Monday, March 19, 2012

DC Eats: Ethiopian Cuisine and Cupcakes

I feel like I'll never be able to figure out DC - not completely at least. There is just too much to do, too much history to learn, and too many eateries to try in a given day. I really need to be more organized about planning my visits to this city... but I just get too excited I try and wing it and that means visiting the same places because I know they've changed in the time I've been away. Starting today I am making a promise to myself that by the time I leave Virginia I will be more well-versed in DC navigation.

This trip to DC was really more a trip to Georgetown which I love exclusively for shopping at Anthropologie: it's the most organized and well-stocked of any of the ones I've visited. I never go there and don't find something - you can take that as a good or a bad thing. This time I left with a dress and a skirt. Skirt was $100 marked down to $20. Dress was full priced...but I'd already fallen in love so I treated myself.

Since I cut myself off after visiting Anthro, Weston was an awesome boyfriend and steered me in the direction of Georgetown Cupcake for a treat. I recently stumbled across the show "DC Cupcakes" on Netflix. It follows the adventures of the owners of Georgetown Cupcake as they go about daily life running one of the most famous cupcakeries in the country. Not gonna lie, the acting is pretty staged and the two owners bicker so much that it makes me question their maturity. That being said, the cupcakes look delicious and I've been talking about trying them for quite a while now. Weston got the hint ;)

The line was really short because it was a drizzly day - hooray! See, being from Michigan has taught me to brave the elements. We pulled up their menu on my iPhone (love this is so handy) and wrote down the flavors we wanted to try. Best Bf agreed to 6 which meant we could take some home for dessert, too.

Georgetown Cupcake touts their Red Velvet so I had to get one of those. Note the sparkles in the fondant cute is that?!?

We also got a couple seasonal flavors (Irish Cream and Chocolate Mint Crunch) and a few daily specials (Coconut, Lava Fudge, and Lemon Blossom).

I have to say: seeing 6 little cuties all lined up in a box makes me smile every time. What is WRONG with me? Wait, no...what is RIGHT with me? (tehe)

Their promise to use only the best quality ingredients is true to the core. I could tell the chocolate was good quality - it had a great depth of flavor and wasn't intensely sweet. The cakes were moist and light; I even saw speckles of lemon zest in the lemon cupcake. The frostings were to die for: I could definitely taste real butter (no artificial stuff) and the chocolate frosting was ganache heaven. The fondant decorations are such a great touch and they taste like marshmallow! I was not disappointed in any way. These ladies are businesswomen to the core and have been able to expand their company and not compromise quality or increase cupcake prices, so I have a lot of respect for them.

The only thing that kind of gets me is that they market themselves as having 14 types of cupcakes a day...but when you look at the menu and actually get a breakdown, you see that their regular flavors are actually just two types of cake (vanilla and chocolate) with the same frosting just colored differently or with a different topping. I didn't really expect them to churn out 1000+ cupcakes a day AND make 6 or 7 different batters - but the way they marketed this made me think they had more variety in flavor. I suppose this is a good thing if you want a pretty color palate - but it makes no difference in flavor, so I'd recommend trying their specials which seem to actually feature different cakes.

Our friend over at The Marinara suggested we try an Ethiopian restaurant for dinner, so we ventured out of Georgetown...way out, it seemed...and over to a little establishment called Etete. Now, neither of us had ever had Ethiopian so I texted my good friend from class who knows about the cuisine and she recommended we try the "tibs" - which I later discovered is some type of beef. We ended up getting a variety the waitress said was her favorite. They were quite tasty and had a good spice seasoning on them.

Ethiopian food also has a lot of vegetarian options (there were only about 5 meat dishes on the menu), so we got a vegetarian sampler as well. It blew me away: the lentil curry was spicy and had chopped up potato throughout, there was another yellow lentil dish, collard greens with flavors I wasn't expecting (nutmeg and cinnamon, I believe), a cucumber/tomato/onion/jalapeno salad, and cooked cabbage (my favorite).

The most unique item was the bread which was puffy and kind of spongy and yeast-tasting. It was perfect to dip in the curries and things, but I really have not seen anything like it in any other cuisine I've tried before. I'm going to ask my friend about it today in class since I'm really interested to know what it is exactly.

All in all, a wonderful trip made even better by the wonderful man traveling with me.
Thanks for making this a perfect Spring Break, honey.

1 comment:

  1. Oh goodness, I just had Ethiopian food for the first time this weekend and it was DELICIOUS! I recommend Altu's in East Lansing if you ever want to go to a good place in the Mitten :)