Dates. Those awkward, exciting, beautiful things we all go on at some point. I am by no means an expert in this field- quite far from it- and I don’t have a magical solution for how to make your next date the best you ever had, so unfortunately you won’t be finding the next We Love DC dating service here (sigh). The inspiration for this post really came from a conversation with a friend of mine the other day. He asked me where he should take a girl out, wanting to strike the right balance between serious young professional, trendy and casual. I realized many of us have gone through this mental exercise before. The exhausting over-planning and over- analyzing we do: choosing the right spot for that first interaction (or second or third), focusing on every detail from time, to dress code, to the big goodbye, mulling over tiny logistics as a method of defense to shift our thoughts away from the weirdness that could ensue. But enough of that.
I think a shared meal is the perfect way to break the ice, a way to bond over something simple that brings anyone, no matter what level of culinary expertise you may have, together. We all share stories around a dinner table, have memories of a favorite meal, and can reveal oneself through a dish. So for me, sharing a meal is a perfect way of getting to know someone, whether it be a sit down dinner or a casual picnic. I decided to write some recommendations for where you can break bread and the ice along the way, in case you need to outsource thinking on the next time your big date is lined up. I polled some of the We Love DC crew for their suggestions as well, as not all of us are food focused daters.
Some months I go fancy, others I don’t. I definitely erred on the side of casual this month, going so far as having a grilled cheese sandwich at not one, but three restaurants. Take note, fancy restaurants, I don’t find many things more satisfying than butter, bread and cheese cooked to gooey perfection. Did I just call the new burger? Is it the grilled cheese? I sure hope it is.
courtesy of ‘Steve Snodgrass’
I learned a lot about myself this month. I learned that white anchovies are the way to my heart if maybe not the best way to a second date. I finally, officially learned that there is a reason I’m not stick thin — because fatty food tastes good. I learned I like whiskey more than I thought (sorry parents!). And I learned that eating at a Waffle House and a Hooters in the same day does not spring me in to spontaneous white trashedness. I also ate a whole lot this month, so it was pretty tough to narrow down everything I loved. As a result, you’ll notice the honorable mention category down at the bottom for those few dishes that came in a close second in the race to the top.
Dickson Wine Bar has been open for a few weeks now, occupying a three story brick building opposite Nellie’s. It’s got a rather nondescript industrial look outside, save for the old stone plaque “Dickson BLDG 903 You” from which the bar took its name. I walked by one night in late March, noticing the sexy candlelit interior, and vowed to hit it as soon as possible. I’ve been back twice and can say it will definitely become a regular stop for me from now on. You can’t beat having a bar like this five blocks from your house!
It certainly has a great pedigree – the owners are Tien Claudio (with her husband and DC legend Eric Hilton) and Steve Kaufman (with his husband Fred Paxton), all locals living in Adams Morgan. They wanted to create a friendly neighborhood bar, and that’s the vibe here – residents, workers, Howard University students – everyone’s mingling nicely in an atmosphere that manages to be both adult and fun. As my friend who lives a block away puts it aptly, “the clientele seemed more interested in the food and drink than in finding potential spouses.”
And that food and drink is definitely a draw. Executive chef James Claudio (who also helms the kitchen at Marvin) has dedicated the food menu to local ingredients, and the wine list designed by Jarad Slipp, restaurant director at Cityzen, features organic and biodynamic selections. Rounding out the team is Tom Street, who created the cocktail program and selected the beers. Tom told me they are planning on changing the entire beverage program “quite often,” and in keeping with the eco-conscious theme, the food menu will also change seasonally. Everyone on staff is incredibly personable and helpful, which imbues the bar with a kind of care and love that’s really striking. Continue reading →