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Moving to DC from NYC, help!

grilledcheezy Jun 2, 2012 01:44 PM

I know, dumb. My thinking is that if I move to DC for a year I will develop enough NYC-focused gratitude to last the rest of my life. I genuinely don't think I can live a life without corner stores/bodegas, though, so what's the DC 411 on that?


  1. f
    flavrmeistr Jun 7, 2012 12:48 PM

    Bodegas are for Lotto, beer and cigarettes. 7-11's pretty much fill that niche in DC. They ain't hard to find.

    1. woodleyparkhound Jun 4, 2012 05:33 PM

      Wheaton, MD, accessible by Metro, is a place with a lot of great places to check out. Ren's Ramen and Ruan Thai are my favorites. There is also Max's, which is said to have great falafel though I haven't been yet. Irene's Pupusas has the best pupusas I've ever had.

      6 Replies
      1. re: woodleyparkhound
        Bob W Jun 6, 2012 09:39 AM

        Max's felafel is the real deal. I tried the schwarma once -- it's good, but the felafel is the way to go. Tell the felafel artist you want your sandwich spicy!

        1. re: Bob W
          grilledcheezy Jun 6, 2012 10:43 AM

          Thanks! Great suggestions. I know Maoz is a chain, but I've spent 12+ months of my life in Israel and it's still the best falafel I've ever had -- bummer that the DC one closed.

          1. re: grilledcheezy
            woodleyparkhound Jun 6, 2012 10:52 AM

            I like Amsterdam Falafel on 18th St. - but people who have been to both AF and Max's seem to prefer the latter.

            1. re: grilledcheezy
              hamster Jun 6, 2012 01:11 PM

              Better than Taim?
              I really liked Maoz as well, but the versions at Amsterdam and Old City Cafe are good. And Max's is harder to get to (out in Wheaton), but it's Israeli. There are a couple other Israeli felafel places in Montgomery County.

              Check out Cava Meze Grill, I am a big fan. It's a fast casual version of Cava, which is Mediterranean small plates on Capitol Hill. There's one in Bethesda, and another is opening soon in Columbia Heights.

              1. re: hamster
                grilledcheezy Jun 6, 2012 01:14 PM

                Haven't been to Taim yet, but they're not as traditional as I'd like. Will definitely check out Cava though!

            2. re: Bob W
              The Big Crunch Jun 6, 2012 01:23 PM

              Agreed about Max's falafel. Great stuff. There used to be a great falafel trailer up here in Bethesda (Ali Baba Falafel) which made Egyptian style falafel and it was perhaps my all-time favorite. Sadly, he had to close after MoCo pointed out that his trailer was more-or-less a permanent structure at the Women's co-op and thus had be taxed and regulated like a real restaurant and not a food truck. Now they've got a lousy sandwich and salad trailer in the same spot. Thanks MoCo for ruining a great lunch option and allowing a mediocre one to replace it. Okay...end of rant :)

          2. g
            grilledcheezy Jun 4, 2012 01:07 PM

            Okay, switching tracks. I'm really excited to move, I'm just (understandably) nervous about leaving NYC. So, instead of getting upset about my poor phraseology, let's talk about the awesome food things in DC that I shouldn't miss while I'm there!

            9 Replies
            1. re: grilledcheezy
              The Big Crunch Jun 4, 2012 01:58 PM

              Ethiopian places abound. Ettete is my favorite. I'm not gonna lie, to some degree, the dishes can be quite similar, but they're all good as far as I'm concerned. The main problem most folks have is with the bread, which is what use as a utensil. Injera is sort've like a thin, cool, grayish pancake. I know, this is not sounding good...but trust me, it is.

              It's tough for me to recommend some of my favorite things that I think are somewhat unique to the region and are the sorts of things you could pick up as a bargain meal. Having spent most of my time in the DC region in Silver Spring, the first thing that comes to mind is Peruvian chicken, which is sort've like the Platonic ideal of a rotisserie bird. Unfortunately it's a bit less common in DC proper, but in certain suburbs, it's more common than McDonalds.

              Kabob houses are also pretty common in the region, though, again, somewhat less so in DC proper. My GF used to live in Arlington and even after living in DC for a couple of months, we still drive down to Ravi Kabob every few weeks because it's just sooo damn good. Kabob Palace in Crystal City and Rose Kabob in Vienna are also wonderful. There's also a large assortment of terrific Vietnamese places in Arlington/Falls Church.

              You know, I just realized...I'm not doing a great job of selling DC proper here :( What can I say, DC itself is a small city with a lot of good food, but IMO, part of the real charm of the region in terms of food lies in the riches to be found in the suburbs where you will find the best ethnic places. I guess another way of putting it would be to say that limiting yourself to only eating in DC would be the equivalent of only living in one NY burrough and never exploring the options outside of it.

              1. re: The Big Crunch
                grilledcheezy Jun 4, 2012 02:02 PM

                Thanks! I'm really looking forward to the Ethiopian, as well as the farmers markets that KateCM mentioned. I guess I'm just trying to make a checklist of places to go -- right now, my one-and-only is Sticky Rice, and I know I can do better than that.

                1. re: grilledcheezy
                  The Big Crunch Jun 4, 2012 02:23 PM

                  Yeah, you can do better than that. Honestly, for what it is, Sticky Rice is really tasty. Just be aware that it's what I call junk food sushi. Deep fried rolls with thick sauces, less than great fish, and oddly enough, tater tots. As far as sushi goes, it's sort've crap, but it's also like comparing steak to hamburger and saying that since a ground beef patty is a lesser piece of of beef than a NY Strip, that all hamburgers suck. Interestingly enough, the Washington Post had an article on sushi a while back in which one of the city's best sushi chefs was taken to Sticky Rice and he basically said the the same thing: it's not good sushi, but it's pretty tasty bar grub.

                  You should check out some of the neopolitan pizza places. Just accept that you won't find anything resembling a slice of NY pizza that lives up to your standards and try to enjoy the other styles of pizza down here. 2 Amy's and Pizzeria Paradiso make terrific Neopolitan pies and Pete's Apizza turns out some terrific thin crust New Haven style pizza. Also, as far as booze goes, Churchkey and Jack Rose have as impressive a beer and bourbon/scotch list, respectively, as you'll find anywhere in NYC.

                  Also, subscribe to Food Truck Fiesta (foodfiesta.com) for a real-time map of DC area food trucks, which often turn out some pretty good grub. Fojol Brothers does some really good Indian, Red Hook has terrific lobster rolls, and the BBQ Bus sells some excellent pulled pork.

                  1. re: The Big Crunch
                    grilledcheezy Jun 4, 2012 02:41 PM

                    Red Hook is from New York! :) Thanks for all the recommendations - I'm a sucker for tots, which is the only thing I'm really into at Sticky Rice. That, and the plentiful vegetarian/vegan options. I'm not veg, but I like to play. BBQ Bus sounds heavenly. Also, IMO Neapolitan pizza > NY pizza. Whatever. Not sorry.

                    1. re: The Big Crunch
                      shake N baik Jun 4, 2012 03:02 PM

                      For utiltarian sliced pizza.....Spike Mendelsohn's We the Pizza fits the bill. Of course after a late night of boozing a jumbo slice might appear to be the most delicious pizza you've ever had. There's also The Italian Store and Santini's but they're both located in VA.

                      Since you haven't tried a lot of restaurants when you were here for school I wouldn't worry too much. There are plenty of restaurants to try. I've found good take out Chinese to be harder to find here than pizza. No $4.99 sesame chicken with pork fried rice and egg roll combos to be found.

                      1. re: shake N baik
                        The Big Crunch Jun 4, 2012 03:12 PM

                        If you're in Logan Circle, I highly recommend Great Wall. It's the real deal in terms of Szechuan, and their takes on typical American-Chinese food are also quite good. Granted, it's not $4.99, but one order is enough for two meals. I work near Rockville and have been a regular at a couple of Szechuan places up here, but Great Wall is far more liberal in terms of their use of Szechuan peppercorns. If you've never had anything with szechuan peppercorn, it's worth the experience. It's definitely hot, but in a unique fashion: it really does numb your mouth up in a unique manner. I suggest the Ma La pork and the shredded beef.

                        1. re: shake N baik
                          woodleyparkhound Jun 4, 2012 05:27 PM

                          Another excellent pizza, IMHO, is Vace - they also serve by the slice. They have two locations: Cleveland Park, near the zoo, and Bethesda.

                      2. re: grilledcheezy
                        kukubura Jun 5, 2012 02:51 AM

                        Try Sumah's for Sierra Leone food. I don't know if it's still the same as when I was there a couple years ago but it's a true hole-in-the-wall and the food was outstanding. The pepper soup was pure FIRE!


                        1. re: grilledcheezy
                          kathleen440 Jun 7, 2012 10:32 AM

                          I've lived in DC for 5 years and have lived in both Columbia Heights and Shaw (which is just south and east of U Street). My favorite places in/around each of those neighborhoods are:

                          Adams Morgan - Amsterdam Falafel, Jack Rose, The Blaguard (for your Irish dive bar needs)

                          Columbia Heights - Meridian Pint, Room 11, Pollo Sabroso, Pho 14, Taqueria Distrito Federal, El Rinconcito II

                          U Street/Ledroit/Bloomingdale - The Gibson, Eatonville, Smucker Farms (Amish food market), Etete, Zenebech Injera, Thai X-ing, Boundary Stone

                          Chinatown/Convention Center - The Passenger, Sundevich, Seasonal Pantry (boutique food market), Proof, Matchbox, Jaleo, Zaytinya, Chinatown Express

                          Places in other areas I think are well worth seeking out - The Atlas Room, Ethiopic, Rasika, Great Wall Szechuan House, Ghana Cafe, Birch & Barley/Churchkey, Pearl Dive, Sushi Taro, Ardeo+Bardeo, and of course the farmer's markets and food trucks.

                          You won't starve :) DC is completely different from New York, but there's plenty to eat here.

                    2. k
                      katecm Jun 4, 2012 09:43 AM

                      This seems like an incredibly negative, almost instigatory request. Perhaps instead of seeking to hate DC so much that you appreciate NYC more, you should ask about neighborhoods that have more local gems.

                      From my perspective, that would mean Logan Circle and eastwards. Timor Bodega (aka FieldToCity) is my favorite in my neighborhood, though my corner store is also a life-saving gem once a month or so.

                      It's also good to learn about farmer's markets and DC Grey Market, too.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: katecm
                        ClevelandDave Jun 7, 2012 11:50 AM

                        No I think grilled cheezy means it. You know- she'll come down, nothing will be good enough, she'll pine for pizza, the deli the you name it that "is just not as good" and then she'll go back or continue to complain how "nuthins' as gowad as it is in New Yak." And that will be that.

                      2. g
                        grilledcheezy Jun 2, 2012 06:25 PM

                        Thanks for the help! I actually went to college directly outside of DC for four years, and had a lot of internships/goings-on in DC during that period, but I realize now that there are a lot of things I didn't think about while in school. I'm looking at living either in the U Street Corridor, Adams Morgan/Columbia Heights overlapp-y neighborhood (so like 16th-18th St. ish), and/or Chinatown.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: grilledcheezy
                          The Big Crunch Jun 4, 2012 12:52 PM

                          Based on those neighborhoods, I think you actually have a higher number of bodega-type places than anywhere else in DC. However, instead of resigning yourself to the idea that your moving to a lackluster region for food, maybe you should think of all the good things DC has to offer.

                        2. woodleyparkhound Jun 2, 2012 02:35 PM

                          I don't understand what it is exactly that you are asking us for. It's hard to address the topic of corner stores / bodegas without knowing where you will be living.

                          1. agarnett100 Jun 2, 2012 02:02 PM

                            DC is not NYC it has a growing food scene not as established as NYC. I recommend taking a trip down on the Mega Bus to scope it out for yourself

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: agarnett100
                              Virginian Jun 6, 2012 07:47 AM

                              I recommend NOT taking a Mega Bus or any of the cut rate services. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is shutting these companies down right and left for unsafe practices.

                              1. re: Virginian
                                VaPaula Jun 6, 2012 10:19 AM

                                Not to get too OT, but the Mega Bus is NOT one of the operators that were shut down.

                                There's a link to the complete list in this article:


                                1. re: VaPaula
                                  grilledcheezy Jun 6, 2012 10:42 AM

                                  Generally, I've found Bolt Bus to be the best - but if you book early enough, Amtrak is cheap enough and much, much quicker.

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