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Adventures in D.C.: A Foodie’s Roundup

Posted on Apr 9, 2014 by in Culture, Eat & Drink, Travel | 0 comments

 

Blue Duck Tavern. Breakfast. Banana Pancakes (like the Jack Johnson song): Banana Jam, Granola Crumble, Banana Chips. Photo by Sarah Tung.

Blue Duck Tavern. Breakfast. Banana Pancakes (like the Jack Johnson song): Banana Jam, Granola Crumble, Banana Chips. Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

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.:

 

Jojo Restaurant and Bar. Chalkboard sign up front. Photo by Sarah Tung.

Jojo Restaurant and Bar. Chalkboard sign up front. Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

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 Restaurant and Bar. MP3 Trio setting up. Photo by Sarah Tung.

Jojo Restaurant and Bar. MP3 Trio setting up. Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

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.

 

Jojo Restaurant and Bar. Ultimate Mojito. Photo by Sarah Tung.

Jojo Restaurant and Bar. Ultimate Mojito. Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

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.

 

Jojo Restaurant and Bar. Blackened Chicken Jumbo Shrimp. Photo by Sarah Tung.

Jojo Restaurant and Bar. Blackened Chicken Jumbo Shrimp. Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

Jojo Restaurant and Bar. Creole Shrimp Fettuccine. Photo by Sarah Tung.

Jojo Restaurant and Bar. Creole Shrimp Fettuccine. Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

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. Happy Hour. Menu. Photo by Sarah Tung.

Blue Duck Tavern. Happy Hour. Menu. Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

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.

 

Blue Duck Tavern. Breakfast. Short Rib Hash: Sunny Side Up Eggs, Horseradish Sauce. Photo by Sarah Tung.

Blue Duck Tavern. Breakfast. Short Rib Hash: Sunny Side Up Eggs, Horseradish Sauce. Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

Blue Duck Tavern. Breakfast. Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Juices. From L-R: Pomegranate Orange, Carrot-Ginger. Photo by Sarah Tung.

Blue Duck Tavern. Breakfast. Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Juices. From L-R: Pomegranate Orange, Carrot-Ginger. Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

Blue Duck Tavern. Breakfast. Slowly Poached Egg: Spinach, Irwin Mushrooms, with toast. Photo by Sarah Tung.

Blue Duck Tavern. Breakfast. Slowly Poached Egg: Spinach, Irwin Mushrooms, with toast. Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

Blue Duck Tavern. Lemongrass & Wild Rose Tea in a clear glass teapot. Photo by Sarah Tung.

Blue Duck Tavern. Lemongrass & Wild Rose Tea in a clear glass teapot. Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

Blue Duck Tavern. Lemongrass & Wild Rose Tea in a classic cup and saucer set. Photo by Sarah Tung.

Blue Duck Tavern. Lemongrass & Wild Rose Tea in a classic cup and saucer set. Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

Blue Duck Tavern. Tea in jars. From L-R: 2003 Vintage Organic Ancient Tree, 1999 Vintage Imperial Pu-Erh. Photo by Sarah Tung.

Blue Duck Tavern. Tea in jars. From L-R: 2003 Vintage Organic Ancient Tree, 1999 Vintage Imperial Pu-Erh. Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

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.

 

Blue Duck Tavern. Happy Hour. Paulista (cachaca, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, lavender syrup and lime juice?) and a martini drink I can't recall. Yummy pistachios. Photo by Sarah Tung.

Blue Duck Tavern. Happy Hour. Paulista (cachaca, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, lavender syrup and lime juice?) and a martini drink I can’t recall. Yummy pistachios. Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

Blue Duck Tavern is classy yet unpretentious. Bar/lounge seating. Photo by Sarah Tung.

Blue Duck Tavern is classy yet unpretentious. Bar/lounge seating. Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

Blue Duck Tavern. Dinner. Seasonal Soup of the Day: a Ginger-Carrot concoction with pistachios and dried cranberries. Photo by Sarah Tung.

Blue Duck Tavern. Dinner. Seasonal Soup of the Day: a Ginger-Carrot concoction with pistachios and dried cranberries. Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

Blue Duck Tavern. Dinner. Wood Oven-Roasted Bone Marrow with Horseradish Butter and Parsley Crust. Photo by Sarah Tung.

Blue Duck Tavern. Dinner. Wood Oven-Roasted Bone Marrow with Horseradish Butter and Parsley Crust. Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

Blue Duck Tavern. Dinner. Heirloom Carrots: Pureed, Roasted, Shaved, Hazelnuts. Photo by Sarah Tung.

Blue Duck Tavern. Dinner. Heirloom Carrots: Pureed, Roasted, Shaved, Hazelnuts. Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

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. Restaurant sign. Photo by Sarah Tung.

Estadio. Restaurant sign. Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

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.

 

Estadio. Drinks, from L-R: R's Red Sangria (Red Wine, Cachaca, Lime & Mint), my Quatrofiasco (Espresso, Milk, Almond & Orange Brandy). Photo by Sarah Tung.

Estadio. Drinks, from L-R: R’s Red Sangria (Red Wine, Cachaca, Lime & Mint), my Quatrofiasco (Espresso, Milk, Almond & Orange Brandy). Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

Estadio. From L-R: Crispy Pork Belly & Pickled Shisito Pepper Alioli Bocadillo (sandwich), Wild Mushrooms Croquetas with Roasted Red Peppers. Photo by Sarah Tung.

Estadio. From L-R: Crispy Pork Belly & Pickled Shisito Pepper Alioli Bocadillo (sandwich), Wild Mushrooms Croquetas with Roasted Red Peppers. Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

Estadio. From Top to Bottom: Braised Beef Short Rib, Parsnip-Potato Puree, Horseradish (I think); Crispy Duck Breast, Beluga Lentils & Catalan Greens. Photo by Sarah Tung.

Estadio. From Top to Bottom: Braised Beef Short Rib, Parsnip-Potato Puree, Horseradish (I think); Crispy Duck Breast, Beluga Lentils & Catalan Greens. Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

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. 🙂

 

Le Bon Cafe. From L-R: Cappuccino, Chicken Pesto Panini with potato salad side. Photo by Sarah Tung.

Le Bon Cafe. From L-R: Cappuccino, Chicken Pesto Panini with potato salad side. Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

Le Bon Cafe. Photo by Sarah Tung.

Le Bon Cafe. Photo by Sarah Tung.

 

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
(202) 419-6755
blueducktavern.com

 

Estadio
1520 14th St NW (between N Q St & N P St)
Washington, DC 20005
Neighborhood: Logan Circle
(202) 319-1404
estadio-dc.com

 

Jojo Restaurant and Bar
1518 U St NW (at N 15th St in U Street Corridor)
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 319-9350
jojodc.com

 

Le Bon Café
210 2nd St SE
Washington, DC 20003
Neighborhood: Capitol Hill/Southeast
(202) 547-7200
leboncafedc.com

 

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