Kibbee Nayee

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About Kibbee Nayee

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    Mayor of Springfield Dining
  • Birthday 05/29/1954

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    Eating, cooking, eating, drinking, watching Anthony Bourdain and eating.
  • Location
    Springfield, VA
  1. Chef Feliciano in Springfield was a catering business until about a month and half ago, when it opened a weekday lunch counter. I'm thankful for that decision, because these are the best sandwiches in our area. The first thing you see when you walk in the door are empanadas, and trays of fresh baked one empanada and 3 chocolate chip cookies went home with me. I haven't tried the chocolate chip cookies yet, but they are large and dotted with half-inch chunks of chocolate all over. The empanada was delicious, just as I would imagine a good empanada to be. On to the sandwiches, and I took home the triple club and the Cubano. I only ate half of each one so far, but they were both excellent. The slabs of sliced pork on the Cubano made the sandwich almost perfect. The club sandwich on a sub roll was really good. Chef Feliciano tells me he orders his buns fresh-baked every day from the International Gourmet baker, about a mile away. They were indeed very fresh. Bread snobs would be impressed. He also showed me the beef for the special sandwich today -- beautiful slices of raw sirloin steak in a tub, marinating in herbs and garlic, to be blackened on the flat top and served on a fresh bun. Can't wait to try that one sometime soon. Oh, and sandwiches come with rice and beans (or chips). The bad news is that it's only open from Monday through Friday for lunch. The good news is that we have a genuine family-run business serving up very nice quality sandwiches (with a few salads and soups thrown in).
  2. Not trying to go totally off-topic, but Orthodox church festivals in general are a chance to eat some high-quality ethnic cuisine for a reasonable price, take a dip into that culture with music/dance/arts/books, and rest assured that your modest expense is going to good causes. The best ethnic Egyptian food I've had lately was at the St Abanoub Coptic Orthodox church festival in Springfield a month ago. The St Aphraim Syriac Orthodox church festival in May had some excellent Syrian food. St George Antiochan Orthodox church downtown has wonderful Syrian food too. When you go behind-the-scenes and see all the moms and grandmoms show up a few days prior, and start rolling grape leaves in the kitchen, you know you're in for the real deal. (With that, I'm sure Don will begin a new topic on Orthodox church festivals.)
  3. Yeah, if I had a choice, it would be Greek church festivals first, and then Kapnos, whenever I get my Greek itch. We're fortunate to have a lot of Greek Orthodox churches in the area -- St Sophia just had theirs at the end of May -- where you can get good food and a nice dip into the culture as well.
  4. I went to Kapnos Taverna in Ballston today for lunch with 3 companions. In a sentence, it was good, not outstanding, but good, and pretty damn expensive. Everything on the lunch menu is mezze, which forces orders of multiple items and lots of sharing, but the prices for the items are closer to full portion prices. I ordered the dolmades (grape leaves) and the charred octopus. The dolmades were the so-so vegetarian version, but they were passable. The magic was how they turned less than $1 of ingredients into a $9 menu item. The octopus was a spare tentacle, priced at $16, so about $4 a bite. Around the table were meatballs, spiced salmon, chicken and beef kabobs, pikilia (combination of 3 spreads), spanokopita, and plenty of fresh pita-like bread. This is not light eating, by far. Prepare for a heavy stomach and much belching throughout the rest of the day. Nothing was bad, and nothing was great, so I can't complain about the quality of the meal. But at just under $60 each for 4 people at lunch -- tax and tip included -- we're not talking about value.
  5. Lunch on my own today, with some mid-day time to kill before a meeting. I decided to try the appetizer-sized bowl of beef phở, along with the main of chả giò and grilled pork over vermicelli. It turned out to be a lot of vermicelli for a hot day, but I really enjoyed both dishes. The phở was nicely executed, with thin-shaved beef and a quartered meatball in a bowl the size of a big coffee mug. I didn't squeeze in any of the sriracha or duck sauce, but I applied the sliced jalapeños and basil leaves. It certainly hit the spot.The chả giò and grilled pork over vermicelli was refreshing -- I like to pour the little cup of accompanying fish sauce over it, and it seems to add a bit of balance across the flavors and textures of the dish. When Four Sisters moved here some 10 years ago (exactly when escapes me), it was the lone outpost across from a dirt parking lot for a dilapidated movie theater. It now sits prominently on a busy intersection in the bustling Mosaic District, as its grande dame of cuisine.
  6. Business lunch at Tadich Grill today. When the sourdough bread arrived, I was surprised and pleased. Hard crust, soft-fresh-warm bread, with the genuine sourdough flavor of San Francisco. I ordered the soft shell crab sandwich special, and it was excellent. The crab was fried perfectly, with no residual oil, and the toppings were fresh. This was a very satisfying sandwich.
  7. I always felt that Mussina and Greg Maddux were almost interchangeable. Maddux pitched his entire career in the National League, and mastered the art of 2 or 3 "soft-toss" innings a game when that no. 9 hole came to the plate. He also mastered the art of pitching 4 inches outside to right handed batters, getting strikes called all the time. Mussina pitched his entire career in the AL East, with loaded lineups top-to-bottom. He came within one strike of a perfect game at Boston, in one of the most masterfully pitched games of all time. I'm not looking this up, but I believe he graduated from Stanford in under 4 years. Put Maddux in the AL East for his entire career, and you have Mussina's numbers. Put Mussina in the National League for his entire career, and you have Maddux's numbers.
  8. Annual kibbeh nayyeh birthday treat, from Mediterranean Gourmet Market on Franconia Road, with the added surprise of "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" in green peppers! Digging in as these words are being written....
  9. About 5-7 years ago, this was my experience at the Birchmere -- good music, bad food. Until last night, when Lady KN and I were attending the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. The food was actually...not bad. Somebody must have upgraded the food program here. If anyone knows any details, please share. Let's start on the low note - Round Hill Chardonnay, which I can get for $7.99 at the local Giant, sells for $29 at the Birchmere. Nice markup. There certainly weren't any better choices on the wine list. But the appetizers on the new menu -- I don't know when the menu changed -- were very good. We had the Greek stuffed mushrooms, and the 'devilish' eggs, and neither one disappointed. Both appear to have been made fresh from a local kitchen. We grazed throughout the evening on the Cuban sandwich, the orange-glazed salmon, and the margherita flatbread. I actually tasted fresh basil in the flatbread, and nice flavor and texture from the 36-hour braised pork in the Cuban. (I prefer a nice slab of roasted pork with a nice slab of ham, but this version of braised pork with the requisite slab of ham was nicely done.) The attempt at pressing the sandwich was competent, but the bread's flakiness indicated it wasn't an actual Cubano bun. Nonetheless, the sandwich, the salmon, and the flatbread were good enough to be re-ordered. I was surprised by the green beans that accompanied the salmon -- they had just the right crunch, appeared to be fresh, and were seasonally appropriate. The Hamilton still has the edge in terms of quality food and drink, and downright beautiful venue, but the Birchmere has greatly improved its food program.
  10. Circumstances gave me an extra half hour to kill prior to a meeting in the same building, so I decided to stop by one more time before it moves to Rockville in July. Basically, I wanted to see if it was still as bad as I experienced on my previous visit....but I came away surprised. I had the Thursday special of Kung Pao Chicken, figuring it would be a gloppy mess of suburban Americanized Chinese. As part of the special, a smallish egg roll arrived soon after I placed the order. It was actually not bad -- nice and hot, with a good crunch and no greasiness. There was also a good meaty flavor to the stuffing. That was not the end of the surprises. The Kung Pao Chicken arrived soon after, and it was very good. The chunks of chicken were distinct cubes, the peanuts were unusually and pleasantly crunchy, and the typical gloppy brown sauce was very spare and just enough to highlight -- not drown -- the dish. I would order this dish again, but I wouldn't run to Rockville for it. I looked around at noon on a Thursday and there were 35-40 diners in the place, from Rosslyn suits to native Chinese. I'm now tempted to think that this will be a loss for Rosslyn when it moves to Rockville. However, I'm also thinking that Rockville has some powerhouse Chinese places in the lineup, so why this place would want to go up against that kind of competition eludes me. However, after today, I am somewhat saddened by Rosslyn's loss.
  11. Time for an update to the title of this thread. "Le Bledo" (minus "Dalat") is now open on Brandon Ave in Springfield, under the same ownership as the previous shop on Backlick Road. It began its soft opening on April 1. The inside space is much nicer than the old place, with seating for 35-40, and an open kitchen of sorts. I hope the owners get enough business to stay open for quite a while. They were squeezed out of their previous space because the parking lot got jammed by the drive-thru traffic for Chick-fil-A. It took over a year for them to reopen -- I heard they were sharing space with a relative in Falls Church or Annandale to stay afloat -- and I'm glad I stopped in for lunch today. This place is also open to the wee hours, but during the soft opening they will close around midnight. I have a few friends who spend time drinking the night away at some nearby places, so late night replenishment is a good idea. Today was a day where the temperature reached the mid-90s, so I decided to avoid one of the best renditions of pho in Springfield. However, being the only non-Vietnamese patron among 10 or so customers just before noon, I was also the only one not having pho. To me, it's a cold weather dish, but I suppose I have a lot to learn about enjoying Vietnamese food. My lunch was the combination banh mi, with a side of shrimp spring rolls. Both were good -- maybe the rival of DC Sandwich in Falls Church. I know that everything is made on the premises, so this is Springfield's version of first-class Vietnamese food. But I have to get back soon, maybe on a rainy day, and try the pho. Le Bledo -- 6416 Brandon Ave, Springfield, VA 22150 -- (703) 866-8911
  12. Quick update -- lunch today was pretty good. I had the char-grilled baby octopus with a side of grilled asparagus. The asparagus was perfect. The baby octopus itself was very good, but the bedding of Haloumi cheese with a quinoa salad and tsaztiki was a stretch. Just under $20 for the pair of dishes, which was less than the $24 I mistakenly spent for parking on that doggone ParkRTC app....
  13. I had lunch here today. They indicated that they are moving to Rockville Pike in July....but please don't hurry to get here before they leave! I chose the scallops and shrimp sauteed with Chinese broccoli off the daily specials menu. It was bland as bland can be, and not very substantial. This place strikes me as a tired, old, Americanized Chinese restaurant that isn't trying very hard.
  14. Lebanese Taverna at Tyson's Galleria has it as a mezze dish on the lunch menu. It's one tentacle, on a delicious little bed of celery and almonds, and today it was nailed to perfection. Perfect char on the outside, nice chew, fresh flavor, everything in harmony. I loved it. I've had it for lunch at this same restaurant in the past, and sometimes it tastes and looks warmed over from the previous night's service. Not today. Thumbs up!