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September 2004

Top 5 Pizza Restaurants

I thought I would start a series of my top 5 favorite places to eat in each category. Of course I don't put any place on these Top 5 Lists that I have not eaten at, so if you think you know a place that is better, post a comment.

My Top 5 places to eat pizza:

1) Vace
2) 2 Amys
3) Pizzeria Paradiso
4) Jumbo Slice
5) Cafe Villa

For those of you who are not familiar with the last 2...

There are a bunch of Jumbo Slice places in Adams Morgan. I think the most famous one is the one near Madams Organ. Cafe Villa is a small pizza place out by where I work. They have great NY style pizza, Italian Subs and calzones.

2 Amys

It's been a while since I posted anything about 2 Amys, which is totally ridiculous considering how often I eat there. The thing is, I could've done a post about every time I've eaten there, but I would bore the hell out of you, my readers, and we might as well call this the 2 Amys blog.

So last Thursday, we were throwing around ideas of where we wanted to go. I called Amy on the way home from work and told her, "I don't feel like cooking tonight so let's go out somewhere - YOU PICK."

To which she replied, "What else is new? Anywhere? Even Ethiopian?"

"Sure, even Ethiopian", I grunted.

When I got home, Amy was out walking Ceiba, and the first thing I asked was where she wanted to go. Surprisingly, she offered two choices - Meskerem or...yep you guessed it, 2 Amys. So obviously we ended up going to 2 Amys, otherwise the title of this post would be Meskerem and not 2 Amys. So we walked the 4 blocks to Macomb Avenue and when we got there, there was a surprisingly short wait. We were seated right away.

Our 2 Amys trips latelyTomato_bread_soup are defined by the specials menu. This time, there were a few good special appetizers that peaked our interest, including a tomato-and-bread soup and potato and prosciutto croquettes. None  of the special pizzas looked interesting to us, so we just ordered the Norcia. We also ordered a couple glasses of wine. I really enjoy the wines at 2 Amys - They're all quality Italian wines. Most bottles run between $20 - 30.

The tomato and bread soup was really salty. I think the chef could have laid off the salt a bit. However, it still tasted great. Proc_croquettesThe broth had a ton of olive oil and fresh basil in it which were good things. The potato and prosciutto croquettes were very good. Just the right amount of flavor in a fried appetizer. I really wished I had some marinara or something to dip them in.

The norcia pizza was fantastic as usual. I mean, you really can't go wrong with this pizza. NorciaTake a great crust and put a little marinara sauce on it. Top it with some fresh mozzarella, roasted yellow and red sweet peppers, and salami (oh and of course, olive oil) and you've got yourself a pretty damn good pizza.

Lately, Amy and I have also been ordering the cookie plate which has become a staple on the menu. You get eight cookies including sugar, biscotti, truffles and another kind of cookie that has changed every time we've order it. They've been great every time. I recommend ordering some coffee or cappuccino to go with them.

Now I want to talk a little bit about the atmosphere - there is none! I mean seriously people, this is a pizza place. If you want fine dining, you really need to go elsewhere. The dining room can be a bit loud, but I think it's pretty much a problem with the design of the place. The ceiling is an old-fashioned tin ceiling so it echos really bad. Also the service can be a little inconsistant, but is more often good than bad.

In the end, the bill usually ends up costing us between $50 - 80 after tip, which is reasonable considering we usually order a nice bottle of wine, appetizers and dessert. Lately, we have been trending in the upper part of that range.

Here is my original post on 2 Amys.

This Week In Reviews

Wow! He actually did his review recap two weeks in a row. Hell must have frozen over or something.

Yes, people. I have once again written the review recap...For the second week in a row. I followed up on one of my promises. Unlike, the one where I said I would follow up with the church in GTown about whether or not they are still holding Taste of Georgetown this year. Really, I still intend to call them and find out. But wait!

The Georgetowner confirms that Taste Of Georgetown IS IN FACT being held at Grace Episcopal Church on Wisconsin Ave. They also talk about Martin's Tavern (yawn) and all those tourist trap restaurants along the water there in GTown (double yawn).

The Washington Times reviews B. Smiths.
B. Smiths??? And the Union Station location at that.

Wow! Finally a review that is worth reading. In this weeks Blade, Rebecca Weber reviews Colorado Kitchen. I have yet to eat here - I know, I know, HOW DARE I?! But EVERYONE (and when I say EVERYONE, I mean EVERYONE) says this place is awesome. So someday I will eat there, but I have this feeling it will be a total disappointment because it had been built up so much for me.

Tom Seitsema gives Poste 2 out of 4 stars which is exactly how many stars the average user rating is on The Post for that restaurant. His review seems pretty lukewarm, but more positive than negative.

The Weekly Dish highlights Sweet Mango Cafe in Petworth. Someone must have read my Search Engines post where I asked for someone to point out a good DC Jamaican Restaurant. Oh wait, that was Brazilian. Close enough.

That's everything? Yeah, I guess so. As usual, please email me if I am missing any reviews.

Passage to India

About a month ago, you might have noticed that I wrote a post about how I ate three Indian Meals in 36 hours. One of those meals, you might remember was at Passage to India. You will also remember that I said that I had a great meal there. Well, Amy and I went again last Monday, and it was yet again...wonderful.

This time, we went for Brunch...Well, I guess it doesn't really count as "going for brunch" when you only intend to go out for lunch, and when you get there, they happen to be serving brunch. None the less, we were happy to see that Passage to India was serving brunch and we decided to order it (just a side note, the brunch is not normally avaialable on Monday, but since it was Labor Day, they were serving it again). As we were ordering, the couple at the table near us was finishing up and raving about how good their meal was. There were about 10 people in the restaurant, and everyone looked very satisfied.

Appetizers2The brunch offering at Passage to India starts with an appetizer sampler with mini samosas, Indian chicken salad, and those onion fritter things (I'm forgetting the exact name for them right this minute). They also give you two sauces to eat them with - One a plum sauce and the other a raita. The raita went especially well with the chicken salad. In the picture on the right, you can see the chicken salad on the left and the samosas and onion fritters on the right. Nothing's really new or different here. These are your typical Indian restaurant appetizers, and they would probably be safe just serving the samosas, since they are probably our favorite samosas around. Honestly though, I would rather see some of the chaat that we saw at the Indian Street Food event, but I understand why they serve the appetizers they do.

For the entree, you have a choice of chicken tikka masala or lamb korma. On top of that, they bring out  daal and saag. Mix them all together, and you get a pretty good combination. The lamb korma here is one of my favorite around as far as kormas go. The sauce the lamb is in is very creamy and spicy. It is very similar to that of Heritage India (which makes sense since Passage to India used to be a Heritage India), except it is spicier and hence - better. CurriesI had the lamb korma the last time we went to Passage to India, and it was a little better, if I remember correctly. On the left you can see what my plate looked like. From left to right, you see the korma, daal and saag. Amy ordered the chicken tikka masala, and it was good as well. We also love the saag dishes here. Last time, Amy ordered the saag paneer and absolutely loved it.

There was no bread included in the brunch, so we ordered some paratha, which I have to say is right on as far as I think paratha is supposed to be made (at least as far as my limited knowedge of Indian food goes).  For dessert, Passage to India includes two dishes of rice pudding. Once again this was very good as well. I could taste the strong cardamon flavor and it was very creamy. Mixed in with it were pistachios and raisins - A very nice touch I have to say.

One thing about Passage to India - They charge you for rice. This is the same practice that Heritage India follows and it drives me nuts. Update: Passage to India not longer charges for rice on their new menu.

The brunch cost $24.95 for two people, plus the cost of the bread and coffee we ordered. The coffee, I have to say, was very strong which we appreciated very much. Not a bad deal for a Sunday (or Monday) brunch for two. I also shouldn't forget to mention how good the service is at Passage to India. The servers are very attentive, timely and gracious.

Passage to India
4931 Cordell Ave
Bethesda, MD
(301) 656-3373
Dress Code: Business Casual (Although I have worn jeans and fit right in)
Mon-Fri: 11:30am-2:30pm
Sun: noon-3 pm
Sun-Thu: 5:30-10:30pm
Fri-Sat: 5:30-11pm

See what Monica Bhide wrote about Passage to India at the Washingtonian.

Friday night dinner already planned

So my Friday night dinner is already planned. I am ordering Indian Delivery from Curry Club. They have an interesting setup. You join the "club" here and on every Monday, they send you the menu for the week (which changes every week). You then can email them your order and they will deliver it to you, wherever you are after 3 PM on Friday. My first question was, "Well, what time do they deliver?" Their response was this:

We can deliver the food from about 3 PM onwards either to your office or your home. Just let us know what works best for you and we will try to accommodate. If you like, we can even leave it at your house without you being there as long as there is a safe place to do so.
Hmm, I really hope the food is good. I could get in the habit of doing this. This is what this weeks menu looks like:

Tandoori Salmon (mild, marinated salmon on the grill for $9)
Kahari Lamb (lamb dish from Kashmir to you for $9)
Chicken Tikka Masala (chicken tikka in a lip-smacking creamy sauce for
Chicken Tikka (marinated chicken cooked on a skewer for $9)
Beef Vindaloo (the old favorite and just as spicy for $9)
Kidney Bean Curry (kidney beans in a delicious tomato and onion sauce
for $6)
Saag Paneer (indian cheese and spinach for $6)
Channa Masala (chick peas in a tomato gravy for $6)
Spicy Okra (lady's fingers for $6)
Bubble & Squeak Samosas ($6)
Mango Chutney ($5)
Tomato Chutney ($5)
Hot Lime Pickle ($5)
Cucumber and Tomato Raita ($4)
Puffy Yoghurt Bread (Indian bread for $2)
Plain Basmatti Rice ($2 for two)

Make sure you get your order to them by Thursday at 2 in order to get your order delivered by Friday afternoon.

To join the club, send an email to [email protected]

Search Engines

So I was looking at my search engine referals today and I came across some interesting ones. Here are a few of them.

Ethiopian Food Miami - <Begin Sarcasm>Yeah. Good luck with that one my friend. I couldn't even find good Cuban food in Miami.</End Sarcasm> - Whoever searched for this - you're ok in my book. :)

Adams Morgan Indian Delivery - RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! Dude, you don't want to go there.

Graham Elliot Bowles - Now this one is the most fascinating to me. comes up 1st. 1st! Before the actual Chef's web site. Hey Google! Is there something wrong with your search algorithms?

Strip Club Herndon VA - Heh. No p0rn here. Try again later.

Cieba, Washington DC - Ok, so this is how I figured out that I had spelled Ceiba wrong in my post about that restaurant.

Brazilian Food DC - If you find a good Brazilian restaurant in DC, PLEASE let me know.

Day of weird food choices

Today, Amy and I had the day off. My schedule looked something like this.

7:30 - Get out of bed. Take Ceiba out for walk. Wait 30 hopeless minutes for her to go to the bathroom. Come back inside.

8:00 - Check work email. End up working for an hour answering emails and giving minions work to do - End up hating myself for it.

9:00 - Wake up Amy for Dr. Appt.

10:00 - Take Amy to Dr. Appt.

11:00 - Leave Dr. Appt.

11:30 - Stop at Starbucks for Venti Iced Coffee.

12:00 - Stop at Krispey Kreme for Original Glazed

12:30 - Go to Mall. Stop at Legal Seafood for New England Clam Chowder, watch US Open on USA. Make fun of preview for new Wimbledon movie. Think of possible other titles for Wimbledon movie, if they could not get the rights for the name Wimbledon: Advantage - Love, All You Need Is Love, Tennis Rules!, Kirsten Dunst looks like Anna Kournikova (or Maria Sharapova), Duece's Wild, Racket Attack, Center Court, etc, etc.

1:00 - Stop at Sephora - Nuff said.

1:30 - Go home.

2:00 - Walk to Cactus Cantina with Amy and Ceiba. Order a pitcher of margaritas, queso and chicken tamales.

3:00 - Order another pitcher of Margaritas.

4:00 - Walk home. Stop and pick up dry cleaning.

And that was my day off. Sound fun?