Ghana Cafe

April 13th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

When in D.C. earlier last Month for a conference, I was with a  group that was in the mood for something outside of the ordinary.

An interesting mix of different Ghana cuisine including goat meat and spinach.

This led to me trying a genre of food I was unaware that even existed- Ghana food.

The Republic of Ghana is located in west Africa, and their food is unlike anything I’ve tried before.

The menu at Ghana Cafe was a little confusing, and I wasn’t quite sure what I was ordering and how much it cost.

I eventually settled on a sampler, which featured a soup, some veggies and something which contents were disputable.

I also ordered a ginger beer, which, according to the description, seemed like a natural version of ginger ale.

Wrong.

It was hell. It tasted like a ground-up, watery version of the ginger you get with sushi. I tried a tentative sip, and my throat literally burned.

It looked almost radioactive in its greenish tint, and I tried in a variety of ways to drink it. I first began with trying small sips, alternating between a small sip of ginger beer (which I will refer to as radioactive elixir), and a hefty sip of water.

The drawback: After playing this game for about 4 minutes, I ran out of water. No problem, I thought… certainly a bus boy would be kind to me and refill.

Wrong.

As I continued to gingerly (haha, gingerly…) sip at this radioactive elixir, I could literally feel my throat close up a bit. Was I allergic? I decided to set the drink aside, for fear of going into anaplastic shock.

A entree served with some sort of veggie, stew and a ball of dough to scoop said stew with.

We got our food at random intervals, not receiving everything at the same time. I asked several times for a refill on water… but that apparently was not going to happen.

I received soup as well as veggies and an unknown substance, and was not terribly impressed. The soup was served lukewarm (maybe that’s how it’s traditionally served, but it would have been better hot). The vegetables were skimpy, there really wasn’t much.

Maybe it’s me being wholly American, but when I think of “sampler,” I think of a nice variety of food. I got three little servings, and paid $13.

My friends got several different entrees, one involving stew and a ball of dough to pick up the stew with. They enjoyed it for the most part, and I was somewhat envious of this large dough ball stew entree… it looked more filling than mine.

While I was happy to have tried a new cuisine, I really wasn’t impressed. The service was lacking, the food wasn’t particularly cheap, the menu was hard to understand, and the ginger beer may have just given me bad memories.

Not bad, but I wouldn't write home about it.

The Price Rating: The Advertising Major- Kids who know they’ll get filthy rich soon enough- is the moderate category. Picture a kid with a briefcase and a blazer jacket.

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Commissary (D.C.)

April 12th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Ambience definitely made this place go from good to great.

Warm lighting welcomed us in as we made our way from the near twilight into the restaurant. Intense conversation of other patrons provided a soft backdrop of sound for us, and we were seated.

Old-fashioned light bulbs gave a delightful ambient cast to the restaurant. Old wooden tables were stacked end to end, meaning the couple next to us sat a little closer than would be in a typical restaurant.

I was in D.C. for a conference, with three other friends on the last night of our trip. Commissary was a perfect ending, giving a relaxed setting with unique menu options and pricing that wasn’t cheap but didn’t break the bank.

Below their logo reads "Your neighborhood place. Honest Pricing"

We started our order with two appetizers- a quesadilla with spinach and goat cheese and a garlic hummus pita spread. While they weren’t that cheap (about $10 a piece), they were absolutely delicious.

A mix of pasta and salad, this Caesar mix is perfect for summer!

My friend Phoebe ordered a Bowtie Ceasar and Grilled Chicken salad, which she enjoyed.

“It was mild but flavorful at the same time,” Phoebe said. “A nice combination of lettuce and pasta, it’s a good summer dinner. It want to try making it at home!”

I sampled am awesome blackened chicken sandwich, which was one of the favorites of our waitress (who did a perfect job of taking care of us). I ate it with what was the second-best root beer I had ever had (the first being the one brewed my home town by Gray’s Brewery).

With real honey and lots of flavor, it was worth the many calories that were in it.

Our food came out pretty quickly, nice and hot, and very fresh. If I weren’t a broke college student, this place would be perfect to me. Alas, I live on a shoestring budget and wish the price point were just  a bit lower. As it was our last night in town, I was happy to splurge a bit for a treat. Had it been a typical night out, though, I would hesitate just a tad.

One of those places you'd take a friend to when he was in town, just to show how cool your town was.

The Price Rating: Poorgeoisie- Rich hipsters who pay a lot to look poor- is the most expensive category. Imagine a snooty kid with a trust fund.

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Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe (Washington, D.C.)

April 2nd, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

Alive with culture, books and spiked coffee, make this place a stop in your D.C. trip!

A combination between bookstore, bar restaurant and cafe, Kramerbooks & Afterwords is one of the most amazing restaurants I’ve been to.

The place is open 24 hours on weekends, and on the Saturday I went it was absolutely full of life. As well as very stylish, cute people. Apparently D.C. is a lot more attractive than previously assumed.

The group I was with had to wait about 30 minutes to get a table, but the wait seemed like nothing: our waiting area was a massive book store featuring thousands of excellent titles.

Live music played as we browsed books and chatted, enjoying the intellectual ambience.

“It’s alive with an intellectual energy,” said Phoebe Chastain, one of my companions. “It’s unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been. I can’t wait to come back!”

Eventually “table number 7″ was announced over microphone, and we went back to the restaurant portion. It was hidden away from the rest of the store and it was an unexpected, but beautiful, change.

Warm lighting and a clear view of the night made the restaurant contrast sharply from the well-light, enclosed book store.

While the book store was well-light to foster reading, the restaurant had warm, sexy lighting. It featured a lot of glass and exposed materials, and was a bit quieter than the book area.

Prices were a little high ($7 for apple crumble), but as we were all ordering dessert, it was manageable.

Everyone really enjoyed what they got for the most part. My apple crumble was beyond words delicious. (After all, it was my waiter’s favorite).

Filled with soft, sweet apples and gooey filling, the outside crumble was the best I’ve ever tasted. Undertones of cinnamon and some graham cracker made it irresistible.

The only complaint one of my companions had, which I find hard for it to be a bad thing, was that her key lime pie was too rich.

Best apple crumble ever.

“It was great for one or two bites, but a whole slice is overwhelming,” said Hanna Sothern.

However, she went on to describe it as “Not too tart, yummy crush with raspberry sauce.” Hmm. I sampled some, and I can agree that it was a bit rich, so I’d say it’s perfect for a date or a few friends to share. Ask for it with no whipped cream, as it was unsweetened and seemed like boring calories.

One oddity (albeit somewhat fun) is that their rest rooms are up about three floors, and require a token from the waiter. We didn’t discover this until walking up the three flights, but were able to sneak in as someone else left.

We left content. It was such an awesome experience, and I highly recommend you to check it out if you ever head to our nation’s capital!

Perfecto!

The Price Rating: The Advertising Major- Kids who know they’ll get filthy rich soon enough- is the moderate category. Picture a kid with a briefcase and a blazer jacket.

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