Monday, January 7, 2013

Washington DC (Dining)

We ate at the following restaurants over the course of our week-long stay in Washington DC during September 2012, which will be detailed below:

  • Marcels
  • Obelisk
  • Rasika
  • Zaytina
  • Old Ebbitt Grill
  • Fogo de Chao
  • BRABO Tasting Room
  • Tabard Inn
  • Busboys and Poets
  • Sprinkles Cupcakes
  • Baked and Wired
  • Fast Gourmet
  • Ben's Chili Bowl
  • Paul Maison
  • Le Pain Quotidien
  • Food Section at the Newseum
  • Mitsitam Cafe

Washington DC has a plethora of French restaurants to choose from, many of which are highly rated including Marcel's, Michel Richard Citronelle, Bistrot du Coin, and Brasserie Beck, just to name a few. Since we didn't want to have a repeat of the same cuisine during our trip, I had to pick just one. Out of all of the restaurant's menus I perused, Marcel's intrigued and interested me the most. Additionally, it was the highest rated French restaurant on Yelp at the time of our visit so I figured it would be a good choice.

Marcel's offers their guests an a la carte menu as well as a 4, 5, 6, or 7 course tasting menu. If your reservation occurs prior to 6:30 you'll be able to take advantage of the 4 course tasting menu for a slightly discounted price.

Be aware that Marcel's is a fancy place; a jacket is required for men. It would be the perfect place to go for a very special occasion or simply a wonderful choice for those looking for superb and high quality French food.

Shyawn and I selected the 4 course tasting menu, each picking a different dish from each of the selected courses. Prior to our dishes arriving, however, we were brought out an amuse bouche. Unfortunately, I did not write down the name of the amuse bouche but was it was delicious and refreshing.
Amuse bouche at Marcel's.

We were also served various types of incredibly delicious bread throughout the meal along with a trio of butter spreads.
Trio of butter spreads at Marcel's.
Amazing bread at Marcel's.

For our first course, Shyawn selected the Filet of Rainbow Trout, Baby Spinach, Yukon Gold Potato Puree, Lemon Caper Butter while I went with the Pan Seared Diver Scallop, Braised Pork Belly, Sweet Corn and Scallion Beurre Blanc. The potato puree from Shyawn's dish was absolutely incredible; it was one of the highlights of the entire meal for me. My scallops were quite tasty and much to my surprise the sweet corn and scallion beurre blanc complimented the scallops wonderfully.
Filet of Rainbow Trout at Marcel's.
Pan Seared Diver Scallops at Marcel's.
Pan Seared Diver Scallops at Marcel's.

For our next course Shyawn ordered the Hawaiian "Onaga" Snapper, Spring Onion and Snap Pea Risotto, Ginger Seasame Pea Tendrils while I went with the Icelandic Cod, Hearts of Palm, Summer Squash, Garlic Potato Puree, Osetra Caviar Beurre Blanc. Both dishes were incredible and by this point of the meal I knew I had made a wise decision by dining at Marcel's.
Hawaiian "Onaga" Snapper at Marcel's.
Icelandic Cod at Marcel's.

For our third course Shyawn's choice was the Sauteed Veal Sweetbreads, Fricasse of Maiitake, Anaheim Chili, Red Onion while I went the traditional route and went with Marcel's Classic Boudin Blanc, Celery Root Puree, Pearl Onions, Truffle Maidera Sauce. I had never tried sweetbreads before, and certainly not veal ones, but I was quite surprised with how delicious his dish was. The boudin blanc was good, but probably what I would consider the weakest/least memorable dish of dinner. It wasn't bad, just not outstanding.
Sauteed Veal Sweetbreads at Marcel's.
Classic Boudin Blanc at Marcel's.

And finally, for our fourth course Shyawn selected the Martin's Ranch Angus Beef Tenderloin, Wild Mushrooms, Potato Puree with Truffle Essence, Red Wine Sauce. I chose the Braised Beef Short Rib, Baby Carrot, Sunburst Squash, Red Wine Sauce. Shyawn's potato puree was once again, absolutely amazing. My short rib was incredibly moist and delicious, literally falling apart with just a soft prodding from my fork. I felt that the dish could have been even more strong had it been served with a starch to soak up the delicious sauce that accompanied it instead of the vegetables.
Martin's Ranch Angus Beef Tenderloin at Marcel's.
Braised Beef Short Rib at Marcel's.
Braised Beef Short Rib at Marcel's.

Lastly, after our four course were served we were brought out a small assortment of dessert goodies which we were nearly too full to finish. I have no idea how some people go for all seven courses!
Assortment of dessert goodies at Marcel's.
Assortment of dessert goodies at Marcel's.

Overall, we had an absolutely incredible meal at Marcel's. It was definitely the dining highlight of our week long stay in Washington DC and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone, especially to my fellow French-loving foodies!

While in Washington DC I wanted to make sure that we ate at least one really great Italian place. There were many places to choose from, but I ultimately ended up choosing Obelisk (located in Dupont Circle) based on its favorable Yelp reviews and also the fact that it was rated one of Washington DC's 100 very best restaurants by the Washingtonian.

Upon our arrival, we were both quite surprised to see how small and intimate the restaurant was. The restaurant was also dimly lit, making it quite difficult to take quality photographs of the dishes. Additionally, we found it a little odd that it was so quiet inside the space; there wasn't even soft music playing so it felt a bit awkward.

The handwritten menu changes daily and includes four courses for $75. However, in addition to the four courses there were various appetizers that were brought out prior, making the $75 price tag quite a good value. Be forewarned that the restaurant does not have a website and since the menu changes daily, you'll have to go in with an open mind. However, based on our experience and the many reviews we have read, you will leave full and happy!
Interior of Obelisk.

Immediately after sitting down, we were brought a small container of delicious olives to munch on.
Olives from Obelisk.

For drinks, Shyawn ordered an Italian beer called Morgana and I went with one of their cocktails called Trentino (vodka, moscato rosa, campari and lime). Shyawn said he enjoyed the beer very much and my cocktail was extremely good.
Morgana beer from Obelisk.
Trentino cocktail from Obelisk.

Next they brought us a bowl of assorted types of bread, all of which were very good.
Bread bowl at Obelisk.

After ordering our selections from the menu, the staff brought us an assortment of appetizers (antipasti) which are included with the tasting menu. My hands-down favorite of the five items was the buratta with salt, pepper, and olive oil. I had never tried buratta before, which is an Italian cheese whose outer shell is mozzarella while the inside contains a mixture of mozzarella and cream. This cheese was crazy good. I cannot describe in words how incredibly delicious it was. Like it was one of the top ten things I have ever eaten in my life good. I just kept repeating OMG OMG out loud in the restaurant. I made sure to scrape up every last speck of the creamy cheese and olive oil on this plate. Based on the number of times the buratta cheese was mentioned in the Yelp reviews, it seems as though this is one of the restaurants standard appetizers. Do NOT miss this decadent dish!
Buratta with salt, pepper and olive oil at Obelisk.

The second appetizer, tomato gelee was also excellent and paired wonderfully with the buratta cheese. I am not normally a huge fan of tomatoes but this dish was surprisingly delicious.
Tomato gelee from Obelisk.

We were also brought out two small deep fried risotto balls, which were tasty.
Risotto balls from Obelisk.

Unfortunately I don't recall the details of the fourth appetizer. I believe it might have been duck, but I just can't tell you for certain and unfortunately the appetizers were not listed within the menu. Either way, this dish wasn't a huge standout, but it wasn't bad either.

Our final appetizer was some sort of tuna with greens that were placed over a bed of delicious olive oil. This dish was also strong but by this point I was quite worried as we had already been brought five dishes and hadn't even started on our main menu dishes yet and I was beginning to feel full!
Tuna with greens and olive oil at Obelisk.

For our first main course (primi) Shyawn selected the Salt Cod Ravioli with Clams and I chose the Gnocchi with Pesto. Both dishes were very delicious.
Salt Cod Ravioli with Clams at Obelisk.
Gnocchi with Pesto at Obelisk.

For our second (secondi) course, Shyawn chose the Braised Duck Leg with Spinach and Farro while I went with the Pork Chop with Filet Green Beans, Pine Nuts, and Guanciale. My pork chop was incredibly moist with great flavor but the portion size was huge. I couldn't even eat half of it.
Braised Duck Leg with Spinach and Farro at Obelisk.
Pork Chop with Filet Beans, Pine Nuts, and Guanciale at Obelisk.

We were also brought out a cheese plate (Sorrano, Raschera, and Rocchetta with a Roasted Fig). Unfortunately, I wasn't able to eat much of the delicious as I was quite full by this point.
Cheese plate from Obelisk.

For dessert, we chose the Cantaloupe Tart with Buttermilk Ice Cream and the Hazelnut Cake with Caramel Whipped Cream and Peach. Of the two dishes, we preferred the Cantaloupe Tart, as the Hazelnut Cake was a bit dry and quite sweet, especially when paired with the Caramel Whipped Cream and Peach.
Cantaloupe Tart with Buttermilk Ice Cream at Obelisk. 
Hazelnut Cake with Caramel Whipped Cream and Peach.

And finally, we were brought an assortment of small sweets which we took just tiny nibbles of even though there were all very good.
Assortment of Small Sweets at Obelisk.

Overall, we were very pleased with our experience at Obelisk. I would return again in a heartbeat just for the buratta cheese alone: yes, it was THAT good. Next time I will remember to enter Obelisk with a completely empty stomach so that I can ensure I have enough room for the many dishes that will be served.

This beautiful and highly rated Indian restaurant has two locations in Washington DC: Penn Quarter (where we dined) and the West End. The Penn Quarter located had over 1000 reviews on Yelp averaging 4.5 stars out of 5, so I figured it was a wise dining choice.
As you can see from the photos above, the interior of the restaurant is beautiful without being over the top. My only complaint? Terrible lighting, making food photography very difficult even though we were seated directly next to the window as requested!
The menu at Rasika.
Enjoying our meal at Rasika.

My drink of choice for the evening was the Mango Cosmopolitan (Ketel One Citroen/mango/cointreau/cranberry) which was very delicious and refreshing. Shyawn decided to try an Indian beer called Tikka Gold. Unfortunately, he was not a fan and was disappointed with his choice.
Mango Cosmopolitan from Rasika.
Tikka Gold beer at Rasika.

For our appetizer, we decided to trust in the hundreds of Yelp recommendations for the Palak Chaat (crispy baby spinach/sweet yogurt tamarind/date chutney). I had never heard of this Indian dish nor had we ever eaten anything even quite like it but it was extremely delicious. Who knew crispy spinach could taste so good?!?
Palak Chaat from Rasika.

Shyawn had a difficult time deciding on his entree, but after a huge urging and recommendation from our waiter went with the Black Cod (fresh dill/honey/star anise/red wine vinegar). Shyawn enjoyed the cod tremendously but thought the portion was quite small for the price ($26).
Black Cod from Rasika.

I had an easy time deciding on my dish, going with my favorite Indian staple Chicken Tikka Masala. It was very good, but much spicier than I had anticipated it would be, even after telling the waiter to prepare it with just a little bit of spice.
Chicken Tikka Masala from Rasika.

We also requested an order of Naan, which was delicious.
Naan from Rasika.

For dessert we split a plate of Chocolate Samosas. I really wanted to like this dish, but I wasn't impressed. It was the only disappointment of an otherwise great evening of food.
Chocolate Samosas from Rasika.

Overall, I think that Rasika is a beautiful restaurant to experience high-quality Indian food, albeit on the slightly pricier end.

This very popular restaurant, created by the famous chef Jose Andres, serves small plates from Greek, Turkish, and Lebanese fare. Zaytinya came highly recommended from a number of sources (Yelp, Washingtonian, travel boards) so I figured we should give it a try.

Upon our arrival I was immediately pleased with both the exterior and interior of the very modern and aesthetically pleasing restaurant. Additionally, as per the request in my reservation, the restaurant seated us at a table with the most possible light as the entire restaurant was very dimly lit.

As previously mentioned, all of the dishes at Zaytina are served small plate style so we decided to order  several things which included Hummus, Patates Tiganites me Yiaourti (crispy potatoes, yogurt, caper salt), Sea Scallops (seared scallops, yogurt-dill sauce), Shish Taouk (grill chicken thigh, sumac, onions, garlic tuom, grilled tomatoes), and Lamb Bahar (spice-rubbed lamb kebab, tabouleh, tahini sauce). Zaytinya also serves complimentary pita bread throughout the meal, which was very tasty and which proved to be helpful in eating the hummus.

All of the dishes were very delicious and I especially enjoyed the yogurt-dill sauce that accompanied the fried potatoes.
The fluffy pita bread from Zaytinya.
Pita bread from Zaytinya.
Hummus from Zaytinya.
Patates Tiganites me Yiaourti from Zaytinya.
Sea Scallops from Zaytinya.
Shish Taouk from Zaytinya.
Lamb Bahar from Zaytinya.
Lamb Bahar from Zaytinya.

The highlight of our meal however was definitely dessert. We ordered the Turkish Delight (walnut ice cream, yogurt mousse, honey gelee, orange-caramel sauce, caramelized pine nuts). The walnut ice cream was out of this world incredible. It had an amazing depth of flavor and almost a dry/crumbly texture that I hadn't ever experienced with ice cream before. Please do yourself a favor and order this dish for dessert if you visit Zaytinya! You won't be disappointed!
Turkish Delight from Zaytinya.

Old Ebbitt Grill:
One of Shyawn's dining requests was that we eat at a restaurant that served and/or specialized in oysters. I was originally thinking of going to Hank's Oyster Bar but after learning the long history of Old Ebbitt Grill, I decided we should go there instead. The restaurant originally opened in 1856 and although the physical location of the restaurant has changed numerous times, the current interior feels of the Victorian era in an upscale yet casual way.

We visited the restaurant on a weekday night and it was absolutely packed, especially with lots of local workers. The restaurant is quite large and sprawling; we were seated in the very back section which was just as beautiful as the front area. There was a great buzz and energy to the place so its immense popularity makes sense.
Old Ebbitt Grill
Old Ebbitt Grill

I ordered a fun cocktail at the bar called Cherry Blossom Breeze (Three Olives Cherry Vodka, Bols Peach Schnapps, Cranberry Juice, Sprite) which was very delicious.
My drink at the Old Ebbitt Grill.
Old Ebbitt Grill
Old Ebbitt Grill

For our meal, we knew for certain that we would be ordering an assortment of oysters. In addition to that, we decided to get a cup of New England Clam Chowder and a Maine Lobster for Shyawn. I had a difficult time deciding what to order for my main course. I almost went with the famous Crab Cakes, but instead, at the last minute, I decided to order the Lemon Pepper Chicken Fettuccini.

Our oyster selection for the night included 2 of each of the following: Blue Island (Long Island), Mermaid Cove (Prince Edward Island), Raspberry Point (Prince Edward Island), Rocky Bay (Prince Edward Island), and Wellfleet (Massachusetts). Being from Seattle, Shyawn and I typically only ever eat oysters from Washington State so we were quite excited to try different varieties. We actually liked all of the oysters and look forward to the time when we can try some more East Coast ones!
Our oyster selection from the Old Ebbitt Grill.

My cup of New England Clam Chowder was tasty and hit the spot. I would definitely order this again.
New England Clam Chowder from Old Ebbitt Grill.

Shyawn enjoyed his Maine Lobster immensely. I for one am not a huge fan of lobster (I much more so prefer crab) so he was able to eat this all by himself!
Maine Lobster from Old Ebbitt Grill.

Unfortunately there was one food disappointment of the night. My Lemon Pepper Chicken Fettuccini was nothing like I thought it would be. It was rather blah and uninspiring and I definitely would not order it again. Instead, I should have gone with my gut, and the many Yelp recommendations, for the crab cakes.
Lemon Pepper Chicken Fettucini from Old Ebbitt Grill.

Overall verdict? The Old Ebbitt Grill is an institution in Washington DC. Don't come here expecting fine dining, fancy food, or even the best quality of food. I would encourage new visitors to make sure to stick with the seafood. However, the restaurant has a wonderful old school ambiance and charm that makes it a simply fun place to dine at, especially in a group setting.

Fogo de Chao:
While perusing Yelp for places to eat at while in Washington DC, I stumbled upon a surprising find: a chain Brazilian steakhouse that had over six hundred reviews with a 4.5 out of 5 rating. I am normally one that avoids chain restaurants like the plague, especially while on vacation, but I just couldn't get this one out of my mind. Additionally, we had been wanting to try a Brazilian Steakhouse for such a long time but an opportunity hadn't yet presented itself. So I decided to take what I would normally call a "risk" and make a reservation at the chain restaurant Fogo de Chao.
Fogo de Chao, located in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of WA DC.
Fogo de Chao
Fogo de Chao

Upon our entrance into the restaurant, I was immediately impressed with its modern and classy interior. After being seated, a basket of the most amazing cheese bread was brought to our table. They are called pao de queijo and were incredibly delicious. I won't even admit how many of these lovely little guys I ate over the course of our meal!
Pao do Queijo (warm cheese bread) from Fogo de Chao.

Prior to the meats being passed around, we were encouraged to visit the salad bar. I will admit that I was slightly skeptical of the quality of food that would be available at the salad bar. However, my skepticism was immediately cast away when I saw the sheer quantity and quality of the food they offered, especially the cured meats. The trick to the salad bar though is to not fill up too much or otherwise you won't have enough room for the side dishes and of course the meat!
Salad bar at Fogo de Chao.
Salad bar at Fogo de Chao.
Salad bar at Fogo de Chao.
My choices from the salad bar at Fogo de Chao.

Next, we were brought out the side dishes which included caramelized bananas, crispy hot polenta, and garlic mashed potatoes. All of the items were fabulous, but the crispy hot polenta was crazy delicious. Like the warm cheese bread, I ate way more than my fair share of the polenta during our meal. The waiters will bring out as much of the side dishes as you request.
Caramelized bananas from Fogo de Chao.
Crispy Hot Polenta from Fogo de Chao.
Garlic mashed potatoes at Fogo de Chao.

Eventually the table side service of meat began arriving at our table. The restaurant offers 15 cuts of fire roasted meat including filet mignon, rib eye, pork loin, sausage, chicken, and lamb just to name a few. The waiters would walk around with the different cuts of meat and then cut a portion of the meat off and place it on your plate. This was a very fun experience, but we had to be selective of the meat we were requesting because we wanted to make sure to try as much as possible.
Fogo de Chao table side meat service.
Delicious bacon wrapped filet mignon at Fogo de Chao.

Overall, we were extremely please with our experience at Fogo de Chao. The entire meal cost $51.50 per person, which we found to be a great value considering the amount and quality of food we had the option of eating. If the chain ever expands into the Seattle area, we will definitely pay it a visit!

BRABO Tasting Room:
This Belgian restaurant is located in Old Town Alexandria which we ate at for dinner during our day-trip to Alexandria. I had a difficult time choosing a restaurant to eat at in Alexandria as many of the dining options seemed mediocre or very touristy. In addition to having decent reviews on Yelp, this specific restaurant was also named by the Washingtonian as one of The 100 Very Best Restaurants of 2012 so I figured it would be a safe option.
BRABO Tasting Room

The interior of the small restaurant was modern and yet charming. I loved the use of the exposed bricks in the space, making it feel very warm and welcoming.
BRABO Tasting Room
BRABO Tasting Room
BRABO Tasting Room

To drink, Shyawn ordered a Yard's Brewing Company, Indian Pale Ale which he enjoyed so much that he ordered a second bottle.
Yard's Brewing Company, IPA.

When ordering our food, there was slight confusion on the waiter's end. Shyawn ordered the Martin's Roast Beef Sandwich (tobacco onions, horseradish, pickled jalapeño) which stated that it was served with a green salad. Shyawn asked if he could have the Endive and Apple Salad (watercress, blue cheese, candied walnuts, sherry vinaigrette) in place of the green salad, and the waiter obliged (or so we thought). I ordered a bowl of the Local Tomato Bisque (croutons, basil, creme fraiche) and the Prosciutto Wood Fired Tart (fresh mozzarella, basil).

When my tomato bisque arrived, so did a giant plate of salad for Shyawn. We were slightly confused, but assumed that they must serve their salads separate from their sandwiches. Both items were very good.
Endive and Apple Salad from BRABO Tasting Room.
Local Tomato Bisque from BRABO Tasting Room.

Next our two entrees were brought out although Shyawn's sandwich had a small green salad on the same plate. Now we figured out why he had received such a huge salad; the waiter hadn't listened to us and thought that we wanted a salad entree as well as his regular sandwich entree that came with a side green salad. Thankfully, we eventually got the situation resolved with the waiter and he didn't charge us for the entree salad. Both entrees were very good and we were impressed with the overall quality of the food.
Martin's Roast Beef Sandwich from the BRABO Tasting Room.
Martin's Roast Beef Sandwich from the BRABO Tasting Room.
Prosciutto Wood Fired Tart from the BRABO Tasting Room.

Tabard Inn Restaurant:
A Washington DC classic, this restaurant (located in Dupont Circle) is actually situated with the Tabard Inn, a small hotel comprising of 40 rooms. I read numerous reviews of the restaurant, stating that it was one of the best places to have brunch in the city. So, off we went. The dining room is quite large with an eclectic design, with multiple rooms and even has an outdoor eating area. Being that we visited during the first week of September with near 100% humidity, we wisely opted to eat inside and were placed inside one of the smaller (and therefore less noisy) rooms.
Hotel Tabard Inn 
Tabard Inn Restaurant

These cute and delicious mini-muffins and focaccia bread are brought to all patron's table complimentary. 
Complimentary mini-muffins and focaccia bread at Tabard Inn Restaurant.
Complimentary mini-muffins and focaccia bread at Tabard Inn Restaurant.

The restaurant is famous for its Freshly Fried Doughnuts with Cinnamon Sugar and Vanilla Whipped Cream, so we obviously ordered some! Do yourself the same favor; the doughnuts are incredible and taste so delicious especially with the cream.
Freshly Fried Doughnuts with Cinnamon Sugar and Vanilla Whipped Cream at the Tabard Inn Restaurant.
Freshly Fried Doughnuts with Cinnamon Sugar and Vanilla Whipped Cream at the Tabard Inn Restaurant.

For our main entrees, Shyawn ordered the Huevos Rancheros with house-made tortillas, two salsas, guacamole, refried black beans. I ordered the Eggs Benedict with house-made tasso ham as they were mentioned quite a number of times on Yelp. Both dishes were very good, especially my eggs benedict. However, there are so many amazing things on their brunch menu that on a second visit I would probably order something different!
Huevos Racheros at Tabard Inn Hotel.
Eggs Benedict at Tabard Inn Hotel.

Busboys and Poets:
This small local chain has four locations in Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland. The restaurant's first location opened in the U Street Corridor in 2005 and was conveniently located just a few minutes walking distance from our condo. The restaurant serves meals throughout the day and also hosts open mic and poetry slams. We decided to visit the bright and airy restaurant one morning for breakfast.
Busboys and Poets
Busboys and Poets
Busboys and Poets
Busboys and Poets

Since lemonade and pomegranate juice are my two favorite things to drink in the world, I thought the LEM/POM (lemonade with pomegranate juice) would be the perfect drink! Unfortunately, this drink was only OK and not something I would actually order again.
LEM/POM drink from Busboys and Poets.

To eat, Shyawn ordered the Two Eggs with Meat (turkey sausage, home fries, fruit OR grits; served with whole wheat toast) while I went with the Oaxaca Omelet (black beans, cheese, pico de gallo and guacamole and served with whole wheat toast and a choice of home fries, grits or fruits). Both plates were good and quite filling. I don't think we would necessarily run back to the restaurant but it's a solid choice for breakfast.
Two Eggs with Meat from Busboys and Poets.
Oaxaca Omelet from Busboys and Poets.

Sprinkles Cupcakes:
This highly rated cupcake store is actually a small chain with several locations across the United States, including one in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington DC. Since I can never turn down a delicious cupcake, we decided to make a quick stop during our walking tour of Georgetown. I purchased one of the Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting which was incredibly moist and delicious.
Sprinkles Cupcakes
Sprinkles Cupcakes
Sprinkles Cupcakes
Sprinkles Cupcakes
Sprinkles Cupcakes
Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting at Sprinkles Cupcakes.
Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting at Sprinkles Cupcakes.

Baked and Wired:
Located just down the street from Sprinkles Cupcakes, this very popular and highly rated bakery was on my must visit list. Although they are quite famous for their cupcakes, I went with one of their Honey Pecan Bars as I had literally just eaten a cupcake up the street at Sprinkles ten minutes prior. The Honey Pecan Bar was insanely delicious. The buttery crust paired wonderfully with the sweet and rich caramel and pecans. Had we not been so full, I would have loved to have ordered a few more items.
Baked and Wired
Baked and Wired
Baked and Wired
Baked and Wired
Baked and Wired
Baked and Wired
Honey Pecan Bar from Baked and Wired.

Fast Gourmet:
While on our way back to our apartment one day, we wanted to grab a quick bite to eat somewhere in our neighborhood for lunch. As I always do, I quickly pulled up Yelp and, much to my surprise, found a Latin American sandwich place that was very highly rated and located just down the street from us. The location of the eatery is slightly strange; it's placed inside of a gas station. However, don't let its location detour you from eating here. We both ordered a sandwich (Shyawn the Steak N 'Cheese and I the Cubano) and they were divine. Shyawn stated that this was his most favorite restaurant that we ate at in all of Washington DC. In my opinion, Fast Gourmet is worth coming to, even from a distance.
Fast Gourmet
Cubano Sandwich from Fast Gourmet. 
Steak n 'Cheese Sandwich from Fast Gourmet.

Ben's Chili Bowl:
This very famous Washington DC institution, located in the U Street Corridor, should be on every visitors list. While you shouldn't come here expecting anything near close to Michelin-starred food, do come here for the history and its lively atmosphere. We stopped in for a quick visit on our way to dinner so we only placed an order for the Chili Cheese Fries. They were good, but not out of this world great. I think they would have tasted slightly better with a bit more chili. I've heard from more than a few people that Ben's Chili Bowl is a great late night stop after hours of drinking. If I go back to Washington DC I would pay a return visit to try some of their other menu items.
Ben's Chili Bowl
Ben's Chili Bowl
Ben's Chili Bowl
Ben's Chili Bowl
Ben's Chili Bowl
Ben's Chili Bowl
Ben's Chili Bowl
Chili Cheese fries from Ben's Chili Bowl.

While on our way to visit the National Archives we were both complaining of hunger when Shyawn spotted this restaurant out of the corner of his eye. Paul is an international chain of French bakeries with several different locations in Washington DC. I've actually eaten at several Paul bakeries in France and Belgium, so I was surprised to learn that their business had expanded into the United States. We only had about 20 minutes to pick out our food and then eat it, but thankfully Paul offers all of its food to-go.
Pastries at Paul.
Sandwiches at Paul.

Shyawn ordered a Sandwich Atlantique (smoked salmon, tomato, lettuce, lemon spread on a sesame seed paulette) while I decided on both a Croissant aux Amandes (almond croissant) as well as a Sandwich Le Toscan (prosciutto ham, mozzarella cheese, tomato, lettuce, pesto spread on a baguettine). The sandwiches were very good but I was less than impressed with the croissant and couldn't even bring myself to finish it. I had expected since this was a French chain that the croissant would be buttery and flaky but it was not.
Sandwich Atlantique from Paul.
Croissant aux Amandes from Paul.
Sandwich Le Toscan from Paul.

Overall, I would recommend Paul to those looking for a quick meal to-go, but don't walk in expecting the same quality that you would find at Paul locations in France.

Le Pain Quotidien:
Another international chain, this bakery has grown tremendously over the last few years on the East Coast and also in Southern California. It was originally founded in Brussels in 1990. I had never eaten, nor even heard of the bakery prior to our visit, but we ended up meeting some of Shyawn's family who live in DC at this restaurant in Georgetown for breakfast one morning.
Le Pain Quotidien
Le Pain Quotidien
Le Pain Quotidien

For breakfast, we chose to eat outside. We all ordered the Organic Steel-Cut Oatmeal with berries (I omitted the blueberries from mine) except for one person who ordered one of the Omelets (can't remember which one!). I also ordered a lemonade, which was just plain gross. In fact, I took about two sips and that was it. Overall, the food was decent but I don't think I would go there again.
Organic Steel-Cut Oatmeal at Le Pain Quotidien.
Lemonade at Le Pain Quotidien.
Organic Steel-Cut Oatmeal at Le Pain Quotidien.
Omelet at Le Pain Quotidien.

Food Section at the Newseum:
During our visit to the Newseum, I learned that Wolfgang Puck Catering prepares all of the food for its on-site restaurant The Food Section. With this information, I figured that the food would be delicious and of great quality. The restaurant was set-up as a cafeteria and had dozens of choices from sandwiches to salads to soups to main entrees. I decided to get a small plate of macaroni and cheese as well as a small container of chili. Both of my plates were OK but nothing that I would have expected to come out of a Wolfgang Puck kitchen. Shyawn got a burger and fries, which were also just OK. While the location of the restaurant is super convenient for those visiting the Newseum, I wouldn't eat there again. It was just your typical standard museum-quality food.
Food Section at the Newseum.
Macaroni and Cheese from the Food Section at the Newseum.
Chili from the Food Section at the Newseum.
Burger and fries from the Food Section at the Newseum.

Mitsitam Cafe:
After leaving the US Capitol, Shyawn and I were starving. According to Yelp, there wasn't a whole lot of restaurant options nearby. However, after doing further research I found out that the Mitsitam Cafe, located within the Museum of the American Indian was highly rated so I figured we should give it a try for lunch. The cafe has four different regions from which they serve food including the Northern Woodlands, South America, Northwest Coast, Mesoamerica, and the Great Plains. I ended up ordering the soft flour tortillas with adobo chicken and a side of rice. Unfortunately, my dish wasn't that great. I am hoping that it wasn't the best representation from the restaurant otherwise the ratings from Yelp seem slightly deceiving. Like with the Food Section at the Newseum, although I can understand why it is convenient for visitors to have a restaurant to eat at within the museum, I would rather be slightly inconvenienced and travel elsewhere for my meal.
Mitsitam Cafe
Soft flour tortillas with adobo chicken at Mitsitam Cafe.

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