DC is a food city worth its ice-melting salt but there are some missing pieces in our flawless plan. We listed out some destinations we wish we could move part and parcel into our fair capital. But the real question is, what restaurants do you wish would move to DC? Share the wealth.
Tartine (San Francisco) – I have long lamented the state of bakeries in the DC area. While we have a few noteworthy destinations, I have yet to come across a single bakery and cafe that suits all my needs. And this is no diva list. My needs are simple. I want a bakery that can make a killer croissant and bad ass espresso in the same building. I want an organic feeling cafe where I can sit down and enjoy both of these masterpieces along with a book or across the table from a good friend. Tartine has mastered this equation. I wish they would bring it this way. I’ll even help them scout neighborhoods.
Hot Doug’s (Chicago) – DC is a one hot dog kind of town. Bless our loyalty but we are Ben’s bitches. I’d like to see Hot Doug’s, a Chicago hot dog institution, set up shop and give Ben’s a run for its money. Sure Hot Doug’s can’t touch Ben’s when it comes to DC history and culture. But how about a quality dog with creative, well-executed toppings? Feeling fancy? Try one of Doug’s a dogs topped with foie gras or sauternes duck sausage topped with truffle aioli, foie mousse and sel gris. Even if you are a classicist, at Hot Doug’s the dogs have a satisfying snap, the toppings are on point, and the prices are right. Please visit, Doug. DC needs you.
Casa Bonita (Denver) – I’ll level with you. The food, it is terrible. Mostly mass produced Mexican from a conveyor belt. The prices are ridiculous for the quality. I’m sure if there were actual windows or if the lights were ever turned all the way up I’d find the whole restaurant to be a mess of sticky children’s birthday party filth. But I also think DC children and DC’s young at heart would be a happier bunch if Denver’s infamous La Casa Bonita were in our town. What’s a few overpriced sopapillas when your restaurant has cliff divers? And a video arcade cave? And one of those old timey sepia photo booths where it looks like you took your family to the wild, wild west and your wife and daughter are common saloon whores? Even South Park opined the pleasures of Casa Bonita. I mean, how do birthday parties in DC survive without this place?
Three more holes in DC’s foodie heart after the jump.
Oklahoma Joe’s (Kansas City) – A wise foodie may advise you against dining in a gas station. A foolish person would heed this advice if he is in Kansas City and that gas station houses Oklahoma Joe’s. No frills, no pretention, no diets. Oklahoma Joe’s ribs are, hands down, the best in Kansas City. Which of course makes them the best in the world. Disagree? Take it up with Anthony Bourdain. That quote is his. I know DC tries to keep our BBQ styles location neutral but I say it’s time the gloves come off. I’m sick of southerners talking about their pulled pork sandwiches like it means something. Open up an Oklahoma Joe’s in DC and folks will know what real BBQ tastes like as they lick sauce off their fingertips.
El Balazo (San Francisco) – What I wouldn’t give for a big ass Baja-style burrito. The Californian complaint that there is no good Mexican in DC is borderline cliche. My highly unscientific deduction is that most West Coasters grew up on Baja-style Mexican food featuring fresh ingredients and seafood. Most Mexican restaurants in DC seem to be Mexican/Salvadoran blends or simply highlighting the cuisine of southern Mexico. A pupusa is all well and good but my heart aches when I think about walking into any basic taqueira as it shovels out the right amounts of ingredients into the world’s largest burrito.
Milk & Cookies Bakery (New York) – Blame my neverending adoration for sugar but DC could use a variation on the dessert destinations. Cupcakes with a side of Range Rover are nice but we need a new game in town. The West Village’s Milk & Cookies suits my no-fuss tastes just fine. This simple, petite shop smells like the delicious baked goods they serve day in and day out. Decor stops just short of precious, staying in innocent and charming territory. Milk & Cookies is a simple pleasures way to take a load off mid-shopping day. Plant one on Wisconsin Avenue or downtown Bethesda and watch the fans grow.