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I Got Crabs in DC

Scott and I decided to set aside any ambitions of getting our tiny new apartment organized yesterday and instead went out exploring D.C. for Valentine's Day.

We parked our car at the College Park Metro Station near our apartment and hit the Green Line for Chinatown/Gallery Place. We were ravenous at about 2 pm, so we hit one of the first places we saw - Chinatown Garden. One visit made me wish we'd consulted the DC Ethnic Food site before hitting the town.

The complimentary pot of hot tea was nice, and their steamed pork dumplings were tasty as a meal starter. I thought ordering from the "authentic" back page of their menu would be a smart option. However, our server led me astray when she recommended the salty pepper soft shell crabs after informing me my choice of shrimp and scallops was not available. "It's from Maryland. Very good," she said. I beg to differ.

The crab were incredibly briny and so fried that I couldn't taste crab at all - just a lot of mushy, fried bits. I am also pretty sure I ate a part of crab I shouldn't - the egg sac or something or another that doesn't need to be eaten, ever. It was mealy and tasted of something that had already been digested and well, processed, if you know what I mean.

Scott ordered the bean leaf and garlic entree, which was bland and would be great for someone wanting a purifying, bare-bones experience - just sauteed greens over white rice.

We both chalked the meal up to an "Oh, well, we just blew $50 dollars" standard. Moving on, we timed the walk from Chinatown to my new workplace (5 minutes) and from work to Union Station (15 minutes). After purchasing my MARC commuter train pass, we took the Red Line from Union Station to Adams Morgan (and Madam's Organ) to do some people watching.

Bellies now grumbling and trying to forget the Chinatown experience, we aimed to find a place to grab a drink and a light bite to eat. Luckily, D.C. redeemed itself with the Afterwords Cafe, a Dupont Circle eatery in a great bookstore. We sat at a balcony overlooking the store, so it was fun to sip our draft beers (mine: Fordham Lager, Scott: Magic Hat #9) and watch readers peruse the shelves.

We shared an appetizer selection of Nachitos, organic Mushroom Crostini, and a leek/potato terrine. Being somewhat interested in quantity at the dinnertime hour, the Nachitos won over, though they were not very warm in temperature. The Crostini was delicious yet small, though not as tiny as the terrine, which came in a thumb-sized ramekin with a sprinkling of micro greens. It was also lukewarm, so I am not sure if we caught the restaurant on a busy night or what, but the warmth of every dish was an issue. Taste was not - everything was seasoned well and fresh.

With beer on our breath and love in the air, we ambled back on to the Red Line, transferred to the Green, and returned home for a bottle of cheapo Australian sparkling wine to toast our new home.

I'm excited to be somewhere new to explore - the sights and smells are calling me!


  1. A bad meal, but at least you got one; we went to Los Arcos on Nolensville Rd. last Saturday night, various problems ensued, her plate showed up but mine never did, at least not the right one, so I just filled up on chips.

  2. No bueno... Los Arcos is usually a safe bet. You should aim for a redo!

    Scott and I will post soon about a great taqueria we visited in our new hood. Sometimes it pays to rent in a "transitional area."


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