Sunday, April 4, 2010
So far our favorite restaurant in DC has been Matchbox. We've been to both locations in Chinatown and Barrack's Row on 8th. The Barracks Row location is way closer (walking distance) to us so we've been there more. I'm slightly obsessed. J makes fun of me.
We had a married couple come visit us (separately though, but within a week of each other) and they both wanted to go there...which was fine by me! BF was so excited to get to eat hamburgers and pizza in the same meal.
Matchbox is known for their drinks. They have a very large drink menu and some great wines by the glass and reasonable (read: below 10 dollars) prices. They also have a fun section called Fancy-schmancy spirits with all kinds of liquors if that is your kind of thing.
We have ordered the "mini burgers" a couple of times. They are sliders that you can choose 3, 6 or 9 of. The mini burgers are hand-pattied certified angus beef on a toasted brioche with a giant pile of onion straws in the middle. I can't describe how good these burgers are. The bread is buttered, toasted and light. The beef is extremely juicy and incredibly flavorful considering its size. I want to know what they marinate the beef in to get that much flavor in each bite! The onion straws are amazing! J doesn't eat onions but he grabs these by the handful. The batter is great, salty and light.
Now comes the difficult part. J likes meatballs and pepperoni and sometimes sausage. I like prosciutto, olives, anchovies, arugula, capers, etc., but I enjoy pepperoni too! So we always have an issue when we order pizza. I want to branch out, but he doesn't. Last time we just ordered two small pizzas (which is not the best value, the large pizza is between $15 and $20 and the small is between $12 and $15, the large is much bigger and I think a better bang for your buck) so that we could get what we wanted. J likes the Matchbox, which is pepperoni / spicy italian sausage / crispy bacon / zesty tomato sauce / mozzarella. It definitely has a spicy kick to it. I couldn't handle the Spicy Meatball pizza because it's all spicy meatball and nothing else (spicy meatball house-made spicy meatballs / crispy bacon / crushed red pepper / fresh garlic puree / zesty tomato sauce / mozzarella) where the Matchbox at least has some nonspice elements.
I ordered the Coppa Italian Ham and Arugla last time. It is coppa italian ham & arugulapesto / ricotta / roma tomato / mozzarella. Coppa italian ham seemed to be a thicker cut of proscuitto. I love pizza with fresh spinach or arugla on top and this fits the bill. They cook the pizza (like all of their pizza) in a big pizza oven. Last time we ordered take out I hung out by the pizza guys and watch the guys work their magic. It looks like a highly specialized skill to cook in a pizza oven. He was constantly moving the pizza around the oven, bringing it out to check the crust, rotating them, etc. When you pizza comes out it is literally sizziling. I love my crust almost burnt and Matchbox cooks it to crusty deliciousness. Then they pile the arugla on top and it is this great combination of rich pesto and ham with fresh, lite lettuce on top.
I would love to try the serrano spanish ham & pecorino romano with roasted garlic / ricotta / buffalo mozzarella / oven-dried tomato or the white anchovy & capers with roasted garlic / red onions / buffalo mozzarella / arugula. Wish me luck trying to talk J into that!
With the other half the married couple, EF and I downed a whole pizza and then we wanted to try dessert. Their dessert menu is pretty tasty looking!
I want to try the fresh fruit pizza, the molten chocolate cake and the chocolate chip bread pudding with banana. EF and I had the coffee & doughnuts. The donuts are actually beignets and the coffee is a little espresso cup with Kahlua and espresso sauce. They are delicious! The beignets come in orange and cinnamon flavors in a cute paper cone. It is surprising how many beignets fit in there. This is definitely a dessert to split! All the desserts are below 10 bucks or you can get a trio for 12. Seems pretty reasonable to me!
Talk about a meal, burgers, pizza AND donuts!
A quick note about the service; the takeout guy Mike is awesome. (is it sad I know his name?) He is super friendly and helpful. We've had a couple of service road bumps but they've always made up for it. One time our sliders took about a hundred years to come out so they gave us free dessert. We don't mind restaurants making a mistake as long as they realize it and say sorry. We realize that the waiters/waitress/kitchen staff are human, but good service is extremely important to us. Please don't treat us like we should feel privileged to eat in your restaurant (this is definitely not toward Matchbox, just a lot of other DC joints we have patronized recently)!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
We were super bored from sitting around the apartment during the aftermath of snowmaggedon, so we wanted to leave early for our reservation. We were wayyyy early, so we stopped at La Tasca for drinks and appetizers (more specifically, tapas) and sat at the bar. The specials were awesome! $3.50 glasses of draft beer, house wine ($15 bottles), Sangria ($15 pitchers) and $3.50 select tapas. J and I ordered the Calamares Andaluza, fried calamari with garlic mayonnaise. The first order (yes we ended up ordering two of them) was great, not too chewy and the garlic mayonnaise (which was red, which threw me off a little) was yummy! We also ordered the house-made potatoe chips with a cheese dipping sauce, which was delicioso but in tiny amounts, and more of the garlic mayonnaise. Some chips were thick and crunchy, others were kind of chewy. We wanted to try the Patatas Bravas Deep fried potatoes with a spicy sauce, but haven't yet. The next order of the calamari was rather chewy. It also took forever, so I think it probably sat out for a while under the heat lamp and sent it south. We asked the bartender if we could only have the round piece and no giant leggy pieces, but that was a no go.
They have a really great wine list and some fun sangrias. The bartender suggested I tried Cava Sangria, a bubbly sangria made with sparkling wine, triple sec, and brandy blended with grape juice and blueberries. It tasted way too much like welchs grape juice to me, so J drank it. I had the house red (for $3.50!) and I liked it. I'd love to try the Agua de Valencia, a twist to the traditional Mimosa.
After La Tasca, we headed to our reservations at Clyde's. Zagat rated it a 19 out of 30 for food, so not great but not bad either, so we were hoping it would be good. From the moment we walked in it was downhill. The ambiance felt like an upscale luby's with the padded seats and horrible, old school patterns on every surface. The size was overwhelming. People and tables were everywhere. We had reservations and were seated a little early. It took about 10 minutes to even see a waiter. By that time we obviously knew what we wanted. I got the Butternut Squash Ravioli with roasted mushrooms, Swiss chard, roasted red peppers, smoked ham, crumbled goat cheese and sage butter sauce. It was okay. The flavor was kind of a lacking...would have done well with some salt. I was disappointed in the lack of butternut squash taste. Probably better than what I could make, so I guess that is saying something...
Shockingly, J ordered a salad. Fried Chicken Salad with candied pecans, eggs, crumbled bleu cheese, dried cranberries, bacon and honey mustard dressing. It had a great spice to it that we couldn't ever nail down. The candied pecans were delish and the giant pieces of fried chicken were great. Almost made it not worthy of being called a salad.
At this point, we were going to order some of the seriously yum looking cocktails for dessert (oatmeal cookie!), but never saw our waiter again. They bring you a water pitcher at the beginning of the meal, so we didn't even see a water guy either. Right before we left, we noticed other tables were getting bread too that we also never received.
As soon as we could flag down our waiter we got our check, paid and got out of there. We were trying to make a movie and had no idea how long it would take to get the credit card back. Needless to say, we saved some money on a good tip. We were sad to miss out on the cool cocktails though.
We would definitely not recommend Clyde's for a date or group event. It is amazing to me this place is owned by the same folks as 1789 and Old Ebbitt Grill, considering how great both of those are. We will be visiting La Tasca again soon however and definitely during happy hour!
Monday, December 21, 2009
They had two drink specials that night, one champagne and berry liqueur drink and a Martini di Ananas (an organic vodka infused with fresh pineapple for no less than seven days and then strained). Since our dinners were free, we thought we had to get drinks! I happened to have both (shhh) and they were great! I loved the Champagne cocktail, just the perfect amount of sweet and berry. Very refreshing.
The free menu was actually quite comprehensive. They offered salads as a first course and quite a few second courses from Eggplant parm to Wagyu Beef Lasagna to Chicken Piccata. The best thing (well besides the fact it is free) is that it is all organic and homemade pastas.
We were served some great bread with dipping oil as a starter when we ordered our drinks. We were also offered purified in-house Natura still or sparkling water for a dollar. Because we are ridiculously cheap, we declined and went for what the waiter called "Dallas Tap".
I ordered the Cesar with anchovies (normally they don't put anchovies on their Cesar on Monday's, but my waiter was nice) and B got it without. I enjoyed my salad; they definitely didn't hold back on the dressing! The polenta croutons were great.
B got the Lasagna Bolognese with handcrafted pasta, ricotta cheese and rustic Wagyu beef sauce. It was delicious! Very meaty and not too sweet. I ordered the Eggplant Parmesan. There was supposed to be thin handmade pasta layers in between the eggplant, but I honestly couldn't tell the difference in consistency between the pasta and eggplant if it was in there. The sauce was SPICY! Cleared out my sinuses, that's for sure! I wouldn't really recommend ordering it.
I'd love to try their brunch and their Sunday 3-course, all-you-can-eat dinner for $15.95 per person sometime soon! They have a pretty extensive drink menu, borrowing some offerings from Trece, their sister restaurant across the street. They also have quite a few bottles of wine less than $40, so great for sharing! The pizzas also looked promising!
Happy Free Eating!
Addendum to previous post...
J and I went back recently, so I wanted to update this post! I ordered the risotto and would definitely not recommend. It was very bland and heavy and lacked a lot of salt. J got the lasagna and it was, yet again, amazing. One thing I forgot to mention previously was the bread. It is a delicious focaccia with a great balsamic vinegar dipping sauce. We ate at least two or three baskets worth! Happy eating!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
As we were heading to the motherland, A&M, last weekend for the game (Thanks Mitch for the free tickets!), we realized we were starving. He wanted to stop at Grandy's (ew, gross), but I thought we'd see something more fun on the way down. As we were about to exit onto 35E south, I remembered Fuel City. We rapidly changed over 4 or so lanes and exited Industrial. We'd had dinner tacos there and liked them but thought they were too spicy, but I was willing to give their breakfast tacos a try. We pulled up next to a suv full of Dallas A&M Club aggies we'd played flag football with, so I knew it had potential! I ordered a bacon and egg and an egg and chorizo on flour. I think they are a little over a buck each. FYI, they only take cash, so come prepared or be ready to get money out of the ATM right next to the window and pay a three buck charge.
They were delicious! The bacon was actually crispy, was a pleasant surprise and the chorizo had a good amount of spice. It was, however, very very greasy, so not as good as Taco Joint. I want to try mine on corn tortillas next time. The pico and hot sauce were also very tasty.
Try it next time you are on the south side of Downtown! I know we will next time we head to College Station!
(FYI...they won the #1 must eat before you die in Texas Monthly)
801 S Industrial BlvdDallas, TX 75207
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Touching on the biscuits, as A so clearly outlined that I looooooved! They were amazing...I mean, life changingly, ridiculously awesome flakiness and goodness. The biscuits were really really good, and if you go to Babe's for nothing else, go there for the biscuits, seriously!