December 23, 2013

'Tis the Season of Ramen!

Happy holidays everyone! It's great to be writing again! The past year has been super busy and chock full of food, and for the next couple of weeks, I will write about each and every ramen shop in the DC area. Ramen is one of my absolute favorite foods of all time, and the DC ramen scene has evolved quite a bit since the arrival of Toki Underground a couple years back. I could bore you to tears going on and on about the history of ramen and its regional nuances, but I'll let the food do the talking.

Looking forward to a season of warm, hearty noodle soup!

December 24, 2012

Taylor Charles Steak & Ice

Location: 1320 H St NE
Cost: $10-$15

Fresh off surviving the Mayan apocalypse (Ha! Now I don't have to watch the movie 2012), I was bored and had nothing to do.  Can you blame me for not having made plans for the day after the end of the world? Anyways, one thing that didn't end was my hunger, so I decided to walk on over to H Street and see if the newly opened Taylor Charles Steak & Ice was still standing.


Opened by the same guys from Philly that own Taylor Gourmet, Taylor Charles Steak & Ice is decidedly South Philly.  It's as close to an authentic Philly cheesesteak experience as you'll find outside of Pennsylvania.  And why wouldn't it be?  Co-owner Casey Patten's from Philadelphia, and he hangs out in the restaurant regularly to chat with customers and offer them samples of water ice and zucchini fritters.


The decor is one of a kind.  Well-done graffiti adorns not only the walls, but the ceilings too.  And yes, those are real streetlamps used for lighting up the joint.  The little touches, like soft wax-covered metal picnic tables, a standing bar by the main window, and a chain fence at the back add enough grit to the otherwise clean-cut feel of the place to maybe convince you that you're in the right neighborhood for a historically blue-collar food.


Be sure to study up on the lingo if you're gonna order here.  "Ribeye, provolone, wit" gets you the classic - a cheesesteak with original provolone cheese and grilled onions.  Of course, if you're of the mind that Cheez Whiz is more authentic, that's cool too - they make their own white cheddar cheez whiz in-house.  Customize it however you want - ribeye, thinly-sliced chicken, or portabellos, mushrooms, peppers, pepperoni, even hot sauce - although some of the toppings will cost you extra.  They've thought of everything that I wouldn't be surprised if they used Amoroso rolls to hold the sandwiches together.


I put American in my sandwich as it's a great compromise between actual cheese and the creaminess of whiz.  Add in some mushrooms and peppers, and the above is what you get.  It was delicious, everything melding together into one big chewy, gooey hurricane that leaves your taste buds reeling after the first bite.  The best part for me, though, was the fact that this sandwich, almost universally known for being a giant grease bomb, didn't feel that way at all here.  And hours later, I'm not regretting my decision to eat it.  Somehow Casey and the crew have figured out how to retain all the best parts of the cheesesteak without the annoyingly disgusting amounts of grease that'll keep you searching for napkins after every bite.  And the bread?  It didn't get in the way, which is as good a review as I'll give for bread.  I honestly can't wait to try their chicken and portabello, wit whiz!


There were just too many tasty sounding sides to try, but I went with the staple Old Bay fries, and they were top notch.  The fries were supremely crispy, and if you like Old Bay (who doesn't?) you'll have nothing to complain about here as they dump the stuff on there pretty liberally.


Oh, and the "ice" part of the restaurant's name stands for water ice, a delicious treat that you should definitely make room for when you go.  It's somewhere between a slush and italian ice, served in a cup, and you don't eat it with a spoon, so keep some napkins handy.  The flavors rotate every few months, but ask Casey for a taste of the lemon (it's always there) when you go.  It's as tasty as it is elegant in its simplicity, and it's a refreshing way to end your meal.


For giving me a great meal to celebrate surviving the end of the world, Taylor Charles Steak & Ice earns 4.5 Cherries.

Taylor Charles Steak & Ice on Urbanspoon

December 22, 2012

Sprig & Sprout

Location: 2317 Wisconsin Ave NW, Glover Park
Cost: $10-$15
Sprig & Sprout: Pho & Viet Sandwich Shop on Urbanspoon

Happy Holidays!  It's been an amazing few months for me here in DC.  I work with an incredible group of residents at the hospital, and despite spending 60+ hours a week with each other, we still like one another enough to hang out after work.  Tonight, after speaking with the promising new applicants for next year's resident class over beers in Cleveland Park, Aimee, Lauren, Nate, and I went looking for a hot bowl of pho.  We wound up at Sprig & Sprout, a brand new Vietnamese restaurant in the heart of Glover Park.


August 26, 2012

The Front Page

Location: 1333 New Hampshire St NW (Dupont Circle)
Cost: $15-$20
Front Page on Urbanspoon

Let me start off by apologizing for the dearth of posts over the past 4 weeks.  As it turns out, working on inpatient services is incredibly tiring - think 12 hour shifts of nonstop work.  Couple that with early morning hours (waking up at 4:30) for a decidedly anti-morning person, and it means I end up passing out after dinner or spending my remaining free time going to restaurants, not writing about them.  Fortunately, I'm rotating through clinics now, and office hours/no weekends are a welcome break from the go go pace of hospitalist work.  To celebrate surviving the first few weeks of residency, I got a bunch of my coworkers together for Sunday dinner at The Front Page, a classy bar right along the southern edge of Dupont Circle.


July 27, 2012

Chinatown Express

Location: 746 6th St NW (Gallery Place Metro)
Cost: $10
Chinatown Express on Urbanspoon

DC is the first city I've ever been to where Chinatown a) is in a nice part of town, b) has more white people walking around than Asians, and c) doesn't smell like hot garbage.  Add in a major Metro hub and a gigantic basketball arena right next door, and somehow Chinatown is a major destination.  Well, after spending the weekend hanging out with my parents and moving into my new apartment, I took my parents to go get food they actually want to eat.  We passed by Chinatown Express, saw the fobby chefs making hand-drawn noodles in the window, and decided to give it a try.


July 15, 2012

DC9

Location: 1940 9th St NW (Shaw Metro)
Cost: $15
Dc9 on Urbanspoon

Ugh, working nights totally sucks.  It's a complete shock to the system; I walked around in a half-awake daze all week long.  Little to no sleep at night, then even less sleep at home during the day because it's so bright out.  Most importantly, however, it gave me no time to think about the blog.  Thankfully, I've transitioned off nights now, and eager to get back to posting!  We'll start back where I left off a few weeks ago, fresh off my first week of work, and looking forward to happy hour to unwind and catch up with my co-interns.  We headed to DC9, a U Street bar with a nice roof deck, for drinks and some food.


July 6, 2012

Sticky Rice

Location: 1224 H St NE (X2, X9 buses)
Cost: $15-$20
Sticky Rice on Urbanspoon

It's been 6 days since the record-breaking storm hit DC, and thousands of people are still without power.  I feel so bad for anyone (some of my coworkers among them) who still doesn't have power, because it was over 100 degrees today.  To beat the heat (and lack of electricity) over the weekend, my uncle and aunt stayed over at my apartment, so along with my parents, we had 5 people in a 1 bedroom place.  Just before everyone went their separate ways, we sat down for dinner together at Sticky Rice in the H Street District.