Guest blogger time! Although I'm not really a guest, I guess, since goodness knows my opinions sneak their way in here often enough. But, there's nothing I like more than the time and space to say my piece, so here we go.
First: East Street Cafe. I stopped in to this little Union Station spot for a quick bite between meetings on Wednesday. (Side note: when did I become grown-up enough to "grab a bite" "between meetings"?!? That's just wrong.) The only other time I was at East Street was between interviews at a big job fair over a year ago, and while I wasn't wild about it then, I chalked it up to pre-interview nerves and gave it another chance. And that, my friends, was my first mistake. East Street is a nice place to eat by oneself, because the seating area is basically on the floor of the station and isn't enclosed; the people watching is both abundant and abundantly entertaining. Their menu is a mish-mash of "Asian" foods-- most dishes are labeled with their country of origin, which I suppose is an attempt to lend a little credibility to their authenticity. But like Bananas' issue with the Cheesecake Factory and malady characterized by a too-ambitious menu (Cheesecake Factory Syndrome, or CFS, for short), I think East Street may have bitten off more then they could chew. I started with a Thai iced tea, which was fine, I guess, but was lacking that really good smokey flavor (and the undoubtedly artificial but no less necessary orange hue) that really characterizes the drink. My tempera appetizer was heavily battered and not quite crispy, but it was decently sized and the mushrooms were tasty. But the summer rolls-- oh, the summer rolls-- were gross. Just gross. Like, I didn't finish them. Usually summer rolls are a fresh combo of julienned veggies and herbs and noodles wrapped tightly in an unobtrusive rice paper skin. These were big chunks of unidentified (potentially) vegetal matter inside egg crepes (not right!) with a sweet, sticky sauce that just ruined the whole effect. This was probably the second time I've ever wanted to tell the waitress to take something off my bill (the first being those awful onion rings at Hard Times). But I didn't, because I'm spineless. Sweet.
Second: free lunch today at Artie's! One of my coworkers "won" one of those silly Ameriprise promotional deals, where we just had some uncomfortable-looking guy named Shane or Sean come and talk at us about retirement and saving and investment for a few minutes while we ordered our lunch, and then he left and we ate for free! Woo! Artie's is one of the Great American Restaurants that everyone (even Tom) seems to like, and I'm not going to argue with everyone. Today I went "lite" (nothing is ever really "lite" at Artie's, which is why we like it) and had a bowl of lobster bisque-- creamy, chunky with meat, lovely-- and my favorite salad of spring greens, candied walnuts, craisins, dates, and a big hunk of so-lightly-breaded goat cheese that I'm sure you're supposed to break up into the salad but which I always leave until the very last bites. Tasty!
Third (I am going in no discernible order): Lebanese Taverna in Pentagon Row. Eh. Not as good as other trips have been. The fried shrimp was just fried shrimp, my stuffed baby eggplant were too cold and didn't come with the usual tangy yogurt, and the bread was seriously sub-par. Must have been an off night.
Alrighty, I think that's all I've got for now. But with Bananas having real work to do and what not, I might be barging in here more often. Bananas, that ok with you?
Oh my Artie's salad...how I miss you! I've made it at home with moderate success, but you've got me thinking I need to make it again. (I used to live a lot closer, now it's kinda out of the way)
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