Image: Herbert List, Goldfish bowl in Santorini, Greece (1937).
This week, D.C. restaurant world celebrated itself, some adjustments as a new spot doesn’t chase sunk costs, and D.C. is about to get the suburb’s best offerings. All that as the world gets warmer and food continues to be a Rorschach for cross-cultural discourse. All that and we revisit an Italian spot in our dining guide. Shall we get on wit the weekly recap? Let’s…
Updates to the D.C. Recommended Restaurant List
San Lorenzo – Whether solo or accompanied, San Lorenzo is the sweet spot of neighborhood casual and sharp Italian cooking.
Comings and Goings:
Tico, the pan-Latin spot on 14th added a sushi bar during Covid. Now it will become Nama Ko and go sushi full time.
Chicken + Whiskey – The casual Peruvian chicken paired with a whiskey bar adds its second D.C. location by the baseball stadium, though the whiskey half is more conspicuous.
D.C. Dining News
RAMMYs – Members of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, held their annual awards ceremony last weekend. The big awards are restricted to members, but there are popularly-voted categories open to all. One theme of the awards seem to recognize people from the food world who are known for being good people as much as delivering a good product.
The Emerging Economy: Big Sky in Adams Morgan closed after only a few months in operation.
In contrast, a new bar with a lot more capital behind it is coming. Color us skeptical of Jon Taffer’s coming enterprise. Strangely, D.C. appears to be one of three initial locations, but the other two are in the suburbs. D.C. is the only location in a downtown area. That implies they expect the demographics of Alpharetta, Ga. to be coming through Penn Quarter with enough consistency to override the likely avoidance of locals. Taffer and Gordon Ramsay lack a certain trustworthiness and respect that we think D.C. deserves.
‘There was always wine at every dinner, every banquet,’ says Franzese. ‘Every time we went out there was always a bottle of wine or two. We all indulged in it. I didn’t really acquire the taste for it as much as I did in later life, but we always enjoyed it and we didn’t have dinner without a bottle of wine ever. It was very customary.” Now the former Mafia boss has a wine label out of Armenia.
Cross-cultural Voices: This Jess Eng story in the Post Food Section starts punchy, “Hey foreigners, let’s traumatize Italians.” But it end sweet. “Plenty of Asian American chefs and home cooks have inherited Italian techniques for various reasons, whether consciously from culinary mentors or as a survival mechanism in a foreign country. But this exchange doesn’t have to be one-sided: Calvin Eng believes that Italians can learn a thing or two from Cantonese American chefs.”
Diana Kennedy died. She is seen as a huge voice in popularizing a better idea of Mexican food through her cookbooks, starting with her first. “The book sold 100,000 copies and was immediately acclaimed as the most authoritative work in English on the subject.” Of course the Time’s phrasing of “most authoritative in English” is also the nub of the problem. What happens when the interpreter ends up being the stereotype you fear. Tejal Rao and Bill Esparza provide perspective.
The Emerging World: “The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 96 percent of the world’s oceans — increasing at a rate of 0.09 degrees per year. These warming temperatures have forced the lobster population to migrate north seeking colder waters, and the impact on Maine fishermen has been profound.” So they are harvesting seaweed.
In the Pacific Northwest a different impact: But at Blotto, the Seattle pizza restaurant, Mr. Hoffmann and Mr. Koplowitz don’t plan on adapting the restaurant for future heat waves. Since it has no air-conditioning, the high temperatures mean slightly higher costs for refrigeration, but nothing that will break the bank, they said. “It impacts us two days out of the year,” Mr. Koplowitz said. “It’s hard to put money or time into solving a problem that barely exists.”
The Old World: At a restaurant in China, it turns out you walk in the footsteps of giants.
This week is looking to be very warm, so if you are looking for a place to eat in D.C. rather than turn on the stove, remember we can help with that. Our dining guide has 300+ recommended restaurants. You can sort by cuisine, neighborhood, and current operating status (dine-in and/or take-out, etc. – though things are in flux and we may miss something, so check before you go!) in either LIST or MAP format.
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Be kind. Tip big. Stay cool.