The first time Food critic Tom Sietsema ate at a Shake Shack -- at the race track in Saratoga, N.Y., last summer -- he wasn’t overwhelmed. “I found it difficult to muster enthusiasm for another crusty patty served ina slip of wax paper and crinkle-cut fries pulled from the freezer.”
But now that Shake Shack is here on 18th Street, Sietsema had to join the line for his report in today’s Food section. After 15 minutes in 93-degree heat, he walked away with a burger, fries and Washington Monu-Mint “concrete” of frozen custard. Was the queue worth it? “I’m partial to burgers that taste as if they came off the griddle of a diner, and by that measure, Shake Shack’s sandwiches deliver.”
Also in today’s Food section:
In Hyattsville, Rhode Island Reds has an eccentric owner/baker, Roman-style pizzas, house-made pesto and sourdough bread, weekend brunch and a red piano with 66 keys. Don’t miss the “Awesome Amaretto Apple Thingy With Cream.”
Tim Carman examines the new Frank hot dog carts started by chef Nathan Anda, compares them to the standard cart on D.C. streets and finds their secret: pork fat. The all-natural dogs, which debuted last week as part of Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s new Wharf Farmers Market on the Southwest Waterfront, come in five varieties with house-made condiments. “Anda, in short, can rattle off every single ingredient in his dogs and none of them come from a chemical company,” Carman says.
In the Rockville Whole Foods, in-store cooking coach Michael Kiss is making an impact, says Bonnie S. Benwick. Kiss doesn’t do cooking demonstrations or spear samples with toothpicks. Instead, the trained chef talks with customers about food and answers questions, everything from how to pick the right dried chili pepper to which meat substitutes work best for stuffed artichokes. He’s “a pioneer in Whole Foods’ effort to enhance food shopping with the one-on-one experience, of, say, an Apple Genius Bar,” Benwick says.