Wedged between an auto parts store and Yuppie Pawn, this local Italian joint looks a little dubious from the outside. And in a metro area dominated by the likes of nationally-known restaurateurs Tom Douglas and Jonathan Sundstrom, it’s easy to see how a homey spot like this gets overlooked.
By Kimberly Johnson
Located off bustling Wisconsin Avenue in the boho-chic part of Georgetown hides a little farm-to-taco eatery known as Chaia (a.k.a. “swimsuit body friendly”). This trendy eatery dishes up highly sought after tacos, making it the perfect spot for tourists and locals craving a healthy, gluten-free meal. What you won’t find in these tacos is meat. What you will find is quite possibly the best vegetarian tacos in Washington, D.C.
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An Afrikaans word, “braai” translates simply to “barbecue,” but to Capetonians a braai offers much more than merely eating together. Locals head to Mzoli’s on their weekend mornings to let loose with friends, to dance together, and to congregate over juicy meats prepared in the South African fashion.
“Eat Oysters, Get Lucky,” screams the multicolored neon sign over the bar. Oceana Grill is located in a 200-year-old house and serves contemporary Louisiana fare with an emphasis on the bounty of the Gulf, including those oysters you’ll need to “get lucky” — fresh, chargrilled, or Rockefeller.
We stepped inside the warm, cozy restaurant where the menu boasted “fresh, modern, Mexican cuisine” along with various constructions of unique, delectable margaritas. The aromas filtering from the kitchen were enough persuasion to ask for a table. As we savored the sweet and salty tang of spirits, the owner stopped by our table to personally welcome us. The place was busy on this weekday evening, and we found out why. Hatch has developed a reputation for not only having great food and drinks but also for their happy hours seven days a week, regardless of the season.
On a short, pleasant drive from the center of colonial San Miguel de Allende, you will find Rancho Zandunga, a music and dining venue created by world-class musician Gil Gutierrez and Rebecca Kemelhar. Six years ago, Gil and Becca began building a “country place” to join with friends and indulge in their passions: making music, cooking and eating good food, drinking flavored margaritas and mezcal cocktails, and relaxing in the country surrounded by the mountains of Guanajuato.
In between bites, Pang provided information about the differences in food from Central, North, Northeast, and Southern Thailand; Central tends to be sweet, Southern fiery, North herbaceous, and Northeast simple and spicy. She also shared a bit of history about the neighborhood we visited. For example, Bangrak can be loosely translated as Village of Love, but it also served as a major shipping port in the 18th and 19th centuries. Many of the restaurants we patronized have been in the same building for decades. Panlee Bakery, for example, is located on Charoen Krung, the first road in Bangkok; until it was constructed in the 1860s, canals and the Chao Phraya river provided all transportation.
Lafayette Bakery & Café serves up a fanciful array of French goodies in a casual street-café atmosphere. In sparkling and stuffed-to-overflowing display cases, delicious products — which have traveled about 15 feet from the busy kitchen readily visible from the counter — are proudly displayed. The beauty, textures, and flavors of both sweet and savory entrées evidence many years of old-world French experience, where this team ran a bakery and café. Reasonably-priced perfection for breakfast, brunch, or lunch.