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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?