Am returning to DC in a couple weeks and wanted to type up a report (overdue) about my last visit for those who had helped me out! That way, you won't mind if I ask some more questions ;)
I'm a DCer, born and bred, who has been living abroad for the past 4 years so all I really go is for comfort food i.e. food that may not be the best around but are my old standbys.
Got in on a Tuesday and went straight to Jaleo only to find that it was closed for a private party for its 10th anniversary (too bad I wasn't invited). Instead we decided to check out Zatinya. Great decor, sharp modern ambience, but service was a bit out of sync (they plunked down somebody else's dish on our table, the waiter was a bit rushed, etc) but regardless the food was pretty good. It's just me but I always enjoy Spanish tapas much more than Arab mezes! Zatinya had several creative dishes such as an intricate salad but in the same category (Arab mezes), I would still pick Bacchus for its complexity and depth.
Next day I went to Marathon Deli in College Park for their gyros (with a bit of fries on top) and found them as good as ever.
My friend was getting married and we had the bachelor party at Hard Times Cafe in Bethesda. typical bachelor party grub... all that sort of manly food you'd expect to find. The appetizers were ok but the dishes with chili shined out the most and I'd focus only on chili based dishes next time I go!
We stayed two nights at Inn at Vaucluse Springs in Stephens City after the wedding and ate dinner there Sat nite. Well, I hate to knock on that place as it was wonderful in every other aspect and I couldn't ask for more, but the dinner was not something that made me say "wow". We had carrot ginger soup, a salad with caramelized pecans, and shrimp with lemon rice. The menu was fixed so we didn't have choices. For those who like American food straight up with optimal ingredients then it's probably going to satisfy, but I was looking for something more... intricate. We thought about going out to 4 and 20 Blackbirds but really didn't want to endure the long drive back. It's nice slipping down to the bedroom right after dinner's over for some... post-dinner entertainment :)
My last meal before flying out was, as usual, at the Taqueria Poblano (I usually fly out of DCA). Shark tacos were the special but found them ok ok. Chile rellenos weren't as good as they were last time. Next time I go I think I'm just gonna order five or six fish tacos because that's the item that I think really stands out. I also enjoyed the crunchy taquitos and the hmm rajas poblanos as appetizers... salsa and chips were top notch too.
I didn't get a chance to do two standbys (beef fajitas at Rio Grande Cafe and sushi) so they're definitely at the top of my list for the next visit. For sushi I'm probably going to do Kaz. I'd like the best sushi around and only sushi, nothing else matters! I'd also like to try Matchbox in chinatown.
However I'm open to suggestions/comments. Hope you enjoyed my short report on my lasst visit!