Local Author JoAnn Hill Pens New Guide to DC’s Unique Eats & Eateries

Author JoAnn Hill during a stop on her book tour for Unique East & Eateries of DC

“Do a lot of people go to gas stations and order Taiwanese food? Probably not,” says JoAnn Hill, author of a new guidebook Unique Eats and Eateries of Washington, DC: The People and Stories Behind the Food, that takes readers on a mouthwatering adventure of the DC-metro area.

And even if you think you’ve tried DC’s best bites… there’s something new for you in this one!

While DC receives much renown for having more than its fair share of celebrity chefs and Michelin-starred menus, Hill’s book tantalizes the tastebuds with tales of the savory and special.

Because to snag a spot in this one, the food needs to be good and the place needs to have a good story.

“So many aspects make something unique,” Hill shared during one of her many book-tour stops. “History; individuals who have brought their culture and food; legacy; family traditions; exotic eats you can’t find elsewhere…”

And while she admitted that the food made for delicious “research” while organizing this guide, “getting to know the individuals who devote so much of their time to their art” was the most rewarding part of the project.

In the end, the book was equally about the people as the plates, with each story offering a fascinating depiction of the remarkable journey that led to its delicious dishes.

We caught up with her at the Northeast Library, where a crowd of serious foodies gathered to hear her take on local flavor favorites. Among those, in addition to the nearby Eastern Market, she highlighted:

A. Litteri, an unassuming market selling Italian products and wine since 1926 that draws those in-the-know from far and wide;

Cane | St. James, with jerk wings, fried snapper, pepper shrimp, and other centerpieces of owner Jeanine Prime and brother Peter Prime’s favorite memories of their native Trinidad and the Caribbean;

Bronze, an afro-futuristic restaurant inspired by the founder’s concept of a time-traveling science-fiction hero, with menu marvels to include torched oysters, grilled seabass, and braised oxtail with pappardelle;

2Fifty BBQ, a true labor of love from barbeque enthusiast Fernando González with his hand-crafted, wood-smoked BBQ — no electricity or gas here! And;

Lei Musubi, with owner Vivien Bang’s take on the popular Hawaiian snack, musubi, made of spam, along with Hawaiian-style rice balls, rice-and-seaweed bites, as well as other unconventional accompaniments.

Unique Eats and Eateries of Washington, DC, available wherever books are sold, features dining spots largely in DC-proper, with a smattering of suburban eateries rounding out the book’s 100 featured places.