Home for the Holidays – Thanks be to Cod

January 5th, 2008 · 4 Comments

2007.xmasbreak.foodeating 008Home for the Holidays
a holiday special series

Thanks be to Cod
Saturday January 5th, 2008

By Jason Chin
Eat Vancouver writer

Following the precedent of eating stuff that’s difficult to find in Vancouver, I went out searching for a good brick oven pizza a couple of nights ago. The DCist (a DC area blog) in conjunction with Don Rockwell recently did a comparison of the area’s top brick oven pizzas in what they called a Fab Forno Smackdown, no doubt a spiritual cousin to the Phodown. They compared places like the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN) approved 2 Amys, and Roberto Donna run Bebo. I won’t get into specifics here, but it’s a pretty good read. Long story short, I couldn’t make it to any of the places mentioned in this article but I did get to try Ellla’s in Penn Quarter, a pizzeria that is supposedly no slouch itself. Quite importantly, Ella’s also boasts a hoppin’ happy hour with $5 pizzas and reduced-priced beer, something that is certainly not available in Vancouver.

Ella’s is one of my half-brother Steve’s favorite haunts, so I met him here for a beer and a pizza on Friday night and fortunately it wasn’t as full of obnoxious Government interns as usual. We tried the wild mushroom pizza, which is also topped with spinach and goat cheese and a more traditional cheese and sausage pizza. Both were excellent with slightly charred crisp crusts, but the spicy sausage pizza is the one that left me wanting more. The night was great fun, but I still wish I had a chance to try some of the pizzas from the fab forno smackdown. With three pints of better-than-average beer each (Dogfish Head) the meal came to less than $20 a person, a total that makes it really hard to complain. I really wish Vancouver would do something these inconceivable liquor laws so that happy hours like this could exist up there.

2007.xmasbreak.foodeating 004A few days after Ella’s I had the chance to check out Eamonn’s A Dublin Chipper. Eamonn’s is a sister restaurant to Restaurant Eve, and both are helmed by James Beard award wining chef Cathal Armstrong, this one being a homage to the fish and chips of his native Ireland. Located in historic Old Town Alexandria, the room is accented by chandeliers, brick walls and dark wood. Although the scene was set perfectly, I prefer the fish and chips at Go Fish and Wigan Pier in the Vancouver area. I ordered a small cod ($4), small chips ($2.50) and mushy peas ($3), all except the peas being served in traditional paper bags, and was not completely impressed. The fish was a bit rubbery and the batter wasn’t crispy at all. The fries however were very fresh and the peas were flavorful (although a second to Wigan). I did also think the selection of Irish sodas were a nice touch. But for fish and chips, I think one could do better at the less traditional Go Fish in Vancouver, or if tradition is important, at Wigan Pier in Squamish.

Ella’s Wood Fired Pizza
901 F Street NW
Washington DC 20004

Eamonn’s a Dublin Chipper
728 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

Tags: Holiday Specials

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Judy // Jan 9, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Hi, I see you were just in DC – I live in Bethesda, Maryland. 2 Amys is one of my favorites for pizza. I agree with you about Go Fish — when I was in Vancouver (my new favorite destination) in 2006 I had the best fish and chips ever. As you know, restaurants can change, but your next trip to DC area should include a trip to Bethesda (Red line Metro) for dinners at David Craig, Rock Creek, Centro, Grapeseed, and definitely Jaleo (Spanish tapas). In DC you should try a new place called Central and have the lobsterburger. My dining in Vancouver also included Rare, Nu, The Cannery, CinCin, Provence Marinaside, Cioppino, Parkside, Joe Fortes, West, Chambar, Le Crocodile, Bin 941, Bistro Pastis, Rodney’s Oyster House, Il Giardino di Umbarto, and Araxi in Whistler,and I think a couple others that I can’t recall at the moment.

  • 2 Jason // Jan 10, 2008 at 12:08 am

    Hey Judy,

    I have spent a lot of time in Bethesda, but sadly I haven’t been to any of those restaurants. I did make it to Central on this trip – hopefully I’ll write about it soon. I stupidly didn’t get the lobster burger, opting to go off-script on an interesting sounding crab cake. It was only okay.

    Your list of dining accomplishments in Vancouver is truly staggering!

  • 3 Judy // Jan 28, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Jason, It’s hard to believe you’ve spent time in Bethesda and not been to any of the places I mentioned. I hope you get to try at least one of them in the future. I recently had the lobsterburger again at Central – you’ll need to make a special trip. Doesn’t it make you nuts when you know you didn’t order the right item?!

  • 4 Jason // Jan 28, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    yes that really does drive me crazy. especially when i know it will be hard to get back there. it can be so tempting to discover new territory but going with the known winner is always smart.

    i was dating a girl in bethesda and she wasn’t big on trying new restaurants. she knew what she liked and she stuck to those. it was kinda sad for me…

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