Food Crawling with Monica Dimas of Mkt.
Monica Dimas is the spunky, ambitious, smart-as-a-whip and extremely talented sous chef at Ethan Stowell’s Mkt. While her petite stature matches the 600-square-feet of the tiny restaurant, her appetite does not. At all.
During a recent dinner outing with the human stomach, the topic of her eating habits came up, which enthralled me to no end.
Here’s what she eats on her typical days off.
“I kind of jam pack my weekends into eating fests,” says Dimas, referring to her Wednesdays and Thursdays.
She usually sticks to her neighborhood, which is Capitol Hill.
“I’ll go have breakfast somewhere, usually Ba Bar. I order the chicken congee. If it’s late at night, like after work, I’ll get the chicken pho with the wheat noodles. It’s almost like ramen. So, Ba Bar for breakfast, I generally skip lunch. And then dinner starts around happy hour.”
At 4 p.m. she hits up Bar Cotto, a Stowell sibling restaurant.
“I’ll always do whatever their vegetable appetizer is. Right now they have this corn with anchovies and salsa verde—it’s so good; the chef’s choice (of charcuterie), but at least one of the trio has to be mortadella; two orders of torta fritta; one of the salads; and depending on how hungry I am, I’ll do a pizza, no matter if I’m going to dinner or not. Sometimes [restaurants] are so not memorable that my standbys overshadow them. I always know I’m going to have a good time at Bar Cotto. Even if it’s a glass of wine and snacks, I know it’s going to be good. Always.”
“Then I’ll do a regular dinner somewhere—somewhere I usually don’t go or have never been."
"And then in between my multiple dinners, and depending on how big dinner was, I’ll go to Chungee’s and just have whiskey or I’ll go to Chungee’s and have the chicken and whiskey. I love that [the chicken] is Japanese-style, like tempura, light battering. They toss it with chili flakes and then they have fried basil leaves all over it and it comes with some crappy sauce that you never want to eat, but on the side you have the soy sauce and roasted chilies in oil, which you make your own sauce with—chili oil soy sauce."
"And then, because I have Wednesdays off, if I’m really feeling it I’ll go to Harry’s (the bar inside Olympia Pizza) for Whiskey Wednesdays (half-price whiskey). They’re like a proper bar. They serve food until 1:30 in the morning and serve drinks until 2 in the morning. I’ll get there late. I’ll never order food. Stick with the whiskey and the company of the staff. They have all of the whiskeys that you’d want at a better bar. For a dive bar, it’s amazing. I believe in it.”
“I’ll generally walk to Fuel (on 19th) in the morning and then have lunch at Monsoon (where Dimas used to cook). I either do the tofu bowl or the drunken chicken bowl. I’ll probably still have dinner somewhere else that night, but I won’t do my usual Wednesday!”