Believe me, I’m all for trying new things, but there’s also something incredibly comforting about sharing a meal that you know and love, and I’ve found several in my 4+ years here. When friends and coworkers ask about our weekend plans, they almost always roll their eyes and make fun of us for constantly going to “our place(s),” but I feel no shame, just pride.
I hope this little DC food guide of mine leads you to adopt some of my personal favorites for your own. Better yet, take me with you.
First and foremost, let’s talk pizza.
For a starter, be sure to order their Suppli al Telefono, most commonly known as risotto balls or arancini. Here’s another insider tip: ask for a side of marinara for dipping. The mozzarella-stuffed balls are great without the sauce, but even better with.
The real stars, of course, are the pizzas. I love, love, love their Margherita pizza with just the right proportions of dough to buffalo mozzarella to tomato sauce, with just a few leaves of basil.
I think the use of buffalo mozzarella, or mozzarella di bufala, over the traditional firmer cheese, is what sets 2 Amys pizzas apart.
Also superb is the Norcia with salami and peppers. I’ll now pick salami over pepperoni pizza any day of the week.
I can’t recommend 2 Amys enough, and hope you’ll give it a try and help me debunk this nonsense about New York’s pizza being the best. #DCPride.
Another absolute favorite of mine is Founding Farmers (clever, right?) at the corner of Pennsylvania Ave and 20th St NW, right next to the World Bank and just blocks from the White House.
Founding Famers is a farm-to-table restaurant that believes so passionately in how they source and serve their food, that you can taste the love and attention in each and every thing they make. It’s also DC’s first LEED Gold-Certified Restaurant, whatever that means.
For appetizers, I recommend the Prosciutto, Fig & Mascarpone Flatbreads and their Fried Green Tomatoes with Herd Goat Cheese and Green Goddess Dip. We also always order a bowl of the Popcorn of the Day, but the popcorn machine wasn’t working the last time I was there. It was a major letdown, but any disappointment was very quickly erased by our tasty entrées.
Known for their fried chicken, I suggest their Southern Pan-Fried Chicken and Waffles with your choice of side. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll order the Mac & Cheese.
My personal favorite is their Southern Fried Chicken Salad. The salad comes with romaine, avocado, red onion, cheese, grape tomatoes, thick bacon bits, and three little dishes of dressing. It’s certainly not a healthy salad, but it’s a delicious one that I get every single time.
While I may be a creature of habit, Brian is a little more adventurous in his ordering and he’s never not had something that we didn’t both love, so feel free to try other stuff too. There are plenty of options to choose from.
For my next recommendation, what they lack in options, they make up for in value and flavor.
At Medium Rare’s original location in Cleveland Park, right outside the Metro stop of the same name, the only decision you need to make is how you’d like your steak frites (steak & fries).
As the name suggests, the answer they’re looking for is medium rare but they’ll cook it to whatever temperature you choose. I don’t like bloody steak and will typically order it medium well (gasp! I know), and if I’m feeling particularly daring, I’ll go with medium.
The waiters keep track by drawing right on your table.
I buried the lead. For $19.75 you get bread, salad and steak frites (steak & fries). Whatadeal.
The salad is simple, but well-dressed and crisp, and the bread is the best-ever bread ever ever.
I like to describe it as a cross between a baguette and a croissant. Crunchy on the outside and beautifully soft and buttery on the inside. We always ask for seconds.
I’m a big fan of their efficient and cost-saving one-dish business model. Nothing but plates upon plates of steak and fries in this kitchen.
Here’s a closeup. Culotte steak with hand-cut fries and their sauce secrète.
You didn’t hear this from me, but rumor has it that the secret ingredient in the sauce is chicken liver. If that irks you, forget I said anything and go back to not knowing. Delicious is all that you’ll taste.
You get served not one, but two portions of steak frites. Two! All for less than $20.
Keeping with the practical, cost-saving thing they’ve got going, the second helping goes straight from the griddle pan to your plate, and the best part is it comes with a cup of the secret sauce right to your table, meaning you can douse your french fries in it like I do. Heaven.
Another fun fact for you: the restrooms play French lessons on nothing but pickup lines. Again, so practical.
If you have room leftover after Medium Rare, and even if you don’t, you should cross the street to try my favorite frozen-yogurt joint Yogiberry.
Yogiberry is a self-serve, by-the-ounce frozen-yogurt chain unique to the DC metropolitan area. Emphasis on unique.
I’ve been to many a froyo place, and Yogiberry is the only place that I know to offer coconut jelly, or nata de coco, as a topping. If you haven’t tried it, you must. Best described as a juicy jello, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever had, and pairs perfectly with my usual combination of original tart yogurt, fruit and mochi. It’s a good one.
I hope you’ll say the same about my DC recommendations, the first of many. Please try at least one of these and report back to let me know what you thought, it would make me so very happy. Enjoy!