Sunday, July 8, 2012
Washington, DC 20003
story in the Washington Post about their 19 year-old All-Star phenom, Bryce Harper and it talked about how he liked to eat at a place called Ted's Bulletin on Capitol Hill since it served breakfast all day. Now, I'm not a sports groupie so I wasn't thinking that I'd see Harper there and I don't necessarily subscribe to having a 19 year-old baseball player as a culinary guide but in this particular case, I used a 19 year-old baseball player to be a culinary guide. Besides, they serve breakfast all day! I went there for an early dinner and when I sat down, I realized that I didn't necessarily want breakfast at any time of the day so I decided that I'd make this a two day visit and just go back the next day for breakfast when you're supposed to eat breakfast. Yeah, I know, conforming to society's norms, I should be ashamed.
So, another reason was that I've been looking to try out a place to eat on Capitol Hill but short of a Spike Mendelsohn production, I wasn't sure where I should go first. This was a good choice as any. Despite the fact that it was hovering around 100 degrees with a ton of humidity, I really liked the row of shops and restaurants near the Navy Barracks where Ted's was located. In a way, it reminded me of the tree-lined streets of Brooklyn with a bunch of bars and hip little shops stretching down a couple of streets. Ted's can be found just a couple doors down from one of the Matchbox Pizza locations who, not coincidentally, own Ted's also.
The food on the menu is simple, straightforward and not really avant garde culinary magic. It is, however, well done, comforting and more times than not, that's all we're really craving. For my first meal, I really wanted to try the fried chicken but at the top of the menu, there was a country fried steak entree calling my name. I've already professed my love for this guilty pleasure when I went to Black Jack so I couldn't really resist when I saw it. I picked the cream corn and bacon & blue cheese brussel sprouts as my side. To start the meal I got the soup of day (black bean and andouille sausage) and I finished it off with a black & white milkshake.
I dove into the entree next. Well, the sides first. The creamed corn is what you expect, silky, sweet, rich and something you could probably eat about a gallon of. The brussel sprouts were a nice surprise to me. I've made something similar in the past for my nieces by sprinkling olive oil, salt, and pepper on them and then roasting them in the oven. I've always liked the bitterness of the brussel sprouts combined with the crispiness. The addition of blue cheese and bacon (well, duh?) gave them a whole new tangle of flavors from the salty of the bacon to the tangy of the goat cheese. They stay pretty faithful to the tradition of country fried steak with a nice black pepper gravy on top and a pounded thin cheap cut of beef cooked in a crispy batter. I enjoyed it but I'm now not sure that I wouldn't rather have a bastardized version of country fried steak using a better cut of beef and a less heavy batter. To it's credit, it wasn't overly greasy and the gravy was beyond creamy and complementary.
The next day I woke up early to get there for breakfast at 7 AM. Yeah. On a Sunday. Don't judge. I also wanted to see the new Spider-Man movie and it was opening weekend. However, they have this great 9 AM show at the local IMAX 3D theater that isn't quite as crowded so I planned to see that after breakfast. For the record, I'm not sure why they re-started the franchise but it turned out to be a damn good movie.
You may be wondering about the black & white shake I seem to have forgotten from above. Well, I didn't. In fact, I ordered one after breakfast too. Black & white milkshakes (vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup) are another one of my weaknesses and while Ted's had a ton of other kinds along with "adult" milkshakes (alcoholized milkshakes!), black & white ones have always been my favorite. The ones they make here are first rate, finely balancing having just enough ice cream without having too much that you can't drink it with a straw. The best part is that they bring out the metal cup where the shake was made so that you can finish off the extras too. Props on a really nice yet simple touch.
P.S. Congratulations on the 2012 All-Star game, Bryce. I hope there are about 20 more in your future.