Baan Thai

Rating: ★★★★☆

14542818_10154607300948011_92793384_nBaan Thai is a Thai restaurant (that also happens to serve sushi), located at 1326 14th St NW. Let me say up front that if pad Thai is your favorite dish, you will be disappointed because Baan Thai doesn’t serve it. Instead Baan Thai forces eaters to branch out and explore a wide variety of complex and spicy authentic Thai dishes from various culinary regions of Thailand. Apparently the chef of Baan Thai used to work at Thai Tanic, an Americanized Thai restaurant downstairs from Baan Thai. She subsequently became the chef at Baan Thai and crafted a more authentically Thai menu. I ordered the Khao pad grà-tiiam gài (stir-fried garlic rice with Thai-style deep-fried chicken), which made for good comfort food, though it wasn’t all that rich in flavor. It came with a hot pepper sauce on the side, which did spice things up though. I definitely plan to go back and try more of the menu items that you won’t find in a typical Americanized Thai restaurant.  

Yum’s II

Rating: ★★★☆☆

imageYum’s II is a carry out located at 1413 14th St NW. There are a number of other carry outs that call themselves Yum’s, but they appear to be unrelated. Carry outs in DC are a unique breed, typically featuring such diverse options as Chinese food, subs and sometimes even pizza. They have been a staple of the District’s food scene since long before gentrification. While they may not be the most gourmet of choices, if you choose one that isn’t overly sketchy, they are convenient and cheap. The signature dish of DC carry outs (and Yum’s II is no exception in this regard) is fried chicken wings over fried rice with a condiment called mumbo sauce. imageMumbo sauce is specific to DC and Chicago and is a tangy, somewhat sweet red sauce that tasted a little like ketchup to me, but less thick. Wings with fried rice and mumbo sauce is as DC as chili halfsmokes and fried whiting sandwiches. It’s probably at least as African American as Chinese and origin and is a way to experience a slice of DC culture that has been around much longer than the truffle naan at Rasika.

Chix

Rating: ★★★☆☆

13318834_10154258710018011_1118058214_nChix is a fast casual restaurant that mainly serves roast chicken with a Latin American twist located at 1121 14th St NW with an additional location at 11th and U NW. The roast chicken comes in three styles: chix chicken, Peruvian chicken and Colombian chicken, and you can order a quarter chicken, a half chicken or a whole chicken. Chicken breasts are available for those who aren’t into meat on the bone. Soups and wraps are also available and the sides, which include such options as brown rice and beans and veggies. If you enjoy healthy, somewhat bland food, this is a solid choice. For me personally, roast chicken is a rather dull 13115436_10154258710028011_726621103_nfood so even with the tasty Colombian flavors and the tasty avocado sauce, it still wasn’t the most exciting. You’ll never hear me say I’m craving roast chicken, grilled chicken or really any kind of chicken that isn’t fried chicken or tandoori chicken. That said, a quarter Colombian chicken with a side of steamed broccoli and a side of black beans and brown rice did make for a hearty and nutritious meal. If I’m looking to go out and keep it healthy, I’d rather eat here and have a filling dinner at a reasonable price than pay at least as much at Beefsteak and still be starving afterward.

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

Great Wall Szechuan House

Rating: 

12528790_10154031711468011_675875067_oGreat Wall Szechuan House is a Chinese restaurant located at 1527 14th St NW. DC has a noticeable lack of good Chinese places, especially since Chinatown is tiny and no longer very Chinese. But the hot pot at Great Wall Szechuan House is something special. It’s best to go in a large group, and order a variety of meat and veggie choices. The lamb and beef are delicious, as are the tofu skin and rice cakes. The quail eggs are also a real treat, especially since it’s a fun challenge to 12722225_10154031711558011_968177891_ofish them out of the pot. This makes for a fun night with a group of friends, and there are plenty of great places in the area to grab drinks afterward!

Slipstream

Rating: ★★★★★

12656442_10153929513088011_1096391505_oSlipstream is a cafe and cocktail bar located at 333 14th St NW near Logan Circle. It is a sleek place with a cool coffee and tea menu alongside an innovative cocktail menu. It is not a lounge in an armchair kind of coffee shop, but it is a good place to work with a laptop; tables and outlets are plentiful. At the recommendation of the very knowledgeable barista, I first ordered their seasonal special, the Blood Orange Vanilla Latte (espresso, homemade blood

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The Blood Orange Vanilla Latte.

orange marmalade and vanilla bean). It was totally delicious (it probably helps that I like the combination of orange and chocolate so orange and coffee wasn’t much of a stretch). I also had the Holy Basil tea, which contains basil, lemon and rose petals. It was tasty and far more interesting than the average tea selection at other cafes. The barista also told me that they make their own cashew/almond milk blend from scratch, which is pretty awesome. In all, this is one of the better cafes I’ve been to in DC and I can’t really find any serious negatives.

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The Holy Basil Tea