Best of DC

Best of DC

Every year, the Washington City Paper asks DC residents to vote for their favorites in just about every category imaginable from favorite Bloody Mary to favorite doctor (One Medical Group, oh yeah!) to favorite strip club. Yep, no service goes unnoticed. And they also throw a fun party to showcase the winners. This year it was held at the Carnegie Library Building in Mount Vernon Square.

As an avid foodie, I recognized many familiar and beloved faces at the Best of DC event. One of which was Thip Khao, winner of the best Asian Restaurant Category. Thip Khao serves up quality Laotian fare which is mostly unfamiliar to many DC residents. The name Thip Khao refers to the adorable baskets that hold individual servings of sticky rice.

I’m also an Instagram addict and I follow local artist Kelly Towles, so I instantly recognized his US Capitol figure. Previously, Towles featured the figure on t-shirts but this was a full blown up rendition which set the stage to showcase so many local businesses and entrepreneurs.

 

The Belgian Embassy offered up one of its iconic dishes – the Belgian Waffle. There was a sweet option but I opted for savory. The smoked salmon waffle sadly was already gone but they offered chicken pate on a waffle instead. The subtle sweetness of the waffle itself paired with the savory and creamy chicken pate was great, but it was a lot of pate!

 

I was so happy to find Cotton and Reed at this event. I never used to consider myself much of a rum fan. I found rum drinks too sweet. Turns out I just wasn’t drinking the right rum. I moved to the Dominican Republic where I had my first taste of truly amazing rum. Brugal blew apart my idea of what rum should taste like. Then I tried Barbancourt from Haiti, and it was unlike anything else I’ve ever tried. It’s like thinking that all beer tastes like Coors Light and then discovering an IPA.

 

I first tasted Cotton and Reed at The Passenger, an awesome local DC bar and I was hooked. Then I heard about a Cotton and Reed pop up in Adams Morgan and my love for their rum was confirmed. So, I just had to stop by and give them some love. Stop by their tasting room at Union Market especially if you’ve never considered yourself a rum fan. You just might be a convert.

 

There was a lot of buzz when Buredo opened in DC. My friends and I made it a point to try them just after they opened. We had a sushi burrito picnic on a beautiful day in Franklin Square. And then I kinda forgot about them. It was good but there’s so much good food in this city. When I saw Buredo again at the Best of DC event and tried their shrimp tempura burrito, I was reminded that I need to get myself over there more often. So delicious!

 

And then there were the breweries! Of course, good old DC Brau made the list. I live near their brewery and tasting room and love taking advantage of the $2.50 pint special on Fridays. Best deal in town! And I was also thrilled to see 3 Stars Brewery. I’ve loved all of their beers and I need to try the Go Go Weiss, a collaboration with Other Half Brewing in Brooklyn. It’s a sour ale with cherries and cherry blossoms. It’s pink!

 

I felt as if I had to choose my favorite among the favorites and while it was tough to do among so many great food and drink options, I was delighted by Daikaya’s cocktail the Hara Hara. Gin has always been my drink and this featured Joseph Magnus gin, Rinomato (an Italian bitter aperitivo), cherry blossom paste, grapefruit, lime and Thai basil. Just a touch of sweetness. It was delicious, unique and refreshing.

 

Adventures with Mom

Adventures with Mom

It’s rare that my mom and I get to spend time together in DC by ourselves, so when she decided to come down from Pennsylvania for a mother daughter visit, I knew I had to cram in as much of the fun stuff we both like to do as possible. We love history and visiting house museums and I had been wanting to take her to the Hillwood Estate, the home of Marjorie Merriweather Post, for years.

 

I also get my love of food from my mom who’s an amazing cook and food explorer, so the itinerary on our first day started off with breakfast at A Baked Joint in Mount Vernon Square – home of the best biscuit sandwich I have ever had.

 

I’m a coffee addict and my mom a tea lover so I knew A Baked Joint could satisfy us both. I like plain old drip coffee served black with no sugar. And my mom is a black tea lover and was over the moon about their Assam which she also takes black with no sugar. Upon my insistence, she tried a biscuit and I got the open faced smoked salmon sandwich on house baked baguette.

 

 

Fueled up and ready for touring, we headed over to Hillwood in NW DC set back in the hills near the Peirce Mill in Rock Creek Park. Marjorie Merriweather Post was the heiress of the Post cereal fortune and an avid art collector. Her home was a museum where she loved to entertain guests and show off her prized possessions.

 

She was particularly interested in ornate, European artwork and is probably most famous for her collection of Faberge eggs. But during her time living in Russia as the wife of the US Ambassador to Russia, she also amassed a huge collection of priceless Russian treasures. She and her husband lived in Russia during the Revolution of 1917. Because of the turmoil and unrest, Russian artifacts were easy to come by and Marjorie recognized at once the great value of these items, many of which are displayed in her home today.

 

Hillwood is also famous for its gardens. They include formal French style gardens, a Japanese garden, rose garden and a large greenhouse filled with tropical plants and an extensive orchid collection which was on display during our visit. After a warm, sunny morning full of exploring the ornate house and the beautifully manicured grounds of the Hillwood Estate, we had once again worked up an appetite. And this time, we were headed to Georgetown for some delicious vegetarian tacos.

 

When I first heard people raving about Chaia tacos, I thought to myself how good could a vegetarian taco really be? Chaia tacos defied all my expectations. With thick, homemade soft corn tortillas and fresh, seasonal produce of the highest quality, Chaia tacos are hearty and delicious and gorgeous to look at as well. My favorite is the kale and potato, but the mushroom tacos come in a close second. My mom was highly impressed with the rutabaga taco as well. Though neither of us are vegetarian, we both agreed that we could easily give up meat if we could have Chaia tacos every day.