Logan Tavern (Logan Circle)

When friends suggested we get brunch before the Pride parade, I set out to find the best possible option. We needed something with vegetarian options that was relatively close to the parade route. As a bonus, I looked for a place that had Pride specials. Logan Tavern had all those things, so a reservation was made! It’s not normally my style to try to get into a place at what could be its busiest time, but I figured (hoped) that they would be ready for a busy day. I had never been before, but I have been to their sister restaurant, Commissary,  and was confident in my choice. My friend made mention that it was great that she just asked the lady if we wanted to do brunch and then I jumped in and planned the whole thing. When it comes to being able to choose a restaurant to try, I’m always on top of that! Our whole party showed up just a few minutes early and were seated quickly. They were busy, but they clearly had plenty of people on staff to handle the crowd. We were seated at a booth and our server came more quickly than we were able to digest the bloody mary and drink menus. We did eventually figure it out and I decided on one of the special drinks, the Carrie Bradshaw. Tequila, St. Germain, lime juice, grapefruit juice, and egg white. The server made sure to let me know the flower was edible. I ate a petal or two, but ultimately decided it was not my jam. The drink was good. It was a lot like a little bit sweeter, lighter margarita, with a nice creaminess from the egg white.   The rest of the table went with various bloody marys and the lady had a mimosa. photo4 That’s a picture of my Maria Caliente, which was my second drink (Chili pepper tequila, bloody mix, lime, and hot sauce). They warned me it was going to be spicy, and it was. But it was tasty. All the bloodys were nicely decorated.

For food, we started with the french toast sticks with caramel pecan dipping sauce.   They were fluffy on the inside but still crunchy on the outside. And the dipping sauce was top notch. I’m really surprised we didn’t have a second order of them. (Technical difficulties, picture coming soon)

 

They held us over until our food came. Which was surprisingly speedy for as busy as they were. Like I said, I was super impressed with how well everything seemed to be running.

photo3 I ordered the Chorizo and Avocado omelet. I figured that was a good, proteiny option for Pride brunch, just in case excessive drinking happened. It was really good. Not too greasy, and the avocado and salsa on top were a perfect combination.   Two of my friends ordered Eggs Benedict. This is the crab cake one. She said that it was good! She noted that the crab cakes were tasty. The lady ordered the roast turkey club. I was not in sandwich mood at all, so my bite of it wasn’t memorable, but it certainly wasn’t bad! We ended with Espresso shots (espresso, simple syrup, vanilla vodka), which were the brainchild of one of our friends at the table, and the restaurant gladly accommodated and  made them for us. They were PERFECT. I feel like that’s how I should end every meal from now on. Overall, it was a really great meal with friends. The service was excellent and I’m glad we chose it for Pride Brunch. We will certainly be back to work our way through the menu.

  • Favorite thing I had: Those french toast sticks were tasty.  My omelet was really good too. I was sort of afraid that the Chorizo would make it greasy, but it was flavorful. The avocado and salsa on top were yummy. My Maria Caliente was spicy, but really flavorful. The grilled salmon sandwich also sounded good. It was a hard decision!
  • Favorite thing she had:  She really liked the french toast sticks too. She also noted that her mimosa was good.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: The steak and eggs and the lamb burger were both thoughts I had before I settled on the omelet. I’d like to make my way through their drink menu as well.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): I can see us heading back here every couple of months. It was good, but there are so many other things in the area left to try!
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): Anything on P St! We stopped by Stoney’s beforehand for a beer. Pitango gelato is there too if you need dessert.

Matchbox, 14th St. (DC)

When trying to decide where I wanted to celebrate with a larger group of friends for birthday brunch, I thought it might be best to just choose somewhere huge, centrally located, with a wide variety of things on the menu. Matchbox on 14th St. NW came to mind pretty easily. I made a reservation online and then sent out the invite. I got a little nervous about how many people I invited versus the number I made the reservation for, so I changed it to the largest number I could. In doing this, I must have accidentally changed the day. This was not something I noticed until I looked up the phone number in my confirmation e-mail to call them and reduce the number of guests just TWO HOURS before me and 11 friends were supposed to roll up there. So of course when I noticed this, I FREAKED OUT and called them as quickly as I could. I told them the story and luckily they were able to easily accommodate our group. I was so thankful that I chose such a giant place. Crisis averted.

They seated us at a round table in a corner, which was perfect. I was able to see and talk to everyone in the group without someone getting stuck at the end of the table. Also, since I’m apparently terrible at counting people, we had to get pretty close and squeeze a couple extra chairs in. The table was juuuust big enough for the 12 of us and it worked out fine. A majority of the group were college friends who were accustomed to pulling the same kind of move in the dining hall.

Since I was with so many friends, I was paying more attention to them and less to the food. My waffle with fresh fruit and a side of bacon was tasty. My mimosas came at a good pace. The lady’s french toast was great. One friend had the steak and eggs and it looked fantastic. the lamb sandwich also looked interesting with the chickpea fries. Last time I was there, I had an excellent omelet. I won’t be going back tomorrow, but the food is always good, the service is personable and prompt. A solid experience every time.

  • Favorite thing I’ve had: Everything I ever get is good. The waffle was great. The Matchbox Mimosa was excellent. I could have drank them all day, but we had to be productive adults after brunch.
  • Favorite thing she had: The french toast.
  • How was the service? It was great. The server handled our more-than-expected group of 12 like a pro and was very personable. He even preemptively split our checks. A total lifesaver in a situation like that. At one point, we asked if they could take a picture of the whole group and they sent over someone who was clearly accustomed to such requests. Nice touch.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: The fig and prosciutto pizza. The server recommended it, but I was already set on the waffle. The cocktails. Maybe one of the bloody marys.
  • What makes this place stand out: The space is huge and airy. Exposed brick and duct work. A sizable outside seating area. A huge menu.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): I seem to end up here about once per season.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): Garden District (we tried, too crowded), Menchie’s (that’s where we ended up instead)

2 Birds 1 Stone (DC)

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I’m not even going to lie, I’ve started using this blog as an excuse to hit a second spot after dinner. We’ve also decided it’s the only way we’ll ever make it through our list before we die. After dinner at B Too, we set off up 14th St to find 2 Birds 1 Stone. I had seen some buzz about it recently and was intrigued. It was not the easiest place to find, there’s no signage on the outside at all. But we were tipsy and adventurous so we double checked the address and charged into Doi Moi and wandered until we found the stairs that took us down into 2Birds. We felt like we had discovered a secret when we walked into the space. It wasn’t too crowded and we slid into a 2-person booth to the side of the bar. Despite this being a basement bar at night, the lighting made it feel like much lighter than that. Lots of back lighting and white paint with a bunch of nooks and crannies to hide away in.

We sat down and had hand drawn menus (pictured above) placed in front of us. We both gravitated towards very typical-of-us drinks. She had the Bizzy Izzy. Rye, sherry, lemon juice, pineapple. And I had the Mancuso. Cachaca, chartreuse, ginger beer. The ginger beer was quite strong in mine, but still pretty tasty. Hers was probably one of the best drinks I’ve had this year. The pineapple was a perfect balance to the rye and sherry. I’d go back just for that. I’m looking forward to our next visit.

On our way out, we made a pit stop to the restroom. While I was waiting in line, a girl asked if she could dip in quickly before me to take a picture of the wallpaper. It was certainly worthy of a picture, and I did take one, but it’s a bit pornographic to post in a food and bev blog. You’ll have to go see it yourself. Upon our exit, we discovered the main door of the bar on S St. NW. That seems like the easier way to get in, rather than wandering through a very crowded Doi Moi.

  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: Maybe I’d go for the punch of the day next time. 
  • Most interesting thing she wants to try next time: It sounds like their menu rotates pretty regularly. She’s always on the look out for a new tasty whiskey drink. And has an interest in trying more sherry.
  • What makes this place stand out: Where do I begin? The cozy basement space with tons of nooks to the very naughty wallpaper in the bathroom. The hand drawn menus.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions):  The next time we’re looking for a second spot in the area. This is the kind of place I’d like to take an out of town guest (cool and unique). Not crowded and cozy with good drinks is my sweet spot.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): Take your pick. It’s in the middle of 14th St. My first thought was Pearl Dive.

No. 9 Lounge at Evening Star Cafe (Del Ray)

No. 9 Lounge

 I will spend this week reviewing all the places I went for my birthday this past weekend. I started the celebrating a few days early this year. (What? I’m an Aries)

After particularly difficult days at work for both the lady and me, I thought it might be nice for us to go grab a drink nearby. (After we both hit the gym and ate leftovers at home, because that’s how we roll). We’ve been to Evening Star a few times in the past 6 years, but No. 9 Lounge caught my eye a couple of weeks ago and has been on my short list ever since. I figured that it would be the perfect place to start my birthday weekend early, so off we went. The entrance to No. 9 is on the side of the Evening Star building. We went in, walked past The Majestic Lounge downstairs, up the steps, and into No. 9. We grabbed the last 2 (very plush and comfortable) seats left at the small bar. There was a band setting up to play in the back corner and a pool table, shuffle board, and sizable TV in the opposite corner. Couches around the edges of the room and a big communal table on the middle. This is definitely a neighborhood bar. As per Neighborhood Restaurant Group standard, they had quite an impressive draft list, a good bottle selection, and from what I could tell, a decent wine selection (wine is my weak spot, don’t know much about it except that I like it).

We went straight for the cocktails list, which initially excited us. All of the drinks sounded interesting and we gravitated towards a couple in particular but took a minute or two to settle. She went for the Rye Sparkler. Rye, cava, chocolate bitters, and vanilla syrup. It was served in a champagne flute with a cherry and sugar cube at the bottom. I went with The Good Herb. Rum, lavender syrup, lemon juice, burlesque bitters. They were both good! Hers got a little bit too sweet as she continued drinking and there was something about the lavender syrup that gave mine an odd aftertaste. Mine got a little better as it warmed up, surprisingly. They were not drinks we could come back and order time and time again, but we both appreciated the creativity. In general, the ingredients were in the wheelhouse of what we like. We’ll be back to try the other cocktails. Or to drink beer. I do love beer.

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  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: The Arcadian. Gin, honey syrup, arcadian rosemary
  • Most interesting thing she wants to try next time: The Smoked Old Fashioned. House-smoked Maker’s!
  • What makes this place stand out: The set up for live music. It’s not something I would expect as part of a place like Evening Star. We didn’t stick around for the music this time, but maybe something to check out in the future.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): Next time I want a fancy-ish cocktail close to home.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): Ahh, anywhere in Del Ray. I’d go next door to Planet Wine (retail wine and beer) and then down the street to Dairy Godmother.

The Passenger (DC)

I suppose I’ll go ahead and round out the week with a review for the other Derek Brown spot we’ve been to. While I’m still not sure how I feel about the highly specialized places (intrigued, willing to keep trying, not yet in love), I am totally down with a speakeasy-esque place with super talented bartenders just waiting to make me something delightful. As per our usual style, we rolled up at about 6pm on a Friday (early) night and got two seats at the bar. We had already had dinner, so we just went for drinks. I was a little surprised that the area behind the bar was rather small, a little cluttered, but they had every ingredient you could want. And excellent music. There was a chalkboard with some themed-cocktails on it and several bartenders just waiting to make whatever I wanted. I had one of the cocktails on the board. I think it had Ginger beer (because of course it did). Then, for my second drink, I asked for a Gin Rickey-type drink with Green Hat, but sparkling. The drink had some sort of interesting bitter and was sparkling. It was quite delightful and I can’t wait to go back and throw some ideas at the bar keeps and see what they come up with.

  • Favorite thing I’ve had: The first drink I had with gin and ginger beer and bitters was consumed quickly.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: I’d like to see what they can do with an egg-white drink.
  • What makes this place stand out: The incredible bartenders who are ready to make whatever you want. The Columbia Room in the back, if you’re feeling like spending some money.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): In a couple of weeks after the cocktail board has some time to evolve. 
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): I’d dip down into Chinatown and hit City Tap House.