Lunch at Momofuku CCDC

As a longtime East Village resident, I’m no stranger to David Chang’s Momofuku empire. I’ve had rotisserie duck lunches at Ssam bar many a time, ramen at noodle bar, LOTS of corn cookies at Milk Bar and drinks at Booker & Dax and Ma Pêche. In my DC hiatus, I haven’t visited newly minted Fuku and Nishi, but I did get to try David Chang’s new Momofuku empire here in Washington.

The shrimp Louie is a must get (we actually ordered two).The thin slices of jalapeño cut through the richness of the Russian dressing. 

I’d only had the Momofuku pork buns before, but the mushroom version certainly delivered a lovely hit of umami. 

We also ordered the shrimp buns–a thick patty coated with a spicy-creamy sauce in their fluffy buns. I actually preferred the mushroom, strangely enough, but the shrimp was terrific as well.

The chilled spicy noodles were studded with Szechuan sausage and crunchy candied cashews. I found them a tad over-oily, but the noodles were springy and satisfying nonetheless.

A repeat visit will be necessary, for sure, before I move back to the home of the Momo empire!

Momofuku CCDC
1090 I Street
Washington, DC 20001

Footloose and Fancy Free(lancing)

As I make yet another big life professional decision, I return to the freelance life of hustle. It has definitely not been an easy way, and not one that I ever expected upon college graduation, but when it’s fulfilling, it is extremely so.

In my on-off 2.5 years of freelance writing, I’ve come to really delve into the coffee shop experience. Cliche and classic millennial, I know, but an important piece of my journey for sure. From Van Leeuwen ice cream in the East Village to Atlas Cafe in Williamsburg, back to the East Village at Zucker Bakery, and now here in Washington, DC, I’ve written books in these places, frantically called my mother in tears or wide smiles, and often questioned my path.
My newest spot, here in DC, has been Slipstream. I don’t live so close to it, but this bright and inviting cafe has lots of space, a Kabocha squash latte that is transcendental (and doesn’t leave me feeling like a pumpkin spice basic even if it’s a hipster version, see below), and delicious food, not to mention evening cocktails when I need some extra, ahem, motivation.
IMG_0737 (1)

And so my laptop journey begins again, but with the superlative avocado toast.

Avocado toast image courtesy of The Washington Post

Izakaya Seki…and some pixelated dancing onigiri

I know I’ve briefly mentioned Izakaya Seki but it’s definitely time to get more in-depth on this U Street gem. Whenever I get the hankering for sushi (which is far too often, thanks to my time in New York), I check my wallet, wait a few more days, watch this pixelated onigiri, and then head to Seki.tumblr_n3zj98UImx1snc5kxo1_500 The décor is a combination of minimal sushi bar (downstairs), and industrial-chic Portland hipster (upstairs.) We usually head upstairs, and craft a meal of both sashimi and some of their hot preparations.
On a recent weekday evening, we were ravenous by 5pm (standard.) We showed up to Seki around 6 knowing that for once we wouldn’t have a wait. What we didn’t know, though, was that they have a terrific Happy Hour deal–$5 for beer or their super refresca shochu-grapefruit sparkling beverage and a tuna sashimi snack. Naturally, we went through about five or six (ten?) of these snack/drink combos in addition to our early bird special. Our server was impressed to say the least. The tuna:

Our geriatric feast included the medium sized sashimi selection. The toro and prawn were particularly velvety and stand-out.

Smoky-sweet eel was kept light by a refreshing sesame-studded cucumber salad. Kind of like superior, more delicate eel-cucumber roll…sans rice of course.

I was immediately tempted by sticky bulgogi-style beef short ribs. The bone made the meat all the more flavorful and supple. Yes, I said supple.

We also had their warm soba in a light yet densely-flavored dashi, which I sadly didn’t photograph. (Okay, I’m lying, the photo was…really bad.)

Back to Seki we’ll go, as soon as my wallet recovers, because my sushi addiction won’t ever dissipate. I’ll just be here watching the pixelated sushi dancing.

Izakaya Seki
1117 V Street NW
(202) 588‑5841

 

Thip Khao

I’m fairly certain everyone around me is relieved that I’ve now been to Thip Khao, so I’ll stop talking about it. What they don’t realize, though, is that now I’ll talk about it even more. On a bustling still gentrifying strip of Columbia Heights, this new-ish Laotian restaurant doesn’t jump out at one on an initial cursory glance. Once the food arrives, however, it’s an entirely different situation.

Laotian food is seemingly quite similar to Northern Thai–lots of fresh vegetables and fragrant herbs, mounds of sticky rice, and meat that many Westerners would find esoteric.

Chicken wings, which I would not have initially ordered, were lacquered in a most addictive sweet chili sauce, and caramelized-crispy outside. My #1 wings as of right now (a big statement, I know.) 

 

This fabulously named dish: “Awk”, is a Southern Lao curry, packed with veggies and plenty of herbs (we ordered it with pork). It’s much soupier than a traditional curry, but the flavors are gorgeous–and I was surprised particularly by the widespread use of dill, which I don’t usually associate with South East Asian food of any type.
Poured lavishly over lots of purple rice: 

 

I’d heard about the grilled pork neck, which was very tasty, though not mindboggling. It was slightly caramelized and charred on the outside, and served with a super piquant sauce. 

 

Next to the chicken wings, which reduced me to a primal being–literally licking the plate (back in the comfort of my own home, though–lots of leftovers to be had), this rice salad with pigs ear, pork, herbs, peanuts and much more was simultaneously so savory and fragrant, with texture in spades. I need it again.
Sadly we were far too full to sample the mango with sticky rice (which is one of my favorite desserts in any cuisine), but luckily we had enough food to supply dinner the following evening. Go to Thip Khao, NAO!

Thip Khao
3462 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20010
http://www.thipkhao.com/

Pineapple DC at the Capital Area Food Bank

IMG_9692Whew, it’s been a busy few weeks (new nephew, working hard, family in town…), but I wanted to share a very lovely experience I had last week. Since arriving in DC, I’ve been thrilled to meet a fabulously inclusive and innovative group of people in various parts of the food industry–particularly women. Through a chance meeting, I got involved with Pineapple DC, an organization of Washington-based women within many aspects of the food world.

IMG_9695 IMG_9693Last week, we were lucky to visit the Capital Area Food Bank in Northeast DC. In addition to admiring their magnificent veggie garden (and enjoying snacks and Cava in it afterwards), we toured the facility and even helped pack up a few boxes of pantry goods.

Hearing about the struggle between wanting to end hunger but also being proud of the number of people fed really resonated with me, as did the desire to have shelf-stable goods while providing healthy food options for those in need.

Without further ado, some (sub-par iPhone) photos of this delightful evening spent chatting and exploring.IMG_9697

WHAT TO DRINK TONIGHT?

20150323-cocktails-vicky-wasik-Brooklyn-thumb-625xauto-421619Faced with a bottle of bourbon, bitters, and a boyfriend who purchased the wrong kind of Vermouth, what did I do?

Found The Brooklyn: a Manhattan with dry instead of sweet vermouth. Because it was a bit, well, tart, we added a dash of agave (hipsters that we are) to the Manhattan’s sultry artisanal sibling. I’m still very partial to a Manhattan, but, as I always say, Manhattan is the new Brooklyn.

*Image by Vicky Wasik

 

2 Amy’s

If you’re any self (and stomach) respecting DC resident, chances are you’ve already been to 2 Amy’s pizza in Cathedral Heights. I, as a new DC resident, had not been yet, and a balmy May evening after a long day of work seemed like the ideal opportunity. We sat outside, ordered a tumbler of wine each, and feasted.

I was dying to try the clam pizza, but sadly there were no more clams to be had. So, of course, I went for the mini-meatball adorned “Abruzzese” pie, and we ordered the “Puttanesca” as well, an appropriately piquant creation with broccoli rabe, anchovy, hot peppers, and small melting mounds of fresh mozzarella.

There is good pizza in DC! (Said like a total douchey ex-New Yorker) And at 2 Amy’s, it’s been recognized as DOC status, aka, the Neapolitans consider these pies real legit.

2 Amy’s Pizzeria
3715 Macomb St NW
(202) 885-5700

*excuse the highly sub par iPhone photos, although I think they still show how absolutely scrumptious the pies were.