Food Writer Doesn’t Know How to Eat in D.C.


Take a horrifying culinary tour via "Five Gross Things I Ate in Our Nation's Capital," as Heather Whaley titled her post on the blog The Hairpin yesterday.

Whaley -- despite being the author of a book about food and a blog about food -- somehow doesn't know much about how to actually select her food.

We know what you're probably thinking: We're hurt that a New Yorker visited D.C. and complained. Everything is better in New York, etc.

That's not it. At least, not this time. It's more that she barely gave D.C. a chance.

Let's review the venues where Whaley ate those "five gross our nation's capital," and whether they, in reality, actually have anything to do with, well, our nation's capital:

  • The Embassy Suites
  • California Pizza Kitchen
  • Filomena's
  • Anita's
  • Burger King

Only two of the five, Filomena's and Anita's, are local businesses, and only three of those five are even in the District. That particular location of Anita's, despite being in Northern Virginia, is still nearly an hour away. That means that her list contained one local business in the city.

Oh, and that Burger King Whaley complained about? Was on the New Jersey Turnpike.

The fairly logical commenters on the Hairpin make fairly logical points like, "The thing about DC is that there is a relatively small immigrant population for certain nationalities (Italian, Mexican, and Japanese)... [but] there are also really phenomenal Thai, Central/South American (Peruvian, Salvadorian, etc.) and Middle Eastern places (which covers a whole variety of cuisine, but I can rattle off a bunch of great places for Lebanese, Turkish, and Persian)."

D.C. is a foodie town, after all. We have José Andrés's eleventeen fantastic spots. The cupcakes-to-citizen ratio is roughly 2:1. And you won't be able to get a table at Mike Isabella's Graffiato until roughly the year 2017. There are tons of great places to eat.

Granted, Whaley does offer a couple of partially valid excuses, including traveling in a large group, with two small children. "It's hard to reach a consensus on where to eat with a large group, so the answer is usually 'Here's a restaurant. Let's go in'," she wrote.

But hey, even our bookstores (Busboys and Poets; Kramerbooks' Afterwords) serve things like spinach/wheatberry salad and seared sushi tuna with avocado.

Those facts must be hard to discover, though, if you're focusing on Burger Kings and California Pizza Kitchens. Obviously those chains must be better in New York.

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