Tag Archives: Chinatown

Chinatown Coffee Co. Saves the Day

Just as my friend and I were leaving Taylor, happy and full from a fabulous lunch, it started to downpour on us (typical DC). We sought refuge under a random building in Chinatown and waited for the storm to pass. But even though the rain only lasted 20 minutes, we were still completely soaked and in desperate need of a pick- me-up.

Luckily, Chinatown Coffee Co. was there to save the day with its inviting interior, friendly staff, and quality coffee. My latte ($3.09) warmed me up after the unpleasant storm, and the adorable heart-design on top made me smile. Chinatown Coffee Co. serves coffee from all over the world, including Intelligentsia and Counter Culture, two of my favorite coffee purveyors. The baristas expertly brew the coffee and are happy to offer recommendations.

Chinatown Coffee Co. also seems like a perfect place to work or take refuge from the traffic and noise (and in my case, rain) outside. Next time, I plan to bring my computer and blog from there!

Chinatown Coffee Co.

475 H St. NW

Washington, DC 20001

(202) 559-7656

Chinatown Coffee Company on Urbanspoon

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Top-Notch Ingredients at Taylor Gourmet

After reading about Taylor Gourmet in Tim Carman’s annual Washington City Paper Dining Guide, I knew I had to try one of their famed roast pork hoagies before I left DC (note: I’m in Los Angeles for the next couple weeks!). To make the sandwich, Taylor Gourmet co-founder Casey Patten  marinates Niman Ranch pork shoulders overnight with salt, thyme, rosemary, and garlic and then slow-roasts it for about four hours until they’re juicy and tender. He finishes the pork with a homemade pork stock for extra moisture and intense flavor.

The meat isn’t the only ingredient getting star treatment at this sandwich shop. Breads are also taken very seriously–so seriously, in fact, that owners Casey Patten and David Mazza have their rolls driven in everyday from Sarcone’s, an Italian bakery in Philadelphia that’s been in business since 1918.

Taylor’s commitment to top-notch ingredients certainly shined through in the Market Street ($7.20 for a 6″) sandwich I ordered. Every component was fresh as can be: warm sliced pork topped with sprightly green arugula, sweet roasted red peppers, and bite-sized chunks of fresh mozzarella, all packed into one of those famous Sarcone’s sub rolls. The roll was crusty enough to hold together, even with the generous amount of fillings, and anchored the sub nicely.

Based on my first experience at Taylor, I’d love to come back and try some of their other subs–like the South Street made with tomato, pesto, goat cheese, and your choice of breaded or grilled chicken. Or their newest creation, the Cherry Street, slow-roasted slices of rosy-pink beef topped with double-cream brie, roasted garlic spread, and a handful of arugula served on that unforgettable Sarcone’s roll. All of Taylor’s subs are named after streets in Philadephia, paying homage to the owners’ hometown. And best of all, nothing on the menu tops $10–a steal for sandwiches made from such high-quality ingredients.

The aesthetic at Taylor Gourmet is just as pleasing as the food: spare and modern, with exposed brick walls, wood tables, and black industrial light fixtures hanging from the ceiling. I’m not sure if this is the case at the H St. location, but the K St. location opens up to the street, letting in lots of fresh air and sunlight during the day. The only problem is that plenty of heat and humidity are let in as well, making for a somewhat uncomfortable dining experience temperature-wise. If it’s like this all the time, especially during in the summer, I’d probably go for take-out instead.

Taylor Gourmet

485 K St. NW

Washington, DC 20001

(202) 289-8001

OR

1116 H St. NE

Washington, DC 20002

(202) 684-7001

Taylor Gourmet II on Urbanspoon

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China Boy’s Handmade Noodles

Chinese New Year parade in Chinatown

A few weeks ago, the Washington Post’s food section published a great article about hand-pulled noodles made right in the middle of Chinatown. Authentic Chinese noodles in D.C.’s Chinatown–who knew?! What a novel idea to  have Chinese food in Chinatown! (For those who have not been to D.C.’s Chinatown, it has very few actual Chinese businesses. The streets are filled with chains like McDonalds, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Chipotle, all of which have their names translated into Chinese characters, as if to justify their being there.)

Since I was in Chinatown on Sunday to watch the Chinese New Year parade, I decided to check out China Boy, one of the noodle purveyors listed in the article. China Boy occupies an unassuming store front on one of the quieter streets in Chinatown (a welcome respite from the crowds on 7th and H). The restaurant is tiny with only a few tables for dining in (most people take out).

Yet surprisingly, this small storefront churns out “1,800 to 2,000 pounds of rice noodles for more than 100 Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Thai restaurants in the District, Maryland and Virginia,” according the Post article.

The menu is pretty straightforward. You can order rice noodle crepes, which is a large rice noodle sheet folded over fillings which include beef, shrimp, and roast pork, or char siu ($2.75-4.00). The rest of the menu has regular rice noodles, which you can order in noodle soup or stir fried as chow fun.

I ordered the roast pork noodle soup ($5.95), a hearty and simple soy-sauce based broth filled with soft, chewy rice noodles and sweet roast pork. It was a very large portion for six bucks and I was certainly too full to order the shrimp noodle crepe I had been eyeing during my meal.

China Boy’s noodles were a cheap and filling end to a great day. I’ll certainly be back again soon to try those delectable looking noodle crepes.

China Boy

817 6th St. NW

Washington, DC 20001

202-371-1661

China Boy

Exploring the Hill

The Capitol

Since moving to DC in August, the past few months have been filled with job interviews, law school apps, and all the other anxieties that come along with unemployment. But now that I have an internship lined up for January and all my law school apps sent in, I’m playing the waiting game and have a LOT of free time on my hands. My family and friends keep telling me to enjoy the free time while I still have it, do all the things I won’t have time to do when I start working, and most importantly, to stop complaining to them because they are jealous of all my free time!

Entrance to Mangialardo and Sons--looks can be deceiving

I finally followed their advice this past Wednesday–and couldn’t be happier that I did. I had read a lot about a small, hole-in-the-wall Italian sub shop popular with the Capitol Hill lunch crowd. With nothing to do that day, I decided to check it out and explore the Hill.

Mangialardo and Sons is located on Capitol Hill SE, just off the Potomac Ave. metro stop. The area reminds me a bit of Columbia Heights, in the sense that it’sgradually being redeveloped, but there are still some parts that feel a bit seedy. Case in point: when you walk out of the Potomac Ave. stop, there is a brand new, sparkling clean Harris Teeter  on the bottom floor of a huge apartment unit across the street. Walk a few blocks in the opposite direction, however, and the area quickly goes down hill (both literally and figuratively). Luckily, Mangialardo and Sons is near the Harris Teeter, but that doesn’t mean the location is perfect. The front window of the shop had been smashed in when I visited, and a wood board and some duct tape haphazardly held it together. (The owner joked that it was probably a bitter family member or customer desperate for salami who broke the window.)

Despite the shabby storefront, Mangialardo’s was crowded with Hill staffers picking up sandwiches for their offices when I walked in. The store’s interior is sparse but clean, with shelves along the walls stocked with jars of roasted red peppers and bottles of imported Italian olive oil. Service is efficient and friendly, especially to newcomers. The menu, above the service counter, includes hot and cold sandwiches, and a special of spaghetti and meatballs. There are also coolers filled with sodas and a nice selection of bottled teas.

The G-man

I ordered the G-man on a soft roll with everything on it (which received positive reviews on Yelp) and walked over to Harris Teeter to eat my sandwich (Mangialardos is cash and carry-out only). For only $6, the G-man is a great value for the money. The sub is huge, more than twice the size of Potbelly. The roll was soft and chewy, but substantial enough to hold together the sandwich. Fillings included ham, bologna, pepperoni, salami, mortadella, provolone cheese, mayo, Italian seasoning, hot peppers, oil/vinegar, and lettuce and tomato.

I am by no means a connoisseur of Italian subs, so perhaps I could not fully appreciate the G-man in all its glory. Yes, the ingredients were fresh and high-quality. Yes, it was very authentic. And yes, it was a pretty darn good and filling mean for only 6 bucks. But, I found the sub to be a bit too salty for my taste. After taking out the pepperoni, mortadella, and some of the cheese, however, I thought it tasted much better. Although I did find myself drinking a ton of water the rest of the day. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for an authentic Italian sub or just a change of pace from Subway, I would still wholeheartedly recommend Mangialardo and Sons.

Foodies' mecca aka Hill's Kitchen

Afterward, I wandered around the Hill and stumbled upon the cutest culinary shop, Hill’s Kitchen. I stocked up on stocking stuffers for the holidays: an eggplant shaped spoon rest, Capitol-shaped cookie cutters, and cute penguin napkins. Then I somehow ended up in Chinatown (not sure how…) and went to the Downtown Holiday Market for even more holiday shopping. Lots of handmade jewelry, beautiful photos, and cute clothes all from local vendors. There was also live jazz outside the Portrait Gallery and really yummy, fresh-out-of-the-fryer donuts. All in all, it was a wonderful day to be unemployed.

Jazz outside the Portrait Gallery

Mangialardo and Sons

1317 Pennsylvania Ave. SE

Washington, DC 20003

(202) 543-6212

Open weekdays 7:30a-3:00p

Mangialardo & Sons on Urbanspoon

Hill’s Kitchen

713 D St. SE (across from the Eastern Market metro)

Washington, DC 20003

(202) 543-1997

Downtown Holiday Market

F St. between 7th and 8th St. (near the Gallery Place/Chinatown metro)

Open Dec. 4-23, Noon-8pm daily

Downtown Holiday Market

Dim Sum (and then some) Happy Hour

Ping Pong Dim Sum opened on Saturday (12/12) in Chinatown and from the looks and tastes of things, it’s off to a great start (review will be posted shortly!). If you want to sample Ping Pong’s delectable dim sum at a discounted price, stop in on Tuesday 12/15 between 6-10pm for lots and LOTS of specials. These include: $5 Ping Pong specialty martinis, $4 beer, and $3 baked puffs, char siu buns, prawn balls, spring rolls, and more. See Ping Pong’s Twitter for more details.

Ping Pong Dim Sum

900 7th St. NW (behind PS7’s)

Washington, DC 20001

(202) 506-3740