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Mike Isabella about to embark on his most ambitious project yet. (credit Washington Post)
I figured we need a topic for the rather interesting The Block in Annandale (Here's their Yelp since their "main" page is the Instagram account, as it is for most of these places.) Currently at The Block are: Snocream Company (Yelp) Pokeworks (Yelp) Balo Kitchen (Yelp) (Facebook) (might be out of soft opening) Roots Thai (Facebook) (I think is still in soft open) Block Bar Munch (ice cream topped donuts, not open yet) So far, I've tried the first three. Snocream is a veteran of Annandale with their shaved-ice-cream concoction (good!). Pokeworks is poke bowls and the one I've tried was good. I've tried Balo Kitchen and I'll say the Street Bread with sausage was yummy, and most of their menu looked intriguing. I'll probably go try Roots Thai soon. (As I don't drink, I can't attest to the Bar.) Now, every time I've gone here I'm fairly certain I might have been the oldest person there. And as it is a big concrete box with hard tables, it does get to "get off my lawn" levels of noise for me, but, well, I'm not the target audience. Anyone else out there have experiences to share? If so, we might want to break these up into separate threads.
Saturday night, pouring rain, we ran across the street to the Gotham Market at The Ashland, a tony food hall located in the first floor of an upscale apartment building. Decor is all exposed bricks and industrial metal, pretty much what you would expect. The food hall has several food court style restaurants - place an order and receive a numbered table stand and the food is brought to you. Restaurants include Apizza Reginale, Bar Granger, Flip Bird, The Crabby Shack, Mason Jar, and a sit down branch of Boqueria. The pizza at Apizza was solid, about the level of Pete's Apizza in DC. Bar Granger had a decent selection of local brews on tap. The fried pickle chips from Mason Jar went down easily. Gotham Market has a sister location, Gotham West Market in Manhattan.
Took little man up for a two day jaunt to Manhattan; thought it was time he explore the wonders of the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty, and of course, take in a Broadway show. Needing sustenance before the show, a quick interweb search yielded this gem: City Kitchen. Like Chelsea or Gotham markets, but more conveniently located at 700 8th Avenue at 44th Street, its front was very unobtrusive, a small wooden sign hung above regular glass door. Once upstairs, though, you find masses of people, trying to plan out their meal from appetizers to dessert, fighting to find precious cubic footage to park and enjoy the triumphant eats. Ippudo Ramen opened a small outpost here called Kuro Obi; we split a Shiro-obi Classic ($12) and Pork Buns ($9). I find I am consistently disappointed by Ippudo in NYC--either the flavor is off or the ramen lacked that familiar bounce that its Japanese cousins try so hard to bring out. Little man liked the ramen, happily slurping his way, so all was not lost. As for the pork buns, I find that I prefer Momofuko's, as the fat melts a bit, with the meat looser, falling apart, whereas, here, the meat was slapped on, much like a burger at a fast food chain. If only it could share its feelings... Dough was a nice find, as I wanted little man to try a good doughnut, which I just haven't been able to find here in DC (haven't tried a few of the new places, but I don't like Astro or GBD ones). But I still prefer Doughnut Plant's.... Finally, the star for us was finding fluff ice or snow ice, where they freeze the flavors into the ice and shave that as your ice foundation. Wooly was definitely worth the relief from the humid heat New York offered this past weekend. You choose a 12oz or 16oz bowl, pick your foundation (ours was root bear float), pick 3 toppings (strawberries, mochi, & pocky), and then, finally the finish (chocolate drizzle).