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Mar 22, 2012 04:59 AM

Coming to DC April 6th weekend, need recs

Heading to DC to celebrate my wife's 30th. We chose DC because it's a short flight from Boston and I was also able to snag a reservation at miniBar. (I'm an unabashed Jose Andres fan.)

Last time we were in DC, we had very disappointing breakfasts. We will be staying in the Dupont Circle area and any rec on breakfast spots in that location would be great.

For our other meals, we don't plan on going as high end as miniBar (since I couldn't get Komi reservations) and it doesn't have to be extremely romantic or formal. We love hole in the walls and counter bar spaces. Any unique to DC spots that we definitely have to check out? (Other than Ben's Chili Bowl of course, another spot we always hit when in DC.) We saw on TV a while ago some place in DC that have Italian grandmothers making homemade pasta. Couldn't remember the name of the place and after a quick google search the only place I could find was Filomena. Is that a good spot or a tourist trap?

Also, any fun festivals happening that weekend?

(This will also be our first weekend away from our infant son, so any fun lounges/bars that are unique to DC would be appreciated too.)

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Bethesda Bagel in Dupont Circle is new and fabulous - great for a take-out breakfast (no seating).

    For "unique to DC" you have to have Ethiopian food. I like Etete, but there are other good ones.

    I personally haven't been to Filomena, but my impression from reading this board is that it's an expensive tourist trap, but the pasta is good. Others can provide more valuable info.

    1. Avoid Filomena. Heavy, gummy pastas.

      In the same neighborhood as Ben's, but with great food, is Oohhs and Aahhs, a Coastal Carolina soul food kitchen with four stools in front. Get the shrimp and grits, the broiled (do not get fried) crabcake, and lemon pepper wings. Outstanding. Takes a while to get your food, and although it is a dive it is pricey.

      For a highly idiosyncratc meal, give Thai X-ing a call. Like eating in someone's apartment. Hard to get a reservation. You leave a message and they call you back. Ask about the red curry salmon, though I'm not sure they do requests.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Steve

        Finally made it to Oohhs and Aahhs today for a late lunch.
        Steve you are dead on about the lemon pepper wings - I love this dish never had anything like that before.
        Got a side order of Collard Green - after the first bite I almost called my mother to tell her tthey stolen her receipe. Lol
        Mac and Cheese - was better then most
        On a side note the staff was incredibly friendly and extremely helpful. The owner Oji Abbott was there also very nice down to earth fellow. I plan to return next time I am in the area for lunch to try some other dishes.

        1. re: agarnett100

          Glad you liked it. Everytime I go there someone in line is talking about how they drove across the city to eat there... and that's just for carry out. Next time get the broiled crabcake. It takes them about 35 minutes (I don't know why) to prepare. It might forever change how you look at a crabcake. But you have to ask for broiled, not fried.

          1. re: Steve

            I really want some peach cobbler but they didn't have it. I usually don't order crab cakes at restaurants since I make an awesome broiled one at home on the regular. I really liked the down home atmosphere and the fact that it was unpretentious

            1. re: agarnett100

              I liked it, too, for the most part. We just tried it a few weeks ago with a LS coupon. The grits were too sweet for my tastes, but I loved the shrimp. My husband's blackened catfish was delicious. It wasn't traditionally blackened (which I think has to be done in cast iron) but all the flavors were there and it was cooked perfectly. I had dish envy. :-) Collards were delicious. Very friendly folks - neat place.

              1. re: VaPaula

                Cast Iron adds a little something to the flavor thats all I use to cook. Cast Iron is the way to go I have a few skillets that at least 50-60 yrs old

                1. re: VaPaula

                  Odd that the grits were sweet at all... sounds like a weird mistake! The fish, either blackened or fried, is the only thing I've been disappointed with.

                  1. re: Steve

                    Ha! That's funny. Yeah, the grits reminded me of a sweet cornbread, which I don't like either.

        2. 2nd bethesda bagel in dupont circle
          inexpensive- 2-Amys upscale pizza and italian bistro, Busboys and Poets- sustainable interesting sandwiches, salads gourmet american, Pizza Paradiso- dupont circle close 2nd to 2-Amys, Bistro Du Coin- french bistro dupont circle, Etete- ethiopian,

          1. Since you'll be infant-less, maybe you'll want to sleep in...? If so, I recommend Darlington House for brunch. But go Saturday, because Sunday is Easter, and I imagine it's pretty popular for brunch that day.

            Have a great time!

            1 Reply
            1. re: VaPaula

              How about Little Serow? Rasika? Oyamel?

            2. If you are going to be here over a weekend and staying in the Dupont Circle area, the obvious answer fro great breakfast is the Tabard Inn. They serve breakfast (Sat 8-9:45, Sun 8-9:15) but what you really want, if you can wait, is the brunch (Saturday 11-2:30 and Sunday 10:30 - 2:30). Breakfast is first-come first served but brunch requires reservations. They start taking reservations four weeks out so for 4/6 you may be out of luck unless they have had a cancellation. It is absolutely terrific, especially the homemade donuts. And the space is both quirky and romantic, even though romantic isn't on your must list.

              I have lived here 25 years and have yet to meet anyone who goes to Filomena. It does seem to be popular with out-of-towners. I do think that is the place you saw on TV. They are known for the ladies sitting by the window making pasta. If you want to go to Georgetown, I recommend Sea Catch which has outdoor seating on the canal and though rarely spectacular, it is always a good meal. Again, even though romantic is not on your list of musts, the ambiance is great.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Just Visiting

                No chance of getting reservations at Tabard Inn on that Sunday as it is Easter Sunday. I made my reservations 30 days out to the date - and spent over 30min trying to get through their busy signal to snag a reservation. I second Bethesda baget though in Dupont. Around the corner is Teaism which does a nice breakfast - great french toast, and you can't beat their tea and chai!

                1. re: Just Visiting

                  Though I am sure Tabard Inn very busy on Easter, I want to say that 2 of us went there a week or so ago on Saturday for brunch without a reservation. Waited about 10 minutes for a table and bar seats opened up earlier than that. So it is possible. Saturday might be a better bet. Crab and leek tart was outstanding.