I have a friend who is obsessed with macarons. So obsessed that she researches macaron places whenever she moves to a new city and samples them, mercilessly critiquing them with her exacting standards until she finds a place where they have the flavors she likes, the proper cookie to filling ratio, and the requisite crunchy exterior but soft interior. My friend’s exacting standards took me to Olivia Macaron, a small bakery in Georgetown. The macarons (please, please, please don’t call them macaroons- those are made from coconut and are a completely different dessert) were delicious and, as is usual for macarons, grossly overpriced at $2.50 for one small cookie. My friend is especially fond of the seasonal cherry blossom flavor, and it was indeed very tasty. So, if you don’t mind paying a pretty penny for your tasty treat (as is always the case with macarons), this place is worth checking out. Just don’t expect cutesy French decor- it’s pretty minimalist, which is too bad in my opinion. And for my kosher-observant friends, their macarons are certified kosher!
Olivia Macaron is located at 3222 M Street NW in Georgetown, with additional locations in Bethesda and Tyson’s Corner.
Soupergirl is a vegan and kosher soup and sandwich shop located at 314 Carroll St NW in Takoma. This friendly, casual neighborhood spot happens to be one of a small handful of places to get kosher prepared food in DC (alongside Char Bar, Brooklyn Sandwich Co. and some pre-prepared items at the Holocaust Museum). For the sake of my kosher-observant friends, I really appreciate that Soupergirl offers an additional option in DC’s small kosher food scene. I happen to not be a huge fan of soups in general, and those soups that I do like are generally not vegetarian or vegan: matzoh ball soup (though I cook a fantastic vegetarian version), clam chowder, French onion soup, harira, borscht, pho and wonton soup. As you may imagine, I found Soupergirl’s soup (I had a version of minestrone) a bit bland for my taste. I got a soup and sandwich combo and actually liked the sandwich better, which had mushrooms and grilled onions on it. Despite my personal dislike of vegetable soup, people who do like vegetable soup will enjoy this friendly, healthy spot. A huge plus is that they have all of their hot soups out with tasting cups so you can taste each soup before deciding which one to order.
Brooklyn Sandwich Co. is a Glatt kosher food truck serving traditional Ashkenazi Jewish foods like brisket, pastrami, knishes and matzoh ball soup. You can find their location on their Twitter. Brooklyn Sandwich Co. was started by a freshman at GW looking to add to the limited eating options for those looking to keep kosher in DC. Previously, DC’s kosher food options were limited to one full-service restaurant (Char Bar), plus a vegan soup place (SouperGirl), which is in an out of the way location in Takoma, just a couple of blocks from the Maryland border. The food at Brooklyn Sandwich Co. is fantastic, and the lines for the food truck attest to this. I ordered a brisket platter with a knish with chipotle aioli on the side as well as broccoli slaw. The brisket came in a generous portion and was perfectly tender, served with a juicy kosher pickle on the side. The knish and broccoli slaw were excellent as well, and I loved that they offered a choice of aiolis for dipping the knish. Brooklyn Sandwich company is, however, a victim of its own popularity. Some items (like cholent and matzoh ball soup) weren’t on offer when I went because it was a hot summer day – this make sense since these are more wintry foods. On the other hand, they were out of a solid portion of their items, including chicken and cauliflower mash. That, combined with a bit of a disorganized and over-worked two person crew and a very long wait for food means that Brooklyn Sandwich Co. still has some work to do on their execution. The food is really excellent though.
Char Bar is DC’s only full-service Kosher restaurant, located at 2142 L St NW. Since my best friend is Orthodox, I often find myself at Kosher restaurants, typically in New York City. Sadly, many Kosher restaurants are pretty mediocre, since they have a niche market with little competition. Since Char Bar has a captive audience among Kosher diners in DC, it could easily get away with being marginal. However, I was pleasantly surprised. I ordered a pastrami sandwich, which was large juicy and flavorful- exactly how a pastrami sandwich should be. It was served with a large helping of potato chips, which were probably Terra and out of a bag, but the excellence of the pastrami made me overlook that. The one drawback was the price. I know kosher meat costs more, but $17 for my sandwich was definitely pretty pricey. If you’re looking for pastrami, there are cheaper places to get it, like Loeb’s NY Deli. That said, Char Bar’s is very good.
Baked by Yael is a bakery primarily known for its cakepops located at 3000 Connecticut Ave NW. As my friends are well aware, as a Long Island native I am an honorary Jew. I even have a Jewish alter-ego named Rabbi Grovewitz. So I of course greatly appreciate the fact that in addition to cakepops, Yael bakes traditional Jewish baked goods, including ruggalah and black and white cookies, both of which are very tasty. It’s certified kosher, though by a Conservative rabbi, which isn’t strict enough for my Orthodox friends. It has Rabbi Grovewitz’s seal of approval, though!