For me and my fellow DC city dwellers, it's been a strangely long winter followed by two weeks (and counting) of rain. Despite the terrible weather, the mercury has been creeping steadily upwards which can only mean one thing: DC's famous Two Weeks of Spring is finally here, before it inevitably turns into the Deepest, Most Humid of Summers.
Unfortunately for my wallet but fortunately for my mouth, the cold winter weather didn't really deter me from hitting up local restaurants. That being said, I was excited to check out how some DC restaurants have been updating their menus to reflect the spring produce that's now available. Here are a few examples of spring dishes that I've enjoyed recently:
Duck larb dumplings from Bangkok Joe's
Georgetown staple Bangkok Joe's recently opened up again to the public following a complete refurbishment and luckily the menu has remained as apologetically adventurous as before. This is not your typical white person friendly pad thai with crushed peanuts type of place (though I suspect you can still get this if you really want). I also love the fact that they have a dumpling bar which doles out a whole bunch of really interesting options, including their duck larb dumplings stuffed with duck, Thai basil and crispy fried shallots.
For more of my favorite spring dishes, click to read more!
The crab tostada from Tico
I have been going to Tico since it opened - literally, I went for dinner on its first day of service - and it remains one of my DC go-to spots for inventive and delicious small plates that are actually (gasp) filling. Every time I seem to always find a brand new dish or cocktail to discover. Their crab tostada (using local Mid-Atlantic crab, of course) with avocado and gazpacho sauce is a perfect addition to a light spring lunch or dinner - just add wine and you're good to go (or one of Tico's most excellent margaritas...)
Stinging nettle bucatini from The Partisan
So I might be a little crazy for suggesting that you order a vegetarian pasta from The Partisan since it really is most famous for its incredible meats and is the sister restaurant to the most excellent Red Apron butcher shop. That being said, The Partisan's spring menu now includes a terrific housemade bucatini dish featuring stinging nettles (delicious and totally painless, especially if you don't have to prep them yourself) and - wait for it - shaved bottarga, which is one of those things I can't say no to when it's shaved on top of pasta. It's kind of like an uni thing. Stinging nettles are a seasonal specialty so definitely get in for a reservation sooner rather than later.
Cilantro flounder fish rolls from Peter Chang
Despite the unfortunate and frankly ridiculous controversy that is currently embroiling Peter Chang's Arlington location, I still think that their delicious cilantro and fish spring rolls are more than worth the trek. Stuffed with minced flounder and cilantro, the thin rolls - shaped similarly to the Filipino lumpia - are then flash fried so the skin gets as crispy as possible without drying out the fish. Make sure you ask for chili oil or sauce to go with (and don't say anything about how the rice is served).
Any other new dishes for spring that I should be checking out? New restaurants you're excited about?
One woman's journey to eat all the food. Or at least, most of it.