I managed to eat at the following, when not cooped up in the basement meeting room of a hotel in Arlington:
--Bread Line: fun, fresh. the weather was nice enough to dine on the sidewalk. I had meat pies, a chicken dalilah sandwich on ciabatta, and wonderful chocolate cookies with marscapone between them. The ciabatta with crisp and crusty without being hard...an excellent little lunch spot! I regret that I didn't fit it into my schedule before my day of departure, as their selection deserved a repeat sampling visit.
--Ben's Chili Bowl: everyone in DC should eat here once a week! The half smokes and chili/cheese fries don't count as haute cuisine or health food; perhaps that's why my Ben's meal stands out as my favorite in DC. I also dig places that aren't self-consciously decorated. While the chili isn't something I'd want as a stand-alone, it was a perfect foil to charred dog and fries. And Prince on the bassed-up jukebox...heaven in a lunch counter. I'm sorry I didn't get to try the $3.45 2-egg breakfast special.
--Cafe Asia: while it may be nice when trying to accomodate the pan-asian tastes of a group, I found the food just okay. Not bad, just not memorable. And their vaunted $1 happy hour sushi was absolutely miniscule. If I did the trip over again, this is the one I'd leave out.
--Les Halles: yeah, it's a corporate chain, but the cassoulet was tres magnifique, esp. when it's 30 degrees out. It also satisfied my carnivorous dining companion; fries were good, but not quite great.
--Firehook Bakery: kudos to their apple cinnamon scones, but the croissants weren't exactly parisian (too dry, not buttery enough).
--Pizzeria Paradiso: excellent crust, very fresh toppings. The Georgetown location is noisy (exposed brick), but the young service staff kept the place humming. I enjoyed the fresh mozzerella, and a large pizza disappeared with alarming speed.
Finally, I dropped into Dean & DeLuca, where I enjoyed beautiful fresh fruit (hard to get when you're a tourist in mid winter), a nice grilled chicken sandwich, and a lovely chocolate croissant.
Thanks to everyone who turned me onto some tasty spots.
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