Washington DC Food Crawl

July 7, 2024

Beyond the Washington DC Food . . .

I swear we came first and foremost to check out the museums. And on that note we recommend visiting The National Museum of African American History and Culture, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the International Spy Museum.

There is so much to see and learn in D.C. that the few days we spent barely scratched the surface. And the same goes for the food . . .

Washington DC Food stop 1 Umai Nori

DC food crawl stop 1:

The Vitals:
the spot: Umai Nori 1147 20th St NW, Washington, DC 20036
the eats: Umai Temaki(signature hand rolls)
the bucks: $6 and up per roll, plan on $40 a person
the full nelson: solid neighborhood sushi joint

The first stop of my Washington DC food crawl satisfied a sushi craving without breaking the bank. Umai Nori does a good job of offering value to what ultimately is a luxury food.

We stuck mostly with nigiri(fish over rice) which featured generous cuts of fish and hit the spot. It seems that the signature dish at Umai Nori is their hand rolls. They aren’t rolled into a cone so they appear somewhat “taco” like.

Pro tip: save room for a few of these.

Washington DC Food Crawl stop 2 Tatte Bakery

DC food crawl stop 2:

The Vitals:
the spot: Tatte Bakery multiple locations in the Metro DC area
the eats: Ham and cheese croissant, French Toast, pretty much whatever you’re in the mood for
the bucks: $5-$15
the full nelson: The best bakery chain ever

The smoked ham in my ham cheese croissant at Tatte Bakery took my breath away. Equal parts meaty to smokey, that bite of ham washed away a sea of bad ham and cheese croissant memories and was a total value at $6.

My son’s french toast was literally as decadent as it looked. Maybe it’s because we don’t go out for breakfast like this often but Tatte Bakery was one special way to start the second day of our Washington DC food crawl.

Washington DC Food Crawl stop 3 Grazie Nonna

DC food crawl stop 3:

The Vitals:
the spot: Grazzie Nonna 1100 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005
the eats: Pizzas, bucatini with meatballs, antipasto, calamari
the bucks:  plan on $40 a person before drinks and dessert
the full nelson: East Coast Italian that splits old school comfort with new school quality 

Grazzie Nonna does fancy pizzas but don’t think it is just another Neapolitan style joint either. The third stop of our Washington DC food crawl was all about the vibes of Chef Casey Patten’s youth spent cooking with his grandmother.

Throw in some evergreen comfort favs like fried calamari and meatballs in a Sunday gravy worth waiting all week for, and you have that quintessential East Coast Italian food experience.

Washington DC Food Crawl stop 4 Eat Burgz

DC food crawl stop 4:

The Vitals:
the spot:  Eat Brgz 1200 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036
the eats: burgers 
the bucks:  $15-$20 a burger
the full nelson: Casual burger joint with premium-ish prices= better than I thought 

Part of a family vacation means pleasing the family. My son wanted a burger and while I had higher hopes for another spot, Eat Brgz won the bid for the fourth stop of our Washington DC food crawl.

It was better than I thought. Though a bit overpriced and a dash underwhelming, the sum total was respectable enough. You’ve had worse food on vacation and while that might seem like a backhanded compliment, this place is still a notch up from Shake Shack.

Washington DC Food Crawl stop 5 Chicken and Whiskey

DC food crawl stop 5:

The Vitals:
the spot:  Chicken and Whiskey multiple locations in Washington D.C.
the eats: Peruvian roasted chicken and more 
the bucks:  $15 a person before drinks
the full nelson: Peruvian fast casual fare meets whiskey bar

With a name like Chicken and Whiskey, I would have bet fried chicken was specialty of the house. Instead it was Pollo A La Brasa, a wood fired rotisserie chicken and Peruvian staple. It’s also a fast casual with a bar featuring an extensive whiskey selection.

Umm, what the huh? Turns out the fifth stop of our Washington DC food tour was kinda perfected for what we needed: pregaming food and drink before a baseball game. This particular location is right in Navy Yard, a short walk to the Nationals’ ballpark.

Washington DC food crawl stop 6

DC food crawl stop 6:

The Vitals:
the spot:Ben’s Chili Bowl multiple locations in Washington D.C.
the eats: A half smoke with chili
the bucks:  $8.50
the full nelson: a Washington DC food icon ain’t your average chili dog

My first time trying a half smoke was a convenient one. Scoring this chili dog at Nationals’ stadium puts it in the running for best ballpark dog ever. But a half smoke is more than a hot dog and Ben’s Chili Bowl is more than a restaurant.

A fixture in the Washington DC African American community over 60 years, their signature menu item half smokes, are truly a DC thing. A spicier, more coarse ground sausage, their are similarities to a hot dog or even a Kielbasa but a hot smoke had a taste all it’s own. And it stands up to chili like no mere weiner ever could.

Washington DC Food Crawl stop 6 Yellow Cafe

DC food crawl stop 7:

The Vitals:
the spot: Yellow 1524 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007
the eats: Chicken Shawarma sandwich, Falafel Sandwich
the bucks:  $15-$17
the full nelson: a glimpse into the cooking of the most outstanding chef in America

For two years I have been hearing the praises of Chef Michael Rafidi. The winner of James Beard’s Most Outstanding Chef of 2024 won the hearts of DC foodies by elevating the food of the Levant and even impressed Michelin inspectors which earned him a star for his flagship restaurant, Albi.

Yellow was my chance to get a taste of the Palestinian American chef’s cooking in a hand held. I tried the chicken shawarma which noticeably was studded with the freshest mint leaf I’ve ever had along with the falafel. The latter unquestionably is worth the $15 price tag. One thing is absolutely clear, my next DC trip will be built around a reservation at Albi.


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