Monday, September 17, 2007

street food in D.C. just got a little better

I don't know whether we have many regular D.C. readers (note to self: must get SiteMeter), but I know that some of you have some knowledge of the D.C. food scene (looking at you, Ed), and that you will sympathize when I say that D.C.'s downtown food carts suffer from a serious lack of imagination. Basically, it's all hot dogs (er, pardon me, half smokes), all the time. In fact, several months ago, when the city was preparing to issue its first licenses for new food carts after a long moratorium, it actually sponsored a workshop for prospective cart owners entitled "You Don't Have To Sell Hot Dogs." Sad, but true.

The first of these new carts have opened, and the buzz is positive. There's a Korean BBQ cart three blocks from my office, and I plan to go try its bulgogi tomorrow. There's a new halal cart that's supposed to have good chicken shawarma, and there's another cart opening soon that will sell chicken & waffles -- sadly, those two are a bit farther away for a lunchtime trek for me. Still, this is encouraging. It just makes me happy to know that somewhere in this city, you can (soon) buy soul food from a street vendor.



Anonymous Mr. Tart said...

Confession: in six years of living in DC, I never once ate at those stands. Because I couldn't find anything that wasn't a hot dog.

I'm glad to hear it's getting better.

9:09 PM  
Blogger tara said...

Update: The bulgogi was delicious (the kimchi: meh), and the service very friendly. In this surly city, it's a rare treat to be greeted by someone who seems to actually be having a nice day.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Wait--chicken and waffles? Waffles? That just doesn't seem like a natural combination to me.

8:36 PM  
Blogger tara said...

Yeah, chicken & waffles is a soul food thing. (And, as I just learned from a little Googling, also a Pennsylvania Dutch thing, but that's a different dish altogether, involving gravy.) Gladys Knight apparently owns a small chain of chicken & waffle restaurants, including one in the D.C. area. I've never had it, but I'm guessing the salty/sweet combo is the appeal -- is it really that much different than waffles and bacon, or waffles and sausage?

8:01 AM  
Blogger lis said...

salt lake has a lot of taco stands. they are kick ass tacos, so I don't care if there isn't more diversity.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

It's good to hear that DC is finally getting something other than hotdog stands. I've spent the better portion of my life there and I can't think of a single time I've eaten anything from a stand that's ranked higher than "passable deli sandwich."

Here in Brussels we have street stands that sell escargot. With any luck the food in DC will evolve to the point where I can come home and eat in the style to which I've become accustomed.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

It's poetic justice that DC is getting better street food in the same year that RFK stadium is closing. RFK, the home of the Nationals, is the most hotdog-centric stadium I've ever been in. The new Nationals stadium, which will open in the spring, is supposed to have much better food, a la Baltimore's Camden Yards.

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Tanya said...

This is what I *hate* about working by Eastern Market. I miss out on all the fun food stuff going on where normal people work.

10:01 AM  

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