Erin's Food Finds of '05
As I get ready to hop a flight to beautiful, glamorous and often anorexic L.A., I realize I've done a lot of eating this year. Some of it was delicious, some not so much. Here are my most memorable culinary moments of 2005 and one holiday wish:
A Poetic Experience: After months of waiting on Busboys and Poets, I made a mad dash to check out the finished product. The drinks hit the spot and there's something productive about choosing my own pizza fixings. I love the baba ghanoush and can never finish the mussels, but the best part is that the venue's performance space gives you a readily accessible place to slink to while you digest. With poetry readings, film festivals and alternative performances, Busboys hits good food and great entertainment in one fell swoop.
Mac Daddy: I enjoyed my most pleasant surprise of the year at Hank's Oyster Bar. From the silky monkfish and fresh oysters to the perfect mac and cheese, the restaurant consistently perfects seafood in a casual setting that rocks as a favorite neighborhood spot. Also, they serve the best lobster roll in the greater Washington area.
Southern Rock: Open just weeks after Hurricane Katrina, Acadiana started off as a fitting tribute to Southern cuisine. This newest restaurant from Jeff Tunks of DC Coast offers hearty food in a New Orleans-style dining room. The portions are generous and the room is comfortable. I love settling in with a Category Five cocktail and a plate of deviled eggs before a dessert of beignets and coffee. While it isn't located in a happening area, this bite of the Bayou is worth the trip.
How About View?: The roof of Tabaq Bistro has become my favorite post-work meeting spot. I'll happily lap up a mojito or anything from the cocktail menu with my dolma grape leaves and eggplant caviar. With Al Crostino and Creme Cafe nearby, there is also the option of moving on for a fine glass of wine or a swanky hot dog, respectively.
Party Like It's Your Birthday: Every meal that I enjoy at Restaurant Eve takes my breath away. Between Todd Thrasher's killer cocktails (yes, that is foie gras with the Pear of Desire cocktail) and the courteous service, Cathal Armstrong's cooking shines bright in Old Town. Every dish tastes sensationally seasonal: Even the homemade gnocchi is transcendent with perfect texture. Plus, where else can you order a mini birthday cake just because?
Back Off, Blood-suckers: My first experience with the garlicky goodness at Lebanese Taverna warrants a shout-out. I know that this isn't a new one, but my first time savoring that pure garlic ecstasy was, well, worth a mention on this list.
Tumultuous City: Since I posted my initial impressions, I have been back to Open City a few times and it just hasn't gotten better. Between the perpetually packed dining room, cavalier servers and the sub-par food, this opening was the biggest letdown of my year.
Lastly, My Holiday Wishes: I hope to stumble onto a great dive Mexican restaurant with edible chips and a restaurant that ladles up authentic matzoh ball soup. I also hope that Stoney's makes a hasty comeback after its current location shutters in mid-January. The city cannot afford to lose yet another authentic dive bar/greasy spoon restaurant, particularly one that offers such delicious burgers and that infamous grilled cheese.
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