Lunch and Coffee at Mockingbird Hill (Shaw)

It is no secret that Mockingbird Hill is our absolute favorite bar in the city. She loves the sherry, I love the cocktails on tap, and we both love the friendly service. When they started their coffee and lunch services, I knew we had to get over there to try it out. I work half-way across the city and she works even further, so it was either dip out of work one day, or just wait until we had a weekday off. When the lady and I decided to take the entire day off before her sister’s evening bridal shower, we knew we had to fit in a trip to our favorite bar to check out the daytime offerings.

I ran some errands, we packed the car for our trip, and we were off. It felt weird to walk into the bar before noon, but I am not complaining! We sat down and perused the menu and started with drinks. I had been really curious about the Kenya Cola (Kieni coffee, sugar, bitters, soda water)  after seeing this article, so I decided on that. The idea of something tasting a like cola, but without the cloying sweetness (I stopped drinking soda several months ago, so it just tastes like pure syrup to me now) sounded so perfect. The lady went with the White Columbian (El Desarollo coffee, sugar, cream, egg white)

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Neither drink came quickly. There is a lot of work that goes into crafting these beverages. I see why they insist that you sit down and take your time. Both drinks were absolutely amazing. I was unsure of the Kenya Cola on first sip, but the next sip brought out the complex flavors of the coffee. I could had stood it being a touch sweeter, but it was still great.

Her drink was absolutely amazing. Sweet, creamy, foamy. It took everything in me to not drink all of hers. I almost got one for myself, but two coffee drinks at lunch time would have had me up all night. I will certainly be back for that one. I may even have to dip out for a long coffee break from work one day.

We also decided to grab lunch while we were there. I decided on the Tuna sandwich. I forgot to take a pic of the menu, and I don’t recall what else was in the tuna mixture. It was like a super tasty , high end tuna salad sandwich. As soon as I was finished with it, I wanted another one. So good!

 

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She had the lomo sandwich. It had lomo ham, bitter greens, pickled raisins, and some sort of aioli. It was salty and sweet and really delicious. She said she’d like to eat it every day.

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We also had the pickled snacks as a side. Different every time, always a great choice! Just a nice few bites.

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  • Favorite thing I had: My tuna sandwich and her beverage, the White Columbian. I’ve been craving both ever since.
  • Favorite thing she had:  Her drink and her lomo sandwich. She’s also been craving them. I’m really surprised we haven’t been back this week as much as we’ve both been craving everything.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: I’d like to try a coffee flight. I love coffee, but with lots of cream and sugar, so I think it’s time to start appreciating good coffee for what it is. I’d also like to try their other sandwich option. I think it had mushrooms? It was a veggie option.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): If we lived there, we’d just spend all our money at Mockingbird Hill. We’d be there every day. Most of the bartenders are starting to recognize us… can I just move in now?

Farmers, Fishers and Bakers- First Bake (DC)

Breakfast is not often a meal I will go out for, especially during the week. Considering I have to be at work at 7:30am, it’s just easier to do something easy at home. I, however, like to occasionally treat myself. On this particular day, I thought it would be nice instead of going straight to work, working remotely from Farmers, Fishers, and Bakers First Bake (their breakfast service) for a little while. You gotta keep the scenery interesting!

I walked in and took a spot at one of the long tables in the little cafe area, studied the menu, and walked back to the register to place my order. Well, actually I placed my order at the pick up window. But the woman who took my order was very nice and also very patient with me when it was obvious that my brain hadn’t started working yet. They got right to work on my breakfast taco with bacon and cafe latte. Meanwhile, I sat down to check my e-mail and also try to figure out if the girls at the next table were in college or not. They sure were loud for it to be 7:30 in the morning. I wish I had been that awake.

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My cafe latte came out first and I had just enough time to get the sweetening down and make it to my table without a spill before my taco was ready. The taco looked and smelled amazing. It was egg, onions, cheese, bacon, and was topped with a little  bit of cilantro. I gave it a couple of shakes hot sauce and dug in. It was delightful. Another half of one would have been just the right amount of food. I should have grabbed toast or something on the side.

 

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I sat there for about an hour and half, slowly enjoying the rest of my coffee. It was a nice, relatively quiet place to be. I’d say about 12 people came and went in the time I was there. About half of them took their order to go. It was definitely a less hectic place to be rather than Baked and Wired or Starbucks. It was a nice treat and way to ease into my day.

 

  • Favorite thing I had: That breakfast taco was amazing.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: The donuts!! The English muffins were huge and also looked really tasty.
  • What makes this place stand out: The restaurant is right down by the fountain in Washington Harbour, right on the water. I also really love the interior and how light and modern it is.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): I have a feeling I’ll find myself here every couple of weeks.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): Well, at this hour of the day, the only thing open is the Starbucks. So if you need more coffee on your way back to the office. Or, you could go the other direction, hop on a boat, and say screw the whole work day.

Kapnos (DC)

Last week, I talked a little about how I spent some time working in a Greek/Italian restaurant in college. I talked about the pizza there, but the owners of the place were actually Greek. I got most my learning about cooking in that kitchen from a tiny Greek woman named Irene. She taught me all about the general flavor profiles, some standard dishes, and how to pronounce the ridiculously long, but actually fairly phonetic words. I started at the Bistro just a few months after they opened and was with them for their first few years, so they became like family to me. Greek food is sometimes my comfort food.

I also mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I am quite the Top Chef fan (go figure, I just love food). So, I always take special notice of any and all Top Chef activity in the District. So, when Mike Isabella opened a greek place, it went on the list. It got bumped down a little bit for being small plates, but it was still a must try. After bouncing around at least 10 different places and looking at countless menus, we settled on Kapnos for a rare Sunday brunch.

My first impression when we walked in was that is was LOUD. I had a bit of a headache, so I started off a little irritated. I noticed that we were seated really close to a bridal party who has clearly gone bottomless. I almost asked to be moved, but we sat down, I got some coffee, and it ended up being alright save for the occasional burst of cackling. I all but forgot about the noise level once they brought our Tzatziki spread. I make a mean tzatziki myself, but this was amazing. There was fresh dill and like a citrus (maybe grapefruit and orange?) zest on top. The stone oven bread it was served with was the perfect amount of fluffy. We ran out of bread, but I kept the rest to eat with my entrée. I ordered the Spit Chicken and Waffle and she ordered the Greek Coffee Waffle. The spit chicken was delicious. Nice, crispy, flavorful skin, juicy chicken. The waffles were nice and crispy and held up to the syrup well. There was also toasted quinoa and rice sprinkled over the top of everything. Oh, and the chicken didn’t need the tzatziki, but tasted really good with it. The lady’s waffles were much softer and less crunchy, but deliciously coffee-y. They were served with cinnamon butter and whipped cream. I had a couple of bites and want to figure out how to make coffee waffles at home. Such an awesome idea I never would have had myself.

Tzatziki

Tzatziki Spread

Greek Coffee Waffles

Greek Coffee Waffle

Spit Chicken and Waffle

Spit Chicken and Waffle

We’ve now officially had waffles from two DC-based Top Chef contestants. Your move, Spike. Waffle burger? Waffle pizza? Steak and waffles with bernaise? Call me when you decide.

  • Favorite thing I had: Everything I had. The spit chicken and waffles. The tzatziki with the stone oven bread.
  • Favorite thing she had: The greek coffee waffles. Basically dessert for brunch.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: The baklava french toast (I’m so curious about what that’s even like) But really, all of it. I really dislike the small plates concept, but I think I have to go back for dinner. And we’ll definitely be back for brunch. Damn you, Mike Isabella! Making irresistibly delicious food in a small plates concept.
  • What makes this place stand out: The open kitchen area with giant spits and rotisseries. I was sitting with my back to this but kept turning around to check it out. It’s also one of the few upscale-ish greek places I’ve been to. Most are more… cozy. Dare I say, tacky?
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): I’m not going to be able to stay away from that brunch for long. There are so many places on our list, but as soon as we were done here, I wanted to do it all over again. I’d go back tomorrow if I could.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): We wandered over to Smucker’s Farms shop across the street. Then hopped in the car and tried to go up 11th street to hang out at The Coupe or Room 11 or something. Being that it was prime brunch time, everything was packed. You could just go do your grocery shopping at the new Trader Joes a few blocks down 14th.

Aside: Morning in the District

There are some things about this city that never get old to me and it’s moments like that reaffirm that this is my home now.

This morning it was on my Treat Yo’self Friday breakfast run to the Washington Harbour Starbucks. The walk from my parking garage takes me the length of Georgetown Waterfront Park, past Nancy Pelosi’s waiting motorcade, and into the Starbucks where one of the baristas always calls me baby with a slight southern drawl. It’s a perfect mix of urban beauty, a reminder that you could bump into someone important at any moment, with a little slice of my southern roots. It’s hard not to love this place.

Favorite Friday: Baked and Wired (DC)

Rather than just reviewing the new things I’m trying, I think I owe it to the places I’ve already discovered and love, to talk about them too. This is my new Friday feature: Favorite Friday. I think it is only appropriate that Baked and Wired be my first Favorites post.

I’ve worked just down the block from Baked and Wired (more affectionately called “Baked”) for 5.5 years and have been in love with it since I had my very first cupcake there. Our relationship started with a lot of passion, I was going there at least weekly. This in combination with just having started my desk-job-life definitely put a few pounds on me (I mean, what? There are no calories in anything there!) So I had to cool it a bit, but even almost 6 years later, Baked is my go-to anytime I want a treat, someone needs a birthday cupcake (they sell candles too), to celebrate a promotion, anniversary, whatever the occasion. They have every (creative) flavor of cupcake you could ever dream up, as well as various and assorted other delightful baked goods. It’s less in my wheelhouse, but they also have really great coffee and espresso. I just like a good latte and theirs hits the spot.

  • What I usually order: Well, it depends. Most often, I just go for the iced tea (Persian Nectar, most often). When I need a pick me up, a latte. When I want a treat, THE STRAWBERRY CUPCAKE. Oh my god. SO GOOD.
  • What she misses (the lady used to work right across the street and still swoons when I mention it): The lattes and the pecan bars.
  • Why I keep going back: This is the best damn cupcake in DC. Forget Georgetown Cupcake. Screw Sprinkles. When people ask about the best cupcake in DC, Baked and Wired is the only answer.
  • Thing I still haven’t tried yet: Ice Cream sandwiches! (I’ll have to check that out when DC finally thaws from this epic winter.)
  • Fun things about this place: The chalkboard art, puns (weed puns!), and riddles on the sandwich board outside. The pink bike also chained up outside. The big colorful mural on the coffee side. Even though word has gotten out and they’re fairly busy all the time, it still feels like a neighborhood spot and they take time to get to know you.

The Coupe (Columbia Heights)

Coupe Menu

We finished up at Sticky Fingers and weren’t yet ready to go home, so we wandered over to the 11 St. area to check out one of the places on our list. A diner/cafe/bar owned by the same people who own Tryst in Adam’s Morgan. I was expecting it to be jam-packed crowded, because Tryst always is, but it was perfect. We walked right in and got a table near the bar. We had plenty of options in any of the sections we wanted to be in. We weren’t sure what we were really in the mood for: coffee, tea, cocktails, beer, wine, or more food, so making our way through the menu took a while, but we each found something to enjoy. And found plenty of other stuff we’d go back for.

  • Favorite thing I had: The only thing I had, The Arctic Mule. Basically a Moscow Mule. Served in a mason jar and probably the best one I’ve ever had.
  • Favorite thing she had: The Apple Cider donuts were AMAZING.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: Any of the food. The chicken and waffles jumped out at me. More cocktails.
  • What makes this place stand out: It’s a very cozy space. There is a cafe/diner and a bar, with comfy chairs and lounge areas in between. The lighting was perfect. I just wanted to curl up with a book or my blog and spend an afternoon there.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): Next week. I want to get back really soon to try the food.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): There’s all sorts of awesome stuff within a couple of blocks. Room 11 or Maple.