This is a big week for DC's restaurant scene. It was announced earlier this year that our city would be getting its own Michelin guide, which is a huge deal since it is one of only a handful of American cities to receive that prestigious recognition. I kind of love the drama of the whole idea - Michelin basically deploys an army of undercover incognito restaurant critics to sneakily hunt down the best food in the city.
The guide is slated for publication this Thursday, the 13th. Though there are still so many places I want to eat here and I'm obviously in no position to make any kind of predictions, I'm hoping that the site of the best Indian food I've ever eaten - Rasika - will garner at least a star. We were pretty excited that some of our more casual favorites - China Chilcano (my favorite of Jose Andres' numerous restaurants here) and 2Amys (Jason's favorite pizzeria) - were recognized on the Bib Gourmand list last week (Michelin's kind of "cheaper eats" award).
Anyway, it's an exciting week all around for food. Here's a few new places we ate over these past three months:
Where we went: Let's Mix Bibija
This is a little place on Penn Ave that's relatively new to the neighborhood. It's super casual and nothing fancy at all (definitely kid-friendly). There were a few people in line for the dinnertime rush, but service was really quick.
What we ate:
It was tough to choose between banh mi, pho or ramen, or the bibimbap bowls (how great that they have all four options at one tiny restaurant?!). I ended up with the bulgogi bibimbap, and Jason decided on the chicken teriyaki. We both liked it a lot! - me probably more so than him, just because I looooove Asian dishes and he would 100% of the time prefer a hamburger and french fries instead. (It was National French Fry Day, so maybe he felt a bit cheated.) I love that you can request allll of the vegetable options at no extra charge (YUM), that they offer brown rice, and have a big variety of sauces to choose from at the end of the pickup counter. Prices were good - though banh mi isn't as cheap here as it is out at our favorite place in Falls Church - and service was quick and friendly. I will absolutely be coming back on nights when we need a quick/easy/healthy dinner.
Where we went: Pupatella
We realized around mid-August that it had been a long time since we had gone out for pizza. That is highly unusual for us, because let's face it, pizza is one of the Great Food Inventions of the World. This pizzeria out in Arlington is a regular on the best-pizzas-in-DC lists, and since we were out there anyway one evening running errands, we decided we were overdue for some pizza! We showed up at around 7:30 or so on a Saturday night without a reservation, so I was a little worried we'd have to wait. There was definitely a line, but it moved along very quickly and there was plenty of seating. In the meantime, you got to watch the masters at work!:
I really loved their little outdoor patio space.
What we ate: Sooo...we were pretty hungry. We started with Salad #3 (fresh grapefruit, apple, arugula, shaved parmesan, a light citrus dressing) and ordered two pizzas: a red and a white. This sounds like a ton of food, and we definitely took home some leftovers, but the pizzas are actually not large - about 11" and Neapolitan, so thin-crust and really light. (They recommend one pizza per adult.) The red was meatball with ricotta + mozzarella, and the white was buffalo mozzarella with sweet cherry tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil. I couldn't get over those tomatoes - late-summer, in-season tomatoes are seriously manna from heaven. Everything was delicious. 100%, totally recommend this place. I only wish it were closer to our apartment!
Where we went: Holy Cow
One Saturday we went apple picking with friends, and afterwards everyone was saying how hungry they were. One couple started raving about a burger joint they had recently visited, and even though J & I had plans to go out for ramen, I could tell from the look on Jason's face that he realllllly wanted a hamburger. haha! And so we drove straight to their recommended place - this casual restaurant in my absolute favorite part of Alexandria, Del Ray.
In a stroke of luck, this happened to be the same day of Del Ray's Art on the Avenue street festival. Since Holy Cow is right in the middle of the festival, it was totally packed, but it was worth having to wait because we got to walk up and down the street afterwards and enjoy all of the local vendors, artisans, and live music! I love neighborhood festivals with all of my heart and soul. Also, one thing I like about this restaurant is that they donate 25 cents of every burger sold to a local, Alexandria-based charity. You even get to pick which charity from a big list at the register. Community engagement ftw.
What we ate:
For Jason, garlic fries & the "Popper" - ft. cream cheese, bacon, fried jalapeños. For me, sweet potato fries & the Roma Melt, which is their grilled chicken sandwich. I think it's safe to say we'd give them both at least 8.5/10 stars - definitely delicious. But my favorite thing was the sweet potato waffle fries, because I cannot turn down sweet potato OR waffle fries and this combined them and it was amazing.
^ (Though they give you marshmallow dip, which I frankly am not into. I guess I am only a savory sweet potato fry kind of person.)
^ Those are the garlic fries, and even though we both love garlic, we would not get them again. Overpoweringly garlicky. However, we have now decided that cream cheese on burgers should be more of a thing.
Months 7-9, out! I can't believe it's already October.