Georgetown Cupcake

Food Decor Service Cost
19 16 15 $5

So I heard through the grapevine about Georgetown Cupcake, located on Potomac Street NW (across from Dean & Deluca). I finally made my way over there a couple months ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since! Though the space is very small (sometimes you have to wait outside for your cupcakes), including only one table, this sister run cupcake-palace it worth it, especially now that they have daily and monthly schedules on their website! They also serve cafe drinks here (coffee, tea, etc) and the staff is super helpful. You can almost see the cupcakes being baked in the back, and if you don’t know what to get, they’re more than happy to share their favorites. I’m slowly trying to taste every one of their flavors, but their seasonal flavors keep evading me (blueberry coffee cake, cherry blossom, carrot cake, independence day).

They are most famous for pre-ordering (people buy these by the dozens for their friends, office mates, parties, or their children). The only bad thing is that the smallest box is for 4 or 6 cupcakes, and you have to pay for single cupcake boxes ($0.50 each). Other than that, a short walk across the key bridge can result in disaster (depending on your pace and packaging) in the form of smushed cupcakes or mixed flavors. Though these cupcakes are very moist and super yummy, sometimes there is just a little bit too much frosting on it for me, so I wipe it off.

Recommended flavors: Summer: Lemon Berry, Key Lime Everyday: Mocha, Lava, Chocolate Ganache, Chocolate Squared

Score was updated after visiting Hello Cupcake in September 2008.

From the Washington Post ‘Cupcake Wars’

About: Sisters Sophie LaMontagne and Katherine Kallinis quit their jobs last year to open this business on Valentine’s Day 2008, creating such a sensation that they now sell thousands of cupcakes a day (more than 4,000 on Saturdays). 1209 Potomac St. NW, 202-333-8448; » More About Georgetown Cupcake

The Range: A dozen varieties when we visited, including all four permutations of chocolate/vanilla, plus triple chocolate, chocolate ganache, lemon blossom, mocha, coconut and caramel apple (a special September seasonal flavor that will return in November).

Price: $2.75 each, $15 for six, $29 for a dozen.

Size: Smallish, with just the right amount of frosting. (Average weight: 3 ounces.)

How do they taste?: Wow! These are the Nadia Comanecis of the Cupcake Wars: cute, diminutive and the first to get scores of 10. Not all of them, of course; we liked the vanilla cakes less, and we weren’t too crazy about the coconut, but most of the others had us using descriptions such as “dreamy,” “creamy,” “bright” and “sensational.”

Best of the Bunch: Chocolate Squared was so moist, with deep chocolate flavor in both cake and fudgy frosting, that one taster wrote, “I’m not even a huge chocolate fan, and that is a perfect chocolate cupcake.” (Score: 9.8 out of 10.)

Price Per Ounce: 86 cents

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Food Decor Service Cost
18 21 19 $40

On our second attempt to visit Jaleo (because apparently they are closed on Mondays), we were finally able to enter the doorway. We visited the location in Crystal City, but there are two other ones (Bethesda, Downtown DC).

I love the high ceilings here (in fact, I think it’s a Crystal City trend), and it has an indoor cafe feeling–complete with LIVE music. It was a little loud at first, but as I got used to it, it really added to the atmosphere.

Jaleo has an impressive wine selection (unfortunately, I don’t care that much for wine), so I opted for some special mixed drink (mojito lemonade I think) that I had to send back for some more lemonade because it was too strong. There were many great sounding things on the menu, but I didn’t know many of the ingredients, and the menu reads like it is in Spanish (similar to Lupa’s in NYC, but with Italian). We got several dishes, and the amount of food was not always relative to the price. Some dishes we ordered: Pan con tomate (Toasted slices of rustic bread brushed with fresh tomatoes), Chistorra envuelta en patata frita (Slightly spicy chorizo wrapped in a crispy potato), Codorniz con salsa de romero y alioli con miel (Grilled quail with rosemary sauce and honey alioli), and Calamari with garlic alioli, though other tapas staples such as bacon wrapped dates, or slightly unusual “pork cheeks” sounded good. Jaleo, staying true to it’s Spanish roots, is also famous for it’s paella, and has several varieties in house, similar to pizza at an Italian restaurant.

From Zagat:

Invite your amigos to “nibble the evening away” on “tantalizing”, “imaginative” yet “authentic” Spanish tapas with “never-ending sangria to wash it all down” at this trio of “crowd-pleasers”; they’re a “loud”, “chaotic” “fiesta”, especially if there’s flamenco dancing, and they’re among the “few places where ’small plate does not equal ‘large bill’”; P.S. beware of “long waits”, as they take only a limited number of reservations.

Food: 23, Decor: 20, Service: 19, $33

Penn Quarter (480 Seventh Street NW & E. Street 202-628-7949), Bethesda (7271 Woodmont Avenue & Elm Street, Maryland 301-913-0003), Arlington (2250A Crystal Drive & 23rd Street, Crystal City Metro, Virginia 703-413-8181)

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Food Decor Service Cost
14 11 18 $25

After reading this article in the Washington Post Weekend section (7/25/08), I decided to try this restaurant. Before, the only time I had Indian food was at a tried and true restaurant called Minerva or when the occasional Indian-inspired dish popped up at an otherwise non-Indian restaurant. We ordered the recommended chat-papdi appetizer (steamed potatoes and garbanzo beans over flour chips with a yogurt, mint and tamarind sauce), and were sadly disappointed. It had way too much cilantro and it ran all together like a watery, eggy, mixture. It was too sweet and too spicy at the same time. The service crackers were also too spicy for me and had an odd taste to them, with pockets full of not-so-good flavor and served with two sauces (a diluted syrup and a cilantro paste). Our entree was the Lamb Biryani (since we’ve had biryani before, this was a good dish to measure by). This was enough food for two people (therefore making the appetizer not essential) with food left over. The lamb was cooked in consistently though. Half of the pieces were moist and delicious, but the other half were spongy, flavorless, and took minutes to chew. The rice itself was the star of the dish. Scooped up with some flaky naan, this rice, each grain itself, had a flavor, not to mention the flavors that were mixed into the rice and with the lamb. I would have preferred the egg to be mixed with the rice as well, and as a result, it remained mostly uneaten.

Jaipur’s decor leaves much to be desired (pink walls, too-dim lighting, plates with their name on it, and decorations all over the place), and the service is so-so (helpful on describing dishes and sauces, but took several visits to clear plates and empty baskets). Overall, this is a typical shopping-center-restaurant experience. Maybe their lunch buffet is better, and maybe it’s better to come as a group (I know we were seated next to a tipsy, raucous bunch that thought it necessary to place all their calls on speaker phone), but I will not be visiting again.

From Zagat:

You “won’t regret your trip” to this “jewel of North Indian cuisine” that’s “surprisingly good considering its location” “tucked in the bottom of a high-rise apartment complex” in Fairfax; enjoy a “romantic dinner for two” in “lovely” (if “very pink”) rooms “filled with Indian art” and attended by “particularly accommodating” staffers, or else go for the “ridiculously delicious and cheap lunch buffet.”
Food: 23, Decor: 20, Service: 20, $24
9401 Lee Highway (Circle Woods Drive), Fairfax, Virginia 703-766-1111

More pictures in the full entry.

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So I recently remembered when I lived with a foreign exchange student here and she made us Omu Raisu one morning. I didn’t remember anything more than ketchup and rice, and it took me two tries (and some research) to get a recipe I liked. Of course, you can put anything you want in your omu raisu–it’s a great dish to use up leftovers!

Omu Raisu

– cooked rice (I used leftover from last night’s dinner)
– ketchup
– vegetables of choice (negi, onion, cilantro, peppers, etc)
– protein of choice (I used 3 chopped up slices of left over filet mignon, but you can use fish, tofu, or deli meat).
– oil or butter
– 1 egg
– soy sauce or okonomiyaki sauce (optional)

Heat up a pan (I used a wok) and add small amount of oil or butter. Add rice and toss around pan for 1 minute. Add protein and vegetables until all are warm. Add ketchup until lightly colored (or as much as you want).

Slightly butter the egg pan. While butter heats up, whisk the egg. Thin it out with chopsticks and you can add soy sauce or okonomiyaki sauce or pepper to taste. Put in pan and allow to cook. Once done, take rice out of pan and place on plate. Organize in neat mound and flip the omelet ontop. If desired, split the top open and decorate with ketchup. If you want to encase the rice inside the omelet, use two eggs and a larger pan. Lay the egg flat, fill with rice, and flip over, then cutting. (This is a good way to keep food separated in bento).

Below are pictures of my two omu raisu.

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Chop’t Creative Salad

Food Decor Service Cost
21 19 17 $10

Chop’t, to sum it up, is a place where you can get really tasty salads that are conveniently wrapped in an edible wrapper (tortilla). This makes them ‘sandwiches’, but I just call it super yummy goodness that’s healthy for you! If you opt to have the real salad, you get about twice as much salad and no edible outside goodness. You choose your salad and dressing (there are a variety–even ‘spa’ (fat free!!) and they chop it up there in front of you with their special chopper. Another great thing that Chop’t has are their drinks. They have in house lemonade, strawberry-lemonade (I recommend), iced tea, and iced-tea/lemonade as well as hand crafted sodas (sweetened with cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup). Chop’t, though slightly expensive, is a worth-wile trip for those in the area that are in the mood for a refreshing lunch that won’t cause them to nap after lunch or regret not going to the gym (plus you can get a ‘Frequent Chopper’ card that will reward you with a free meal after 9 paid ones). Everything is fresh in Chop’t, even the bright green decor and clean, white tables. (I was bummed I didnt get a basket to get the few salad bits that fell as I ate, but that might be because they thought our order was to-go). SUPER plus points for RECYCLING too!

From Zagat:

A “salad isn’t just a salad, it’s a meal and a half” at these “cheery”, “healthy” fast-food outlets now sprouting around townl a Manhattan-grown concept involving “endless combos” of “fresh”, “choose-your-own” fixings that the counterfolk “slice and dice” with double-bladed knives, it’s “not cheap”, but it makes the cut with lunchtime “masses”; P.S. “the only thing longer than the ingredient list is the line.”

Food: 18, Decor: 12, ServiceL 17, Cost: $11
Chinatown | 730 Seventh St. NW (G St.) | 202-347-3225
Dupont Circle | 1300 Connecticut Ave. NW (Dupont Circle) | 202-327-2255

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