after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

DC Dining in the time of COVID

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t says: Ok, so our “20&20 in 2020” challenge has hit a huge hiccup: “shelter in place”. Ugh. While we’ll be socially distanced until at least 4/30, I have a very high suspicion that we’ll be in place until mid-June. Things are just getting ramped up here in DC, and we haven’t yet gotten an idea of how long it’ll take NYC to hit its peak, so there’s still a lot of at-home meals ahead!

g and I have been cooking a lot, which is nice. We made some delicious lamb provencal, some beef bolognese, and lots of simpler dishes (chili, pasta, stuffed peppers). Although with the burden of having to ensure that our little one receives some sort of nutritionally replete meal three times a day, with reasonable variety, we are a bit burnt out. Fortunately, DC restaurants have stepped up and totally provided us some “nicer” meals with minimal fuss. Now how many of these will count in the 20&20 challenge, I’m not sure. Let’s see how desperate we get. I don’t have pictures or lengthy reviews of each, but here’s a quick-hits:

ABC Pony: Doing take-out with a rotating menu of dinners-for-two for $50 (including an adult beverage), we’ve had two pretty good meals. We did their prime rib dinner, which was solid (although perhaps something we could have emulated at home with a steak dinner). The second dinner we enjoyed was their Korean Fried Chicken which was absolutely delicious, and something we know we couldn’t do at home if we wanted. Very nice! We’ll keep them in rotation for some of their more unique offerings.

Unconventional Diner: We did their meatloaf dinner, which was quite a deal at $40 with all the sides. While technically it wasn’t a very complicated dinner, it was one of those where it really hit just the right amount of QPR to make us feel like it was totally worth it. The meatloaf was exactly what meatloaf should be, and those Brussels sprouts are on a whole another level (i.e. fried). g and I know that their brunch is amazing, so we know we want to see what their dine-in options are eventually.

Maketto: They have some delicious dumplings, for sure! Crystal shrimp dumplings, scallion pancakes, bao buns, shrimp fried rice – I mean it was all wonderfully delicious. For a brief second, it’s like we were transported to our home in SF, eating takeout from Dumpling Time. As a result, we’re also very interested in seeing what a dine-in experience would be like – like these were fun in our home, but would be have the same appeal at a restaurant?

Anju: A featured dining selection for one of our cyber-double-dates, we were happy with Anju. With each dish there was a bit of a twist on a Korean classic, from the pancakes, to the kimchi jigae, to the ddak jim, to the dukbooki. I think it was fun and tasty, however, for real “craveability” (i.e. more like “grandmom used to make”) I think we’ll probably hit up sister restaurant Mandu for a homier appeal. Also, the takeout process at Anju was a frickin’ disaster, so definitely be prepared to wait outside the restaurant for a bit for your order.

7 Reasons: Ok. 7 reasons is one of those places that looks like it could be trying too hard. It’s hard to get into, the website suggests that they may be a bit too hoity-toity (?sp?). However, given their very clear, sincere letter they have posted in response to the COVID situation, g and I had to give them at least one try. And damn did they do a great job, too! The black rice dish, the shrimp appetizer, the arepitas were top-notch. Every single shrimp was perfectly cooked – how they did that for delivery, I cannot fathom.

Coconut caramel tres leches cake. This thing was incredible. It was so simple, and when I tasted it there was something so comforting about a sweet, coconut-laden soaked tres leches cake. I ate the whole thing despite being full. It was that good. Best delivery dessert yet (although the ABC Pony cookies were also good).
7 Reasons also gets the award for weirdest dish. This dish, which isn’t classified as dessert, is a butternut squash puree in a cacao tart crust, with some chives, and a nuts and black truffle topping that was amazing. It was salty and crunchy and sweet and bitterly chocolate. It could be dessert. It could be an appetizer. You decide – either way, you win!

So what’s next? We have no idea. The above were all delightful to have, with its ups and downs (oh, yea, 7 Reasons roast chicken was a letdown). So far, no single place has risen to the point where we’re contemplating aborting grocery shopping for the week so we can just order out every night (that’d be the dream!). At this rate, we use restaurants for those nights when g and I look in each other’s eyes after putting p to bed, and they simultaneously scream “ARGH! I’VE HAD ENOUGH!”. And that’s when we open our phones and place the order. We know there’s more to come, so hang on!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

4 April 2020 at 3:18pm

Posted in Happenings

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