D.C. Coast

May 2, 2014

Although we have lived in D.C. for a while, we have very few “go-to” spots. The restaurant that tops our list is D.C. Coast.

On its face, D.C. Coast doesn’t seem like it would be a strong contender for the top “go-to” for a vegetarian couple that (self-delusionally) views itself as (kind of) young and (kind of) hip. It is a seafood restaurant that has been around a while and caters largely to the downtown lunch crowd.

The key is D.C. Coast’s ingenious reverse happy hour. Beginning at 9:30pm, D.C. Coast serves cocktails (including delicious martinis and mules), wine, and beer at a heavy discount at the bar. The drinks are tremendous, accompanied with the great service and witty repartee of the always delightful bartenders.

D.C. Coast typically has a few vegetarian options on the menu, along with two off-menu items. The restaurant always offers a chef’s choice vegetarian pasta and a vegetable plate consisting of a selection of seasonal sides. And save room for the souffle, which changes on a daily basis.

It may not be the most innovative or exciting restaurant, but D.C. Coast’s strength is that the drinks, food, and service are always reliably superb – and what makes it the perfect go-to spot.


April 6, 2014

J: I don’t love beer. I want to love beer. But I only like it.

K: Why do you want to love beer?

J: It is so much cheaper than wine. Right now, I only pick my beer on how much I like the label.
K: Ummm…isn’t that how you largely pick wine too? At any rate, are you now open to the idea that there may be beers that are better than Natty Bo?

J: I really do like the little Natty Bo dude. But, the sample size option and descriptions at Bluejacket are enough for even me to find a beer I love.

Bluejacket is a welcome new addition to the Southeast Waterfront, with convenient access to Nationals stadium. The space and location make it a great place to hangout, whether it is happy hour, pre- or post-game, or weekend brunch. The brewery has a stylish, warehouse kind of vibe that is pretty rare in D.C. It is light and airy in the day, dark and raucous in the evening. No matter what time of day, Bluejacket is laidback and inviting.

Having been for both drinks and brunch, Bluejacket doesn’t have a lot of vegetarian options. But, what it does have is great.

For brunch, they were extremely accommodating. The veggie burger was homemade, with a somewhat unique mix of black bean, chickpea, and farro. Not only where they more than willing to serve it sans bun over mixed greens, they even offered to substitute the veggie burger in the delicious loco moco, a pacific island-inspired dish served over rice and with mushroom gravy.

As for beer accompaniments, there is a good mix of pub favorites and veggie sides, such as mac and cheese, shaved brussel sprouts with pecorino, and honey glazed carrots. Still, a few more options would be an appreciated addition.

The beer list is immense, with something for everyone…including those wine lovers (try the Arsonist). The beers, all made in house, are expertly crafted and served, at exactly the right temperature and glass. For being so persnickety, the folks at Bluejacket have at the same time injected fun and whimsy into their beers, apparent in names such as the Black Eye, the Bully Pulpit, and the Twit.

DGS Delicatessen


March 29, 2014

J: Do you know what I yearn for?

K: Me?

J: How bad is it if I say no?

K: Ummm…

J: The (Feuben) (fake Reuben) at DGS.

K: I guess I yearn for red wine…like all the time.

The city has surprisingly few delis, making DGS a welcome addition to the D.C. restaurant scene. And, DGS certainly does deli well – including suprisingly from a vegetarian perspective.

The pickles, cucumbers and a variety of veggies preserved in-house, are a great starter. For entrees, you can’t go wrong, from the eggplant Reuben (or, as J calls it, the Feuben), to the latkes, or to the falafel plate. The veggie sides, such as the flash-fried brussel sprouts, are also delicious.

Drinks include sodas made on the premises and a variety of cocktails, wine, and beer. Although delis are commonly viewed as best for lunchtime fare, the menu and drinks make DGS versatile regardless of the time of day or the crowd.

Fainting Goat

February 1, 2014

A Saturday night, the restaurant was packed with groups of young, attractive D.C-ers (J: I don’t think that’s a word. K: Even Shakespeare made up words. Just go with it. J: You ain’t no Shakespeare…). If it were merely the drinks, people watching, and ambience, the Fainting Goat would have been a pretty good spot.

That said, the Fainting Goat fell short. Its always a bit disappointing when a hot new restaurant doesn’t deliver. And with the availability of interesting ingredients, influences, and techniques, it is even more disappointing when it is the menu itself, not merely execution. Such was the case at the Fainting Goat.

We started with the ricotta toast points, which were reminiscent of the tea sandwiches inevitably served at those interminably baby showers (J: I also don’t think you can say that without alienating people. We officially lost our two readers. Thanks Moms.). A ricotta not all that distinguishable from cream cheese on sliced bread.

Moving on to dinner, there was not a single vegetarian item on the menu. The waiter offered to have the chef put together a dish, which consisted of a quarter plate of plain, boiled vegetables. For 20 bucks a plate.

The fault is as much ours as it is the restaurant’s. We are the ones with the dietary restrictions, eating at a restaurant that doesn’t cater to our kind. That said, we are just left with the feeling that there were so many simple ways to have done…better.

El Rey


January 31, 2014

J: What’s cooler than getting some tacos and margaritas at El Rey on a Friday night?

K: What?

J: Well, in January, nothing. Oooh, so pun-ny.

K: Not sure about that.

J: At least a double-entendre.

Despite the largely outdoor seating and a frigid evening (haven’t they all been this winter?), El Rey was the perfect meet-up spot with friends on Friday night.

El Rey does three things very well. First, the margaritas were great…and strong. Served frozen (K: Brr, no thanks this January evening), on the rocks, or straight-up, the beverage typically associated with warm afternoons in tropical climates seemed to nonetheless fit. (J: Maybe the heat lamps on max were giving you heat stroke…)

Second, the little tacos were…well little (J: I felt like a giant), but (very) spicy bites of deliciousness. A great combination of mushrooms, accented by a balance of pickled onions and cotija cheese. (J: Giant ate 3…still hungry.). As with a number of spots we review, more veggie options would be welcome.

Third, the retractable roof over the cool architecture of a shipping container structure made for a backdrop that allowed for a fun combination of people watching and star gazing.

Add #1-#3, mix in great company, and it was a exactly the kind of evening needed to wind down a busy week. We can’t wait to try it again, perhaps on a sweltering July evening, reminiscing about that lovely, albeit cold, January night.



No Website – https://plus.google.com/103971625915106084550/about?gl=us&hl=en

January 23, 2014

K: This post is about the only worthwhile reason to have a car in DC.

J: Visiting my parents in Richmond?

K: (Seeming flustered) Um, yeah, sure – that too…but no one wants to read about that (nice save). It is Yechon, the 24-7 Korean BBQ joint in Annandale. The only thing that shines brighter than the neon lights lining the entire restaurant is my smile after eating there.

Although the centerpiece of its lengthy menu are barbecue and noodle dishes featuring meat and fish, Yechon’s few vegetarian dishes are soothing, almost heartening.

An off-menu request, the vegetable bibimbap in the hot stone bowl with tofu is sublime, particularly on a cold winter night. The hot stone bowl perfectly toasts the rice and cooks the veggies; mixed together with Yechon’s hot sauce, the dish is the ultimate comfort food.

Add to dinner a variety of veggie-friendly accompaniments – including the delicious kimchi – a large bottle of beer to be shared, and friendly servers that remind us a whole lot of mom (if she were Korean), the whole experience is, well, soul-affirming.

Sona Creamery


March 8, 2014

Sona Creamery DCJ: Do you know how I knew Sona was going to be really good?

K: How?

J:  It smelled pretty funky.  Good cheese always smells pretty funky.

K:  Remember the Limburger cheese incident from college?  I don’t remember much from 15 years ago, but that memory is crystal clear.  You said if it smelled that funky, it had to taste good.  Not so.  It smelled terrible and tasted worse.  To top it off, my dorm room smelled like Lindberger cheese for months after – ack.

J:  No, your dorm room smelled like a corpse.  I didn’t learn much that semester (sorry Mom and Dad) but I did learn that not all funky smelling cheese tastes good.  However, all good cheese smells funky.  Let’s call that a life lesson.  At any rate, Sona smelled delightfully of good cheese.

K:  True that.  By the way, sometimes you smell like Limburger.

J: You love it.

No Limburger at Sona (at least that we could smell).  Instead, Sona provides a well-curated selection of cheeses, with well-balanced and surprisingly creative accoutrements.  For instance, we loved the fresh, cream butter with rock salt and flavorless pop rocks (K: It was like a party in my mouth!)

But Sona is so much more than a cheese shop.  Instead, it is a perfect urban picnic (J: And no blanket necessary).  Lots of options of small plates of little bites.  Full of flavor, perfect for leisurely grazing, either for a group or a romantic pair (J: Romance does not have to be limited to a pair.  K is such a hater.).  That said, a few more vegetarian options would be a welcome addition.

Friends selected the wine – a Vouvray and a Cotes du Rhone – both of which were very reasonably priced and paired delightfully with the cheese.

Although Sona is new to the neighborhood it already feels quintisentially Capitol Hill and that is a function of the wonderful owners and staff.

Smoke And Barrel DC


March 5, 2014

Stage setting: Long week. Edit:  Couple very long weeks.  Mid-week, a little break.  Where to go? Comfort food.  J says veggie burgers.  K says martinis (after all, do we really need food?).

The compromise?  Smoke and barrel, the perfect combination of bar (for K) and bar food (for J).  The spin? Very pro-veggie food, particularly for a bar – veggie wings, veggie chili nachos, veggie ribs, and lots of veggie-friendly sides.

The buffalo wings were satisfying, albeit a little bit chewy.  The buffalo wings are made of texturized soy (the ribs are made of seitan) and there are lots of options on rubs and sauces.  Most importantly, it is rare for vegetarians to experience the sublime pleasure of “meat” on a stick.  On this, Smoke and Barrel was right on target.

The second course of our bar dinner consisted of veggie chili nachos.  The heaping nachos – the sheer size of which was so large, we only made it through about a quarter of the plate – were yummy and gooey with all of the fixings.  Smoke and Barrel also offers an array of good beers to wash it all down.

J: OMG.  I can’t believe I ate “satan” on the first day of lent.

K: It is seitan, not satan.

J :  Nevertheless, I need holy water!

K (as she passes her beer over to J):  Here you go.

Iron Gate


February 28, 2014

Recently re-opened, the Iron Gate has two seating options.  First come, first serve at the somewhat covered carriage house which houses a bar and a handful of tables, or tasting menu in the dining room. Unable to get a convenient reservation (and dying to try it out), we settled for the carriage house.

So, how does a restaurant that is effectively outside manage to be “completely committed” with an hour wait when it is below freezing?

Even though the temperature outside was ghastly frigid, Iron Gate radiated warmth (not insignificantly due to the generous use of heating elements), comfort, and sophistication.  We waited for a table while enjoying the ambience of the lovely bar and the delightful cocktails.  If it were just the two of us, we probably would have chosen to eat there.

(By the way, for long-married couples, a great way to avoid inane conversation is sitting at the bar, while the barkeep pretends to be your friend in order to extract a large tip at the end of the evening. Otherwise, table discussion often devolves to – “K: I have to do laundry tomorrow.  J: I did it already.  K: Did you fold it?  J: No.  K: Did you do the towels?  J: I forgot.  I haven’t used mine in a few days.  K:  Wow. That’s a great way to start date night.  And I have to do laundry tomorrow.”  Large tip very worthwhile.)

We digress.  Onwards to dinner, where we were provided with blankets for added warmth.  (K: Loved it.  J: Be aware of other people’s blankets.  That’s how the Europeans spread small-pox to Native Americans.  K: Said from a person that hadn’t showered “in a few days.”)

Wine, a 2006 barolo per the recommendation of the manager, was probably one of the best bottles we’ve had in some time.

Our dinner order was literally “everything vegetarian on the menu.”  Which turned out to be quite a lot. Focaccia, trio of dips, trio of cheeses, trio of olives (haha – a trio of trios!), crispy Jerusalem artichokes, winter root vegetable salad, farro salad, and pasta.  The flavors and ingredients played off of each other deliciously – the food at once combined the lightness of the Mediterranean, with ingredients that felt appropriately wintery.  The one non-vegetarian in our foursome enjoyed partaking in our offerings, while also taking great pleasure in his non-veggie entrée.

We’ll go again and often.  Look forward to visiting the dining room in the future and enjoying the patio throughout the year



February 27, 2014

For recently being named the Best New Restaurant by Washington City Paper, Table was refreshingly…unfussy.

A small number of tables, no big crowds (at least the weekday evening we were there), and low-key and helpful staff gives Table the feel of a favorite neighborhood spot.  At the same time, the backdrop almost fade away, providing a platform to elevate the food and wine, the freshness of the ingredients and the careful, but not overly contrived, engineering of flavor combinations.

We started with two appetizers, a beet salad and a mushroom toast.  The modest portions forced you to focus on the ingredients and how well they played off each other.  (J: “Modest” = not enough on my plate.)  For dinner, we had the root vegetable bowl, with consisted of various roasted vegetables in winter squash accented with purple mustard.  (J: Still hungry.)  The wine – a pinot noir and burgundy, both recommended by the waiter – heightened the flavors.  Simple, yet thoughtful.

(J: Yes, the food was good.  However, afterwards, I was craving the warm embrace of a real neighborhood spot.  Another spot, also known for being “unfussy,” but perhaps a tad (read: a lot) on the greasier end.  See below for the review of my second (more like fourth) course.)

So, for vegetarians that like a lot of options or heartier fare, a cautionary note is that there were only couple of veggie-friendly appetizers and one entrée (which also should be noted was entirely vegetable based, without any starch or protein).  Granted, Table does host Meatless Mondays, which we look forward to trying.  There were a lot of options for non-vegetarians and our dinner companions, who generally keep to a pescetarian diet when eating out, enjoyed their (much more generously-sized) entrees tremendously.

Update – J’s supplement to the review is here