Young and Hungry

My Day in Chinatown/Penn Quarter Food and Drink

chinatown 1

The weather was so warm on Saturday, really more summer than spring, that Carrie and I decided to wander the streets of Chinatown/Penn Quarter, going from lunch to dessert to cheese to beer to wherever the spirit took us.

I feel bad in retrospect. We didn't explore Chinablock, the small strip of real estate that represents what's left of D.C.'s historic Chinatown. Instead, we mostly stayed on the sidewalks outfitted with the kind of chain and Party Central businesses that attract the well-heeled and the high-heeled alike. I definitely didn't earn any Jonathan Gold ethnic-eating bonus points on this outing, but aside from the guilt, we had a helluva time.

Take a look:

chinatown 2

We did manage to avoid these chains in "Chinatown."

chinatown 3

But we did stop at another one, the London-based Ping Pong Dim Sum, for flowering tea and some shareable plates. The food, whether spicy chicken steamed in delicate folds of rice pastry or chopped prawns fried into little brown burial mounds, showed considerable improvement over my first visit weeks ago. The dumplings were not as gummy. The pork shu mai not as bland. The chicken puff not as sticky sweet. The turnaround was remarkable, as if a whole new team of cooks had taken up residence. More investigation is required.

chinatown 4

We stopped at Crepes on the Walk for dessert, a rich and rubbery pancake slathered with Nutella.

chinatown 5

Not food-related, but we were tickled by this scene in the alley, where folks renting Segways were getting driving lessons before attacking the streets (and the people walking them).

chinatown 6

The Cowgirl Creamery was packed with cheese heads like us.

chinatown 7

We picked up a pair of cheeses, including a block of Ouray from Sprout Creek Farm in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., which produces this firm, slightly crumbly cheese with sweet buttery flavors.

chinatown 8

We thought about experimenting with the chocolate wine available at the liquor store next to Cowgirl but couldn't bring ourselves to taste what could very well be a desecration of two great products.

chinatown 9

Animal activists were trying to shake some sense into the kids walking into the Verizon Center for a Ringling Bros. show. I suspect the Coke went down bitter after that.

chinatown 10

One man had discovered the joys of fresh fruit in Chinatown. Don't worry, I'm sure it won't happen again.

chinatown 11

A soccer match was competing with March Madness for a beer drinker's attention at RFD. Or maybe I should say there was a soccer match on TV at RFD. I'm not sure anyone was watching it.

chinatown 12

Carrie ordered a Floris Apple Ale, a crisp, slightly tart pour that combines unfermented apple juices with a classic Belgian white ale. It tastes more like apple juice than beer to me, but it goes down smooth on a warm day.

chinatown 13

I also went the Belgian route with a glass of Duvel Green, an equally crisp golden ale that balances citrus with sweetness, with only a mild hoppiness. It's a good thing RFD was charging $8-plus a bottle draft for the Green, because I could have drank these all afternoon.

Comments

  1. #1

    Could've swore the Duvel Green was draft only. You had a bottle?

  2. #2

    Why did you have to pick on the over weight guy eating fruit....so not cool.

  3. #3

    Brad, Thanks for pointing that out. My beer was indeed a draft. The text has been corrected accordingly.

    Courtney, I was worried that some might take that photo the wrong way. I wasn't trying to mock the man but mock the idea of fresh fruit in a neighborhood awash with fried and fatty foods. An apple seemed so out of place.

    -Tim

  4. #4

    I didn't see it as you mocking the man eating the fruit. I totally just thought, haha what a surprise to see fresh fruit in Chinatown!! If you are a veteran of eating in Chinatown, you will realize that there isn't much fruit! I'm with ya, Tim.

  5. #5

    Dude, I've totally seen that chocolate wine in grocery stores and thought about buying it. It looks like the most disgusting thing ever - and yet, disgusting in a very intriguing way.

Leave a Comment

Comments Shown. Turn Comments Off.
...