Back when I lived in DC, I used to hang out a lot in Gallery Place/Chinatown.  I worked on Capitol Hill and lived in Arlington, so it was a logical stop for drinks/dinner on my way home.  I even met my husband for the first time at (one of) the Chinatown Starbucks and had part of my bachelorette party at Poste (Try the truffle fries if you are in the area!) 

Needless to say, I love this part of town, and one of my favorite restaurants in that area is Matchbox.  The restaurant is squeezed into a narrow three-story building: the first floor is the bar, and the top two floors are packed with tables.  In fact, the tables are so close together that you sometimes get a front row pass to your neighbor’s conversation, at least when you can hear anything over the general din from downstairs.    The sliders are famous, but I always gravitate towards the artisan pizzas, which are cooked in a wood-fired oven (Alton Brown would approve).

On my way to the metro for Eat, Write, Retreat! one morning, I saw a new Matchbox location on Rockville Pike.  I knew that most of my meals were spoken for, but I filed it away for later in case an opportunity arose.

As luck would have it, such an opportunity came up on our last night in D.C.  Dan’s parents had just returned from a trip to Boston for his youngest brother’s graduation and offered to take all of us out to dinner.  They had been to all the local haunts recently and wanted to go somewhere new, so they were excited when I suggested Matchbox.

This location was much more spacious than the Chinatown one while still maintaining the faux rustic feel of the original.  Our waiter showed us to a cozy booth against one wall, but we were still close enough to the action to people watch and hear bits and pieces from other conversations.
Our pizza order was a bit complicated, since there were five of us with five different tastes.  After much negotiation, we decided to order three pizzas, with a different set of toppings on each half pizza.  Those of you math whizzes out there will have already calculated that we got to sample a total of six of Matchbox’s specialties.  (Next, a train is leaving one station at… zzzz..)  Anyway, Dan’s dad and brother went for “manly” options: one half of their pizza was hot and spicy, and the other half was meat lover’s. 

Dan and I chose the four cheese white pizza and the prosciutto pizza.  The four cheese pizza was good, but the prosciutto was so good that we’ve tried to replicate it.  I wanted to have two slices, but by the time I got to it, I had to settle for one, since the rest had been stored in Dan’s belly.
As good as the prosciutto was, I actually preferred the margherita pizza that Dan’s mom picked.  The sauce had a little extra spiciness that made all the difference for me.  I mostly ignored the other half of the pizza (veggie, in case you’re wondering), except for picking a few of the potato chips off the top.  matchbox-180439
After dinner, we still had a little room, so we decided to order a dessert pizza.  Dan took one look at the balsamic vinegar drizzled over the top and declared that he wouldn’t be having any, but the rest of us enjoyed it.

In the end, everyone was happy with my choice.  I’m always a little nervous when I recommend a restaurant, and I was so relieved that they all loved it as much as we did.

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