Teaism (Washington, D.C.)

Here is my last meal report from our sojourn in DC last month. It wasn’t the last meal we had in DC; we ate at Bantam King that evening, and even I will spare you a report on our lunch at Shake Shack at Union Station the next day before we boarded our train to New York. I know these details matter to you. You’ll also be interested to know that this is probably the first time I’ve completed a meal report from a city within a month of leaving it. Don’t get used to it though.

Teaism is a casual pan-Asian mini-chain with a few locations in DC. The Penn Quarter outpost is—like Hill Country and Rasika—a short walk from the museum row and it was there we repaired for lunch on our last full day of museum-going. It had been recommended—as all our other choices had been—by the good people of Donrockwell.com. We were looking for a quick, casual place with enough on the menu to appeal to adults and children alike and so it proved to be. Continue reading

Rasika, Again (Washington, D.C.)

My first—and only previous—meal at Rasika was in August 2015. At the time it was widely hailed as the best Indian restaurant in the US and I was curious to see what it was like. My dinner on that occasion was a bit of a mixed bag. Some dishes were indeed very good, some were just okay and some were not so good. I wasn’t sure if that meal was an outlier and so I remained curious enough to want to eat there again. On this trip to DC, almost exactly four years after the previous, I got to do so again. We were on the lookout for restaurants within walking distance of the Smithsonian museums and Rasika’s Penn Quarter location fits that bill (it is located quite close to Hill Country). They were participating in DC’s Restaurant Week that week and their offering seemed like a pretty good deal: three courses per head for $22. And so we decided to give it a go. How did it turn out? Read on. Continue reading

Laos in Town (Washington D.C.)

As per the last census, the Twin Cities metro has twice as many Lao residents as Washington D.C. However, Washington D.C would seem to have more formal Lao restaurants than the Twin Cities, where I count exactly zero restaurants that would fit that bill. It’s not the case that the Twin Cities does not have Lao restaurateurs or that there is no Lao food to be found in Twin Cities restaurants. As a matter of fact, a number (which I suspect if verified would be large not small) of Thai restaurants in the area are run by Lao owners and chefs, and Lao dishes can be found on the menus of many Thai restaurants in the area. However, the only well-known restaurant I can think of that even has “Lao” in its name is St. Paul’s Lao Thai on University Ave. (where else?), and it too is usually reckoned only as a Thai restaurant. Similarly, while Lao-style papaya salads and khao poon are standbys on Twin Cities Thai restaurant menus, those menus themselves are presented as Thai menus. In D.C, however, things are different. Continue reading

Hill Country (Washington D.C.)

Our eating in DC was organized almost entirely around proximity to the Smithsonian museums (where we spent our days) and our hotel (where we spent our evenings). I’ve already reported on two of our hotel-adjacent dinners (at Baby Wale and Bantam King); here now is a report on the first place at which we had lunch: Hill Country.

As you may know, Hill Country, a specialist in Texas barbecue, started out in New York city. The flagship restaurant is still there, as is another location; DC is the only other city with a branch. It is an easy 10 minute walk from the Museum of Natural History—and you will probably walk even faster if it is drizzling, as it was on the day of our visit. Either way, I’d say it’d be well worth an even longer walk. Continue reading

Bantam King (Washington D.C.)

My first report from our brief sojourn in DC last week was of our first meal: dinner at Baby Wale. I’d planned to go in order but instead here is a report of our last formal meal in DC: ramen at Bantam King. As with Baby Wale, Bantam King was a recommendation from the excellent community at DonRockwell.com. We’d originally planned to do our ramen eating at Daikaya but it turned out that they were participating in Restaurant Week and were only serving a Restaurant Week menu for dinner with a minimum spend of $35/head. We were only too happy to swap it out for Bantam King. And then we were quite happy with our meal. Continue reading

Baby Wale (Washington D.C.)

We’ve been in DC since the beginning of the week. Our major agenda here is non-stop visits to the various Smithsonian museums with the boys and trying to eat reasonably well, with lunches in the vicinity of the museums and dinners not too far from our hotel by the Convention Center. For the meals I received a number of excellent recommendations from members of the excellent DonRockwell.com forums—easily the best resource for DC area dining tips (and more). Among the places mentioned within walking distance of our hotel was Baby Wale. My kids were very excited when I told them we were going there and then less excited when they learned that the name referred not to infant cetaceans but to a type of fabric. Now, like them, you may be wondering why anyone would choose to name their restaurant Baby Wale. The answer is that this is the second restaurant opened (some 5-6 years ago) by the proprietors of a long-standing restaurant named Corduroy. That restaurant is in fact next door and is a fairly formal affair. Baby Wale is an altogether more informal place, from decor/feel to the casual livery of the servers to the menu. It’s not exactly a family restaurant—really more of a pub—but the menu worked really well for our family. And early’ish on a Monday night (well, I don’t know if 7.30 is that early) it was perfectly fine with two small kids. Herewith the details on our meal. Continue reading

Rasika (Washington D.C.)

Reshmi Kabab
I know I said a couple of days ago that I have a lot of meal reports yet to complete from my two weeks in Los Angeles; but here is a quick detour to DC. I took a 36 hour trip there, right after returning to Minnesota from Los Angeles, to do some grant approval work for a government agency. I got there early on a Tuesday evening, spent all of the next day at the agency I was working for and left for the airport from there. This meant I only had dinner available on the Tuesday. I was between two places: Little Serow and Rasika. I picked Rasika for three reasons, only one of which had to do with their own merits: standing in line outside Little Serow in mid-summer DC heat/humidity did not appeal and nor did the thought of being in a day-long panel meeting after eating a searing hot Thai meal; also, given my constant cribbing about the quality of Indian food in the US, it seemed foolish to pass up an opportunity to eat at what a number of people say is one of the best Indian restaurants in the country, if not the best. (See here for some of that constant cribbing.) Continue reading