A beautiful day in the neighborhood.
Already familiar with most of the restaurants, bars, and shops along U Street itself, I decided to walk through the Logan Circle area. I knew the Whole Foods resided on P Street, so I meandered through the aisles. As much as I drooled over the prepared foods, pastries, and salad bar, I found myself missing the reasonably-priced, well-stocked, double-coupon goodness of the Bethesda Giant. For whatever reason, grocery shopping in the District seems to have always left something to be desired. To those readers who live in the heart of the city—where do you do your food shopping?
I dropped into a local, non-chain hardware store to get some keys copied, and I was greeted and treated warmly by the colorful associates. I may like my grocery stores sprawling, but I still adore small businesses.
I noticed Merkado Kitchen, about which I had read numerous times in the WaPo and on some DC food blogs. Jason and I decided to try it out for dinner, which would have been a much better idea if it hadn’t been monsooning outside (not surprisingly, it is somewhat unpleasant to eat a meal while you are soaked from the knees down). To start, Jason ordered edamame (he absolutely loves that stuff), which appeared to be grilled and was nice and salty toward the bottom of the bowl. I opted for the chile relleno, which was stuffed with jalapenos, black beans, and goat cheese, and then fried in tempura batter. Very unhealthy, I realize, but yummy—lots of excellent flavors and textures that worked really well together. For our entrees, Jason went for the beef fajitas (which looked pretty standard) and I chose the pork tenderloin, which was exceptionally tender and flavorful. I wasn’t crazy about the bed of soba noodles upon which the pork sat—WAY too much sesame oil, and not enough garlic—but the dish was basically satisfying. As for my overall impression, I’d say that Merkado is good, but not great—a nice local standby that brings some food-forward choices to the area.
Instead of going directly back up 16th Street, I walked amongst the brownstones a bit more before heading home. I noticed the “Soviet Safeway” on 17th and Corcoran, and a couple of restaurants and bars that looked promising for neighborhood haunts. I wanted to venture to the “Secret Safeway” on 20th and S, but I gave up and decided to continue my exploration on a less humid day.
I am nostalgic for some parts of B-town, but I am very excited to be truly living the city life. Next task: to find a neighborhood bar to serve as my very own “Cheers”!