Sunday, August 28, 2005

coming soon: Red Ginger

nibbling on Guava Duff sold from the Nassau boardwalk, lime-seasoned Conch shell meat freshly chopped next to the Straw Market and a Grouper fish burger perfectly paired with fried plantains-- in the Bahamas absorbing the breezy poolside lifestyle and perfecting my island taste palette before reviewing Caribbean bistro, Red Ginger.

stay tuned for my return to Washington..

Red Ginger is located at 1564 Wisconsin Ave NW, forming a right triangle with two adjacent gas stations and a block south of 7-11.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

hitting the books..

greetings from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico! like dcfüd's Zoe, i am off in some faraway place getting food poisoning... a perfect time to satiate my end-of-the-summer reading appetite.


make way for the first-ever book on food blogs! be sure to order your copy through Press for Change Publishing, a publishing company with products "about making a change or a difference." Digital Dish is their first book release.

"Food Blogs might have been a little niche phenomenon over a year ago but they are now a full fledged part of gastronomic sources on the web. They (we) have been in newspapers, magazines even TV in the past year."
-according to Il Forno


after taking a Smithsonian Food Writing course from Dianne Jacob a month ago, i was left absolutely inspired to turn my crush on cuisine into something meaningful. her knack for organizing details and expressing taste bud impulses had me invigorated to brainstorm the whole metro ride home (on the backs of ticket stubs, receipts, napkins..) much of the kitchenette's creation is in response to Dianne's sound advice and confidence-building.

"Dianne's book -- a guide, really -- is easy to use, much like the Complete Idiot’s Guide books published by Penguin Group, taking readers through all the different kinds of food writing that exist: restaurant reviewing, recipe writing, memoirs and other non-fiction food writing, and fiction writing. There are plenty of writing exercises, how-to lists for reviewing restaurants, and even guidelines for chefs who plan to work with writers on cookbooks."
-according to superchefblog.com

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

the CakeLove Controversy


to Cake Love or not to Cake Love?

made from real vanilla extract and refrigerated overnight so that "the flavors in our premium ingredients have had a chance to marry overnight."

now that's love--allowing your cakes a romantic night of refrigeration? the Warren Brown start-up story is another reason to fall absolutely in love with the place. forget litigating health care fraud on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services, i'm going to make cake.

and Warren did, and he did it right. with only three years under his belt, he stole the hearts of everyone from Oprah to Ann Curry, and now the Food Network, who gave him a 13-episode series, "Sugar Rush." the U Street neighborhood is becoming more of a trend hub everyday because of places like this.

Cake Love is one of those places you want to love so bad, but just can't. i love the backstory, but twice I have left unloving the dried-out baked goods. the first time i splurged on a three-dollar Amaretto cupcake and after a few short bites, was begging for a glass of milk to lubricate the pastry. gave them another try with a slice of the five-dollar Strawberries & Creme layered cake (a best-seller), but again left wishing the three layers were actually "fluffy," like the description claimed.

from People Magazine to the Washingtonian, Cake Love always sparkles in magazine reviews. with bloggers, the opinions fluctuate a bit more-- DC Füd is a big fan. DCist and Don Rockwell-- not so much.

According to the DCist article.. "Frequent complaints we've heard from friends range from cake that is far too dry, icing that is the equivalent of a slab of butter with a consistency that's far too thick, generally overpriced products, and reports of gastrointestinal distress from even the smallest amounts of confection."

the ambiance is great, the charm, abounding. but in terms of the dryness factor, i think it was said best by Tom Sietsema this morning on his Ask Tom chat.

_______________________

Cake Love: Hey Tom: what's your take on the offerings at Cakelove, the bakery shop?
I'm moving to downtown Silver Spring, where one is opening soon.

Tom Sietsema: I have yet to taste a slice of cake from there that isn't dry, frankly. The sweets need work.
_______________________

Petworth, Washington, DC: RE: Cake love Thank you for confirming my opinion of cake love's dry cake! All my friends rave about it. Whew! thanks
And I always sit next to my wife when I have a chance at a restaurant. That poster must just be jealous!

Tom Sietsema: LOL
_______________________

get a free Cake Love cupcake with the purchase of a smoothie at the U Street Shopper Social, which is held on the third Thursday of every month from 5-8 pm.

or, save the three bucks and try your hand at the DCist's version of Cake Love's Chocolate Cupcake with Vanilla Meringue Buttercream Frosting.

...........................................................

Cake Love is located at 1506 U Street, NW, across from Meeps vintage.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Chef Geoff gossip


.

not only did he graduate from the Hilltop withHealy Gates that he met the love of his life, NBC White House correspondant Norah
plus he's extending his Summer Sensation promotion until September 30th--how could you not love the man? clearly Georgetown taught him something right.

learn more about his deals (listed below) on his
website.

Summer Sensation Three Course Dinner $25
Start with any soup or salad, then enjoy any entree, and finish with any decadent dessert. There is a $4
supplemental for New York Strip. Available for Lunch or Dinner from Today until September 30th 2005. Just mention Summer Sensation to take advantage of this great deal! Good for up to ten guests. Cheers!

Every Monday and Tuesday is $5 Burger Night.
It's almost world famous! Every week the entire neighborhood comes by the bar at Chef Geoff's to enjoy this great deal. $5 Bistro Burgers and $8 Stone Pizza Pies. It's only available at the bar.


chef geoff is located on 13th Street between E and F, NW, just three blocks away from the White House.


and as well at 3201 New Mexico, NW, nestled in between Glover and Battery Park.



Matuba



the September issue of Food and Wine did a cover-to-cover exposé on everything asian-- from recipes for Pad See Yew to the top restaurants nationwide (Bangkok 54 in Arlington, VA was the only Washington-area mention).

the craze has gone as far as college dining halls and bat mitzvah receptions. Food and Wine even branded America "a sushi nation."

but is Washington a sushi town?

not really. you have your pricey asian fusion restaurants and dive sushi-on-the-go types, but for quality sushi minus the pretense, take the red line to Bethesda and try matuba's all-you-can-eat buffet.

do not expect foie gras shabu-shabu or even yellowtail-- it's just the basics, but at $10.95 Tuesday through Friday at lunch, $12.95 for Saturday lunch, and $16.95 at dinner Sunday, it is a bargain beyond belief.

before we begin, here's a sushi lexicon crash course, compliments of Food & Wine's September issue.

..............................................................................................................

Nori Seaweed, harvested primarily off the coast of Japan, that is dried, roasted and pressed into sheets.

Awase-zu The seasoning added to cooked short-grain sushi rice is made from rice vinegar, sugar and salt.

Sashimi Sliced raw fish without rice; sashimi should be eaten with chopsticks rather than fingers.

Nigiri sushi A bite-size mound of vinegared rice with a similar-size piece of fish, shellfish or other topping.

Maki sushi Rolled sushi; basically, a sheet of nori wrapped around rice and raw fish (or other fillings).

Temaki sushi Known as a hand roll; the nori wrapper is rolled around various fillings into a cone shape.

Chirashi sushi Literally, "scattered sushi"; raw fish and vegetables served over rice, most often in a bowl.

Omakase The root word means "to trust"—the chef serves you whatever he or she likes. No menus.

..............................................................................................................

the maki included california rolls, avocado, the occassional eel, but to my dismay, no tuna. the nigiri traveled in herds-- plates of shrimp, tuna and salmon circulated the bar on beds of rice in pairs regularly. the occasional spicy tuna temaki was worth fighting another arm for-- a nori cone filled with sticky rice and chopped tuna. (with just the right amount of bite) sidenote: Teaism makes a great Tuna Tataki.

the dumplings were decent, the fish ones a bit too fishy, but the potstickers were worth snagging as an in-between-sushi snack.

drumroll please, the tempura. occasionally, the kitchen door opened and a waiter would triumphantly present a large platter of assorted tempura-- agressive hands would come out of every which way and the plates barely made it to the conveyer belt. each tempura medley plate contained a piece of slightly crisp sweet potato, broccoli, zucchini, shrimp (my favorites in descending order) with a still-warm center.

it's not easy being a vegetarian here. luckily, i'm not one of them. be ready to harass the chef for avocado maki (they are few and far between), otherwise, you better like iceberg salad drenched in forgettable ginger dressing. (too creamy for my vinegarette-thirsty taste buds) but in the salad's defense, the tomato wedge was firm and crisp and worth grabbing for a few bites of Vitamin K. other than that, just a simple fruit plate with cantaloupe and honeydew, one slice each, to join the meager list of meatless options.

be sure to sit as close to the sushi chef as possible--avoid the periphery tables at all costs. embrace your gorgeous gluttony and make the most of the grabbing experience. be at the heat of the action-- the mouth of the conveyer belt-- and get your hands a-ready.

my record of thirteen stacked dishes was challenging but not impossible. my secret? don't eat the rice. it gets you too full too fast, which is exactly what one of the waitresses noticed and scolded me for: "eat your rice! you cannot leave your rice on the plate."

my deepest apologies to the rice nazi.

matuba is located at 4918 Cordell Ave Bethesda, MD 20814, in the hometown of Honest Tea.



Monday, August 15, 2005

where-they-eat: PULP cashier

putting the stir in oyster..

this where-they-eat series will highlight the cuisine preferences of washingtonian icons that the kitchenette is proud to call her friend.

to start off, this entry will showcase the friendly man who rang up my sushi how-to book, the latest squibnocket greeting card (a must) and green tea blotting pads at PULP in logan circle.

PULP--at the heart of inspirational greeting cards, off-the-wall magnets, honeysuckle candles and offbeat party favors. it screams imagination, laughs, color and spunk everywhere you turn.

why not ask their casheir where he eats?

"you have to try this new oyster bar..HANKS Oyster Bar in Dupont Circle.. just opened this summer over on 17th and Q Streets..it's filled out-the-door every night.. almost impossible to get a table without reservations."

since i was in Logan Circle, conveniently the backyard of Dupont, i figured, why not take a peek.

at about 6:30 p.m. on a Wednesday night, the place was already a bit hoppin' but not quite at out-the-door intensity just yet. a couple of wooden tables inside were still available, but filling up quickly. faded brick walls and a chalkboard-style menu (featuring the seafood specials of the week) make for a welcoming ambiance. a horizontal "Oysters Here" sign with a big hand pointing downwards was the only wall hanging.

one couple sat outdoors on the patio, escaping the almost-too-loud energetic buzz inside, quietly sipping away at glasses of red wine, soaking in the sedated yet still lively ambiance of the Logan periphery at dusk.

for me, there was no time for the aphrodasic crustaceans tonight, but ironically enough, it wasn't until my exit that i truly realized how charming this place was.

three trees facing HANKS were nestled in dirt patches disguised by a blanket of milky white seashells--clearly the closest thing 17th Street gets to oceanfront property.

immediately i wanted to escape to a sandy shore and beachcomb the coastline for seashells, sand dollars and starfish.

but for now, this was the closest i would get.

call me a sucker for the little things, but this understated seashell touch was enough to have me dazzled and convinced that returning to HANKS for oysters was a must.. that is, with a reservation of course.


HANKS Oyster Bar is located at 1624 Q St. NW, a few blocks away from Dupont Circle, and is closed on Tuesdays. For reservations, call 202.462.4265.


PULP logan circle is located at: 1803 14th Street NW.
PULP on the Hill is located at: 303 Pennsylvania Ave SE .

Through the Kitchen Door


another reason why culinary arts has changed our lives for the better--

a successful Washington career couple left their law firm and telecom company to start over in Costa Rica-- with a gourmet food services business.

the small family-owned business provided catering, consulting and above all else, a charming cooking school that taught young women more than just cooking. many houseskeepers looking to expand their professional skills could now learn "how to organize and manage the kitchen.. select the highest quality ingredients.. and economize."

it gave them tastier, healthier meal options, not to mention an improved self-confidence --opening the kitchen door opened doors to professionialsm and self-sufficiency.

after starting the program in Costa Rica in 1991, Liesel Flashenberg and husband Daniel Nachtigal decided to move back to enchanting Washington, D.C., and bring Through The Kitchen Door International with them.

the non-profit has training services throughout the Washington metropolitan area, catering (no pun intended) to women and youth in search of a more comfortable way to learn about the culinary culture and pave a path towards a more empowering career.

classes include: the basic 14-hour adult course, The Essential Kitchen 101, usually given during a one-week period and Teens Get Cooking 101, 201, and 301 --a three days per week (for three weeks) after school series for middle school students.

All contributions may be sent to:
    Through The Kitchen Door International, Inc.
    3305 Pauline Drive
    Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815
Tel: 301-657-1157 or 202-255-9121
Fax: 301-657-1157 info@kitchendoor.org


the kitchenette supports Through the Kitchen Door.

...do kitchenettes have their own doors?

Chipotle salad buzz

did i hear free?


Chipotle has given birth to a salad—big news when the minimalist menu hasn’t changed since the company first started in 1993.

at 50 cents more, the only differences between the existing Burrito Bol and the new salad are: a lack of rice, a leafier bed of romaine (rather than the diced one at the end of The Line) and a honey-chipotle vinegarette.

now the real gossip to this late-breaking story.

according to an insider source at the M Street location, anyone in the DC area can score a free salad if they are first-timers (or at least appear to be).

it is not broadcasted in any advertisements or window displays, only offered casually if a customer appears hesitant or unaware of “this new salad.” with that said, disguises and/or multiple visits to a range of Chipotle locations are encouraged.

when ordering, be sure to act somewhat bewildered and confused, as if your purist Chipotle ways are skeptical of the new salad addition. with that, you should have the salad in the bag (the branded brown paper one, of course).

the salad is served in the familiar recycled cardboard bowl, just like the Bol, but forget the cilantro-spiced white rice (unless requested). instead, the leafier romaine lettuce acts as a foundation to the other toppings, which still includes (thankfully) a choice of black or pinto beans (black beans, please), grilled peppers, salsas and a choice of protein (chicken, please).

and its main distinction from the Bol—the honey chipotle dressing.

it is handed to you at the end of The Walk, sitting in a small plastic container. there’s just enough to last the entire bowl’s length and around again, but be careful not to drench. tastewise, it is a pleasant balance between honey sweet and vinegarette tang (and couples the Tabasco Green Pepper sauce, located near fountain drinks, very nicely).


you can't spell chipotle without hip

it is like other somewhat sweet vinegarettes, but such a novelty for Chipotle that it makes a statement. sure it may look like another fast food provider jumping on the carb-counting bandwagon (like McDonalds's Fruit n’ Nut salad), but we forget that eating healthy is a good thing.

plus the dressing is actually tastey. if it all just scares you too much, think of it as another salsa option (but with a 50-cent price tag) added to the Bol, since really that's all it is.

it is another way to personalize your order, similar to the west coast's In-N-Out burger joint, where customers are welcomed with a basic burger-and-fries menu at first, but digging deeper there lies a web of hidden permutations of toppings and condiments galore.

it is a way for Chipotle to appeal to the lifestyles of many-- no matter how in shape you feel, the aztec-decor is still the environment you need. think of it as the diet Coke of Chipotle-- still provides the same buzz, with roughly the same taste, minus the heavy guac, sour cream, rice and 340-calorie tortilla.

there’s no telling how long Chipotle will continue the under-the-table promotion (i give it a couple weeks tops). it is a secret known only by the Chipotle staff and groupies community, the kitchenette included, and now you.

to find your nearest Chipotle, visit this Washington DC store locator.

and if you really want to discover how many calories Your Order contains...try your hand at the Chipotle Nutrition Calculator. Mine has 37g of fat, and 929 calories...eek.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

BistroMed



the BistroMed debate.. to lunch buffet or not to lunch buffet?

the question is always there to taunt you-- you first see the buffet ad on the black chalkboard outside the small M Street Mediterranean cafe next to Pizzeria Paradisio and you think, "wow, sounds like a deal." once inside the restaurant's cozy dining room, you can't help but notice the spread of fresh veggies, fish and lamb options and think, “all this for just $9.99?”

small platters filled with baba ghanouj, fresh cucumber and tomato slices, yogurt dressings galore, tri-bean vinegarette salads, vegetable pizza and chicken kafka make eyes at you, and still the question remains, how could i turn all of this down? and for $9.99?

oh, you can. and more importantly, you should.

..but for some reason, i just can't. the conniving little car salesman of an offer always gets the best of me and before i know it, i'm up out of my seat and in line for the Lunch Buffet with dishes that only moderately satisfy. sure it's fresh and i'll even say it's tasty, but it's never as good as i want it to be. filling the seconds plate is always a battle because there's nothing i desperately crave or want to immediately revisit, and considering i am a buffet junkie at heart, this problem is absolutely foreign.


the spread is basically a row of “just alright" salads--chick peas in muted vinegarette dressings, kidney beans and carrot chunks in mild tomato sauce, eggplant without a clearly defined flavor-- and they all start picking up a vague dill aftertaste. at the end of the bar there are a few hot dishes including seafood pasta, overcooked vegetables and white fish (which generally speaking, i adore) but i’d only recommend it if you’re looking to avoid conversation because removing all the bones requires full attention. and for the record, the buffet itself looks nothing like it does on the website.

the crux of it all is this-- the Lunch Buffet may pass as satisfying and even bragworthy to the Little Cafe novice, but anyone who has ordered from the regular menu knows that the buffet simply pales in comparison.

the bar is mostly filled with appetizer-types but lacks the hearty Lentil Soup or the Avocado Orange Salad (with toasted sesame seeds and refreshing shallot dressing) which both stand out as starters on the menu. wouldn’t the restaurant want to brag their very best? both dishes whet the appetite with their titles alone, but they are nowhere to be seen on the bar. most tragically, the bar has absolutely no hummus.

what?! the homemade hummus makes BistroMed! without the fusion of smashed chickpeas, tahini and lemon juice, the BistroMed Lunch Buffet is like the Lower Merion High School basketball team without Kobe Bryant. Dirty Dancing without Patrick Swayze's swingin' hips.


you can still order a small side order from the menu once you notice the oversight, but at $5.95, it is more than half the buffet price and just expensive enough to turn off lunchtime patrons. maybe it’s just BistroMed trying to capitalize a little more on their main attraction, but the way I see it, the harder they make their hummus to come by, the harder time they’ll have producing repeat customers.

i can usually flirt my way into a small dipping sauce-sized side of hummus, humus, hommos (however you want to say it) but plain and simple, the experience at this point becomes a headache.

and the crying shame of all of this is that once you step away from the buffet line, BistroMed is wonderful. the truth is, all i want at the end of the day is my favorite Seasoned Chicken Hummus Veggie (under the Pitawiches, $11.95) -- it doesn't involve multiple plates but provides the satisfaction that endless servings of the mediocre Lunch Buffet never achieves.

the warm pita sandwich is the perfect combo: sliced bell peppers, a few other crunchy greens (always fresh), savory chicken and in my case, extra hummus, all wrapped up in a warm, doughy pita.

it has been my signature choice for late-night delivery from BistroMed ever since I discovered that quality Mediterranean delivery food actually exists. (both Little Cafe and BistroMed share the same roof, same chef, roughly same menu.. BistroMed is just Little Cafe's take-out counterpart)

the buffet concludes with an iced section devoted to fresh melon, bananas with pistachio and honey (a favorite) and rice pudding sprinkled with cinnamon. don't get me wrong, i love fresh honeydew and cantaloupe-- and it is definitely fresh-- but at least throw some baklava my way, especially if the rest of the meal was only decent.

i know it's just one plate and more importantly, just one sandwich, but the contents of the Chicken Hummus Veggie outdo all of the bar's bland platter selections combined. and so would many other entrees on the menu including the Mediterranean Beach or Filet Mignon Beef Kabob.

it's hard to turn down unlimited plates, especially from a place that has become my choice Mediterranean cuisine outlet, but in this case, don't let the colorful spread of mediocre side dishes fool you--if you want the Turkish Coban Salad or the Chicken Hummus Veggie (and clearly you do), order one plate of it, enjoy the straight-from-the-oven pita and olive oil served as a complimentary appetizer before your meal, and be satisfied.

BistroMed is located at 3288 M St., NW, in between 33rd and 34th streets, 2 blocks from the Key Bridge.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

snap

oh snap.

so i hopped off the circulator bus and was walking down the quiet canal roads of lower Georgetown in the Loews Theatre part of town, conveniently in my favorite forgotten neck of the woods with some time to spare. it was a dreary summer dc afternoon, perfect day for some comfort food and hospitality when all of the sudden, as if it heard my request, there it was..



a creperie meets bubble teahouse named snap came to the surface of the red brick alleyway. the sterile white paint job, beaming lights and charming lowercase font were almost as striking as its innovative combination. how come we didn’t think of this before? the menu contained both “savory” and “sweet” crepes with a diverse line-up of fillings—chicken guacamole, spicy thai tuna, white chocolate peanut butter, red bean paste, mint chocolate chips, surely unique enough to wow even the French.

the well-lit ice cream parlor set-up and plastic plates makes snap approachable and funky, inviting and exhilarating all at the same time. something about its novelty or perfect location just opposite a retired but still-floating Georgetown canal ferry, makes it an unavoidable distraction. it has an attitude all its own-- something about it screamed, "step aside world and make way for me."

at this point i realized that as a washingtonian, georgetowner and, above all else, a foodie, it was time to act responsibly--to notify the masses of this hidden gem and realize that for at least now, it was my role to share with the dc world the softspoken cuisine that exists all around. these places--large and small, here or there, young and old, spunky or traditional— have details and intricacies that must be explored.



aptly titled snap, the crepe and bubble tea shop is a bit of a surprise in the enchanting lower-M Street canal land of Georgetown. it hits you out of nowhere, or more like taps you, and sits in the midst of nouveau office buildings and brick facade townhouses. just like a snap, it's petite yet rousing, sure to grab the attention of any daydreamer with it's quiet yet abounding spark.


a freshly-typed "now hiring" sign decorates the window and an inviting but enigmatic glow bleeds from the open door. i finally come to my senses and realize that i have been entranced by the menu from the sidewalk long enough for them to notice. the owner carries cheeses just picked up from Costco, welcoming me inside as if it was her home. i place my order and the eleven-year-old son manning the cash register asks for cash or credit, with maturity and an enchanting European accent. two smiling high-school girls from The Field school begin making my dessert crepe with orange marmalade, fresh to order.

the crepe fillings are anything but boring--from the somewhat predictable nutella to the more glamorous date and pistachio spread-- and the bubble tea is just what this hotspot neighborhood needs. the big straws and at first, frightfully large and slimy tapioca balls, make the dining experience more of a childhood game than a chore, just the way it should be. the shotgun style former townhouse allows for an open backyard twice the length of the indoor shop. dressed with overgrown ivy and metallic silver tables that would go perfect with Christmas-style twinkle lights.

the menu is pretty straight-forward-- french pancakes and tapioca bubble tea-- but each item contains multitudes. the best of orange marmalades, dundee brand of course, and the finest of vegetables in the veggie and cheese crepe-- grilled onions, asparagus, spinach and mushroom. the bubble teas are equally as creative with choices like almond and taro milk tea (coffee latte is the son’s favorite), green apple or honey flavored teas and even bubble smoothies in strawberry, mango or kiwi. if that’s not enough, topping options include coffee, green tea or mixed fruit jellies and one more, mint syrup.


take pleasure in the fact that so much innovation and creativity was put into every bite-- only the finest of ingredients like imported jams in the sweet crepes and Italian sodas fill the cooler. the chestnut spread is still unavailable because the Brooklyn supplier doesn't have a shipping truck available, but settling for second best isn't in owner Margarita's vocabulary. she’ll wait but asked me just in case, “do you know anyone heading back from that direction?” she's giving the tuna nicoise crepe another go even though it hasn't picked up just quite yet, and she's giving this project a brave new start even though Georgetown hasn't seen anything like it, at least not during my two year history.



i always wondered why georgetown didn't have a bubble teahouse before--for those unfamiliar, bubble tea consists of sweetened teas or fruity drinks with black gummy balls called "pearls" or "bubbles" that sit at the bottom of the cup, usually 7 millimeters in diameter.

california jumped on the bubble tea bandwagon long ago, especially in neighborhoods surrounding the UC schools. most youthful districts have a bubble teahouse or two, but Washington seems to be slow-moving on this trend. the only place in Georgetown selling bubble tea to my knowledge is Grace Bamboo, but the pricey Chinese restaurant does not cater to frugal students looking for happening hang-outs and caffeinated beverages to match.

the same goes for a lack of quick creperie shops. nothing wrong with Cafe Bonaparte—it has the whole flower pot sidewalk parisian café charisma, but it's a bit less welcoming and well, a bit more traditional. you give your waiter the order, they disappear into some backdoor kitchen abyss and conversations later, the mystical creation appears Big Bang Theory style. it lacks the made-to-order walk-up appeal that Chipotle and snap can offer, and more than that, it lacks creativity or spunk.

perhaps this will lose me some foodie points but the truth is, i am a chipotle nut. on average, we're looking at about 3 chicken bowls per week and it never veers from The Order– chicken, black beans, grilled peppers, extra tomato salsa, extra corn salsa, lettuce, and guacamole if I’ve been good—but this weekly ritual is another entry in and of itself.

point is, chipotle is a comfort food partly because there is control over what goes into the order. people like watching their food be prepared in front of them—maybe we're all control freaks, want to gauge the freshness, or ensure that no one spat into our food. part of chipotle’s charm is being able to follow your personalized concoction as it travels behind the glass and into your hands faster than you can say, “$1.50 for quac?”

snap is a goldmine waiting to happen. every college town has their quiet yet buzzing alternative hang-out spot, but georgetown seems behind in this department. it's the kind of place you show off to visiting friends and it's charm and attention to detail bring you back time and again. it’s not overly priced (in this case, just $4-5.50 for “savory crepes,” $3.50 for “sweet crepes” and $3.75 for bubble teas) and it’s just enough to qualify as a "meal" or "snack." whether you're in the mood to soak in the backyard luster of rising fireflies or have your foil-wrapped steaming pancake on-the-go (in-a-snap?), this young creperie meets bubble teahouse is nothing but magical.

snap is located at 1062 thomas Jefferson, NW, the first right after M Street’s Barnes and Nobles, halfway between Georgetown and George Washington University.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

the birth of the kitchenette


perhaps just discovering the quiet creperie teahouse snap was enough of a tipping point to bring the kitchenette into the world--but that's not where it started. my crush on dining, virgin drink wining, brunching, coffee bar hopping, discovering the shady dives and appreciating the upscale hoity toity restaurants in a sea of presidential monuments and cobblestone alleyways first began long ago, before the word collegiate ever entered my vocabulary. it was during a time when i picked the olives out of my salads but knew that for some reason, they were savored on the palettes of true epicureans in Mediterranean villas and spanish tapas bars, and every upscale dinner party in between.

truth is, i've never liked olives nor do i pretend to anymore. i've embraced my love for baked beets and goat cheese, asian pears and balsamic vinegar, oatmeal and dried turkish figs, and made a habit of forcing others to pay closer attention to these all-too-forgotten foods, the kind that can make the less-than-foodies nervous. it's all about the georgetown undergrad doing more with his Munch Money than just the average manny & olga's student pizza special-- it's about making a plate colorful, fusing tastes that would have been strangers, taking pride in the fact that there exist crepe bars buried and tucked away in Georgetown, still so unbenknownst to the world.