Saturday, November 16, 2013

DC Outlook's Dirty Dozen... The Top 12 Bites in DC

Leave it to me to name the 12 best bites in DC after a 1967 war film; but I like to get "down and dirty" with good food, and what do you expect from a film critic anyhow? The following delectable dozen earned their way onto this list with exceptional tastiness, value and zest. I bow at their collective awesomeness, and you should too. May I humbly present the first-ever DC Outlook Dirty Dozen...

1. Panas Gourmet Empanadas: After first trying Panas, I came up with the idea of a culinary Dirty Dozen. These baked delights are so affordable and so flavorful, that not eating them should be considered a crime. Killer dripping sauces and terrific customer service cement this Bethesda-Dupont Circle dynamic duo as the place to get your Latin swerve on.

Combo x 3 Empanadas at Panas

2. TD Burger: There are wings, and then there are Sweet Chili & Cilantro TD Wings from Top Chef alum Timothy Dean. Beautiful to look at and taste, these wings arrive piping hot and dripping in tangy sweet chili goodness. So good, I almost cried; and yes, I take my food way too seriously. 10 wings for $10.

TD Wings - Sweet Chili, Cilantro

3. Buzz: There's no shortage of cupcakes to choose from in the DC Metropolitan area; but one reigns supreme... Buzz in Ballston. We're coming up on the one-year anniversary of my first Pumpkin Cupcake there, and I feel obliged to buy 'em a gift. Since paper is the traditional offering, why not some paper currency to buy myself another cupcake or two? It's the least I can do, don't you think?

Pumpkin Cupcake at Buzz

4. City Tap House: It took one bite to discover our fourth member of the Dirty Dozen. How fortuitous to happen by City Tap House during their first City Tap Brunch weekend. Covered in Vermont maple syrup and honey thyme butter, you could have it for an appetizer, dessert, entree or all three. It's incredibly flaky, and has a crusty surface that oozes with flavor. Bonus points for not breaking up either. I suggested to the owner, that they box 'em up with a slice of Benton's Bacon, stack 'em by the hostess stand and charge a tenner a pop. Me? Fingers crossed, Mr. Hamilton at the ready.

City Tap House - Lodge Skillet Corn Bread

5. Bodega Spanish Tapas & Lounge: Choosing just one tapa from this Georgetown oasis is no easy task, but two bites into Bodega's Pimientos del Piquillo Rellenos de Costilla de Buey and I knew instantly... This is the one. Actually three, the number of piquillo peppers gently stuffed with silky smooth Braised Beef Short Ribs, and served au jus. Only costs $8.95... meaning you can easily order two or more. Yes, they're that good.

Pimientos del Piquillo Rellenos de Costilla de Buey

6. Rasika West End: You could argue that Rasika's popular Palak Chaat deserves this spot more; but how do you ignore the sheer explosion of flavors in each bite? Multiply that by six, and you start to comprehend my level of affection. Each one literally melts in your mouth; and when you factor in its incredibly affordable price ($8) it's a wonder I don't eat here every week!

Rasika - Sev Batata Puri

7. District Commons: It says a lot about me, that District Common's Hot Pretzel Baguette is the second bread on our list (currently at seven bites total.) I love bread, and DC practically reinvents the pretzel with its crispy-on-the-outside, almost fluffy-on-the-inside rendition. Paired with an addictive beer mustard butter, it takes a better man than me not to finish it all by their lonesome. Second best pretzel I've ever had in my life.

District Commons' Hot Pretzel Baguette

8. Pitmasters Back Alley BBQ: You could arguably stick Pitmasters' entire menu on this list; but there's no better single slice of meat in all of DC than the "Luckenbach Texas" Prime Brisket. It requires no sauce (almost unheard of, for barbecue) is packed with flavor and goes down like buttered bacon (if such a thing exists.) Intoxicating.

"Luckenbach Texas" Prime Brisket

9. Simit + Smith: Döner Kebap Dürüm

Döner Kebap Dürüm at Simit + Smith

Entries 10-12 to be determined.