DC food fun, part one

Cake Love, DC

With Eat Write Retreat and Blogher Food being held on the same weekend, I’m sure there will be a lot of conference recaps written by attendees of both events in the next couple of days. I’m a little biased (as always) because I had the honor of speaking on a panel at EWR, so I’ll leave the conference reviews to others. But of course I can’t go to Washington DC without writing about my food adventures. The thing is, there is too much to talk about, so I’m splitting this up into two posts. This one will cover a little bit of everything. The next one will be all about my fun with Shauna, Danny, and Lucy. I still can’t believe how much time I got to spend with them during this trip, but I’ll keep you in suspense for now. First up, this ridiculous chocolate cream cupcake from CakeLove on U Street. I’m channeling the amazing Monica Bhide when I say it was silky and molten all at once. Biting into it was like trudging through thick snow, if that snow was made of deep, rich chocolate ganache. The din of the bakery, the voices of the other customers fade away as you slowly sink your teeth down into this delight. For a minute or two, nothing else matters.

Cracker Jack bar from Whisked, DC

Speaking of U Street, a bunch of us visited the farmer’s market at U and 14th Street on Saturday morning. Yes, Shauna was there, but I just want to focus on the Cracker Jack bar from the Whisked! stand. Jennie noticed it right away, and after a sample taste, I knew I had to buy myself one. This is just the kind of treat I like baking at home — relatively thin, very dense, multiple layers, a variety of textures. Plus, I grew up with Cracker Jacks (in the days when the prizes inside the box were actually kind of cool), so this bar took me back.

Donovan House, DC

I feel a little weird mentioning this because it confused a few other attendees, but I stayed in a different hotel from the conference. I’m just weird like that. Of course not everyone has the same notion of what makes a hotel cool, but Donovan House is my idea of hip. Possibly the best thing about the hotel is the rooftop pool area which turns into a crazy bar/club at night. Check out the view. That doesn’t even look like DC to me.

Meskerem, DC

Choosing a spot for lunch on Saturday was stressful at first, but lucky for me, Pam and Maris agreed to split off from the group and head up to Meskerem for Ethiopian food. After getting a little bit lost (sorry!), we finally ended up in the right place and ordered a veggie platter for sharing. Of course you eat everything with your hands, scooping up bits with the teff bread. Because Pam and Maris are awesome dining companions, we washed down lunch with some dark Ethiopian beers and then took a nice, long walk back to the hotel. Did I mention it was at least 80 degrees out?

Sticky Fingers, DC

Sticky Fingers, DC

I’ve gone totally out of order now, but of course I had to visit Sticky Fingers again. You probably can’t tell from the photo, but that “bacon grilled cheese” sandwich is totally vegan, just like everything at this bakery. Yes, the stunning cupcake is vegan too. And yes, the food tastes as good as it looks, maybe even better. I’d pretty much kill to have a place as good as this nearby my office for daily lunches.

Red Hook Lobster Pound, DC

Red Hook Lobster Pound, DC

Speaking of lunch, on Sunday I headed over to the Dupont Circle farmer’s market with Tricia and Alicia because we’d heard rumors about the awesome Red Hook Lobster Pound truck. Umm, look at the hunks of lobster on that baby. I couldn’t afford to eat this well every day, but I can dream, right?

Capitol Hill

Obama Burger, Good Stuff Eatery

Jennie and Maris took a little detour with me one night to visit Spike Mendelsohn’s Good Stuff Eatery. That’s the Obama Burger, aka my idea of Heaven. Yes, it’s squished. Yes, it’s messy. No, I didn’t mind one bit. It’s all about the taste for me. And I know this is a little weird, but if Spike could open a burger shop right next to a Sticky Fingers nearby my office, I’d be cool with that.

Good Stuff Eatery, DC

The really funny thing about our visit to Good Stuff was that a couple got engaged there. It was all planned out — I guess the guy had their friends waiting in advance. When he arrived with his girlfriend, an acapella group surrounded them and started singing. Then he got down on a knee and proposed. I took this shot of the couple just afterwards, as the group started to spread out. You don’t see a marriage proposal in a burger restaurant every night of the week, that’s for sure. So I guess the question is, what would you say if someone proposed to you in a burger joint?

About justcooknyc

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37 Responses to DC food fun, part one

  1. I’m not much for cupcakes, but that one right there looks like something I couldn’t resist. Looks like you have been eating pretty darned well lately! I’m jealous!

  2. Evan says:

    I had one of my best meals in DC at Sticky Fingers. Would definitely go back in a heartbeat.

  3. Lobster Roll. All I saw was that Lobster Roll.

  4. Tricia says:

    So glad you got to eat at some great DC food establishments—Good Stuff and Sticky Fingers are definitely high on my own list of favorites too. It was fantastic meeting you, Justin. Come back for a visit, soon!

  5. Jenny Flake says:

    Now that is my kind of weekend, great food, great friends, and a great city. Looks like you guys ate very well, those cupcakes look to die for….as does everything else :)

  6. Jennie says:

    I think I told you this, but I would say “yes” to a proposal like that in a heartbeat. Someone making you feel that special, that silly and gathering all your friends for such nonsense. Well, that’s a person who will make you smile, laugh and leave tears of joy streaming down your face for a lifetime. Please don’t tell anyone I’m such a sappy romantic…oh, wait.

  7. Yeaaah I told you how I’d feel about that. I ;) Although, it was entertaining to watch. And FWIW, I suppose I would prefer a proposal in a burger joint than someplace totally cliche-romantical.

  8. Ashley B. says:

    Hey! That’s me! I’m the girl who got engaged– this is actually the first photo I’ve seen (despite all the cameras you see there) from Sat. Glad I’m not 10,000 shades of red!

    It was a complete surprise and so sweet– we’re burgers and beer people, so it’s actually a pretty good summation of our relationship.

    • justcooknyc says:

      oh my gosh, wow! it’s so nice to hear from you. how did you even find my blog post? i love that it’s the first photo you saw, although i don’t know how that could be since there were so many people with cameras. well, congrats. i personally thought it was pretty awesome.

  9. i love cakelove! warren follows me on twitter; imagine that ME. crazy and just a wee bit of pressure.
    that lobster roll must have cost a small truck.
    when we lived in DC for a stint the price of seafood was unreal.
    now i want frosting……

  10. Daphne says:

    How’d you like the Donovan? I’d always thought about staying there when I used to here for work (before finally moving), but got seduced by Kimpton & Starwood points.

    • justcooknyc says:

      it was amazingly cool. i’ve been staying at mostly Kimpton hotels lately too, including last summer when i was in DC and i stayed at that Hotel Rouge place nearby, but it couldn’t possibly compare to Donovan. of course, people have different ideas of what is cool sometimes.

      • Daphne says:

        Hmmm, perhaps a staycation idea. I do want to check out the rooftop pool some time, and I do love the restaurant’s Singapore slaw.

        • justcooknyc says:

          Some people go to the rooftop pool party, even if they don’t stay at the hotel. There was a line actually, but it’s nice if you stay in the hotel because then you can come and go to the roof as you please.

  11. How cool that Ashley found this your site! I love it.

    Your post definitely gives me Food Blogger Conference envy. The food is Atlanta is fantastic, but sadly we saw very little of it. The food at BlogHer Food was not so good. *sigh*

    Bummed that I didn’t have a chance to see you. Hopefully the next food blogging conference will find our paths crossing…

    • justcooknyc says:

      It bugs me when a conference doesn’t allow people the chance to enjoy the local food, so I usually just make the time, especially when I have such great people to hang out with. And yes, we’ll connect at another event, I’m certain.

  12. Valerie says:

    Hi Justin.

    So great to meet you at Eat Write Retreat. Thanks for the recap and the photos of the lobster rolls. Those were amazing!

    I hope you’ll be there again next year!

  13. I wish I could have attended either of those! Your food finds (especially that cupcake) look scrumptious.

  14. Eliana says:

    So much deliciousness! Have taken copious notes for my next trip to DC.

  15. Hi there! Thanks for the comment on my blog, it means alot :)
    I’m really jealous of all these fun events and places to eat (and things to eat too) in America, makes me want to visit even more :( For example, that cracker jack bar – I’d have more than just one of those!)

  16. Pingback: Washington, DC… the Gluten-Free Girl chronicles | Justcook NYC

  17. Bonnie Deahl says:

    Hi Justin,
    I hope you enjoyed your brief stay in DC during the EWR. Thank you for your candid contributions to our final panel of the day. BTW, that toffee sure beckons me to ask where it came from! The food all weekend was truly tasty.

    • justcooknyc says:

      thanks… it was my pleasure to be on that panel. if you’re asking about the bars in the latest post in my blog, it comes from the Alice Medrich book i mentioned in that post, a very good book.

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