Monday, May 25, 2015

Eating Around Towns Both Near and Far

It has been nearly 6 weeks since my last blog post. And yes, I feel that I'm confessing in a way to the sin of being too busy and too creatively drained to keep this up. I feel this is something I've brought up a few times in the last year where I found that while I was enjoying new restaurants, eating amazing dishes while traveling, I just wasn't taking the extra step to document it. I could come up with a litany of has been busy, I've been traveling a lot, I've found more worthwhile efforts to focus on, etc. But I pick my proverbial pen yet again, and vow to be better. As of today, this marks my 262nd post since I started this little venture in January 2012. So I shouldn't beat myself up about it, and just recognize that I'll write when I feel inspired, and if it isn't as often, so be it.

Having said that, I want to catch up on some of the amazing things I've eaten in the last two months, as well as some dishes I've made along the way. For the purpose of this post, I want to focus on the amazing dining I've experienced in DC over the last two months. While I've always been one to dine out fairly regularly, I've found a dining-companion-in-crime who also likes to try out exotic dishes, isn't afraid of a little spice and is game for trying out just about anything.

So while I did take two trips out of town in April (to NYC and NOLA), here is a brief write-up on some of the awesome places I've eaten in the town I've called home for 11 years. And since I've written about NYC many times before, my next post will only focus on my April trip to New Orleans. Because NOLA is all about that food.

Here is just a sampling of some of the places I've been frequenting this Spring. Some of these restaurants have been featured in the Washington Post's 40 Essential Eats list or the Washingtonian's 100 Best Restaurants for 2015, and I'll admit, these lists have not disappointed thus far.

Donburi - While this little Adams Morgan spot lacks a website, they do not lack in flavorful Japanese cuisine. I opted for the BBQ eel noodle dish. I was so enraptured by the aroma and taste of the dish, I couldn't seem to remember to take a photo. So you'll just have to trust me and go there. Pronto.

Khachapuri (Georgian cheese bread...
take that Little Caesar's Crazy Bread!)
from Compass Rose
Compass Rose - This restaurant in Logan Circle prides itself on their concept of "International Street Food." As a regular consumer of this type of food, I'm a big fan of taking all the great foods you can buy on the cheap, off the streets, in every corner of the world and then placing all these country cuisines into one location. As someone who is all over the place on what they like to eat in one sitting (what do you mean it's not common to crave sushi, cheese, and pork in one sitting???) this places hits the mark. One of their more popular dishes, the khachapuri, while not one of my favorites, did bring me to this place in the first place where so many other dishes hit the mark. The cocktails are great, and if you go, definitely get the lamb kebabs. Divine.

Doi Moi's  Sakhoo Yat Sai.
Doi Moi - This restaurant is brought to you by the same people who own Estadio, which I regularly remark is my favorite Spanish-style tapas restaurant in the city. Doi Moi takes the small plate concept, but moves it to Southeast Asia where most of the dishes are meant to be shared, and present a more sophisticated take on many of the dishes I enjoyed during my trip to Thailand in 2012. They even have Kao Soi, which is something I had yet to see in the states, and they did not disappoint in their interpretation of this curry noodle soup. The one dish that had been highlighted at this restaurant in some of my foodie lists was the Sakhoo Yat Sai, or Stuffed Tapioca Pearls. These meaty (sans meat) little delights were filled with peanuts, radishes, tapioca, fresh garlic and love.

Naem Khao at Thip Khao.
Heaven in a lettuce wrap.
Thip Khao - The crowning achievement of my dining in the last few months can be found steps away from my condo. This Laotian restaurant brings the heat and my boyfriend on a regular basis. By far some of the more authentic heat levels and ingredients to be found in the DC-area, I've been here half a dozen times since it opened over the winter. Go crazy. Order off the Jungle Menu. I'm a fan of the laabs on there, chock full of organ meat. But our favorite dish there, thus far, is their Naem Khao. These lettuce wraps are filled with crispy rice, coconut, lime, scallion, pickled pork ham, peanut, and cilantro. I can't even describe them in a way that even comes close to matching how awesome they taste. The crunch! The spice! The sweet!  Ridiculous.