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


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.

July 4, 2012

Local 16

Location: 1602 U St NW (U Street Metro)
Cost: $15 (Happy Hour)
Local 16 on Urbanspoon

You don't get a lot of free time as an intern, so when you do have some time off, it's important to spend it being productive.  And by productive, of course, I mean making the most of happy hour.  So, last week, after a particularly rough day on the wards, I showed up, scrubs and all, to Local 16 to grab a bite and a couple drinks with my coworkers.

July 1, 2012

The Queen Vic

Location: 1206 H St NE (X2, X9 buses)
Cost: $20
Queen Vic on Urbanspoon

What a weekend.  On my first days off since starting work, there was 1) the hottest June day in DC history, 2) an insane rainstorm that's left hundreds of thousands of residents without power, and 3) my first time trying "authentic" fish & chips.  For the latter, I went with several of my coworkers to The Queen Vic, a British pub in the middle of the hip, new H Street / Atlas District.

June 27, 2012

Pho 14

Location: 1436 Park Rd NW (Columbia Heights Metro)
Cost: $15
Pho 14 on Urbanspoon

My dad came road tripped up to DC with me to help me move, and in return, I wanted to show him around DC.  He's not a big monument and museum guy, but I know he loves his food, so like a good son, I diligently scoured restaurant reviews in search of hearty asian food for the two of us to enjoy.  We just happened to be in Columbia Heights buying a mess of apartment stuff at Target, and stumbled across Pho 14 on our way back to the car.

June 25, 2012

Adam Express

Location: 3211 Mount Pleasant St NW (Columbia Heights Metro)
Cost: $10
Adams Express on Urbanspoon

Moving to DC was an adventure in its own right.  It's a 15-hour drive from Florida up to here, and my dad made the road trip with me to help me move all my heavy furniture in.  Two days, 3 storms, and 1 check engine light later, we were finally settled in...and super hungry.  Knowing my dad, I decided to look around for a decent asian restaurant, one that he'd actually like, since all the ones in Chinatown aren't that great.  What I found was Adam Express.

June 23, 2012

Luke's Lobster

Location: 624 E St NW (Gallery Place Metro)
Cost: $20
Luke's Lobster on Urbanspoon

When I first told my friends I was going to DC for residency, the first thing they told me was to get used to the traffic, politics, and Old Bay.  So far, I've got 2 down, and one to go.  And wouldn't ya know it, with seafood on the brain, I began to yearn for the lobsters I had the last time I drove up to Maine.  Luckily enough, I was able to find a place to get my lobster roll fix at Luke's Lobster down in Penn Quarter.  My uncle decided to come along to try this place out too, so I had an extra set of food to try as well. =)

June 21, 2012

Tokyo 21

Location: 1400 N Wells (near Clark/Division Red Line or Schiller 22/36 buses)
Cost: $10
Tokyo 21 on Urbanspoon

Ahhh, it's good to be back in Chicago.  The South was nice and all, but if there's one knock against them, it's that they're sorely lacking in the Asian cuisine department.  After a week in the muggy below-sea level heat, I was craving for something light, filling, and with more of an...Eastern flavor.  So I grabbed a few of my buddies and headed out to Tokyo 21.

June 19, 2012


Location: 2019 11th St NW (U St Metro)
Cost: $10
Chix on Urbanspoon

It's been a long orientation week, but I feel good!  My co-interns are awesome, the hospital is looks like I'm gonna have a lotta fun (in between all the long hours and never-ending workload) over the next three years.  To celebrate the end of our first week together, Brian, Erin, Lauren, Nate, Roy, Zubin, and I headed out to Chix to grab some dinner on our one day off.

June 17, 2012


Location: 1322 H St NE (X2, X9 buses)
Cost: $10
Shawafel on Urbanspoon

I'm all moved in and finally ready to explore my neighborhood!  For those of you who don't know where I am, I live in the H Street/Atlas District of Northeast DC.  From what I've seen so far, it's an awesome little place, with a thriving music scene, great bars, and most of all, plenty of good food.  This afternoon, I took a stroll and walked into the first interesting restaurant I could find, a new little diner called Shawafel.

June 16, 2012

Lambert's Cafe

Location: 2305 E Malone, Sikeston, MO
Cost: $15
Lambert's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Like it or not, we've arrived at the end of the Deep South Road Trip.  Looking back on it all, Yien and I have had a ton of incredible food in such a short amount of time.  Of course, what better places to go to are there for a foodie like me than Memphis and New Orleans, two of the best cities for food in the country?  We've tried Tennessee dry rub barbecue, cajun seafood, and Louisiana fried chicken, just to name a few.

And of course, who better to accompany me on this epic road trip than my good friend Yien?  On the last leg of our trip back from Memphis to Chicago, 6 hours in, we were getting really hungry.  The upside to being hungry as a food blogger with a smartphone?  I get to just stumble across a place like Lambert's Cafe.

June 13, 2012

Cozy Corner

Location: 745 N Parkway, Memphis
Cost: $10
Cozy Corner on Urbanspoon

It's our last night in Memphis, and we're still high off that incredible Game 5 win over the Clippers.  Granted, by now we all know what ended up happening in that series, but the home team winning by the biggest margin of any game in that series made for a ridiculously fun experience.  The multiple beers along the 3 block walk to FedEx Forum didn't hurt, either.  In any case, we're about to leave the South for good, and we've yet to have any BBQ!  Travesty, especially considering how much I've heard about Memphis dry rub. With that in mind, Yien and I hauled ass to one of the more well-known (read: sketchier looking) BBQ shops in the city, Cozy Corner.

June 12, 2012

Gus's Fried Chicken

Location: 310 S Front St, Memphis
Cost: $10
Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken on Urbanspoon

Ack, I apologize for the glaring lack of posts over the past few weeks!  It's been a long and hectic ride, what with me finally becoming a doctor and whatnot.  Fortunately, amidst all the cap tossing, lofty speeches, and hanging with the fam, I haven't left out good eats & drinks!  Take a look at the CCE twitter feed for a preview of reviews to come, but for now, it's time to finish up the Epic Southern Road Trip.

the chicken thinks so, why not you?

May 24, 2012

Memphis Food Truck Festival, part two

Location: Court Square, Downtown Memphis
Cost: $5
Revival Southern Food Company on Urbanspoon

You didn't think I'd show up to a food truck festival and only sample from one truck, did you?  Silly rabbit, apps are what I do!  So let's move on from that deep-fried hot dog that (sadly) didn't live up to the hype.  The Revival Food Truck caught my fancy, what with their brightly colored truck and a long line of hungry people snaking around Court Square, waiting for a taste.

May 23, 2012

Memphis Food Truck Festival, part one

Location: Court Square, Downtown Memphis
Cost: $5
Memphis Munchies Food Truck & Catering on Urbanspoon

Sadly, we had to move on from New Orleans.  Kiss all the day drinking, Android parties, and incredible food goodbye, we're on the drive to Memphis!  We're hauling ass because we've got tickets to Game 5 of the Grizzlies-Clippers series later on, and we gotta get some food before we head in for the game.  As luck (or fate) would have it, we rolled into The River City on the day of the Memphis Food Truck Festival, and at lunchtime too!  This is gonna get interesting.

May 21, 2012

Verti Marte

Location: 1201 Royal St, French Quarter
Cost: $10
Verti Marte on Urbanspoon

Yien and I brought a ton of music with us on our road trip, and with good reason: 2 guys with more than 30 total hours in a car together?  Driving through the Midwest?  You get the picture.  As you can imagine though, after listening to more than a day's worth of music together, a few favorites bubbled up to the top of the queue.  We had party anthems, songs representative of the trip as a whole (next post), and ones that captured how we felt at any given moment.

May 18, 2012

Desire Oyster Bar

Location: 300 Bourbon St, French Quarter
Cost: $25
Desire Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

I'm almost ashamed to mention the song that became our anthem for this epic road trip, but it'll come into play later.  For now, I've gotta say goodbye to New Orleans, our home for the past couple of nights.  It's been an amazing time; perfect weather (note to self: don't visit New Orleans in the summer), insane parties (on Monday and Tuesday nights, even) thanks to CTIA, and of course the FOOD.  Before we left for good though, you know we had to have one last meal, and for our last meal, we chose Desire Oyster Bar.

May 15, 2012

Acme Oyster House

Location: 724 Iberville St, French Quarter
Cost: $20
Acme Oyster House on Urbanspoon

Day 2 of our epic New Orleans food run, and we're just getting to the good stuff.  Yes, beignets, rabbit jambalaya, and red beans & rice are good and all, but tonight, Yien and I are in the mood for a hearty helping of some Gulf SEAFOOD!  So, we headed to Acme Oyster House, our spirits already uplifted by the simple fact that one in every three words has to do with seafood at this joint.