March 31, 2011 | by Timur Tugberk
Foodist Colony

High style and inventive sweets make for a memorable dining experience at Ted's Bulletin. (Photo courtesy of Ted's Bulletin)

Spring in Washington is an enchanting time. The smells, the colors and the warm weather combine to make the District a wonderful place for springtime romance. The neighborhoods in Washington each have their own unique charm perfect for a first (or 400th) date. Recently, I chose to explore what Southeast’s Eastern Market has to offer. This quaint neighborhood has always had a welcoming vibe, so what better place for an end-of-the-weekend dinner than there?

Eastern Market’s eclectic variety of bars, restaurants and boutiques entices a diverse array of visitors and residents. We decided to try one of its newer delights, Ted’s Bulletin, which was opened in May 2010 by the people who brought us Matchbox. Upon entry, I was immediately transported back to an era of simple living. This early 20th century styled ice cream shop meets tap room provides a comfortable setting for a night out with your significant other. Immediately, my eyes were drawn to the guests perched on bar stools sipping decadent milkshakes and nibbling on what looked like gourmet Pop-Tarts. Passing through the adorable ice creamery, we arrived in the dining room.

Styled as an authentic 1940s era upscale diner, my eyes were instantly drawn to a vintage projector, suspended from the ceiling, showing a black and white film on the wall. We were immediately greeted by an enthusiastic server, Jordan. I asked for a table for two and he promptly grabbed two newspapers, which I soon realized were the menus, and escorted us to a comfortably sized booth. He welcomed us with vigor to Ted’s Bulletin, and allotted us some time to review the fare. I was immediately impressed with the variety and allure of the classic homestyle American cooking they offer.  I began to have flashbacks to my childhood and other culinary adventures I’ve had during travels around the country and wanted to order everything on the menu. After interrogating Jordan about our options, he patiently helped us with our selections and plan of attack. To start, we chose Bulletin’s gravy fries. Having spent time in Quebec, I immediately thought of their “national dish,” poutine (gravy-cheese fries). We asked the kitchen to add melted mozzarella to replicate the delicacy. “Not a problem,” Jordan said, “in fact I may suggest to the chef that we add cheese permanently, sounds great!”

After savoring our starter, it was time for the main course.  I chose the Ted’s Burgh, a “smash with hand” cheeseburger. Served on buttered and toasted white bread, with classic American cheese, and an egg sunny-side up, it was impossible to resist. In lieu of fries, considering our appetizer, I had Brussels sprouts with blue cheese (if you are not drooling right now, I don’t know what to tell you). My date enjoyed Ted’s famous grilled cheese and tomato soup, a dish that instantly brought me back to Mama Tugberk’s favorite snow day treat.

When dessert time rolled around, we were ready to indulge. Having passed the glass showcase 45 minutes prior, I knew temptation would have the best of me. Per our delightful server Jordan’s recommendation, I selected the S’mores Milkshake and my date chose the lemon meringue pie. Blended and baked to perfection, both the shake and the pie were delicious and the perfect end to our meal. I did, however, sufficiently fill myself, and to my dismay was unable to order the “Pop-Tart.”

I will return to Ted’s Bulletin, not only because it is a perfect Sunday night date spot, but because I can’t wait to try some of the other delicious selections they have to offer. From start to finish, we give it four very perky thumbs up.

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