lots of fun during my first ever trip to d.c.! we left on the spur of the moment so didn't have time to scrutinize the boards too closely. but my friend had used the boards extensively on a prior visit about a year ago and remembered some highlights.
firehouse(?) bakery - at dupont circle. we ate breakfast here two days in a row. the winner was the french toast (whole wheat bread dipped in egg w/ buttery-sugary topping - you take it to go and eat it like a muffin or something - yum!) but we also liked a pecan sandy and a pumpkin muffin. great hot and iced coffee. about $8 each morning for two baked goods and two large coffees.
occidental grill - downtown across the street from major sites - one of those places to go when you're sightseeing and don't want to go too far away for lunch. we had intended to go to old ebbitt grill for crabcakes but it was packed! plus occidental grill had nice outdoor seating, really delightful. surprisingly, we really enjoyed this place. we ordered fried oysters (served with creamed spinach, ham, and manchego cheese - like updated oysters rockefeller) and crab cakes. portions were huge (i couldn't finish my half portion). the crab cakes were great - all jumbo lump crab meat with very little filler, very crispy, served in a mustardy sauce. served with mashed potatoes and coleslaw, also good. really, some of the best crabcakes i've had anywhere. interesting all-american wine list, and the server was quite knowledgeable about the wines. also there was a bread basket that contained a few interesting breads (herb biscuit and cornbread). about $70 for two (one app & entree, three glasses of wine, two espressos).
ethiopian restaurant - i forgot the name, but it is a big corner place on avenue u, almost across the street from ben's chili bowl. we had a veggie combo and a raw beef entree (w/ chili, cardamom, ethiopian cheese, spiced butter). man, was it good. definitely better than the ethiopian options here in nyc. we were a little nervous about eating raw beef at a non-upscale restaurant, but the flavor and texture were deep and good, and we did not get sick. about $25 (no drinks).
jaleo - downtown location. the standout tapa here was anchovies w/ goat cheese and roasted piquillo peppers. we also liked the dates and bacon (duh) and a tortilla with mahon and sausage. however, grilled octopus with paprika was bland. a selection of spanish cheeses was decent; however, i eat at artisanal in nyc pretty regularly, and these were disappointing in comparison. we sampled about 4 different kinds of sherry, which was fun. i would definitely go back here. i liked it better than the various tapas places i've tried in new york, though maybe not quite as well as cobras y matadors and aoc in l.a. about $85 (5 tapas & lots of sherry)
breadline - got a tuna sandwich on olive bread from here to eat on the train back to nyc. it advertised "moroccan flavors" but i did not detect them. the sandwich was not bad, but the bread was a little too flimsy and the tuna a little too wet. (about $9).
ben's chili bowl will have to wait for my next trip...