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  1. Inspired by the daring forays of Todd Kliman, I took it upon myself to do something people who frequent these internet food boards rarely do: I drove my car down New Hampshire Avenue from Langley Park into the District of Columbia. Cheesesteak Mike's in Hillandale? Might as well have been Flaps in Potomac. Tiffin at the intersection of University Blvd? I'd sooner go to Rasika. No, my friends, I went, and I went deep. Threading in and out of pothole-ridden parking lots, I walked up to places previously unthinkable, and even looked through the windows. One of my dicier moments came when I walked into an Guyanese-Caribbean market, and was immediately assaulted with a snootful of rodenticide. A quick lap, and I was gone. Down a side street (a side street, mind you), just past the Takoma Park post office, inside a gated parking lot, sat a tiny little Bangladeshi - perhaps even Sri Lankan - market, imposingly decrepit from the outside. I walked in quietly, asked if they had any ready-made food, and breathed a small sigh of relief when they told me, in broken English, that they did not. I came upon Mid Atlantic Seafood, near the old Allen theater where I used to go to the movies with my dad when I was a child. There was a small group of people gathered at the front door, so I drove to the back of the lot to park my car. I opened my door, got out of the car, and in the distance, somewhere down New Hampshire Avenue, I heard a jackhammer that sounded a LOT like sniper fire, so I crouched down, and ran as fast and as hard as I possibly could, eventually making it to the front door of the restaurant. Stuffed Whiting ($12.95) was three filets arranged as a triangular prism, stuffed with a baseball-sized pile of crab in the middle. So how's the crab? Gloriously full of the "hanger steak" of crabmeat: cheap little shards of claw, the parts that are traditionally shunned by the so-called food cogniscenti. Lovingly breaded throughout, with little flecks of onions, red and green pepper, it made a perfect soak for the juices of the frozen whiting. Black-eyed peas? You bet. Topped with a squirt of "hot sauce" which is nothing more than Tabasco. The whole thing was brought into balance by a scoop of steamed, white rice, taken straight from a rice cooker. I made it back to the car, and pulled out of the parking lot, looking behind me, my forehead moist with beads of nervous perspiration. Turning right onto New Hampshire Avenue, driving across the district line, and then heading down North Capitol street - my door unlocked the entire time - I ate my meal with a sense of pride, accomplishment, and self-satisfaction - it was the kind of feeling one can only find after participating in a fundraising walk, giving a dollar to a homeless person on Christmas day, or perhaps on a smaller scale, allowing someone to change lanes in front of you on the beltway. Philanthropic, honorable, urban derring-do at its absolute finest. Cheers, Rocks.
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