Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Lunch in Downtown DC

While I’ll admit that I’ve dreamt many times about staying at home all day, cooking, reading, reading about cooking, cooking what I’m reading about (you can see where this is going) I must admit that working downtown does have its advantages. Namely- I get to have lunch at some pretty fantastic spots.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what tasty (and not-so-hot) haunts exist in the CBD (central business district,) and if I didn’t work near them I might miss them (as I don’t venture down here on the weekends too often.) Here are a few of my favorite lunch spots in the Dupont-Farragut area:

Couscous Café (1195 19th St. NW) I’ve written about this spot before, but it’s always worth mentioning again. Nothing’s more comforting on a cold, winter day than a bright restaurant, with lovely music, lovely service and beautiful Mediterranean food. You get more than your money’s worth of couscous, roasted chicken, vegetables, hummus and tabouleh. This is a perfect place for takeout but an even better place to sit, take in the relaxing vibe and enjoy a warm meal. And whoever the sweet old lady is that pours free tea, she’s welcome to come stay with me. Love her.

Naan and Beyond (1710 L St. NW) While some may argue their food is fairly mundane Indian cuisine, I’d argue that their choices are perfect and their flavors are strong. My friend Angela and I meet here every so often to talk about life. I usually stick with the tikka family – chicken and lamb are my picks – but their rice is not to be missed. And make sure to get both the mango and mint sauces to top your selection.

California Grill (1720 M St. NW) I’m not saying I like everything they have to offer, but I AM saying they have the best turkey melt around. Not to mention that one of the men behind the counter calls me “Love” and told me that if there is ever anything he can get for me, to just ask. Well, let me say all I will ever ask of him is that he keeps making that fabulous turkey melt, piled high with thick cut meat and oozing cheese on toasted wheat bread. Now that’s love.

Mackey’s (1823 L St. NW) I usually get a salad when I go to Mackey’s (Salmon, if they have it) but ever since I had their fish and chips I’ve wanted more. While I can’t proclaim it’s the best fish and chips I’ve ever had, I can say that I’ve never had a problem finding a table at lunch. And there’s a lot to be said for that around here. When it’s nice out, there’s outdoor seating as well. And as long as there’ not a union protest going on across the street, that’s pretty pleasant.

Vapiano (1800 M St. NW) Vapiano is becoming one of my favorite places to eat lunch in solitude, with a good book (about food) or a good (food) magazine. I try to get there right at noon and have never had a problem getting fast food and a seat. However, I’ve walked by around 12:30 or 1 and noticed that the place is packed. If you’re going to try Vapiano’s (and if you’re going to park it at one of their high tables) get there early. My favorite lunch- insalada mista with shrimp, sautéed with garlic and chili. I’ve tried the pasta and pizza, and while they’re tasty and fresh, they’re a little heavy for lunch.

No comments: