Happy Pi Day Everyone! In honor of this auspicious day, we are covering one of our favorite pie places, Dangerously Delicious Pies, which has few stores scattered across the US, including DC, Baltimore and Detroit. We visited the Washington DC store (1339 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002), which was pretty tiny, but had enough counter space for 4 people to eat in. Dangerously Delicious pies has an assortment of sweet pies, savory pies and quiches. At the DC store, you can choose from a selection of half a dozen or so pies by the slice, which are available in-store, but there are many more flavors available if you call ahead and order a whole pie for pick up. A whole sweet pie will run you $30, a whole quiche ($32) and a whole savory ($35) pie; and if you are going by the slice, sweet slices are $6.50, quiche and savory slices are $7.50.
What we enjoyed most about DDP was the huge variety of different pie varieties (we are sweet pie purists). Among the dozens of pie flavors available, you can get typical varieties like Apple Mixed Berry and Key Lime. However, we were more intrigued by flavors like Chocolate peanut butter chess, Caramel Apple Crumb, Mobtown brown (pecan pie topped with a layer of melted chocolate ganache and caramel) and the Baltimore Bomb (Baltimore-native Berger cookies in a vanilla chess filling). When we visited, there was a tempting variety of seasonal winter sweet pies. We sampled the chocolate pecan pie and the winter berry pie (apples and mixed berries with winter spices like cinnamon and cardamom). Both were delicious! M also liked that you could order a glass of milk to wash down your pie (plus the heaping helping of whipped cream)!
Sometimes it’s hard to know which type of cuisine to choose when deciding on a restaurant, especially when traveling in a city with as many great options as Washington DC. When we were in DC we found some great restaurants from various countries, but we also found a great one that covers a bit more ground: Compass Rose (1346 T Street NW, Washington, DC 20009) in Washington DC. Compass Rose is a globetrotting restaurant with a little bit of food from a bunch of various countries. According to Compass Rose, “So while it’s great to travel around the world, we understand that’s not always possible; instead of waiting for the smells and tastes on a great trip, we’ll bring them to you—in a cozy row home right in your own neighborhood.” Each dish at Compass Rose is listed alongside its country of origin, and the selections rotate frequently, and span the globe. Some examples off the menu when we visited include arepas from Venezuela, bhel puri chaat (kale, puffed rice, potato and tomato) from India, anticuchos from Peru and lamb kefta from Lebanon.
When we saw that they had one of our Brazilian favorites, shrimp moqueca, we knew we had to visit. It can get pretty crowded, and there are no reservations, we made a point to stop in early. The atmosphere at Compass Rose is pretty romantic: with low lights and wooden tables in a few connected rooms. There is also a special secret room in the back for people ordering the set menu (which is by reservation), when we visited it was a Bedouin Tent theme, with a selection of North African dishes. The international theme even goes to the cocktail and wine list, which spans less commonly-known wine regions like Lebanon and Hungary.
We could have picked any number of the eclectic dishes, but we eventually landed on:
- Camarão na Moranga (Brazil) – shrimp curry with coconut milk and dendê oil (Palm oil), served inside a small acorn squash. This seemed like a riff on the Northeastern Brazilian dish moqueca – shrimp in a creamy sauce – and is what initially drew us to Compass Rose. Happily, this was probably our favorite dish of the night. We have never had a moqueca served inside anything but a bowl – and the squash bowl was a great addition.
- Smørrebrød (Denmark – above) – house-cured trout, with trout roe and edible flowers. The presentation of this dish was amazing, and we were very impressed by the house-cured fish, giving us a real taste of Scandinavia.
Grilled Calamari (Greece – below) – served over red quinoa, with toasted pistachio & feta cheese salad, and doused with lemon and oregano. We were surprised how big this dish was! The calamari was deliciously tender, with an acidic punch and without chewiness.
Kogi Ribs (Korea) – Berkshire pork with a sweet-hot honey-ginger scallion marinade. The ribs were delectable, and had a great touch of sweetness along with a little bit of spice.
- For dessert we got Crema Catalana (Spain) – A Spanish version of creme brulee. This dessert was tasty, with a hint of vanilla, but we were sad that it was so small!
Everything we sampled at Compass Rose was delicious, with fresh ingredients and clean flavors. If we went back, we would also order the Georgian flatbread – Khachapuri – with cheese, egg and butter. We saw a few being served at tables all around us, and it looked beyond delicious! Compass Rose is the perfect place to temporarily cure your wanderlust, we really liked everything we tried. Whether you are feeling like Spanish or Korean, Compass Rose will have something for everyone in your dining party.
We recently dove into Liberian food in Philly, and we were excited to find Sumah’s Sierra Leonean restaurant on our visit to a major hub of international cuisine – Washington DC. Sumah’s (1727 7th St NW, Washington 20001) is located just south of Howard University in DC, and is a simple mom and pop place with a bustling take-out counter, bright green walls and only a few tables. Sumah’s menu is fairly simple: you can either order a medium ($14) or large size of any dish with beef or chicken ($16)- you just choose the sauce. It also appeared that you could potentially choose the starch for your dishes: including jollof rice, fermented cassava fufu and gari – cassava mush – but there was only jollof rice on the day we were there. You can also get a small cup of sauce as a side order ($8) if you really can’t decide, and you can choose multiple sauces for medium or large platters for a surcharge.
When we entered Sumah’s we were given a complimentary tasting plate of all of the sauces by the affable owner- some of which we had before and some that were totally new to us. It was a good thing he introduced us to all of the sauces or we would have never known what to pick from the simple descriptions alone. Here are the sauce selections:
- Peanut butter sauce – similar to other west African peanut sauces with tomatoes and palm oil
- Spinach – The greens dishes all seemed pretty similar, though the spinach was the lightest and least oily of the three, and was seasoned with garlic and fish.
- Cassava leaves
- Potato Leaves
- Okra – Great non-slimy okra preparation, which is a rarity
- Krain Krain – krain krain leaves with palm oil and fish
- Tola – a seed unique to the region, with palm oil
- Egusi – a colorful stew with squash (egusi) seeds
We ordered a side of the spinach sauce, and a medium platter with a mix of tola and egusi sauce and chicken. The medium alone was more than enough for 2 people (or more), as you can see from the filled container on top. The stews were delicious and hearty, and definitely good for those of us who like palm oil. We also received a free order of fried plantains for dessert, which we gobbled up of course. We also recommend the super strong and delicious house-made ginger drink. We definitely recommend Sumah’s for a taste of the hard-to-find cuisine of Sierra Leone. The dishes at Sumah’s reminded us of Liberian food, but other than the jollof rice, it seemed pretty distinct from other West African countries like Ghana or Senegal. We’d definitely go back!
We are huge fans of Ethiopian food, and we heard that Washington D.C. had a thriving Ethiopian food scene,
we were extremely excited. There were so many restaurants to choose from, and we were excited to see Eritrean options as well. We had tried Eritrean food previously in Philadelphia, and we were happy to revisit it. Since Ethiopia and Eritrea were the same country until the early 1990s, the cuisines are very similar, though there are some subtle differences, especially the greater prevalence of seafood on the menu because Eritrea is coastal. Keren Restaurant (named after the 2nd largest city in Eritrea
) is located in the bustling D.C. neighborhood of Adams Morgan, which has a wide variety of restaurants of all cuisines. We arrived at Keren on a Saturday night, and when we arrived there was a good mix of college kids and families. The atmosphere was convivial and cozy, and the restaurant was simply decorated with murals of Eritrea (plus a surprising number of TVs).
The menu at Keren is very small in terms of traditional dishes, there are only a handful of either meat or veggie options. We also noticed a sizable Italian selection, including pasta and breaded chicken cotoletta
, which makes sense since Eritrea is a former Italian colony. We were also excited the Keren delved into some more unusual options. For example, there were a wide selection of breakfast options featuring Ful (mashed fava beans) and Silsi (a traditional tomato-based sauce). We ordered the beef tibs and the veggie sampler (lentils, chickpeas, cabbage, spinach and potato dishes) to share among ourselves. We were pleasantly surprised that each entree was less than $10, which is far lower than most comparable restaurants. In addition to the injera, we got an order of traditional Eritrean unleavened wheat flat bread called Kitcha,
which we had not seen on any other menus. Kitcha was definitely denser and more pita-like than injera and we have to admit it was much easier to eat with the injera since it was much more flexible.
We enjoyed all of the choices we sampled: the sauces were rich and flavorful (not too spicy), and there was definitely something to satisfy both meat-lovers and vegetarians. We finished up the night with an Eritrean coffee (it was billed as a coffee shop after all), which was very similar to the Ethiopian coffees we had tried previously. We highly recommend Keren as an awesome place to get delicious, low-key Eritrean food, with no pretense, and at great prices.