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  1. Note that the 5% bonus is only good for up to $1500 in purchases for each quarter. So once you go past that, it may be worth using a different card if you can get more than the base 1% back. Although I think it's possible to have more than one Freedom card if you're so inclined.
  2. I've been remiss in failing to mention that Pop Tacos has been back in business since July! Still the same great food made by the same great people - and even bigger portions, it feels like, since they switched to a different take-out container. They added bulgogi to the protein options and made some of their previous special bowls (bibimbap, cup bap) permanent menu items. Unfortunately, some of the more ambitious menu items on the new menu (kim-bab, etc.) got quickly axed before I could try them, but maybe they'll try to roll some out as they get settled in. Nice to have them open through dinner hours, though there isn't much seating in the restaurant itself.
  3. You need to have one of the "higher-end" Chase cards (Sapphire Preferred, Ink+, Sapphire Reserve) with an annual fee to be able to transfer points. Then when you log into Chase Ultimate Rewards, you'll have an option to "Transfer to Travel Partners" under Use Points. The bonus is that if you have just one of these cards, you can combine your points from any other Chase cards (Freedom, Freedom Unlimited) to your high-end card and transfer the points that way. The idea is to get you locked into the Chase ecosystem with their various cards - which is pretty successful. Time to downgrade my Sapphire Preferred for the Freedom Unlimited and apply for the Sapphire Reserve...
  4. Should be good news. There's definitely a big weekend dinner crowd they'll have more access to - the hours and seating inside the market aren't really conducive to a sit-down meal at the end of a long day. I'm sure there will also still be a loyal lunch crowd whenever they re-open.
  5. I haven't been to the market. From what I see, it seems to have a heavier focus on take-out (bread, dips, alcohol to go), as well as more of a small-plates approach to the dine-in menu. I would think of them more as separate entities.
  6. SoBo Cafe has been mentioned a few times in various threads dating back to 2006, but it's high time it gets a listing of its own. SoBo is, to me, the perfect neighborhood restaurant, offering elevated comfort food at an affordable price. For lunch, they offer various soups, salads, flatbreads, and sandwiches, that are all well-balanced, filling, and delicious. I'm a fan of the smoked salmon salad and the BLT on a biscuit. For dinner, you can get some incredible deals during happy hour (5-7 pm) at the bar or outdoor tables. A few select appetizers, like Mac-N-Cheese and mussels, are roughly half priced ($4-$5), and 2 or 3 could easily constitute a meal; I'm not sure if they are smaller than the full-priced versions, but the portions are plenty generous. And you certainly won't break the bank if you go with the regular entrees, the most expensive of which sits at $24. Most of the food is pure comfort (burger, chicken, steak, salmon), expertly prepared but with just enough of a twist to keep things interesting. The one dish that got me off my lazy behind long enough to write this review was the Mushroom Stuffed Chard with quinoa, beech mushrooms, herb spätzle, and porcini jus. Visually, this isn't much to look at, resembling two oversized dolmades in a thin layer of brown soup. But my first bite instantly invoked (and I don't say this lightly) two dishes I recently had at Kinship - the torchon of white mushroom, for how deliciously meaty I never knew mushrooms (and quinoa!) could be, and the Kinship stroganoff, for the rich heartiness of the entree, as well as the spätzle/mushroom pairing. The chard was wrapped around a mixture of minced mushrooms and quinoa, which gave the sensation of a light and fluffy vegetarian meatloaf. The flavors were rich, mushroomy, and meaty, not particularly subtle but incredibly satisfying. This was so much food and so filling that I could barely finish my plate, and at just $16, may be my greatest enjoyment to dollar cost ratio in recent memory (I also started with a $6 bowl of very good carrot soup and some bread with incredible whipped butter). I have yet to leave room for dessert, but I have high expectations for one of these days. For a more than fair price, you can get real food prepared with expertise and care. It's no wonder SoBo Cafe has been going strong for the past 10 years and counting.
  7. Pop Tacos is moving out of the Cross Street Market to a storefront right across the street. This will allow them to extend their hours past the typical Market hours, as well as expand their menu. I'm eagerly awaiting their re-opening, estimated to be in June.
  8. It's been a few years, but Tortacos is still going strong. Tried a bit of everything and it was all very good. The big pluses were the chicken, al pastor, and the fresh fixings bar with a tasty salsa verde and various toppings. The lengua was pretty flavorful but a few pieces were dried out. The only negative was the steak, which was oversalted. I preferred the tacos to the burrito and quesadilla, but all were prepared well and a great value.
  9. I happened to be right next door a few months back and luckily recalled this thread. Dropped by for a quick lunch and ordered the Beef Chow Fun and fried fish filet Hong Kong style. Really, really good. The best comparison I have would be East Pearl in Rockville, just really solid Cantonese cooking and great use of fried garlic as a garnish. Thanks for the tip!
  10. Same for me. Need to drag myself into Swahili Village instead of driving past every time, and El Quetzal sounds interesting. I would argue that Seoulia and even Gah Rham (no thread?) deserve mention ahead of Myoung Dong for Korean, although I may need to give the "new" items that Tim referred to in the article a try.
  11. They've changed the layout a bit so that there's more of a distinct waiting area, with a couple of bench seats. You can order drinks while you wait, and the FOH occasionally brought out a complimentary juice or soda for particularly patient kids. The wait for us was about 30 minutes at 6 pm on a recent Saturday. The Burrata and Brussels Sprouts with Pistachio Pesto and Speck were excellent, although the Mixed Greens salad was forgettable. The pizza was still very good, though not quite as magical as my first visit. Part of the issue may be general busyness, since there are a good number of take-out orders competing with the dine-in customers for the one oven. This led to some pacing issues, as well as our pizzas being slightly overcooked. A few of the pizzas had huge burnt bubbles along the crust that we had to eat around, and the egg on the one pizza was fully cooked through, rather than the deliciously runny yolk from before. The Ember Roasted Potatoes & Onions pizza (& Bacon!) remains a perfect blend of textures and flavors to my taste, but the mushroom pizza was the table's favorite this time around. They do cut the pizzas now into four parts, though you'll still have to do some work if you want to share smaller slices (they do take care to avoid the egg yolk, although in this case it was unfortunately unneeded). We left happy and too stuffed for dessert.
  12. Here's part two: "Homemade Milk Bread Part Two" on
  13. Great recs, definitely planning to check these out. Don, I think the index would be convenient for sure, but cookbooks might be one of those things where there are just more books than things to say about them. It takes acquiring a cookbook, flipping through it and maybe trying a couple of the recipes to really be able to comment on it, so discussion on all but the most popular books might be limited. I like the format of this thread, where you can write a short blurb on one or a few books of interest, and the standouts will naturally get seconded. Although it took the power of Google-fu just to find this topic in the first place, so hey, I'm certainly not opposed to a separate subforum in principle.
  14. Interesting story behind the name. The Chinese name is 西è´@è‚‰å¤¹é¦ (Xi Bei @ Rou Jia Mo). è‚‰å¤¹é¦ is the name for the "burgers." è¥¿è´ comes from a famous restaurant chain in China called 西è´èŽœé¢æ‘, roughly translated as Xi Bei Oat Noodle Village. The founder of this chain is named è´¾, which if you look carefully at the Chinese character, breaks down top and bottom into 西 (Xi) and è´ (Bei). The English spelling (pinyin) of Xi Bei can also refer to the words 西北, or northwest, hence the name. Clever play on words, and yes they serve Northwestern Chinese food. I'm assuming that the restaurant in College Park is appropriating the name è¥¿è´ out of respect, and is not directly affiliated to the larger chain, although I could be wrong. But I also saw the article in the Post and this is definitely on the top of my list to try the next time I'm in CP.
  15. Anyone have any recent cookbook recommendations? I tend to find myself enjoying books with plenty of photographs for inspiration, as opposed to the older, more textual classics (although they are a great reference, and readily available at the library). Some newer ones I've been digging are Edward Lee's Smoke and Pickles and Kenji's Food Lab. Lee's book has some really fun combinations of Asian and southern flavors, while Kenji's is more straightforward, essentially condensing his Food Lab articles and essential recipes into a beautiful, massive tome.