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Posts Tagged ‘Food Truck’

My random goal in October was to explore Washington, D.C. How did I do? You decide.

October Goal: Visit 12 new places in Washington, D.C.

Total: 20 new places

Result: Success! (Actually, I decide)

Analysis: The government shutdown between October 1-16 made this quest a tad difficult at first, but I still invaded most of the places I had on my ‘to go’ list. They ranged from music venues to restaurants to libraries to breweries and more. Let’s dig deep.

Music venues (3)

  • The Hamilton Live – A friend’s band was one of the openers. A nice space to enjoy a show.
  • Kennedy Center Millennium Stage – Every evening at 6pm they do a free performance. Now I’ve finally been to one.
  • Lincoln Theatre – Recently re-opened, I went to see Neko Case on Halloween night. She dressed up as a pirate or something like it.

Restaurants/bars (8)

  • Ninella – A fine, cozy Italian restaurant in the heart of eastern Capital Hill (next to Lincoln Park).
  • Crios Modern Mexican – They offered a special event dedicated to pumpkin beers. Obviously, I went.
  • Mari Vanna – This Russian restaurant looks like your grandmother’s living room, with doilies, bric-a-brac, curtains and chandeliers (of bottles). Have the pumpkin soup. Invite your grandmother.
  • Black Whiskey – A bar on 14th St NW with a monthly 80’s dance party. The Angel will treat you right!
  • Red Rocks Neopolitan Bistro – Now the largest restaurant in the Atlas District (H St NE), overtaking the Biergarten Haus, this has a nice set-up and a roof deck with a bar. The pizza was decent, but I’m more enamored with the place. They have 1/2 price pizza on Tuesdays…could be convinced to go…
  • Mama Chuy DC – Damn good tacos! Damn good. Get the carnitas tacos. Trust me.
  • Neopol Savory Smokery (at Union Market) – Smoked Salmon BLT. Yes and thank you!
  • &pizza (on U St NW) – The second location of this excellent pizza place (the first one is on H St NE) that they make and bake right in front of you.

Food trucks (3)

  • DC Quesadilla and Wraps – No surprises, I had a quesadilla. Not bad.
  • El Fuego – Peruvian food done right. Must go back.
  • Chitti Chitti Grill – Bang. Bang. Tacos and subs.

Breweries/Beerfests (3)

  • Atlas Works Brewery – The 4th and newest production brewery to open in D.C. (after DC Brau, 3 Stars and Chocolate City). They still only have a small number of beers (three when I went, but they’ve since added a fourth), but they have a solid tasting room set-up and I like the art they’ve designed, especially the scorpion logo for their NSFW (Double Black IPA).
  • Bluejacket Brewery – After much anticipation and hype, this well-appointed new brewery and restaurant (called the The Arsenal) \opened near the Nationals Park. I went the second night. 25 beers on draft (that they make on-site or collaborate to make)! It’s a worthy entry to the D.C. beer scene.
  • Snalleygaster Beerfest 2013 (at Union Market parking lot) – A beastly beer jamboree, you pay for entry, a mug and 25 beer/food tickets. Once you ran out of tickets, you better have been prepared to buy more because 200 different beers don’t drink themselves! The main drawback was no all you can drink for a set price…full beers and tasters ranged from $3-$9 each, so it got expensive quick! Seriously, what else are you going to spend your money on?

Other (3)

  • Library of Congress Reading Room – This was #1 on my list when I thought of this random goal. The shut down almost thwarted me, but I prevailed and snuck in to ‘do research’. You actually have to acquire a Library of Congress – Reader ID to enter. And then meander through a maze of hallways and elevators just to find the ‘researcher’ entrance.
  • Folgers Shakespeare Library – Learn about Shakespeare. Did. Watch a play. Didn’t.
  • Banneker Tennis Courts – The lights went out before I could mount my comeback! I ended up losing an unfinished match, 6-4, 4-6, 3-5. And I was leading 40-15 in the game.

Baltimore and Billy Goat Bonus!

These don’t count, because they are not in D.C., but they were still new places for me in October.

  • Heavy Seas Alehouse (Baltimore, MD) – Beer in Baltimore. Okay!
  • The Sound Garden (Baltimore, MD) – Baltimore’s best music store!
  • Billy Goat Trail (Great Falls, MD) – A fine place to hike and get a view of nature on a crisp Autumn day. Check out some photos.
I say now, damn good tacos at Mama Chuy!

I say now, damn good tacos at Mama Chuy!

Library of Congress Reading Room - No photos allowed

Library of Congress Reading Room – No photos allowed

Snalleygaster beer to mouth delivery mechanism

Snalleygaster beer to mouth delivery mechanism

I'm official

I’m official

That's DC

That’s DC

Stay open!

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So. It’s done. 31 days as a vegetarian. I did not turn green. No plants sprouted from my head.

May Goal: Go vegetarian for 31 days. No meat. No eggs. No fish. No joke.

Result: Success.

I didn’t quite do it over 31 consecutive days. There were two ‘meat mishaps’ – if you will – but I did do two extra days as penance. I’ll explain.

Why did I do it?

Living in the USA, I have that luxury (#firstworldproblems). I know a few people who are vegetarian and even some vegans. I’ve had to organize workshops or conferences with food options that accommodate all preferences. I’ve traveled with (or overheard) people as they tried to navigate the cultural resistance or lack of comprehension with the not of eating meat. I was curious what it would be like. Simple as that.

What did I learn?

Lesson 1: Starting out you feel more tired than usual. It gets better but never really goes away (granted it was only one month).

Lesson 2: The vegetarian options at most restaurants are at best 10-15% of the whole menu. Aside from salads, this is often in the form of a veggie burger or a sandwich. Food trucks tend to have 4-7 main dish options and almost all trucks have at least 1-2 vegetarian dishes. A slightly better ratio than restaurants.

Lesson 3: I didn’t lose any weight, but I wasn’t trying to either. I ate with my usual voracity. If anything, I ate more just to sample different things.

Lesson 4: People would ask ‘Why are you doing this?’ Then their eyes glaze over and they say ‘Good luck with that.’ There’s a bit of dismissive and condescending attitude out there…

Lesson 5: I won’t stay vegetarian, but I can get on board with eating less meat. I don’t need meat every meal.

Lesson 6: Good vegetarian recipes abound. Yet, there is still something wrong with any dish that has pretensions of meat. I’m looking at you veggie sausages, veggie burger patties, seitan ribs and veggie meatloaf. Don’t do it.

Lesson 7: The only true temptation to slip off the lofty perch of vegetarianism is in a social setting where they keep bringing more and more appetizers to share – all with meat. All scents and enticements. Your only solace is to camp out by the lonely veggie tray and protect the cauliflower and slim carrot sticks from the circling buzzards not content with their meat fix. Outside of that, it’s easy to choose the veggie options from a menu.

Lesson 8: The first day I ate cake during our office’s weekly tea time. There were probably eggs in it. After that I didn’t worry too much about baked goods. I ate cake again. The spirit of the goal was not to eat omelets, balut or other eggs prepared in any multitude of ways. One egg in my cake? I’ll live.

Meat Mishap #1

For lunch around day 10, I ordered the veggie dish from an Ethiopian food truck (Fojol Bros of Benethiopia). When I got back to the office, I discovered they had given me beef! I was hungry, the food trucks were gone by then and I don’t waste food, especially meat. I ate it. End of story.

Meat Mishap #2

During the European Union Embassies’ Open House I went to the Czech Republic Embassy. I purchased the food and beer tasting. Someone handed me a bowl of goulash (guláš). I devoured it. Twenty minutes later I remembered I was trying to be vegetarian. Oh well.

Things I ate

  • Veggie sandwiches (from Sidamo’s, Toscano and Taylor)
  • Pizzas (four cheese and margherita)
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches (mostly homemade)
  • Quesadillas (mostly homemade)
  • Veggie chili
  • Veggie red curry
  • Salads (mostly homemade)
  • Veggies over rice Indian style
  • Nut hemp burger, garlic kale, jerk eggplant, spinach sea relish and more (raw food)
  • Hummus with pita chips
  • Veggie ramen/veggie dumplings (Toki Underground) – Pause here and go get you some of this. Do it!
  • Cook at home meals (Thai cuisine)
Khepra's Raw Food

Khepra’s Raw Food

Indian veggies on rice

Indian veggies on rice

Brie and blackberry grilled cheese (I made this!)

Brie and blackberry grilled cheese (I made this!)

Don’t veg out!

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‘Continue to give, continue to live, for what you know is right.’ – Curtis Mayfield

Ever since my original post about food trucks in March (Keep on Food Truckin’), I’ve kept the lunch torch burning roughly once a week at these ever-moving food slingers. I circle these wagons at the Massachusetts Ave and North Capitol St watering hole, near Union Station.

I also descended upon the monthly Truckaroo fest in July (at the Fairgrounds near Nationals Park) and Trucko de Mayo (in the RFK Stadium parking lot) where the options were boundless.

I’ve now been to over 40 food trucks in DC. Since there are probably still over 100 in existence, I’m a long way from tasting all of them. There are plenty of good ones. See the list below. Those in blue are the ones I recommend most. As such, many of the others are still recommended.

Also have a peek at some fresh food truck porn.

Tapas Truck

Surfside – Fish Tacos

Floridano

Mass and North Capitol

DC Crepes

Basil Thyme – Lasagne

Amorini Panini

Tops American – Sausage with Bacon

Tops American – Italian Sausage

Cajunator – Po’ boy

Fried Shrimp Tapas

Fire & Rice – Bibimbap

Lobster Roll

Red Hook Lobster Pound DC

Chupacabra – Tacos

What the Pho? – Banh mi sandwich

Tropic Taste

Afghan Meals

Sate Indonesian

Mayur Kabab House

Best Mexican Burritos and Tortas – Tacos

  1. DC Crepes
  2. Pepe Food Truck (José Andrés) – More expensive than it needs to be but so good.
  3. Cajunators
  4. Surfside – Fish tacos! All day!
  5. Big Cheese
  6. The Orange Cow – Cookies and Cream ice cream…
  7. Sol Mexican Grill
  8. Mojo Truck
  9. Cirque Cuisine
  10. Tapas Truck – Tasty small bites. Try them all, but especially the fried shrimp and the corn fritters.
  11. Ball or Nothing – I would like to try this one again. The meatball sandwich had sprouts (?)…and by the time I got around to eating it, was cold.
  12. Mayur Kabab House
  13. Something Stuffed
  14. Fire & Rice – The tasty Korean bibimbap went down great with a fried egg on top.
  15. El Foridano
  16. Tropic Taste
  17. PORC (Purveyors of Rolling Cuisine) – The BBQ Pork sandwich was good.
  18. Red Hook Lobster Pound DC – Okay, I had this. The Lobster Roll was fine, but I’m just not a lobster guy. Especially at the low, low price of $15.
  19. Carmen’s Italian Ice
  20. Sate Indonesian FoodGreat chicken cubes on a stick and corn fritters.
  21. What the Pho? – The name says it all.
  22. Best Mexican Burritos & Tortas – I kind of agree with their assessment.
  23. Korengy – Good Korean food.
  24. Amorini Panini Truck
  25. Fresh Afghan Meals
  26. Yellow Vender
  27. Tops American Food Company – Amazing hot dogs. Italian sausage. Yes. Sausage with bacon and red peppers. Yes. Good. Yes.
  28. Chick-fil-A Food Truck – It’s Chick-fil-A!!! In DC!

Eat it!

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Keep On Food Truckin’

The DC food truck craze is still in full swing. Over the past year, the ranks of curb side purveyors slinging their delicious offerings has ballooned to well over 100. Last summer there was even a monthly festival called Truckaroo.

I’ve been sampling the different trucks that come to Mass Ave and North Capital (near Union Station) over the past few months. While I greedily eat these for lunch, I’ve managed to snap a few photos here and there. Let’s call it Food Truck Porn. Or not.

I’ve sampled from 17 different trucks so far (since Fall of 2011). Most have been quite good. See the list at the bottom.

Where's my food?

Where's my food?

Waiting

Mmmm...Carnivore BBQ

Mmmm...Carnivore BBQ

Sang on Wheels

Sang on Wheels

 

What are you looking at?

DC Empanadas

DC Empanadas

Beef Empanada

Beef Empanada

Bulgogi at AZNeats

Bulgogi at AZNeats

Chicken at Kabob Bites

Chicken at Kabob Bites

Tacos from Chupacabra Taqueria

Tacos from Chupacabra Taqueria

Lamb balls...

Lamb balls...

Hula Girl sandwich

Hula Girl sandwich

Tacos at TaKorean

Tacos at TaKorean

Empandas at Borinquen Lunch Box

Empandas at Borinquen Lunch Box

Stix Pak at Stix

Stix Pak at Stix

Stik Pak unpacked

Stik Pak unpacked

Tasty burger at Dorothy Moon's

Tasty burger at Dorothy Moon's

The ones I especially liked are in bold blue.

  1. Sang on Wheels
  2. Fojol Bros. of Benethiopia
  3. TaKorean
  4. Dorothy Moon’s Gourment Burgers
  5. DC Empanadas
  6. DC Slices
  7. Hula Girl
  8. Basil Thyme Truck
  9. Carnivore BBQ
  10. AZNeats
  11. Kimchi BBQ Taco Korean Grill
  12. Chupacabra Taqueria
  13. The Rolling Ficelle
  14. Kabob Bites
  15. Sauça Food Truck
  16. Stix
  17. Borinquen Lunch Box

The Washington Post also recently ran their own photo gallery on food trucks. I did not copy their idea…I just procrastinated…as usual.

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