Surfside — Lunch on 23 May 2015

On Thursday, the weather in Washington reverted to what felt like a cold and rainy day in March.  It was too damn dreary to go out, so I lunched on leftovers at home.

Friday, things were back to normal.  It was a beautiful day in late May, and I was off to finish my Week of Eating Cheaply experiment.  I didn’t go far.



Surfside is a little taco stand only a bit more than a block away from where i live.  It’s open 24 hours a day.  I’ve often walked past it at night, when it attracts a v mixed clientele—some people in club gear, some in shorts and t-shirts, some in uniforms.

The menu offers tacos and burritos made to order with ultra-fresh ingredients.


License Plates

If you look closely at the license plates that decorate the wall, you’ll notice that they’re from places—mainly islands—that are known for their beaches.  Aruba, Bahamas. Curacao, Puerto Rico.   Each dish on the menu is named after a famous beach, from Malibu to Bora Bora.



I had the Cabo San Lucas tacos, which were tortillas filled with grilled steak and peppers, supplemented by avocado, red onions, lime sour cream, and cilantro.  The tacos came w/a small serving of rice.

Looks pretty, doesn’t it?  It tasted good, too.  A steal at just under $10.

So that’s the end of my Cheap Eats week.  I’d call it a success.  I tried four new (to me) places, and liked them all.

The amazing Floating Market Noodle Soup at Nava Thai was the obvious standout, but I found something memorable at every place I tried.  I’ll be returning to all of them.

Herndon Monument Climb, Class of 2018

And how did you spend Monday?


In Annapolis, the plebes (first year students) of the U.S. Naval Academy ended another academic year with the annual Herndon Monument climb.  This has traditionally marked the official end of the plebe year.

The plebes form a human pyramid around the greased, 21-foot-tall monument, and try to seize a hat that upperclassmen have placed on the top.   It’s unclear how long this has been going on, but they started timing it back in the 1950s.

The climb took an hour and 38 minutes this year.  Here’s a slideshow of photos found on the Net:

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And here’s the official Naval Academy video:

Shaun the Sheep Movie Trailer

This is the last of the series of TV and movie trailers I’ve been posting recently…until the next interesting-sounding movie comes along.   Shaun the Sheep Movie is the latest from Aardman Animations, the creators of Chicken Run and those wonderful Wallace and Gromit movies.

I notice that the dog in the new film looks a lot like Gromit.  With that pedigree (ahem) it’s bound to be good.

Shaun the Sheep Movie will be in theatres starting on 7 August 2015.


District Fishwife — Lunch on 20 May 2015

The week of eating cheaply continues, as I go in search of some decent fish and chips.  And the search takes us to the District Fishwife, which has a shop in the newish Union Market.

Union Market

Union Market

DC doesn’t have anything like Baltimore’s Lexington Market or Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market. There’s Eastern Market, w/a small number of vendors, and the various Farmers’ Markets that open up around the city for one day a week.

Union Market is an attempt to remedy that deficiency.  It was established by an 50-year-old property development company called EDENS. Inc.,  which creates “friendly, stress free environments with a strategic mix of shopping, dining, and gathering spaces that’s just right for their communities.”

The firm has an admirable track record.

District Fishwife

District Fishwife

District Fishwife has a shop in the Market.  You can buy fresh fish to go, or eat on site.

District Fishwife Fish and Chips

Fish and Chips

And here are District Fishwife’s Fish and Chips.   The beer-battered blue catfish fillets were very, very good.  The coating on the fish stayed crisp to the end, and the chips had an unusual, twisty shape.  Another first-rate lunch.

Scream, The TV Series

Looks like the Ghostface Killer will be joining Hannibal Lecter and Norman Bates in June, when MTV premieres a new TV series based on the Scream movies.  Wow!  Three TV series based on famous movie serial killers at the same time!  Is this a great country, or what?

The executive-producer of the new show is Jill Blotevogel, whose Harper’s Island was a guilty pleasure of mine during its 13-week run back in 2009.   Harper’s Island was a limited-run series about a serial killer who eliminates the members of an island wedding party, at the rate of one guest per week.  I figured out the identity of the SK in the first episode, but the show was a blast anyway.

Scream, the TV series?  Of course I’ll be watching it!

Nava Thai — Lunch on 19 May 2015

On Tuesday, I went back to Wheaton, Maryland, and rode the longest escalator in the Western Hemisphere from the train platform to the surface at the Wheaton Metro station.  Wheee!  The day’s lunch spot was Nava Thai, which doesn’t seem to have an active web site.

Nava Thai shows up on more than just Cheap Eats surveys.  It has also appeared on the Washingtonian’s “100 Very Best Restaurants” list for four of the last five years.  This is authentic Thai.

Nava Thai

Nava Thai

Service was fine.  I think Thais must be the most polite, considerate people on earth—they make Canadians look like Donald Trump.  When I told the waitress that I was thinking about trying Nava Thai’s famous Floating Market Noodle Soup, but wasn’t sure I could handle a dish w/a three-chili hotness rating, she said there’d be no problem moderating the heat.  (I know.  I should have tried it as it’s eaten in Thailand, instead of going for a Western adaptation, but I’ve got an American palate.)

Nava Thai Floating Market

Floating Market Noodle Soup


This is the Floating Market Noodle Soup.  It’s one of the most glorious things I’ve ever eaten.  I’d put this on a v short list of must-try dishes in DC, along with Rasika’s Palak Chaat and BlackSalt’s Key Lime Pie.

You choose your protein, either beef or pork.  I went with pork, which arrived in three different forms:  Sliced pork, pork meatballs, and crisp pork rinds.   The vermicelli was made onsite, and had me trying to remember how slurping noodles was viewed in Thai etiquette.

And the broth!   I don’t know all the ingredients, but I tasted basil, lemongrass, lime, coriander, and fish sauce.   I finished every drop.

I can’t praise Nava Thai highly enough.

More from Game of Thrones: The Musical

Tyrion isn’t the only Lannister who’s participating in Coldplay’s Game of Thrones: The Musical. Here’s Jaime Lannister, aka Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, singing a wistful little song about home and family.

The Game of Thrones musical is part of the three-hour Red Nose Day televised fund-raising event that will run on NBC tonight.