July is a weird month. It’s hot, but we’re all supposed to go outside. Mosquitos get in our houses and bite our legs and refuse to set up their own profile on Netflix, so all of the sudden I’ve got a bunch suggestions like, “World’s Most Bite-able Horses” and “True Blood” popping up AND I’m itchy.
I guess what I’m saying is, sorry I didn’t do a Monthly Features in July. I know you were counting on me. Or, more likely, you didn’t even remember that it was a thing I did and now here it is again and you’re like, “Yeah, I’m bored, I guess I’ll read this instead of listening to whatever show the mosquito chose to watch tonight.”
For the uninitiated, Monthly Features is the monthly feature featuring all the monthly features you can find at local restaurants this month. It is also an excuse for me to write the words “monthly” and “features” over and over again, amusing only me.
Go in skeptical. I did. But let me tell you something: that vegan hamburger sure tasted like a hamburger to me. I’m still a fan of beef, but if this vegan patty remains available long-term, I could definitely see it working its way into my regular rotation.
The most surprising part wasn’t the flavor, which has a good bit of umami to it, but the texture. It’s not spongy or rubbery. It’s not stiff. It holds together like ground beef. It crumbles like ground beef. I got the old school Fattie with the Impossible burger patty and it was great. The caramelized onions worked well with it. I ate it all, no questions asked. I think it’s a winner.
Flaky crispy outside. Juicy, tender and creamy inside. These fried artichoke hearts were mighty good. The seasoning in the breading is wonderful, giving it just a tinge of heat, and the interior had that tanginess I was looking for. It comes with citrus-herb aioli for dipping, but I think it’s best on its own.
What makes Pineapple Millionaire so special? It’s the only pie at Pie Junkie that gets two months on the calendar. Have a taste and you’ll understand why. The crust is buttery and flaky. There’s chilled buttercream on the base, then a layer of pineapple and pecans covered in a thick mound of pineapple-infused whipped cream. It’s a sugar bomb, to be sure, but it’s the kind you hope will go off in your face.
My friend Kevin didn’t like the sound of the August special, because he doesn’t like mayonnaise. Which is cute. Yeah. I don’t like mayo either, wink wink. And yet a single bite of the tuna-topped grilled sushi rice had him changing his tune. Perhaps it was the sesame oil, which imparted a sweet nuttiness, or the crunch of the green onions on top of the soft tuna mix. Whatever it was, we finished that roll off in no time and turned our attention to the other piles of sushi we’d ordered.
How is it that we’re so open to darker, richer flavors in our coffees — chocolates, caramels, vanillas — but averse to the lighter, brighter edge of the spectrum? Clarity’s monthly feature is an agave lime latte that is citrusy sweet without going overboard into cloying. The light twist of lime plays against the darkness of the espresso roast to create a perfect summer flavor.
My first piece of advice on going to Capitals Ice Cream is to take friends. Not only are the portions pretty substantial, but you’re going to want to try lots of different things. This month’s new ice cream feature is The Gold Dome — a pile of lemon bar ice cream covered in graham cracker crumbles. The ice cream has great balance of lemony sugar flavor with a hint of tartness behind the creamy vanilla. The graham cracker dust adds a nice textural element, which makes for an interesting feel beyond just smooth ice cream.