Restaurant Week and Food Porn: August 16-22, 2010

Watch out blue bloods, Restaurant Week is upon us! Yes, August 16-22, 2010 marks the start of the 16th Biannual DC Restaurant Week, the beloved time of year when we common folk are welcomed into fanciest of fancy DC restaurants, such as Bourbon Steak, Vidalia, Adour, and 2941, through strategically fixed price meals and sponsorships.  


You MUST click the larger version of these photos (via foodporndaily) 

Over 200 DC area restaurants are participating this year, offering a $20.10 three-course price-fixed lunch menu and a $35.10 three-course price-fixed dinner menu. Tax, tip and beverages are not included. All the restaurant and reservation information is listed on open table, and is admittedly quite daunting. However, just do your research and make your reservations early. There have to be some places you’ve been dying to try. 


Oh and me? I am actually missing the ENTIRE restaurant week because I will be on vacation. I KNOW. Same old staring in the window of Komi, bitterly watching the wine and laughter of its patrons. So just do restaurant week for me. I will live vicariously. 

Finally, the food pictures. They are from foodporndaily, i.e. the most delicious looking internet blog ever created. Although not DC pics, I figured that would help set the restaurant mood. Unlike the food “porn” cookie photo I attempted to take on my iphone, which just depressed me further.

saddest cookie in the cubicle

Happy Restaurant Week!

(UPDATE: Apparently the restaurant links did not work at first. Stupid stupid internet. They work now. Thanks to Matt for the heads up. Apologies!)

DCspy appeals against burger-pocalypse

James and the Giant Burger

 Yes. That was the lead local story on the Washington Post website last night. A “We found the beef” headline accompanied by the following media items:   

  • An article (via AP) on DC becoming a burger mecca
  • An article on Obama’s burger spots
  • An article on the Post’s own burger recommendations
  • An article on burger joint expansion plans
  • A quote by Medvedev saying his Ray’s Hell burger was “very tasty” but “not quite healthy.”
  • Arguably the most unappetizing burger photo I have ever seen (above)

Sure, it’s good press. I’ll admit it. DC Burgers are delicious and Medvedev proved himself to be both Captain Gazprom and Captain Obvious. However, this type of press frightens me. Why? Because DC entrepreneurs have NO SELF CONTROL  when it comes to food trends. They just don’t. First it was Pinkberry-inspired nuevo-yogurt joints, then the 2007 cupcake revolution, then the food truck armada and now…BURGER-POCALYSE.   

Future DC Enemy #1

 Yesterday I read that the old Garden District storefront on 14th Street may become a burger joint. So although we already have BGR, Five Guys, Good Stuff, Z Burger, Ray’s Hell and a whole host of other restaurant burgers along the affordability spectrum, restaurateurs feel we could use another goddamn trendy burger.   

The rival burger gang

Sigh. PLEASE DC, don’t ruin burgers for me. As soon as we get notoriety for something, it seems we always go and beat it into the ground. The DC burger market is already pretty saturated as it is, no?  Not to mention, burgers are not the healthiest snack to enjoy at every corner. So my fair city, how about we just accept the compliment and work on making DC known for another type of snack?! Like pie. Or pho. Or crab cake sandwiches.   

Cheers to food diversity! 

*Thanks to freerepublic and triciawd for the pics!

Summer style inspiration: movies we grew up with

Just wanted to include a link to brighten your day. Design Sponge, one of the best fashion blogs around in my opinion, does a segment called “Living In” where they showcase classic movies and fashions inspired by them. The movies are wonderful and the “inspired by” fashions are even more so. I obviously covet the idea. Here are some summer movies and links:

Living In: The Parent Trap


Living In: 16 Candles


 Living In: Stand By Me

Oh, such good movies, such good fashion. It’s this stuff that makes me love the summer, even in the DC crazy crazy heat. Click on the headers for more photos, it’s worth it!

Top Chef note-taking after 5 glasses of wine produces slightly inaccurate results

Reader(s), I failed you yesterday. I failed to write a recap of wednesday night’s Top Chef, which was the one consistent thing I claimed this blog would do. Well that, and show pictures of kittens on occasion to brighten the mood. Like this: 


And now we are happier. Anyways, I wanted to explain why I didn’t recap. You see, I did watch Top Chef and I did take notes. However, I did so after one…or five glasses of wine. My brain at the time thought these notes were excellent. Turns out they were, well, this: 

Continue reading

The Great Zombie DC Invasion of 2010 and other possible invasions (POLL)

smile! (via DCist)

So this past Saturday, Zombies  invaded our nation’s capital. They invaded from 3pm to 7pm according to facebook (yes, zombies use facebook), occasionally stopping to eat snacks and watch soccer. They also seemed quite fatigued from the heat. Now I am not a zombie expert, but are the undead heat-sensitive? Based on this guy, it seems that way:

Zombie trading his pride for a water bottle

It also got me thinking of invasions. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like the undead. They are menacing, yet slow enough that I could snap a photo and make a daring escape, instantly becoming both the town’s greatest hero and journalist. However, I don’t know if they would make my list of top invasions. And so, I throw the question to you dear reader. Which invasion would you support:

[polldaddy poll=3403509]

Tabard Inn Brunch: One of the Best…Around!

So after years in DC, SPY finally made it to Tabard Inn for brunch. I know, it’s about damn time. For those that don’t know, the Tabard Inn is one of the most well-respected brunch places in the city. Built in 1922 as a Romanesque-Revival row house, it blends in perfectly with the townhouse neighborhood (a stark contrast to the tacky Topaz Hotel next door I might add), has a classic yet quirky interior, and a beautiful outdoor patio.

Beautiful shots of the grounds

Then there is the food. You see, the Tabard Inn is one of the best brunch places in the city for a reason, and that reason is DONUTS. The Tabard Inn makes their cinnamon sugar donuts and vanilla whipped cream fresh every brunch and they are SPECTACULAR:

photogenic donut

Honestly, I crave them even now. Since you must order the donuts, I recommend you get one donut and a savory entree. The menu changes each brunch, but I ordered a goat cheese, bell pepper and squash frittata, which was excellent, while ironcityspy had a sardine nicoise salad, which although an order FAIL (sardines really?), he did love. Wonkette also cited a savory tart that I covet but wasn’t on the menu that day.

Finally, as if the food and historic location weren’t enough, the Tabard Inn is eco-friendly. With beautiful green rooftop gardens and solar panels, it is modern in the ways you hoped it would be.

green roofing!

Yes, my illustrious readers, SPY fell in love with the Tabard Inn that day and I think you will too. Just make sure to get reservations. Walk-ins are possible (we did) but unlikely, especially if you are more than 2. The Tabard Inn is, in the words of the Karate Kid:


Judging the Hat-tastic Royal Ascot 2010

So I was going to write on something DC related, I really was. However, as I was checking, my go-to blog for judging celebrity outfits, I happened upon the AMAZINGNESS that was the Royal Ascot.   

The Royal Ascot is a horse race. It occurred this past weekend. But no readers, it is not just any horse race, it is THE snootiest of snooty horse races. Yes, of course it’s British. The Queen was in attendance, the photos show absolutely no minorities, and the dress code for the invite-only “Royal Enclosure” area is as follows:   

Her Majesty’s Representative wishes to point out that only formal day dress with a hat or substantial fascinator will be acceptable. Off the shoulder, halter neck, spaghetti straps and dresses with a strap of less than one inch and miniskirts are considered unsuitable. Gentlemen are required to wear either black or grey morning dress, including a waistcoat, with a top hat.    

A goddamn top hat. You couldn’t MAKE this up. Oh? And what is a substantial fascinator you ask? Not sure, but I am assuming it is something like THIS:   

1) Life is like a box of HAT


 YES, that was worn. Along with these 7 others to be judged for the title of Grand Hat Supreme. And they are….   

Continue reading

So apparently M Street Spa gives happy endings

Yes! SPIES in the news!  

DCist loves spies

DCist reports that M Street Spa in Dupont (at 19th and M Streets NW), was busted last week for prostitution. A sting operation arrested two people, an employee for soliciting ladies of the night and an owner for basically running a whorehouse.  M Street Spa is next to Naturally Yogurt, House of Kabob, and Camelot the strip club. Hmm, which one would be a clue??  

Oh, and I know what you are thinking. No, despite my skills with a magnifying glass, your beloved SPY was not involved in this sting operation. Some people are just too naturally classy to make a convincing ho.  

Undercover SPY in a what looks like a whore-barn

However, if given the chance, I would have solved the mystery instantly.  I mean it’s a spa,  on the 3rd floor of a townhouse, next to a strip club and has NO yelp reviews? Seriously, what place has no yelp reviews?  

No word as to what will happen to the owner and employee. If I pay attention to the story later, I will let you know. However, it’s highly unlikely. I am lazy and never claimed to be a journalist.

Top Chef DC Recap: Episode 1, House of Chef-presentatives

God. SUCH a bad pun and so many more to come. I mean, the season tagline is “Hail to the Chef,” which is not only  a pun, but a mediocre one at that.  Anyways, for those that didn’t see the premier episode, the quickfire was a skills-based challenge of dicing onions, peeling potatoes and other such things, and the actual challenge was to create a meal that represented where they were from. GREAT first challenge in my opinion, alot of creativity and opportunity to cook what they know. 

Such eager little cheftestants

 Also we start to see some trends emerge: most notably, Kenny and Angelo. The front-runners in both challenges, Kenny’s rational humility will be a lovely contrast to to Angelo’s inane Monte Carlo bravado (GOD will that get old). We will see if they maintain, as we remember Jen’s flameout last season, but I think they will. I also loved that Alex’s deconstructed borscht panned out. I mean, who saw that coming? 

Ah, the Jen Face. Such memories

As for the DC area folks, well… 

Continue reading

I challenge you, hipster Seersucker Social

self-described "alt-retro socialites" socializing

How? HOW is it so easy to predict these things? Honestly, if someone played a word association game for “fancy hipster garden party” here is what I would have come up with: vintage bicycle, ironic mustache, suspenders, snifter, fancy hats, faux fur. As a test, I also asked ironcityspy his opinion, to which he replied “the Great Gatsby.” Or as we know it, the 2010 DC Dandies and Quaintrelles’ Seersucker Social:

(photos courtesy of DCist)

The Dandies and Quaintrelles is a DC fashion club and the event was this past weekend. Sigh. So much…TRY. Look, I am not saying some of these people don’t look awesome. I mean, who doesn’t admire this commitment? But there is something about the concept: the trendy faux-antique photos from last year’s tweed ride, the finger sandwiches, the croquet, the ray bans, the fact that half of DC owns seersucker for serious, that makes it so… predictable.

The Decemberists would be proud

Afterwards, I half expect them all to ride their tandem bicycles to a food truck, take some vintage-contemporary juxtaposition photos with said truck, and ultimately end up at the Gibson laughing over fancy cocktails.

So with that in mind, my DC fashion avant-guard: I challenge you.

DCspy, the man in black

I challenge you to surprise me. That’s it. Muster your fashion-forwardness and come up with a costume party I could never predict through word association. If you succeed, I will give credit where credit is due and be less curmudgeonly towards your hipster-sensibilities. If you do not, throwback costumes, bicycles and PBR remain fair game.

Good luck, you princes of Maine, you kings of New England. I will be watching.