Taste of DC ran successfully for years on a steady diet of kabobs, pizza and eggrolls until the festival simply disappeared in 2003. Beginning Saturday, it's back for the first time in eight years with higher-end eats that reflect the city's new restaurant boom.
So, which booths should you hit?
Luke's Lobster's lobster roll will be a steal at at the Luke's booth (
5 tickets; expect it to go fast).
It's a great time to check out D.C.'s new cafe Wicked Waffle, which has an assortment of waffles. The most compelling for foodies? The hoisin duck waffle sandwich (4 tickets).
Co Co. Sala will bring its two most raved-about dishes, the choco-bacon-topped macaroni and cheese, and Chocolate Onyx dessert,
both clocking in at 2 tickets.
Banh mi (and tacos, and gourmet burgers) will be everywhere this year, but you should try the ones at Dickson's booth. The Vietnamese sandwich comes in chicken, pork belly or beef ribeye varieties for 5 tickets. (Sauca will do its banh mi for 2 tickets, in case you're wondering.)
The new Cajun Experience brings several dishes to rep its Louisiana roots, but the one to get has to be its tasty etouffee (2 tickets).
One of our favorite late-night snack stops is (finally) serving its delicious, flaky fare in the light of day: the U Street club Patty Boom Boom brings four varieties of patties (all of which must be experienced with the sweet, peppery mango sauce). The ones to try: the curry vegetable patty and the guava goat (2 tickets).
Someone at Nirvana Express must have heard our prayers for street dosa, because the restaurant will be serving the fiery, crispy South Indian crepe with the traditional sambhar and coconut chutney, and its new-fangled falafel-stuffed version of the classic (5 tickets).
While there will be many a slider floating around, Lincoln's barbecue pulled-pork incarnation looks promising (2 tickets).
And finally, you'd be remiss if you didn't get the grilled fish tacos from Surfside (8 tickets).
-- Lavanya Ramanathan (Oct. 5, 2011)