And I got to spend some time in Chinatown, just a few minutes' walk from the Walter E Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
In short, I got to eat.
Sure, I presented a poster. But let's get serious, the food was the highlight here.
Some of the cool features of Chintown:
|I like the decorations...|
A friend took me to lunch at Chinatown Express - there's a window in the front of the restaurant where you can see workers making hand-made noodles and dumplings. This place is definitely no-frills. It's packed, noisy, and has a $20 minimum charge so bring cash.
And they serve up a fabulous plate of food for cheap. I got a noodle soup with chicken and vegetables, and made liberal use of a really excellent condiment made with ginger and scallion. And garlic slices packed in oil. That extremely filling lunch special ran $6.95 and came with hot tea.
|Noodle-making in progress. I didn't take a picture of the actual soup.|
|Not sure if you can see the poultry (ducks?) through the glass...|
but meat hanging in a window of a restaurant is something I typically consider a Good Sign.
Another day, I caught up with a friend and former coworker. We went to Matchbox Pizza. Some dude that one of my companions identified as "Top Chef" contestant was eating there at the same time. I refused to bother the guy during his meal.
|Matchboxes set in the table play up the theme.|
|A pizza from Matchbox.|
|A freaking amazing bacon-blue-cheese burger with onion rings.|
Sadly, there were days where I was too busy to leave the conference center.
|See this breakfast? $8. I kid you not. It wasn't even from Starbucks. |
Sadly, because I was still working in Baltimore at nights, I needed coffee throughout. Badly.
Fortunately, delicious food was to be had on the cheap when I could get away. Like this lunch special at Mehak. (chicken tikka masala, lentils, some type of potato, basmati rice, raita, chutney/tamarind in the middle, and fresh Naan - $9).
|Lunch special at Mehak.|
And of course, I had to make one stop at Chop't for a delicious salad. This was the first time I've been there that hasn't been after a race (like the Army 10 miler, already in/near DC). Usually I'm salt-crusted and tired and hungry and ready to nap. This time, I took my time and read a book and enjoyed my salad.
Here's their Palm Beach Shrimp salad, fine chopped, with pita chips added in. It comes with a side of tortilla. Chop't also sells soda made with cane sugar, not HFCS (though I still exercised moderation).
|Palm Beach Shrimp salad + pita mix-in at Chop't. |
It doesn't look like a lot of food, but it was surprisingly filling.
These were the places I found wandering around DC and based on recommendations from people who live and work there. How do you find food in new places?