Part of our trek is combining a foodie excursion. Listed below are some of the places we visited. My rating is included which is between 1 -10 (1 being lowest or worse and 10 being highest or best)
Rita’s is a known chain specializing in shaved ice. They are prominent on the east coast. Also, because of the explosion of this product they have built a successful franchise operation. The one drawback from this location was they did not have a sugar-free option (for my friend Renie). My score is an 8 as the product is refreshing and hits the spot on a humid day.
Cheesecake Factory is a nationwide chain. This venue is inside the Maryland Live complex. I opted for a glass of wine and Thai lettuce wraps. A very tasty dish if you are seeking an “in-between meal.” My score, 9.
Claiming to be one of “Oprah’s favs” we opted for lunch. Not bad and I must say the shrimp bisque was outstanding. My score is a 9. Crab cake was nice size and fresh cut fries are included.
Charleston, South Carolina
The Grit Counter (9)
The Grit Counter in North Charleston was a nice find as the dishes are well prepared and a nice touch of southern cuisine. Not shown is the famous pimento cheese hushpuppies. The grit counter offers plenty of parking and the highlight is the Sweet Corn soft-serve, a unique twist to banana pudding. My score is a 9 based on freshness and creativity of southern cuisine.
Hot Dog stand (5)
New York is known for great hot dogs, but we ran into a dud. Across the street from Penn Station and Moynihan Station is a hot dog vendor but while somewhat tasty failed to live up to the hype of NY dogs. Service was quick but the dog was pathetic for the $4 price tag.
Charlie’s Pan Fried Chicken (10)
Charlie’s located on 72nd Street earned our grade as the top foodie spot. The place is small but the food is well prepared, very tasty and affordable. Charlie’s earned top score. “Your eyes are bigger than your belly” could get you in trouble as once you step inside and see all of the home grown selections you will want everything. My score a solid 10.
District of Columbia
Shaved Ice (8)
During the time of the year of our trek to DC the weather is HOT and with so much walking you must hydrate yourself throughout the day. We did the shaved ice truck twice. Both times on different days adjacent the National Museum of African American Culture and History. Near the mall there are countless trucks offering various treats. My score is an 8 because of price which seems excessive given the number of trucks parked outside of the venue.
Peet’s Coffee (10)
No further comment is needed.
Edgar is the restaurant attached to the world-famous Mayflower Hotel and I guess that is the justification to pay $18.25 for a basic glass of Chablis, although I know you are paying for convenience. My score is a 6.
Creole at 14th (7)
They have a great menu, but this really is a place for those not familiar with creole cooking. Who offers Jambalaya with a rice or pasta option? The dish is specific to RICE.
Also, ditch the iridescent lights because it makes it tough to see what you are consuming. One other item that might make this a one and done for me is the $20 price tag on their version of a long island ice-tea which they dub creole tea. Service was great and the food was very tasty, although the Jambalaya had way too much cayenne pepper. Oh, they do offer a great location with plenty of parking on the roof (don’t forget to validate). The venue has great potential. My score is a 7, as for the price we paid I expected something more authentic.
Ben’s Chili Bowl (10)
Always a “must visit” this year was special as Ben’s celebrated their 65th anniversary the Tuesday before we arrived. Also you will note they have added outdoor seating.
A new part of the Rhode Island neighborhood, this venue has potential. It is easy to access from the Red line. Now, the menu is diverse but the food is prepared cafeteria style to accommodate a brisk “to-go” operation as well as dining in. Service is great. The issue for me is thank God I do not have diabetes because the greens are loaded with salt, the mash potatoes didn’t’ have the fluffiness I expected, and the sweet tea was like drinking syrup. My score a 7 but it could easily earn an 8 or higher with more attention to detail.
The Capitol Cafe was a nice find. Located inside the Capitol, meals are freshly prepared and very affordable. My score, an 8.