Boulevard Woodgrill and the Changing Face of Clarendon

So right out of college I lived in Clarendon.  I lived in a massive group house in this bizarre attic space, where I paid $500 bucks a month and was eternally waging war against THESE. Yes, it was a sh*thole.  At my lowest, I watched the same video for 2 weeks on my computer, no internet, sitting on a box, and ceded half my room to one of those things. Well it wasn’t my absolute lowest. That was either when I managed to get locked INSIDE my house (our locks deadbolted from the inside) and scared the living hell out of a poor delivery man, OR when I was suddenly evicted from said house in December. Awful. 

it puts the mushu in the doggy door

 Anyways, back then, my go-to “eating out” restaurant was the Boulevard Woodgrill. Since I am a slave to routine, it still is today. Boulevard Woodgrill is on the Clarendon main drag. The decor has a bit of a steakhouse feel to it with big windows and entrees run about $10-$15. The restaurant is named for its technique of cooking dishes on a wood grill, something that I failed to piece together until last week despite the 72502096 references to it on their menu. The fish and chips, mac n’ cheese, lamb salad, ribs, meatloaf and salmon are some menu standouts. DELICIOUS. And yes, notice all the best dishes are hearty and most have meat. It’s a carnivore’s place. Sorry PETA. 

 

Despite only opening in 2002, it is also among the old guard in a rapidly changing Clarendon. You see, Clarendon was always know for its village-like atmosphere. Small stores, low buildings, walkable shopping etc. However it seems that intimacy is eroding. The area is awash in copycat brick and tan high rise construction projects and chain restaurants, while the entire “village-y” strip of small shops on Wilson between Garfield and Highland has been torn down and replaced by another high rise space. It looks frankly, like Ballston. Sigh. And so many of us lived in Clarendon exactly because it wasn’t Ballston. 

Ballston. I mean, Clarendon

Hopefully Clarendon is able to retain it’s identity amidst this development push.  But who knows. Seeing that new building was the saddest I had been since the closing of Dr. Dremo’s in Courthouse. And that was a goddamn tragedy. Here’s to hope!

Big cats obsessed with Calvin Klein fragrance and other District news

Okay. I know it’s not district news, but just give it a read. According to the Wall Street Journal, scientists have been testing different perfumes on big cats in order to lure them towards hidden cameras/snacks and other things in zoos. Most perfumes, like Estee Lauder Beautiful, have failed miserably. However, Calvin Klein’s Obsession for Men, a cologne branded as “the pure essence of masculinity,” has proven intoxicating to cheetahs, jaguars and all kinds of big cats. Apparently the fragrance uses synthetic animal scents (like civet), to make it’s musk. Ew.

However, Darwinians rejoice. Because you know who wears the pure essence of masculinity, alternating between that and AXE body spray??? THIS guy:

Jon - Kate - 8 + tiger man shirt

Oh how perfect. Could you imagine?? Jon sauntering through the zoo, man-earring glistening in the sun, then suddenly gets maul-loved by a random tiger while wearing an obnoxious shirt of a tiger, all because he used stupid ‘essence of a man’ cologne that is basically artificial civet musk??

NAAHHHHHHHH SSSIINGONYAMA BAGITHI BABA!!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vX07j9SDFcc]

Okay, I am done. Here is some other District news:

The owners of Politics and Prose are SELLING the store after 26 years. It will still operate as Politics and Prose (it BETTER dammit) but it’s tough news, especially given the uncertainties of the industry (Washington Post)

The massive old laundry store on 14th street is set to be turned into a massive new Italian restaurant (PoP)

East Falls Church wants a waterfront district. Problem? They don’t have water (Greater Greater Washington)

DC Dept. of Transportation (DDOT) is launching a blog.  Gentlemen (and women), arm your complaints! (DCist)

Oh, and WATCH THE WORLD CUP.

Peking Duck by way of Falls Church

Greetings from Jakarta!!! First off, apologies if this post is awful. I have spent a total of 27 hours in a plane over the past 3 days and have no concept of…anything. So, so tired. So yes, the writing will be terrible. And yes, I am posting on Peking Duck because I was in China and they have those there. Oh, not creative enough for you? Well I’m sorry if sometimes your CLOWN gets jetlagged and can’t perform. The circus can’t always be in town. Deal with it.

Anyways, I am craving Peking Duck at the moment because I am in the Far East and Peking Duck is PERFECT. The duck, the skin, the cucumber, spring onion, plum sauce and tortilla (Chinese tortilla? I don’t know, its not like I have learned anything here) all combine in such simple and brilliant flavors. It looks like this:

So good. And few in DC do it better than Peking Gourmet Inn. Peking Gourmet Inn opened in 1978 and is a DC legend. Also, like most good ethnic food, its located in a strip mall outside the District and is not metro accessible. From the outside, all the windows are curtained so you can’t see in (I thought it was closed when I first went), which hides its surprisingly spacious interior.

But unlike other strip mall places, Peking Gourmet Inn has walls filled with photos of famous people who have eaten there. It has been featured on the Food Network, blogs, newspapers. Everywhere really. And why you ask? Well, because of this:

The duck. You see, the duck is an experience. A professional duck carver brings the whole duck to your table, where it is meticulously carved, slices of duck on one side, skin on the other, no dryness in the meat and cooked perfectly. The spring onions that accompany it are grown on site.

So, no, it’s not fusion, it’s not a unique interpretation, it’s simply Peking Duck as you know it, but done the way Peking Duck should be. With each ingredient given individual attention. So you should go. You will inevitably crave it. Trust.

  • Peking Gourmet Inn, 6029 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041
  • http://www.pekinggourmet.com/