Author’s Note: At Borderstan.com you’ll always get food news from writers who actually eat in our neighborhood. They know where to find the newest rooftop bars, the brunch with unlimited Mimosas, and the best vegetarian options in the city. That’s why we’re giving you a chance to get to know the writers who bring you the best eats Borderstan has to offer. So, grab your fork and take a seat at our table.
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Dan Segal is a Food Writer for Borderstan.
What’s the best resto in DC? Why?
Segal: If we’re talking best, my spot of the moment is Little Serrow. Johnny Monis turns out traditional yet exciting Thai food and is by far the best chef in our city right now.
However, my favorite spot to eat is Great Wall Szechuan House. This place has been my go-to on lazy nights and rainy days ever since I first moved to DC. The regular Chinese is just fine, but their ma la items (Szechuan style and extremely spicy) are truly special.
Describe your food writing style; what kind of story are you looking to tell?
Segal: My food writing style has always been a bit light-hearted and off the cuff, with (hopefully) a touch of insight. Cooking has been a passion of mine since I was a little kid, so I like to think that I have a commendable understanding of good ingredients and good taste. I like to find the uniqueness of a certain place or food and really touch on that. At the end of the day, I’m really just trying to express how good food impacts my life and to share these experiences with our readers.
Which food writers are inspiring you right now? Who do you look to for food news?
Segal: My most oft-read food blogs are The Amateur Gourmet (I just really like Adam Roberts’ recipes), Serious Eats (the best source ever for food geeks) and Eater DC (the go-to for hot news on DC restaurants). The food writers that really inspire me are Marco Pierre White and Jonathan Gold, both of whom are amazing writers who also happen to talk about great food.
What is your version of comfort food?
Segal: I want to say a juicy, medium-rare cheeseburger with a side of chips or a piping-hot bowl of Pho. But, when it comes down to it, I’d have to say my ultimate comfort food is a cheesesteak sub from Dino’s sub shop in Margate, NJ (right next to Atlantic City). Not only is this the single best sandwich I have ever eaten, but both of my parents were born and raised in this small town (and I still visit my grandmother there all the time), so it is always close to my heart.
What is the cooking tool you can’t live without?
Segal: My hands. I know it’s not technically a “tool,” but I use my hands for everything in the kitchen. Mixing spoon, spatula, fork, you name it. I love the tactile part of cooking and to be able to feel my food. Cooking is definitely a contact sport.
Summertime in DC means a few things: humidity, flocks of tourists and the yearly ambush of summer interns. It also means outdoor barbeques and the perfect chance to enjoy some lighter, brighter beers.
Below, I’ve listed five of my favorites. I’m going to mix it up a little, though. Instead of the overplayed food pairings (hint: barbecue tastes good with almost anything), I’m pairing beers with complimentary songs.
My Top 5 Summer Beers Playlist
- M83 “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” paired with Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier: German beers are known for using simple ingredients (malt, yeast, hops and water) and creating something complex. This pale, wheat ale beer is easy to take in, provides bright flavors (tons of banana) and can be appreciated in bulk. M83’s entire album, “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming,” is the perfect companion. It’s pared-down electronic, taking simple sounds and harmonies and creating a perfectly blended melody. Like the Weihenstephaner, the next thing you know it’s 3 am and you’re still in the “dream.”
- The National “Bloodbuzz Ohio” paired with Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Wild Ale: Lagunitas’ Wild Ale is dark, complex and surprising. It’s easily the heaviest beer on this list, but its flavor isn’t too overpowering to enjoy in hot weather. Equally dark and mysterious is the baritone voice of the National’s lead singer, Matt Berninger. This song seems heavy at first, but may end up becoming the indie anthem for your summer.
- Mayer Hawthorne “The Walk” paired with Bells Oberon: Mayer Hawthorne brings his native Detroit’s past and the golden days of Motown to the 21st century. Similarly, Bells Oberon is a classic, but somehow current at the same time. It goes perfectly with an extremely hot day and is my favorite summer ale. Take this beer and this song to your next summertime soiree and hit the dance floor.
- Chuck Brown “Bustin’ Loose” paired with DC Brau The Citizen: This pairing is all about keeping it local. Why not take in DC’s most famous musician (RIP Chuck Brown) while enjoying a Belgian pale ale from local brewery, DC Brau. In fact, have a few. The godfather would want it that way.
- Justine Bieber “Boyfriend” paired with Pretty Things American Darling: You might not want to admit it, but Justin Bieber is not a fad and will be sticking around for a long time. Why not match him with another young gun that’s here to stay. This seasonal beer from the gypsy brewery, Pretty Things, is a pale lager that might surprise you. It’s a beautiful golden brown and knows how to please you… Kind of like a good summer boyfriend (or girlfriend).
All of these beers can be purchased in the Borderstan area. I recommend checking out the local P Street Whole Foods, which is where I went to complete my “research” for this post. It has a great selection of microbrews and a ton of bombers (those large individual bottles that might be confused for a 40-ouncer).
So there you have it; a beer list and a playlist for your next summer event. Leave us your own best beer and song pairings in the comment box.