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. Email her at alejandra[AT]borderstan.com and follow her on Twitter at @frijolita.
When it comes to best/worst lists, DC always seems to find a place. In 2010 we were among the fittest cities in America thanks to all you crazy running people. We were also one of the happiest cities according to a Gallop pole. Not surprisingly, we were also among the most expensive cities to live! But last week we topped another list – this time coming in as the 9th Drunkest City In The US!
So here’s the break down: according to The Daily Beast, the average DC adult consumes 15.6 alcoholic beverages a month (rounding up, that’s four drinks a week, give or take), 14.5 percent of us are binge drinkers and 5 percent of us are considered heavy drinkers.
I mean, are we really surprised? DCers have a penchant for rooftop drinking, patio drinking and dirt-cheap-happy hour drinking. We bestow our finest bartenders with a demi-god like status. We even have classic cocktail death matches! Bottom line: cheap, neat, classic, it doesn’t matter, we like our booze!
So it got me thinking, where did I drink the most in DC this year? In no particular order:
- Fiola – I’ve lauded Jeff Faile’s manhattan for awhile now.
- 1905 – Lyn and Joel serve up cocktails with a friendly “in your living room” kind of vibe.
- Estadio – They serve my favorite rose in the whole city.
- Stoney’s – A favorite spot to meet friends and have a bourbon & ginger.
- Iron Horse Taproom – A regular after work spot, any bar with a $5 Makers Mark night is a bar I’ll like.
- Cork – Wine flights. Enough said.
Then there were dinner parties – many, many dinner parties. So that means weekly visits to Connecticut Avenue Wine & Spirits where I pick up a bottle or two for those “just in case” moments. So Borderstanis, where do you booze… or buy your booze? It’s really not hard to imagine how one might get to four drinks a week – at minimum. Or, dear lord, is it?
From Rob Fink. Follow him on Twitter @RobDFink or email him at rob[AT]borderstan.com.
Nestled in the upper reaches of the district at 6400 Chillum Place NW, 3 Stars Brewing has become an integral component of the ever-growing DC beer scene. After formally opening earlier this year, the brewery has rolled out a series of highly expressive and intensely flavored American-style beers. I had the opportunity to visit the brewery this past weekend during its Saturday growler hours (1-4 pm, but they’re closed this Saturday due to a brewer’s wedding!) and now find myself hard-pressed to imagine having a more pleasurable experience.
As an avid homebrewer, it was gratifying to see such a small brewery also have an operating homebrew store, and it truly solidifies the link which craft beer shares with the homebrewing community, at-large. After all, company founders Dave Coleman and Mike McGarvey started out as homebrewers.
Being handed something that reeked of chocolate jostled the homebrewing stupor right out of me. It turned out to be their endlessly chewy Pandemic Porter. Weighing in at a hefty 9.6 percent, this monstrous dark ale is strongly reminiscent of coffee and heaping piles of deep chocolate, which translates roughly to “delicious.” Since desserts practically leap out of the glass, Pandemic will find natural affinities in a dense dark chocolate mousse or even the simplicity of an old-fashioned chocolate chip cookie. Thankfully for those of you in Borderstan, it’s on tap right now at Pizzeria Paradiso on P Street NW, just west of Dupont Circle. Here’s a tip: pair it with the tiramisu.
Next up was a beer called “Southern Belle,” an Imperial Brown Ale hovering at 8.7 percent. A huge malty underpinning gives rise to aromas of warm biscuits, roasted nuts and deep caramel. This beer is actually finished with pecans in the kettle, which only intensifies the already prominent nut flavors and aromas. Given the intensity of the flavor profile, this beer would be great with something like venison and a collection of hearty vegetables – culinary experiment for this winter? Check.
For those of you closer to 14th Street, you can find Southern Belle right now at Stoney’s Bar and Grill on the 1400 block of P Street NW. If you stop in, the aptly named Southern Belle would do wonders with a cheddar burger topped with bacon.
I ended up snagging one of the last growlers of their deliciously heady Harvest Ale (which I wrote about here) not either aforementioned beer, mostly because I’m an unapologetic hophead. Fortunately, the final remnants of this delectable hoppy gem can be found at The Big Hunt just south of Dupont Circle on Connecticut Ave NW.
If you have a hankering for a local, eminently artisanal beer experience, do yourself a favor and free up a Saturday afternoon in the near future and head to 3 Stars Brewing.
We all know Borderstan has a ton of great food options, many of which are accompanied by a hefty price tag. But sometimes I just want a no-fuss, decent meal that is easy on the wallet. Well, there is no dearth of that either. Here are some of my favorite inexpensive places to eat in the neighborhood.
- Pica Taco – A small taqueria tucked away on Florida Avenue, their barbacoa and chorizo tacos, which are between $2.25 to $2.75 a piece, are amazing. They don’t skimp on the meat, and have simple but flavorful toppings. Excellent breakfast tacos too. If you haven’t been yet, it’s time.
- Great Wall Schezwan House – If you are looking for good Chinese food or spicy Szechuan, this is the place to go. I am a huge fan of their mouth numbing ma la chicken — $11 for a meal that is really two. This place is my go-to for Chinese. Oh, and their delivery service is insane. Food comes within 10 to 15 minutes and is piping hot. And when they say spicy, they mean spicy!
- Stoney’s – This is the quintessential neighborhood spot, with no attitude and a casual atmosphere. You positively have to try the fan favorite grilled cheese at Stoney’s. It is comforting, delicious, served with fries and is only $7.50! Wash it down with some draft Fat Tire, and your stomach will thank you, even if your thighs don’t. Luis has great things to say about their burgers too.
- Locolat café – I love this place. Although known as a chocolate spot, this little gem offers much more than sweet treats. Their savory waffles to which you can add a variety of toppings are incredible — crab cake on a garlic waffle, anyone? My favorite is the potato and chive waffle with grilled vegetables and cheese, which, coming in at $11 along with a salad is quite a meal. Rounded off with a glass (or two) of Prosecco and a dark chocolate truffle in their outdoor patio — heaven! If nothing, come here to drink their hot chocolate or try one of their 30 Belgian beers.
- El Rinconcito – If you want to stuff your face with awesomeness for $8, go here. This little hole in the wall Salvadorean neighborhood joint fills up quickly, and when you eat here, you will know why. They have an extensive menu, but do not be tempted to go for the familiar Mexican dishes – order from the Salvadorean menu instead. The pupusa combo platter — which comes with three pupusas (choose from beans/cheese/chicken/pork/loroco), yellow rice, pickled cabbage and beans, is fresh and authentic. If you are inclined to imbibe, they have a full bar with tasty margaritas and beers.
- Fast Gourmet – The Cubano sandwich here is one of the best things that has happened to me. Seriously. Delicious with pork, ham, perfectly melted cheese, mustard and pickles. Get the beer battered eggplant with that and make it a meal for $11. And if you are lucky, you might find their killer Tres Leches in the refrigerator. For more on Fast Gourmet, read Kim’s review of their signature Chivito sandwich.
- Shophouse Southeast Asian Kitchen – This is Chipotle’s second concept restaurant, and boy, am I glad they chose DC as the test market. Setup much like a Chipotle, the drill is the same -choose noodles or rice and then a meat, tofu or veggies, followed by tamarind vinaigrette or a red/green curry sauce. I have never liked tofu as much as I do here; chopped fine and sautéed with Thai chilies, turmeric and cumin. Along with the chilled rice noodles, charred corn, spicy red curry sauce and some crispy garlic and green papaya slaw for the finishing touches, you have a stellar meal for $8..
That just about covers me for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but where do you go for your favorite budget friendly fare?
Luis and I went for a late supper last evening and ran into crew and cast from MTV’s “Real World: DC” on the sidewalk in front of Stoney’s and Halo Lounge. My only impression was that these were a bunch of kids who looked tired and bored. People around them seemed nonplussed. So much for the glamor and excitement of reality TV.