Georgetown’s Top Five New Dining Options

Leo’s is back, but is it better than ever? For those of you who have not yet stirred up the courage to venture into territory without self-serve and oversized portions, 4E’s got you covered with a rundown of Hoya Hospitality’s five most ~hospitable~ new dining options.

  1. Bodega (M-Th: 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.; F: 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.; Sat: 7:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.; Sun: 4:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.)
    Overview: As far as ready-made sandwiches go, Bodega fares pretty well among our taste buds and offers an option for every occasion. Ready to pig out after a gruesome Yates workout? The Turkey Avocado Club with Bacon boasts a heaping three slices of bread. Inspired to develop a more cultured palate after taking French? Essaie le Cashew Chicken Salad Croissant pour changer! Feeling dietary self-hatred a healthier alternative? The Grilled Vegetable Hummus Ciabatta is the go-to low-cal option. For those of you who aren’t in a sandwich state of mind, there are also daily entrées and sides that you can mix and match to your stomach’s content. And because Bodega’s offerings are chiefly grab-and-go, the line for these cooked meals are the shortest among all of upper Leo’s. That being said, there’s always room for improvement. Entrée portions likely won’t satiate those of you over the age of six and Bodega’s salads, though listed as having four variations, are pretty standardized. They also ~allegedly~ contain frozen lettuce chunks on the bottom. Alas, this is still Leo’s after all.
    Keep up the: taste, variety, efficiency, hours of operation
    Watch out for: salads, entree and side portions
  2. Launch Test Kitchen (M-Th: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.; F: 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.; S-S: Closed)
    Overview: This vendor is as close as Leo’s comes to fine dining. For overindulged Hoyas suffering the loss of mommy’s Blue Apron meals, Launch offers themed cuisines from around the world. Previous successes include the Chicken Tikka Masala from Indian week, the lobster roll from seafood week, and the baked biscuits from southern week. As Leo’s most ~premium~ option, Launch meals present the most bang-for-your-meal-exchange — but only Monday through Friday. That’s right, Launch is the sole upper Leo’s vendor that closes for the entire weekend. On the weekdays, it’s best to stick with what you know. Avoid accepting free samples from the Test Kitchen with suspiciously fancy names, like “corn purée with butter cappuccino,” which I’m ready to believe was really liquid butter in disguise.
    Pro tip: Bring your Problem of God reading for the wait, as Launch lines are notoriously the longest on all of upper Leo’s.
    Keep up the: taste, diversity, meal exchange worth
    Watch out for: lines, free samples, hours of operation
  3. Crop Chop (M-F: 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.; S-S: Closed)
    Overview: Unlike Bodega’s ice boxed salads and lower Leo’s shabby salad bar, Crop Chop has restored our trust in the quality of college salad. In fact, with topping options such as steak, quinoa, and avocado, it may even be (though probably isn’t) a young Sweetgreen in the making. Popular pre-curated options include the classic Kale Caesar and the flavorful Quinoa Crunch, but more advanced Crop Chop enthusiasts know the splendors of make-your-own. Warning: this option is not for the faint of heart. The employees are known to be a little snappy, so have a friend place your order if you’re not the confrontational type. And if choosing a base, five toppings, and protein is too much on your plate, don’t worry — you’ll have plenty of time to think in a line that wraps around the corner of the hallway.
    Immoral pro tip: Ask for avocado, even when they say it costs extra, because they’ll forget by the time your salad makes it to the register.
    Keep up the: taste, variety, portions
    Watch out for: lines, hours of operation, snappy staff
  4. 5Spice (M-Th: 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.; F: 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; Sat: Closed; Sun: 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.)
    Overview: This weekly changing vendor is a hit or miss. Quasi-General Tso’s sesame chicken from Chinese week = hit. Overly-drunken drunken noodles from Thai week = miss. With both sweet and savory meals, 5Spice is always a reliable source of refreshingly adequate portion sizes. Overall, besides its sub-Cup-O-Noodle grade ramen bar, 5Spice’s culturally themed offerings are your best bet for Asian food on campus. But if you decide to ditch the line for less egregiously inauthentic cuisine, don’t worry — you probably hadn’t moved up very far in it anyway.
    Keep up the: general taste, diversity, portions
    Watch out for: lines, inauthenticity
  5. Chick-Fil-A (M-F: 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; S-S: 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)
    Overview: Before you seriously question our judgment in degrading the makers of the OG chicken sandwich to fifth place, give us a chance to explain. For one, Hoya Court’s Chick-Fil-A is the only new dining option that doesn’t accept meal exchange. Faced with the quandary of filling our stomachs while emptying our wallets, there’s not much to do but bask in the golden glory of those waffle-cut fries while they last. On an equally discouraging note, the wait duration here typically surpasses even those of Launch and 5Spice. In a time crunch, it may be easier just to slap some of lower Leo’s chicken fingers on a couple southern biscuits from Launch. Despite all this, there’s not much one can do to resist a hankering for Chick-Fil-A. As they say, you win some, you lose some.
    Keep up the: taste
    Watch out for: lines, cost

There you have it folks: we’ll leave it up to you to weigh the pros and cons of Georgetown’s new dining options and decide whether they’re worth a visit.

Photos/Gifs: thebalance.com, giphy.com, tumblr.com

Bangkok Joe’s Out, Mama Rouge In

IMG_0521You have just two more nights to enjoy the delicious dumplings and noodles from Bangkok Joe’s. That’s right, the owners announced Wednesday that the Thai restaurant, which is located in the Washington Harbour complex, will close June 1.

Don’t worry, though, a new restaurant, Mama Rouge, will soon replace our dear departed. The new eatery will fuse Southeast Asian and French flavors in a redesigned and modernized space and will be run by the same people. Mama Rouge is set to open in September — just in time for Hoyas returning to the Hilltop.

In the meantime, you can get your Thai fix at a few other spots in the Georgetown neighborhood. Student-favorite Mai Thai serves up great Pad Thai and Pad See Eew; Basil Thai, a lesser-known spot on Wisconsin Ave., has more of your Thai favorites if you ever tire of Mai Thai; and I-Thai, which was recently opened on M Street, has a highly-recommended Drunken Noodle.

While we at 4E are excited for Mama Rouge to open in the fall, we’ll miss Bangkok Joe’s immensely. With just two days left to chow down, you can be sure to find us stuffing our faces with dumplings at Bangkok Joe’s this weekend.

4Eats: The Art of Ramen

4eats

Cheap, unhealthy, and easy to make.  It’s every college student’s guilty late-night pleasure. When we’re sick of Leo’s, too broke to order take-out, or too lazy to cook, we can always depend on this little guy. What is this goodness I am referring to? I’m surprised you even asked. Ok, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and suppose you’re eating legit food, now that you’re on summer vacation. But, really, how could you forget about your best friend, the one that’s always there for you, Ramen.

While most of us are guilty of slurping these pre-cooked noodles of yumminess, we haven’t really given it the respect it deserves. We may resort to it to satisfy our ravenous cravings but, in Japan, ramen is an art. There are ramen masters who have perfected the cooking of these wheat noodles in distinct flavorings of deliciously seasoned broth. But fear not! We don’t need to travel to Japan to taste good ramen. DC has seen its fair share of ramen shops that you should try!

Daikaya
705 Sixth St. NW in Penn Quarter
What you’ll find here 4 types of Sapporo-style ramen: miso, shio (salt), shoyu (soy), vegan
Fun fact Chefs were trained intensively under a ramen master from Sapporo.

TAAN Noodles
1817 Columbia Road NW in Adams Morgan
What you’ll find here 3 types of ramen: pork-based, duck-based, vegetarian; kushiyaki; onigiri; and various small plates
Fun fact Toppings include pork belly, duck confit, and chicken confit.

Sakuramen
2441 18th Street NW in Adams Morgan
What you’ll find here
Gojiramen – Traditional shoyu ramen with chashu, menma, scallions, nori, and sprouts
Sakuramen – Signature Vegetarian Ramen! Kombu broth with menma, corn, green onion, mushrooms, nori, and drizzled with a homemade fragrant oil
DC Miso – A tribute to Washington DC and our veteran friends with chashu, menma, green onion, cheese, naruto, and nori, and more
Fun fact Offers ramen flavors from around the world.

Toki Underground
1234 H Street, NE (above The Pug)
What you’ll find here Ramen: Toki Classic, Taipei Curry Chicken, Vegetarian, Red Miso, Kimchi; Dumplings & sides
Fun fact Inspired by a Hakata-style shop in Taipei. Add-ons include pulled pork, pork cheek, and “Toki Endorphin Sauce”.

So here you have it. A brief intro to the true beauty of ramen. We hope we’ve convinced you to go out to these ramen shops and taste what ramen can be. It is something more than the result of a college student’s tight budget and imagination. It’s actually an art in itself.