See, lunch in this area is a pleasant mix of the business types stepping out of the (few) offices, and the working set (who keep your lattes extra hot and so on) either grabbing a quick bite to eat or sitting down and relaxing for the few minutes they have before schlepping themselves back to the old grind.
Winner for Best Ethiopian food in DC
Named the best Ethiopian restaurant in DC by DC's CityPaper (and trust me, there are SOOO many good ones), this place has seen much of my face: sober, drunk, and during lunchtime after painting the pants off of my house....literally....or some other amendment. Seriously, after some serious work sessions, be they mentally or physically trying, this place has saved my stomach from collapsing into self. I love the Dukem Special beef and lamb tibs, and I also like their take on beef tartar, which is any of the Kitfo's. The meat is well seasoned, but not too much so that I'm guzzling down beers to relieve the taste buds. It's also kind of a right of passage when you are visiting/moving to DC. Then they pass out a nice shot of Ethiopian coffee after your meal, which makes me feel like less of pig.
Final Word: Get the Tibs, and sit outside if it's nice!
DC Adventurer's Budget Choice!
This is very simple. Simple, elegant, delicious, and portable. Empanadas are probably one of my favorite savory foods other than pizza and everything. And, being Latina, I can't say these hold a candle to the ones my mother makes. My favorites would have to be between the Chorizo; delicious chorizo with rice and black beans like god intended, and Jamaican Style, which is just perfection. These guys know what's happening, I just wish they had a truck. But alas, they have several locations in the DC area.
Final Word: $4 for a piece of savor (and sweet) emapanada goodness, definitely good on the go.
Pho 14, 1436 Park Rd. NW (between N 14th St. and N Kenyon St.)
Another pick in Columbia Heights, and in my opinion, good for anytime they are open. I love Pho. I love a rich yet strangely cleansing broth with greenery and good cuts of meat, bean stalks for some texture, and LOTS of cilantro. It's filling, but not something that will make you bloat, and that is an awesome thing. My usual orders are between the large Bo Vien (Meatball Pho cause I fucking love meatballs) or the also large Nam, Ve, Don (Sliced, YUMMY Skirt Flank Pho). They also have Bahn Mi; I'v only tried the Bahn Mi Xa Xiu (Red Marinated Pork), but that was pretty good so definitely venture into that craze that's swept DC.
Final Word: Nice atmosphere, delivery(!), and real good Pho.
DC Adventurer's GIMMIE DAT GYRO pick
I love greek food. The seasonings, the fact that gyro isn't really greek, the tzatziki sauce. And don't get me wrong, I love that greasy, perfect when you're either close to eating another human being or really drunk dish (is it?) called a Gyro, but that's not my bag for this place, and most greek restaurants that are super americanized. It's all about goos Soulvaki and good Moussaka. Soulvaki is the only way I like lamb (unless you all have something I should try?) and Moussaka the only other way I can tolerate eggplant than Baked Italian Eggplant (cheese or I'm not touching it). And both things are genuinely good, even though the Soulvaki at The Greek Spot is made of char-grilled pork, it's super good.
Final Word: Good for carryout, go for the things that AREN'T falafel or gyro, for once.
The Picnic Pick!
I know there aren't many places to go for a picnic, but let's just say you have a date. Or, maybe, a free Sunday and your friends want to chill outside after nursing their hangovers (naughty). The plan? Go straight to Cork. Get a lovely, robust Tempranillo, or a light airy moscato. Head to the refrigerated section, pick out the egg with goat cheese and bacon salad, chicken salad (WITH some deliciously crusty french bread they have), cans of tuna, olive spread, and maybe a few of those brownies behind the corner (SHARE cause those things are rich, amazing, but suuuuper rich). Head over to Dupont Circle, since we're assuming it's a lovely day, with blanket and spoils en tow. Hide the wine, cause I'm not sure you're supposed to be drinking that out in public. You fiend.
Final Word: Kind of pricey for food (but you know it when you need it), but pretty reasonable on wine prices.