Adventures in D.C.: A Foodie’s Roundup
One must eat to survive. And I suppose if one must eat anyway, it might as well be something tasty! Here are a few of the establishments R and I hit up in D.C.:
Being the audiophile that I am, one of the first things I researched on this trip was the music scene. I found a jazz bar on U Street called Jojo Restaurant and Bar. From the get-go, we knew we were in for a treat. After climbing down the stairs into the basement of the rugged brownstone building that houses Jojo, we were treated to the smooth jazz and funk sounds of the MP3 Trio (which was actually comprised of four – and not three – musicians).
Jojo is a small, intimate venue that plays live jazz, funk, soul, blues and R&B. The venue is conducive to date nights or catching up with friends. R and I had a great view of the band doing their thing. They had an ease about them that comes from being seasoned performers. The guys fell into their set seamlessly, as if they each knew their parts by ear.
R and I shared the Ultimate Mojito (Bacardi rum, fresh mint, fresh lemon and lime juice, cane sugar) since it was pretty large and we had had cocktails earlier at Blue Duck Tavern. R ordered the Blackened Chicken Jumbo Shrimp (chicken breast filet with blackening spices, jumbo shrimp and Creole mustard, with roasted veggies and Spanish rice). Always up for noodles, I had the Creole Shrimp Fettuccine (lightly blackened jumbo shrimp over fettuccine with creamy cognac mushroom sauce). My dish wasn’t overly creamy, and the savory mushroom sauce complemented the smoky shrimp.
We also had the opportunity to dine at the esteemed Blue Duck Tavern for breakfast, happy hour AND dinner (not all on the same day!). Since we stayed at the Park Hyatt Washington hotel, which has a partnership with Blue Duck Tavern restaurant, we received a breakfast meal ticket every day for a fixed amount that let us try an assortment of mouth-watering victuals.
Blue Duck Tavern specializes in seasonal, regional American cuisine with a creative twist. My favorites were the Short Rib Hash, Banana Pancakes and the refreshing Carrot-Ginger Juice. The Ramos Gin Fizz was another unexpected hit. Normally, I don’t like creamy-textured drinks, but this one struck the right amount of egg white frothiness and limey tang.
During happy hour, we engaged in people-watching while sipping on cocktails with names like the Paulista and Southern Blossom. Blue Duck Tavern’s customers tend to be well-dressed D.C. professionals, many of them in pressed suits and dark, somber colors.
R’s friend S currently lives and works in Washington, D.C., so we met up with him for a late dinner after our segway tour. S suggested Estadio, which turned out to be an excellent choice. None of us had been there before, which made the experience that much more pleasurable.
Estadio is a contemporary Spanish restaurant specializing in small plates from Northern Spain. They really seem to know what they’re doing in terms of their food and drink selection. We came in without a reservation so we opted for seats bar-side and started off with some drinks and bite-sized dishes.
After a vigorous and detailed Capitol Tour, we checked out Le Bon Café, which turned out to be a cute little spot for paninis and cappuccinos (they use Italian illy beans). I liked the mismatched retro French illustrations hung up on the wall, giving it a homey feel. The cat one was my favorite. 🙂
Washington, D.C. has a lot to offer in terms of gastronomic selections. Make sure to check out these restaurants next time you’re at the capital!
Blue Duck Tavern
1201 24th St NW (between N I St & N New Hampshire Ave)
Washington, DC 20037
Neighborhood: West End
1520 14th St NW (between N Q St & N P St)
Washington, DC 20005
Neighborhood: Logan Circle
Jojo Restaurant and Bar
1518 U St NW (at N 15th St in U Street Corridor)
Washington, DC 20009
Le Bon Café
210 2nd St SE
Washington, DC 20003
Neighborhood: Capitol Hill/Southeast