D.C. in Photos: Food and Drink

There are plenty of places to eat and drink in Washington, D.C.

Captain Obvious reporting for duty.

Gordon Biersch was connected to our hotel on H and 7th. Please, no grousing from the Buy Local crowd. I know. I do. I swear. Keep reading.

Pretty place.

Stately place.

This one sure was more proudly appointed than its Syracuse sister in the mega shopping, dining and entertainment complex Destiny USA. And did I mention how convenient it was during our Friday-to-Monday D.C. getaway for my dear wife Karen and I? I am glad to report how we became chummy with friendly host Frank, like me a University of Maryland Terrapin, a young man with a ready smile and warm greeting for our daily entrance for Karen’s Export draft and my glass of house Cabernet Sauvignon.

Upstairs, Downstairs.

Upstairs, Downstairs.

The restrooms were up a nice flight. I took that opportunity with my iPhone 6 Friday night for a sweeping shot of the diners. That’s Karen with our friend Carolyn in the booth to the front far right, enjoying the aftermath of our meal, which was Chicken pasta for Carolyn, cheddar cheeseburger for Karen and Cajun pasta for me. Happy, all.

A toast to good friends.

A toast to good friends.

The waiter allowed us to remain in the booth for a good 90 minutes after we’d finished. I asked, and he said there were no takers to replace us anyway.

On Sunday, as we watched the conclusion of the PGA tournament, our bartender from Chattanooga served Karen a sample of the Merzen draft and me the Dark Horse Cab Sab, but we each stuck with the usual.

Saturday

For lunch on Day Two, we met my practically forever friend Greg two blocks up and over at a very nice local joint, The Chop House.

I was so engrossed in our conversation about life that I made my one and only Gumby that I can think of for the trip. But it’s a biggie. I didn’t take any pictures, of the really nice place Greg chose for us to meet or, worst of all, me and the man I first met as fellow journalism freshmen at SUNY Morrisville in August 1975. Ouch.

Greg got a new job within the last year. His wife Wowie — I can call Carolyn that, her nickname when we all met as fellow students at the University of Maryland in College Park after Greg and I transferred down from upstate New York in 1977 — wonderfully just got a full-time contract after a consulting gig. Daughter Bess is doing well after receiving her Master’s, and son John is a busy freshman at the University of South Carolina. Greg and I figured we hadn’t seen each other since I’d driven down with our buddy Shaudy about eight years ago to play golf and attend a Terp football game, in which we beat Florida State. See, we had a lot of catching up to do.

Shaudy, me, Aggo and Greg, in the '90s.

Shaudy, me, Aggo and Greg, in the ’90s.

This photo of Greg and I after golfing here in the Syracuse area some 25 years ago will have to suffice. He’s to the far right. Shaudy, at left, and Aggo, sandwiched between Greg and I, also both went to Morrisville and Maryland. Add to that the fact that Aggo and I, on Long Island, and Greg and Shaudy, in the North Country, went to junior high and high school together, and this is a group of longtime friends, no?

I tried to extract a promise from Greg that he’d stop in Syracuse this summer during his trip north to visit his parents, who live three or four hours even more toward the Canadian border than Karen and I.

Oh, yeah. He liked his burger. I dove into my steak and eggs-over-easy with home fries. Karen gave two thumbs-up to her waffles with a side of bacon. Water to drink for all of us, and coffee for Karen.

And then we saw a movie for my Syracuse New Times review.

Followed by a big walk.

Passing interest.

Passing interest.

We spotted a lot of food trucks during the miles we logged on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This Good Humor truck caught my eye because that’s the company I fancied as the Ice Cream Man circled my Long Island neighborhood growing up. Toasted Almond, yes, sometimes. But the Chocolate Eclair bar was my favorite. We passed on any, still full from lunch.

Through thick and thin.

Through thick and thin.

Plus, Pi Pizza, two doors down from our hotel, was on my mind for dinner.

Another beautiful place.

Another beautiful place.

The pizza place was hopping. Yet the hostess immediately led Karen and I past the bar to a table for two in the back room.

Plenty of help.

Plenty of happy customers.

Karen commented that this place, like Gordon Biersch, made sure to have enough staff to make service fast, courteous and respectful. Nobody taking orders or bringing food seemed stressed. That atmosphere filtered down.

Many heavenly slices.

Many heavenly slices.

We went with a large Classico deep dish, hold-the-mushrooms at my request. There was enough to take home in a box to put in our room fridge for a Sunday dinner coupled with Chopped veggie salads we bought at a Subway.

Sunday

Breakfast was at the hotel buffet. And then after our mega-walk of almost four hours, we each tossed down a Sabrett hot dog at our only food truck stop of the trip. No photos needed, I didn’t think.

The tourist guy texting from a bus group next door annoyed me.

The tourist guy texting from a bus group next door annoyed me.

Then I wanted to try a different bar, a local place. The Bistro Bar looked promising.

Beer and wine, natch.

Beer and wine, natch.

Inside it was — no surprise by now — gorgeous. There were no taps in sight, so Karen ordered a Bud Light. I stuck with Cabernet Sauvignon, pronounced carefully and correctly, as always. And in this obvious wine bar, the bar tender did not know what that was. He asked me what color. I became wary.

The waitress came to the bar and his aid. My house wine was fine, but the accompanying bill read $18.15. At GB’s, a round for a large draft and a wine twice the pour was $16. One drink here.

Getting ready for dinner.

Getting ready for dinner.

We enjoyed the atmosphere we’d paid for, though. Three tables held diners, and the largest round one held a happy family of four. When we left, Karen said the waiter and diners at the other two tables appeared to be annoyed at how much noise they were making. I thought they were the most interesting thing about the place.

Sunny late Sunday afternoon.

Sunny late Sunday afternoon.

The Hard Rock Cafe was across the street. I’d been to the one in Nashville 22 years ago. Karen had mentioned she wanted a look-see before I’d chosen the sort-of-ill-fated Bistro.

No subtlety here.

No subtlety here.

My kind of place. We sat at the bar, the TVs playing music videos I couldn’t hear, Karen drinking one more big draft and I sipping one more Cab Sav that I did not have to order twice, with the long receipt reading 14 bucks, and I thought of how just a couple of years ago, I was part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll machine. The bands played, so many of them on these walls, they came to Syracuse and performed in arenas of my hometown, and I watched and listened and reviewed their style for the big daily. Nice work if you can get it. My dear wife Karen smiled at my summation.

Cool place.

Comfortable place.

Smart wife, wanting to take her husband to this bar with the guitars and album covers on the wall.

Coming tomorrow: The Night Time

See Monday: Peek-a-Boo Views

What establishment appeared to be your kind of place, and why? What food and drinks do you like to order out the most, and why? What photo is your favorite, and why?

64 thoughts on “D.C. in Photos: Food and Drink

  1. Mark, do you even have to ask? My favorite is, of course, the one of you and your three amigos! Now, I want to know more about that pizza… It’s naked! Where’s the rest of it? Hasn’t anyone ever told you the only thing better than cheese is more cheese?

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  2. Food! I tried to comment here on Sunday but it wasn’t accepted. Maybe I went on too long, LOL. So here’s the short version. I’m very impressed by your photos, Mark (will the day come that I stop complimenting you on them?) And, I would eat and all of the above places and find happiness there in either the form of food, environment, or company. While I’m a bit of a food and beer snob, that never gets in my way of having a great time eating out πŸ˜€

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    • You, a snob of any sort? Tell me it ain’t so, Angie McFly! πŸ˜‰ I’m glad it doesn’t get in your way of having a great time eating out, my friend. πŸ™‚ Thanks for your kind words about my photos. I try hard.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Friend, the food snob thing didn’t happen until I left the east coast and couldn’t find a real pizza to save my life. Or a hoagie. Or a pierogi. I’ll stop there. That’ when I knew that I had a discerning palette, of sorts. So, it is true, I won’t drink Bud. You can’t make me πŸ˜‰

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  3. this might be my favorite of the 4 DC posts I have scrolled so far – but then again – I still like the peek a boo one for the simplicity and for the “Mark feel” in each shot.
    but I still enjoyed this post so much.

    how sad that the bar tender did not know cab… but seeing that I know it is your favorite red, well when we meet up sometime I will have one of my favorite reds to share – either a shiraz/cabernet mix or a red zinfandel – I think you will like both.

    anyhow, the ice cream truck shot really does have a mood and energy to it – with your words and without. Also, I have missed some photo opps too – like the one you missed with your forever friend – but I guess those are the times we cherish in our heart more – πŸ™‚

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    • I will take your wine suggestions gladly, slowly, and let us savor the conversation over them, Y!

      You could picture me as a kid holding out for that chocolate eclair from the Good Humor man, right? I’d let the Bungalow Bar and Mr. Softee trucks go by. I guess I liked the mood and aura of the Good Humor truck even as a youngster.

      And you do make me feel better letting me know you’ve gotten so tied up in friendship that the photo got lost, too, Y.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Aud, the deep dish never stops giving with its ingredients, believe me. I can’t believe I ate three slices at that sitting! Oy. wasn’t Pi Pizza a beautiful joint? I loved sharing all of these places.

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  4. Ah, I should have told you before you left to check out Ted’s Bulletin, a great place to eat. But it looks as if you fared well nonetheless.

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  5. I’ve been scarfing cookies for over an hour bro Mark, and it hasn’t put a dent in my hollow tummy. Now I’m looking at photos of all of those restaurants and tum-tum is protesting in a very noisy manner. My choice at the moment would be the Food Truck because it would probably provide the fastest service, but since there are no food trucks in Owensboro, I guess I’ll have to go and make a grilled cheese. Problem is, it just doesn’t sound like what I want. Nothing sounds all that great at the moment. More yogurt while I go back to the drawing board.

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  6. Oh good gravy, now I’m soooo hungry! lol
    It’s funny, but when I travel, I long to go back to eat afterward. Legal Seafood Boston, Kitty O’Shea’s in Chicago, McGuire’s in Pensacola — oh my gosh, Oberweis! (do you have that up there?) Then some of the places I can’t remember, like the place we always eat at in Sanibel…or where we ate at the Chesapeake Bay…so many others.
    I once had extraordinary pasta primavera at the Hilton of Chicago. Man, that was good.
    I haven’t been to Hard Rock since 97 or 98. To be fair, I don’t know if we still have one in Indy. I can say I preferred the one in Dallas.
    I am fond of all food. I probably mostly eat seafood when I’m out. I like cocktails the size of my head, preferably the kind that have too many ingredients, are made by a mixologist, and are labeled as hipster drinks. True. There’s a pub downtown that makes these incredibly savory concoctions, with muddled this and a squeeze of that, and I could drink there every night, lol!
    That first restaurant photo, with the pillars and the intimate ambiance appeals to me. I want to eat there with my favorite people. I feel like they’d have good fries and a great beer selection…

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  7. That’s great that the staff let you stay in the booth 90 minutes after you finished eating. It’s nice not to be rushed out as soon as you finish eating. As for my favorite dishes when I’m out, I do like hamburgers and fries πŸ™‚

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  8. I am unable to make a decision, Mark. Imagine that! I love going to bars and taverns, enjoy the comradely atmosphere, way people talk a little more loud, don’t worry about using their fingers to eat with, etc. The post really had great photography and if pressed further, your stretching out to capture the ‘artsy’ photo, would be my favorite. It was like trying to choose one of my kids, love them all!

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    • Thanks for loving my kids, Robin. πŸ™‚ OK, that’s a stretch, but I am becoming attached to my photos.

      Hey, I like the bar scene because of all the things you pointed out, too. Plus, beer and wine.

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  9. Okay, so funny story about the Hard Rock. There are acoustic acts during the week but there’s just one Sunday afternoon a month they dedicate to hard rock and it’s a youth show. They are very paranoid about the bands there turning up too loud and driving out diners who didn’t come to see the show which kind of sucks cause, ahem…hard rock, right? So my son’s band, Ignore the Symptoms played there, then he came back later to play with his School of Rock house band and they had gotten way more paranoid, making sure all guitars were turned to 2 and gave the drummer special sticks that wouldn’t hit too loud. I asked the School of Rock owner what was up with that and she said ‘They told me this really loud band came in called Ignore the Symptoms, and they played all this really loud hard rock and heavy metal and ever since then, they have to be super paranoid about bands playing too loud’. That’s right Mark, my son’s band broke the Hard Rock. I’m proud and upset all at the same time (but mostly proud).
    As for pics, despite it all, like the crowd scene at the HR, the beer on the counter one is really nicely framed, and love the one of you and your friends. I’m a sucker for throw backs.

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  10. Last time I was in D.C., I was pleasantly surprised to find a good NY style pizza, which I can’t get in my daily life. That’s why it’s so amusing to see a guy from NY go to D.C. and get a Chicago style pizza, which I could get any day of the week, but have no taste for. It’s the crossroads of pizza, I guess.

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    • I can and do get a New York style pizza weekly here in the ‘Cuse, Scott. Angotti’s is my favorite, with Twin Trees Too and Original Italian Pizza close. If I want good Chicago Deep Dish here, I go to Uno, which we like. We didn’t know what Pi Pizza would hold for us until we went inside and read the board, actually. I would have been thrilled with a good thin-crusted New York style, which is my go-to, but the deep dish made us happy, once it became evident it was the specialty.

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  11. I see your post has had the same effect on Kate as it has on me – it’s past lunch-time here in the UK now and I am seriously hungry. My favourite shot is of the bistro, my kind of place. I like the colour of it and the central composition of the two glasses flanking the bottle. And I like your comment about it being the atmosphere you were paying for, I shall remember that next time I’m out.

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    • Thanks, Roy. That photo is one of my favorites of the whole trip. The B&W chalkboard at the top with “Apertifs” and the list I think is a great touch to the Bistro and the colorfull composition of the rest of the shot.

      This place, pricey for us yes, was still worth it for what I was able to observe in our time at the bar, for sure, because of the combination of haughty setting and that one table of kindred down-to-earth clientele.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Great post, Mark. I am seriously hungry and thirsty now. My husband and I are definitely bar eaters. We like to talk to the servers as well as people at the bar. It’s a social occasion. My favorite bars are the sports bars. I like just about every sport except basketball, which I just can’t get into for some reason. Put us in a sports bar – my husband with his Blue Moon (Natty Boh if we’re in Baltimore and he’s feeling sentimental) and me with whatever wine is my current favorite (right now, Sauvignon Blanc) – and we’re a happy duo. Have the Orioles on one of the big screens and winning, we’re in heaven. (Um… as you may have heard, we were NOT in heaven yesterday – bad opening day at home for O’s fans. Gonna be a tough year, I think.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • MDW Karen and I talk to others in bars, as you can tell from my posts, and eat when the mood strikes us, too, Kate, and watch sports there, yes, indeed. It’s a social atmosphere. I like Natty Boh from my Maryland years, tell your hubby, and Carling Black Label, too. Here’s one that happens every time, though. Karen and I make our drink orders, and the server the first time comes back and puts the beer in front of me and the wine in front of her. Every time. How sexist the bar society is!

      Can’t the Birds turn it around? It’s only the first home series, Kate!

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      • Carling Black Label… I haven’t heard of that beer in quite a while, Mark! I can’t believe you made that comment about the beer being served first. I would say that happens 75% of the time we go out.

        As for the Birds, who lost to the Yanks last night, I would say we are in a mighty battle for either fourth or last place! I hope I’m wrong, but our pitching is pretty poor at the moment. I’m thinking Crush Davis may not have regained his 2013 mojo re hitting. I’m not suicidal though… YET. πŸ˜€ I have faith in Buck.

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      • I do have faith in Buck and Davis, too. STILL.

        And, Kate, you are right about beer first. But what I’m talking about more is beer to the man and wine to the woman even though we order it the other way around. It’s a gender stereotype we can’t break!

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  13. Upstarirs,downstairs photo is my favourite. The only eatery i know of in washingto DC is Georgetown cupcakes courtesy of Food Network.
    It’s lunchtime here and after reading this I’m hungry πŸ™‚

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    • I like that you went for my artsy photo, Rachel. Thank you for that! My stretching was not for naught. We didn’t walk through Georgetown (I don’t think!) or I would have grabbed a shot of Georgetown Cupcakes for you!

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