Negril Jamaican Eatery

Here’s my confession: I could eat at this Jamaican quick serve restaurant everyday. I’m always on the lookout for inexpensive tasty fresh food, and Negril fits the bill. My absolute favorite is the tilapia lunch special – tilapia, rice and beans, cabbage, and plantains. As a matter of fact, I frequent this restaurant so much that the cashier knows my order on sight! Success! (Seriously, one of my goals in life is to become a ‘regular’ at a restaurant.)

It’s a lot of food but for not a lot of money. For under $7, you can savor authentic Jamaican flavor. Of course, they offer much more than just my go-to menu item like curried goat, beef patties, oxtail, jerk chicken, vegetable roti, escoveitched fish, and coco bread to name a few. There are a few different locations throughout the DC area giving you the opportunity to discover your new favorite food spot.

Negril Jamaican Eatery
12116 Central Ave
Mitchellville, MD 20721
(301) 249-9101
www.negrileats.com

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Comet Ping Pong

I saw this pizza spot on Food Network, and I knew I had to try it! After all, who doesn’t love pizza? Made to order, brick oven, with locally sourced ingredients pizza at that! And, as if that’s not enough to convince you, in addition to serving hot and fresh straight from the oven pizza, Comet Ping Pong offers you an alternative to playing Ruzzle (ok, yes I’m currently addicted to that game) on your iPhone while you wait for a table. Yep, you guessed it ping pong! Confession: I’m not really into ping pong. My hand-eye coordination is non-existent, but I still thought this would be super fun!

A classmate’s birthday provided the perfect opportunity to check out this pizza plus ping pong parlor. On a dreary, cold, and rainy Sunday, 8 of us ventured to Comet Ping Pong. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait for a table. After perusing the menu, an assortment of pizzas was ordered which arrived in no time. I was torn between the Steel Wills (spinach, ricotta, garlic, parmesan, olives, and Comet tomato sauce), the Yalie (fresh clams, garlic, melted onions, thyme, parmesan, and lemon), and the Drive (broccoli rabe, garlic, egg, melted onion, and pecorino romano). I ended up choosing The Drive, and I was not disappointed! Thin, crisp, yet chewy, crust played host to garlic-y deliciousness.

After satisfying our taste buds, it was time to test our ping pong skills. I was an excellent spectator, and everyone else had super fun playing ping pong! 😉

In addition to the unique and flavorful pizza options, Comet Ping Pong offers a variety of beer, on tap, bottled, canned, and local. Don’t forget to check out their live music schedule and catch a performance!

Comet Ping Pong
5037 Connecticut Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 364-0404
www.cometpingpong.com

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Eggspectation

Even as I’m typing this, I know I’m wrong. I bribed myself into going to church with the incentive of eating at Eggspectation. Shake your head if you want, but I made it to church and I had something yummy! Win-win.

After praise and worship and the word at The Bridge, I headed over to Eggspectation. As the name suggests, they specialize in eggs. I’ve been here once before, and it was delicious. On my initial visit, I had the Waffle Benedict – poached eggs atop half a Belgian waffle covered in hollandaise sauce. Sweet and a touch savory. Yummy! This time I had the Smoked Salmon Benedict with capers. I love capers! The combination of flavors was divine, and the eggs were precisely poached. You can’t tell from the picture but the breakfast potatoes were mixed with melted onions. Delicious! This meal was more than satisfying, and I can’t wait to return!

If you’re in Downtown Silver Spring and craving breakfast, make sure to stop by Eggspectation. You won’t be disappointed!

Eggspectation
923 Ellsworth Drive Silver Spring, MD 20910
(301) 585-1700
www.eggspectation.com

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Seoulia Korean Restaurant

Part of feeling at home in a city, at least for me, is knowing where the good food spots are. That is probably the #1 thing I miss about Memphis! No matter what my craving, I know exactly where to get it in the 901. The DMV on the other hand. . .smh. I’ve got a ways to go.

Luckily, a classmate introduced me to Seoulia Korean restaurant. It’s located about 10 minutes from the University of Maryland College Park campus and serves a variety of Korean staples. On my first visit, I had to try the kimchi chigae. If you read this post, then you’ll remember that knowing where to get a delicious spicy bowl of kimchi chigae is of utmost importance. Seoulia’s was pretty good. It was perfectly spicy but with a much thicker consistency than I’d ever had. This probably will not be my go to kimchi chigae. On the next visit, I had the daen jang chigae. It wasn’t bad but it also wasn’t spectacular. Though those two soups weren’t super amazing, let me tell you what was – the haemul pajeon and the bibimbap with raw beef.

Pajeon is the Korean version of a pancake, a savory versatile pancake. The basic version consists of a batter of eggs, white flour, rice flour, and green onions. Then, typically other ingredients are added like other vegetables, meats, and/or seafood. We had haemul (seafood) pajeon. I do not remember ever having pajeon this scrumptious! Seriously! It was overflowing with seafood and flavor and expertly fried. The pajeon was slightly crisp on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside. It was so good that I almost totally ignored my entrée. I will definitely be back just to have another haemul pajeon.

Bibimbap is another very common and popular Korean dish. Served either hot, inside a piping hot stone bowl, or cold, bibimbap consists of rice, sautéed and seasoned vegetables, and usually sliced meat topped by a raw or fried egg. Once served, you mix all the ingredients together and add red chili pepper paste to taste. Typically, I’m not a fan of bibimbap. Don’t get me wrong, it is good and I’d recommend it, especially for someone trying Korean food for the first time, but it’s not my preference. However, my classmate’s friend ordered the bibimbap with raw beef and offered me some so I couldn’t say no (and I don’t even eat meat regularly! Lol). This bibimbap was amazing! Everything tasted so fresh, and the amount of chili pepper paste she added made it the right degree of spicy! I’m tempted to order this the next time I go to Seoulia.

Seoulia is a solid Korean food find, and its proximity to school adds to its appeal. I’m looking forward to returning and having a meal of haemul pajeon and banchan (side dishes)!

Seoulia
10280 Rhode Island Ave.
Beltsville, MD 20705
(301) 595-3340

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Oh, To Be Normal (Zengo)

To make us feel like we’re regular people instead of insane graduate students, some of my cohort members and I have instituted a monthly brunch. Btw, DC is a fabulous city for this brunch undertaking due to something known as unlimited drinks! Yay! Coming from TN I appreciate the unlimited alcoholic beverages because for those of you who know, TN’s liquor laws do not permit this. Something else that is noteworthy regarding brunch is DC restaurant’s bottomless brunch. Yep, you guessed it. You can order as much food and drinks as you’d like for one set price. All you inner fat kids take note!

Now, for the yumminess you’ve been waiting for! Here are some pics from our inaugural brunch at Zengo. Zengo is a fabulous Latin-Asian fusion restaurant conceived by chef-owner Richard Sandoval, owner of delicious restaurants around the world.

Zengo
781 7th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 393-2929
www.richardsandoval.com/zengodc

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