So this is what DC has been like the last couple of weeks:
Late summer/early fall here kind of rules. The humidity breaks, the sky is bluer and people get over their summer crankiness and start acting human again.
I’m still in kind of a lull, or rut, or something in the kitchen. I haven’t really wanted to plan meals or cook things, and the things I do cook have been pretty sub-par. It’s just been easier to pick up food from District Taco or the food court across the street from my office. Of course, there are only three or four places I can eat near my office, so this routine is getting old, fast.
Also, lack of planning + late nights + too many nights of drinking = IBS symptoms over the past several days. It’s been annoying but not especially severe. Mostly, I’m just frustrated that I am so dependent on my routine and it takes way too long to get back on track after I’ve slipped up.
So, I don’t have anything to revolutionize gluten-free cooking, but let’s talk about some restaurant recommendations in DC. Because, why not?
Meridian Pint, Columbia Heights, DC: I am a huge fan of Meridian Pint. They have a lovely patio and a well-labeled menu that usually has at least one item that is both gluten-free and vegan. This is super rare for DC. The service is good, but what sets Meridian Pint apart is their epic beer list. They’ll do 2 oz samples of anything on tap, so it’s great for exploring new beers with a friend.
The bad news is, their gluten-free beer list is limited to Omission’s pale ale and lager – both solid options, but not very exciting compared to the seven million options available to regular beer consumers. They have several ciders on their bottle menu, but they’re all in larger bottles, so you’d have to make a solid commitment to whichever cider you choose.
I ordered their tofu “burger” (it’s actually just a slab of grilled tofu) with Daiya cheddar and carmelized onions (aka Mother Earth style), but they don’t have a gluten-free bun option, so it’s just served on the plate. I have mixed feeling about this. It doesn’t seem crazy that they could keep a package of gluten-free buns in the freezer to pull out a couple of times a week. The fries were excellent, as usual.
Bottomline? Meridian Pint is a solid option for food intolerances, slightly limited on the beverage selection if you’re not a beer drinker. Also. It’s a good date spot. Just sayin’.
Commissary, Logan Circle, DC: my friend Emily and I hit up Commissary for brunch last Sunday. The tofu scramble is a new menu item (The Heights, another Eat Well restaurant, recently added a tofu hash to their brunch menu, but it’s nothing to write home about) that I was excited to try. The tofu hash comes with fruit instead of breakfast potatoes. Fortunately, they were happy to substitute potatoes for the silly, silly fruit, but I still find the choice questionable. Meanwhile, the tofu scramble was adequate. There was lots of spinach and tomatoes and the mushrooms were large enough that I could pick them out easily. I’m pretty picky about tofu scramble. It’s so easy to make that I get annoyed if I feel like I could make a better version and not pay $12 for it. In this case, my tofu scramble would kick this tofu scramble’s ass without even trying.
I’ve blogged about Commissary before – I tried to eat lunch there before my trip to Raleigh last October and ended up with hummus and sliced cucumber. So the tofu scramble was a step up, but…Commissary is still hit or miss for me.
Cause, Shaw, DC: I actually went to Cause twice in a weekend a couple weeks ago, for a Friday happy hour and a Sunday brunch. It’s a 10-minute walk from my house (convenient!) and it’s a bit off the beaten path for DC, which means plenty of space for a large group and not waiting 45 minutes for a table at brunch. On Friday, I had a couple glasses of wine and tried their french fries, which are truly excellent. Sunday, my roommate, his girlfriend and my friend Molly hit up their bottomless mimosa brunch. Bottomless mimosa brunches are not a good idea if you have anything else to accomplish on that particular day.
A highlight for the dairy and gluten consumers at the table was Cause’s boozy cereal menu, which is basically a bowl of cereal with a shot or two of booze. I have no idea which one they tried, but everyone seemed pretty stoked about it. My brunch options were pretty limited at Cause. I’ve given myself permission to be flexible about eating eggs when I’m out in DC, so I was able to order the Huevos Rancheros, but a strict vegan would be pretty disappointed at brunch. I also ordered a side of fries, because for some reason, this dish did not come with breakfast potatoes either. (In addition to being basically my favorite food ever, potatoes are a soluble fiber, which is important for me to include with every meal. If I had just gone to town on the eggs and black beans I probably would have felt a little sick – beans are insoluble fiber and eggs are pretty high in fat, both of which can be IBS triggers. The more you know.) Strangely, the side of fries arrived less than five minutes after we ordered and a good 10 minutes before the rest of the food. Other than that, the service at Cause was awesome. There were only three occupied tables while we were there, and the bartendress (her chosen title) was excellent. And really, really cute. I would absolutely go back to Cause; despite the limited menu, this was a really fun brunch, and it looks like they have a more varied dinner menu that I’m looking forward to exploring.
So: adventures in dining out in DC continue. I have cooked a thing or two recently, but I’m getting tired, so I’ll save that for another day.
Also: it occurs to me that the title of the post really has nothing to do with the content, but…trust me, I’ve had a pretty good couple of weeks.