You can mock the politicians who live on hypocrisy in D.C., condemn the awful drivers with their showy cars who participate in a twice-daily snail race along 495. We'd even let you get away with taking shots at our painfully inefficient and de-flowered subway system.
Never, ever, under any circumstances -- at least these days -- can you criticize our pizza or our subs, though.
Which is exactly what you did, David M. Shribman, in the opening paragraph of your review of Mark Leibovich's book "This Town" in the New York Times:
Of all the irritating things about Washington — the phoniness, the showy cars, the utter inability of a metropolitan area of 6.9 million people to produce a single decent slice of pizza or a passable submarine sandwich with oil and not mayonnaise — none is more infuriating than the local insider habit of referring to the place as “this town,” as in “He’s the most important power broker in this town” or, more likely (and worse), “The way to get ahead in this town is to seem not to be trying to get ahead.”
But in fact, in D.C., we have no shortage of delicious pizza and oil-dressed subs for book reviewers, presidents and others to delight in, or eat. And that means you, David M. Shribman, reviewer of books for the New York Times.
So, if you were wondering where you can find a dynamite slice of 'za, here are just a representative handful of the places you can go, David M. Shribman:
Comet Ping Pong
Location: 5037 Connecticut Ave NW, Chevy Chase There are few places in D.C., let alone the world, where you can see a rock show, eat fantastic pizza, throw back local brews <em>and</em> play ping pong. But that's what Comet Ping Pong has to offer. The personal pizzas come in a variety of styles, even a crab pizza. And if you have a gluten allergy or a dairy allergy? No big deal, they have gluten-free pies and dairy-free options just for you!
Pete's New Haven Style Pizza
Location: 1400 Irving St NW, Columbia Heights Thought New Haven-style pizza could only be found in Connecticut or New York? You were wrong. Pete's can make enormous, thin-sliced pizza with the very best of them. The Washington Post puts it best: <blockquote>A crust that is chewy on the inside with a nicely charred, crispy surface means that the pizzas are as delicious as they are large. A menu favorite celebrating the pizza's port-city roots dapples a white pizza with tender clams, pecorino Romano, oregano and a drizzle of olive oil.</blockquote> And it's so good, they have three other locations! Find them in Silver Spring, Friendship Heights and Clarendon.
Location: 713 H St NW, Chinatown Matchbox does original wood-fired pizza best. By original we mean cheese, sausage, pepperoni or anything with onions. Trying to find a seat here on a Friday, Saturday or before a Wizards or Caps game can be a nightmare, but it's the best nightmare you'll ever have because when you finally get that delicious pizza, you won't regret the wait. The place has grown so popular, it spawned four more D.C.-area locations -- in Rockville, Capitol Hill, the U Street corridor and Fairfax -- and another in California.
Location: 3715 Macomb St NW, Cleveland Park 2 Amys opened in 2001 and has been giving customers a taste of Italy ever since. This pizzeria is almost always packed, but the food is delightful, and the wait is always worthwhile -- if you love wood-fired, heat-blistered pizza, that is.
Location: 1036 Park Road NW, Columbia Heights A fairly small layout with a wonderfully quaint patio area -- RedRocks Pizza is another wood-fired pizzeria where it's hard to find a table on a weekend, a weeknight or pretty much any time. But it's location among houses at the corner of 13th and Park Road make it a great spot to get food and head across the street to Meridian Pint to grab a beer. It has opened two other locations -- in Arlington and Old Town Alexandria -- and an H Street location is opening soon.
Location: 5104 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, Va. A sign hanging on the door outside this Arlington pizzeria announces that it is for "Pizza Addicts Only." This is Neapolitan pizza at its best -- as simple as it gets. And that is perfect, if you ask us.
7th Hill Pizza
Location: 327 7TH Street SE, Capitol Hill This pizza shop opened in 2009 to rave reviews and has quickly garnered a fantastic reputation around town. Not only that, but they keep the menu D.C.-centric -- naming the pizzas after areas in the District.
District of Pi
Location: 910 F Street NW, Penn Quarter This isn't your average pizza shop. They do the pizza the exact opposite of most: cheese and toppings on the bottom, sauce on top. The results are just as good. The deep dish is easily the Pi specialty.
Location: 707 6TH Street NW, Chinatown A product of Chef Mike Isabella (of Top Chef fame) opened Graffiato to make good Jersey-Italian food. And he did just that. The pizza creations are also very unique, like calamari pizza.
Location: 3155 Mt. Pleasant Street NW, Mount Pleasant Radius Pizza is a New York-style pizza joint, which means big, but delicious slices. The best time to eat here is easily during one of their many happy hours in which you can get a pint of beer and a slice of 'za for only $5.
And, Mr. Shribman, D.C. has many great spots to grab a sandwich, too:
With eight locations in the D.C.-area and the seal of approval from Barack Obama, who <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/16/obama-taylor-gourmet_n_1521117.html" target="_blank">famously visited the 14th Street location in 2012</a>, it's hard to go wrong with the Philadelphia-style hoagies. Taylor opened on H Street in 2008 and rapidly expanded. And we thank them for doing so, because those hoagies, er, subs, are amazing.
Location: 1400 W St NW, U Street corridor You don't normally equate gas station food with the term "amazing," but that's exactly what you get at Fast Gourmet. From felafel to pork, you can pretty much get anything here.
Location: 4855 Massachusetts Ave NW, Chevy Chase A Jewish deli that specializes more in sandwiches than "subs," this place is still amazing. We recommend that brisket that is smoked for seven weeks. Yum.
A. Litteri Italian Deli
Location: 517 Morse St NE, Gallaudet University It looks like a hole in the wall because it is. It has obscure hours, but this place has some of the most delicious subs on the planet. True Italian meats will make your mouth water.
G Street Food
Location: 1706 G Street NW, White House This place only serves lunch, but that's all you need to understand why it has become a downtown mainstay. Trust us the, the Cuban sandwich is AWESOME. The food it so good that G Street had to open a second location in Dupont Circle, far away from G Street.
A.M. Wine Shoppe
Location: 2122 18th St NW, Adams Morgan You may read wine, but we see a yummy sandwich that we will consume very quickly. A.M. Wine Shoppe is, perhaps, the best wine-sandwich shop in the city. It was opened in 2010 by Justin Abad and while they may specialize in sandwiches, not subs, it is an excellent place to grab an Italian-style sandwich like no other.
Location: 2605 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, Va. Earl's Sandwiches (not subs) us a carryout cafe in Clarendon for those who like to keep it fresh. None of the ingredients used in the sandwiches are processed and there are no preserves. Just the way we like it.
Location: 1314 9th Street NW, Shaw Sundevich makes sandwiches for cities all over the world -- or at least that is what they are named for. The ingredients are local and they don't buy from large distributors. And the sandwiches are sort of sub-shaped, so it can qualify for this list. The shop, which also has a food truck that can be spotted all over the city, was a runner up in the Washington City Paper's 2013 "<a href="http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/bestofdc/poll/foodanddrink/2013/best-sandwich" target="_blank">Best Sandwich</a>" category.
Mangialardo & Sons Inc
Location: 1317 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Capitol Hill Mangialardo's is a family business. An Italian-family run business. So you know they probably make delicious food. Their subs (or hoagies) are the real deal -- made with Italian meats, sliced thin but layered to make large sandwiches that would fill the largest person's stomach.
The Italian Store
Location: 3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, Va. The Italian Store is another family-owned sub shop that opened over 30 years ago. The ingredients come from Italy and Brooklyn, so it's REALLY Italian. If you go on the weekends, be prepared to wait. And wait. But the subs are excellent -- it's worth all the waiting.
We get it; you lived in D.C. for a while. You got a taste of what D.C. had to offer, but even you admit you departed from D.C. "a decade ago." Let us tell you, a lot has changed since 2003.
D.C. has great food, nowadays. It seems like a new restaurant is opening every five minutes (and the wait for said restaurants are much longer). Heck, even the New York Times thinks the food in Washington is great. In their roundup of "The 46 Places To Go In 2013," D.C. is listed among only six cities in the U.S.. Why? Because, as the New York Times puts it, of "the arrival of a vibrant, independent food scene."
Next time you write something scathing about D.C. food, try asking the author of the book you're reviewing what he thinks about it, because, maybe, you know, he might have some more insight about the town he wrote his book about.
And Mark Leibovich, the author of "This Town," told The Huffington Post his (well, OK, sort of lukewarm and noncommittal) take on This Town's food:
"No view on subs. Pizza much improved since I moved here in 1997. Pete's (New Haven style) a particularly great addition. Derivative, but good 'nuff for me."
HuffPost Live Producer Alexandra Schuster says it's "amazing." Couldn't tell, Alex.
In All Its Glory
Dunkin' Donuts reps were gracious enough to make the sandwiches for us.
That first bite is epic.
At the 36th Annual NAACP Image Awards.
At the South Carolina primary.
At the Super Tuesday primary vote results rally in Chicago.
At a rally in Springfield, Ill.
At the Democratic National Convention.
At a rally in Springfield, Miss.
On election night in Chicago.
At the Inaugural Parade in Washington, D.C.
At the Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C.
To honor Stevie Wonder.
In Baden Baden, Germany.
At the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Annual Phoenix Awards Dinner.
On the White House lawn.
Greeting India's Prime Minister at the White House.
At the State of the Union address.
Speaking on childhood obesity in Alexandria, Va.
At a Cinco de Mayo reception in Washington, D.C.
To greet the President of Mexico at the White House.
At the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's 33rd Annual Awards Gala.
In Pocantico Hills, N.Y.
At the annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Phoenix Awards dinner.
December 2011 in Cushnie et Ochs
December 2011 in Rodarte
December 2011 in Vera Wang
November 2011 in Vera Wang
November 2011 in Roksanda Ilincic
October 2011 in Doo-Ri Chung
October 2011 in Thakoon
October 2011 in Chris Benz
September 2011 in Michael Kors
September 2011 in Chris Benz
September 2011 in Maria Pinto
September 2011 in Prabal Gurung
July 2011 in Narciso Rodriguez
July 2011 in Sophie Theallet
June 2011 in Diane von Furstenberg
June 2011 in Naeem Khan
May 2011 in Tom Ford
May 2011 in Marc Jacobs
May 2011 in Ralph Lauren
May 2011 in Peter Som
March 2011 in Lanvin
March 2011 in Michael Kors
January 2011 in Rachel Roy
January 2011 in Roksanda Ilincic
January 2011 in Narciso Rodriguez
January 2011 in Alexander McQueen
Michelle Obama's 5 Best Fashion Moments
Fashionable First Lady Michelle Obama turns 48. In honor of her birthday, we've rounded up five of our favorite Michelle Obama fashion moments. From that stunning Jason Wu gown she wore to the Inaugural Ball to her mix and matched sweater sets, we can't get enough of Michelle's polished, ladylike style. Take a look at our five favorite outfits.