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DC in the Spring


docsconz
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I could use a little advice, please.

After reading about all the wonderful food in this fair town of late, I and my family will be venturing down therer this spring to partake of some. Unfortunately we will only be there for 4 nights. We will definately be going to Firefly and I am planning on a visit to Citronelle with friends sans family. Restaurants under consideration include Rays the Steaks, City Zen, Jaleo or Maestro. The dilemma is that we will have our five year old in tow along with our culinarily sophisticated teenagers. The five year old is ok in restaurants behaviorally, but not so much culinarily. That doesn't bother me so much since he will eat enough and we don't pander to it. Any thoughts on the restaurants mentioned? We will be doing touristy things during the day so good, inexpensive, quick, ethnic lunches are preferred for that. Suggestions along those lines are also highly appreciated.

Thanks for your consideration and ideas.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I could use a little advice, please.

After reading about all the wonderful food in this fair town of late, I and my family will be venturing down therer this spring to partake of some. Unfortunately we will only be there for 4 nights. We will definately be going to Firefly and I am planning on a visit to Citronelle with friends sans family. Restaurants under consideration include Rays the Steaks, City Zen, Jaleo or  Maestro. The dilemma is that we will have our five year old in tow along with our culinarily sophisticated teenagers. The five year old is ok in restaurants behaviorally, but not so much culinarily. That doesn't bother me so much since he will eat enough and we don't pander to it. Any thoughts on the restaurants mentioned? We will be doing touristy things during the day so good, inexpensive, quick, ethnic lunches are preferred for that. Suggestions along those lines are also highly appreciated.

Thanks for your consideration and ideas.

DC's three best restaurants are Citronelle, Maestro and Laboratorio. CityZen, for me, is still a step below these three. I believe I've read a number of your posts on the Italy board over time; I sincerely believe that Maestro is equal to the three Michelin star, Le Calandre near Padua. It is also different from Esca, Babbo, Il Mulino or any other experience in NYC. I would give serious consideration to this as an equal priority to Citronelle. If you do go ask for a table in the front of the room, directly across from the open kitchen. Note that Fabio was nominated two years in a row for the Beard Rising Star Chef award. These are photos of a dinner that I arranged there about a year ago:

http://share-dell.shutterfly.com/action/sh...I&x=1&sm=0&sl=0

I believe the photos will speak volumes about what is available since there are closeups of all 14 courses.

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Joe, Thanks for the reply. It was your posting on Maestro that initially brought the restaurant to my attention.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Regarding ethnic lunches: Jaleo may work for an easy lunch off the Mall, though depending on the crowds it may not be quick.

Teaism would also be a good option for a quick lunch after sightseeing.

And though I haven't been yet, I've heard that the new American Indian Museum's state-of-the-art cafeteria has some good options, reflecting indigenous American foods.

Have a great time.

Amanda

Metrocurean, a D.C. restaurant and food blog

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Regarding ethnic lunches: Jaleo may work for an easy lunch off the Mall, though depending on the crowds it may not be quick.

I was going to make that same suggestion. It's the perfect time to hit Jaleo, particularly if you're at the Mall museums. Another good lunch option, particularly if you're near the White House, would be Breadline on Penn. Ave.

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Thanks for the suggestions. keep them coming. Is there any really good Mexican burrito place that is open for lunch?

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Since they are too modest -- let me put in a strong recommendation for a dinner at Corduroy and/or if Georgetown is in your plans Mendocino for either lunch (wkdays only) or dinner. If you are here on a Sunday night Mendocino has 1/2 price on a good selection of wines.

Oh, J[esus]. You may be omnipotent, but you are SO naive!

- From the South Park Mexican Starring Frog from South Sri Lanka episode

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You should make a trip to Del Ray and visit

Taqueria Poblano

It's cheap and they've got amazing fish tacos...and across the street is Cheesetique, a great specialty cheese shop where you could get yummies for a potential picnic or whatnot.  I'm not lying about the fish tacos!

Taqueria Poblano is excellent. Another choice would be Guajillo in Arlington or Andale, which is right near Jaleo. I'm not sold on Oyamel, but I'm not ready to give up on it yet.

I think quality Mexican is kinda lacking in this area, particularly inside the beltway. Frankly, I think the best lunchtime burrito is is the chicken one from Chipotle, although I prefer to have the tacos there.

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If you're hoping to schedule decent lunch around sightseeing, you have to do a little planning ahead, especially if you are looking for for ethnic, as many "sights" are far from decent food.

The museums at the south side of the Mall (Hirschorn, Air & Space, American Indian, among others) are far, far from anything good, save CityZen and Mozu. I can't speak from experience, but if the cafeteria in the Indian Museum is any good, it will be the first time in DC history that a museum cafeteria didn't suck.

If you're in that 'hood and it's one of our too-common cold spring days, consider dropping into the Botanical Gardens, at the foot of the Caitol Grounds, on Independence Ave. for the warmth and the orchids. For kids, the IMAX theater at Air & Space is a great fun (I speak from experience). Get there early. Spring is tourist season and A&S is a top draw.

The north side of the Mall (National Gallery, American History, Archives) puts you near Jaleo (tapas), Cafe Atlantico (Nuevo Latino) and Andale (Mexican). You can walk to Chinatown, but it's something of a hike and mostly sucks these days, except for Full Kee. If you have any desire to see the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence etc, at the Archives, consider making that your first stop of the day, as the lines get long. My kids were very fond of the dinosaur room at Natural History, if you're in that section of town.

Capitol Hill is a well-known restaurant wasteland, with few exceptions. If necessary, you can do the food court in Union Station. All other restaurants in that structure are mediocre, at best. Near Union Station is Bistro Bis; on the other side of the Hill -- and a few blocks away, but next to Eastern Market -- is Montmartre. Both are well-regarded and located close to the subway. The new Belgium joint on the House (south) side, on Pennsylvania Ave is supposed to be pretty decent, but the name escapes me.

The Bread Line, mentioned above, is near the White House. Also, Bombay Club, which offers very good food and a gracious atmosphere, but may be a little formal for a day spent galavanting around town. The Old Ebbit Grill is a fine place for a decent luch -- nothing exceptional, except their raw bar, but you can get steaks, burgers, pasta and decent wine by the glass. Linen tablecloths, but an informal atmosphere. If you get a warm day or evening, get to the balcony on the Hotel Washington for a martini and a great view.

For ethnic, you might want to consider pairing lunch with a visit to the Phillips Collection, which is offering a Modigliani retrospective I am eager to see. Also, consider the Textile Museum, which is more interesting than you'd think (depending on what they're showing.) From there it's a 15-minute stroll through a lovely neighborhood to Adams-Morgan and all the Latin and Ethiopian you can eat. My favorite Thai (Sala Thai), and two great seafood places (Pesce, Johnny's Half Shell) are on P Street, two blocks from the Museum. And the famed Bistro du Coin (where DC's largest and best French Chef, Michel Richard of Citronelle, followed my lead and took his family to dinner last Sunday) and the less-famed but very good Sette Osteria are hardly further off.

Have fun. When are you coming?

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I am fortunate to have secured a reservation for Rays the Steaks on a Saturday night to finish our visit to this fair city. Thanks for everyone's input on this score. As much as I would like to go to Maestro's that is the one restaurant that I am not certain our 5 y/o would be able to make it through so that we and the people around us all enjoy ourselves.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Actually, if you're doing museums on the Mall with kids, the restaurant at the National Museum of the American Indian is quite interesting, and the cafeteria at the National Gallery is another good bet - good variety of food in a pleasant setting. For ethnic food, if you can drive across the Potomac to Arlington, have pho for lunch at Pho 75 at 1721 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA.

For dinner, another consideration would be Ristorante Tosca, 1112 F Street NW, DC. Delicious food that actually tastes like being in italy without being exorbitantly expensive.

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Docsconz,

One place that’s great for families with a young child is 2 Amy’s. It has excellent pizza and antipasto dishes. It’s one of the best restaurants in the city, I think, and it also happens to be one of the most child-friendly restaurants in all of DC. Kids seem to get a kick out of seeing the guys slide the pizzas in and out of the oven. :smile:

(There is a thread on 2 Amy’s on egullet, but I’m not sure how to link it -sorry.)

It’s three or four miles from downtown, off Wisconsin Avenue. (The address is 3715 Macomb St. NW) It would be a good choice if you felt like venturing away from the Mall for a couple of hours, just for a change of pace. The National Cathedral is nearby - interesting architecture – check out the gargoyles if you go.

Have a great trip!

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Thanks for the suggestions. keep them coming. Is there any really good Mexican burrito place that is open for lunch?

The best answer to this is--no. But I've found that when a taco/burrito is essential for life to continue, either Baja Fresh or Chipotle can work. Important: Chipotle can make an acceptable burrito, but only if you insist that they do not put any rice in it, just beans and meat. I like the carnitas best (they use Niman Ranch pork)--it is sort of stewed, not crispy, like true carnitas should be, but it has flavor. Avoid sour cream. Cheese is optional.

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Docsconz,

One place that’s great for families with a young child is 2 Amy’s. It has excellent pizza and antipasto dishes. It’s one of the best restaurants in the city, I think, and it also happens to be one of the most child-friendly restaurants in all of DC. Kids seem to get a kick out of seeing the guys slide the pizzas in and out of the oven.  :smile: 

(There is a thread on 2 Amy’s on egullet, but I’m not sure how to link it -sorry.)

It’s three or four miles from downtown, off Wisconsin Avenue. (The address is 3715 Macomb St. NW)  It would be a good choice if you felt like venturing away from the Mall for a couple of hours, just for a change of pace. The National Cathedral is nearby - interesting architecture – check out the gargoyles if you go. 

Have a great trip!

Two Amy's

Oh, J[esus]. You may be omnipotent, but you are SO naive!

- From the South Park Mexican Starring Frog from South Sri Lanka episode

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Thanks again. I have to find a way to get Two Amys in.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Thanks again. I have to find a way to get Two Amys in.

Two Amy's, for D. C., is superb. By New York standards it is very, very good. It even has the D. O. C. authentication. Una Pizza Napoletana, Grimaldi's, Totonno's, Patsy's, Lombardi's, etc. are at least as good if not better. (I personally have driven several hours out of my way, fighting traffic, to go to Grimaldi's; have also driven roundtrip from D. C. to New Haven for Pepe's and Sally's with a stop on the way back at Tacconelli's coal oven in South Philly. Yes, I've also been to Modern and loved it.) Respectfully, with you and your family coming from Manhattan, I would not go out of my way for Two Amy's. Several weeks ago my wife and I drove to Trenton to DeLorenzo's Italian pies. Two days later we were at Two Amy's. DeLorenzo's competes with New York and New Haven's best. For me, Two Amy's is a notch below. (Although it has extraordinarily good ice cream and I would suggest, that excepting part of the Northeast, is as good as one can find elsewhere in America. You just happen to be coming from the Northeast.)

I would go out of my way for the National Cathedral which is a magnificent structure, one of only two Gothic cathedrals in America. Its observation deck is also the highest point in the city, with a more spectacular 360 degree view than even the Washington Monument. Most tourists, even locals are not aware of this. For thirty plus years I've given tours of D. C. for friends in my business who visit here, for customers when I drove a cab through 8 years of college. I always include the National Cathedral AND the Library of Congress which is its own cathedral to knowledge. Absolutely spectacular lobby, magnificent, extraordinary art on the walls, ceiling-this is an incredible effort, testimony to some of the landmark structures found on this side of the Atlantic.

Several of the memorials are truly awesome: Vietnam Vets, Holocaust, even the WWII is interesting. All of these, along with the Lincoln Memorial (just sitting on the steps facing the Capitol is an experience for one's lifetime) and the Jefferson memorial, the various buildings of the Smithsonian, the two buildings of the National Gallery of Art, etc. Collectively, these are the Champs d'lysee, the Louvre of America.

Stay in the area around the Mall and downtown if you can.

In Georgetown consider walking on the towpath behind the several hundred year old Georgetown Seafood House which is never discussed on here. The C & O Canal runs 140 miles west originating at Watergate. Yes, Watergate. THE Watergate. But with all due respect to M street and Wisconsin Avenue, the Georgetown that I find most fascinating is on the Canal and some of the side streets. Do you remember the movie, The Exorcist? The steps are on the side of the "Car Barn." They're impressive. An stunt person actually fell down those during the filming of the movie. All 300+ of them. Dunbarton Oaks Cemetary is also truly fascinating; it dates to the 17th century and is on a hillside fronting a parkway. Some of the graves have begun to erode and literally start sliding down the hillside.

If you visit the Iwo Jima Memorial you will have the postcard view of D. C. with the Lincoln Memorial, the Monument and the Capitol all lined up in a row. Still, the pool by the Jefferson memorial is unbelievably beautiful. The cherry blossoms line an area near this. Underneath the Lincoln Memorial are catacombs which are reputed to be haunted. They're actually the foundations for the structure but there is a local "legend," an "urban legend" if you will about them. I did the Park Service tour about ten years ago and came away believing in ghosts. The other fifteen or twenty in our group did also. To this day I still don't know why the Park Service stopped this tour. Enormously popular, six month waits and yes, we heard sounds, eerie almost frightening sounds, tapping, knocking, breezy sounds that left memories for weeks after.

But, like the Baltimore tour for Edgar Allen Poe, that tour is "nevermore."

Enjoy D. C. I am proud of the city I was born in.

PS: "Busboy's" suggestions are excellent.

Edited by Joe H (log)
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Two corrections and a couple of additions to Joe H's excellent recco's.

As a ex-Maryland Boy Scout I know well that the C&O Canal is 184 miles ("of adventure") and, as a former GWU oarsman, I know that there are only about 80 "Exorcist Steps," though that is plenty if you're sprinting up them 20 or 30 times. :laugh:

During the crowded tourist season, the Lincoln, Jeff, Vietnam Vets and FDR memorials are best viewed at night. Hell, they're probably best viewed at night any time. If you are at the Lincoln at sunset, walk behind the memorial (if they still allow that) and watch the sunset over the river. The balcony of the Kennedy Center is another good place to do that. And, again near the lincoln, let the kids climb on Einstein's statue, just across Constituion Avenue.

Edited by Busboy (log)

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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These are great recs. While my wife and I visited DC a lot while I did my residency at UVA and have a fair sense of the city from then, our boys have not spent any significant time there. The challenge is going to be integrating the interests of a 15, 13 and a 5y/o:laugh:.

The National Cathedral is certainly something I hadn't considereed before. That would be fun to get that vantage point. It will also probably be less crowded than the Washington Monument.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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These are great recs. While my wife and I visited DC a lot while I did my residency at UVA and have a fair sense of the city from then, our boys have not spent any significant  time there. The challenge is going to be integrating the interests of a 15, 13 and a 5y/o:laugh:.

The National Cathedral is certainly something I hadn't considereed before. That would be fun to get that vantage point. It will also probably be less crowded than the Washington Monument.

With the construction at the Monument and the foot thick glass windows, for me, after 40 years of talking about walking up it, when I finally did-OK, I rode the elevator!-I was disappointed at the top.

The top of the Cathedral will not disappoint. Nor will the Cathedral itself, recently completed after almost a literal Century of construction.

It's funny but in cities throughout Europe-Koln, Paris, Venice, London-Cathedrals are always one of the most important stops for anyone visiting the city. Here, we have one of the most beautiful and exquisite anywhere; a place to go for Christmas Eve service, for a wedding, to bury a past president. But for tourists and for many locals they take it for granted, oblivious to its incredible beauty and majesty.

I think the Library of Congress and the National Cathedral are two of most important stops on any visit to D. C. There is no one on this board whose mouth will not drop in awe when they walk in the door of either.

My apologies for overstating the number of steps on the side of the Busbarn. I still feel for the person who intentionally "threw" themself down those steps! I've also walked most of the C & O Canal over the years and the Old Dominion Trail as well as the B & A trail. I really thought it was 140 miles-my apologies.

Charlottesville? Wasn't/isn't there a pizza place there just outside of the city that is legendary? Also, a really eccentric person owns it who won't seat you unless you have a reservation?

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Charlottesville?  Wasn't/isn't there a pizza place there just outside of the city that is legendary?  Also, a really eccentric person owns it who won't seat you unless you have a reservation?

It's been a few years, but I believe the pizza place in question was Crozet Pizza. I don't recall it being particularly special, though.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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These are great recs. While my wife and I visited DC a lot while I did my residency at UVA and have a fair sense of the city from then, our boys have not spent any significant  time there. The challenge is going to be integrating the interests of a 15, 13 and a 5y/o:laugh:.

The National Cathedral is certainly something I hadn't considereed before. That would be fun to get that vantage point. It will also probably be less crowded than the Washington Monument.

Monument's closed for terror-proofing, anyway.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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