Whether it's the toppings, the oven, or the crust, it takes a little something special to make a pizza memorable. At The Backspace, it's a combination of all three. This smallish eatery boasts a wood-burning oven that cranks the heat up to 1,000 degrees, requiring a specially-formulated crust that blisters wonderfully when cooked. The toppings are fairly typical — margherita, sausage, pepperoni, roasted mushrooms — but are always super-fresh, and are joined on the menu with a variety of salads, charcuterie, antipasti, and a healthy selection of wines and beers.
Despite the fact that it shares its name with the awesome California Condor, the Golden State's official bird is actually the lowly California valley quail. Unlike the condor, however, it's perfectly legal to eat the quail. State Bird Provisions is an entire restaurant built around a single dish — the CA state bird with provisions — that now serves up a constantly-changing menu of small plates, pancakes, and larger entrees, with many items featuring other wild game like guinea hen, rabbit, and duck. A curated list of wines, beers, and apertifs rounds out the menu, which is happily affordable with nothing over $20 — a find almost as rare as the aforementioned condor.
If you're looking for tasty, filling-stuffed pastries in the Big Easy, your search will likely end with a trip to Empanada Intifada. This silver food truck specializes in the Spanish treat, stuffing them with everything from pulled pork and meat pie filling to spinach and goat cheese or peanut stir fry. Also on offer are red beans and rice, a quinoa salad, and the food truck requisite kicked-up mac and cheese, this time with cotija, oaxaca, and poblano bechamel sauce. We're pretty sure there's a "you'll flip" joke in here somewhere, but in any case, we're pretty sure that they taste the same whether you're right side up or upside down.
Burgers, fries, shakes, and beers. What more could you ask for? At Burgatory, they take all of them seriously. The burgers are made from a custom blend of sirloin, chuck, brisket, and short rib, and include selections like Morty's Steakhouse with horseradish cheddar, haystack onions and cabernet sauce, while the shakes are made with cream from local Titusville Dairy, fresh house-turned ice cream, and include everything from the rather simple PB&J to the savory Apple Pancakes & Bacon. Throw in steak fries with Thai peanut dipping sauce, sriracha wings, killer cocktails, and beer list that runs the gamut from American light lagers to Belgians, and you've got yourself a dinner.
Sure, you can go upscale at its sister store Redd just down the street, but if you're looking for a casual meal in Napa, it's hard to beat Redd Wood. Helmed by chef Richard Reddington, this eatery features a rustic, industrial interior, and a menu that changes daily, focusing on wood oven-baked pizzas with toppings ranging from the simple — mozzarella, tomato, and basil — to the sublime — sausage, mushroom, rapini, Calabrian chili, tomato, smoked mozzarella, and onion. Also on offer are house-made pastas, charcuterie, and, unsurprisingly, a solid selection of wine.
Given the name, you might think that The People's Pig focuses solely on hog-related foodstuffs. While it does offer up a solid share of pork — the porchetta and arugula sandwhich is a local legend — this stately truck offers far more than just pork, with a ever-changing menu that includes brisket, steak, and even chicken sandwiches. No matter what meat you choose, you can rest assured that it's both hormone- and antibiotic-free, and if you're lucky, you might be able to enjoy one of the Pig's other treats, like chili, blood orange marmalade, or fresh strawberry shortcake.
Restaurants come and go perhaps more than any other business imaginable, so when one's been open for over ten years — awards, of which it has many, aside — you know it's the real deal. Hugo's has been serving up delicious Mexican to hungry Montrose resident from its 1920s-era building since 2002. The vaunted food is comprised of regional Mexican cuisine, encompassing everything from fresh seafood to Oaxacan moles and simple tortillas, with many standouts — including the chorizo-stuffed jalapeño peppers. As you might expect, they also serve up a mean margarita, and offer a huge selection of tequilas and mezcals for those looking for something a little more... straight forward.
It's always nice to enjoy a night out without dealing with any douchbaggery, and when you visit JM Curley, it's virtually guaranteed. In addition to its rules — don't be a douchebag, no foul language, groping, grab ass, mauling, sucking face, canoodling, heavy petting, loud shrieking, shouting, bellowing, whining, barking, nose blowing, flatulence or obnoxious cellphone use — it also delights with its short but satisfying menu featuring fried chicken, a burger, cast iron mac & cheese, and seasonal treats like braised rabbit pizza and a high-end recreation of the McRib. Feeling a little more old school? Find your way to Bogie's Place, an intimate restaurant-inside-the-restaurant that's named after Humphrey Bogart and features a menu that's heavy on steaks and classic cocktails.
Lots of spots claim to be "old" in their names, but in this case, it's no joke. The Old Ebbitt Grill is DC's oldest saloon, having welcomed many noteworthy guests, including a number of presidents. Despite all the history, the business didn't move to its current location until 1983, bringing with it many of the antiques and memorabilia with it. Inside, you'll find two dining rooms, three separate bars, and menus that highlight American classics, from jambalaya to Alaskan Halibut, as well as mahogany and velvet booths, outstanding American artwork, and delicious drinks, all just steps from The White House.
You might not expect to find upscale fare in a diner, but then again, Poole's Downtown Diner isn't your average greasy spoon. Originally opened in 1945 as a pie shop, Poole's is now helmed by James Beard Award nominee Ashley Christensen, serving up surprising, scrumptious food from a menu that's constantly changing thanks to a commitment to using fresh local ingredients. The food isn't the only standout, though — the drinks are also fantastic, as is the decor, which returns the place to its roots with a double horseshoe bar and red leather booths.
You wouldn't expect a place that's changed its name and mission — now Hawaii-inspired — to still boast one of the best burgers in town. Yet that's the case with Ma'ono Fried Chicken and Whiskey. Formerly known as Spring Hill Restaurnat & Bar, Ma'ono still offers great food, but this time it's with a focus on upscale fried poultry, with room on the menu for Musubi — a sandwich made with rice and spam, wrapped in nori — dishes incorporating Hawaiian salt, and the aforementioned burger, now christened the Ma'ono Burger, but still featuring applewood-smoked ground chuck, bacon, and cheese between butter-griddled sesame English muffins. We hear the whiskey selection isn't too bad, either. [via]
Some chefs get their training at a formal cooking school, or by coming up through the ranks of the service industry. The three brothers behind Basic Kneads Pizza? They learned their craft in the family kitchen. Consisting of a food truck, a trailer, and a custom hybrid, they offer their wood-fired pizzas all over the area. They use locally-milled organic flour to craft their crusts, which are cooked — along with the toppings, of course — at 700-800 degrees before being served up fresh to the waiting masses. Margherita, Meatza (pepperoni, sausage, chicken), and Sweet Thai Chili Chicken are just a few of the options available, and for those of you watching your wheat intake, they also offer Udi's gluten-free crust for a nominal fee.