Our lives have dramatically changed since our last end-of-year recap. When we began 2019, Marnay was pregnant so that meant no more alcohol for us. When June 21, 2019 came around, we had a baby boy! As you can imagine, that cut into our time eating out at restaurants. But we love food, so we are back and ready to eat in 2020!
As always with our end of year recaps, Marnay and I asked each other a series of questions and we did not coordinate our answers. Any similarities are pure coincidence!
Best place to bring a baby:
Marnay – Le Pain Quotidien! This is certainly not a gourmet option, but we have spent a lot of time in Union Station since Brendan’s pediatrician is nearby and Union Station is the nearest metro stop. This LPQ location has a room in the back that is almost always empty. Plus, this is in a busy train station so there’s no concern about noise when Brendan gets loud. We can enjoy our (surprisingly good) avocado toasts and breakfast sandwiches for dinner and then head back to the metro.
Paul – The Girl and the Vine has it all! It’s a combination expertly curated wine store, market, all-day café and bar. On the weekends, it is full of parents and babies creating a casual, kid-friendly setting with the best changing tables in the DMV.
Best place when we have a babysitter:
Marnay – We had Paul’s birthday dinner at Fancy Radish back in November and I am still craving those Pastrami Spiced Carrots! Their desserts are also top-notch – you would never know that they were vegan!
Paul – Whenever we can slip out on our own, we try to get to Tail Up Goat, our favorite all-around restaurant! Every time we go, we get treated like VIPs and the food is consistently amazing.
Marnay – We have been spending a lot of time in Takoma Park, partly because it is so easy (and close) to travel to but the restaurant scene has also exploded in the last year or two. Top two favorites: Cielo Rojo for their papas con rajas quesadilla and The Girl and the Vine for sandwiches and cocktails plus a bottle of wine to go.
Paul – We have always enjoyed spending time in Takoma Park, especially at Republic, but the opening of The Girl and the Vine in May was a game-changer. It’s now our favorite weekend hang-out spot.
Best BBQ spot we have visited:
Marnay – Tejas Chocolate + Barbecue! You can’t beat a place that feels as cozy as being in someone’s living room and sells delicious bean-to-bar chocolates as well as the best brisket I have ever had! Plus, Tomball is a cute little town about 45 minutes north of downtown Houston.
Paul – Tejas Chocolate + Barbecue in Tomball, TX spot is our choice for best barbecue overall. The brisket and pork ribs are stunningly good. Plus, they offer a rare taste of pork belly at a barbecue joint. We don’t normally use sauce, but we make an exception for their mole barbecue sauce, AKA the most expensive barbecue sauce in the world.
Favorite restaurant outside of the DC area (non-barbecue):
Marnay – We had so much barbecue on our trip to Austin that we were craving a meal of vegetables. Emmer & Rye delivered! I love their concept of having circulating carts offering ‘dim sum’ bites in addition to ordering dishes off the main menu. Such a fun meal and their bread program is out of this world.
Paul – Emmer & Rye! With a restaurant name that is simply two different grains, you would expect that it would have good breads. But the bread at Austin’s Emmer & Rye, offered on one of the “dim sum” carts that Marnay mentioned above, is the best bread we have had anywhere. They even offered different toppings to go with the bread – we chose cultured butter and brassica foam.
Favorite spot in Silver Spring:
Marnay – El Sapo! We went to this new Cuban restaurant from the owners of Urban Butcher a few times when I was pregnant and I can’t wait to return so I can finally enjoy some of their famous mojitos!
Paul – We only started going to the Silver Branch Brewing Co. after Brendan was born but Silver Branch has quickly become one of our favorite local spots. It has a small but concise menu of Bavarian food, excellent sausages, great beer and a HUGE space right at the Silver Spring metro.
Favorite restaurant to order delivery from:
Marnay – A weekly staple in our household is Cielo Rojo. One of us puts the baby to bed, the other orders the quesadillas and tostadas via DoorDash.
Paul – Cielo Rojo was a total game-changer when, in early November, this Takoma Park fast-fine Mexican restaurant partnered with DoorDash to offer their tacos, quesadillas and tostadas for delivery. We have ordered once a week ever since!
Place we are most looking forward to in 2020:
Marnay – We can’t wait to take Brendan to 2Amy’s! It’s notoriously kid-friendly and we already frequently visit for their pizzas and small plates. I’m always amazed by how kid-friendly the staff is.
Paul – Teddy’s Barbecue! I have been following the Garcia brothers in FAR South Texas’s Rio Grande Valley since before this place opened. Joel Garcia worked the pits at Terry Black’s in Austin, one of our favorite barbecue spots in the country. I was so excited for Teddy’s to finally open that I asked them to mail me a Teddy’s T-shirt all the way to Maryland! I can’t wait for next Fall when we go on our ultimate Texas trip and I get to try their ‘cue!
If you’re interested, read our 2018 and 2017 Year in Review. Happy holidays and we will see you next year!