You know the drill: we open every write-up about a taqueria talking about what a tough time we’ve had finding good Mexican food in the DC area.  Since we started, we’ve received a couple of good recommendations, and we’ve been fortunate enough to find a few winners on our own.  At this point, I may be willing to concede that we were looking in the wrong places to begin with.

From now until April 1st, we know exactly where to look for by-the-book tacos in an unexpected setting: Tacos Impala.  This pop-up taco stand has taken up residency in the Philadelphia Water Ice Company’s digs at 1204 H Street, NE, and they’ll be turning out the tortillas for another two months.  If you miss out, you have only yourself to blame.

Everything about this classic street food is handmade fresh on a daily basis, from the corn tortillas to the chopped radish, onion and cilantro that make up the only available toppings.  Even the two sauce options – a green, tomatillo-based salsa verde and the milder red ‘Sauce Impala’ using guajillos – are made from scratch.  They make ingredient runs to the Florida Market six days a week.  And they show a deft hand when it comes to spicing the meats and beans that fill those homemade tortillas.

The story on what brings these tasty tacos to H Street after the jump. (more…)

If you’ve ever wondered why you couldn’t get a decent corned beef on rye in the same place you got your Old Overholt Rye, your decidedly secular prayers have been answered.  On Friday and Saturday night last weekend, word got out that another long-awaited H Street establishment would be doing a soft opening for Facebook fans and local friends alike.  Just a few doors down from Dangerously Delicious Pies, Star and Shamrock has arrived.

Part Irish bar and part Jewish delicatessen, Star and Shamrock Tavern & Deli is a food and beverage mash-up that fits perfectly into the Atlas District’s increasingly eclectic nightlife and dining scene.  We poked our heads in on Monday afternoon for a quick look around and a chat with the guys behind the pastrami-and-a-pint concept.

A look at what’s in store – from the deli counter as well as the bar – after the jump. (more…)

An increasingly diverse selection of restaurants is opening along the H Street Corridor, and the most recent addition offers an authentic taste of Morocco in an intimate setting.  Alami Rahim’s Souk is less than a month old, and it’s already making a name for itself among the likes of Granville Moore’s, Taylor Gourmet and Sticky Rice.  If you’re looking for traditional hummus or homemade baklava, Souk is worth a look.

On a recent Wednesday night, we headed down the block to seek out Souk.  We read some positive reviews over at FrozenTropics, but we wanted to see for ourselves.  I’m a sucker for good, rich hummus (got the taste for it at Perfect Pita in Old Town), and I’ve been trying to find a place that could match that creamy consistency.  A few tastes in, I could tell that I was dealing with a real contender.

More from Morocco after the jump. (more…)

Dangerously Logo<<UPDATE: 11/16/09 @ 6:00 PM:  I just got off the phone with the folks at Dangerously Delicious, and they told me they’re still a few weeks away from their official opening, but they are accepting Thanksgiving orders over the phone for pickup at the store.

They are offering five of their sweet pies for order: apple, apple crumb, pecan, pumpkin and sweet potato.  Pies are $30 each and weigh in at 5 pounds.  Give them at call at (202) 398-PIES and place your order today.>>

Every so often, we’re faced with something so coincidental that we just have to stop wonder if there isn’t something bigger at work.  Sure, for some people these kinds of existential questions are triggered by major life events.  For us, go figure, it’s food.

Back in June, we took a trip up to Hampden in Baltimore.  While checking out HonFest, an old favorite event, we made our way to Dangerously Delicious Pies.  It was our first experience with the rock n’ roll pie place, and we left with a major sugar high and a healthy respect for the shop’s repertoire.  We even promised a return visit next time we’re in Baltimore.

1339And that’s where the big coincidence comes in.

No sooner had we posted our write-up in early July than Alex and our friends over at Brightest Young Things broke the news that Dangerously Delicious would soon be expanding into Washington.  They’d be opening up at 1339 H Street, NE, near the Rock n’ Roll Hotel, before the end of the year.  That’s right – not only were the pies following us from Baltimore, they would be taking up residence in our neighborhood!

Now we’re just a few short days away from Thanksgiving, and the pieman is just about ready to throw open his oven doors.  Pick your favorite for the holiday after the jump. (more…)

About-to-quit-New York Times food critic Frank Bruni shares this outstanding article on the lessons he learned about human nature during his time as a top-notch restaurant critic. Namely, everyone wants steak, everyone wants their dish to be the best at the table (well I’m sure I wouldn’t know anything about competitive ordering), and the world is divided between hoarders and sharers.
 
Are the world’s best peaches from an obscure section of China? Somebody get Snapple on the phone. 
 
Watermelon Bloody Marys from The Bitten Word. 
 
Here’s a shock: An obesity researcher shares her concerns with the proliferation of prepared foods
 
We’re hoping time speeds up to bring the new H St NE German Beer Haus to us even faster.

Crispy on the Outside finds a potentially lucrative way to combine a love of food and law.   
 
Pringles takes advantage of social media to push its sweepstake on 100 ways to eat your Pringles.  
 
DCist has the dirt on organic grocery stores in Columbia Heights and Petworth. 
 
Wondering where past season winners of Top Chef are working now? USA TODAY has a round up (get out your reading glasses – the print in this story is tiny!). 
 
10 mistakes diners make in restaurants.  
 
Imagine if Chef Maupillier quit his job at Central to become culinary director of DC Central Kitchen. Switch the DC locations for Bay Area spots, and that’s pretty much what this guy did.  
 
How to make homemade orange bitters.  

History’s greatest wine hoax.  
 
Check out the art in the garden culinary arts festival at the Bontanic Gardens today.  Don’t worry about the weather – the event is under a tent and rain or shine. 
 
A global shortage of hops has promoted many Canadian farmers to grow their own, resulting in a new set of microbrewers.

<<EDIT 1:20 PM:  Nice to see the big TV star hasn’t let fame go to his head.  Teddy Folkman emailed to inform us: “I must admit, the menu is definitely Ann Cashion with input from me, whether taken or not. And you have to mention Chef Pablo [Cardoso – formerly of Cashion’s Eat Place and Jackie’s in Silver Spring] who is running the thing.”  Thanks for the heads up, chef!>>

H Street Club BallAs we mentioned in yesterday’s First Look at Blue Ridge, restaurants seem to be opening all over Washington these days.  But few of them have been as eagerly anticipated – and certainly not for as long – as the H Street Country Club.  Rumors and speculations about Joe Englert’s newest H Street concern have run rampant for more than two years, fueled by regular updates from Tim Carman, the Going Out Gurus, FrozenTropics and pretty much everyone else.

But now that Teddy “The Next Food Network Star” Folkman’s (second) Food Network premiere is less than a month away, the stars finally seem to have aligned.  The H Street Country Club will open to the public on Wednesday, May 27th (two days after Memorial Day)!

Bags and FlagsWe had the opportunity to take an early look at the space with Teddy a few weeks back (okay…it was almost two months ago), and we’ve been waiting for the official announcement to share what we learned.  Believe me – it’s been hard.  Long story short: this is a restaurant/bar unlike anything you’ve seen in DC, and it has the potential to cement H Street’s reputation as the go-to place for unique nightlife opportunities.  In other words, it’s classic Joe Englert.

But Englert’s visions (tortured though some of them seem to be) aren’t the only ones playing out inside the massive Country Club space.  Folkman’s Mexican-inflected menu draws heavily on the input of one of his chief culinary influences – his former boss, Ann Cashion.

Food, Folkman, fun and photos after the jump. (more…)

One of Inked's Many Great Market Shots at frozentropics.blogspot.com

One of Inked's many great market shots from http://frozentropics.blogspot.com

The weather is getting warmer, local ramps and asparagus have started to show up at markets (if you get there early enough to snag them), and we’ve already had a few days hot enough to make think about turning on the air conditioning.  For those of us who live in the H Street neighborhood, that means it’s farmers’ market time again!

Sure, you can find farm-fresh produce all year ’round at the Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market…but if you’ve been there on a snowy January (or even March) morning you know that H Street isn’t missing much by waiting until the first weekend in May to open up.  Don’t get me wrong – apples, kale and root vegetables are especially delicious when they’re local – but the ‘wow’ factor that comes from colorful fruits and vegetables just isn’t there.

Tomorrow morning at 9 AM, the opening bell will signal the start of the H Street FreshFarm Market’s fifth season.  That’s right – the market has been doing H Street since 2004 – way before H Street was cool.  Located in a parking lot on H between 6th and 7th Streets, NE, this producers-only market is open until noon every Saturday morning from now until November 21st.

Some coming attractions for this season – including the two new vendors who will be participating this year – after the jump. (more…)