Eat Like Me: November’s Best Dishes

Photo courtesy of
‘Kushi 9225′
courtesy of ‘yospyn’

After last month’s time as a vegan, I felt this month I owed it to my grease-loving, carb-loading, over-eating side to indulge. And indulge I did. I ate more burgers and subs this month than I do in a normal calendar year, and I seriously think I’m better for it (though my cholesterol probably has something different to say about that). Two trips to Taylor Gourmet, where I learned that though I love an Italian hoagie, I am officially a cutlet hoagie girl, and a road trip full of gravy-loaded dinners made for a happy and not so healthy customer. Maybe next month will be better? Because December is such a great month for eating healthy, working out, and getting lots of sleep…or something…

Where I ate: Kushi, Zentan, Nando’s Peri-Peri, Ben’s Chili Bowl, Cafe Saint-Ex, Taylor Gourmet (twice!), Dickson Wine Bar, BGR, Eatonville, Daily Grill, Cracker Barrel (it counts!), DC-3, Good Stuff Eatery, Surfside, Hamburger Hamlet, Matchbox, Ba Bay.

Photo courtesy of
‘Mayo at Good Stuff Eatery’
courtesy of ‘yosoynuts’

My Favorite Cocktail: Does the sriracha mayo at Good Stuff Eatery count as a cocktail? Or perhaps, a mocktail? I’m saying yes, since I would gladly drink it with a straw if that was socially acceptable and I wasn’t positive I would run in to a coworker mid-slurp. I do like Good Stuff Eatery, but I honestly go there for the specialty mayos. The Old Bay one is good, the mango is fine, but the spicy sriracha is life changing.

My Favorite Thing I Ordered at a Counter: I’ve been over this time and time again, but Surfside rocks my socks off. Again, I had the Nevis tacos – that delicious grilled shrimp number with the pineapple-jalapeno salsa and lime sour cream. I mean, COME ON. It’s awesome. On this particular occasion I ate with a friend who is working his way through all the tacos on the menu. It’s a quest, and I’m just happy to be a part of it.

Photo courtesy of
‘The Southwestern burger’
courtesy of ‘casschin’

My Favorite Appetizer: I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t really love Eatonville. The food is just fine and the service is less than fine, which is why loving the gumbo means that much more. I absolutely love good gumbo, and the one at Eatonville hits every Creole mark. Dark, spicy, smokey and filling, it’s almost too much as an appetizer which is why I happily make it my whole dinner when I’m there. And the fact that I saw Emmit Smith also eating the gumbo the same night as me? Just an added bonus.

My Favorite Thing Between Two Slices of Bread: Alright, I’m glad this burger is a once a year treat because even now I feel a little sick thinking about it. Sick in an awesome way. What am I talking about? The Thanksgiving on a Bun burger at BGR. It was the November special burger (along the lines of the Snooki Burger and the Strausburger) and it was a towering piece of culinary excellence — a turkey burger with cranberry sauce, cornbread stuffing and lots and lots of gravy. Plus a little extra gravy for dipping. I ordered the sweet potato fries with it to stay on theme, and then promptly fell in to a food-induced coma at the table.

Photo courtesy of
‘Brunch, Cafe Saint Ex’
courtesy of ‘Jenn Larsen’

My Favorite Entree: Short ribs aren’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Vietnamese food, but the version being served at ultra new restaurant Ba Bay is out of this world. I told the chef I wanted to bathe in them, and though he seemed to think that wasn’t exactly a compliment befitting a lady, I can assure you it was accurate. The meat quite literally melts in your mouth, and the sauce is thick and sweet and luscious, and the crushed peanuts on top give it that Asian edge. Though you may head to Ba Bay for a big bowl of pho on a cold night, make sure to bring a friend and force them to order the short ribs.

My Favorite Dessert: If you ever watched Top Chef Masters, you know that Susur Lee is quite the creative guy in the kitchen. For that reason, I was extra excited for the dessert at Zentan since I knew he would bring the pain with some off-kilter offerings. He didn’t disappoint. My favorite of the three I tried that night was without a doubt the lemongrass panna cotta. Vaguely Asian in flavor, but so Italian in technique, it was a wonderful, clean, flavorful way to end the meal. Unfortunately the rest of the meal was incredibly delicious, and I was too full to eat the whole thing. Shakespeare didn’t even write tragedies that sad.

So that was my fatty, fatty month. How was yours?

Ashley Messick

Ashley is a born and bred Washingtonian who left for college but came running back to the District as fast as her little legs could carry her. By day she is a Capitol Hill brat, but by night she is a lean, mean, eating machine. It’s her goal in life to steal Anthony Bourdain’s job…by whatever means necessary. Contact her at Ashley (at) welovedc (dot) com or follow her on Twitter.

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