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Oct 12, 2010 08:30 PM

Baltimore & DC for the holidays

We are flying east from San Diego to Baltimore on Xmas Day thru New Year's Day and plan to head down to DC for a couple days mid-week. We'd love local CH recommendations for both cities. We expect to be in DC for my bday (28th) and I'd love any special occasion rec's for that. Also, are there any food trucks we should check out? How about specialty markets? Ethnic eateries?

Thanks in advance for helping make our 1st vacation in several years a tasty one!


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  1. For the DC meal, go to Palena's back room. Or Komi, or Obelisk, or Tosca even.

    As for the rest of your request, some idea of what you're looking for (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks) and what cuisines (what you like, what you do not) and price points woiuld be helpful in making suggestions to you. ;-)

    3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

    1509 17th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036

    1. Komi is my first recommendation for a special occasion restaurant - if you can get a reservation.

      My favorite food trucks are TaKorean and Red Hook Lobster. You can follow them on Twitter or FB to find out where they are. Expect a minimum of 30 mins. in line for each (especially RHL).

      Eastern Market is wonderful, but Sat. is the best day to go. Still, I think you'd enjoy it mid-week.

      I have the same questions as Pool Boy, but I would add a question about what location you prefer. Are you willing to take the Metro? What part of town are you staying in? Do you need places near your hotel?

      1509 17th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036

      5 Replies
      1. re: woodleyparkhound

        Thanks for the rec's so far!

        Since we'll be in the area for a full week (albeit, a holiday week), we'd love recs for bfast, lunch & dinner. We appreciate high-end dining, but also love great street food and other lower-end fare too. Coming from San Diego, we have our fill of touristy spots so we're really looking for great local haunts. We will have a car, but given parking in DC, we'll likely rely more on Metro.

        We'd definitely like to hit a food truck or 2 while we're there - are there any you'd recommend in Baltimore? Also, do they operate year-round? A friend recommended a cool soul food place in DC that we're going to check out. Eastern Market is high on the list too. I didn't mention it before, but we are cheese mongers, so any cheese shops or other specialty food shop recommendations in either city would be great too.

        Again, thanks for any and all recommendations!

        1. re: mimosa

          Don't miss Cowgirl Creamery on F St downtown for great cheese! They also sell wonderful sandwiches to take away.

          Food truck finder:

          Was the cool soul food place in DC called Oohs and Aahs? It's wonderful.

          DC is a great place to check out Ethiopian food. 9th and U NW is where to go for that. Etete is my favorite. Dukem is good too and I've read great things about Queen Makeda though I haven't been yet.

          A good cheap lunch would be Amsterdam Falafel on 18th St. in Adams Morgan - a very happening nightlife area, especially if you are young and looking to get shitfaced. I think AF is one of the best cheap eats places in the city.

          On Fri. head to Breadline (near the White House) for lunch and get a pork BBQ on ciabatta - the best sandwich in town IMHO and only available on Fri. at lunch.

          For a cheap meal in Georgetown, check out Morso Express for the lamb pide with egg.

          Go to the Eastern Market early on Sat. and get in line at Market Lunch for a great breakfast (line gets long later in the morning.) I also love the half-smokes in natural casing you can get for $2. A meat purveyor grills them in there. If you like coffee, Peregrine Espresso, near EM, is the best place in town. Get a coffee at Peregrine before breakfast at Market Lunch (their food is great but their coffee blows.


          There's a lot more, but that's what comes to me off the top of my head!

          1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

          Queen Makeda
          1917 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

          Market Lunch
          225 7th St SE Ste 12, Washington, DC 20003

          Amsterdam Falafelshop
          2425 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

          1. re: woodleyparkhound

            Thanks for the great recommendations! Can't wait to hit some of these spots. Don't think I'll get to do EM on a Saturday as that's when we arrive/leave (Xmas Day/NY Day). We'll be there mid-week though so hopefully we'll get at least a sampling of the goods they offer.

            Yes on Oohs & Aahs. Couldn't recall the name when I posted earlier. Really looking forward to visiting this place! Any specific reco's on what to order?

            I used to live in Adams Morgan in the early '80s. It's where I first discovered Ethiopian food. Glad to hear that's still the go-to area for it.

            If any other haunts come to mind, please post them. I'm so excited to get back there - I was a poor college kid with limited food experience when I was there before, It seems both dining scene as well as my appreciation have matured since then so I'm looking forward to some good food!

            1. re: mimosa

              Oohs and Aahs: I like the broiled whitefish and greens as a side. Steve on this board has often recommended the lemon pepper wings or crabcake with greens and rice/gravy as sides. I'm going to check out the wings the next time I go. I think a meal at O&A can easily feed two people -- or one person twice.

              I think you misunderstood my post about Ethiopian. Adams Morgan used to be the place to go to get this, but that has changed. The new area to get the best Ethiopian is now 9th and U NW.

              If you like Thai, I recommend taking the red line to Wheaton and walking a few blocks to Ruan Thai. Great Thai food and very reasonably priced.

              Re: special occasion dinner. Be sure and get right on this. The best of the high-end places in DC (e.g. Komi) book up fast.

              Ruan Thai Restaurant
              11407 Amherst Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20902

              1509 17th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036

              1. re: woodleyparkhound

                Thanks for the O&A tips and for the Ethiopian food clarification. We love Thai food so thanks for that rec too!

                Komi's website says you can only reserve 1 month out so it's too early. Definitely will try to get in there.

                1509 17th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036

      2. In Baltimore on my list would be BlueGrass Tavern, Woodberry Kitchen and Charleston for nicer restaurants.

        As long as you appreciate interesting places, Faidley's at the Lexington Market is a must for a crabcake. I don't know what hours it will have around the holidays.

        I also like the Hon Cafe for a bit of Baltimore experience.

        You have some good recs for DC above. Make sure you call ahead and check hours as all bets are off for holidays.

        If you can get out of the city a bit you could go to the Eden Center a huge Vietnamese shopping center with grocery shops and specialty shops galore, I always love perusing there. It would take a metro/cab ride though. It is in Northern Virginia.

        For the special occasion meal I would also suggest Marcel's and New Heights.

        Eden Center
        Falls Church, VA, USA, Falls Church, VA

        New Heights Restaurant
        2317 Calvert St. NW, Washington, DC 20008

        Lexington Market
        400 W Lexington St, Baltimore, MD 21201

        Woodberry Kitchen
        2010 Clipper Park Rd # 126, Baltimore, MD

        BlueGrass Tavern
        1500 S Hanover St, Baltimore, MD 21230