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A Solo Saturday-Sunday Culinary Adventure in DC


Seanchai
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OK, because of working in education I can't accompany my wife and two sons to the beach for a week in early August. Naturally, I snap into action and plan for at least a stay-over Saturday/ come back Sunday mid-day trip to DC. I'm coming from central VA and will be staying near Courthouse in Arlington. So, despite living and working in the District many years ago and visiting DC with family for the last 10 or so years, this is a rare chance to explore and maybe eat stuff my family doesn't like to eat.

Tentative plans are to go to the Standard/Garden District for lunch, wander up and down 14th/U having the occaisional malted beverage, and maybe got to Etto for pizza/snacks. Sunday morning maybe hit Bayou Bakery for breakfast snacks, hit Pupatella for lunch and maybe stop by Mad Fox for a growler on the way back to get the dog out of the kennel before 4 p.m. I don't want anything more than moderate in price (up to $20 entree) and I want casual. Sounds great, right?

Having typed that out, it feels too much in my comfort zone. So, various things come to mind. Izakaya Seki. El Chucho. Room 11. Ghibellina. What out there should I push myself towards yet still stay casual and moderately priced on a Saturday?

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I think you should start your day on Saturday at Union Market. Amazing bagel sandwiches at Neopol, the smoked fish place (their smoked hummus is also out of this world), which is conveniently right next to Peregrine for great espresso drinks. A knish and a homemade soda or cocktail at Gina Chervasi's (I know I'm butchering her name, too lazy to look up the correct spelling) at Buffalo & Bergen, a taco from TaKorean, a sampling of cheeses at Righteous Cheese, then pretend your not full and sit down at Rappahannock for some amazing oysters and wine or beer. Oh crap, I forgot about the amazing charcuterie, sandwiches and sides at Red Apron. And I haven't even touched on some of the other places I don't even go to because of the gluten or in one case, because I don't like lamb. :)

Room 11, yes!

Wandering on 14th sounds good too. There's a newish beer garden there now that has some good food. You can order a whole pig head if you really want to eat. ;)

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Tentative plans are to go to the Standard/Garden District for lunch, wander up and down 14th/U having the occaisional malted beverage...

What out there should I push myself towards yet still stay casual and moderately priced on a Saturday?

Church Key.

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OK, had my culinary adventure this past weekend.  Stopped by Union Market early Saturday morning, dumped the car off in Arlington at the hotel and wandered into DC from there.  I ended up eating at Churchkey for lunch (weather was too threatening for Garden District) and Ghibellina for happy hour/dinner.  Much to my surprise, I enjoyed lunch more than dinner.  I had the porchetta sandwich with ramp pesto at Churchkey and it was phenomenal.  The best sandwich I've had in a long time.  I had the escarole salad and a margherita  pizza at Ghibellina and both were ... pretty good.  The cheese was scanty so it was more like having a marinara pizza without the extra seasonings.  The crust was crisp, slightly chewy and perfectly acceptable, just not transcendent like I hoped it might be.  Ghibellina was slammed and the pizza took a while to come, which was fine.  Service was very friendly if a bit slow and inefficient at the bar.

Speaking of transcendent, I did make it to Pupatella yesterday and while it's not fair to compare different kinds of pizzas, I did enjoy my arugula/prosciutto pizza at Pupatella much more :)

Thanks for all of the suggestions.

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