S street & swann street), washington, DC 20009
hours: monday-thursday 8pm-1am, friday-saturday 7pm-2am
tel: 202) 797-1095
what was consumed: vegan nachos!
i just have to make a quick comment about 'food for thought.' while i'm sure there are other delicious option, i have only had the vegan nachos and often only remember that 'food for thought' is there when i'm at the black cat (sorry).
but let me tell you, the vegan nachos are totally yummy! and definitely something different that's worth a try (in the least). instead of cheese, they use a lemon tahini sauce (which food for thought is famous for) and add other fixin's (mushrooms, olives, onions, and peppercinis) on top of corn tortilla chips. when you're sitting at the black cat, beer in hand, the vegan nachos are a salty plate of deliciousness.
i understand that 'food for thought' has a whole history behind it (i really only found out about as i searched for information for this post). point is, i'm glad that it's around, especially for when i visit the black cat. i will have to get myself a plate of these nachos more often - yum!

northside social

northside social
3211 wilson boulevard, arlington, VA 22201
tel: 703) 465-0145
hours: monday-tuesday 7am-10pm, wednesday 7am-12am, thursday-friday 7am-2am, saturday 8am-2am, sunday 8am-8pm
what was consumed: soy latte, crispy pork belly sandwich (broccoli rabe, olio, santo, smoked mozzarella, salsa verde on italian feather loaf)
in the old murky coffee spot (or so i'm told - i never got a chance to visit murky in arlington as i frequented the (at the time) capitol hill location instead), northside social is an awesome place to grab a good cup of coffee, some delicious sandwiches, and just hang out with friends. if you can get a seat (it's seemed super popular, but also high turnaround, so it's worth the wait). christine had been before and friend seth works there as well, so when friend m suggested we go, i was totally up for making the trek over the river into virginia (yes, food is a great motivator).
after tutoring on a rainy saturday, i hopped on the metro out to clarendon to visit northside social for the first time. friend m had been there already for a half hour, so 2 cups of coffee and a breakfast sandwich in is when i finally arrived (i guess that doesn't really matter - haha). anyway, friend m got the bacon and egg breakfast sandwich and when i joined him, he swore to me up and down that that's what i should get. next time, m, next time. i was on a mission to try the crispy pork belly sandwich ... and i'm glad i did! it was DELICIOUS.
the sandwich: the bread, baked right at northside social, was nice and chewy, not too hard, not too soft. the crispy pork was wonderful. not too salty, and cooked so that there's a significant crunch from the crisped pork that you can feel when you bite into the sandwich. yummmm. i liked that they used broccoli rabe instead of other sorts of greens - the slight bitterness took away from the potentially overwhelming greasy feel that pork can sometimes have. and a bit of smoked mozzarella which seemed to ooze from the bread. served with a side of your choice (i chose potato salad, upon the recommendation of the woman who took my order), this was just want i wanted for a delicious saturday lunch.
the coffee: my latte was really delicious. i didn't see too much coffee art that people have been speaking about, but maybe that's because i got my latte "to go" and messed it up between the counter and my seat (not likely, but who knows). i hear that northside social uses a special sort of soy milk that has a better consistency (i.e., more like milk) and works like the real stuff when heated. all know is that my latte was creamy and rich, not bitter and not too bright. just the way i like it! friend m's note: if you're going to order drip coffee, be sure to order the large "to go." apparently, the discrepancy in size of the "here" vs. "to go" was too much for him to handle (haha), or maybe there's just a secret that he doesn't know.
ahh, northside social, maybe it's a good thing you're so far away. otherwise, i would visit you far too many times than you would like. but for the rest of you, make it a regular part of life! i can't wait until my next visit~

Friday, July 9, 2010

meridian pint

meridian pint
3400 11th St NW(between N Park Rd & N Monroe St) Washington, DC 20010
tel: 202) 588-1075
hours: sunday-thursday 5pm-2am, friday-saturday 5pm-3am
what was consumed: beer! fries with this gravy sauce thing, pulled beef short rib sandwich, buffalo wings.
housemate tyler told me about a new beer place opening up in columbia heights weeks ago. so exciting on a number of different levels: new eateries near home AND libations! hooray! a bunch of us finally got a chance to visit meridian pint, within a few weeks of their opening at that ... and i'm super duper happy that we did!
meridian pint has a street level dining area and a basement bar area (with 2 pool tables, a table shuffleboard/shufflepuck, some booths and tables, and a lot of standing room). christine, et al, got there first and saved a booth downstairs. as i head down the stairs, i was happy to be greeted by a nice chill in the air (yay a/c! especially on these hot hot hot DC days/nights). when i met the rest of the party, i was happy to see that we got one of the tables with beer taps right on the table (hooray!). what a great idea! more about this in a little bit ...
food: meridian pint has a series of dishes for whatever you're craving, anywhere from light appetizers and things to snack on all the way to full on entrees. this time around, i tasted the fries and buffalo wings. i love that the fries were served with this gravy sort of dipping sauce that was delicious! the buffalo wings were ok, but i prefer mine fried and without any sort of sauce (though, i guess, then they're not buffalo wings, but rather, just fried chicken - haha). i also didn't finish the wing i was eating because the meat started getting redder and redder the closer i got to the bone. i'm sure it was ok (and i felt ok afterwards), but i refrained from continuing. and, per usual, i wished they'd put more celery sticks on the plate. i didn't get a chance to taste the pulled beef short rib sandwich as i wasn't too hungry. but, quite a few people at the table ordered it and raved about it. that's a good sign, right? there was quite a pile of beef short rib in the sandwich on a nice sized kaiser roll. and that it's served with fries is always a plus! what should i have the next time i visit?
drinks: at meridian pint, you can order beers from your server or bartender (and they have quite a great selection of beers and a lot of liquor options as well) or you can pour your own pints straight from the table (and i hear you can reserve these tables, but that this is something new? shoot, the entire place is new). our table had sam adams and hennepin by ommegang (which i love). i hear that they are going to rotate the table taps - can't wait to see what they put in next! anyway, you pay based on the amount you drink, not necessarily per glass. having experienced bartenders at our table (i.e., christine) definitely helped with avoiding foam. friend jenny made a really good point - even if the beers on tap at your table are not your favorites, you can pour yourself a little glass as you wait for the server to bring you your preferred beverage. on top of that, because you can pour short glasses of beer, it's sort of a way to ensure that your beer will always be nice and cold - excellent! one thing to note: they have a pint maximum (i think it's 12 pints) as to cut people off from going overboard. this makes sense and i think is a pretty good idea (and we only ran into it because our party was so large, not necessarily because we drink a lot. or is it ...). the actual/real downside: it was hard to divide our bill as no one could remember how many pints of beer each consumed (especially as we started pouring partial pints) and we were all over the place with our ordering from the server. then again, we had a pretty big group (12 of us at one point!) and that added to the confusion. in the end, we figured it out ... i think. lucky for us, our group is a pretty generous group, so we were far from short when it came to closing our tab and tipping our server.
oh, meridian pint, welcome to the neighborhood! i'm glad you are here. i imagine you will see me again. and again. and again ...

blt steak

blt steak
1625 eye street, NW (between 16th street & 17th street), washington, DC 20006
tel: 202) 689-8999
hours: monday-friday 11:30am-2pm, monday-saturday 5:30pm-11pm
what was consumed: bar snacks (popcorn, olives, almonds), chicken liver pate, popovers, himachi (with avocadoes, tomatoes, jalapenos), and (of course) delicious beverages
there are quite a few steakhouses in the dc/metro area, but i've been to very few of them (i haven't been to ray's the steaks yet!) if any. i think it's because my friends and i find ourselves grilling our own steaks instead. anyway. on one of those illustrious bbq days, there was some conversation about popovers. one thing lead to another and we agreed to meet and enjoy popovers at blt. not steak. popovers.
so, friend k and i met up at blt steak post work (and all other "fun" stuff) to sit at the bar, enjoy some good libations, and have some yummy eats. we started off with some bar snacks (delicious salted and roasted almost, seasoned olives (omg, DELICOUS! i wanted to eat the entire bowl, but agreet to share with k ^^;; ), and flavored popcorn - YUM) to accompany our drinks. i had a refreshing and delicious house cocktail (fruity, but not sweet, with a spalsh of club soda) that came with a garnish of candied ginger and mint. yum~ perfect for the hot hot DC summer day that was tuesday (100+ degree weather! yikes).
after we put in our order, we were served a small mason jar with a bit of chicken liver pate. i love pate and was super excited to see that this was a part of the meal at blt (and secretly wished for more). in fact, k and i contemplated asking if we can each get a jar. hahaha ... the pate was so smooth and creamy, i wanted to slather it on everything that we were served.
our (hot) food began coming out (yay!), starting with the popovers. bw (the bartender) suggested that we share one popover. our response was to look at him with eyes that said, "but there are two popovers. and there are two of us. why should we share?" he just walked away, laughing. we kept looking at him, confused. now, about these popovers. i'm usually not a huge bread person and usually go easy on the bread when available, especially if i know that carbs will appear in another form. but there's something about these popovers that are just so delicious. they're light and fluffy, but super moist (i think it's the guyere cheese that is listed within the ingredients - yes, the popovers came with a recipe!) and not rough-ish in texture (as bread sometimes is). they came out, warm, smelling delicious, and just melted in my mouth. i went between slathering my popover with the chicken liver pate and butter with salt (on an aside, blt has some really rad, albeit rustic looking, salt shakers! k and i wanted to smuggle one out of there, but opted against it as these salt shakers literally were the same size as pint glasses).
we ordered the himachi to share as neither k nor i were super hungry (despite ultimately eating what ended up being boatloads of food). the himachi wrapped a sort of seasoned avocado mash, topped with jalapenos and some other veggies, in a small pool of a light citrus (though a bit too citron-y for me) soup. citron-y or not, totally delicious. as k said, the fattiness of the himachi and the avocado just brought out the creaminess of the entire dish, that ultimately just melted in our mouths.
my stomach is growling (again) as i write this ...
k and i opted to sit at the bar. and i'm glad we did! bw was awesome, as were other members of the bar staff (though we kept hiding our dish of olives from one of the guys as he insisted on taking it away! hands off, mister, we're not yet finished). great conversationalists who know their food and drink (that is the best!). in addition to everything else, they totally made me want to go back and visit them. i will!
one day, i'll have to go back and actually try the steak. rib eye, please. but in the meantime, i will dream about the chicken liver pate and delicious popovers that accompanied our meal. mmmmm~~~~