The Eastern Market area is in sad need of some good cheap food options. I have worked my way through every sorry delivery option around, and cry a little each time I am reminded that Papa Johns is the best pizza available. So when a new little burger joint seemed to be moving in the neighborhood, I was of course curious.
So yesterday, back from two months of traveling, I was tired and starving- it was the perfect opportunity to try out Good Stuff Eatery. I illegally parked my little Honda and ran inside to get something quick to go while my dog waited patiently in the car. I figured it was 2 PM, there was no line, how long could it take? Apparently, a while. This was the only real down point to the place- there was literally no line, but it still took about 10 minutes from order to serving. If this place is to succeed as largely a take-out quickie place, it needs to move faster. There was seemingly no specialization amongst the staff. The girl that took my order also made my turkey burger, and the one who served up the tray also made the shake. There were 3 or 4 other staff hanging around who's role was really anyone's guess. Maybe things just looked disorganized because it was a down time, but still, no excuse for not getting on top of orders with a little haste, especially when a customer has nothing to do but watch.
Ok, but how was the food? Well, the milkshake was amazing! I had a Milky Way shake, which was served with caramel and good fudge in the bottom, fresh homemade ice cream, and bits of malted milk (not so big as to get stuck in the straw, and not so small as loose value as texture). My only thought- they should use bigger straws. Even though it never really got stuck, I had to pucker my mouth and pull my eyes back into my head a bit to get much up through the straw at times. I never understand why places that serve milkshakes (especially ones like this that seem to specialize in them) don't automatically have big fat straws. Makes the experience so much better, especially when there is goo and candy involved.
They also offered a variety of other flavors, to include toasted marshmallow, soursop hop strawberry, and a d-lecheable leche. Will keep trying them and update :-)
As for the burgers? I had a turkey burger that waaaay overdid the cilantro and lemon. A little lemon/cilantro in the avocado spread could be a nice touch, but in an attempt to slam my face repeatedly into how fresh things were there, they waaaaaayy over did the tastes. It completely overwhelmed what I think was a good turkey burger, but can't be sure. Cilantro is one of those tastes that our brain processes as 'fresh'. Parsley and lemon work too. Overwhelming a dish with cilantro is an amateurish way of making it evoke a 'freshness' ethos; in this case, this was particularly misplaced, as most of the food is already quite obviously fresh. There was no need to resort to the cilantro overkill tactic, and it in fact ruined the more subtle freshness that I am pretty sure was there.
The regular burger was delicious, but not much better than five guys (which I love), yet $3 more.
The fries were fantastic- crispy with sea salt, cracked pepper, and rosemary, but not too much of either. They are unique, reasonably portioned (small and large sizes), and delicious.
This is the place to go in the Eastern Market area when you are craving great shakes or fries. Potentially, it could be a great showcase for fresh ingredients and produce in burger form- a little more confidence, and I doubt the cilantro/lemon overload would be a problem. As for the regular burger, to be honest, I think you are better off going to five guys (because I am cheap)- unless you want to fru-fru it up, and in that case check out Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington. That said, the burgers are tasty, and if you came for the shake, hell, stay for a burger!
Laughing Cow cheese, and regular plain Triscuits.....mmmmmm....
When I lived in China, this was often the only cheese I could get. And I have significant cheese-needs.
Anyway, when I am sad for no good reason, like today, this makes it all not so bad. Its not like I feel less sad, rather I somehow get to enjoy a sad day. Like a sick day when your mom brought you soup when you were a kid. Its beauty.
My perfect ratio? 2/3 of a wedge of cheese to one triscuit. Cause I like cheese. YUM!
So, I can be a pretentious eater. I know. I scoff at supermarket cheese (Eastern Market Cheese Nazi is the man for me), turn my nose away from overcooked meat, and will go to incredible (and often unwise) fiscal and geographic lengths to avoid chain restaurants.
All of this pretension has been acquired in the last ten years. I grew up eating recipes made from soup cans and packages of things bought in bulk, with a once-a-year fancy outing to the Olive Garden to celebrate some common nerd-kid achievement (straight A's! New School! Science Olympiad 1st Place!)
One year in China at age 20 with a corporate expense account and a fancy boyfriend, however, and I was ruined. Well, almost.
Today I had to return five legs to IKEA. I bought six for an ambitious project involving making my new 100 lb TV circa 2003 acquired free from a pilot friend that replaced the buzzing no-name brand obtained free from an Irish guy that lived with us once (which is a whole other story) circa 2000 stay securely on an IKEA shelf that came with the apt and was clearly designed for a plasma bought sometime since Friends went off the air. Hey, I spend my money on food, not gadgets, that should be clear from both my waistline and VCD collection.
Anyway, once I discovered that the project really only involved one leg and a lot of screws (stop giggling), I needed to return the extras. (I stuck a picture in below- hey, I'm pretty proud of this, I designed and built it myself! And it hasn't squished my dog yet!) So began my third visit to IKEA in a month. And I hate shopping.
Well, while at IKEA, I found myself drawn to the cafeteria. I try to bury this feeling like a memory of a gropey uncle, but I suddenly find myself in line , not because I don't have time to get something better, but rather because I have been thinking of Swedish meatballs since I first decided to return to IKEA. When I first bought the extraneous legs, a friend and I made a much-needed stop to sit and collect our thoughts (and talk ourselves out of some unwise modular furniture). Well, something drew me to these little guys, sitting there all congealed and dry looking behind the glass in the mini-cafeteria. Cutsy Swedish names may have been the culprit: kröllebölle....mmmm....I own at least one ill-fitted duvet cover for much the same reason.
I don't know what it is about them. The meatballs are overcooked, the cream sauce processed, and the lingonberry jam, well, its jam made by a furniture store. But somehow, together, something magic happens. The processed-ness of the cream sauce manages to penetrate the meatballs tough outer shell, and the blandness of the resulting combination is just enough to make the lingonberry jam palatable. Its a thing of beauty.
So yea, I love the stuff. I have never bought the take-home variety, but I am fairly confident it just wouldn't be the same. Maybe next time I will buy a pack to give it a try anyway. I am sure I will be back soon. My Schunenbergen needs a Bralogogen with a Garnotter and Mangbanden. Or something like that.