‘Surfside for lunch’
courtesy of ‘vincentgallegos’
I’ve never been big on take-out. By the time I decide what I want, find the menu, call it in, wait forty-five minutes, go pick it up, almost drop it on the way home, and finally get home and realize they got my order wrong, I’m not really hungry any more. And the truth is that on most occasions, I can make food that tastes better than what a restaurant lets sit for 20 minutes in a Styrofoam container. And did I mention I’m cheap? All that makes for a pretty tough road for take-out purveyors everywhere.
But as we all know, there is an exception to every rule. In this case, it’s Surfside. It might have a little something to do with its proximity to my house, but what puts it above and beyond the rest of the many take-out options in Glover Park is the food. And don’t worry, people of not Glover Park, eating in at Surfside is even better than trying to eat it off my lap in front of a TiVo-ed episode (or two) of the new 90210.
Our outing to Zengo for restaurant week was perfect in every way. Zengo deserves much of the credit, obviously, but it helped to have a good sized group of people – five – who were all willing and thrilled to share their food. I think Frank Bruni’s article about how deranged his dining companions have been over the years says less about the world at large – as he alleges – and more about the caliber of his friends. Certainly none of the attitudes he describes were at play at our table, as nothing failed to get passed around and shared and nobody was shy about consuming their fair share.
My darling wife and I arrived ahead of both our dining companions and our reservation so we spent a little quality time in the bar. I’m a boring beer drinker but my dearest had the cucumber mojito, which she declared excellent. The bartender claims their mango mojito is also superb, but the conversation happened because of the look of horror on our faces when he made a few in front of them. No doubt that mass of pink goo he dropped in on top of the ice tastes like delicious mango mint goodness once it’s dissolved into the drink, but, like sausage, this is something you should not watch being made if you expect to enjoy it.
I comment on how polite and efficient the host staff was in seating us only because it was the beginning of a trend. I see a lot of concern from people about the quality of service during restaurant week but if any of the staff at Zengo thought we were unworthy of their best effort than I can only imagine what it’s like there during ‘normal’ service. I was tempted to see if was even possible for me to drain my water glass below the halfway mark before someone came around but I feared I’d rupture something.
courtesy of ‘needlessspaces’
The first step to healing, is admitting you have a problem, right? Well, people, here is my admission: I am addicted to Taqueria Nacional. Its draw to me is more powerful than Potbelly’s was when I used to work near 17th & L (best Potbelly’s location ever) and those of you who know me know that I adore Potbelly’s. I will forgo any lunch I’ve brought to work faster than you can say “Hey Katie, wanna go to Taqui…” I’ll dash out of conference calls, I’ll leave my boss in a lurch, I’ll do pretty much anything for a pork taco from Taqueria Nacional in the middle of the day. So this We Love Food? This one is personal, cause I’m a regular. A regular with an addiction.
Taqueria Nacional opened in 2007 amidst a flurry of rumors (it’s in an alley, it’s only a takeout window, it only has tacos) in the foodie scene. Clearly we did not have Twitter to quickly spread the truth, and it took a while for everyone to get on the same page – but here it is: Taqueria Nacional is tucked away behind Johnny’s the Half Shell, in the corner of the courtyard of the CSPAN building. It hides as a little standing-room-only takeout shop with a line that usually reaches halfway across the courtyard. Ann Cashion and John Fulchino are behind this little taco place, which bodes well for the new Mexican fare at H Street Country Club (Cashion’s new venture), and the standards are high. The tacos are five bites of heaven, the salads are fresh with high quality lettuce, the agua frescas are creative, and my stomach cheers at the thought of the fried yucca. Continue reading