Quick Fixin's

By Jane Winer

Sycamore Islander, June 2000

Willie Aquino of Sushi Kanpai holds a
carry-out lunch box fit for an Islander.

Sashimi is also available in plates
of five pieces, or a la carte.
With 3 charcoal grills available on the Island, we can grill hamburgers, fish or chicken anytime, but comes a time when we aren't inclined to cook out. Instead, we look elsewhere for sandwiches or supper to carry down to the Island.

Glen Echo Center, just up the street at MacArthur & Goldsboro, is home to Sushi Kanpai, which will take your order for sushi a la carte (fish is raw or cooked, as you like--or vegetarian sushi) at 301-320-4676. However, if you just walk in, you can walk right out again with one of the "specials" (different each day) in a lunchbox or dinnerbox for a reasonable sum. Do consider adding to your selection one of the excellent salads on display: the green seaweed or the edamane salad, for example. Soybeans--edamane--look like plump baby limas with delicious taste and texture. USA TODAY recently identified the vegetable as being on the brink of "going mainstream in salad bars." You can say you had it first from Kanpai. Hours for this treasure of an Asian carry-out: Monday--Saturday, 11 am to 7 pm; Sunday, noon to 6.

Pizza may be the first choice of fast foods to carry aboard SS Ferry (there are 2 pizza providers within a quick drive of the Island): Glen Echo Pizza & Subs is next door to Sushi Kanpai in the Glen Echo Center. The pizza is so popular at lunchtime that we were not able to get in the door. Later, we learned that favorite subs are the Italian Cold Cut, and a Glen Echo version thereof, made with turkey, ham, roast beef and provolone; the favorite hot sub, predictably, is Steak & Cheese. Call Glen Echo Pizza Monday thru Saturday from 10 am to 9 pm, Sunday, 11 to 7 at 301-263-0414, so you can do an end run around the long line of folks waiting to place an order.

The Captain’s Market — Go on in!
This was once a neighborhood
grocery similar to the Sycamore Store.
On your way north on MacArthur Boulevard (across the One-Way Meigs Bridge), you will find Captain's Market on your right. A convenience store, Captain's is open early, so if you are looking for live bait and/or a hot breakfast, or later in the day, a good hamburger, this is the place for you. Under new management within the year, Captain's offers the best prices available in local fast food/carry-out fare. Cold sandwiches are made to order on Ottenberg's bread. While you wait, you can sit on a comfortable stool and admire the jewel-like African violets in the windows. You will have lots of company--Captain's is a bargain. Open Monday to Friday, 6 am to 7:30 pm; Saturday 7:30 to 6:30, and Sunday, 10 to 4:30.

Upstream from Captain's, MacArthur Plaza sits at the intersection of Seven Locks Road & the Boulevard, home to the Bethesda Co-op, The Market on the Boulevard, and a Pizza Hut. The Co-op keeps its lease until January 2001, so rejoice, we have six more months to enjoy our very own most marvelous market before it moves away. The Co-op offers some of the best breads and cheeses, some of the best croissants (chocolate, raisin, apple or plain) and dips, spreads and pestos we have ever tasted. The Co-op is a haven for strict vegetarians--where else can you find "Missing" Egg Salad? For lunch, a piece of fresh fruit, a carry-out sandwich from refrigerated shelves or your own choice of bread and cheese, mean you can't go wrong at the Co-op, open Monday to Saturday, 9 am to 9 pm, Sunday, 9 to 8.

The upscale Market on the Boulevard features a
tantalizing display case of freshly prepared take-outs,
just right for an impromptu picnic on the Island.
MacArthur Plaza also features the unique Market on the Boulevard. When Hannibal's closed a year or so ago, the Market absorbed the space and accommodates those of us who like to tarry awhile with a good cup of coffee, a muffin and the Sunday paper. You can get all sorts of things here, good breads & cheese, cold cuts or sushi, cooked or ready-to-be-cooked fish and shellfish, beautiful beef—the Market has it. If you want a sandwich to take back to the Island, it's hard to beat a "Cabin John Club," for example. Made with ham & turkey, Swiss cheese, cranberry and onion, bacon, mayo, with lettuce on pumpernickel, it is delicious--unless you'd rather have the "Great Falls" made with salami, Black Forest ham, prosciutto, provolone, lettuce, tomato, onion & Italian dressing on a French roll!

Having spent the morning looking at food, tasting salads, imagining sandwiches, I finally fell for the Market's "Clara Barton": Muenster, avocado, lettuce, tomato, sprouts, onion & dill sauce on whole wheat pita. One is encouraged to "Build Your Own Sandwich" at the Market, but why bother? The Big Board is a list of blue chippers. Sitting at a table at the Market, enjoying a respite from reviewing the local carry-outs, with coffee and a sandwich, I fell into a reverie about what I was going to go for the next time I sailed into the Market: a "Wild Bird" perhaps? or maybe the "Avenel"—or the "Congressional"? By the time I came to, it was time to go home—and, by the way, I didn’t make it down to the Island that day! Market hours: Monday to Friday, 6:30 am to 9 pm; Saturday, 7 to 8, Sunday, 7 to 7. Phone: 301-229-2526.

FYI: Not counting the pizza carry-outs, some of the establishments above offer more than ready-to-eat food. Sushi Kanpai, for instance, in spite of its small size, offers a selection of fresh Asian vegetables and, of course, wonderful fresh fish. The staff encourages sushi enthusiasts to learn to make their own, so Kanpai has everything to do so, including the seaweed papers and sticks for holding and turning the sushi. Kanpai also prepares dazzling party platters (call ahead, of course), and Willie Aquino wanted us to know that the same outfit runs the Tako Grill in Bethesda. "Tako," he told us, "means 'octopus'. Tako Grill is not a Mexican restaurant!"

The Bethesda Co-op is a vegetarian market and grocery store. What they offer is, as often as possible, organic. The Co-op carries dairy products you can't find elsewhere and many alternatives to dairy. The dried foods: fruits, nuts, grains, spices, herbs, etc. are outstanding.

The Market on the Boulevard carries gourmet items of all sorts, and will prepare party platters as well as cater. Phone: 301-229-2526.