Another day, another New York Times story full of D.C. clichés. The Gray Lady has a long history of dissing the District’s food scene (no, we haven’t forgotten about the jab at our pizzas and subs) or laughable cluelessness (“Restaurants in D.C. Are Moving Into Residential Neighborhoods” was an actual headline).
But nothing is more irksome than the Times’ obligatory reference to lobbyists and steak in nearly every single story mentioning D.C. dining options. I’m pretty sure it’s in the paper’s style guide somewhere next to calling anything within a 10 mile radius of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW “blocks from the White House.” Take the first line of the latest story from Frugal Traveler Seth Kugel, “A $100 Weekend in Washington, D.C.:”
“Assuming you’re not a lobbyist in town to woo steak-loving senators, Washington can be a great place to visit on a budget.”
If you want to know why outsiders continue to think of D.C. as a third-tier food city, it’s in no small part because they struggle to get past the stereotype that Washingtonians subsist on expense accounts and grilled meat. The Times only continues to perpetuate this perception.
But maybe the story gets better? Maybe the writer actually visits D.C.’s restaurant gems this time?
Eh, not really.
If you follow the Frugal Traveler’s lead, the best cheap eats D.C. has to offer include a $12 burger from Farmers Fishers Bakers, a pizza and kale salad at Rustik Tavern, and a hummus and tabbouleh sandwich from the DC Ballers food truck—”just a couple blocks from the White House.” And because visitors will want to spend half their weekend on public transportation, Kugel recommends La Mexicana in Alexandria. But hey, he points out that “if you time it right,” it’s only a 30 minute express bus ride from the King Street Metro, which is only a 30 minute Metro ride from downtown D.C.! That’s only two hours round trip for some sopes!
Next time, New York Times, maybe just stay home. I hear you have great cosmos in Times Square.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery