Here I Blog: Washington, D.C., Part 1 – The Food

Prologue

On Saturday, January 17, my girlfriend and I got on a Greyhound bus and went down to Washington, D.C. for the weekend, returning last night. It was my first time in my nation’s capital. When you’re in a new city, there are a few areas that we all look at and focus when breaking down how the trip was: the food, the sites, the people, the transportation, and overall experience. After a surprising, refreshing, exciting, and exhausting three days, I’m here to give you my thoughts on each of those. As I write this, I’m realizing that I have a lot to say and this going to be really long. As a result, I’m going to break this up into separate posts for each section.  (DISCLAIMER: I was mainly only in the downtown area so that’s all I can attest to.) Without further ado, here is Part 1 of my full review of Washington, D.C.


The Food

Okay, let’s start with the first experience I had in DC, food. Anyone who knows me knows that I love food. My love for food is exactly how I spent most of my life obese and got to be as heavy as 325 pounds. As a food lover, I am always looking to enjoy my food and have the best food possible. After doing hours of research on good places to eat that were affordable and in the areas of which we would be staying/seeing, we ended up eating at/from We, The Pizza, Momiji Japanese Restaurant, Lincoln’s Waffle Shop, Plan B Burger Bar, Tortilla Café, and Good Stuff Eatery (excluding the pretzel I had from the stand in front of The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the free breakfast from the Comfort Inn we stayed in).

We, The Pizza – After a 5 hour bus ride, we were hungry. First stop was We, The Pizza. As a proud New Yorker, I am quite critical of pizza wherever I eat it, especially if it’s outside of New York City. Before you even walk in, I could tell that this pizzeria takes itself seriously. In the window, were multiple workers making pizzas. Inside, the display counter displays their various pizzas, all unique in their own way with some of the biggest looking ingredients I’ve ever seen on a pizza (not huge, but bigger than I’m used to seeing). Behind the display counter, there was a pretty larger area where the aforementioned workers were making their pizzas. The space is so large and open that is screams “we have nothing to hide. We’re good at what we do, and we’re not afraid to show you.” After much deliberation, I landed on a sausage & peppers slice and a pepperoni slice. After I ordered and paid, they handed one of those buzzers they give out in restaurants. I’ve never seen that from a pizzeria. As I walked to the bathroom, I passed a wall covered in newspaper clippings that praised We, The Pizza. Expectations were officially high. I was not disappointed. Both slices had the freshest and most tasteful toppings I’ve ever had on pizza. I could taste the onions, peppers, sausage, and pepperoni so clearly. Most of the time in pizza, you can taste the toppings but as strongly. Damn that pizza was good. I wasn’t perfect, however. The crust was some of the most tasteless pizza crusts I’ve ever had. The crust literally served no purpose on the pizza other than its practically purposes. It was a real downer. Despite the crust, I had some of the best pizza I’ve ever had at We, The Pizza. Trust me, I did not want to say that. Ever. FINAL RATING 4.5/5

Momiji Japanese Restaurant – For dinner, I thought we might do Japanese, DC style. We went to what I believe is referred to as Chinatown and went to Momiji Japanese Restaurant. At first, I was a little concerned when I saw that the restaurant was below street level. “Basement” restaurants give me an impression that the place isn’t the cleanest. When I walked in, saw the restaurant was packed will no tables available on a second floor level, I started to think that maybe we’d be okay. We decided to have all of our usual dishes of shumai, California rolls, and chicken teriyaki. I usually also get a chicken tempura roll but they didn’t have that so I had a shrimp tempura roll instead. We both wanted to try something new so I ordered a spider roll and she ordered the steak teriyaki instead of her usual salmon. Every once in a while, when we have Japanese food, we try sake. We always hate it. So, of course we got sake. This was easily the best sake I’ve ever had. I actually enjoyed it. I proceeded to down three shots of it. For better or worse, the rest of the food was pretty average. Wasn’t bad, wasn’t exceptional. It was okay. I thought the steak teriyaki was dry and disappointing but she disagrees. Either way, Momiji was okay. It’s a safe choice that I would go to again but it wasn’t anything special. FINAL RATING 3/5

Lincoln’s Waffle Shop – Now, I love breakfast. Love it. Always have. Having breakfast alone makes me happy. Breakfast itself has a sentimental feeling of happiness implanted in it for me. No pressure. We went to Lincoln’s Waffle Shop. Like Momiji, the exterior of the Lincoln’s made me a little skeptical. It looks kind of ratty and ugly. This place was packed. We had to squeeze into a corner at the window bar. I was disappointed to see that their options were limited. As a breakfast lover, I want choices. We both had waffles, home fries, and bacon. I also got sausage and eggs. The eggs were kind of watery, which was kind of gross. The home fries and sausage were okay, nothing special, but good. The bacon, while not great looking, was quite flavorful. Like the toppings at We, The Pizza, the bacon had a strong taste of bacon. Who doesn’t like that? Now, when the waffles came out, I was really skeptical. You get one thin waffle on your plate. What the waffle lacks in size, it makes up for in taste. I have no idea how to explain the taste or what makes it so good but the waffle just tasted good. It’s like butter was infused into the waffles. Quite good. The cashier was completely indiscernible but other than that, I don’t really have any major complaints about Lincoln’s Waffle Shop. It’s okay. FINAL RATING 3/5

Plan B Burger Bar – Next up was lunch at Plan B Burger Bar. Right off the bat, Plan B has a huge notch against it. After being seated, we waited about 15 minutes before our waitress finally came over to us for the first time. They seemed to only have one waitress on staff and she was serving about 8 tables spread out through the whole restaurant. I don’t blame her for her slow service but it was ridiculous. I can blame her for poor service. I ordered pulled pork sliders for an appetizer and asked for the coleslaw on the side instead of in the sandwich (I don’t like coleslaw).  When the sliders were brought, 20 minutes later, there was coleslaw on them. On the plus side, Plan B has a bunch of really interesting fries and burgers. Their fries selections include the parmesan fries (fries covered with parmesan cheese) and “disco fries” (fries covered in gravy and cheese sauce). The parmesan fries were okay but the disco fries were really good. As for my burger, I ended up going with “The Squeker” which has a patty that consists of both pork and beef. The taste was very interesting. I’m still trying to decide how I feel about it but the “bacon cheese” burger was pretty friggin good. They have an interesting beer menu but the two beers we tried sucked. My biggest gripe with the restaurant was the service. We went to Plan B for lunch in between museums, 20 minutes ahead of schedule, and ended up leaving so late, we didn’t get a chance to go to a second museum. Somebody was not happy about this. FINAL RATING 2.5/5

 Tortilla Café – When we heard that there was a place in Washington, D.C. that was known for its pupusas and appeared on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” we had to check it out. Truth be told, we had been waiting for this moment the second we found out there was a restaurant in the area that sold pupusas. We bought the pupusas, got on the train, went back to the hotel, and dove in head-first. Guy Fieri and Food Network know nothing. Were they terrible? No. We’re they better than El Cerrito right here in Brooklyn? Hell no! They don’t include beans in their pupusas, and their curtido (pickled cabbage relish) sucked. It was diced instead of shredded, tasteless, and spicy. It was a major letdown. Again, they weren’t bad by any means but I promise you there are better places to get pupusas right here in Brooklyn. Pft. FINAL RATING 3.5/5

Good Stuff Eatery – Last, but not least, our last meal before leaving DC was at a restaurant right next to the first one we went to in DC, Good Stuff Eatery. This burger joint, literally right next to We, The Pizza,  has a bunch of insanely delicious looking and sounding burgers. I got the “Good Stuff Melt” (Melted Cheddar & Muenster, Caramelized Onions & Mushrooms with ‘Good Stuff Sauce’). We also got fries and cookies & cream shakes. The restaurant also has a handful of unique sauces to choose from including sriracha and some other one’s whose names I can’t remember. The fries were good, but I thought they could have used more salt. The sauces were all hit-or-miss for me. Surprisingly enough, my favorite turned out to be the sriracha. That’s a shock because I can’t handle spicy foods. Luckily, I had my shake to get me through the punishment I was making myself endure. Speaking of the shake, what?! Scoops of ice cream, whole oreo cookies, all around goodness, it was the best cookies and cream shake I’ve ever had. That’s for damn sure. Now, the burger. The burger was sloppy, messy, saucy, and cheesy. In other words, all kinds of goodness. Much like We, The Pizza, the toppings have a prominent taste. Usually, I can barely taste mushrooms whenever I order them on a burger. Not this time, I could completely taste the mushroom through the cheese and sauce. It was so incredibly tasteful. My beautiful travel partner was damn-near losing her mind over it. I, personally, thought the burgers were a little small but neither of us was disappointed with our lunch and final DC meal. However, it wasn’t perfect. In my honest opinion, the food was a little over-priced with no “meal” options. Everything is bought and paid for separately. I definitely would have preferred a cheaper price, especially with such a small burger, but damn was that burger good. FINAL RATING 4/5

 

Unfortunately, there are only so many places you can eat in three days but from what I could taste, DC has some pretty solid eats. I’ve already heard of other places I’ve missed so the next time I go to Washington, D.C., whenever that is, I’m definitely going to continue eating my way through my nation’s capital.


Epilogue

Tune in later this week for Part 2 of my review of Washington, D.C. where I talk about the sites and attractions.

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