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Tim Carman’s Hooked on Blue Bottle, Despite Its ‘Evolving Style’

What the critics are saying this week

Brewing coffee at the Blue Bottle in Georgetown.
Photo by Alice W. / Yelp

Blue Bottle Coffee

Washington Post food writer Tim Carman, a self-described coffee nerd, is giddy about Oakland, California-based Blue Bottle’s debut in D.C. but wonders if the brand chose style over substance at its Georgetown location. With a stripped-down look and high price tags for beans, coffee and espresso “seemed to be pretty far down Blue Bottle’s list of priorities,” he says. He reaches founder James Freeman by phone, posing questions about its design, location, and limited menu. Despite its evolving style, a pour over of Blue Bottle’s “sweet, fruity, full-bodied” Three Africas has Carman hooked.

Bistro 1521

Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema visits the new Filipino restaurant in Arlington, where he encounters classics like lumpia (fried spring rolls), and sisig, a “fiery hash” of pig ear, belly meat and onions he labels the human equivalent of catnip. The tender chicken adobo, considered the national dish of the Philippines, is a hit; one stumble is the “flat”-tasting oxtail cooked in peanut sauce. Sietsema suspects Jo-Jo Valenzuela, former beverage director at Brine in Mosaic District, is having fun with drinks like Tame the Tikbalang, featuring tequila, tamarind syrup, and jackfruit foam.

Baltimore on a budget

Those down for a road trip may wish to peruse Carman’s suggestions for eating on the cheap in Baltimore. On the list: everything from pulled-pork sandwich at Chaps Pit Beef to The Local Oyster’s weekday happy hour inside the Mt. Vernon Marketplace and the hummus at Canèla.

ABC Canteen

As part of his Ethnic Dining Guide, Tyler Cowen checks out what he calls “the best taqueria” near his house. The carnitas at this Fairfax establishment are his favorite, while the sauce bar tastes pretty authentic. He also recommends the tamales, while non-Mexican fare like fish and chips gets graded as just “OK.”

FROM THE BLOGS: BYT gives Bird’s Eye Sandwiches a taste test, while Bitches Who Brunch head to The Source.

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