Top Chef DC premiers today and the ‘chef’testant house is sold (UPDATED)

So, as most of you should know, Top Chef DC premiers tonight on Bravo at 9pm. SO excited. SO hoping I like one of the local contenders and can support them unconditionally for the entirety of the show. I am also very curious as to which  DC culinary landmarks they will  showcase. Any guesses (other than Ben’s), my dear readers?

Anyways, in a real estate move that I hope was intentional, the Top Chef house was also sold today. You know, the house that the ‘chef’testants live in.


Why sad? Mostly because by “house” I mean “mansion,” and by “mansion” I mean “ideal home of SPY.” The mansion is located in Kalorama, a neighborhood always associated with Adams Morgan but definitely shouldn’t be given its abundance of money and lack of Big Slice and Tom Tom. Here are some pictures:

COVET.  The full listing and more pictures can be found here. The house was originally listed at $4 million, well $3.98 million (because that sounds so much more affordable!) and sold for $3.6 million. Such a shame, because with a $3.6 million dollar loan, donated furniture, a volunteer caterer and donated bar, SPY could have thrown a wonderful and witty fancy party. Oh, and the loan would have to be interest-free. You know, one of those free multi-million dollar loans banks give to wonderful personalities who can’t swing a grant. Yeah. I’m poor.

Happy Top Chef day!

(Ah! The premier is at 9pm. The encore is at 11pm. Misread the announcement. Apologies, apologies)

Internet and coffee sans hipster crowds? Try Steam Cafe

Sweatpants are A-Okay at Steam

So as I am currently “between jobs” (cough), I have become quite the tester of wifi coffeeshops. In general, I tend to evaluate them on a set of 6 criteria:

  1. coffee quality
  2. snack options
  3. hipster scale
  4. crowdedness
  5. background music
  6. availability of the internets.

For example, months back I blogged about MidCity Caffe, a wonderful option that scored very high in all categories, save it’s hipster scale reading of 7.0, which was due to the presence of 3 flannel shirts, a che hat and 2 NYT crossword puzzles being solved simultaneously. 7.0 is dangerously high.

I then started thinking about other options in the area, like Busboys and Poets, Tryst, Steam Cafe, and Kramers, and ultimately, it’s always the same basic face-off. Utilitarian vs. stylish, or in actual cafe terms, Steam Cafe vs. Tryst. Steam Cafe is the utilitarian model. And no, I don’t mean hipster exposed brick utilitarianism, I mean pure mall food court utilitarianism. Complete with hard chairs and grainy photos of ice cream cones. The Steam model is not trendy, but it is also not crowded. Family owned, classical music playing, the food is great but not that healthy. The internet works perfectly and sweatpants are welcome.

Juxtapose that with Tryst. THE Tryst. Open concept, hip tatooed cashiers, vintage comfy couches and chairs, very delicious coffee and food, and TONS of people. Definitely not the place for my fug olive-colored sweatpants. Music is usually good, but loud. Internet is perfectly accessible.

SO. Where do I go you ask? Where do I go if I need to use the internets with the company of a croissant snack ?? STEAM CAFE. In a second. Look, Tryst is great to grab lunch, take people from out of town, pick up some food to go. But to work? I just can’t do it. When I schlep my laptop around DC I need to know I will have a place to sit when I get there. I need to know I will have music at a decent volume, be able to look hideous and, because my computer is stone age, have an outlet to plug in to. Steam has these things, plus excellent paninis, plus staff that are unbelievably nice.

So if you need to work, you should try Steam. Just not on a weekend. We all hate people that camp out all day and only purchase one cup of coffee.

Travel Channel’s Food Wars battled DC jumbo slice places and… wait, what?

Could they have possibly made pizza look LESS appetizing?


 OK. So travel channel has this show Food Wars where the host goes to different cities to settle local rivalries about famous food items. Basically, two establishments battle one another over a food, locals are interviewed, and the winner is decided by a panel of judges. The food is as you would expect in places, cheesesteaks in philly, hot wings in Buffalo, BBQ in Texas, and… jumbo slice in DC? Wait, what? 


We got effing JUMBO SLICE??? Jesus. Of course DC’s mark on the U.S. culinary landscape would be wasted-face pizza. Although the judges DID have to eat it sober, which is more than I would ever do.  

Anyways, the battle was between Pizza Mart and Jumbo Slice Pizza. Don’t worry, I had no idea which ones those were either. I mean, reading comprehension and jumbo slice don’t really go together. So, I actually researched it and discovered I had eaten at both probably a million times. Their signs look like this…  

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