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  • Reservations Recommended

    Restaurant Review ~ All-Purpose Pizzeria and Buttercream Bakeshop / 1250 9th St., NW

    Double the Fun. Looks like 9th Street just north of Mt. Vernon Square is becoming a food destination, judging by the opening of some mighty good restaurants. All foodies know about Kinship (reviewed in this space last April), and Espita Mezcalaria. But are folks tuned into the recent opening of All-Purpose and Buttercream, next-door neighbors, and apparently sharing some space and good things like the desserts at All-Purpose come from Buttercream. Talk about getting a double whammy!

    But first, start off with the savory side of the meal. All-Purpose touts itself as a source of traditional pizzas, baked before your eyes in the mostly open kitchen in a huge stone oven. Getting a good kitchen view allows patrons to watch pizza chefs sliding pies in and out of the fiery pit.

    Since the focus here is Italian food, be sure to round out your lunch with some antipasti (appetizers), which include a seasonal cucumber and summer peach salad, fabulous crispy-fried calamari with a chili aioli, and a seasonal heirloom tomato bread salad with summer squash. You can also kick off the meal with a shared platter, from what is billed as “A Tuscan Farmer’s Lunch” with assorted cheeses, meats, olives and house bread or a Sicilian tuna mousse.

    For the main part of the meal, you have an abbreviated choice of sandwiches (the crispy fried calamari Po’ Boy is excellent), but since this is a pizzeria, after all, scan down the menu to the pizza selections. Five choices include what must be a house special, the “King’s Highway” with tomato, mozzarella, and a pistachio-lime pesto. But patrons also get the option of creating their own pie, starting with the basic tomato and mozzarella with a choice of add-on toppings: mushrooms, arugula, hot red peppers, and much more.

    Dinnertimes mean a slightly larger and more complex menu, deleting sandwich choices and adding on cold or hot antipasti (how about pan-seared beef short ribs or veal sweetbreads Marsala?) plus a large selection of salumi (pork cold cuts) and artisanal cheeses. Undoubtedly, patrons can make a full meal with just the meats and breads. Besides, everyone gets an interesting choice of cocktails, wines, and brews, such as Dance of Days (pales wheat ale) and the Duck-Rabbit Schwarzbier, a black lager.

    Save room for desserts, which you can order at All-Purpose, or if it is during the day, walk next door for an eyeful of yummy confections created by baking genius Tiffany MacIsaac. Making that sweets decision is a test of willpower: cakes, cookies, and breakfast treats, which include the luscious Cinnascone, sweet or savory scones, cream pies, cupcake, and interesting muffins, plus much more. Best bet: order up several options, and enjoy some there and later at the office or at home. How convenient is that?

    All-Purpose Pizzeria / Tue.-Sat., lunch & dinner; Sun., dinner only; Mon., closed. 202-849-6174. Buttercream Bakeshop / open daily, breakfast, lunch & early dinner. 202-735-0102.

     

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    Alexandra Greeley is a food writer, editor, and restaurant reviewer. She has authored books on Asian and Mexican cuisines published by Simon & Schuster, Doubleday, and Macmillan. Other credits include restaurant reviews and food articles for national and regional publications, as well as former editor of the Vegetarian Times and former food editor/writer for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. Click here to visit her website.