Duke’s Grocery

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Two weeks back I got to sample the much-buzzed-about Duke’s Grocery in Dupont for the first time for a Saturday brunch/lunch, and just wow. The DC people have spoken and they’re certainly not wrong. From start to finish, everything at this East London meets East Dupont eatery was so fresh + so well done.

Photographed above is the Avocado Tartine featuring a runny egg on a thick slice of grain-crusted multi-grain, smashed – and extremely fresh- avocado, radish, chili, corn shoots and pea tendrils. It was so beautiful I didn’t want to eat it. Until I did. Not pictured is the side of toast with house-made jam I ordered on the side, which, considering the monster portions here, was totally unnecessary, but totally delicious.  Logan ordered the Proper Burger, and even sampling just one bite, it’s safe to say I’ll be making a return for that one (it’s the best burger bite I’ve had in awhile).

To drink I sampled guzzled a few Proper Pimm’s – Pimm’s #1, citrus, ginger-chili syrup (be still, my heart), ginger beer, and cucumber spear. Super refreshing, super sneaky with the alcohols, and just a teeny bite of spice to round out the flavor.

For it’s ambiance, accessibility, and overall food/drink experience, you’ve gotta have it at Duke’s Grocery in Dupont Circle. Pro tips: Expect excellent hospitality, but not efficiency (I mean, half of DC is there on any given day). Also, portions are massive, so try not to be a baby whale like me and let your eyes make decisions for your stomach.

Duke’s Grocery 

1513 17th Street NW

Washington, DC

Duke's Grocery on Urbanspoon

They’re Back

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ICYMI on the ‘gram, it’s that time of the year again. Pumpkin Donut Muffins + Chaider have returned to Baked & Wired and until springtime, approximately 75% of my weekly caloric intake will be coming from these. See my post from last year here.  Chaider is available every day until springtime, Pumpkin Donut Muffins are in limited availability, and only on certain days (website says Sunday, Tuesday and Friday but  they’re not always pumpkin).

In my professional experience, if you go to B&W every day, there is a 50% possibility they’ll have them, and a 100% possibility that it is worth the risk due to the excellent alternatives. These won’t be around for long, so today seems like a good day to test it out.

Baked & Wired

1052  Thomas Jefferson NW

Washington, DC

Baked & Wired on Urbanspoon

Breakfast Tacos at Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse

It’s Monday. Gross. Most Mondays I’m just trying to make it through the day by eating my life away. And, most Mondays, I like to get that started by making my way to Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse right around the corner for some deeeee-licious coffee and some breakfast tacos.

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They’re not the prettiest (I’m sure if I ate them on-site instead of enjoying them on my comfy couch, they’d be much more beautiful), but they sure do taste the part. Home-fried potatoes, eggs, salsa fresca, and some tri-blend queso come together in a soft shell for a super hearty, extra satisfying breakfast taco. They’re a weekday-morning treat only (such a shame, I’d crush so many of these on the weekend), so find a way to be on my side of the city this early and let’s have breakfast like we’re on the beach in Southern California.

Super cheap ($), super tasty. I like it. 

Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse

201 F Street NE

Washington, DC 20002

Ebenezers Coffeehouse on Urbanspoon

Three Things

To finally blog for The Baby Whale, I actually have to be a baby whale and so I thought I’d at least give you a little something to work with by showing you the favorites on my food radar as of lately. Also,  it’s a great way to get a sense of my rating scale. Here’s what’s been in and around my body: all the things I like, the things I love, and the things I’ve gotta have.


the standard - bbqI know you probably like to imbibe from their copious beer selection, but have you ever indulged in their BBQ? Every time I go, I try to avoid it. Every time I go, I fail. It’s just too good! These Pulled Pork and Brisket BBQ Sandwiches from Garden District (formerly known as The Standard) are paired with Onion Rings and Frickles – have you seen anything crispier?- to make for a solid day of day drinking with excellent snacks. Note on my preferences: I typically like my frickles as medallions and not spheres, but I also am not one to complain about delicious fried creatures. (Garden District, 1801 14th Street NW. Like it. $)

taco bambaBut seriously, I’ve been hunting for the realest of real tacos in the District and it’s a shame that I had to trek all the way to Taco Bamba in Falls Church to find them. I went when Spencer from Whiskey and Soba came to visit a few weeks back, and hazed my body/soul in so many ways with these flavor-filled guys in Carnitas, Al Pastor and Shrimp varieties.  Find your car and get there this weekend, it’s worth the adventure into the depths of VA. (Taco Bamba, 2190 Pimmit Drive, Falls Church. Love it. $sushi capitolI literally hate that I am sharing this wealth of information with you, but it has to be done. I have discovered the most unbelievable sushi place and I can’t keep it a secret for much longer. I have been filling my belly with the freshest fish I’ve ever encountered in DC at Sushi Capitol on Pennsylvania Avenue SE, and I can’t/won’t stop. If you’re into super crazy rolls they have those too, but honestly gtfo because this ish is reserved for my sashimi lovin’, nigiri bumpin’ amigos. They have excellent, seasonal specials that are truly unique (i.e. these teeny tiny crabs that were flash-fried and served as chips…weird but amazing), and it’s all perfectly and traditionally prepared. More on this one later. (Sushi Capitol. 325 Pennsylvania Avenue SE. Gotta have it. $$)

I just drooled a little while writing this, so I hope that’s an indication that I’ve satisfied the baby whale within you too. Embrace it.

It’s Whale Wednesday

It’s the humpiest of all days and for some reason I’m feeling super inclined to start writing again. Perhaps it’s the disappearance of summer swimsuit weather and the beginnings of fall getting me excited to layer my body up in all of the calories and extra LB’s.  Perhaps it’s the fact that despite the fact that I’ve been the worst blogger for about half of a year and running, I still get a ton of clicks (where they come from? I have no idea, but I thank you for them. My peeps are a diligent one.)

To be perfectly honest with you, it’s 195% because the domain renewal just hit for Daily Love Affair, and  now that I’m no longer fiscally bound to it, I’m taking the artistic liberty of running as far away from that cheesy domain name as I possibly can. One can only become so awkward about hating their very own blog’s name, and I definitely hit that point.  I will never fully understand why I started my blog being under such a lame name. Maybe I was drunk.

Regardless, like the obnoxiously drunk girl you just made BFF’s with in the bathroom at a bar on a sloppy Saturday, Daily Love Affair, Bye Felicia.  I really hate to see you go, but I love to watch you leave.

Welcome to the world of The Baby Whale. My spirit animal and alter ego. Here’s what I promise: more food, less bullshit, more fun. At least for me. All you have to promise is that you’ll stick around with or without the drag that was Daily Love Affair



Rose’s Luxury

Before I continue with my wild goose chase around the world, I thought I’d put something on the table that brings you to more recent times, and also back to DC. And while I’m throwing great things your way and buttering you up (both literally and figuratively), I figured I’d make things even better by featuring the holy grail of all DC foods, the glory and honor that is Rose’s Luxury in Eastern Market.

We made two previous attempts to dine here over the past six-or-so months, and each prior visit was shut down by a wait that my delicate, sensitive whale-body could not withstand. I’m a hungry girl in a hungry world. But finally, on the lucky third try a week or so ago, armed and ready with an early Friday arrival time of 5PM, we were seated immediately and at the chef’s table nonetheless, with a direct line of vision straight into the belly of the beast, a bustling open kitchen in all its glory.

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I could’ve cried. This was for many reasons, the primary reason being that I had actually prepared my aforementioned whale-body for a long wait by having a later lunch that day, so I wasn’t ravenous as one should be when encountering such scenarios of fine food. Major FML. But also because I had not prepared myself for how inviting the whole experience would be, despite the horror of a hype. Furnished like your cool best friend’s apartment with your great aunt’s vintage dishware, every piece of Rose’s puzzle welcomes you in like you were home.

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Upon entering, you’ll notice the homiest of smells, and it’s because these guys are being baked by the batch. Piping hot and nicely crisped, these rolls were served with shallot butter. I can’t exactly remember what kind of ash it was covered in, but the smoky flavor paired with the savory butter was an excellent tease to what was to come. I’m typically an advocate of “softer” rolls, but the flavor in these was hard to look past, and so hot-n-fresh-out-the-kitchen, it worked for me.

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If I’m eating at the best restaurant in DC, I’m obviously drinking.at the best restaurant in DC. Feeling frisky, I ordered from the gin-based offerings- the hibiscus water, cava and bitters – which was a nice balance of both floral and herbaceous, and extremely refreshing without being overly sweet. Pictured behind it is Logan’s Bourbon, Peach, Dill tincture and lemon concoction, a grown-sexy version of Peach Snapple, also supremely refreshing while light on the saccharine.

roses luxury 4I absolutely loved this dish of pork sausage, habanero and lychee, and so did the rest of the world. Accented with red onion, some sort of whipped coconut cream, peanuts and cilantro, there were so many flavors and textures, with each bite varied from the one before with a new balance of savory/sweet/crunchy/soft/creamy/tangy. We were instructed to mix it up as much as we could – “the uglier the better”. So, ugly it became, until it hit my tongue and my tummy. This was my favorite of all the dishes!

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To mix things up a bit, we ordered Marco’s Gnocci, made to order in a simple creamy sauce with black pepper and salt. While extremely simple on paper and to the eye, this dish was extremely complex, predominantly in texture.  This is by far the pillowiest, softest gnocci known to mankind, and this recipe is definitely homegrown. You can just feel the familiarity of it, both in sensation and in flavor  as you make your way through the plate.

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Also well reviewed and highly spoken of, the caramelized cauliflower with greek yogurt “and other stuff”.  Another healthy mix of sweet and tangy, serious yum yum in my tum tum. If I could cook cauliflower like this for myself every day, I would.

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And now for the big she-bang, the crowning glory, the moon to my stars. Also, the point of the meal where I ran out of space in my stomach/brain/soul to eat and still enjoy it. A heaping serving of smoked brisket, white bread, horseradish and pickled slaw served on a giant silver platter to make you feel like a king and an animal at the same time. Slay me. I literally and figuratively died at this point, but at least it was in the company of well done brisket and a good-looking boy. There was so much of it, I brought it home for leftovers and had it for lunch every day the rest of that weekend. This day I keep gazing sadly and helplessly into my fridge, hoping it will reappear.



I know I said I was disgustingly full, but I couldn’t NOT get dessert. That would be sinful and a decision full of regret!  So, I ordered the goat’s milk stracciatella with strawberries and spicy meringue (pictured to the right), and our lovely waitress threw in an additional dessert of smoked celery root mascarpone with chamomile-honey ice and brown butter walnut crumble. Her selection was better than mine – much lighter and easier to digest after a hefty meal with really one-of-a-kind flavors.

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And if that wasn’t enough, our parting present from this godly establishment was a little, house-made jelly treat sprinkled with a bit of sugar. So you leave with something sweet, just like the whole meal you just experienced. There’s really only one way to describe this place. Rose’s Luxury is…



No but actually, there are hundreds of ways to describe it here. I can’t believe a place like this exists in DC, and it’s even harder for me to believe it’s right around the corner in Eastern Market. It’s my favorite meal experience in DC thus far, and with a clear crystal ball showing me many, many visits in the future, I can’t wait to see how the menu changes over time. With enormous portions you’ll certainly need to share (but only with your favorite people), I’d give it two-$$. If you haven’t been yet, you’ve gotta have it. It’s no joke why it’s received to-die-for-reviews from the best in the city.


Rose's Luxury on Urbanspoon


SF: Mama Ji’s

OK, last San Francisco post before I move on to bore you with my gluttenous adventures in another city. We spent our last morning crying about our eventual return to the frigid, snowy easy coast, and doting over the expansive Dim Sum wonders Mama Ji’s in the Castro had to offer. This series of events can be loosely translated into the following process:

a) Ordering way too much food because it sounded delicious

b) Eating way too much food because it was delicious

c) Regretting eating so much delicious food

d) Walking across to Philz for a Mint Mojito “cleanse”

then finally,

e) Laying around all day in Dolores Park, bloated in gluten coma and anxious about the cleanse’s potential effects (it was all good in the end, we all seemed to have built up our tolerance at this point in the week).

God, I’m such a sick woman with a sick group of friends, but if that’s not an ideal last day in San Francisco, then I don’t know what is. Here are some lovely images of our tasty adventure at Mama Ji’s, the far and the few I was able to capture because I ate these dumplings almost as fast as they hit the table.

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As depicted above, we ordered a shit-ton of food and I don’t remember what was what because I ate it so fast, but it was all fresh to death. I have no words, just a very serious question: Why can’t Asian food be this fantastic in DC/surrounding my body at all points in time?

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Mama Ji’s was effing awesome,  quaint in size so only the die-hard Sunday Dim Sum crew can make it in at the right time (or endure waiting in a long line), and only one-$. If you’re obsessed with dim sum like I am, you’ve gotta have it.

And with that, I can formally bid my San Francisco adventures adieu. Shoutout/special thanks to the hostess with the mostess, Sir Cameron Chen for all his sexual food choices and adventures – it was seriously the fabbest time with all my bests!
MaMa Ji's on Urbanspoon