We Bitches prefer the finer things in life—high-end, classic fashions, cocktail parties with great art and unique conversation, and locally sourced, house-made cuisine, preferably prepared by someone who appeared on Top Chef.
Here in Washington, we’re fortunate to receive access to amazing restaurants, cool fashions, fun parties, and great perks. On a given week, I’ll attend a restaurant opening at City Center, stop by a media preview at Blue Duck Tavern, have a meeting at Bourbon Steak, and meet a girlfriend for dinner at Fiola Mare. Rough life.
My meals are often as follows: A brunch begins with Anson Mills oatmeal with sustainably farmed raisins, Marcona almonds flown in from Majorca, and coconut sugar, rather than white refined sugar.
When I order Ahi tuna (which is at every meal, Bitches) I prefer it with San Marzano tomatoes, Meyer Lemon (the only type of lemon I’ll accept), Yuzu Taggiasche Olives, and Caviar de Venise, which comes from Russian sturgeon and is typically aged between seven and 12 years.
I’m not yet over the truffle frites trend, but need them upgraded to 2015 and served alongside a house-made leek-bacon marmalade made with herbs grown on a sunny urban roof.
But, lately, Washington’s most notable restaurants have failed to pique my interest. Or my extended mimosa pinky.
It’s all style, no substance. That’s why I’m pleased to tell you about my new favorite brunch spot—a charming little hole-in-the-wall in an up-and-coming neighborhood, a place called Ivy and Coney.
I like my brunch like I like my men: simple, direct, free of fuss and frills—and preferably from the Midwest.
Nowadays, many restaurants eschew picky diners and difficult patrons by opting to serve only a few menu items without changes, substitutions, or additions. It really allows the chef to focus on his craft, and it allows patrons to experience the true nature of the cuisine.
A progressive establishment, Ivy and Coney was ahead of its time with only two items on the menu: a Coney hot dog and an Ivy hot dog. Oh and, of course, there’s an amuse bouche of peanuts, which you can feel free to crack and throw on the floor.
And, like any good bodega that serves authentic worldly fare, the restaurant is cash-only.
That whole thing about the Midwest? Well, the owners of this establishment hail from the center of our fair nation: Michigan and Illinois, respectively. And they really bring that Midwestern charm to their service values.
As a regular, I’m able to experience the top-notch treatment from the owners of Ivy & Coney.
Chris, from Michigan, is amenable and happy to chat with patrons—but only after 5 p.m. (the waking hour), and only if he’s had about five cigarettes and two espressos from Compass Coffee next door.
Josh, from Chicago, is also chatty—after 5 p.m., after cigarettes, after espresso, and only after the Cubs or Bears won the latest game. If not, you can find him outside on the sidewalk, pacing back and forth and yelling into his phone. And, no, you won’t be able to get that second drink.
There is also a mysteriously good-looking man behind the bar, Adam, who has tattoos, smokes cigarettes, gels his hair, and yells at the television. He looks like he should be the bad boy in a movie based on a Nicholas Sparks novel—you know, someone Miley Cyrus would fall in love with pre-twerk era.
I frequent Ivy & Coney for cocktails with two of my best guy friends, Harrison and Michael. The pair, who is often out on the town, has a strong handle on the D.C. social scene and prefers this neighborhood bar above others. So much so that they even have a much-sought-after locker there for their bottle of whiskey.
We three settled into brunch at the bar, earlier than most, at the hour of 2 p.m. We ordered two hot dogs a piece.
The Ivy dog is served with pickles, fresh vegetables (tomatoes, diced onions), mustard and ketchup. Meanwhile, the Coney dog is a chili dog with diced onions and mustard.
Both styles of dogs are served on a fluffy, fresh white bun, which comes from a bakery the guys like here in Washington. They’re surprisingly good—just like Mama made or like you had at the ballpark. Just kidding, my mother never made me hotdogs and I didn’t go to the ballpark.
That said, I prefer the Coney variety.
Unfortunately, Ivy & Coney wasn’t serving mimosas or rosé that day. But Adam and Chris couldn’t stop raving about Malort, a Swedish liqueur out of Chicago, that they pair with the hot dogs.
On the bottle of this fine beverage, the founder has the phrase “Our liquor is rugged and unrelenting (even brutal) to the palate.” We decided to give it a go. Shots of straight Malort on an empty stomach after a morning busy with exercise. OK, then.
The best thing about Malort is that it really makes you appreciate the hot dogs. Read: You stuff them into your mouth to keep yourself from gagging.
All in all, I’d highly recommend you make plans to brunch at Ivy & Coney, which is a strong contender for my top brunch spot of 2015.
The Bitches say: A+. Ivy and Coney is a fine establishment. No, the finest establishment. We can’t wait to go back for hot dogs and Malort—maybe they’ll even give this Bitch a liquor locker.
Just kidding. Ivy & Coney serves its greasy hot dogs and overblown enthusiasm for Midwestern sports teams on not just April Fools’ Day but also every other damn day of the year.