Posts Tagged ‘pizza’

Soho Café & Market

Soho Café & Market

Because of taking time off from work for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays at the end of November and December, I have not posted an end-of-the-month restaurant review since last October. So this month I’m getting back into my routine with this post about one of my favorite lunch on-the-go spots – the Soho Café & Market, which is located across the Street from Franklin Square at 1301 K Street (MAP) in northwest D.C.’s Downtown neighborhood.

Soho Café & Market is not a restaurant that focuses on one thing, like Horace and Dickie’s does with fish, or We, The Pizza does with pizza. Rather, Soho goes to the other extreme. They offer so many choices that it can sometimes make it difficult to make a decision of what to have. Soho offers a variety of grilled and deli sandwiches, gourmet pizza, an expansive fresh salad and fruit bar, fresh-rolled sushi served with complementary miso, and a Mongolian wok station, an espresso bar, and an insane selection of various desserts and beverages.

Lastly, they also have my go-to favorite for lunch – several buffet-style hot food bars. Although there are a number of these types of places downtown, Soho has the widest selection I’ve seen. And because Soho is almost always quite busy, the food doesn’t look or taste like it’s been sitting out all day, which can be a big problem with some of the other places like this downtown. The only problem with the hot food bar is that everything looks so good that my eyes can tend to be bigger than my stomach. And since it is priced by weight, I have to remind myself to be careful when I am serving myself.

Soho also opens at 6:00am for breakfast, for which they offer breakfast foods at the hot food bar, or omelets, breakfast sandwiches and other dishes cooked to order. There is also fresh fruit, yogurts, oatmeal, and a variety of doughnuts, pastries, biscuits and bagels as well.

Soho is a solid choice for a quick lunch or breakfast downtown, but has limited “workday” hours, open only Monday through Friday for breakfast and lunch, and closed on evenings and weekends. But what it lacks in hours of operation it makes up for in always being impeccably clean, keeping enough cash registers open to ensure you can get in and out fairly quickly, and serving good food at a reasonable price.

If I had to identify my biggest criticism of Soho, I would say that its biggest drawback is that there is very little ambiance, often making it seem more like a cafeteria than a restaurant. The inside has plenty of seating and is great for groups, but is merely functional at best. That is why I usually like to take my meal across the street to Franklin Square, where I can people watch while I enjoy what I’m eating.  I even have company when I share some of it with the local pigeons.

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[Click on the photos above to view the full size versions]

UPDATE:   Sadly, as of September 1, 2017, Soho Café & Market closed.

We, The Pizza

We, The Pizza

In keeping with my tradition of treating myself to a nice lunch at a local restaurant at the end of each month, and then posting my review of the restaurant on this blog, I am closing out the month of March by reviewing “We, The Pizza” located at 305 Pennsylvania Avenue (MAP) in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of southeast D.C.

D.C. has a number of good choices for pizza, from giant slices in Adams Morgan to wood-fired ovens in Brookland to ones with gourmet ingredients in DuPont Circle.  But I’m not going to try to compare them, or say that one is better than the other.  I find the various arguments about New York verses Chicago-style, or deep dish verses thin crust, etc., irrelevant.  I like them all.

So on the way back to my office on a bike ride I stopped at “We, the Pizza” and picked up a couple of slices to take back for lunch.  It opened in 2010, and the place has been getting a lot of publicity lately, including in a recent WETA public television special entitled “Pizza in Washington”  So I decided to check it out for myself, and I’m so glad I did.

“We, the Pizza” bakes thicker pies, which it displays on round butcher blocks to entice customers.  There are no waitresses.  Rather, they hand out pagers when you place an order that lights up when the pizzas are ready.  It was hard picking out just a couple from more than a dozen different kinds of pies available and on display.  After much contemplation, however, I ended up selecting one slice of sautéed spinach and roasted artichokes, with aged Provolone, Parmesan cheese, and a Béchamel sauce.  And when it comes ti pizza, you can never have just one slice.  So for my second slice I chose homemade Italian sausage with oven roasted peppers, Mozzarella, fennel seeds, fresh basil, and the house tomato sauce.  They were both right up there among the best I’ve ever had.

In addition to their pies, “We, The Pizza” also takes its homemade soda beverages seriously.  A staff of “fizzicians” whips up sodas in a variety of delightful flavors such as “Heard It Through the Grape Soda,” “I’ve Gotta Orange Crush On You,” and “Very, Very, Sour-ry Cherry.”  They also have a flavor named “Jupina Pineapple Soda,” and with all due respect to people who like Hawaiian-style pizza, in my opinion this is the only place pineapple should be in a pizzeria – never on a pizza.

I can now see why the place has been getting a lot of attention.  I highly recommend “We, The Pizza,” and look forward to going back soon to enjoy the remaining styles that I  have yet to try.

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[Click on the thumbnails above to view the full size photos]

CLICK HERE for the full length video from WETA.