D.C. Fusions: Pork Belly Doughnut

Sister blog Multi-American‘s series on unsung ethnic food delicacies has left me thinking: Sure, D.C. may have plenty of the kitfo mentioned, but this is also the city where cultures and worlds collide. What about fusions?

Courtesy of Seannie Cameras/One Vision Productions

Try pork belly meat, sandwiched between two glazed doughnut buns.

Enter the pork belly doughnut, which will debut this weekend at U Street Music Hall. Pork belly is common fare in many Asian cuisines, and its popularity in the U.S. is growing. And doughnuts, well, Homer Simpson, stereotypical cops, Krispy Kreme – need I say more? These two treats were brought together by Toki Underground chef Erik Bruner-Yang, the same man behind the pho dog. U Street Music Hall owner Jesse Tittsworth recalls on his blog what he thought when Bruner-Yang first presented him with the pork belly doughnut:

“I already know this sounds like the most bizarre combination on the face of the planet, but I’m fairly certain I fell in love at first glance…. The pork was deliciously fatty, perfectly seasoned, tender and the saltiness was beyond amicable with the sweet, crisp outer shell of the grilled [doughnut].”

Alright D.C., the challenge is on: can you think of a more unusual, yet delicious, fusion than the pork belly doughnut? Let us know!

Unwrapping the Controversy at Chipotle

Courtesy of

The protest at Chipotle was preceded by a march through Columbia Heights.

Thirty-five people marched last week from a local church to the Columbia Heights Chipotle to protest how the restaurant chain fired 40 employees for allegedly lacking forms that prove they’re allowed to legally work in the U.S.

According to the workers, when they returned from a 30-minute break, they found their replacements were already behind the counter. The workers allege that they were not offered any proper notice before or due compensation after the mass termination and “could not even have a lawyer, organizer, or any other person present in order to discuss their demands,” wrote Aaron Morrissey, at DCist.

Courtesy of

Fired Chipotle employee Miguel Bravo, demonstrating on 14th Street.

“We are here to protest the bad treatment of workers. We were fired in a very unjust manner and we feel that’s another form of discrimination against the Latino workers of this place. After they fired us unjustly, they told us they were going to give us a severance payment of $2,000 and now they have refused to follow through with that promise and we are here to demand that they pay us,” Miguel Bravo, one of the workers said at the rally last week with the help of a translator.

Chris Arnold, communications director of Chipotle, denied workers’ allegations that they were treated unfairly. He said the company is responsible for ensuring it is hiring employees without breaking the law.

“The circumstances here relate to a group of about 40 employees, all of whom provided new documents to verify their work authorization status over the span of just a few days. All of those documents proved to be fraudulent. Under the law, we cannot employ any individual who is not legally authorized to work in this country. When we communicated this to the employees, most of them simply walked off the job, others were let go. But there was no mass firing during a break,” Arnold said.
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Controversial Immigration Views from a bar in Adams Morgan

Flickr: Jenn Larsen

Beer at the Black Squirrel, in Adams Morgan.

According to NBC4, The Black Squirrel, a bar on 18th Street NW, is generating some serious buzz– and it’s not always the positive kind, nor what you might expect:

A months-old blog post on the website of an Adams Morgan bar is stirring up new controversy. Twitter is all… atwitter (sorry) about an entry on the website of the Black Squirrel (2427 18th St. N.W.) decrying illegal aliens…

Local Twitter users are promising to boycott the venue. “Moving back to DC in 3 days, love craft beer & the only thing I know about @ThBlackSquirrel is won’t ever go there,” wrote Kevin Thurman (@kmthurman).

The Black Squirrel might want to keep the following in mind: Do NOT anger people on the Internet. Especially about political issues, in D.C., to people who need artisanal craft beers merely to survive.

I’m not surprised that a bar– even one in the Morg, which I associate more with partying than politicking– has a blog which explores hot-button issues now and then. This is D.C., after all. I am surprised when such a blog boldly proclaims sentiments like this about illegal immigration:
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IHOP: “We are here for this community.”

When our server walked up, she put this coaster down next to our coffee pot.

Yesterday, I visited the new IHOP in Columbia Heights. It was opening day and despite the oppressively gray sky and fat rain drops, the place was almost full. I reviewed the food and wrote about my first impressions, here.

At the end of my late lunch, Briana– the most pleasant server I have encountered this year– brought over her towering boss, Clarence Jackson. He was so tall that my neck cracked from looking up at him and I was relieved when he cordially asked if he could sit down. I immediately realized that this was the “cop” whom people had commented about online, who owned both this IHOP and the one in Southeast. Suddenly, I was much less worried about hordes of marauding teens Metro-ing up from Gallery Place to invade Columbia Heights. As Briana had merrily said earlier when I asked her about potential rowdiness, “See that 6’7″ man over there? He’s my boss. And he’s a police officer. We’re not worried.”

I asked Mr. Jackson how his newest endeavor’s first day was going.

“I am very pleased.”

He inquired about my meal (and was the sixth person to do so, at that point) and I told him the truth; that it was better than I had expected and that the service was wonderful, too.

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Ben’s Chili Bowl Loves Vegetarians

What I used to get at Ben's: Chili Cheese Fries

One of you emailed me this link to DCist with the subject line, “Good news for you!”. Thank you for that! As for the “news”, it turns out that Ben’s Chili Bowl just started serving vegetarian hot dogs; now I can finally eat something at Ben’s which looks like what the rest of you order. From Ben’s Big Blog:

For a few years now customers have been calling and emailing Ben’s requesting that they offer veggie hot dogs. Though it took some time to find the one that lives up to the quality and reputation of Ben’s, a veggie dog is now on the menu! Get yours with mustard, onions and Ben’s famous veggie chili. Don’t forget, for years Ben’s has offered Veggie Burgers, Veggie Chili, Veggie Chili Fries and Veggie Chili-Cheese Fries.

I’m a vegetarian and I love Ben’s…mostly because I have happy memories of the instances when it’s almost empty and the staff and I sing along to “My Girl” or similar. Everyone who works there is so kind. And the chocolate milkshakes are yummy.

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Bloomingdale gets Rustik, tonight!

Folks in the Bloomingdale neighborhood are elated at tonight’s 9pm opening of Rustik, a pizza joint at 1st and T St. When I say elated, I mean it. Here’s one tweet I can’t show you because of language, but the relevant part of it is this: “Been living in #Bloomingdaledc 4 years w/ no restaurant the dark days are over!”

Four years with no restaurant? Talk about an under-served area. If you’re wondering about the menu, peep this blurb:
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Amsterdam Falafel goes beyond the Morg.

Amsterdam Falafel

Yum. One of D.C.’s delicious places to eat is expanding (Via NBC):

Soon you can grab a falafel from Amsterdam Falafelshop (2425 18th Street NW) without being in the District. The popular restaurant recently filed paperwork to become a franchise. Falafelshops may soon open in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions.

While I currently find myself sating my falafel cravings with Roti, there’s no denying that Amsterdam’s fries and hours are fantastic. See, when Roti locks its pretty doors at 5pm, Amsterdam is still slinging chick pea fritters until midnight on quiet nights (Sunday and Monday) and 4am on noisy ones (Friday and Saturday). When they opened in 2004, many of us were elated to have a (vegetarian, no less!) alternative to Jumbo Slice.  Yum.

Another restaurant for 11th Street NW

I know, this is southwestern food, not regional Mexican. But it was delicious.

Columbia Heights is getting a new, and hopefully delicious neighbor: a Mexican restaurant. Via Tim Carman’s “Young and Hungry” column in the City Paper:

The tiny, 800-square-foot operation will be located at 3313 11th St., in a former liquor store, and will not only sell regional Mexican foods but also snacks inspired by the L.A. street food scene.

They’re going to be open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and possibly late night. I hope they’re slightly more Vegetarian-friendly than Taqueria Distrito Federal. The proprietor, Jackie Greenbaum, had her reasons for picking the 11th Street location: Continue reading

Biden Likes Apizza


Ron Diggity

Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza‘s second location at “Ten-Frien” (so designated because it’s in the middle of the Tenleytown and Friendship Heights Metro stops) was the site of a “Middle Class Task Force” round table this afternoon– and the Vice President was there, meeting employees, calling Nurses “angels” and ordering pizzas to go. See pictures of his visit, here.

As for what was said, here’s a snippet from the White House Pool Report (note: “Mehr” is Pete’s co-owner, Joel Mehr):

At beginning of roundtable discussion, Mehr told Biden that he and his co-owners have two stores and are getting ready to open a third (great news for lovers of good pizza).

Biden asked Mehr “how in God’s name did you get credit?”

Mehr said he went to 20 banks before finding a local one in DC that would give him a loan.

A third location IS good news for apizza-lovers. The having to go to 20 banks to secure credit? Not so good. As for the Vice-President’s order, he chose to take one plain and one pepperoni back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.