Sunday, February 17, 2008

Busboys and Poets-- U Street

We wanted to go to Coppi on U Street for some afternoon 'za on a chilly Sunday, but it turns out that it doesn't open until 5 p.m. on Sundays. Who can wait? Not us.

Just down the street is Busboys and Poets, a place Liza and I have been to before for peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Yes, you read that right. Liza is a devotee of PBBs, and while the combination seems a bit odd, I can testify that it's a pretty okay sanny.

So we walk in to Busboys and Poets.

In an instant, we are smothered in urban hipness. Those who know me understand that I am not the hippest of people, but I try hard. Let me tell you, my hipness quotient improved dramatically just being in Busboys and Poets.

This place is way cool--a combination bookstore and cafe and bar and restaurant. If I were 20 years younger, I'd be hanging out here every day drinking four cups of coffee and shots of Bailey's Irish Cream. There are comfy sofas scattered throughout the main area, a spacious back room with more tables, free Internet, a steady rhythmic musical beat and racy art on walls. Oddly enough, the movie comedy "Captain Ron" (not a classic) was playing on the one flat-screen TV above the bar...Now one might think this movie starring Kurt Russell and Martin Short is not very hip, but in retrospect, it's perfectly eclectic.

Busboys and Poets is more than its offerings, though.

It's the people. These are urban hipsters, a mix of all races and identities. These are young pros focused intently on their laptops, typing up reports that will almost certainly change the world (or at least provide us with better cell phone service). Pretty much the only type of people you wouldn't find in Busboys and Poets are Republicans.

It's about 2:30 p.m. on a Sunday, and Busboys & Poets is packed. There's a 30-minute wait for a table! As mentioned previously, this place is spacious, so to see it packed at the time of day was surprising--and a tribute to the hipsters of the world.

Liza, who is hip already, guided me through a maze of people to the bar. We sat down and perused the eclectic menu. Listed last: Pizza.

We were all over it.

Liza and I spent time on Saturday on a Virginia wine-tasting tour, so neither of us were in the mood for alcohol. I ordered a Sprite and Liza ordered a Diet Coke. Not very hip, I know.

Our friendly bartender took our order: Poet Pizza. As a literary devotee, I like the sound of that. It had portobello mushrooms, roasted red peppers and sundried tomatoes and garlic sauce.

One bite, and thoughts of the world's great poets raced through my mind: Yeats! Frost! Baudelaire!

Seriously, this was surprisingly good pizza. Lots of mushrooms and peppers piled on top, with the tomato and garlic sauce giving it a good tangy taste. I wasn't really that hungry when I walked into the restaurant, but I couldn't stop eating this pizza. Good stuff.

The pizza was a little greasy--one time a slice fell apart after one bite, and there were grease blotches all over the bar. Amazingly, none got on my clothes. Also, there was more crust than usual.

I can overlook these flaws, though.

Liza: "I liked the flavorful sauce, but I wasn't a big fan of the crust. It wasn't crispy enough. I liked that we were able to pay--including tax and tip--less than $25 for the entire meal."

Liza and Gary's rating: 3.5 stars

Super Cool!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Cafe Pizzaiolo-- Crystal City

We have been bad bloggers and have neglected updating our beloved pizza blog recently. A couple weeks ago (has it been that long?!?) we went to Cafe Pizzaiolo in Crystal City, which came highly recommended from our friends Steph and Neil, who accompanied us.

We got there at noon on a Sunday, which was right when they opened. Ours were the first pies out of the oven. We ordered a margherita pizza and a pesto pizza.

Both pizzas were excellent, with a crispy crust and tasty ingredients. The margherita did not have buffalo mozzerela, just regular ol' mozzerella, so that was a drawback in my opinion. The pesto was very flavorful.

Steph mentioned that the crust did not seem as crispy as it usually did-- she speculated that it was because it was the first pizza of the day... kind of like how the first grilled cheese or first pancakes out of the pan are never as good.

We followed up with some wonderful gelato, and then headed off to see a movie at Potomac Yards.

All in all, a very solid pizza.

Liza, Gary, and Neil's rating: 3 stars

Steph's rating: 3.5 stars