Thursday, July 26, 2012

Everyone's Favorite Class: Statistics

I know a large portion of the readers of this the blog are people that I know (hi guys!), but every now and then I check the stats  to see how other people are finding their way here.  80% of keyword searches are music related, which makes my heart happy. I only write about music/bands that I love, so it makes me feel like a productive member of humanity to share all this love.  I love hearing that someone bought a song or an album or went to a concert because of what I posted here, and even though I never actively seek out publicity from bands, I can’t help to smile until my face hurts when a band member leaves a  comment or sends me a quick email thanking me for the post. I really do see music as an important community in my life, one that I am thankful for beyond words. I hope I can keep paying it forward. (And that “Hey” song people keep trying to find is called "Hey Ho" and it’s by the Lumineers, and you should just probably buy the whole album, every song on it is gold.)

After music, I get a lot hits about France, especially Sarlat and the Dordogne countryside. If you are thinking about a trip there, DO IT.  I cannot think of one bad thing about my adventures there last November. The food is incredible, the people are wonderful and the scenery is straight out of a fairy tale. If you do go, be sure to say Bonjour to Pascal, the tour guide at the prehistoric caves, and please, please eat your weight in cheese in Pain du Chocolat.  Also, and extremely important: plan your meals around the French time and lifestyle, you will learn very quick that it is very inconvenient to be hungry at 3pm on a  Monday.

Lately there have been a lot of hits looking for good burger places near the Smithsonian museums here in DC. I didn’t think I ate or blogged about hamburgers that much, but apparently I do. My American citizenship seems to be safe.  First off, let me warn you that there are not a lot of eatery choices of any kind right on the National Mall. This is for two reasons; first, to keep some sort of respect and beauty for this lovely space full of green grass and museums and national monuments. Fast food joints blocking the view of monuments to our founding fathers is more than a little tacky. And second, every museum has its own cafeteria, and they would just love to have some of your tourist money. But to be honest, as much as I am one for supporting museums and places of historical preservation, those cafeterias are overpriced and the food is decent at best. And c’mon, did you really come to our fine city to eat in cafeteria? (The answer is no.) If you are starving, then my all means stop at one of the hot dog carts, which are along the Mall, but if you want a good burger, you are going to have to walk a little bit.  Here are my quick recommendations, that are no means inclusive, but are either a short-ish walk or even shorter metro ride away from the Mall. I should also mention that good hamburgers in the city will run anywhere between 5 and 12 dollars, and if you add drinks and fries it can get a little pricey for one meal, but all these places usually have lunch specials and will keep you full until breakfast tomorrow.

 Good Stuff Eatery located on Capitol Hill.  This burger joint is owned by Top Chef alum Spike Mendelsohn. The burgers are pretty good, but what people really go there are the milkshakes and the dipping sauces for the fries. Good heavens, the strawberry milkshake is divine.   Right next door, and also owned by Spike, is We the Pizza, a pizza parlor where they have their own soda fountain, and I highly, highly recommend the grape soda.  Good Stuff is super close to the House of Representatives Office Buildings and the Library of Congress, which means hundreds of college aged interns and young staffers with their enormous appetites are roaming around during the lunch hour, so eateries around there fill up quick during the work week. (Metro stop: Capitol South)

Shake Shack located in DuPont Circle.  When this New York burger staple opened down here, it was a big deal to say the least. But believe all the hype, the burgers are good.  I’ve heard more than one person compare them to In & Out. I don’t know if I would go that far, but there’s definitely quality beef there. And, oh, they have concretes. CONCRETES. Concretes are like blizzards only a gazillion times better.    Because it is in DuPont Circle there is usually a group or two of hipsters there taking pictures of their food, but don’t mind them, they are harmless. Sometimes I’m one of them. If you are in the DuPont area around lunch time you will also be in one of the prime locations for all the marvelous food trucks that serve everything from tacos to mac and cheese to cupcakes to falafel. If you really want to eat like the locals, for the cheap, this is the way to go. (Metro stop: DuPont Circle)
Ray’s Hell Burger located in Arlington, which is across the bridge, but if you are already at Iwo Jima it isn’t that bad of a (uphill) walk. This is my personal favorite burger place. I used to have a friend that lived right down the street and her apartment was my safe haven to wait out whatever apocalyptic scenario hit DC that week. More than several times, we walked down for a burger and shake while we waited for dust to clear (quite literally during the earthquake), or  until I talked myself into going home.    With all the publicity that it gets, you would think that Ray’s is some fancy place, but it really is kind of a hole in wall located in a strip mall, but the burgers are fantastic. What really made me a loyal customer was the selections of cheeses: American, Swiss, Vermont White Cheddar, Smoked Mozzarella, Pepper Jack, Provolone, Aged Danish Bleu, Imported Double Cream Brie, and Cave-Aged Irish Cheddar.  Hellooooo nurse. Ray’s is cash only, but there is an ATM located inside. (Metro stop: Rosslyn OR Courthouse,  about equal walking distance)

DC Friends: am I missing any really good, metro accessible, burger joints?

So, after music, France, and local eateries, there are a lot of odds and evens that people asked Google, and in all its wisdom the internet pointed them here. My favorite of this week has been the phase, “I am a complex person.” Hey, so am I!


  1. I'm not much of a burger person, but everyone I know that has had a burger at Busboys & Poets kinda raves about it. They have a couple metro accessible locations. Basically I just like that restaurant. Good food and a good mission.

    And yay for Sarlat! Best. Trip. Ever.

  2. Huh, come to think of it, whenever I have been at Busboys and Poets it is with vegetarian friends, so i guess their meat burgers have never been discussed. Good to know. And totally, totally agree about good food and good mission.