Sunday, February 01, 2009

55 Reasons I Love the DC Area

(Tagged by Jen.)

1. Friends and family are nearby, so I can get my gaming on, go out to a play, or catch up over good food almost any time I want.

2. Walk down any street in downtown DC and you have a good chance of hearing a language other than English.

3. Ethiopian food. Doro wat, tibs, and all the veggie dishes.

4. Bike trails, when they're maintained. The Capital Crescent used to be my daily commute, and now Sligo Creek is.

5. A decently-sized Japanese community with whom I can converse.

6. Japanese grocery stores (especially Hinata, the cheapest and the best! Address: 4947 Saint Elmo Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814)

7. The 24-hour Tastee Diner in Silver Spring (with free wireless access). It's so run-down, but it reminds me of late nights in the Towson Diner back in the day.

8. The AFI and the Landmark theaters.

9. The Metro, despite its failings; it's why I moved to this place.

10. Malaysian Kopitiam: best cheap Asian food in the city. Everything I've gotten there has been good. And they even have a picture menu!

11. The Folger Theatre. I've been twice (thanks to Missy) and been swept away.

12. The small venues that attract big or up-and-coming names. If you get there early enough, you can see every bead of sweat on their faces.

13. The Kennedy Center and their free stuff.

14. The Sakura Matsuri and the cherry blossoms.

15. The atmosphere here when Obama was elected and when he was inaugurated.

16. The pirate bar, mainly for the company. Be careful with the grog. But then again, everyone needs a grog story.

17. Scrabble nights, as organized by Audrey. (Speaking of which, everyone should invite Audrey to join Facebook. Trust me, it'll be funny.)

18. Sushi Taro. Unfortunately, the restaurant that has the best sushi at the best price is undergoing renovations until March. What's good: pretty much all the sushi. They have the spicy-mayo variety of spicy tuna/salmon, which is excellent. And it's a real Japanese atmosphere. Very highly recommended.

19. Riding my bike in Dupont Circle. I love going between the cars that are pretty much parked in the circle. It was always the highlight of my commute.

20. Julia's Empanadas. This is street food at its best: warm, savory stuff packed into a pastry shell, for only $3.50. I would usually get one near quitting time, so I would be tided over until dinner. I think they're healthy, too.

21. The 14th Street bike lane. It's large enough to protect you from traffic, and the slopes aren't too steep. It gets me pretty much from my home in Silver Spring to Columbia Heights or U Street as quickly as possible.

22. Cakelove cakes at birthday parties.

23. Eastern Market.

24. Kam Sam, the Chinese grocery store that I frequently frequent. It's out in Rockville, but to me it's worth the Zipcar rental.

25. The Freer & Sackler Galleries Asian art stuff, including the concerts, performances, movies, and talks.

26. Hearing "The Kojo Nnaaaammdi Show." Not really the show itself, just hearing the title as pronounced by Kojo.

27. The occasional jumbo slice.

28. The weather. Really. The weather's quite moderate, though mostly always wet. This fall, there was awesome biking weather for a month. A month!

29. Finding bizarre monuments.

30. Restaurant Week.

31. Five Guys. (Hey, it started here... right?)

32. Late night Manny & Olga's cheesesteak subs.

33. Fruitpicking in Virginia and Maryland is only a drive away.

34. Ginko trees. I know, they stink, but the Ginko nuts are delicious when roasted.

35. Tempo Books in Tenlytown. They have (perhaps literally) tons of language learning books: ESL, Spanish, Japanese, most languages.

34. Biking along M Street in Georgetown during rush hour (see 19).

35. Brunch: an important, weekend-only, meal in DC.

36. Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. I only took classes there for a brief time, but it's a good community.

37. Busboys and Poets. Best name ever.

38. Teaism.

39. Domku. Such a weird little island, I can't help but love it. Eastern European eats, but unique.

40. Suits and sneakers on the Metro.

41. The Craigslist community: there's always something for free up for grabs. And I found my roommates through it and I'm quite happy about that.

42. The dim sum near my place at Oriental East. Not that it's the awesomest, just that it's good and close.

43. Naan & Beyond's naan sandwiches.

44. Biking through Rock Creek Park in the spring and summer (on the road, when it's closed to cars).

45. The plethora of bike shops, for when I break down from all the above biking.

46. Video Americain in Takoma Park. It was there that I rented Tampopo, the best movie ever about ramen. So funny.

47. The Quarry House, especially on Half Price Burger Night (Mondays), and especially when the tatertots are nice and soft.

48. Union Station. It was the first place in DC I remember coming to, when I was visiting some Georgetown students back in the day. I like the shape, the columns, and even the crappy food court down in the underbelly.

49. Politics & Prose, though I don't go to the author talks nearly enough.

50. Being slowly introduced to Salvadoran food, such as pupusas.

51. Embassy open houses.

52. The Greek festival at Massachusetts and Wisconsin.

53. Zipcars, although I wish one was just five minutes closer to my place.

54. The Chipotle at M & 19th, Mai Thai on 19th, and Penang on 19th--for good lunches with good company.

55. I like that DC is not in love with itself (like New York is). I don't like it when people hate on DC, but I much prefer anti-sentiment to effusive praise. DC might be where powerful people are, but no DCites have chips on their shoulders about living here. I like that, I do.

(crossposted on Facebook)


Phaedra said...

five guys was started further south...i think north carolina...i remember going to one down in nags head two years before i saw one any closer

aak said...

Okay, this must be looked into. Luckily there is something called Google, which knows everything. From the Five Guys site:

* 1986: The first Five Guys location opens in Arlington, VA.
* 1986 - 2001: Five Guys open's five locations around the DC metro-area and perfect their business of making burgers… and starts to build a cult-like following.
* 2002: Five Guys decides DC metro-area residents shouldn't be the only ones to experience their burgers and start to franchise in Virginia and Maryland.
* 2003: Five Guys sells out of franchise territory within 18 months and starts to open the rest of the country for franchise rights.
* 2003 - Present: Five Guys expands to over 300 locations in over 25 states.

Phaedra said...

i stand corrected...and i just found out there is one not far from! i love the internet

Malnurtured Snay said...

The Towson diner! I used to love that place. Also, that one in Timonium ... can't think of it's name anymore ... had the sea theme.

Anonymous said...


You must be referring to the Nautilus Diner. It's actually a small chain in NJ,PA and MD. Very good food.


Bethany said...

Great list. I really want to check out some of your favorites now! Especially Domku.

Jon - The DC Traveler said...

Great list...

Finding bizarre monuments? No kidding!!

This weekend I found one to the Bard of Ukriane (1814-1861), and the President of Czechoslovakia (1918-1935).

And I have no idea why these statutes have a special place in Washington, DC.

aak said...

Be warned, Bethany: Domku has ONE server. As such, the food sometimes takes a while. As long as you go there with friends that prefer chatting a while before eating, you'll be fine.

JTS said...

Vegetate restaurant on 9th and P NW. Best vegetarian dishes I've ever had (lived in NY, Philly, Cairo, been a vegetarian all along). Also, their cocktails are excellent (like mulled ginger with vodka and mint, etc.)

The Pumpernickel said...

Excellent reasons, I couldn't agree more. Malaysian Kopitiam is now officially the next restaurant on my list.

aak said...

Jon: I'll keep an eye out for those.

JTS: Good to know!

Pumpernickel: Singapore noodles are great, and so is the chicken curry laksa soup with egg noodles. But really, try anything that looks good--it probably is.

jenr78 said...

Cool list! I'm glad I inspired you and hope that others do the same. Genuine appreciation for where you live is essential, don't you think?

Jason said...

Thanks for the great list. I sometimes forget to appreciate D.C.

PQ said...

My friend owns Julia's Empanadas. They're opening up a new location soon :)