Contemporary Excursions to Defy a Shutdown

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!

One Taco, Two Taco, Fish Taco, Big Taco

For my random goal in June, metrics to measure success are few. Taco bingeing? So I’m making an executive decision.

June Goal: Try as many different tacos as possible.

Result: Success!

It’s true. I basically took it easy in June. But let’s look at some of the metrics I can employ. You may find cause to judge me harshly and unfavorably, but I will still sleep well tonight.

TacoMetrics (patent pending)

  • 49 total tacos eaten
  • 21 homemade tacos eaten
  • 7 new taco places tried
  • 5 fish tacos eaten
  • 1.63 tacos per day
  • 1 big taco eaten

Good tacos

  • TaKorean BBQ’s (both the food truck and the stand in Union Market): Bulgogi Steak taco
  • The Big Board’s Taco Tuesday: Mahi Mahi taco
  • Tacos El Chilango’s: Chorizo taco
  • District Taco: Al Pastor taco

Not so good

  • District Taco: Fish taco
Just a taco
Just a taco
Tacos El Chilango
Tacos El Chilango
Big Taco
Big Taco

Mucho por Junio: Taco Binge

Since I spent the month of May avoiding meat, which included missing out on Cinco de Mayo tacos, and since there are a bevy of new Mexican restaurants opening on Capitol Hill*, I decided to make my random June goal all about meat. Well, more specifically whatever meat is inside a taco.

June Goal: Try as many different tacos as possible.

This means lots of Taco Tuesdays. Lots of Mexican restaurants. Lots of food trucks. And lots of home cooked tacos.

For the record, I’m not going to eat tacos every day.

Got any must try recommendations?

Let’s get a taco.

*New Capitol Hill Mexican restaurants: Sol Mexican Grill (open), Chupacabra Taqueria (open), District Taco on Penn Ave (open), Impala Cantina y Taqueria (coming soon) and Chicken Tortilla (coming soon).