2019: The Year in Review – Survey for Eater DC

I was delighted to participate in Eater DC’s 2019 year-end survey of local food writers and bloggers. Crafting my responses provides me an opportunity to reflect on a year of dining, and hopefully to provide ideas and insight to others.

In reading the collective responses, you’ll find many shared opinions, but also some stark differences. Lists like these serve as a reminder that dining is very personal, and each of us comes at it from a different perspective, based on food preferences and priorities. One person’s best meal of the year or favorite restaurant can be another’s example of a dining disaster. Likes and dislikes can be based on who actually executed the dishes, the quality of ingredients on a particular day, or the result of random interactions with servers or front-of-the-house staff.  When it comes to dining, there are obviously many factors at play.

Now that I’ve talked you out of giving much credence to food criticism, I’ll move on and share the full results of the Eater DC 2019 Year-End Survey. Enjoy!

The first question was simple:  Sum Up the 2019 Restaurant Scene in One Word. And with this begins our very subjective responses.

Here is the full survey. 

Where D.C. Food Writers Loved to Eat in 2019

Media experts share their picks for restaurant standbys

My response: If I’m staying close to home in Montgomery County, my favorites are Kuya Ja’s Lechon Belly, Commonwealth Indian, Inferno Pizzeria, and Kenaki Sushi Counter. My New Year’s resolution is to become a regular at Lanzhou Hand Pulled Noodles in Gaithersburg. If I’m dining in the District, I usually prefer to try new restaurants, but I still get excited about return visits to Tail Up Goat, Dabney, Ellē, Chiko, Bresca, and Little Pearl. 

Chef Ryan Ratino, Bresca
Chef Ryan Ratino of Bresca

All responses here.

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D.C.’s Best New Restaurants of 2019, According to the Experts

Local food writers pick the most impressive newcomers in the city

My response: This was quite a year for openings that made a splash. The ones that made me smile most were Anju, Emilie, Nina May, Seven Reasons, Stellina Pizzeria, Punjab Grill, and Mama Chang.

Dumplings at Anju
Dumplings at Anju

All responses here.

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These Were the ‘Most D.C.’ Food Stories of 2019

Media experts weigh in on the dining news that rocked the city this year

My response: A restaurant named Immigrant Food featuring cuisine representing immigrant cultures and promoting a mission of “gastroadvocacy” is a pretty great DC food story. Plus, it’s a block from the White House.  

All responses here.

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D.C.’s Best Dining Neighborhood of 2019, According to the Experts

Local food writers are loving the changes around Union Market

My response: The new restaurants that opened this year are all over the map, so it’s harder to pinpoint a single neighborhood these days. I do like what’s happening near Union Market with the addition of Coconut Club, St. Anselm, Stellina Pizzeria and, when it’s fully up and running, La Cosecha.

Stellina Pizzeria
Stellina Pizzeria

All responses here.

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What Surprised D.C. Food Writers the Most in 2019?

Seven Reasons becomes a polarizing hit, pizza has a moment, and more

My response:  Komi, one of DC’s most respected fine dining restaurants, shifted gears for two months this year to offer a moderately-priced vegetarian tasting menu featuring Greek-inspired diner food. Brilliant!

All responses here.

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The Best Meals D.C. Food Writers Ate in 2019

Local dining experts dish on their most memorable bites

My response: It’s hard to beat the eleven-course hyper-seasonal tasting menu at Single Thread in Healdsburg, California. The Japanese-inspired cuisine at the three-Michelin starred restaurant is breathtaking, fascinating, and wholly satisfying. The restaurant is built around a concept of being attuned to their guests’ every need, which becomes increasingly evident as the three-hour dining experience unfolds. 

Single Thread, Healdsburg, California
Single Thread, Healdsburg, California

All responses here.

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The Top Complaints About D.C. Dining in 2019

D.C. food writers share their biggest grievances

My response: Why are food halls popping up all over town? Rockville, alone, now has three. I’m not really compelled to eat in a food hall with one exception: Ballston Quarter—Hot Lola’s is worth a visit!

Sichuan X Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich at Hot Lola's
Sichuan X Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich at Hot Lola’s

All responses here.

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D.C. Food Writers Make Dining Predictions for 2020

Will this be the year Trump visits a D.C. restaurant outside of his hotel?

My response: Chef Kwame Onwuachi opens a restaurant in Hollywood so he can pursue his burgeoning side hustle as a movie producer.

Chef Kwame Onwuachi  Photo Credit: Rey Lopez
Chef Kwame Onwuachi  Photo Credit: Rey Lopez

All responses here.

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Thanks for reading Been There, Eaten That.  I look forward to another year of dining and sharing my thoughts. Although you may wish to take them with a grain of salt.

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