Food and drink are always a significant part of any outing that C.S. and I undertake. When we first started traveling together, C.S. learned in very short order that I must be fed regularly. Otherwise I get a little, um, cranky.
He also quickly learned that one of my few but deeply held travel-related convictions is that one does not eat in chain restaurants when one travels, except in cases of dire need. (The other deeply held conviction is that one never unfolds one's map on the street. It's just the way I am.)
In D.C. we sometimes kept the restaurant rule and sometimes broke it. We had a lunch at the Five Guys at Nationals Stadium, which is a chain but has such good burgers it's practically in another category entirely. We had a breakfast at a Starbucks, but we partially mitigated that by sitting outdoors on the sidewalk, people-watching and tossing crumbs to the sparrows. And we ate another lunch at the McDonald's in the Air and Space Museum, which clearly fell in the dire need category. Everything else was just too darn far to walk at that particular point in that particular day.
But, oh, we made up for those faux pas on other occasions! We had two delicious pizza dinners at Pizzeria Paradiso in Dupont Circle. After facing the open kitchen the first night and consuming a fabulously simple insalata mista and a truly delicious pepperoni pizza which was made right before our eyes, we opted to return a second night. It was that good.
The kitchen staff was in great form throughout the night, making pizzas of all kinds (menu here) non-stop during the entire time we were there and masterfully controlling the wood-burning oven. We were intrigued by the pizza that included a fried egg among the toppings. When the chefs made it, they added a whole egg, in the shell, as the last ingredient, stacking it right on top of everything else. When that pizza first went into the oven, the egg was removed and set aside. But at the appropriate moment, the pizza came out of the oven, the egg was cracked over the top, and the pizza went back into the oven for the final cooking, during which the egg turned into a perfect sunny-side-up accent. That's the kind of thing that's so weird, it must be good.
On our second visit we sat at a table and started with the homemade bread and roasted elephant garlic appetizer. (If we both have it, the stink cancels itself out, right?) Then we ordered a custom made pizza of pancetta, red onion, basil and extra cheese. It was truly to die for. We were far too full for dessert . . . although I must admit I was disappointed that we were just minutes too late to stop into the French bakery next door. I couldn't have eaten a lemon tart, but I could have carried it back to the hotel for later!
Strangely enough, despite this culinary highlight, the most memorable part of the evening was a drink I tried while we sat at the bar awaiting our table: the Beermosa.
In significant ways, the Beermosa is rather like a Mojito: it takes many steps to make, and when customers see it being made, they're going to want one, too. So it's labor intensive and tends to occur in multiples. It could also be called the Barkeep's Nightmare. However, in my opinion, it's majorly worth it.
The Beermosa contains fresh-squeezed orange juice, fresh lemon juice, and a mild ale. It's served over ice. I love citrus and I'm not especially crazy about beer, so this was right up my alley. In fact, I liked it so much I had two! It may be the perfect drink. I'm thinking it could also be called the Lightweight's Dream.