It was a lovely day last Saturday as the third annual Taste of 8th kicked off in Barracks Row. Twenty or so of Capitol Hill’s restaurants participated in the event where visitors could try a tasting from some new establishments as well as some old standbys.
Unlike Taste of Bethesda, where restaurants charged variable amounts of tickets for an item, the Barracks Row version simplified things: one ticket was equivalent to one tasting. Individual tickets cost $5 while a pack of five was $20. Demand was so high that the event completely sold out of tickets!
We’re embarrassed to say that we haven’t dined in Capitol Hill in ages, and the last time we can recount eating in the Southeast neighborhood was for brunch at Belga Café. Much has changed since then as dining options have exponentially grown since our last visit.
We started the day off with lamb chops from the always-reliable Cava. It’s difficult to turn down lamb chops, especially for me, so this was a no-brainer. As predicted, it was delicious as there was a plenty of tender meat to be had.
Up next was another familiar name, Matchbox. While we have been to Matchbox several times, this was our first encounter with their Capitol Hill outpost. Not that their pizza and mini-slice of pizza didn’t taste any different, but it was arguably one of the better ticket values out there.
We then went across the street to the beloved Belga Café, where they were offering sweet and savory Belgian waffles, along with a sample of beer. I ordered the pistachio waffle with pilsner while Rachel got the salmon and couscous with Belgian white. This might have been our favorite offering as the waffles were simply delectable.
We then went over to Starfish Café as they were offering fried chicken along with an Abita beer tasting, however, by the time we got there they had unfortunately ran out of chicken. Instead, they were serving two hushpuppies. Not the greatest tradeoff, but it also included two small pourings of Abita, and we’re always up for drinking Turbodog.
After that, we trekked over to the fairly new DC-3. The hot dog stand was doling out two mini hot dogs with your choice of traditional toppings such as relish, onions, ketchup, and mustard. Rachel and I each had one and really liked how the all-beef dogs tasted. The menu offers some tantalizing options such as the Bay Bridge (hot dog topped with crab dip in a pretzel roll) and sounds like a fun stop before a Nats game.
As we began to enter dessert mode, we headed over to the year-old, critically acclaimed Ted’s Bulletin where they were offering vanilla milkshakes and homemade cookies. The milkshake was fantastic and, had we not eaten so much already, I would have gone inside and ordered one just for myself. The cookie wasn’t bad, either.
By the time our friend’s meter was about to expire, Rachel had one more ticket left, so she quickly made her way towards Hello Cupcake where they were serving one cupcake per ticket. She got the chocolate banana, and after the car ride home, let’s just say it barely made it back to our place.
All and all it was a wonderful event as the pedestrian traffic was tolerable, and more importantly, the dog sizes were less than bear-equivalent (something that’s rather typical at Taste of Bethesda). Walking was difficult at times due to the abundance of strollers (plus 8th Street was not blocked off), but other than that, you couldn’t ask for better weather nor a great variety of restaurants. We’re already looking forward to next year’s Taste of 8th.