Tuesday, April 24, 2012

tuesday reviewsday: fast gourmet

What do you think of the title? I'm trying something new. Since I tend to be GO GO GO all the time, I don't always have time to post recipes. Buuuuuuuuuuuut that doesn't mean I'm not eating! Duh

I love trying new restaurants, or new dishes at old restaurants, or really just going out to eat in general. How would you guys feel about restaurant reviews? If you live in DC, you might even benefit from them. How's that for schmancy?

It's no secret in my familial/social circle that I live and breathe the Food Network. I get the strangest look when I tell people that during my workouts on Mom Mondays (as my coworker has so cleverly called Monday nights, since I have a hot date with my mom at the gym), I'm glued to Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. If you've never seen this show, just bear in mind that I'm silently judging you right now. Just a little.

Hi, parentals!

So once in a blue moon, Guy actually makes a stop somewhere in my vicinity, and I make a note to someday/somehow/some way get there. This place was actually featured on an episode that I haven't seen yet, but my dad managed to catch it I don't know, a year ago? He has been talking about it ever since. Non-stop. For serious. Every time we talk about where to go for family dinner, he spouts off a couple options and always manages to throw in "or we could go to the gas station..." which we all know to be Fast Gourmet. Except that until yesterday, I'm pretty sure I didn't know the name. I just called it "the Gas Station". Classy, right?

Seriously, this doesn't look like an awesome sandwich shop, does it?

So. Fast Gourmet. A small  (like 20 seat) sandwich shop attached to a gas station at 14th & W NW. Concrete floors, big refrigerated case of sodas, a high bar for about 8 people, and a couple small tables for the rest. Clearly, not a place you go in a large group if you plan on dining in. If you need descriptions of everything on the menu (aka the big hanging chalkboard above the register), look online before going in. Order at the counter, find your seat, and they'll bring the food out to you.

My brother, my dad and I each got a different sandwich, so we could try more (my mom got roast chicken). The first few minutes were spent playing musical sandwiches, and now I know which one to get next time! The food was quick, but not quick enough to make us suspicious of shady preparation methods. The pricing was reasonable, especially given the portions (aka massive). 

I guess it's about time I got to the food, right?

Up first: the corn empanada. Beware vegetarians, there's ham in here! Yellow corn and small pieces of diced ham cooked up in a thick and creamy bechamel, stuffed (how do you stuff bechamel?) into a flaky, crispy pie shell. The picture is deceiving; that plate is an appetizer plate! The empanada was small, but perfect for 4 people to get a good bite to try it. 

The brohim ordered this on a whim, which was a really good idea! Snaps to you, brother.

Say cheese, Brohim!

Next up: my awesomely delicious sandwich, the Cubano.  I'd just like to state for the record that this sandwich was roughly the size of my face. I ate every.single.bite. Black forest ham, succulent pulled pork, mild swiss cheese, grainy mustard, and thinly sliced pickles, pressed together on Cuban bread, made for a drip-down-your-hands juicy, crunchy-on-the-outside-but-soft-on-the-inside perfectly toasted fabulousness. I was borderline full after the first half, and made the excuse that it wouldn't travel well if I took the other half home. True story? I just didn't want to stop eating.

I opted for fried yuca on the side instead of their regular fries, because I have a hard time saying no to yucca. They were well fried: crispy but not greasy. Bonus points for sending out a side of that spicy mayo I love to drown in from any good pollo a la brasa joint!

In the background you can kind of make out  my brother's sandwich, the steak and cheese. I only had one bite of it, but it was pretty delicious! Roast beef, melty gooey cheese, perfectly grilled with that awesome charred flavor onions and mushrooms, with some lettuce and tomato to make you think you're eating healthy. 

I didn't get a snap of my parents' food, but my mom ordered the quarter chicken, which came with some really awesome sweet potato fries (I didn't taste the chicken). They were seasoned with sugar and cinnamon, which was different. As a savory fan, I was surprised to like these as much as I did. I do usually like my fries a little thicker (these were shoestring) and more potato-y, but these were pretty good. My dad ordered the Chivito, which is the favorite of the guy who was working the register last night. Steak, ham, bacon, plenty of mozzarella, olives, hard-boiled eggs (I know!) and marinated peppers. I wasn't sure about it since I'm really not a fan of olives, but they provided just the right amount of salty goodness. I didn't really taste the egg, but that could be because there was so much going on! If I could order that sandwich on the bread mine came on, I'd be all set.

Basically, you have to eat here. And bring me with you, thanks.


  1. Omg yum. We are going.

    1. Yes please!! It can be part of our super fun girls night (sleepover included??)! It's like 10 minutes from my apartment!

  2. Whoa, that picture of the Cubano is making my mouth water! Next time I'm in DC... :)