Blue Duck Tavern

To celebrate two years of married bliss, we recently hit up the West End's Blue Duck Tavern--you could walk to Georgetown from Foggy Bottom hundreds of times and not realize this restaurant at the first floor of the Park Hyatt at 24th & M Streets NW.

First, I had the spring pea soup with cuttlefish ravioli, and J had the warm asparagus with mushrooms and a poached egg. Both were good, mine was better. There's nothing like peas in the spring/summer time. The servings were very nice, and the food was delicate. Every flavor was accessible and pleasant.

For dinner, I ordered the duck breast. Ever since we went to Farrah Olivia, I’ve been trying to order that well again. When I got that quail, I’d never even had quail before. But it sounded delicious and I went for it, and it was amazing. So even though the duck was okay (maybe better for someone who loves duck breast from the start), it wasn’t a Farrah Olivia quail situation. I’m trying not to get the same old white flaky fish + side vegetable when I go out—I can make that at home! (And I do...).

I liked J’s dinner. He had the braised beef rib. Reviews online were mixed on this, some liked it, others said it was ok but nothing special. I thought it was delicious. I liked the sauce a lot, and it was so darn tender. I like how it was served “on the bone,” as in literally just sitting on top of a bone. Chewing was pretty much unnecessary, the meat was melt-in-your-mouth buttery. If your birthday falls on the week you get your wisdom teeth pulled, go to BDT and get this dish.

Also: online there are mixed reviews about the fries. Some people are like, “I don’t get it. What’s the big deal?” or “Maybe I’m not a fry person, but I just don’t know what’s so special...”

Dear Naysayers: Stop wasting the calories on what you aren’t enjoying, and bring them to me. I am wanting your fries now thxkbye. We seriously mention them at least once a week. Especially when we see crappy skimpy fries. We're like, "HAH! They are no Blue Duck."

The fries are HUGE square cut characters that are well-seasoned without being salty and SUPER potatoey. I loved them.

BDT is sort of family style. I say sort of because the dishes are large enough that they are easy to share, but not huge enormous platters or something. This is important to know for the desserts. You don’t get a slice of apple pie, you get a little mini pie. Ours was cinnamony and gooey and delicious.

Overall, BDT is a touch pricy, but with generous servings, good food, and really fantastic service. You will not be rushed.

Blue Duck Tavern
24 & M Sts NW
Metro: Orange and Blue Lines to Foggy Bottom
Blue Duck Tavern on Urbanspoon


Dairy Godmother - Sweet Chair

OK, but what if I want to sit where Sasha sat?!?!

Dairy Godmother
2310 Mount Vernon Avenue
Del Ray
No, you can't take the Metro there (but you can take the motorcade)


Courthouse Farmers' Market

So that sign is new. Or last year I totally walked by it every Saturday and didn't notice?

What's new with Courthouse Farmers' Market: Quail Creek Farm has joined us recently! Yummmm. The brioche is AWESOME (ahem, three of us downed a loaf during brunch. "Just one more slice with a little more jam," we promised ourselves.) I think if you made French toast with it, you'd immediately be transported to a magical land of happiness. The pain au chocolat and chocolate chip cookies are divine. Pain au chocolat for breakfast (pairs well with some Euro Market iced coffee, I promise), and for dessert a chocolate chip cookie. The cookie was fluffy and cakey, not thin and crispy like LPQ. Both good, but totally different. You couldn't dip this one in milk, because it would fall apart.

Everyone loves these people already. It's only been a few weeks, but their absence was much mourned a couple Saturdays ago when they were absent. I overheard several inquiries to the egg/dairy tent in QC's place.

And, as per us[ual], the line at the Westmoreland Farms tent snakes around the truck and down the sidewalk. One half of each couple swears they "aren't going to wait in this ridiculous line just for some berries" but then, alas, pouting ensues and everybody waits. Every year they have unbelievable blackberries, although I haven't seen them yet (it's a little early, and I was gone this past weekend), but recently it's been all about the strawberries. People bring back their Westmoreland crates week after week to fill up on the great-looking and great-tasting produce. The most hilarious thing about Westmoreland is that when you walk a few blocks back home with your purchases, you will either (a) be stopped at least once by someone asking "where did you get those berries?!" or (b) overhear one person say to another "holy @*%$, did you see those berries?"

And there are some antiques, the Cookie Lady, and some cute jewelry and dresses. To fit in, bring your reusable shopping bag, wear your running shorts, and push a stroller full of baby cuteness.

Courthouse Farmers' Market
Courthouse Parking Lot - N. Courthouse Road & 14th Street
Metro: Orange Line to Courthouse


Downtown Lunch Spot Breadline Closed for Health Code Violations

Eeek. Breadline is closed for now because of health code violations. I don't go there that often, but it can be an easy place to get a nice (albeit expensive) salad or sandwich with a friend when you are in that food-deprived area. When you're like, "No, I cannot possibly have Cosi again." You know those times!

Let's be honest, we've seen vermin elsewhere, haven't we? And did that place ever close down?

This is sort of making me re-think the time I got sick right before a big test after eating at Breadline last summer. I thought it was the nerves for the test, but maybe this violation has been going on longer than anyone thought.

Thanks to M for the tip!

1751 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Metro: Blue and Orange Lines to Farragut West


Dairy Godmother

You know I love Dairy Godmother. I told you so here. I follow them on Twitter, stay up to date on the flavor forecast, and even check out the custard cam to avoid lines.

So our President is at it again. He visited Dairy Godmother . Sort of like his visit to Ray's (as in, it's one of my favorite places), except this time he left ol' Joe at home and brought the girls instead. See some photos as re-tweeted from @DairyGodmother here.

The thing about both of these places is that they are ALREADY popular. They are ALREADY hits. You ALREADY wait in huge snaking lines at peak times to get what it is that you need and crave to continue living one more day (read: giant juicy not-totally-dead burger + creamy custard in interesting flavors).

So you already know you should go, but for the first time I tried something NEW at DG, and I've been thinking about it ever since I had it. Yes, have the flavor of the day (or at least a bite of someone else's). And yes, have the turtle sundae or the brownie sundae (brownie sundae is for extreme chocolate lovers ONLY). And definitely, most definitely have vanilla custard on whatever cobbler they have going on.

But also, have the flavor of YESTERDAY or maybe TWO days ago on a sandwich. This sandwich is not on cookies. Instead, it is about 2-3 inches of custard in between two slices of CAKE, frozen.

I had lemon meringue pie custard (crust and all) between two slices of yellow cake, and let me tell you...wow. Wow. WOW.

Oh, and bring your dog. They <3 the DG puppy pops. Dairy Godmother
2310 Mount Vernon Avenue
Del Ray
No, you can't take the Metro there (but you can take the motorcade)
Dairy Godmother on Urbanspoon


Ray's Hell-Burger Moving a Few Doors Over

Ray’s Hell-Burger is moving to the old Ray’s the Steaks spot—same shopping center, but a few doors down. The space is a bit bigger, but I’m not sure if you’ll still be able to watch your meat get sliced/ground/thrown on the grill, but Landrum says counter service will remain.

Does this mean that it will now have a sign?!

Quicker food makes us happy. I haven’t been since Obama’s visit. Not for fear of crowds, but just because I haven’t had one of those iron-deprived weeks leading me to desire an enormous delicious burger. I’m OK with Ray’s the Catch not opening this summer, Landrum’s had a lot of action recently with Ray’s moving, yada yada.

1713 will be the Hell Express. Mmmm fast burgers, my faaaavorite. If only there were a nearby picnic area...

Ray’s Hell-Burger
Soon to be 1725 Wilson
Same Strip Mall, Different Spot


Restaurant 3 Brunch

To follow up my pretty positive happy hour experience at R3, J and I had brunch there on our way to the bike store in Ballston. He hadn't been back since You Know When. And looking back at our first visit to R3, I see that we had the duck confit with molasses lettuce wraps--basically my happy hour pulled sandwich, but with lettuce wraps instead of a bun. What was good stayed good, at least!

J knew he was getting the chicken and waffles, but he couldn't help but glance at the pulled duck sandwich. I reminded him that I already had it, and for half the price! Also, he muffled something about the short rib quesadilla--sounds good, but was actually not so identifable as short ribs and pretty greasy when S had it at happy hour. So he went with his first intention (with my peer pressure). The fried chicken was really tender, and although we both agreed that the waffle wasn't necessarily the most visually impressive one we'd ever seen, it was tasty and it was a good size for pairing with the chicken.

I had the omelet of the day, which had cheese, asparagus, tomatoes, red and green peppers, and squash, along with a side of grits. I can usually sum up my meal with: had vegetables, was healthier than J's, but not nearly as good. But seriously, I love omelets and feel like it can tell me a lot about a place. It's eggs, people!

My iced coffee was good (and re-filled before the check!), and J called their iced tea "bangin'," although that might have had more to do with his lemon-squeezing/Splenda-mixing skills and less to do with the restaurant's brewing technique.

The star of the show was the breadbasket. And by bread I mean muffin. Actually, there were a few pieces of regular bread in there, but I pretended I didn't see them. The cinnamon muffins were DELICIOUS. And of course I was a fan of the zesty jammy marmaladey situation. Who wants butter?!?!

Sidenote, R3 recently had signs up about a tiki-style party that would be in memory of Mama Quan's, which cracked us up. Such an inside Clarendoners' joke, but still. Good job.

UPDATE: R3 is apparently now 3 Bar & Grill (not sure if they dropped the Restaurant, but the Bar & Grill is definitely IN), and is going for a more Southern and American-y sorta thing. Changes include a focus on microbrews, availability of chicken & waffles for dinner (not just brunch), and slightly lower prices. For example, the pulled duck molasses sandwich was $11, and is now $9. Applause! I want to try the mac & salad.

Restaurant 3
2950 Clarendon Boulevard
Metro: Orange Line to Clarendon
Restaurant 3 on Urbanspoon


Postcard from Southeastern Utah

Our trip out west was memorable. It started ever so tastily in Las Vegas, and continued across Southern Utah. While some towns had more to offer than others (does the name Xanterra ring a bell?), here were some good picks along the way.

Our first stop after Vegas was Zion National Park. How would we follow up our pasta extravaganza?!

Whiptail Grill was yummy, but it may not have been the *best* choice for a quick pre-hike lunch. We were anxious to hit the road, and good food takes time, it turns out. Regardless, I highly recommend it for lunch or dinner. The view of Zion is astonishing for new arrivals. My jaw dropped. The stuffed avocado salad had greens, marinated corn, roasted bell pepper dressing, and WARM (thank goodness!) grilled chicken. J had the specialty (according to Moon), the spaghetti squash enchiladas in tomatillo salsa. The flavors were unique--I've never had spaghetti squash crossed with Mexican flavors, and it was lovely. Great black beans.

For dinner we hit Bit & Spur for chicken flautas (for the unfamiliar, that's basically a deep-fried burrito) with tomatillo salsa, chicken fajitas, and delightful warm chips and salsa. The C&S are delish, so we passed on the appetizers. My food was OK, but sort of bland. I played it safe with the chicken fajitas, I guess that's sort of standard. I liked that they had a handful of Utah microbrews (yes, they exist), so I had the Hop Valley IPA. The back patio was a great place to sit.

Our final meal in Springdale was to die for. SANDWICHES. The best sandwiches ever. According to our cordial hosts, chef/owner Tamara Burton is formerly of Le Cirque. J had the chicken BBQ panini (panino if you want to get technical) with caramelized onions, and I had the maple turkey cranberry (that's blue cheese, pecans, cranberries, among other things). Both on the most delightful foccaccia--not greasy at all, and not so thick that it crowds the other ingredients.

Those are the highlights. You need to eat a little more, most likely, so you'll live through the country fried steak at Bryce Canyon Pines and pizza at Bryce Canyon Inn. The pickins, they are SLIM near Bryce Canyon National Park.

There are three more western-themed postcards to come. It's a lot to swallow in one big post. :) Or I guess you could say, a lot to chew on. Or you could say none of those things, but that would be less fun.



Fun-colored drinks, pretty good food, and TOP NOTCH company. We went to Napoleon with a large-ish group (7?) pretty last minute, sans reservation. That on its own was a big plus.

Let's talk for a second about my drink. It was NOT pink. I think it was called the Kentucky Derby, or something like that. It had bourbon and champagne in it, and it warmed me up in a way that a fizzy fruity pomegranatini situation could not have. It was like dessert, but not too sweet.

The Budapest was popular at our table, a savory crepe with ground beef, onions, tomatoes, green peppers, garlic, and cilantro. Yuuuuum.

What? You want to know what the tastiness is like on the inside? Like what you'd see on its way to your mouth? OK.

A side of mac and cheese was decadent and delicious. I actually liked it more than the one at Central. I tried to share with the table, but most of it ended up in my belly.

What I should have had was the apple and brie crepe chips. Instead, I had a crunchy salad with cheese (okay, chevre), grapes, hazelnuts, etc. You know, the usual. According to IK, the crepe basket holding the salad is usually a soft and fluffy-ish crepe. On this particular day it was crispy, and she was not a fan. I had nothing to compare it to, but the crispy basket was not so enticing. I didn't eat it. J enjoyed the burger--he says the brioche bun was awesome. The fries are good, too.

I apologize in advance for their horrific web site. It's like Rasika's--totally nausea-inducing and flashtastic.

Napoleon Bistro & Lounge
1847 Columbia Rd NW
Metro: Red Line to Woodley Park/Adams Morgan, etc etc.
Napoleon on Urbanspoon