Tag Archives: Lunch

Kaliwa — Lunch on 16 January 2020

Kaliwa

Kaliwa

Lunch du jour is at Kaliwa, another DC restaurant on the Michelin Bib Gourmand list.

As the Michelin Guide puts it,

“If you cannot make a trip to Thailand, or the Philippines just isn’t in this year’s budget, you’re in for a treat. A dinner at Kaliwa, tucked inside the District Wharf, is not just a consolation prize. It’s a true feast, about as delicious as can be imagined outside of a journey across the world. Chef Cathal Armstrong’s authentic and delicious Korean, Filipino or Thai cooking is blessed with serious flavor. ”

Kaliwa is one of a whole flock of first-rate restaurants on The Wharf, a sparkling mixed-use development that revitalized yet another formerly run-down area in DC.

Before my lunch at Supra a few days ago, I knew nothing of Georgian food. My ignorance was like a vast field covered with untrammeled snow. My familiarity with Filipino cuisine isn’t much greater, but it’s enough to have a general idea of what to expect, as if someone had plowed a path through that snowfield. (I will now abandon that silly and laboured metaphor, and try to forget I wrote it. I don’t know what I was thinking.)

Lumpiang Shanghai

Lumpiang Shanghai

This Lumpiang Shanghai was my starter. It was three crisp shrimp and pork fried rolls, each about the size of a cigar. Think Chinese spring rolls, but much tastier and more memorable.

Kai Yaang

Kai Yaang

Chicken for lunch again, but this time it was a wood-grilled half chicken, with a dipping sauce and pickled julienned vegetables. It was excellent, but it filled me up so much that I asked for my dessert to go.

Service was fine, and friendly. People seemed to enjoy working at Kaliwa. I certainly enjoyed dining there.

Supra — Lunch on 15 January 2020

Supra

Supra

This one was new to me.

Supra is a Georgian restaurant, and I knew nothing about Georgian cuisine. (For clarification, “Georgian” here refers to the country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia, not the state between South Carolina and Florida. Although I did have peach sorbet for dessert, so there’s that.)

It came highly recommended by a friend who knows restaurants, and it’s one of the 44 Washington restaurants on Michelin’s 2020 Bib Gourmand list for D.C. The Bib Gourmand list certifies that the restaurants it includes deliver a “high-quality dining experience at a reasonable price”, which means, in Michelin terms, that the restaurant must offer two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less.

Eggplant Nigvzit

Eggplant Nigvzit

Good starter. It was called Eggplant Nigvzit, and consisted of eggplant (duh) stuffed with a blend of walnuts, cilantro, and pomegranate.

Chkmeruli

Chkmeruli

This was a knockout. Half of a roasted chicken was cut up and served in an amazing creamy garlic sauce. And the bread that came with it! It’s called shoti bread, and eating it dipped in that garlic sauce was a wonderful meal in itself.

Sorbet

Sorbet

As mentioned, Peach Sorbet.


Supra is located in Shaw, which is one of Washington’s rapidly gentrifying neighbourhoods. Ten years ago, the area was, well, dicey. Today it’s full of renovated houses, upscale condos, and very good restaurants. There are still a few reminders of the bad old days—I saw a small local market with a sign denying admission to anyone “wearing a mask or a hoodie”—but Shaw is a prime example of the DC renaissance that began around the turn of the century.

Taberna del Alabardero — Lunch on 13 January 2020

Taberna del Alabardero

Taberna del Alabardero

I really, really like Taberna del Alabardero.

The restaurant is High Spanish. The original Taberna del Alabardero, which is near the Royal Palace in Madrid, opened in 1974, and continues to thrive. This American outpost has been around for 31 years, which in restaurant years is the equivalent of somewhere between two and three centuries.

The food here combines traditional Spanish cooking with some modern twists. Taberna does not fear innovation.

Crema de Bogavante con Mejillones, Queso Fresco y Picatostes

Crema de Bogavante con Mejillones, Queso Fresco y Picatostes

My server started the meal by pouring a rich lobster cream into a shallow soup bowl that held five little islands made of mussels, croutons, and microgreens. So good!

Solomillo al Whisky con Patatas Asadas y Ajo Confitado

Solomillo al Whisky con Patatas Asadas y Ajo Confitado

The main was a very generous serving of Whiskey Pork Tenderloin with tiny roasted potatoes and garlic cloves. Excellent as well.

Tarta de Calabaza con Queso Crema y Helado de Calabaza

Tarta de Calabaza con Queso Crema y Helado de Calabaza

Pumpkin is the new kale—it seems to be everywhere this season. Dessert was a pumpkin-flavored cake with cream cheese and a serving of pumpkin spice ice cream.


I’ve dined here half a dozen times, and I’m eager for more. The food is always both delicious and surprising, while the service is consistently top-notch.

Persimmon — Lunch on 10 January 2020

It’s mid-January, which is the start of my annual Month of Eating Dangerously. You might want to mark your calendar.

The combination of various Restaurant Weeks, multiple seasonal promotions, and trips to warmer climes to escape Washington’s dreary winter gives me a great excuse to dine well, as if I needed one.

Persimmon

Persimmon

First stop this year is Persimmon, a charming little restaurant in Bethesda that calls itself “An American Bistro”. That’s a good description, because the menu offered a mix of American standards like Crispy Fish Tacos and Chicken Club Sandwiches, and French bistro classics like Steak Frites and Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee.

Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse

Persimmon serves a very good Bouillabaisse, with mussels and clams and shrimp and salmon and whitefish, etc. I liked the crunchy crostini.

Molten Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream

Molten Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream

My neighbour at the next table asked me what I was eating for dessert. It’s that kind of relaxed, unpretentious place.

This was my first visit to Persimmon, and I’m adding it to my list of restaurants I want to try again. It was comfortable—the clientele was on the mature, well-dressed, and quiet side. The food was good, and the price was, too.

Pho 14 — Lunch on 24 December 2019

Pho 14

Pho 14

I hadn’t planned to go out for lunch on the day before Christmas.

When I started to review my “Xmas To-Do” list, though, I realised that I had to make a final run to Giant to pick up a few ingredients that I’d somehow overlooked. And I had to do it now, because I was planning a high-end elegant gourmet tres-fancy meal, and those Gorton’s Breaded Seafood Fishsticks take all night to defrost.

I’d heard good things about Pho 14, the little Vietnamese restaurant about a block from the supermarket, and decided to give it a try. There was a time when I practically lived on Vietnamese food, but over the past few years, without really thinking about it, I’ve become more likely to opt for Thai. Pho 14 would remind me of what I’d been missing.

Combination Platter

Combination Platter

I had the Combination Platter, with stir-fried beef, chicken, pork, and shrimp. Nicely done, very filling, and much better than fishsticks.

ChiKo — Lunch on 6 November 2019

ChiKo

ChiKo

The original ChiKo, an upscale-casual restaurant that “pair[s] modern cooking techniques with traditional Chinese and Korean flavors”, opened in Washington in 2017. It was an immediate hit, landing on the Washingtonian’s “100 Very Best Restaurants” list and making it to the semifinalist round for James Beard’s “Best New Restaurant Award”. This year, the owners (aka The Fried Rice Collective) opened a second restaurant near Dupont Circle, about a 10-minute walk from my condo.

I finally tried it last week.

Potstickers

Potstickers

In an obscenity case in the 1960s, Associate Justice Potter Stewart wrote that pornography was hard to define, but that “I know it when I see it”. That line became famous.

I’ve eaten potstickers hundreds of times, but if you’d asked me what it is that makes a potsticker a potsticker, I couldn’t have told you, even though “I know it when I see it”. For the record, a potsticker is a crescent-shaped dumpling filled usually with pork, steamed, and then fried.

The potstickers at ChiKo were hot, but not fiery, which was fine with me.

Cumin Lamb Stir Fry

Cumin Lamb Stir Fry

The Cumin Lamb Stir Fry, with big thick wheat flour noodles and caramelized shallots, could have used a lot more lamb—what was here was barely detectable.

Overall, it was a good meal, but not particularly memorable. My opinion might have been influenced by the view from my table at the window. New Dynasty, my go-to Chinese restaurant for cheap eats, was across the street, and a satisfactory lunch there costs about a third of the price of my meal at ChiKo.

Mai Thai — Lunch on 23 October 2019

Mai Thai

Mai Thai

Got my flu shot last week, and gave myself a little reward for bravery in the face of that harrowing medical ordeal by having lunch at Mai Thai on the way home.


A Brief Aside

Tyler Cowen, author and proprietor of the indispensable Tyler Cowen’s Ethnic Dining Guide, made one of those observations that seems obvious in retrospect, but hadn’t occurred to me until I read it:  “All food is ethnic food”.

Well of course it is.

“Ethnic food” has become the term commonly used to identify food from Asia, Africa, and Central and South America, but my beloved soupe à l’oignon and confit de canard are just as much “ethnic foods” as my beloved phở and bánh mì.

And my worldview became a tiny bit broader.


Curry Puffs

Curry Puffs

I started my meal with some nice crispy fried wonton stuffed with curry, minced chicken, potatoes, and onions, served with a plum dipping sauce.

Chicken Peanut Sauce

Chicken Peanut Sauce

For the main, I had boneless chicken breast sauteed with fresh ginger in a light yellow curry on a bed of steamed spinach topped with peanut sauce, with a side of jasmine rice.


Visitors to the US from Europe and Asia frequently comment on the relatively huge portion size in American restaurants. (I remember once sitting near a German lady who corrected her server for bringing her the wrong order. “I ordered a small salad”, she said. “That is a small salad”, he replied.)

I was reminded of this when I noticed that during the hour I spent ar Mai Thai, everyone who left the restaurant—including me—was carrying a “doggy bag”.

A very good meal. Correction: Two very good meals.