I was in DC for a conference last weekend and I wanted to say thanks to this board, as I was able to do some research that led to some great food!
I was staying in the Woodley Park area, which I learned here was not great for chow. The only meal I had there outside of our hotel was at an Indian place right around the corner on Connecticut Ave and it was average at best. I wish we had gone to the Afghan Grill nearby, but my crowd was too conservative for that.
However, I will share that the Marriott Hotel where I stayed had some of the best hotel food I have *ever* had. It was remarkably well done considering these were meals made for four hundred people at a time. Excellent crab cakes, breads, desserts, and the brownies they had were scary good. They also stocked "Sinplicity" ice cream in their snack bar, so if you don't mind spending $6 on a pint, you can get some amazing ice cream and go eat it by the pool (which I think locals are allowed to use if they pay a fee -- it's worth checking into considering DC summers!)
Now for the chow: I walked up to Cleveland Park to get a slice at Vace and it was really good. I have high pizza standards coming from Pittsburgh, so this is not said lightly. The only thing that perplexed me was that the sauce seemed to be on top of the cheese? Huh?
I popped into Macgruder's in the same block to see what they had. I got some chestnut gelato that was pretty decent.
I also walked over to Adams Morgan to find Tacos Pepitos. Well worth the walk -- got some nice authentic Mexican breakfast pastries that took me back to my days in Mexico, except they were $1.50 each instead of twenty cents a piece. Ah well. I never made it over to get tamales or a torta, but everything looked wonderful and very authentic.
Other chow news: I've always been a sucker for Marvelous Market from my previous DC days. I was in Chevy Chase and in Dupont Circle, so I got an amaretto cupcake and then later a "salted oatmeal cookie"; the latter was really really different and good enough for me to think I should try and replicate this at home.
From Firestone bakery I tried a French Toast pastry (bread baked with eggy coating and cinnamon sugar. This was OK. The two Firestone Bakeries I visited seemed a bit lackluster to me. Neither place smelled like fresh baked goods -- a bad sign.
Then I was off to Baltimore where I had Berger's cookies (like cake frosting on a white cake cookie, good in a nostalgic way), a snowball at Oasis (halfway between Italian ice and a slushy in all kinds of bizarre flavors -- buttercream slushie?). Sabatino's in Little Italy which was fun for the nostalgia, cannolis at the famous Italian bakery whose name now escapes me -- you can actually buy cannoli chips and ricotta cream in which to dip them there. I thought that was brilliant.
And I tried to buy some masa at the tortilleria on Eastern Ave, but I always arrived too late in the day (sigh). But I did get some wonderful fresh tortillas.
Topping all of this eating off (groan), was the best -- lunch at the cafe on the top of the Visionary Art Museum. Wonderful, innovative Mexican cooking (plantain soup!), and some of the best guacamole I've ever had, done tableside. Wow. I highly recommend this cafe.
Thanks to chowhound, what a great chow trip! Baltimore especially is quite a chow-worthy town.