As one of the food writers in our stable of contributors here at Borderstan, I’m usually piping up with the two-paragraph paean to some Washingtonian Top 100 restaurant, or the recently discovered hole-in-the-wall. My experience is in our city’s culinary scene and our neighborhood’s eateries. But just for this week, here’s a something a little bit different: a little story about my recent engagement, if you’ll indulge me.
Which is not to say Borderstan and food don’t both make a lot of appearances throughout this story. In fact, our meet-cute tale is full of familiar locations and bites. It was the day I finished moving my last box into my first U Street home that I met Jess, at a Dupont backyard barbecue. A list of our first and best dates reads like a neighborhood guide: Bar Pilar, the now-closed Cajun Experience, Posto. Ours is very much a Borderstan love story; heck, both of us even worked for Borderstan.com.
So it’s a little funny that the key restaurant for this particular part of our story is one we ultimately never ate at: DGS Delicatessen. Our engagement wasn’t a surprise; both of us think that an engagement should be a mutual decision, I’d already asked her parents for permission, and we’d gone together to pick out her ring (under the “well only one of us has to wear this on our hand forever” logic).
The one caveat I held for myself however was this: how I pop the question is totally up to me. So the only way to keep it a secret was to cloak it with something plausible, like say, lunch at a new restaurant. How about that new Jewish deli on Connecticut?
In reality, a few factors had coincidentally fallen into place: the ring was going to be ready on President’s Day, when not only she was off of work, but so were a few co-conspirators. What’s more, my company treats President’s Day as a floating holiday and I had just taken on a huge project at work, so it only made sense that I would have to go into work that day.
Jess knew this last part, so it didn’t necessarily raise any red flags when I told her I would be up by Dupont Circle for an off-site meeting and would be free to grab a quick lunch near our house.
We met just north of the circle to avoid suspicion, though I almost gave it away a few times: being a little too overeager to get rid of her tissue (she was fighting a cold) or to hold her hand, and nearly putting the ring in my inner jacket pocket (which would have given it away when we hugged).
As we cut through the circle, I thought about the near-decade I’ve spent in this city, how much I’ve loved this spot in particular, and how eerily empty and quiet the circle was, except for the sounds of a strumming guitarist on the far side. And then, the faint strums of a ukulele on a C major chord…
I had recruited two friends to help me out in this endeavor. One was secretly snapping pictures of the occasion, while the other sat behind a newspaper, hat and hood pulled over, with iPod speakers on his lap. It’s from there that the song was coming from, competing and losing slightly to the erstwhile musician in the distance. Still, it’s enough that when I turned to her and said, “Hey, do you hear that?” she could still pick it up. It’s our song. She smiled, and I asked her to dance.
There are a lot of things that must run through someone’s mind when they realize that this is it, this is the moment that they’ve been imagining for a while. “I’ll be telling this story to so many people in the coming years.”
“Oh, so this is how you planned to do it. I’m so happy right now.” It’s a flood of emotions that cause you to think and say about a million things. In Jess’s case, all she could say was: “Wait, did you steal my passport, too?” She had misplaced it that morning, and apparently thought I’d orchestrated something that required photo identification. Now, it’s my turn to smile. “No. That one’s on you.”
The quip had thrown me off my prepared speech. You’re sort of in your own bubble when you propose, with everything else blocked out besides you and your soon-to-be-betrothed, right up until the moment that she says yes. Then something will pop that blissful ignorance. Like a bystander sitting on one of the benches, who said, “Well I’ve never seen that before.” It doesn’t ruin it though.
The moment had been carefully planned, and our friends knew just when to jump out with champagne flutes and cigars they’d brought to celebrate. The one thing I didn’t account for was the audience, and nothing made me appreciate Borderstan more than them.
There were the two photographers who joked, “We didn’t know if we should be taking pictures too.” There were the two early-20-somethings who actually asked us, “Hey, can we Instagram this?” And then there was the fountain itself, the spot I’ve loved so much, now with just another reason to love it that much more.
Funnily enough, we never did end up getting lunch at DGS Deli. Guess that’ll just have to be our rehearsal dinner then.
It’s DC’s bi-annual Restaurant Week, which means that through August 19, more than 200 restaurants in the DC metro area will offer three-course meals at discounted prices.
Throughout the week, multi-course lunches are $20.12 and dinners are $35.12 at participating restaurants (not including beverages, tax and gratuity). Most places set fixed menus for the week, so make sure to check with the individual restaurant before reserving your table.
There is no need to chase these deals all over the city – Restaurant Week is the perfect opportunity to sample some of the neighborhood’s best spots. Most reservations can be made through Open Table and City Eats DC; visit the Restaurant Week website for a complete list of participating locations.
To help you out, we’ve made a list of participating restaurants in Borderstan:
Dupont Circle Area
- Agora, 1527 17th Street NW
- Beacon Bar and Grill, 1615 Rhode Island Avenue NW
- Bistro Bistro, 1727 Connecticut Avenue NW
- Darlington House, 1610 20th Street NW
- Ezme, 2016 P Street NW
- Firefly, 1310 New Hampshire Avenue NW
- Floriana, 1602 17th Street NW
- i Ricchi, 1220 19th Street NW
- La Tomate, 1701 Connecticut Avenue NW
- Nage Restaurant, 1600 Rhode Island Avenue NW
- Odeon Cafe Italian Cuisine, 1714 Connecticut Avenue NW
- Ruth’s Chris Steak House, 1801 Connecticut Avenue NW
- Sette Osteria, 1666 Connecticut Avenue NW
- Sushi Taro, 1503 17th Street NW
- Urbana Restaurant, 2121 P Street NW
Logan Circle Area
U Street Area
- 1905, 1905 9th Street NW
- Lost Society, 2001 14th Street NW
- Policy, 1904 14th Street NW
- Tabaq Bistro, 1336 U Street NW
- Ulah Bistro, 1214 U Street NW
- Vinoteca, 1940 11th Street NW
I have to confess; I walk past Ulah Bistro almost every day but never think of it when picking a restaurant. I finally stopped by for dinner, and have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.
The restaurant, which is located right by the U Street metro, has a cool space with two floors, separate bar areas and a decent size patio, which is an ideal spot for the perfect summer evenings we’ve been having lately.
It is a great Happy Hour destination, too — $5 margaritas, rail drinks and wine, $4 beers and food offered as well.
The dinner menu is varied and extensive, offering up traditional American bistro fare with a wide range of price points. I found myself thinking it would serve large groups and picky eaters well — the kind of place where there is something for everyone, be it a sandwich, pizza or a full entrée.
Our drinks and appetizers both came out very quickly, although the restaurant was almost full at the time. The mussels were fresh and plentiful, and the white wine and garlic sauce that they were prepared with hit the spot. After polishing off every last bit of bread and broth, we eagerly awaited our entrees, looking at the long line of tourists lining up at Ben’s Chili Bowl, which is literally right across from Ulah. But we didn’t have to wait as long as they did!
I got the roasted chicken, and my dining partner got the fish of the day. Both of us had requested substitutions on the sides that were offered with our dishes, which our server graciously accommodated.
The chicken, served with a red wine sauce was simple but flavorful and the portion was large, I could only finish half of it. The fish of the day, grilled salmon in a mushroom broth was fresh and tasty. Our accompaniments — sautéed bok choy, mashed potatoes and the house salad — were all good and came in large portions.
While the flavors were delightful, the freshness of the ingredients and the exceptional service we received through our meal stood out. We left satisfied and full, concluding that Ulah would be a great option the next time we are looking for a comforting bistro meal that does not break the bank.
If you have been, what do you recommend we eat the next time we go?
Ulah Bistro: The Details
- Where Am I Going: 1214 U Street NW (Between 12th and 13th on U)
- When Am I Going: Monday to Friday: 11am to 11pm (2 am on Fridays); Saturday and Sunday, Brunch from 10 am to 3pm. Happy Hour and late night menus offered.
- Paycheck Pain: Pizzas and sandwiches priced at about $13. Entrees cost $17 to $24.
- Say What?: Tables are fairly close together and the place gets busy and loud late at night. Upper lounge area is good for large groups, lower floor good for smaller groups and for conversation.
- What You’ll Be Eating: American bar and bistro food.
From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT]borderstan.com and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.
The Washington City Paper has posted its list of the area’s most valuable restaurants, and Borderstan’s cuisine is well-represented. Don’t confuse this for a simple “best restaurants” list — rather, it is a diverse survey of the places where your money is best spent.
How do the folks at WCP make such a distinction?
Each food contributor is asked to respond to the question, “What makes your dining experience valuable” in his or her own way, and the results are appropriately diverse: some selections are noted for their ambiance or vibe, while others are featured strictly for their food and/or price point.
- Taylor Gourmet
- Great Wall Szechuan House
- Bar Pilar
- Blind Dog Café
- Little Serow
- Sushi Taro
- Smoke & Barrel
- Komi (of course)
- Brasserie Beck made the list as well, and although it lies beyond the borders of, um, Borderstan, I’m giving it a nod because it’s a personal fave.
Note that five restaurants on the list are on 14th Street and three more are on 17th Street NW. Get eating!
From Alejandra Owens. You can find her at her food blog, One Bite At A Time. Alejandra also writes for City Eats DC, a Food Network site, where you can book dinner reservations. Follow her on Twitter at @frijolita and email her at alejandra[AT]borderstan.com.
C’mon. Be honest. Thursday is practically the weekend, and that means you’re considering ditching the kitchen and going out for dinner. Now you have the perfect excuse to avoid the kitchen: Thursday, April 26 is the annual Dining Out for Life event which benefits Food & Friends in DC.
There are 36 participating restaurants right here in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area; see the list at bottom of this post.
Food and Friends provides meals and groceries to nearly 1,500 people in the DC metro area who are facing HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-changing illnesses. Dining Out for Life is an international event — with funds raised in that city staying in that city.
And it’s easy to take part — “more than 150 restaurants throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area donate 25% to 110% of their proceeds to Food & Friends.” You can find a participating restaurant on the Dining Out for Life website or check our local list below.
“Food & Friends is the only nonprofit organization in the Washington area providing daily, home-delivered, specialized meals, groceries and nutrition counseling to individuals in the community who are facing some of life’s most difficult challenges. The funds raised through Dining Out for Life allows Food & Friends to continue to provide these critical services at NO COST to the clients.”
Below are the participating restaurants in the Borderstan area (with percentage donating in parenthesis).
Restaurants in green on are on/near the 17th Street corridor; restaurants in blue are on/near Connecticut Avenue corridor.
- Annie’s Paramount Steak House, 1609 17th Street NW (100% on dinner)
- Beacon Bar & Grill, 1615 Rhode Island Avenue (25% on dinner)
- BGR – The Burger Joint, 1514 Connecticut Avenue NW (25% on dinner)
- Bistro du Coin, 1738 Connecticut Avenue NW (50% on lunch and dinner)
- Darlington House, 1610 20th Street NW (25% on dinner)
- Dupont Italian Kitchen, 1637 17th Street NW (25% of dinner)
- Grillfish, 1200 New Hampshire Avenue NW (25% of dinner)
- Hank’s Oyster Bar, 1624 Q Street NW (50% on dinner)
- James Hoban’s Irish Pub, 1 Dupont Circle (25% on dinner)
- Cafe Luna, 1633 P Street NW (35% on lunch an dinner)
- Firefly, 1310 New Hampshire Avenue (25% on dinner)
- Floriana, 1602 17th Street NW (35% on dinner)
- La Frontera Cantina, 1633 17th Street NW (25% on dinner)
- La Tomate, 1701 Connecticut Avenue NW (25% on dinner)
- Lauriol Plaza, 1835 18th Street NW (25% on dinner)
- Level One, 1639 R Street NW (35% on dinner)
- Mourayo Restaurant, 1732 Connecticut Avenue (25% on dinner)
- Nage Bistro, 1600 Rhode Island Avenue NW (25% on dinner)
- Pesce, 2002 P Street NW, (25% on dinner)
- Scion Restaurant, 2000 P Street NW (25% on dinner)
- Skewers, 1633 P Street NW (35% on dinner)
- Tabard Inn, 1739 N Street NW (25% on lunch and dinner)
- Thaiphoon -DC, 2011 S Street NW, (25% on dinner)
- Urbana Restaurant and Wine Bar, 2121 P Street (25% on dinner)
- Commissary, 1443 P Street NW (25% on dinner)
- Logan Tavern, 1423 P Street NW (25% on dinner)
- Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, 1612 14th Street NW (25% on dinner)
- Posto, 1515 14th Street NW (100% on dinner)
- Veranda, 1100 P Street NW (25% on dinner)
- Whole Foods Market, 1440 P Street NW (50% on salads and hot bar)
- Bistro La Bonne, 1340 U Street NW (35% on dinner)
- JoJo Restaurant & Bar, 1512 U Street NW (35% on dinner)
- Marvin, 2007 14th Street NW (35% on dinner)
- Sala Thai – U Street, 1301 U Street NW (25% on lunch and dinner)
- Tabaq Bistro, 1336 U Street NW (35% on dinner)
- 18th & U Duplex Diner, 2004 18th Street (25% on dinner)
Borderstan welcomes a new food writer to the team, Kim Vu. A DC resident since 2005, he works in international development by day. He also has his own food blog, DC Wrapped Dates. Follow him at@dcwrappeddates or email him at kim[AT]borderstan.com.
My roommate and I are notoriously bad at making decisions on where to eat dinner. And for the last seven years or so, we’ve gone through the same process each time. We’ll play the game of seeing who can say, “I made the decision last time” first (no matter who actually did), then we’ll start throwing out things we don’t want (“dude, we ate Chinese last week”), until one of us gets hungry enough to break the Mexican standoff and just goes with the time-tested “let’s walk until we see something.”
This would be fine if the indecision didn’t predominantly end in us scarfing down an embarrassingly large bag of McDoubles and twenty-piece chicken nuggets.
So when we moved with a third friend into a house in Borderstan last year, I set out to make our lives (and heart health) a little bit easier. Needing a project, I decided to make a handmade poster-sized map of the area’s restaurant corridors. Sure, there’s always Google Maps. But it never shows every restaurant, except for when you zoom in to myopic levels, and it probably forgets all of the hole-in-the-wall pizza shops and takeout places.
And what better way to celebrate my arrival in the neighborhood than getting to know its food? My inner 5th Grade art teacher even took over with flashes of interesting albeit difficult-to-implement ideas: “Ooh, all of the restaurant’s should be logos from their business cards! I can fill the residential space with pictures from the neighborhood! This is gonna be great!”
• • • • • • • • • • • •
“This was a terrible idea,” I say to my other roommate. She gives me a mixed smile, half bemusement, half why-are-you-taking-up-half-the-dining-room-table. “There are just so many.” Sitting there, I realize I have bitten off more than I can chew. In my mind’s eye, I had only imagined 50, maybe 60 stops, but the actual number was in the hundreds. Everyone can rattle off the big ticket restaurants on 17th Street: Komi, Little Serow, Annie’s, Level One… but what about the tucked away Chinese carryout place that my friend Mike swears by? Hell, what about McDonalds?
But perhaps more problematically, I have essentially signed up to map the unmappable; by the time I finish the map, like some sort of food hydra, restaurants will shutter and debut, making my creation instantly passe. Indeed, the moment I finish collecting 14th Street is the weekend Pearl Dive Oyster Palace finally opens. The physical act of walking through all that Borderstan has to offer makes this effort like the scene in Vegas Vacation where Chevy Chase tries to plug all the holes in the dam wall; I literally just can’t keep up.
• • • • • • • • • • • •
Months have gone by and the map sits on the table, taunting me with its incompleteness. I’ve visited basement bars and Thai restaurants and ice cream shops; one manager at an unnamed lounge actually interrogates me as to why I want their business card. I’m forlornly updating the map when my roommate finds me, and peers over my shoulder at the map. “Oh, hey,” he says, pointing at a spot, “I didn’t know there was a restaurant there.” “Oh yeah, it opened like a couple months ago. It’s got this really cool setup…” And I decide, at that moment, it doesn’t really matter if it remains unfinished. It matters that in the last few months, I’ve walked all over this area I call home, learning all the ins and outs and exploring all the nooks and crannies of Borderstan.
“Screw it,” I say to my roommate, “You want to go to Taylor for a sandwich?”
From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT]borderstan.com and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.
The DC Department of Health confirmed at least two cases of salmonella in the District, the Washington City Paper reports. No details – including the cause of the outbreak — are currently available, and no DC restaurants have been cited or closed in connection with these cases.
A total of eight people have been stricken with salmonella in Maryland, where health officials have reported that sushi is a leading suspect for transmitting the bacteria.
Now do you believe the rest stop California roll was a bad idea?
I remember the anxiety, the nerves, and the possibility she wasn’t going to like the gift I bought her. I was a very awkward middle school student who was basing his knowledge on late night Nickelodeon shows and assumed he had played this Valentine’s well. I bought my first girlfriend some cuddly doll; who wouldn’t want that? Then about three weeks later I was dumped quite unceremoniously on my birthday (She claims she didn’t know). The events are connected (probably). Since then I have looked at V-Day with cautious eyes.
So I admit to not knowing much to anything about the origins of Valentine’s Day, but boy, I wish I did so I could go back in time and stop it from becoming this important. I have always filed it under “Hallmark Holidays” in the sense that there is such a bombardment of commercialism associated with it that to ignore it would bring dire consequences. If you really love the people around you, hopefully you say and show it often and you don’t need the help of a crappy $2 card with Snoopy to show it (also, chocolate should be eaten year round).
But sadly I live here, too, and have gone through the motions over the years. Now I can only speak to my experience as a guy but I think my advice is practical for all. So as you prepare for Valentine’s Day have these thoughts in mind.
Do Your Homework. I am convinced there are two types of girls when it comes to this rosy day. You either love the majesty of it all or you find it as forced as I do. Do NOT assume which type your significant other is.
This reconnaissance work should be done in January, far from the actual day so it doesn’t look like you’re sloppy and forgot. Maybe there was a past traumatic experience or an ex who rolled out the red carpet (screw you dude who raised her expectations). The only way to plan properly is to know this and only then will you actually give her what she wants; the whole show or some extra affection on a Tuesday.
Roses Are For Idiots. They are overused, trite, and lame. Your significant probably thinks so too. Shoot I would even go as far to say that they actually have a specific flower they like. If you were a good companion, you would already know this and purchase accordingly. Nothing says, “I half-assed buying you something” like roses does.
Out vs. In. If you go out, it’s you and every other couple out there making the best of a Tuesday night. If you stay in and cook some dinner it’s considered making the memory and will be remembered longer than some fancy cocktail at a trendy Dupont restaurant. That said, I won’t be taking my own advice and going out, but it’s a great night to use a gift certificate for somewhere nice (thanks, Matt).
I will say it again. Valentine’s Day is all about knowing what works and not letting the hype get out of hand. And for the single people out there, don’t let Hallmark depress you with their huge display in CVS. St Patrick’s day is right around the corner and you can be sad that you aren’t Irish to celebrate that. This is a great time to eat lots of chocolate though…
Enjoy your Vday, Borderstanis.
What Grinds My Gears
- No matter how bad the Metro gets, there is no one held accountable or improvements? What gives?
Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!
- DC taxis are about to get worse.
- Forget Tebowing. Try Bradying.
- Unsure how to feel about new Spider-Man movie. Thoughts anyone?
Restaurants these days are designed to be somewhat loud. The idea is to get the buzz going so people feel like there’s an excitement in the place, making it a destination for the trendy and chic. But doesn’t it drive you up the beautifully decorated wall when the source of all the noise is someone blabbing away on their cell phone three tables away?
We’ve all been there. You’re trying to enjoy your delightful Roasted Baby Chorizos while sipping your Gin & Orange Thyme Tonic (you caught me — I went to Estadio this week) and you’re so distracted by the guy who can’t seem to get off of his phone, despite his date looking increasingly annoyed to be neglected over dinner. If it’s not dude on the phone, it’s parent with screaming child who refuses to give into the temper tantrum, which only means that the entire restaurant is condemned to hearing the crying for the rest of the meal.
7 Etiquette Tips For Pleasant Dining
Enough of that. It’s time to take back mealtime. For some extra ammunition, I’ve called in the restaurant expert for some advice. Alejandra Owens has been to her fair share of restaurants, several of which she’s reviewed for our site, and knows how to handle herself at breakfasts, lunches and dinners alike. Between the two of us, we put together some good tips for you.
- Shut up. Making some excuses for the high volume in restaurants, I still think personal volume could stand a little more control. I have loud friends (and am occasionally quite boisterous myself), so I know how annoying it is for everyone else.
- You’re out to dinner to enjoy food and company, not stare at your phone. How many times have you been out with someone who can’t stop texting their bff? And apps have made it even worse these days. Can you really not take the time to put down your phone for an hour or two?
- Lights. Camera. Off. Alejandra says it best here: “I’m a food blogger, I get that you want to snap a photo for your blog, your Instagram, your FourSquare check-in and your Food Spotting listing. I really do. But let’s use good judgement here. Fancy restaurant? No pics, or at least no flash pics. Casual brunch? Snap away, but don’t impede other people’s ability to nosh comfortably. Just be aware of time and place, folks.”
- Keep your kids in check. Do I think we need to go so far as to ban kids in restaurants like this Pennsylvania restaurant? OK, maybe that’s a little extreme. But if you bring your child, just keep an eye on them. You know how you feel when it’s not your kid, so don’t pretend you’re innocent.
- No, the hostess does not know who you work for. You’re a paying customer, just like everyone else. As Alejandra put it, “I know. DC is a town full of egos and personalities, but check it at the door. Unless you’re on TV or are a regular at a spot, don’t expect the host(ess) to instantly know who you are and roll out the red carpet. And s/he definitely doesn’t care who your boss is!”
- Tip your server. There are times when your server does a bad job and they usually know it and feel terrible about it. I’m sure many of you will disagree, but rarely, in my opinion, have they been so bad that they didn’t at least deserve 15%. I know many people who have worked in a restaurant and it’s true that what you do has a significant impact on a server’s livelihoods, and can really make or break someone’s day/week/month.
- It’s not all about the freebies, baby. “I’ve noticed a trend lately,” says Alejandra. “Folks are expecting freebies after even the slightest complaint. You didn’t have a fork at your setting? Sorry, that doesn’t equal a free glass of wine. Your steak came out more medium than medium-rare? Nope, comping your dish is not to be expected. I expect great customer service from restaurants, especially pricey ones, but making things right does not always mean getting things for free.”
What’s your biggest nightmare at a meal? Have some helpful suggestions for others out for a bite? Please share them with us in the comments. And keep your ideas for future urban etiquette columns coming! If you’ve got an issue you think should be tackled, drop me a line at [email protected] or track me down on Twitter @mike_kohn.
From Alejandra Owens. You can find her on Twitter at @frijolita and her food blog One Bite At A Time.
Check out Alejandra’s pre-opening profile of Lost Society.
Name: Joseph Evans, chef at Lost Society
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Current Residence (neighborhood): Arlington
Tattoo Count: 0
Borderstan: What brought you do D.C?
Evans: An executive chef position with Smith and Wolensky.
Borderstan: Lots of chefs have a cause or nonprofit they support-what’s yours?
Evans: For now, it’s paying off my ridiculous student loans.
Borderstan: Favorite dish on your menu?
Evans: Dry aged rib eye topped with Gruyere cream.
This post is by Alejandra Owens. You can find her on Twitter at @frijolita or her food blog, One Bite At A Time.
Check out the preview photos of the Lost Society space and some of the dishes you’ll find on the menu.
14th Street. The city’s new restaurant mecca… or, at least wannabe mecca. While some are still only talking about opening a restaurant on 14th Street, others are actually doing it. Enter: Lost Society.
This three-floor, boutique steakhouse is designed to evoke “feelings of a Victorian underground scene.” Velvet curtains envelop dining booths, purple velvet couches are plush and deep and there’s the Victorian bust wall paper to round out the “rich and old” vibe without the more literal “ducks, wood panel walls and dark green paint” D.C.’s usual steakhouse gives you.
This post is by Alejandra Owens. You can find her on Twitter at @frijolita and at her food blog One Bite At A Time.
We live in D.C…. the land of alphabet-soup agencies and associations galore. And with associations, comes their awards ceremonies, galas and black tie events where industry professionals let their hair down and cut some rug.
Last night, the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington held its annual awards gala, also known as The RAMMYs. Chefs take off their whites, don tuxedos and gowns and get into a competitive, but friendly spirit with awards such as Best New Restaurant and Best Beverage/Mixology Program.
I believe I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: damn it’s good to live and eat in Borderstan.
Congrats to everyone from the restaurateurs who bring these great spots to our ‘hood and the staff that make us go back time and time again! Bravo!
- Best New Restaurant: Estadio, 1520 14th Street NW
- Upscale Casual Restaurant: Tabard Inn, 1739 N Street NW
- Pastry Chef: Tiffany MacIsaac, Neighborhood Restaurant Group (includes Birch & Barley and Churchkey, 1337 14th Street NW)
- Rising Culinary Star: Kyle Bailey, Birch & Barley
Matty Rhoades and Alejandra Owens contributed to this post
Last Thursday the Washington City Paper released the results of its annual reader poll, Best of D.C. Readers voted in four categories: Goods & Services, People & Places, Food & Drink and Arts & Entertainment. In addition, the City Paper has a shorter list of some of its favorites.
As in past years, there many winners in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area and we have listed them below by category. Since there are too many local winners to call out here, we will simply note which establishments/places/people received a 1st, 2nd or 3rd Place in more than one category (we’ll call it a Special Mention).
Special Mentions go to Whole Foods, The Phillips Collection, Wagtime, Busboys and Poets, Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe, U Street (the area), Nellie’s Sports Bar, Buffalo Billiards, ChurchKey, Lauriol Plaza, Komi, Sweetgreen, Local 16, Town Danceboutique, 9:30 Club, Black Cat and U Street Music Hall.
We give Nellie’s Sports Bar an Extra Special Mention for being recognized six times in the City Paper reader poll. The U Street establishment received two 1st Place awards, finished in 2nd Place twice and in 3rd Place two times.
Borderstan.com did not place in the Best Local Blog/Blogger category, but we appreciated hearing from readers who said they voted for us (thanks!). 2birds1blog won this category for the second year in a row; 2nd Place went to Prince of Petworth and 3rd Place to DCist.
However, Borderstan co-founder and co-editor Luis Gomez took 2nd Place in Photography Services (Luis Gomez Photos). Luis is responsible for site design, photography and much more here at Borderstan.com.
From Alejandra Owens of One Bite At A Time. You can also find her on Twitter at @frijolita.
I love living in Borderstan. Seriously! I mean, we have amazing outdoor spaces, dog parks, night life, cocktail joints, schools, two farmers markets — and this year we can officially say we have some kick-butt restaurants in our midst. Last night, the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington announced the 2011 RAMMY Award Nominees. Borderstan restaurants, chefs, pastry chefs, sommeliers and mixologists brought in a whopping 13 nominations!
In case you were wondering, the RAMMYs, also known as the “Oscars of DC area restaurants,” has been around since 1982. The awards recognize excellence and achievement in the DC Metropolitan restaurant industry. I say the RAMMYs show us just how good it is to eat and drink in Borderstan!
DC Winter Restaurant Week is next week: Monday the 17th through Sunday the 23rd. You can get the complete list at the Restaurant Week website and, yes, some are even in the suburbs. Reservations can be made through OpenTable. Note that some of the 200-plus restaurants are only offering lunch while others may offer only dinner as part of the special.
The real scoop on Restaurant Week? Read Alejandra’s Restaurant Week: Love It… or Hate It.
But, if you want to stay in the hood – particularly if it’s below 32 degrees and freezing – here are 32 restaurants in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area (and just beyond) that are part of Restaurant Week.
BTW, here’s how the pricing works for all establishments. Lunch is $20.11 for a three-course fixed-price meal while dinner is $35.11 for a three-course fixed-price meal. Beverages, gratuity and tax are not included.