Tag Archives: Capitol Hill brunch

Breakfast Anytime at Ted’s Bulletin

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

brunch at 18th Amendment

On a recent busy Saturday afternoon, I received a text from a friend who was at 18th Amendment for their bottomless mimosas and a basketball game.  I was going to be passing by there on my errands so I decided to stop in to say hi and enjoy a brunch beverage.  I got there a bit on the late side, not really thinking about food (I blame the terrible cold I was fighting off for my strange behavior), until I went to the bathroom and saw a sign on the stall door saying that they serve breakfast until close.  My stomach immediately forgot about said cold and kicked into craving-breakfast-mode. Continue reading

Crepes at the Market

When I arrived at Eastern Market last weekend for the grand reopening, I scoped out the lines at my favorite food vendors to decide where to get lunch.  I wouldn’t have time to wait in line for something like Market Lunch (mmm blue bucks…) but knew I would need to take a break from volunteering at some point for food. And then I got a craving for one of my favorite treats: crepes.  If you have never stopped by the Crepes at the Market stand, put it on your list for one weekend soon.

The line moves a bit slow, but only because they make the crepes to order, and they have a mouth-watering list of fillings to choose from.  My savory favorites include asiago with mushrooms and spinach, or ham with muenster, apple and maple syrup.  You can also order a sweet crepe with any number of delicious toppings.  Sweet crepes start at $4 and savory start at $5 but most of the best ones are in the $7 and $8 range.  I say that they are worth every penny!

I have heard from some people that they do not love how these are severed, but I am a big fan.  They crepes are rolled into a cone and placed in paper so you can eat them while walking.  It can get a little messy, but aren’t the best foods the ones that are the messiest to eat?

Crepes at the Market sets up their stand in front of the Aquatic Center on North Carolina Avenue, right behind Eastern Market.  (They used to be on 7th Street but all weekend vendors selling prepared food are now setting up on the North Carolina plaza.)  Their website says that they are only at Eastern Market on Saturdays from 8am-4pm, but I heard them telling customers that they are coming on Sundays as well, at least through the fall.

brunch at Matchbox…take 2

matchboxI 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.

brunch at Pete's Diner

I generally love diners and diner food. After living in New York, “diner” was synonymous with quick and cheap comfort food. But DC is not New York, and neither are our diners. I pass Pete’s Diner all of the time but have never once eaten there because it looks so cramped and uninviting at first glance. And with Jimmy T’s just a few more blocks away, why settle for something else just because it’s a couple blocks closer to home?

I finally decided to stop being so judgmental and give it a try. And I have to say, I’m sticking with Jimmy T’s for my close-to-home diner breakfast in the future. Pete’s offers a basic menu with all of the staples, and food couldn’t come out much faster, but there was something missing. There are so many things on the walls and counters, and so many tables crammed in to one place, I barely knew where to turn when I walked through the door. I sat at the counter and ordered eggs with a side of grits. Both perfectly good but nothing really memorable. Although I guess diner food is rarely “memorable” and the experience really comes more from the atmosphere. Pete’s seems to be popular with a lot of people on the Hill but not me. But now I can at least say that I tried it!

brunch at Jimmy T's

Jimmy T’s is my favorite low-key brunch spot on the Hill. I will admit that this place receives quite the list of mixed reviews, many of which I would be hard pressed to disagree with. Straight down to the bare-bones website, it is clear that this is a place that has never tried very hard and probably never will. But somewhere in its what-you-see-is-what-you-get style, it holds a dear spot in my heart. And I am obviously not the only one who feels this way since regulars will regularly wait in lines out the door for one of the booths or tables that are crammed into the tiny corner diner.

There is nothing fancy or formal about Jimmy T’s. Since it opened on the corner of 5th and East Capitol Street SE in 1969, I don’t think it has been remodeled once. The dishes don’t match, the chairs and tables are all wobbly, and it’s the same staff that served me when I went as a small child.

When you get past the mediocre service (tip: sitting at the counter gets you much better service and some entertaining stories), the cramped space and lack of formality of any kind, this old diner serves up some of the best breakfast around. My favorite part of the menu is the combo options. I can never decide between pancakes/waffles or one of the egg platters, and here I don’t have to. I can just get ½ waffle with eggs and bacon, and a side of grits, made fresh to order, and much cheaper than other diners in town. Their menu covers all of the diner-breakfast basics so there is something for just about everyone. But again, only if the old neighborhood diner is your kind of place.

Tunnicliff's

Tunnicliff’s has been an establishment on 7th Street, across from Eastern Market, since before I can remember, yet it is not one of the first places I think of going to when I want to eat out. However, it is good at accommodating larger groups, so I ended up there this morning with some friends who ran a race (I’m not quite as ambitious on a cold, windy Sunday morning). Brunch was good and the atmosphere was great for our group, but I can’t say the food was anything to write home about. The menu was a just bit limited and ordinary. It had everything a brunch menu should, but nothing inspiring. But, my blueberry pancakes were good, and I must give them credit for not just throwing canned blueberry preserves on top of regular pancakes like some places. Blueberry pancakes have to have blueberries (preferably fresh) cooked in them. A truly top presentation will include some extra blueberries on the plate. Sugary canned preserves thrown on top of ordinary pancakes is just not okay.

One thing did stand out on the otherwise ordinary menu…peanut butter and jelly pizza, topped with mozzarella cheese. I was not brave enough to order it this morning, and neither was anyone else at the table. But I am a little intrigued, and very skeptical. If anyone feels up for a dare, let me know how it is!

So while this is not the place to go if you want to be wowed, Tunnicliff’s is a good neighborhood spot if you just want to get out of the house for a bite.

Montmartre

photo uploaded by M.V. Jantzen on Flickr

I should start with two disclaimers here. 1) While I studied journalism in college, I have never written restaurant reviews. So, please bare with me if this is not what you consider a proper restaurant review. And 2) Montmartre is one of my favorite restaurants on the Hill so I may be a bit biased here.

I have been coming to Montmartre for dinner with my family for years. The menu always has something for everyone we bring. MY dad and brother-in-law are usually drawn to the liver, while my sister goes for the duck or rabbit. Personally, I am a sucker for the risotto or an of the soups. I find that everything has a simple extra touch that spices up the seemingly simple dishes. While they have been open for brunch since their opening, I only went for the first time this past Sunday. My sister’s in-laws were in town from Florida and Montmartre seemed like the perfect neighborhood brunch spot before doing some shopping at Eastern Market.

The menu was not quite what I expected. It was more like an abbreviated version of their regular menu, with only a few breakfast items added in. There were the staples like liver, hanger stake, chestnut soup (amazing, I highly recommend it) These are items I do not categorize with brunch, but I realize that some people enjoy a selection beyond the traditional breakfast food. That is the glory of brunch, after all– a little bit of everything for everyone. I tend to prefer the breakfast items for my first meal of the day, and luckily for me, all three were ordered by people at my table so I got a wonderful sampling of everything.

We started with a non-breakfast item- escargot. I generally do not like snails (it’s a texture thing) but these were amazing! They were cooked in a butter, garlic and parsley sauce that was soaked up perfectly with bread. The bread, by the way, is some of the best French bread around. One person in our party got the butternut squash soup, one of her favorites. Judging by the empty bowl, I think she was not disappointed at all.

Main Courses: Three of the six of us got the eggs benedict. The only possible complaint with the dish was that there was no english muffin under the poached eggs. Instead, the eggs were sitting on a pile of fresh spinach, then covered in hollandaise sauce. As I polished off the final bites, I realized that I had not even missed the english muffins. The spinach was perfectly cooked and mixed perfectly with the sauce (does anything not mix perfectly with the hollandaise sauce?).

One person ordered the omelet, which had a fondue of tomato, caper and olive inside. It made me almost wish that I had ordered that instead of the eggs benedict. Then I remembered how much I love the hollandaise sauce. And one person ordered the egg, chicken and parmesan quiche. Good but not as much my taste as the other two. The inside was a bit too runny for me and one of the spices in it was not appealing to me that morning.

If you have never been to Montmartre, I highly recommend it for brunch, lunch or dinner. It is a bit small and tables are pushed close together, but the food and wine are excellent. And they have a wonderful patio open when the weather is nice.

Montmartre also owns Montsouris in Dupont Circle. With the current sidewalk construction affecting business for everything on the strip, I would also like to put in a work for the sister restaurant!