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barbecue, ice cream, and why DC citizens have such bad taste

April 18, 2010

Having been absent from the blog for so long, there’s a backlog of things I’ve been planning to write about for the past few weeks. None of them will be addressed in this post. (Well, one of them, but a fairly minor one.) Hopefully the faithful Sturgeon Army will be on the receiving end of several posts from me in the next week. I also got my new Bamboo tablet, so this blog is going to get a lot prettier soon. As soon as I get good at using it.

Right now, though, I want to talk about a more pressing matter, and that matter is pork.

I’m writing this post from a Starbucks in Dupont. I’m here because I got the date of Dolcezza’s grand opening wrong. Full disclosure: I am almost reluctant to post the details of this opening, because they’re having free pulled pork AND free gelato and – real talk here – I do not like to share. But I’m not a jerk, and it is part of the food blogger honor code to disclose things like this, so: 1702 Connecticut Avenue, April 25, 12-6. Okay, I’ve done my duty.

What this event made me contemplate, however, is good barbecue in the District. As loyal readers know, I would probably eat a sock if you smoked it. And I have found a few places in DC where the meat ranges from satisfactory to excellent. Kenny’s BBQ (sliced pork edition) on 8th and Maryland NE is terrific, especially with the spicy, vinegary sauce on the side. I’m also a big fan of Mr. P’s Ribs and Fish, which is definitely my favorite restaurant that operates out of a refurbished school bus in the parking lot of the Rhode Island Avenue Safeway.

I’m always looking for new places, however, and with that expectation in mind I turned to the Washington City Paper’s “Best of DC” issue a few weeks ago. Now, let me say right now that I have no real problem with Tim Carman and co.’s recommendations. We don’t always agree, but at least he makes an effort to justify his choices. With the Reader’s Choice selections, however – I don’t even take issue with them. I take umbrage at the fact that these people call themselves human beings. They rated the best barbecue as Rocklands, which is in Glover Park. GLOVER PARK. I don’t care if the pigs are made of solid gold: if I can walk to J. Crew from a barbecue restaurant, it is off the list. Also, they serve their iced tea with mint. Who the fuck do they think they are, Teaism?*

Also, Pho 14 in Columbia Heights was rated as the Best Pho in DC, which has to be some sort of sick joke. If there’s one thing I know in this crazy world, it’s the beefy life force of my father’s people. Pho needs to be simmered for hours. It should be richer than the aunt who paid for your college tuition. Needless to say, Pho 14′s soup is none of these things. It is mediocre at best and also offered in a vegetarian version, which is just offensive. It is pho that’s been neutered, designed to appeal to Columbia Heights residents who want to prove that their liberal arts education has made them worldly without feeling too threatened.**

Which is to say that I’m a little wary of turning my request for good barbecue over to the great hive mind of the internet, as the taste of the masses is clearly not reliable in terms of food. Nonetheless, I’m going to hazard a guess that Sturgeon readers might have better taste than your average eater, which is why I am going to ask you: Where is your favorite barbecue place in the DMV region? I have a car. I will drive. And if you make a good recommendation, I will consider driving you. If you recommend someplace in Georgetown, on the other hand, I will hit you with my car.

*I like Teaism. But I don’t go there for the meat.

**I fall into this demographic, but I am exempted because I am Jungle Asian.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. sam can cook permalink*
    April 19, 2010 12:28 pm

    I still want to go to Chap’s Pit Beef up in Baltimore.

  2. April 19, 2010 12:52 pm

    Take I-66 West ’til it ends, then I-81 south until you start seeing gas stations with smokers outside. That’ll be some good barbecue. (I just got back from a weeklong trip to Alabama. I ate my weight in pulled pork because of the deficiency in and around the District.)

  3. jimmycrackcorn permalink
    April 19, 2010 3:40 pm

    Only stumbled on your blog from being noted on dcblogs.com; and for the most part I agree with your thoughts. However, the fact you are blogging from a starbucks, which one would think would go against your theories in this post I’m not sure I can trust you! :)

  4. IGR permalink*
    April 19, 2010 9:48 pm

    @jimmycrackcorn Starbucks has free wifi. :P

    Also: Starbucks raises an interesting question re: chains vs. independent businesses. Most food bloggers worth their laptops – at least, most of the ones I know – will go hard against the corporatization of American food, and I’m certainly in that camp, at least partially. As a general rule, I think that independently-owned food businesses tend to absorb more of the local culture and contribute to a more sustainable community.

    However, on a purely selfish level, I eat what I like, and coming from a large corporation does not necessarily exclude providing good food. Popeye’s, for example, makes terrific red beans. I’m a big fan of Chick-Fil-A, and – true fact – I like a lot of Starbucks’ offerings, including but not limited to their chai (okay, Tazo’s chai) and their passion tea lemonades. I’m not such a food snob that I can pretend that everyone in the world can afford to eat at quaint local places, and I’m open-minded enough to know that good food isn’t limited to such establishments.

    @Ben I will totally do that. Thanks.

  5. April 25, 2010 6:05 pm

    Super-Duper site! I am loving it!! Will come back again – taking your feeds too now, Thanks.

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