I've been gone. Here are a few people to blame:
Christoph Schreuer
Frederick Lawrence
President-Elect Barack Obama

Anyway, I don't want the kids to know it, but we're definitely in a R-E-C-E-S-S-I-O-N, so folks aren't eating out at restaurants as often. Here are a few things I have been enjoying despite the tough times.

1. Cupcakes. At Baked & Wired in Georgetown I've enjoyed the coconut, the pumpkin, the chocolate/peanut butter, and the downright chocolate. Some flavors have a softer, spongier cake part than others, which are more dense. Seems kinda random, depending on the flavor. I like both. I gloated a little when the pumpkin w/cream cheese frosting that I chose was overall better than the coconut J chose. Sorry J. No, I don't know if this is better than Georgetown Cupcake or Hello Cupcake or Hello Dolly or Strawberry Shortcake (OK, I made the last two up). I know that there isn't usually a line, it's on the earlier side of Georgetown (read: closer to civilization/Metro), and they also have FOOD, so if you want a wrap or a coffee or both, you can have that and eat your cupcake too.

Baked & Wired
1052 Thomas Jefferson St NW (Georgetown)

2. Founding Farmers. [If you don't know the deal, it's owned by a consortium of a zillion American farmers, it's LEED certified, etc.] When we went for dinner before the sunset brought on Yom Kippur, I was slightly disappointed at first. I ordered a "roasted chicken salad" which I thought would be a salad with roasted chicken on top, but instead it was CHICKEN SALAD, like with the mayo? Anyway, it was fine, but at least 2 of our 8 or so meals came out cold, and we all waited for new, hot food to come out. Service was spotty, but the size of our party mandated a huge tip. In response to our concerned voices, a manager sliced 50% off of our bill. We were shocked and very gracious. I returned for brunch and had the vegetable scramble with asparagus and mushrooms, which was a very reasonable portion but was a little cold. Not the thing you want when you wait almost an hour for your breakfast. My friend M had the smoked salmon hash which was awesome. I was surprised that the English muffins that came with our meals were not whole wheat or grainy, but the apple preserve made us really happy. Almost as happy as the fun milk-jar-type-holders that the water comes in :)

Founding Farmers
1924 Pennsylvania Avenue NW (Across 20th from Johnny Rockets)

3. Java Green. Java Green is about to become a staple in my near-school existence. It's DELICIOUS. I enjoy fake meat and other typically vegetarian/vegan food items because I was vegetarian for so long, so this vegetarian joint is perfect. Besides the typical sandwiches (soy turkey, soy chicken, vegan burger, veggie burger--soy cheese, sprouts, and avocado are typical toppings!) there are some yummy hot dishes, too. My friend A recommended "Rice and Beyond"--organic rice (it was purple, the hottest color of the fall), cabbage, onion, carrot, jobche noodles (interesting, almost a little spicy), broccoli, kale, a dumpling, and I got soy orange chicken as my topping. It was SO GOOD, a really good balance of protein, starch, and veggies, without the usual 89239234234 grams of sodium that would be in a typical Chinese takeout situation. For $10 I got a hot meal that stuck with me all day--I literally didn't eat another meal for 9 hours, just a few pieces of fruit and a granola bar for snack. The place is packed around lunch, so head over early (12pm on the dot) to beat the crowd, or wait until it dies down. Also, FYI--they have brunch on Saturdays, which is hard to come by in this town; it's more of a weekday-lunch atmosphere, but breakfast could work in a Teaism sorta way.

Java Green
1020 19th St NW
Metro: Farragut North (Red) or West (Orange/Blue)

4. Ray's Hell-Burger. Despite how I usually feel about web-site-less places, I'm still head-over-heels for RHB for three reasons. (1) It's fast--even if there is a line, there's no sitting and waiting for the server, then ordering and waiting for the drinks, then waiting, then ordering the food, then waiting, then eating, then waiting for the check...; (2) It's cheap--it's not Five Guys cheap, but it's a hell of a lot better tasting and is a major value, which leads me to the next thing; (3) It fills you up. If you can eat that 10 oz burger and drink a root beer and tell me you aren't full, then we need to have a serious talk about shrinking down your stomach. The heck sauce is awesome, you can get guacamole (always a plus), grilled onions, a zillion kinds of cheese if you want, blackened/au poivre burgers, and I swear the buns have improved since the place opened. They heard our call [for better buns]!

Ray's Hell-Burger
You know, in between Rosslyn and Courthouse in the tiny strip mall

5. Cooking. That's what people do when they are afraid they will be unemployed forever and they realize not only that they still need to eat, but also that the food they eat must be mostly made/prepared in tiny kitchen.

See challah dough sit

See challah dough rise

See food

Also, perfect sugar cookie sandwiches with a pumpkin butter/cream cheese frosting filling (thanks S for recipe, which originally called for apple butter):

That's that for now. I'll post more round-up type entries soon.

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