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

Avocado toast image courtesy of The Washington Post

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/

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.