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Jun 25, 2009 11:53 AM

In DC next week-pls check my lineup!

I'm looking forward to my DC "graze" starting Sunday 6/29th thru Thurs 7/3. I've been studiously CHing this week and have come up with the following:
All week a mixed bag of Easterm market stuff, SW Waterfront crab, and Folklife stands at the Mall (Wed. & Thur.).
Sun.- Jaleo (bumped Founding Farmers)
Mon- Rasika ( Bumped Zaytinia)
Tues. Etete
Wed- Eatonville, then SFPOJAzz & Blues jam session
Thurs. Open as yet, but I'm on the waiting list for anytime at Komi Tues. Wed. or Thhurs.-fingers are crossed.
Criteria: I love to cook at home and want food at restaurants I can't/wouldn't do at home because of unique/unobtainable ingredients- any type of cuisine is otherwise fair game, prefer ethnic or regional and not over-the-top expensive.
Please offer critique or alternatives to the above plus maybe someplace for my thursday slot in case Komi doesn't materialize that day.

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  1. Looks pretty good to me, pal! Depending on where you're staying you might consider Central, Proof, or Zaytinya for dinner and Ben's Chili Bowl for lunch.

    1. Where is SFPO Jazz & Blues jam session?

      What is SW Waterfront crab? There is a SW fish market where you can buy fresh seafood and get some prepared items, mostly fried, but not very good.

      1. yeah i'd stick proof in there for thursday. good call on bumping zaytinya for rasika, which in my opinion is better or at least more consistent. if you happen to visit the newseum you may want to grab a few bites at wolfgang puck's restaurant the source, which is actually in the museum.

        7 Replies
        1. re: littlew1ng

          Thanks, all! I'll check these out. I am going to do Ben's for lunch one of those days if only because such a DC institution- but I'll probably love a half-smoke regardless. If so I'll try to find some at Canales to take back home. To steve: Society for the Preservation of Jazz & Blues in U street area. Website lists jam session every Wed. & Thu. I think.... for $8. Some previous posts indicated waterfront area as place find decent fresh blue crab in the morning. Not sure, I could still use guidance on that.

          1. re: jondubus

            If you like CHOCOLATE- do get the chocolate samosa at Rasika!
            It is not the most authentic Indian dessert but so decadent & delicious.
            Proof is a good call. Your plans sound great-ENJOY.

            1. re: jondubus

              Re: Jazz. Sounds like you are talking about a venue called HR-57. If so, it is on 14th st just above P St. I have been there for the Wed/Thu jam sessions. Are you looking to perform or just watch?

              Also, as I have said many times on this board, it's too bad you'll be going to Ben's when you can eat so much better at Oohs and Aahs in the same neighborhood. Soul Food. If you're still curious, you can always pop your head into Ben's to look around.

              At Oohs and Aahs, I recommend the grilled shrimp, the lemon pepper wings or the broiled crabcake. Rice with gravy and greens on the side. There is seating upstairs, although you have to search for the staircase. This is the place that SHOULD be the institution.

              1. re: Steve

                Steve- Just want to hear the Jazz at HR-57. Oohs and Ahhs has been highly rec'd and I'm going to try to do it. Looking into Ben's sounds like a good strategy, still want a half- smoke. I love wings- thanks, man.

                1. re: jondubus

                  Just realize that HR57 is a non-profit organization. You think that jazz clubs have a hard time pulling in people? HR57 does nothing to promote itself and don't be surprised if it's devoid of customers or musicians. $8 cover.

                  FYI, they have a Thursday jam session at the New Vegas Lounge at 1415 P St., NW about a block and a half away. This is a VERY famous club, at least to Europeans because it appears in a lot of guidebooks to DC. Just Google it. Folks from DC have never heard of it. It is an amazing place when the house band plays (Fri and Sat only), but I have never been there on Thursdays. Seriously, you may want to check it out.

                  1. re: Steve

                    Another good place for blues jams is the Zoo Bar on Thursdays. Great house band, and lots of good musicians play there. They have decent bar food there, but not fine dining. It's a good place for a burger, beer and live music.

                    1. re: Steve

                      New Vegas used to be AWESOME. The ghost of Otis Redding was the lead singer to a random collective of musicians on Friday nights. Don't much care for the trendier place attracting all the AU and GW students, but...

                      I would still add CF Folks to the list for lunches - especially if it's a nice day and you can eat outside (outside outside - not under the canopy). But - I prefer sitting inside. Either place you could see notables. Always order off the specials menu. No crabcakes (anymore - they just aren't what they used to be).

            2. The Smithsonian Folklife stands are generally overpriced and pretty bad, so not sure if you wanna go there.

              Haven't been to Eatonville, but its new and from what i hear still working out the kinks. Perhaps not the best spot.

              not too far from the mall you can have one of your quick lunches or snacks at Taqueria Nacionale..dont miss the amazing fried yucca there.

              1 Reply
              1. re: CoconutMilk

                If you decide not to go with the folk life stands, have lunch at the Mitsitam Cafe in the Native American Museum. Very yummy.

              2. I MUCH prefer Cafe Atlantico to Jaleo. This is Jose's best here. I believe there is no comparison. Having said this MiniBar may be the most extradordinary dinner not just in D. C. but anywhere on this side of the Atlantic. Six seats and impossible to get in. Give it a try. I'm not a fan of Rasika (having eaten my way through England-nobody can imagine how evolved, how delicious Vineet Bhatia cuisine is in London). Are you from Boston? If so this allows me to eliminate seafood and Italian. I would add Vidalia (James Beard winner for Mid Atlantic chef; interpretative Southern), El Pollo Rico in Arlington (polla a la brasa that is perhaps the best in America), Central (James Beard winner new restaurant in the U. S.; french fries may be as good as Duck Fat in Portland), Ray's HellBurger (whether or not this is the best hamburger in America it is the experience), the Prime Rib on K Street (order a crab cake and crab imperial-they use local lump in both and their prime rib is as good as you will find; expect to dress up-this is swanky. But it is D. C. I would have a drink in the Willard's bar (the Owl's Nest?). I would also consider CityZen and Citronelle which is uneven these days.

                No Blues Alley? No Bohemian Caverns?

                I'm a fan of the Maine avenue places but ONLY to buy fish, etc. to carry home and cook.

                13 Replies
                1. re: Joe H

                  OOOOOHHHHHH!........This is great! I think DC really means District of Chowhounds. I'm coming from Pittsburgh, and this makes me <almost> feeling apollogetic for Pens vs. Caps. Your guys played very, very, well. Even we gotta love Ovechkin. Thanks to everyone for great replies on the food AND MUSIC scene in DC. I wish I could leave right now.

                  1. re: jondubus

                    Check out for more on the local blues scene.

                  2. re: Joe H

                    Is a jacket required for gentlemen at Prime Rib?

                    1. re: cajungirl

                      Sorry to be off-topic but thanks to JoeH and 4X4 for the music tips. I couldn't snag Minibar but have put Cafe Atlantico in the Thursday slot as per JoeH. Anyone else concur? I'm also thinking of bumping Jaleo Sun. night for Atlantico. Thoughts?

                      1. re: jondubus

                        zomg please sub cafe atlantico for jaleo and go to proof on thursday! please! just look at the menu on their web site and see if it's something you'd be interested in the wine list is so impressive and the food is impeccable.

                        1. re: littlew1ng

                          littlewing, I'm leaning toward your rec...probably going to go that way. This is shaping up as a MAJOR GRAZE. Thanks again to all. I will report results afterward because it should be an update to CH DC faves.

                      2. re: cajungirl

                        Any takes on the food at Bohemian Caverns? Menu looks great (Southern) and Thursday 7/2 there's a tribute to Grover Washington jr. there.

                        1. re: cajungirl

                          jacket required. they will supply you with one if you don't bring one

                        2. re: Joe H

                          I called today for the minibar tasting menu at Cafe Atlantico for July 5 and got a reservation for 5 at 12:15. I didn't think we could get in but thought I would at least give it a try. What a pleasant surprise to get it.

                          1. re: glecroy

                            I'll post reviews over the coming week, now that I'm back to Pittsburgh from my D.C. trip. I will say that I managed to snag a dinner at Komi by getting on the waiting list; they called me on Wed. a few hours before saying they'd had a last minute cancellation. Far and away Komi was the best dining experience I had in DC and I'm hard pressed to think of any better food I've had anywhere ( except just about aything in Paris). Final lineup:
                            Sun. Cafe Atlantico
                            Mon. lunch Taqueria Nacional; dinner Rasika
                            Tues. lunch Oohs & Aahs; dinner Palena Cafe
                            Wed. lunch El Pollo Rico: dinner Komi
                            Thurs.lunch Taqueria Nacional again (what does that tell you?); dinner Proof
                            Sadly, I didn't get to any jazz/blues joints unless you count WPFW 89.3 on the radio (excellent). Nor did I get to any Ethiopian, though I've had that elsewhere. Much walking and biking in now bike-friendly DC took it's physical toll in the evening. I will try to give something back to all you DC CH'ers who made this a memorable visit and a foodie's continuing ed. project, by way of reviews on the above places. Thanks to all!

                            1. re: jondubus

                              Although I wouldn't generally go to the same place twice in one visit, I can see why you did so with Taqueria Nacionale twice. It really is that good.

                            2. re: glecroy

                              Gail what did you think of MiniBar? (I really am jealous that you got in so easily!!!!)

                              Having said this, Daniel's post is quite interesting: was it MiniBar you "got into?" I also thought this was only available for two seatings in the evening.

                              1. re: glecroy

                                I'm confused by this post, so very interested to find out your report.

                                Minibar is only open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, with two seatings, 6 and 8:30. If you had a reservation for Sunday at 12:15, you ate at Cafe Atlantico, not at Minibar.

                                Hope you didn't come away disappointed...