Adventures in Chinatown (DC)

Well blog readers, it's a Food Versus Food bye-week, but that doesn't mean I'm leaving you with nothing. A few weeks ago I went to a conference in DC, which was pretty cool (minus the commute and the occasional SARS mask sighting). The topics were cutting edge, and I got to go to several talks completely outside of my field.

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.

Chinatown express.

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?

1 comment:

  1. That bacon blue-cheese burger looks like heaven and a coronary all in one! All this food looks amazing, and you really can't beat the first price for a meal that size. I never knew DC had such a diverse food market!