Sweetgreen

Rating:

Sweetgreen is a fast casual salad restaurant chain that began in the DC area in 2007. It has various locations throughout DC and the suburbs, including in Foggy Bottom, Downtown, Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, Capitol Hill, Crystal City, Ballston, College Park, Silver Spring, McLean, Tysons, Fairfax and Reston. In the interest of full disclosure, I do not often eat salads because I almost never feel full after eating them. The salads at Sweetgreen are no exception in this regard, but they are very tasty and innovative. I can totally see the appeal of this place for those who do like salads, so I am rating it based on that. I ordered a seasonal specialty called the Umami Grain Bowl, which was healthy and delicious (though I was of course still hungry after). There are numerous other inventive salad choices, such as the “Rad Thai,” which is a Thai-inspired salad with shrimp. For those counting calories, however, be warned that some of the salads are highly caloric- the winner in this regard is the “Earth Bowl,” which packs a whopping 775 calories (as a comparison, a Big Mac contains 563 calories). Of course, there’s a lot more to healthy eating than calories, and there is certainly far more nutrition in Sweetgreen’s food than in Mc Donalds’Sweetgreen also has delicious house made fountain drinks and everything (aside from the reusable bowl) is compostable. Sweetgreen gets major points for offering nutritious, environmentally conscious food in a casual, bright atmosphere. It just isn’t a filling enough meal for me

Fine Sweet Shoppe

Rating: 

12722616_10154063984873011_929674983_oFine Sweet Shoppe is a bakery located inside Eastern Market at 225 7th St SE. Despite its name, Fine Sweet Shop is not just fine, it’s great! They have a wide variety of baked goods, but I especially love them for their New York Jewish baked goods, like black and white cookies, ruggalah and hamentashen. As a native of Long Island and an honorary M.O.T. (member of the tribe), I was raised on this stuff. For the uninitiated, hamentashen are a traditional sweet for 12381002_10154063984913011_1764643207_othe Jewish holiday of Purim, which celebrates the story of Queen Esther (and which is an occasion on which Jews are supposed to get so drunk that they can no longer keep the names of the protagonist and antagonist of Purim straight). They are basically a triangular cookie with a filling, named after Haman, the villain of the Purim story (sounds like great drunk food to me). The hamentashen at Fine Sweet Shoppe are HUGE and come in both apricot and chocolate chip cookie flavors. Both flavors are delicious.

Medium Rare

Rating: 

12874465_10154051339383011_1826431666_oMedium Rare is a steakhouse (this may seem obvious, but my favorite game, “Steak House or Gay Bar?”, dispels that notion) located at 515 8th St SE and 3500 Connecticut Ave NW (the photos in this post are from the 8th St SE location, though I’ve been to both and both are equally good). For dinner, Medium Rare makes life easy by offering one option and one option only: a prix fixe for $20.95 that includes salad, bread and two portions of steak frites. This makes it a great place to bring a date- you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. You don’t get to choose what kind of

12381232_10154051339323011_338357898_o

It was St. Patty’s day so we ordered green kamikazes. The nice Canadian family (isn’t nice Canadian a redundant phrase) at the table next to us bought us our drinks.

steak to order (it arrives thinly-sliced with tasty steak sauce) but you don’t have to get it medium rare. The word on the street is that Donald Trump likes his steak well-done, which I think says all we need to know about the dimensions of a certain appendage of his. The steak and fries are very tasty

 

The steak and fries are very tasty, and the fact that they come out in two portions ensures that they stay hot and fresh. Service is quick and efficient. Don’t come here expecting a fancy Peter Luger-style experience. The steak is certainly not as bougie as that, the noise level is fairly loud, and dress is casual. It’s a solid, fun, and relatively affordable spot for dinner, though and attracts diners of all ages.

12874447_10154051339448011_1694262772_o

 

 

Jacob’s Coffeehouse

Rating: 

12822659_10154002503738011_378150982_o (1).jpgJacob’s Coffeehouse is located at 401 8th St NE in a quiet, residential section of Capitol Hill between the crowded H Street NE corridor and the area around Eastern Market. It is a cute neighborhood coffee shop with lots of seating that doesn’t turn off it’s WiFi on the weekends. It can be difficult to find seats in DC’s popular coffee shops on the weekends, but Jacob’s Coffeehouse’s location in a residential area means that it flies under the radar. It is nonetheless very accessible because of its location right along the 90/92 bus route. The interior is cute, but not in a cozy Tryst kind of way. The classical music and abundance of tables and outlets, however, makes this place ideal for laptop work. There is also a very cute outdoor patio. I ordered a green tea latte with a shot of espresso. I was worried that the espresso 12810108_10154002503318011_321923314_owould kill the green tea flavor, but it actually worked well. In addition, the latte was clearly made with real matcha, which I appreciated. This is a great spot if you want a place to work on the weekends without the scene of a Maketto or Compass Coffee.

Spring Mill Bread Co.

Rating: ★★★★

12736978_10153947030208011_824877869_oSpring Mill Bread Co. is a bakery and cafe located at 701 8th St SE. It is part of a small, local chain that has additional locations in Arlington, Bethesda, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Takoma Park and Wayne, PA. As their name implies, Spring Mill Bread Co. is focused on bread. They make several varieties (including challah; I can’t help but kvell) and change up the selection daily. They also have baked goods, such as muffins, scones, brownies, cake, homemade pop tarts and sweet bread. I ordered a slice of the Cranberry Pumpkin Walnut Loaf upon

12699033_10153947030443011_506926358_o

Cranberry Pumpkin Walnut Loaf

the recommendation of one of the friendly staff members. It was tasty, and very filling. The portion was large, and it almost made me too full to have lunch later. They also offered me a sample of their asiago pesto bread, which was totally delicious. Lunch options are plentiful in the form of sandwiches.

12736877_10153947030418011_1010777314_o

Asiago Pesto Bread

 

12699247_10153947030403011_213295551_oThey are focused on bread, so I understand that their coffee and tea isn’t the main draw, and it makes sense that they lack fancy espresso drinks; that said, they could up their coffee and tea game a bit without detracting from their service on other fronts. The flavor of their coffee was fine (and it’s pretty inexpensive) but it wasn’t as hot as it should have been. I’m glad that they don’t charge a lot for their coffee and pretend it’s something fancy. That said, I imagine it wouldn’t be too hard to have coffee from Counter Culture or Qualia– if they did12695447_10153947030453011_2141035639_o that, they could charge a bit more and the coffee would be better. Ditto for the tea- most of their teas are Bigelow (not the greatest brand) but they have a few teas from Harney & Sons. They would be better off sourcing all of their teas from Harney & Sons. I don’t mean to be too critical of their coffee and tea or belabor this point because this is a great place and bread truly is their focus; but if they had coffee and tea that at least came closer to the quality of their bread, they would earn five stars.

Spring Mill Bread Co. is not set up as a place to work per-se, but working there on a laptop is totally doable; there are several tables, some outlets, and good WiFi. Overall, this is a really nice place, especially if you are looking for bread and baked goods.

 

Bayou Bakery and Cafe

Rating: ★★★★★

 

12625991_10153920281378011_940092284_n (2).jpg

Beignets and a chicory au lait.

Bayou Bakery and Cafe is a New-Orleans themed cafe located at 901 Pennsylvania Ave SE (there is another location in Arlington at 1515 N. Courthouse Rd). It is one of my favorite spots in DC because it combines tasty food, reasonable prices and great ambiance. I go for their chicory au lait and beignets (a generous portion for around $3) and I stay for the warm interior of a Carriage House built at the request of President Lincoln. They also have real food (po’boys and such), but I haven’t yet tried it. There is ample seating, and it is a great, cozy environment for a winter day. Highly recommended – you feel like you’re in a farmhouse in the middle of DC.