Monday, January 26, 2009

anthony bourdain visits dc

so, as many people may know i love my dvr. unfortunately, it means i get behind on some shows in favor of others. anthony bourdain's no reservations is not normally one of these shows. i wait to watch it with dan, my boyfriend, as i am quite the food lover and avid reader and dan's background as being a chef makes it one of the perfect met in the middle shows for us to watch together. we were so excited to watch this particular episode considering how close we are to dc and how much time both of us have spent in this special city but have not gotten the time to watch it together with the inaguration and everything else happening this past week. so, i finally got to watching it today a week after it came on making this blog perhaps a bit behind the times but still a topic i want to talk about. i am a sucker for tv about places or people i know, so i was pysched.
before i turned on the show, we wanted to guess what some of the places both restaurants and locations anthony bourdain would visit. we both insisted he had to feature ben's chili bowl and were pleased the coverage it got during the inaguration on almost every tv station and many newspapers(i know i still read newspapers old school style as a paper not online a joy that waitressing during the day at a joint that is known for breakfast food has brought back to me. and who wants to do a crossword puzzle online.) dan is a fanatic for ben's chili bowl, and everytime we are near dc he always begs that we go there. as a vegetarian since my junior year in college, i have never eaten at ben's chili bowl. but, i am in awe of its history and importance to the city. who wouldn't want to root for a mom and pop joint that is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year in a day and age where corporate monstrosities like walmart and mcdonalds seem to be making all cities and towns look like they were created from the same blueprint. i appreciate that bourdain went into the history of ben's chili bowl giving those viewer's not from around here a taste of why its so special.
i hate to say that haven't had a chance to make it to the spy museum his second stop since it opened. i've been interested in checking it out on one of my tourist trips to dc as my friend kelly and call them. even though i've lived in the fredericksburg area since college, most of my visits to dc were either for work or recreation and i've missed out on a lot of the tourist stops mainly musuems. so, kelly and try to have our tourist trips up there to take advantage of all the city has to offer. this is actually a really provocative looking musuem that i think i could even drag dan into. and having a former operative there to tell some stories, wow is anthony bourdain lucky. as a child living in the hampton roads area where he had been stationed, i remember the rick ames incident making all the news channels.
even having worked in georgetown my first job out of college, i ate at many of the area restaurants and bars. but, sadly i never even remember hearing of chadwick's bar. ergo, i agree with bourdain's description of it as being known as rather unremarkable.
the beltway, something anyone from this area knows and often complains about. so glad that he only mentions it if only for just a minute.
el pollo rico is a joint neither dan nor i had heard of here to for but he's a sucker for peruvian chicken places. we never go to any cause they truly are restaurants that have nothing for me as a vegetarian to eat. so, probably won't be a stop on our next trip to dc. this section of the show is one of the many that i feel anthony bourdain captures how many cultures are represented in dc and dc restaurants. dc is just now it seems getting buzz in the food scene as having a burgeoning food scene where i see it has long had some excellent eateries.
i almost jumped off the couch with joy when he stopped at abay an ethipian restaurant. now, there is dc. when i think of ethnic cuisine in dc i think ethiopian food. before living in this area, i had never even heard of an ethiopian restaurant much less multiple ones. as an adult, when i would go to dc my friends would always suggest going to an ethipian restaurant as it is something one rarely finds outside of the city. and maybe it is just the crowd i hang with, but people go gaga for ethipian cuisine in this area. i want to head to dc right now with a group of friends and eat now after seeing this section of the show.
speaking of textural preferences, i must say "spongy bread" was an odd thing for me to get used to the first time had it. i'm glad he did a closeup for viewers who haven't had the pleasure of trying it. it really has a lot of bubbles in it and the eye to mouth problem i had with it was that it reminded me too much of a sponge and was a bit apprehensive when i put it in my mouth. if i could get beyond the newness of the texture to me and taste the bread it is yummy like mushy bread. personally one of the few things i dislike is my food being dry. i cannot even begin to state how much i love bread but many breads especially rustic breads call for loads of beverage to wash them down. not spongy bread which almost melts in your mouth when done well.
jose andres, now this is why i watch anthony bourdain. i truly understand the meaning of food porn watching him eat chasing the dragon. this is one of the beauties of the burgeoning respect for the food scene in dc. i was inspired to check out the web page for cafe atlantico http://www.cafeatlantico.com/ and they have entrees for as little as $20. what a bargain for this quality of food and innovation. those are prices on par with what one would pay for entrees at a quality restaurant here and only a few bucks more than most corporate restaurants. oh, how lucky we are to be in the dc area unlike other cities where such food would run you 2-3xs that minimum. if i weren't a vegetarian, i would love to check out the valentine's day chef's tasting menu and at only $85 per person for valentine's day what a steal.
now, the fish market was a place i remember from working in dc. having already become a vegetarian, i didn't partake. but, oh the smell reminded me of growing up on the water and eating crabs we had just caught during the summertime on our picnic table in the backyard. the smell of old bay always makes me sentimental. i can't imagine having a spice rack without some old bay. it really is good for more than crabs and seafood. if you don't think so, go get your hands on some utz crab chips. mmm yummy.
anthony bourdain gave those viewers not living in or from dc a small glimpse into our great food, but i'm sure that's how everyone feels when he visits their city. and he missed the big slice, a slice of pizza as big as your head unique to dc. and he missed, oh well i could go on but he got a good amount in for only a one hour show.
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