Category Archives: Cleveland Park


At Last, a Taste of Ripple’s Grilled Cheese Bar

Fourth time was a charm at Ripple’s grilled cheese bar. On the previous three attempts, I kept getting the time or day wrong.

For the first try, we’d arrived at 6:35 pm. (Grilled cheese bar is available from 5 pm – 6:30 pm, and from 10:30 pm – midnight.)

On the second attempt, we came on a Sunday. (No grilled cheese bar on the weekends.)

On the third visit, it was a Friday. (Whoops, weekends include Friday. Monday-Thursday only.)

I was beginning to think the grilled cheese gods were intervening, but finally on the fourth attempt — a Thursday night at 10:30 pm — success!

Four of us tucked into the “‘Shroom ‘shroom” of wild mushrooms and Chevre…


And the “Rich e rich,” a glorious pairing of prosciutto and New Hampshire’s own Landaff cheese.


Late night rich, melty decadence. Grilled cheese for grown-ups.  It was worth the wait.

3417 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington DC


Dino: The Best Burger in DC?

It began with a simple comment.  My friend Amanda mentioned that she hadn’t found a great burger in DC (especially when compared with NY).  Hmmmm. When I got home I googled “Best burgers in DC.”  Meanwhile, it occurred to me that I hadn’t eaten a burger in something like eight months — a serious dry spell that was now weighing heavily.  I googled some more.  Came across this cool blog, Finding the Best Burger in DC Metro Area, and emailed a few people to see what they thought of the list.

The weather turned frigid. Suddenly my interest in burgers morphed into an intense, unstoppable yearning. Nothing, and I mean nothing, sounded better. At home I was cooking with my usuals of kale and farro and beans, but dammit, I wanted a juicy honkin’ burger.

Then I stumbled upon the Uptown Girl’s Cleveland Park Blog and her post, “The Burger at Dino.”

A) The burger looked phenomenal.  B) Dino is located in my neighborhood!  A burger of this caliber was right down the street??!  Case closed. That burger would be mine.

And so it was.


I’ll give you the description straight from Dino’s menu:

10 oz local Roseda Farms Burger on grilled ciabatta w/baby greens ~ Prairie Breeze Cheddar & anchovy, Sriracha aioli ~ house pickle relish

No hormones, growth stimulants or sub~therapeutic antibiotics! ~ MD/DE/VA/PA grown ~ Carefully controlled genetics + whole veggie & grass diet based diet make for tasty beef

For toppings I added North Country Smokehouse bacon and caramelized onions. My friend Liz went with bacon and gorgonzola.

Let’s take another look.


With two hands firmly gripping the warm ciabatta, and leaning in so as not to get the impending explosion all over my shirt, I went in for the bite.


“It’s so juicy!” we both exclaimed. Indeed it was. Burger drippings everywhere, onions and crisp bacon falling, oozy cheddar spilling off the sides. It was so good that I skipped the ketchup; I just wanted to taste the full flavor of the beef and all the rest.

That eight month burger drought?  Over. And worth it.

I’m hardly the expert on DC burgers, so I’ll leave it up to others to determine Dino’s standing in the hierarchy.  But it’s got to be among the best in the District. What could other restaurants possibly do better?

3435 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC


Enjoying Life and Brunch at Dino

No one’s ever said the words, “Sure, I can do brunch, but can we make it quick? I’ve got to be somewhere.” At least I’m hoping it’s never been said. If it has, that offender needs to be banished from brunch for one year.

Who hurries through brunch? Brunch is about leisure and savoring a lazy weekend morning/afternoon. You don’t need to be somewhere else, you’re having brunch!

If you can dine al fresco, like at Dino in Cleveland Park, even better. With great people watching along Connecticut Ave., and situated next to the guy with the flower stand, it’s a primo place to be.

My friend Melissa and I plopped ourselves down and immediately tucked into the basket of fresh bread.

The bottomless mimosa brunch comes with an appetizer, an entree, and of course, bottomless mimosas.

Stuffed squash blossoms.

They tasted as good as they looked. That’s buffalo milk ricotta in there, and a very delicate tomato sauce.

Melissa ordered the risotto, which she mentioned was a bit salty. I got the cinghiale bianco (fusilli with ground wild boar).

Wine and herbs and al dente pasta. Oh yeah, and the wild boar. Nice.

Meanwhile, the refills of mimosa kept coming. We chatted, we people watched, we ate more bread, I drank more mimosas, we continued chatting…

That’s what brunch is all about.

3435 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC


Pumped Up About St. Arnold’s Mussel Bar

Oh, what a welcome addition St. Arnold’s Mussel Bar is to Cleveland Park.  The open air dining room, with all the windows pulled up in good weather, is sweet. There’s some outdoor seating as well, but who needs it with this little setup. My group and I pushed several tables together and we were good to go, a spring breeze blowing at our backs.

Mostly though, I’m thrilled that I can get my mussel fix whenever I want. During happy hour, orders of mussels and frites are $10 (normally $18). The big bowl of frites (not pictured) comes with both ketchup and a garlic aioli.

The mussels arrive in a blisteringly hot iron pot. This is my Eastern Shore mussel pot, with new potatoes, corn, sausage, and Old Bay seasoning.

Tender, plump, meaty mussels. One had failed to open, so I threw it away. The rest went right down the hatch.

To wash down the mussels? A 1/2 liter of cold Belgian beer (all metric system at St. Arnold’s).

Belgian beer, mussels, frites and open air dining. That’s the recipe for a good time had by all.

St. Arnold’s Mussel Bar
3433 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC


Drinks, Food and a Sombrero at Alero

The best kinds of runs are the ones that end in food. Let me amend that: food and drink.

An example of a good run: head out with your Potomac River Running group, work up a sweat and appetite, then walk together across the street to Alero for dinner.

Alero’s not blazing any trails for Mexican food, but I don’t think they’re trying to. What you’ll get is recognizable and standard fare, with drinks that go down easy. And really, after a run, that’s all you’re looking for.

You’ve gotta have margaritas. (With salt.)

Tacos Juarez: Three crispy chicken tacos with pico de gallo, refried beans and rice.

Ask for a side of hot sauce. It’s pretty darn hot.

For the birthday girl, a sombrero and singing of “Happy Birthday” by the restaurant staff.

With summer weather almost upon us, I can see making a few more Alero trips in the coming months to lounge on their deck and sip margaritas. May not even go for a run first.

3500 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC