Dukem & ACKC


Ever been? Some Ethiopian food down on U Street. This is probably a more popular and well known spot, but not necessarily the best in D.C. My friend who had real Ethiopian food in Ethiopia said this wasn’t as flavorful as the real thing.

We got the veggie combo platter, which consisted of chickpea curry, lentils, vinegar cabbage and potato, spinach, tomato salad, spicy brown lentils, yellow lentils…

I’d say it was decent. I always enjoy eating the spongy bread and scooping up the yummy lentils. Actually, come to think of it, I’d like to go back to Marrakesh sometime on New York Avenue. They have belly dancers too if you go at the right time! And an over friendly restaurant owner who wants to take group pictures with you and then post it onto his restaurant website with strange and loosely related, framed pictures…. MARRAKESH

Oh, and oops, that’s MORROCAN food, not Ethiopian, but similar?


Before this, we actually stopped by Love Cafe further down on U Street. We shared a cupcake, not the greatest, and some coffee. Love Cafe is owned by Warren Brown who started CakeLove right across the street. He’s now expanded to Baltimore, National Harbor, and downtown Silver Spring. I actually appreciate his cakes more than his cupcakes; the Neil’s Hat Trick for example, is a wonderful raspberry and chocolate butter cream cake. 🙂

Anyway, we further expanded our stomachs by walking to Q and 14th street NW to ACKC aka Artfully Chocolates Kingsbury Confections. Very cute chocolate cafe which has expanded into a mini wine bar. It’s outrageously decorated with BOOTYfull paintings (and I mean filled with BOOTY) and flower decorations. There’s plenty of chocolate and variations on hot chocolate, which they also convert into ice cream and milk shakes or iced drinks now. Whew, ACKC, you’ve expanded!

I got a hot chocolate wasabi concoction and for a chilly night, it was a good feeling going down my throat, warming up my tummy. Friend opted for the ice cream version of a white chocolate cardamom truffle. She’s not into actual chocolate, and for the ice creams, if it is white chocolate, they use vanilla ice cream. Her ice cream was ginormous. They over topped it with whip cream. My favorite part were the dried blueberries. I think it wasn’t enough cardamom for her so she got more, and they like dumped it! But she could’ve had more! I think that was more than enough for me…..

I love their decor. It’s absolutely eye-catching and completely sets the mood for the cafe. Tres bon!

Oh yes, I could not leave without getting a box of truffles (6 for $12). Top to bottom, left to right: Butter & Scotch (butterscotch chocolate with real scotch), Cool Vanilla (chocolate with rum), Cherry Blossom (Dark Chocolate with cherry filling), Just Dark (Dark Chocolate), Cocoa Nibs (Dark Chocolate with actual cocoa nibbles), White Chocolate Cardamom topped with dried blueberry.

I tried to share with my honey, but ended up only giving him the butterscotch and just dark. I ate the rest while we were apart… hahahaha, shameful I know, but I couldn’t help it!! If you only knew, you’d understand how difficult it is to resist truffles when you’re me.



Honeywine on the left and a sweet red wine on the right. Sorry, don’t remember the proper name. Both were good. Actually, the honeywine was VERY sweet. I couldn’t help ‘Nita finish it. I loved the red one though. So, one of my LANDMASS girls took me out to dinner for my (belated) birthday. Sweet. Dukem on U Street is one of the better known and appreciated Ethiopian restaurants in DC. I made the mistake of going here one Thursday evening when they had live music. O M G. The music was BLARING; so loud that we could not talk to one another. Good thing me and ‘Nita were out on a Saturday night.

So, Anita was a bit nervous because her sister’s experience wasn’t exactly thrilling when it came to Ethiopian food. I think it was the bread. I prepared Anita by describing the bread as a slightly sour dough with texture similar to sponge. We got the Combination Platter for 2 people. It had the following: Tomato salad, collared greens, pickled cabbage, homemade cottage cheese, spicy Lamb Wot, spicy/mild Doro Wot (chicken), mild Minchet Abesh (finely chopped lean ground beef), regular Tibs (cubed tender beef), and some sort of creamed corn/veggie.

Needless to say, we cleaned the platter. 🙂

Dessert? We planned on TangySweet but due to metro reasons we stayed in U Street and ended up at Busboys. No complaints here! This is their delicious and amazing White Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding with Coconut ice cream. So So So SO good. The bread pudding had that white chocolate taste mixed in with the banana and raisins. I think the raisins turn into a really light caramel color when cooked, yeah? I love how they paired it with coconut ice cream. I would’ve gone more traditional with vanilla. So, I introduced Anita to Ethiopian food and my favorite dessert at Busboys. She called me cultured at first but when I informed her how everyone used that term with me (non-arts friends), she wanted to use a unique term. WORLDLY came to mind… I think that’s a pretty good description. Though, it’s not accurate in traveling terms for me. I must change that. Greece anyone?

I give Dukem 3.5 out of 5 for good Ethiopian food, overly sweet wine, friendly staff, a bit crowded, and fast service. I give Busboys & Poets’ dessert a 4.5 out of 5. I haven’t had enough banana bread pudding to crown it with a 5.

Hm, I love birthdays, don’t you? 😉 Thanks again for dinner+dessert+good company!