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Eating and Shopping on Capitol Hill


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Thanks for updating us, Vandyhoo. Bummer, though. Fortunately, there's still Matchbox for miniburger fixes (along with plenty of other places...)

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Believe it or not, the cajun chicken sandwich new on the Tunnicliffs menu is good! Not too dry, perfectly spiced. I've been eating there for a couple years, and this was the best thing I've had there. Yeah, its just bar food. But I'm eager to try the rest of the menu, especially after the promising start last night.

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  • 1 month later...

We ate at Sonoma last night for the first time. It's the restaurant that took Il Radicchio's space on Penn Ave. Has anyone else eaten there yet?

I went with high expectations for the idea of a wine bar but had not realized that it was completely focused on Italy. Not that doesn't mean that the wine is not good, of course, just that I was hoping for some French possibilities.

Anyway, I ordered the string bean salad, followed by gnocchi. The string bean salad was excellent (though I would have called them yellow pole beans) very fresh, juicy, and well-dressed with something that let the veggies shine through.

After three or four bites I did something I rarely do - I sent the gnocchi back. :sad: I love gnocchi and seeing that these were "housemade" I was really looking forward to them. BUT, although they themselves were well-made they were FRIED and very oily. Perhaps others are familiar with this way of preparing them but for me it was horrid and really a waste. I don't like oily food, especially when I'm not expecting it.

My husband ordered pizza with prosciutto, potatoes, and arugula and it was quite delicious.

After sending back the gnocchi, I just decided to wait and share a cheese course with my husband. They had a good selection and we settled on humboldt fog ashline, Vermont cheddar, and romano. After the cheese we had dessert -- housemade pistachio ice cream for him and chocolate "pudding" (it was mousse really) for me. The mousse was very good. It came with two biscotti that had been mortally wounded by the humidity and one bite was more than enough of those.

Five glasses of wine accompanied this meal, all very good but very pricey. The prices are given by "taste," glass and bottle. I don't know how much wine you actually get for a "taste" but given that it costed $7 to taste a $10 glass of wine it struck me as a very expensive way to try things.

The bill with tip was about $120.00 which was much more than we would usually spend on eating out just because we were just too tired to cook and wanted to try a new restaurant. The place looks as if they aren't quite done yet. I like the sleek look and of all the iterations in that space, it reminds me most of the old Jenkins Hill, which was about 3 or 4 restaurants ago. They have three very large tables with bench seating that look super but looked very uncomfortable for a long lingering meal as the benches had no backs.

We'll definitely return but I can't see us becoming regulars.

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Anyway, I ordered the string bean salad, followed by gnocchi. The string bean salad was excellent (though I would have called them yellow pole beans) very fresh, juicy, and well-dressed with something that let the veggies shine through.

After three or four bites I did something I rarely do - I sent the gnocchi back.  :sad:  I love gnocchi and seeing that these were "housemade" I was really looking forward to them. BUT, although they themselves were well-made they were FRIED and very oily. Perhaps others are familiar with this way of preparing them but for me it was horrid and really a waste. I don't like oily food, especially when I'm not expecting it.

I've eaten dinner there 4 or 5 times. I ordered the gnocchi once, and it was good but not great. I don't recall that it was oily, though. I'm having trouble remembering the dish so many weeks later. I've enjoyed most things I've gotten there.

And, yes, the beverage prices really do add up. I've liked the wines I've had there, but the last couple of times I stuck with the beer. I like Italian beer they have on tap (I always get the name wrong).

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I ate there (Sonoma) on Wednesday night, and overall, I was really pleased. I tried the wine "tastes" but mine were all $3-$4 ($6-9 for a full glass). I had three and really enjoyed the option to test things out. And I didn't find it too expensive. We found descriptions in the wine list interesting, as each wine has a 2-3 word description next to it that does not repeat. So if you had a "light, dry finish" wine, you won't find another on the list with that same description. It will be "light, full bodied" -- you get the idea. We tried different glasses, debating if we would have described this or that wine as having a "fruity nose". I wish that I could remember my wine choices. I had three whites, and enjoyed each.

I started with the black risotto. I'd read something that day about Citronelle's begula/beluga pasta, and so I had a taste for something like it. They don't compare, no, not at all, but I did enjoy the risotto. I thought it had a good balance of salt, a decent texture of risotto, and the calamari was firm without being rubbery. I'd recommend it. And eat it again. My friend started with a small-plate of the chicken - penne dish. I had a bite and while I can't remember the details, I thought that one was good enough that I almost wished I'd ordered it.

For my main dish, I had prawns over a chick-pea puree. I was really surprised that the chickpea puree was cold, and couldn't decide if that was intentional or not. But it tasted good, so I didn't ask. The shrimp were on a skewer, and I always have a problem with that in restaurants. It's a nice presentation, but it also increases the possibility that I will meet my dining neighbors when my shrimp is propelled off the skewer and into their plate. It's probably just me, though. I got the small-plate size of this dish, with 4 mediums sized prawns. It was a good portion for me.

I don't recall my friend's dinner, but we liked it, too. Overall, we each spent about $36, including tip.

We had good service overall. Nothing to complain about. I'm really happy to have Sonoma on the Hill.

garnish is a twist on the twist

garnish is another person's garbage

garnish is added

garnish is removed

garnish is like tying the ribbon on a present

garnish is a lovely warm "lollipop" pink

garnish is the person i would want by my side

garnish is the fun part of this soup

garnish is a speed bump on the road to bliss

garnish is described as an ornament or a decoration

garnish is an incredibly fussy little number

(garnish as googlism)

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  • 10 months later...

I greatly enjoyed lunch yesterday at Bistro Bis. We were in a hurry, as I was headed to the airport, but not much of one, so a lunch at the bar seemed in order.

We split a most excellent (actually-THEY SPLIT-more places should be this nice about splitting stuff) Endive Salad Chardenoux and a charcuterie plate . The salad was really good and perfectly dressed (meaning not drowning-overdressing is something that I have come to hate and I will impose stiff penalties for this egretious crime when I am finally in charge of the world). Both were really good and the bartender/server was excellent (sorry, I don't remember her name, though I should).

Also, no matter what you order, order up a cone full of frites. They are really, really good. Pretty close to perfect.

Anyway, great place for a quick, not too expensive, lunch in very pleasant, well appointed surroundings. You could do much worse.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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  • 2 months later...

Hi all.

I will be moving to DC in September for four months. I'll be working at the Supreme Court and living near there and I'm going to need places to go to eat (cheap) and to shop.

Cheap eats to me means anything that I can get for 10-15 dollars or less. I love most ethnic foods that I've had. I love a good sandwich. I worked in the industry (fine dining) before going back to school, so I'm not completely clueless or timid. I would love to find someplace to go after work that wouldn't take too much traveling.

For shopping, I need a place to get consistent produce at below-Whole-Foods-prices. A butcher and a great deli would be wonderful as well. I've looked at the links to grocery stores, but have no idea what is close and how much traveling each of the suggestions would take.

I apologize for not knowing where anything is and how to get anywhere. I'll learn as soon as I can.

Thanks for the help!

Oren

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Well, if you are going to live near the Court, you won't have much money left for eating, but:

3rd and Eats

500 Third St., NW

Open for breakfast and lunch. Great sandwichs and also strokes your social conscience as it is dedicated to training the unemployed and providing aid to the poor and homeless. But the sandwiches are fantastic.

Las Placitas

517 Eighth St., SE

Good Central/Latin American/Mexican/Salvadoran

Market Lunch

225 Seventh St., SE

Food stand in Eastern Market, a good place for breakfast or lunch if you can deal with carryout and eating at picnic tables, but expect a line.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you dinwiddie.

Luckily, rent is paid for by my school. I won't get paid for work, though so it's still true that I won't have much money left over for eating.

Those places sound perfect and they look very close to work and home. If anyone can think of anything else in the next few weeks, I appreciate all the help I can get!

Thanks again!

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Hop on the Red Line (Metro!) to Bethesda for great restaurants of varying prices and values both up and down the hill by Elm/Woodmont/Wisconsin Ave's...

Also in Rockville you can go to Eatsy's it's fantastic and different... there's a 6.00 all you can eat pizza/salad/dessert place near the NRC building about 1 or 2 blocks west or so just ask around for it... also a great middle eastern place diagonal across from that blding too and also Ize's is in that same plaza (bagels etc...)

Goodluck... and let me know if you bump into any inexpensive great finds since we just moved down here as well. Thanks again. Goodluck and welcome to the area.

Stacey C-Anonymouze@aol.com

*Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books that nobody reads!-G. B. SHAW

JUST say NO... to CENSORSHIP*!

Also member of LinkedIn, Erexchange and DonRockwell.

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Breakfasts at the Court itself aren't bad--Angie makes a mean eggs and cheese sandwich. Plus employees get a discount.

Don't eat at the Senate (or the House.)

Cheap eats for breakfast and lunch can be had at Jimmy T's--East Capitol and 5th Street SE.

There isn't a lot of good grocery shopping right near the Court--Eastern Market can be pricey.

Sonoma on Pennsylvania Avenue can be done for a reasonable price if you order carefully.

Good luck!

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The bad news is that Capitol Hill something of a fine dining wasteland. The good news is that, because the workforce on the Hill is overwhelmingly young and government -alaried, there is a virtually endless supply of burgers and ethnic at a quality somewhere between shopping mall food court (and if you want one of those, Union Station is steps away. I like Wingmasters) and a restaurant you'd really go out of your way to go to, at a price you can afford on, say, a mid-level Congressional staffers salary. Lots of happy hours, too.

Slightly more expensive and bringing a little panache to the Hill: Belga Cafe, on 8th st. near the Marine Barracks; Sonoma Grill on Pennsylvania Avenbue on the House side (not far from you, I believ) and Montmartre, right next to Eastern Market.

Speaking of Eastern Market, the produce there is really only worth hunting down on weekends; during the week you're paying premium prices for standard produce at the regular stalls, whereas the farmers come out on weekends. I seem to recall a good and inexpensive Salvadoran/Mex carryout across the street, for cheap eats. These cheese guy is pretty good, I like Union Butcher a lot, and you can get good fowl of many varieties. Avoid the fishmonger.

There's a pretty good wine shop, Schneiders, not far from the Court, at third and Mass.

I confess I never thought of heading to Bethesda for good/cheap eats -- a long metro ride for another neighborhood that's considered an underachiever. Better to head out the orange line to Courthouse/Clarendon, I think.

More ideas on an earlier thread here.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I concur. And think about it: most of what Bethesda has to offer is part of a chain (national or regional). Raku is duplicated in Dupont. Austin Grill is all over the place including Glover Park and downtown. Jaleo - multiple locations. Cosi - millions of locations.

I confess I never thought of heading to Bethesda for good/cheap eats -- a long metro ride for another neighborhood that's considered an underachiever.  Better to head out the orange line to Courthouse/Clarendon, I think.

More ideas on an earlier thread here.

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  • 1 month later...
For shopping, I need a place to get consistent produce at below-Whole-Foods-prices.  A butcher and a great deli would be wonderful as well.  I've looked at the links to grocery stores, but have no idea what is close and how much traveling each of the suggestions would take.

Given that you posted this 2 months ago, you may have your answers already, but I just saw this thread.

There's Eastern Market, which has produce, deli, butcher stands (Markey Poultry is great for chicken and turkey), and a fishmonger, as well as breakfast/lunch stand. On Saturdays and Sundays, it has outdoor produce vendors and a flea market (Sunday is more the flea market day). That's on 7th St., SE, between North Carolina Ave. and C St. It's not a really long walk from where you are, but it depends on how much you're carrying. The owner of Canales Deli has a Salvadoran/Mexican carryout with a little seating across the street (Tortilla Cafe).

There is a producers' only farmers' market at 6th and H, NE, which is walkable from where you are. It's open Saturday mornings, but I'm not sure how far into the fall that runs. (The Eastern Market produce vendors are not necessarily producers and prices can be high, though they bring in good-quality produce from the region.)

There is also a wholesale farmer's market (also meats, etc.) which sells to the public up around Florida Ave. and 6th NE, but it really requires a car to get there: http://www.pps.org/great_public_spaces/one...d=224&type_id=0. Litteri's is a great little Italian market right nearby.

ETA: I forgot that a metro station on the red line opened near the Florida Avenue market. It's the New York Ave./Florida Ave./Gallaudet stop.

Pat

Edited by PatDC (log)
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  • 1 year later...

I'm staying in the Hyatt on New Jersey near Union Station and having a heck of a time finding decent food, so I wasn't shocked when I finally dug up this topic. Tonight is my one free night from this convention and would actually just like to find a bar to watch the baseball game (not necessarily a sports bar, just a place I can sit at the bar and relax). Tried the Dubliner yesterday for lunch and wasn't impressed at all. Guy at the hotel had a hard time with suggestions.

Can anyone help me out? Hoping for someplace I could walk.

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I'm staying in the Hyatt on New Jersey near Union Station and having a heck of a time finding decent food, so I wasn't shocked when I finally dug up this topic. Tonight is my one free night from this convention and would actually just like to find a bar to watch the baseball game (not necessarily a sports bar, just a place I can sit at the bar and relax). Tried the Dubliner yesterday for lunch and wasn't impressed at all. Guy at the hotel had a hard time with suggestions.

Can anyone help me out? Hoping for someplace I could walk.

Too bad that I read this as being written today and not yesterday :wacko:. I'll leave my comments, though, in the event anyone else might have a similar question in the future.

Right by your hotel, you might try My Brother's Place. It's at about 2nd and D, NW, just off Constitution, down an alley/street that doesn't look like much from the street. It's dark and divey (in a party in someone's parents' basement kind of way), and I've long been partial to it when I'm in that area. It's standard bar food but not bad for the kind of place it is.

If you don't mind a bit of a walk (maybe 20 minutes or so from where you are), there are a number of bars along the strip of PA Ave., SE, east of the Capitol, that you could try. I'd imagine Capitol Lounge, Pour House, and Hawk 'n' Dove would be likely candidates to have your game on tv. Food would be a different matter. If you're in that several block strip and want to grab a nice dinner, I'd recommend Sonoma (a few doors up from Cap Lounge). They open at 5:30PM.

Edited by PatDC (log)
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Charlie Palmer Steak

I've got to say, I veered off my original intention, but after a burger and beer at the Billy Goat (which was fantastic to cure my Saturday morning blues) and after chicken tenders the night before, it was time to slip out of our 300-person banquet and head for a real dinner. Charlie Palmer might not be the best meal I've ever had, but I swear, the bartender (I think he said his name was Brad) tried to make it so. Nothing fancy, some beer while waiting for a spot to open, then a salad (hadn't eaten anything green this week so I went for a romaine with bleu cheese and panchetta, rather simple but to the point, served the purpose). The steak was interesting. I ordered it medium rare, and I guess in my mind it was a tad undercooked, but I wouldn't complain, it was close enough. Where I found the biggest issue was that there was a very strong red wine reduction on the plate. Call me old fashioned, but I like my steak to stand on its own. They serve mustards on the side, why not the wine reduction? Anyway, it was very good, about 100 times better than anything else I've had while in DC.

Imagine this - I spend $100 (including tip) and it didn't seem overpriced. Beer was about $4 a pint and Makers after dinner was $8. Considering I spent $7 for a beer at the Hyatt all week, it seemed a bargain. And the $100 which included the best potato (twice baked with truffles) I've ever had and a great steak with a few drinks was amazing considering I spend $45 the night before on buffalo tenders, fries and a few beers.

All in all, I had a hell of a time finding a decent meal in Capitol Hill, which I guess is no surprise. Fish and chips at the Dubliner was like a can of tuna wrapped in a loaf of breat. Breakfast at the Hyatt was $15 for a cup of coffee and a yogourt parfait.

If I were living here, the cheap ($3.50) beer at Billy Goat and the reasonably priced but very good burgers would make that a favorite spot. The fact they had an incredibly cute girl behind the bar Friday night doesn't hurt. Actually, her sending me to find a livlier spot was a check on the right side of ledger.

Ok, that's my take on DC, after 3 days in Capitol Hill.

ps Is there a very strong gay community here? I was approached by a guy Thursday, then there was a conference of gay Mormons in my hotel over the weekend. Interesting.

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