Eat DC: Food Trucks

In honor of Christine & Karen‘s upcoming trip to visit me in DC, I thought I’d share a little insight as to my planning process when it comes to what to show them when they are here. I am, by no means, an expert on the DC food scene, but these are the impressions I have of it. While we won’t be able to visit all of these places, I hope you will be able to at some point!

Food trucks are kind of amazing and I don’t know why they seem like such a new thing to me. I mean, I’ve been chasing ice cream trucks down the streets for decades now, but I didn’t know this was an option for every other food imaginable! (Also, ice cream truck driver, stop ignoring me just because I’m not a small child, please.)

I don’t know if I can tell you the “most DC-est” food trucks that the District has to offer. This Eat DC series has taken a lot out of me, so I just thought I’d share some food trucks that are important to me, at the very least, and I think they’re important to at least a decent proportion of DCers as well. If you want to know where these food trucks are, you can check their individual Twitter/Facebook accounts or check resources like FoodTruckFiesta.

(Note: All DC food trucks operate for lunch hours on weekdays, typically 11-3, unless they are at a special event.)

Crêpes Parfait

The non-business side of the truck (Photo courtesy of

This adorable truck with copper pans, a little windowsill flower garden, and French music playing is easily one of my favorite food trucks. In addition to delicious crêpes, which I lurve, owners Chef Mounir Elhilali and Roberto Catanuso are such sweet and kind gentlemen. It’s hard not to smile when you walk up to the truck, these two men smiling at you from underneath their berets, and get wrapped up in the feeling that you’re walking into a French bistro and not relishing your small break from the workday. You can get a gluten-free one, if you’d like, and they make their own lemonades and iced teas! Je vous adore, Crêpes Parfait!

Popular items include chicken crêpeNutella and banana crêpe,  and ham crêpe

Twitter: @CrepesParfait // Facebook: /CrepesParfait


Photo courtesy of

I have long known about TaKorean, which serves — you guessed it — tacos of the Korean variety. There are now several trucks that serve Korean tacos, many of whom I frequent because the TaKorean lines are way too long for me. But TaKorean was the pioneer in the DC area, and their long lines are a testament to their success and the success of Korean tacos in DC. They now have brick-and-mortar locations in DC so that you don’t need to chase down their trucks anymore. If you are a big fan of bulgogi and kimchi in your tacos in DC, you can thank TaKorean for paving the way.

Popular items include kimchi slawpork bo ssam, and bulgogi tacos

Twitter: @TaKorean // Facebook: /TaKorean

Basil Thyme

Photo courtesy of

One of DC’s most popular trucks is Italian regular Basil Thyme. They deliver fresh ingredients and delicious Italian food on wheels, and can you blame the people for being so happy and willing to eat it? It’s one of our most-reviewed food trucks on Yelp, where folks sing praises of the friendly staff — like former IT salesman and co-founder Brian — and delicious food that doesn’t make you feel guilty and full of regret when you’re finished. (Especially because entrees come with a side salad that let you feel a little healthier!)

Popular items include cannolieggplant lasagna, and traditional lasagna

Twitter: @BasilThymeDC // Facebook: /BasilThyme

Red Hook Lobster Pound

Photo courtesy of

One reason a lot of DCers are so grateful for food trucks? Because they can some New England classics like clam chowder and lobster roll. On wheels! (The fun of food trucks is that your food is on wheels.) While many of our food trucks have several competitors — Korean tacos, halal food, etc. — there aren’t that many people peddling lobster rolls on wheels! For a taste of New England in a town that is increasingly embracing Southern comfort food (nothing wrong with Southern comfort food!), it’s nice to be able to settle in with a taste of Maine.

Popular items include Connecticut style lobster roll, shrimp roll, and whoopie pies

Twitter: @LobstertruckDC // Facebook: /RedHookLobsterPoundDC


Photo courtesy of


You know what used to cheer me up so much on bad days at work that were also dreary and rainy outside? Stepping outside the office and being able to pick up a steaming bowl of pho. PhoWheels is one of our best pho trucks in the area, and I’m so glad that trucks like them exist. Not only do they serve pho, they serve banh mi and banh mi-style tacos. (And you can get a poached egg for your pho or fried egg for your sandwich!) Also, people love the “chork” (chopsticks + fork) that they give you to eat your food with. Plus, they often partner with SnoCream Company, the snow cream bus. (AND THEY SELL MACARONS TELL YOUR FRIENDS.)

Popular items include pork belly tacoseye of round pho, and banh mi with fried egg

Twitter: @PhoWheels // Facebook: /PhoWheels

We’ve got more food trucks than we really know what to do with in DC. In the summers, we have a monthly food truck festival called Truckeroo that is a great way to check out trucks that don’t stop by where you work! I love the food truck scene and love sharing my favorites with folks.

Do you like food trucks? What are your favorites?
Is there a food that you wish food trucks served near you? 
(I wish I could get real NY style pizza!)


Eat DC: Tapas/Small Plates

In honor of Christine & Karen‘s upcoming trip to visit me in DC, I thought I’d share a little insight as to my planning process when it comes to what to show them when they are here. I am, by no means, an expert on the DC food scene, but these are the impressions I have of it. While we won’t be able to visit all of these places, I hope you will be able to at some point!

Tapas. Small plates of yummy food, typical of Spanish cuisine.

Or, if you are in DC and not Spain, then tapas are associated with one name and one name only: José Andrés, the celebrity chef who I hear is single-handedly responsible for bringing small plates to DC and America at large.

Personally, I am not really into the tapas/small plates trend. It just seems like an excuse for restaurants to serve me very small servings of food with a side of this insult: “You can order several and share with friends.” Excuse me, this is barely enough for me and you want me to share with my friends? They will not be friends after we attempt to share these teeny portions. I prefer standard-sized portions. (I also feel slightly wrong calling dim sum “Chinese tapas”, because you’re only being charged $4 for an order versus being charged $9 for two bites of food. But I digress.)

Whether you’re a fan or not, small plates are a huge part of DC food culture, especially because we have so many José Andrés establishments here. All of these are intensely popular for happy hours — after all, weren’t small plates invented for happy hour? — and brunch, because DC is a city that brunches and brunches hard.

Here are a few that are an important part of the DC small plate scene:


Yes, those are foosball tables (Photo source:

We must start with José Andrés’s flagship tapas restaurant, Jaleo. This is THE restaurant that to be named when discussing tapas in DC. There are a few locations now in the DMV (DC-Maryland-Virginia), but the DC location is the original and most popular, so it helps to have a reservation when you go.

Popular items include gambas al ajillo (shrimp with garlic), patatas bravas (home fries), croquetas, and sangria

Come for happy hour aka “Jaleo hour” aka “sangria hour”

480 7th St. NW; (202) 628-7949;


Pinxtos (Photo source:

This Logan Circle tapas place tries to make shelling out your dinero for tapas a bit easier as the portions are larger than some other places and they are almost always a hit. It’s a treat-yo-self kind of place, but if you get really into small plates (as DC clearly has), it’s a great treat.

Popular items include manchego cheesecakemusselspork belly sandwich, and white sangria

Come for brunch, dinner

1520 14th St. NW; (202) 319-1404;


(Photo source:

Another José Andrés establishment (and for the sake of variety, the last one I will have on this list), Zaytinya serves Mediterranean tapas, aka mezze restaurant. Instead of Spanish tapas, the menu is inspired by Turkish, Greek, and Lebanese cuisine

Popular items include any vegetables especially brussel sprouts and baba ghannouge (eggplant), falafel, and kibbeh (burghul w/ a mince).

Come for happy hour and brunch

701 9th St. NW; (202) 638-0800;

Masa 14

(Photo source:

Deviating from the others a bit, Richard Sandoval’s (more celebrity chefs!) Masa 14 is neither a true tapas or a mezze restaurant. Rather, it is an Asian-Latin fusion small plates joint that is known for their great happy hours and bottomless brunch. It really doesn’t get more DC-trendy than that, folks. Also, this is the one spot on this list that I have actually visited! Although it is, by far, not the only small plates restaurant I have visited.

Popular items include the mushroom flatbreadyucca fries, crispy shrimp,and fried rice.

Come for happy hour and bottomless brunch

1825 14th St. NW; (202) 328-1414;

Cure Bar and Bistro

(Photo source: Ken on Urbanspoon)

Let’s veer even more away from the traditional Spanish tapas or even from Mediterranean mezze into small plates of classic American fare, which is what Cure Bar and Bistro offers. This hotel lounge has an emphasis on cured meats (as the name indicates) and pairing your food with the right drinks. Also staying with another food trend, Cure uses locally sourced and sustainable food.

Popular items include mac and cheesechicken pot pie, roast chicken, and pork belly BLT

Come for lunch and dinner

1000 H St. NW; (202) 637-4906;

That’s just a tiny sampling of our booming small plates scene in DC. If you visit and you haven’t been offered a small plate, you are kind of missing out, to be honest!

Do you like small plate restaurants? Tapas? Mezze?
What are the big food trends in your city? Even if your city is DC, what do you think it is?