Ate my way through DC and Philadelphia

1:37 PM

After six weeks of not eating I went food crazy in DC. Each meal was meticulously researched and planned with the exception of the first meal, which luckily turned out to be amazing. Had the food trip of a life time and came back to Houston a little sad that we don't have that quantity of caliber food here but happy to be home. Here's my food tour:
We arrived at our hotel with less than 5 hours before our dinner reservation at Hook. We went across the street to get a quick snack at Thai Kitchen. Under the 'authentic Thai food' section was a braised pork with pickled cabbage and organic egg dish named Ka Moo Toon. Delicious. This little hotpot of goodness warmed me up from the cold DC temps. Will be on the hunt to see if anyone in Houston makes this dish.
The last time I was in a line for a cupcake was at Magnolia Bakery in NYC. Severely disappointed. Georgetown Cupcake is now my favorite cupcake place. And the best part - they ship.

Wished my first experience of raw oysters was at Hook and not at a place called Hula Hut in Austin. Not a fan of raw oysters but I have to say the freshness was discernible. This is also true of the raw clams. Strong clam flavor followed by the taste of the sea. Almost like it was just plucked from the ocean and put on our table. Still not a raw shellfish convert but I would like to try it again.

These watermelon radishes look gorgeous with the hot pink hue.

Gorgeous dining room set up. Open kitchen with marble counter tops, gorgeous vintage looking meat cutter, beautiful wooden tables and serving ware. Just a pleasure for the eyes to take in. Not to mention, I love the logo.
Sunnyside eggs, Cod cakes with spicy buttermilk sauce - I was warned that this dish would be salty but because I saw it on Unique Eats I went against my first choice of cinnamon bun French toast. Wish I got the French toast. It wasn't bad but much too salty for my palate.
Hand cut BDT triple fries - These potatoes are fried in duck fat and were so thick it was almost meaty. I really wanted to like these but they were okay. Even though the yuca frites from La Caraquena are in a different fried starch class, I would definitely go out of my way to get the yucas.

amuse of kaffir lime butternut squash soup
Peking style duck rolls
Korean barbecue pork ribs
Saigon cinnamon sugar dusted doughnuts with dark bittersweet chocolate pudding - The doughnuts are amazing. I wanted to return a second time just for them.

La Caraquena
I had filled up on a host of baked goods right before I arrived here and wasn't very hungry. You wouldn't be able to tell by the way I hoovered these two plates and washed it down with a large glass of passion fruit juice. By far one of my favorite places on this trip.
Started with the yuca frita served with homemade salsa amarilla and picadillo. Never touched the yellow sauce because the jalapeno sauce and picadillo were singing to me. The jalapeno sauce hurt so good.
JP's favorite arepas - Thinly sliced beef with onions served between two slices of cornbread. Magnificent. So simple and yet so amazing. Love the texture and taste of the cornbread in respect to the beef and onions. Didn't have room to try their famous saltenas but left very happy that I drove 30 minutes from the heart of DC to try this place.

Oyamel
Heard so much about Jose Andres that I had to try one of this restaurants. Unfortunately, Minibar, shut down for the winter the DAY before I arrived. Shame. I would have loved to try the adventures dishes they have there.
ensalada de aquacate y remolacha (avocado and beet salad) - refreshing and good meld of flavors
ceviche de hiramasa - Love a fresh yellowtail but the flavors were too delicate and mild for me. I should have gone with a different ceviche option.
quesadilla de chicharrones - The 5 chile sauce kicked my butt. The taco had great flavors but left me guzzling water.
pumpkin flan, honey apple sorbet and tamarind sauce - Loved that the honey apple sorbet tasted like I was biting into a fresh picked apple. The flan was just okay.

banana sugar waffle (the white specks are sugar granules) - Good but I've had much better at the Wafel and Dinges truck in NYC.

Buddakan
Had good food here but nothing amazing. If I lived in Philadelphia and wanted a good Asian meal I would come here but as a tourist I probably would not return on my next visit.
unexpected lunch mate
chicken and ginger dumplings
Peking duck buns
Capogiro Gelato
I visited Philadelphia with my foodie best friend about two years ago and I never thought I would return. So on this trip to DC I made sure to make a day trip to Philadelphia (mainly for Vetri) and while I was here I had to come to Capogiro again. The best gelato I have ever had. I'm sure it's better (maybe the same) in Italy but this place has some seriously amazing gelato. Even though I was numb from walking around the city in the cold, I still had to have a cup of this magical concoction.
Thai coconut milk

Vetri 
The pasta here blows my mind. If I wasn't so full from lunch I would have probably tried every pasta on the menu.
their famous spinach gnocchi - Hot damn this shit is good and the texture is so unexpected - super fluffy with incredible flavor - no wonder it's their signature dish.
double ravioli of mortadella and chanterelle - The perfect proportion of salty ham, creamy sauce and pasta - love, love, love.
chocolate souffle - Not the best idea to get such a rich dessert after two pasta dishes, luckily the ice cream balanced out the richness but still too much for me.
La Caraquena (again)
The first experience was so amazing I had to make the trek out here again. It did not disappoint. I look forward to the next time Husband gets sent to DC for business again with hopes that I get to tag along.
yuca frites
JP's favorite arepas (I tried to order their famous saltenas but they were out this day.)

Jaleo
Oyamel wasn't what I hoped but I wanted to try one more Jose Andres restaurant before I left DC.
dipping olive oil
gambas al ajillo "the very, very famous tapas of shrimp sauteed with garlic" - So delicious and perfectly cooked with lots of garlic, just my style.
gazpacho estilo Algeciras - I love a good gazpacho and this was so amazing when I went to order a third dish I decided on another bowl of gazpacho. I could throw down a gallon of this stuff, daily.

I ate like a king. Great way to kick off getting my wires cut.

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