Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I Stalked Spike in DC and So Can You!!

So, I went to DC last weekend for a brief vacation. Clearly, for me, the main reasons to go were to find Stephen Colbert's portrait (it's been moved from the National Portrait Gallery where I saw it last time) and to eat a lot of good food. Both were accomplished:

Stephen is now in the American History Museum on the Mall, on third floor just outside the entertainment exhibit. It was pretty awesome to see the portrait some prominently displayed in the museum, rather than in the inglorious location next to the bathrooms, above the water fountains:

although this space looks pretty lonely without Stephen's stern face looking down upon the masses.

Aside from going to a bunch of the museums, we wanted to eat at a few new places, too. Clearly, Jaleo was a no brainer, due to the assortment of delicious meats available:

(that's hanger steak with piquillo peppers, the unparalleled Jamon Iberico, and garlic shrimp with sauteed snow peas with romesco sauce in the background - from top to bottom).

Also on the dining menu were Cafe Mozart, a lovely German restaurant in the back of a small German market on H Street, near 13th and Potenza, an Italian place also on H by 15th. Both were good (Potenza was a little trendy, but delicious) and good additions to the restaurants we will frequent often on future trips to DC. For lunch we went to Potbelly's for sandwiches one day, always good, and Good Stuff Eatery the other.

Yes, that's right. Good Stuff Eatery. Like Spike Mendelsohn from "Top Chef" season 4's restaurant. Like douche-hat's restaurant. Spike, the one chef mercilessly hounded by everyone on the interwebs for his douchey attitude and general ridiculous/cocky behavior. And his poor choice of head wear. Repeatedly bashed by yours truly. That Spike. And you know what? I'm sorry I said anything bad about him.

When we got there, the place was packed. We got online and immediately saw Spike behind the counter, working hard expediting, right alongside all the other people working there. I wanted to say something to him but he was so busy, I felt badly interrupting him while he was working, espeically since they were so busy, so we just placed our order and I went to find a table upstairs while BMG waited for the food. If you look really hard in the background, you can see Spike with his hat on the line:

We had to wait a while for our food, since it was so busy and everything is cooked to order, but we finally got our food:

Bacon Cheeseburger

Turkeyburger and fries

Chocolate shake

All were delicious. The turkeyburger (mine) was so well seasoned and all the toppings (I got everything on it - avocado, munster, "good stuff" sauce) worked so well together. The fries were a bit on the non-crispy side for my liking, but the flavor was awesome. The chocolate shake was fabulous and I'm guessing the bacon cheeseburger was good, since BMG polished that bad boy off without any problems. And, one would think that was the end of the story - see Spike, eat his food, leave Spike's restaurant and go see the Capitol.

Oh no, it gets so much better. While we were eating, Spike came upstairs to sit with business partner (?) - I only think this because she came out of a secret room upstairs and started talking to two people, who turned out to be Food Network (!!) producers. Right at the next table. I started to silently freak out and tried to figure out how I could get a picture with him, without rudely interrupting his conversation. Why would you want to take a picture with him, Iko? After all the bashing? Because of BW and this text conversation:

Iko: I'm at Good Stuff Eatery = douche hat Spike's burger place!! Douche hat is here!!
BW: No way!!! Pics please! OMG! You need a pic for your blog!
(then a bunch of useless conversation happened)...
BW: Is douche hat Anderw there? (Aside 1: HAHAHAHA, nice memory, BW!)
Iko: Ha! N, I wish! But, Spike is wearing his douchey hat!
(10 minutes later)
Iko: He's sitting right next to me talking to some Food Network producers about challenging Michael Symon on Iron Chef!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Aside 2: OK, I was really freaking out here)
BW: I'm jealous of your hobnobbing with douchey Food Network stars! (Aside 3: strong use of hobnobbing)

At this point, Spike had left to go downstairs and make some burgers for the two producers, the Obama burger and the Smokehouse burger. I was clearly upset as I had missed my chance at a picture while he was leaving to go downstairs, due to my shyness/inability to talk to people when they appear to be busy. But, just as we were about to leave, Spike returned with the burgers for the producers. He deposited them on their table and talked with them for a minute, then turned to leave - so I jumped up and cornered him! And asked if I could take a picture with him, but only if he wasn't too busy. And you know what? He was awesome. He joked about being too busy to take the picture, then totally posed with me. And, he even went on to make sure we liked the food, asked what we had, and talked with us a bit about where we were from and how we were liking DC. Seriously, I take back my comments about his douchiness from my "Top Chef" recaps. All of them. I still agree that he was extremely not-right in the highly edited show Bravo showed up, but will posit that this is perhaps not what his actual personality is like. Maybe he's mellowed in his douchiness or maybe he was just in a good mood because he's going to be on "Iron Chef," but I believe he's quite charming and pleasant. And I'm happy his business is doing so well.

Success! I have now sunk to a new low - stalking sub-moderately famous people from Bravo Reality TV. For my next trick, I'll find some of those "Real Housewives of NJ" ladies and go for cocktails with them.


Beth said...

OMG! So much to comment on - where to start! First, love the transcribing of the texting and the appreciation of hobnobbing (it IS an awesome word.) I must give credit to PW for the Andrew comment though. I love that we were slumming with Costco hotdogs while you were eating your fancy burgers! I'm still sad to have missed the German choco-candy fest... I think that deserves some blog love balanced with snarky comments on diabetes.

ALSO - PW, PW's ma, and I are newly obsessive over commenting on Real Housewives NJ and I happen to now know that on the 27th, we may be close to the "villian" of this season. I will help you stalk (though, maybe not, she is scary... I have other thoughts on this but cannot post them...)

iko said...

The stalking will continue on my birthday! Also, I will write about the German candy extravaganza - it clearly must be broadcast to the world!