Belga Cafe is an old favorite of mine on the Hill and one I recommend frequently for brunch in the neighborhood. Two of the best selling points — beyond the great food and atmosphere — is that they serve brunch on Saturdays and they have a great outdoor seating space that is perfect on a warm morning.
Despite this being one of my old favorites, I haven’t reviewed it yet because I’ve been so busy brunching everywhere else. But this last Saturday, Belga ended up being a great place to catch up with an old friend as we juggled our equally crazy schedules. Continue reading
My brunch at the Chesapeake Room did not start out well. It was a cold and rainy morning, my friend who was meeting me was running late, and I was on the verge of passing out from hunger — I had gone to the gym when I woke up but not eaten anything after since I was rushing through a few errands before spending the day at the baseball game. I asked the waitress if I could have some bread or a biscuit while I waited for my friend to join me and got the response “We don’t really do carbs.” Um, half of the menu is sandwiches. She took pity and brought me some bread, which was beyond stale. Maybe the good bread was being saved for those carb-less sandwiches? I didn’t bother to find out. Thankfully things turned around once my friend finally made it and we ordered food. Continue reading
A friend recently emailed me raving about a new brunch option on the Hill and insisted I try it out as soon as possible. I always love new choices — especially ones that offer a more creative menu, and ones that are not very well known so I can get a table without a reservation or long wait. So on a recent lazy weekend when I was somehow without brunch plans, I decided to try out Fusion Grill.
Fusion Grill is well known around the Hill for its Asian-fusion menu, and its expansive Chinese menu for quick neighborhood delivery. For brunch, though, it’s not exactly the first thing that would come to mind. But a few months ago they set out to change that, developing a menu that is inspired by their Asian focus and the local seasonal foods from neighboring Eastern Market. Continue reading
Ted’s Bulletin, which will be opening this weekend on 8th Street, SE — Capitol Hill’s Barracks Row — put two of my favorite words together on its menu: Breakfast and Anytime.
I had the pleasure of attending a soft opening earlier this week with a fellow writer from The Hill is Home, and I am already excited to go back. This new restaurant was opened by the folks who brought us Matchbox who have strayed away from pizza and created a place that makes you think of an early 1920’s Prohibition Era coffee and ice cream parlor…but with a very extensive bar that serves up some very creative specialty drinks (the Jesse Clark, with chamomile infused scotch, orange marmalade and chocolate bitters was quite tasty), amazing milkshakes, homemade pastries, and a menu of comfort food that is sure to please. The decor is all salvaged from the old Philadelphia Convention Center, giving the restaurant a retro and grand look that is more than welcoming from the outside and in.
The menu reminded me of an upscale diner, serving things such as meatloaf, spaghetti and meatballs, sandwiches, chili, and a wide range of breakfast items. Ooh and the milkshakes. Samples of these were available at last week’s Taste of 8th event and were delicious. Along with traditional flavors, there is also an “adult” selection of spiked milkshakes that are dangerously tempting.
On to the important section of the menu: the breakfast menu, which is available all day long. Continue reading
Full disclosure: I’ve been working with Barracks Row Main Street to help with a few of their annual events, including this one. So, yes, this is some shameless self-promotion, but it’s only because I am truly excited about this event on Saturday!
Taste of 8th is, well, exactly what it sounds like: a chance to get a taste of the many many restauants on 8th Street SE, which is also known as Barracks Row (because of the Marine Barracks, for those of you who are not familiar with the area). The event is this Saturday, April 25, from 1pm-4pm. Tickets are $5 or 5 for $20. Each ticket will get you one tasting at any of the participating restaurants and can also be entered into a raffle for prized from the merchants on 8th Street. We’re also offering $3 tasting tickets for kids under the age of 10.
10 years ago when I left DC for college, this stretch of Capitol Hill was anything but a destination. Most of the storefronts were boarded up and there was a good bit of crime. There were a few restaurants on the blocks closer to Pennsylvania Avenue, but not many. By the time I moved back after college, several stores and restaurants opened, and the city was working with the neighbors and the Marine Barracks to get the street cleaned up. Now, you’re hard pressed to find parking on a Friday or Saturday night because all of the bars and restaurants are so packed. And it’s not just because of a few hyped up bars.
The pides and hummus at Cafe 8 are currently one of my favorite things to get for dinner, the margaritas at Las Placitas are hard to resist, especially when sitting on their patio in 80 degree weather, and Fusion Grill has a great menu that keeps getting good reviews from my friends who stop by there. Some more recommendations for Saturday: Levi’s is rumored to have the best macaroni & cheese in the city (I’ll have to test that one out for myself this weekend), Belga Cafe usually throws in a free beer with your tasting, and Cava will have a table set up with a preview of their menu (they will have their grand opening the next week).
So if you haven’t been to the neighborhood lately, or if you’d like a chance to try a few new places for not a lot of money, come on over! A full list of participating restaurants can be found here. And if you want to get the scoop on other events and news, become a fan of our Facebook page!
I made it back to Matchbox for a second try sooner than expected since my cousin was in town and we needed a local spot that could accommodate a group that included two infants. This time around, I ordered the stuffed french toast (very tasty although very sweet), and someone else tried the Bloody Mary burger, which was quite a dish. Everyone else in our group ordered lunch items such as the mini burgers and the pizza roll, which is arguably better than the pizza.
One thing I didn’t explore on my last visit was the drink menu – I had somehow missed that there are 6 different Bloody Marys to choose from! I ordered, surprise surprise, the Bacon Bloody Mary. While the bacon didn’t seem to add much to the flavor of the drink, Bloody Mary-soaked bacon is a delicious treat! If you make this at home, try putting some bacon salt in the Bloody Mary. I have not tried this myself yet but suspect that it is the secret that has yet to be discovered.
This past weekend I finally made it over to Matchbox on 8th Street SE for brunch. I’m sad to report that I wasn’t really blown away. I had high hopes for this place – it’s right up the street from my house, I like their regular menu a lot, and the space allows for big groups without a really long wait. The brunch menu, while it looked fantastic, wasn’t as good as other brunches in the same neighborhood. However, after talking to a couple of people tonight I have decided that I will give it another try. They recommended, in particular, the Bloody Mary Burger and the manchego egg tortilla. Continue reading
A few rumors I wanted to share:
- The new Finn MacCool’s may be renamed Molly Malone’s and should be open late January/early February
- Eastern Market might be getting a children’s consignment shop early next year…trying to get more details
And a few confirmed items:
- Hill Rag, City Paper, and Voice of the Hill all have coupons good for a free appetizer with a purchase of an entree at Matchbox, Cafe 8, Capitol Hill Tandoor, Starfish Cafe, Fusion Cafe, and Ugly Mug. Deal only good on Saturday 12/13 and 12/21
- 12/19 meeting at the Blue Castle to hear the final report from the University of Maryland Urban Planning Masters studio on how the lower part of 8th street should be developed
According to Sietsema’s weekly chat, Matchbox will be opening December 5th!
Like the original in Chinatown, the Matchbox on the Hill will serve mini-burgers and pizzas. But the new place will distinguish itself with chicken fried two ways, shrimp and grits, a revised dessert menu and “fancy schmancy” spirits, says co-owner Perry Smith, who announced the opening this morning. Johnny Mac and newcomer Shannon Troncoso, an import from Denver, will be whipping up the recipes.
And according to Fred Herman, Matchbox’s director of operations, they will start serving brunch on Sunday, December 7th, and will be open for Saturday and Sunday brunch starting the next weekend. I picked up a menu from the downtown location and their brunch looks fantastic. I’ll be sure to post a review as soon as I can get over there!
It’s cold and rainy outside, but I have hopes that it will soon clear up for an exciting Saturday. What’s going on around DC tomorrow, you may ask? Okay there are actually a lot of events going on but the one I am thinking of is Oktoberfest at Barracks Row!
Their Oktoberfest celebration will feature:
- A culinary cook-off between military chefs from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.
- Expanded beer gardens at the restaurants on 8th
- Puppet shows and a petting zoo for the kids
- Redskins Cheerleaders
- Tours of the Commandant’s home at the Barracks
- And appearances by the Marine Corps’ mascot, Chesty the XIII.
Oktoberfest-ivities will be taking place from 11am to 5pm. Why not kick it off with brunch at one of the many 8th Street restaurants? Two that I can personally vouch for are Finn macCool’s ($10 bottomless mimosas or bloody mary’s!) and Belga Café.
I will be volunteering at the kids zone from 2-5pm so stop by! It looks like a few other local bloggers will be stopping by too!