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  1. Peking Gourmet Inn is out in Falls Church/Bailey's Crossroads. IIRC It was a favorite of Pres. Bush (41). I have mostly had lunch specials there, which are usually not too bad. The Kung Pao is not too oily and not overly sauced. We do carryout for lunch from there fairly oftent - Some of my coworker's favorites include the Szechuan Beef Proper, Jade Chicken, and Fresh Garlic Chicken. Based on my semi-recent meals at both City Lights and Meiwah (neither one was very good - City Lights was horrible), Peking Gourmet is the better choice. That being said, I prefer Full Kee (Bailey's Crossroads location).
  2. As a Hong Kong native, I'm pleased to report that dinner at Tiger Fork was a satisfying taste of home for me. The combination of technique and ingredient quality accounts for much of the positive experience. Cantonese food in East Asia (and, for that matter, in Vancouver, Toronto, SF, and NYC) is represented across the full price spectrum. In the DC area, I feel that most Chinese cooking available to us is clustered around a relatively low price point. The Source comes to mind as an exception, but I've always found their interpretations to be too muted in flavor. In interviews, the team behind Tiger Fork talk about research trips to Hong Kong and the menu reads like a collection of their favorite finds. Nothing wrong with that. There's a focus on dai pai dong (street-side food stalls) classics, with some dim sum and HK BBQ thrown in. They really did their homework; I think the flavors and textures are pretty spot-on. Cheung Fun with Shrimp and Flowering Chives and the "Kowloon Buns" showed expert dough technique: chewy but not tough. The cauliflower part of the Chinese Cauliflower dish was unremarkable, but the star was copious stir fried flowering chives which were crisp and fragrant and just the right amount of oily. The BBQ Plate of pork belly, char siu (why do so many restaurants, including this one, spell it "char sui" on their menus?), and soya chicken showed textbook preparation, but was elevated by use of high quality cuts. Minor nit: the char siu marinade tastes exactly like the jar of Lee Kum Kee I have in my fridge right now. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that they happened to have perfectly reverse-engineered it for their house-made version! We didn't try any of the (heavily hyped) baijiu cocktails, but the Hong Kong Milk Tea was good: properly strong and not too sweet. We wanted to try the Coconut Rice Cakes for dessert, but they were already sold out at 7pm. The HK Style Egg Tart is, according to the Washingtonian piece on the restaurant, out-sourced to Maria's of Rockville. It's not a great egg tart. (Tiger Fork: if you're reading this, please in-house the next version. I suggest studying the Portuguese egg tart from Fat Rice in Chicago.) Front of house was run perfectly--there were no signs that it was opening week. By the time we left, the bar and dining room were packed. This is a great addition to the local scene and I'm looking forward to trying more of the menu (especially the announced dim sum brunch expansion).
  3. When planning our recent NYC jaunt, we remembered reading that the Hong Kong dim sum mini chain, Tim Ho Wan, recently opened a NYC outpost. We'd been to Hong Kong last fall and went twice to one of their outposts there and fell in love with it. So, knowing all of this, we HAD TO GO if we were going to NYC. We tried to get there the first morning we were there. They open at 10AM and we got there at 10:15 and discovered that there was a one to two hour wait. We gave up (trying to get to the nearby Artichoke Basille's Pizza, but there had been a fire there just the night before - there were a bunch of firefighters there getting instructions from the fire marshal to help figure out the source - so sad, we love that place). Rebuffed, we ended up going straight to Die Neue Gallerie and had a wonderful lunch at their Germanic restaurant on site (but that is another post!). So the NEXT day, we got smart and got to Tim Ho Wan by 9:25. We were 9th and 10th in line. Yes, yes, I HATE to wait. But they open at 10:00 and we both really, really wanted to go here so the 35 minute wait was what we had to suffer through to get our fix. Be forewarned, if you want to get in the first seating of the day, you'll probably have to get there early or suffer much longer waits later in the day. We ate our way through the menu, but we ordered two of the baked BBQ pork buns. These are SO MUCH BETTER than steaming them. The NYC version was quite, quite good, though not quiiiiiiite as amazing as those in Hong Kong. Their Deep fried eggplant with shrimp were fine, but I would not bother ordering them again. I wanted the eggplant to have far more crispiness. Their various dumplings are all worth consideration and trying out - we tried many and they were wonderful. I really enjoyed their steamed rice rolls - difficult to eat but very, very good. Their steamed rice with minced beef and pan fried egg was EXCEPTIONAL. The congee, which Hong Kong made me a fan of, with preserved egg was kind of flat. They did not have adequate toppings to doctor up your congee like I expected. I'd certainly go back here. If you can go with a group, you get to try more. And remember, this is the order off the menu on to little sheets of paper place, not the rolling trolley kind of dim some place. It's some seriously good dim sum. Photos
  4. "She (the dumpling stand owner) also opened a restaurant nearby in a small mall on Kissena several years ago and I can't remember the name, but the dumplings there were lighter and better prepared (& somewhat costlier). I think its still there, but I haven't been since the opening". Well, I made myself curious and decided to check in on this place. First of all, it turns out that Dumpling Galaxy is on Main not Kissena, several blocks past Golden Mall, where her original dumpling stand in the basement remains &, second of all, it appears that a lot has been written about her. Seems that Helen You is now quite a celebrity, with a new cookbook and lots of fans (some of whom I know well & respect). At any rate, here's some reading material on a now famous dumpling maker: Nov 11, 2014 - "Dumpling Galaxy in Queens" by Pete Wells on nytimes.com "The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook" by Helen You and Max Falkowitz on amazon.com Jun 14, 2017 - "Watch the Story of Dumpling Galaxy's Helen You" by Joe DiStefano on chopsticksandmarrow.com I'm guessing that I may have to go back.
  5. Foong Li is not great, but it isn't nauseating. We've been all over the menu at Foong Li, trying the familiar and the not-so-familar and while we have had dishes we didn't like, none were as bad as those at HEOTB. Are you telling me that we shouldn't order spicy shrimp wonton (and if so, why?) or that they are supposed to served in a greasy glop? Are you telling me that a dish that is supposed to have ginger and scallions, but has no ginger is the fault of the Westerner who ordered? Maybe I am supposed to know that authentic Chinese ginger is flavorless? Sorry - I really think this was bad cooking, not bad choosing.
  6. What can I say? I love dumplings. We went up to NYC for four days of dumplings and dumplings and general walking around. We had some excellent dumplings and some tragic ones. On the excellent side: Sheng jian bao: So far, I have not found any in the states better than the ones at 456 Shanghai at 69 Mott Street. The reality is that sheng jian bao are best from a standalone shop that is making 50 of these at once, and as far as I can tell I'm only going to get that in shanghai. but in the meantime... I can make it to 456 in nyc when I have a craving. Xiao long bao: for convenience and reliability, Shanghai Cafe at 100 Mott is pretty much my gold standard. Cash only. We did find a better xiao long bao... but it was a big trek. You have to balance your craving against the effort. Diverse Dim Sum, in the New York Food Court in Flushing, has much better XLB. But they only have disposable plastic spoons and forks. So if you trek out to Flushing, I'd advise bringing your own spoon and chopsticks and chili in oil (for the wonton below). Wonton in chili oil: White Bear, 135-02 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing. (the shop entrance is actually around the corner on Prince St.) Cash only. Three tables. There is a long menu but you want the #6. The wonton are pillowy and subtle. The chili is flavour, not heat-- if you go in expecting spicy, you will be disappointed. Although, there is usually some spicy chili on one of the tables, if you must. Or bring your own. We started and ended our Flushing trip here. Delicious. Pan-fried pork and vegetable dumpling: Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles, 1 Doyers St. Cash-only. The dumpling were fabulous. So were the pan-fried knife peeled noodles, as were the hand-pulled noodles. No air conditioning, tiny, cramped, delicious. (Not a Dumpling): Roast pork sesame pancake sandwich, Milk tea boba: Vanessas Dumpling House, 118 Eldridge. They also had tasty pan-fried pork dumplings and wonton in chili oil, but while very good they were not as excellent as the examples above. ---- Calories I ate so you do not have to: Nan Xiang XLB in Flushing. Maybe it was a bad day. If so, it was a bad day for everything we ordered here. the XLB were inedible (meat was... stale.) The scallion pancake was fried well but I think may have started life as cardboard. And the sheng jian bao were essentially just taiwanese bao that had been soaked in oil and given a very little pan fry at the wrong heat. no soup, too doughy and oily. edible- but no reason to actually eat them. Lao jia, or old street dimsum in queens crossing mall, flushing. The sheng jian bao were utterly tragic. They had been sitting under a heat lamp, they hadn't been fried enough, and the meat was not good. The guo tie otoh had just come off the stove and were pretty good, but not sure why you would otherwise find yourself in queens crossing mall. --- The New York Food Court and the New World Mall were both hopping shanghai-style food court malls, with tons of great smells. If I hadn't been on a dumpling mission, I know I would have found a lot more to inhale. There are also a couple of cute asian bakeries around town. I can definitely make the case for taking the 7 train out to flushing, starting at white bear, and then just eating your way through those two food courts before stumbling home.. possibly with a final stop at white bear before you go. Also the bathrooms at New World are some of the best public bathrooms I've been in. --- other note: Yes, we went to Joe's on our previous trip. Huge tourist trap, long waits, and the XLB were... fine? I like 100 mott better, and it's cheaper, and much less crazy. Joe's did have the best scallion pancake I'd had in years, though, so I might try to figure out how to just get one to go? Maybe.
  7. I was invited for dinner at Sichuan Pavillion couple nights ago. Prior to my visit, I searched on the web to check out some reviews...there was almost none. Despite the fact that I probably passed by the restaurant thousands of times, it never struck me to check it out. The restaurant has a "traditional chinese/sichuan" menu on the last page of menu...the remaining of the menu is what you would see at a typical Chinese-American take out joint. We ordered from the traditional menu and we were pleasantly suprised at the authenticity of the dishes. We ordered the husband and wife beef tendon/tripe appetizer, sweet and sour cabbage, ma po tofu, steamed flounder, noodles with meat sauce (chinese take of spaghetti bolognese), chicken with dried red peppers, steam beef with red sauce and sauteed pea shoots. All of the sichuan dishes definitely had a kick and numbing sensation. Compared to Peter Chang, I would rank it lower but compared to Hong Kong Palace, the Szhechuan place on 14th Street and China Star, Sichuan Pavillion fared better. Can't wait to try out more dishes with a larger group.
  8. I hadn't been to North China in 10 or 15 years. The last time I had been there, it was a better-than-average Szechuan place, but nothing terribly out of the ordinary. About a month or two ago, I got a menu from North China in the mail, and I saw that they had a lot of more traditional dishes listed. We decided to try it. We were in for a surprise when we arrived. The restaurant used to have two rooms; now it was down to one. And whereas the decor had been sort of upscale suburban, now it was much more bare-bones. The food was outstanding. We had first-rate ma-po tofu, a very spicy shredded pork and chili appetizer, a sauteed squid dish with shredded pork and finely chopped greens, and a more conventional beef & mixed vegatables dish that was very well prepared. We didn't delve as deeply into the menu was I would have liked, because there were only three of us, one of whom was my son, who is more limited in his tastes than my wife and I. But there was lots of unfamiliar (to me) stuff to try. Fish stomach, anyone? Although one visit isn't enough to base a comparison on, based on what we ate it wouldn't be outrageous to put North China roughly in the same ballpark as Joe's Noodle House. It's certainly a closer-in alternative if you're looking for non-Americanized Chinese food. The address is 7814 Old Georgetown Rd.
  9. Update on the Bethesda Fine Dining Location, which reports a May opening (credit--Bethesda Magazine)
  10. With Rockville a bit of a hike for this father of a one year old, I'm still trying to get a grip on the level of excellence the DC crowd expects from their Chinese cuisine. My education on the finer details is somewhat lacking, but I have spent a LOT of time eating in China (to the tune of 40+ trips to Hong Kong and Shenzhen), so while I'm sometimes fuzzy on the details of how the good stuff got there, I like to think I recognize it when I have it. So I figured I'd share a little place that some of us Charm City Hounds have been frequenting for the past couple of weeks, and see if any of the Chinese fiends here have had a chance to check it out. Crackers and I have been organizing dinners at Grace Garden in Odenton as of late (and who could ask for a lovelier and more capable co-host than Crackers?), and we've been truly impressed by what we've had. It's a completely nondescript strip mall joint that seems to be subsisting on its Americanized carryout menu for the Army base across the street, but they have an authentic menu as well that focuses on the chef's native Cantonese, but also includes some Sichuan and others. We've had tender fish noodles in a velvety, subtle ginger sauce. We've had complex, fiery Sichuan fish with rice powder and crispy fried bones. We've had a sticky rice stuffed steamed duck that redefines the word comforting. We've had sliced pork belly stir-fried with toban djan, pristine baby bok choy with salted fish, salted egg shrimp with a crispy fried exterior and a volcanic head gush, mixed seafood with a superbly balanced hot/sweet XO sauce... I could go on. If it isn't bad form, here's a link to a more complete post with photos: http://www.skilletdoux.com/2008/05/grace-garden.html I'm inclined to think this is a diamond in the rough. Anybody else been there? Grace Garden www.gracegardenchinese.com 1690 Annapolis Rd. Odenton, MD 21113 410-672-3581 Mon - Thu 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM Fri - Sat 11:00 AM - 10:30 PM Sun Closed
  11. It was the kind of meal where the more we ate the less satisified I felt, resulting in eating too much yet still alking away wanting a good dim su meal. The tarts, fresh out of the oven and still hot were a treat. Service was spotty.
  12. I could not find a thread for this restaurant. I'm curious about it as it's very near my house and it made Sietsema's restaurant guide for 2009. Has anyone been there? Can you recommend any particular dishes? Any other advice? Thanks.
  13. New, just open for about 8 days so far. The sign says Asian Food but the menu is Chinese. There is one noodle, congee and "Over Bridge Yunan Noodle Coming Soon" manu in a plastic holder on the table, and a spiral bound generic menu listing all the typical dishes of a generic Chinese restaurant menu, more than any one restaurant could possible do well. My strategy woould be to discuss the order with the waiter rather than pick from the huge menu. We tried Congee with dry scallop, oyster and pork thinking that it would be made with dried scallp and fresh oyster. It was made with dried scallop and dried oyster and so was aggressively fishy but the pork element was very good (if a little sparse) and the congee itself was wonderful, better than either Full Key or HECOTB. I had the HK style shrimp dumplings which had a lot of very large dumplings (2 bites per) filled with coarsely chopped shrimp, pork and veggies. But the broth was a little lacking in flavor and the filling bland. If they spice things up it will be a super bowl of soup. I will give them a little time before trying again. I do want to try the Over Bridge Yunan Noodle dishes when the arrive. From a google search, they appear to be hand pulled noodles. No alcohol yet. Open till midnight during the week and 1am on Friday and Saturday.
  14. "Red Sorghum" is one of the more challenging novels I've ever read. This was 2012 Nobel Laureate Mo Yan's first novel, and remains his most famous - it was made into a film, also called "Red Sorghum," in 1987. As with so many other great works of literature, I'm saying to myself right now, 'There's no way this could be made into a film without losing much of its "guts"' - there's just too much that goes on inside of peoples' heads for it to be conveyed on the big screen. Oh, the story can be told, but not in anything remotely resembling the strange and mysterious narrative penned by Yan. It doesn't even matter if I tell you what the book is about: "Red Sorghum" is narrated by a descendant of a family of sorghum winemakers, and he jumps back-and-forth through time (the duration of the story is about fifty years, from the early 1920s until the 1970s, passing through the Great Leap Forward (perhaps the deadliest event in human history), and ending with the Cultural Revolution), telling the strange and fascinating history of his family, and the hard times and misery they endure, with the red sorghum itself being the only thing (other than the narrator) which links together the tale. Also, don't assume you'll pick up any snippets of real-life history by reading this; you won't. So, even though I just told you what the novel is about, it doesn't make one iota of difference - it's the type of book you *must* read to understand, and it is extremely difficult to get through. It isn't the language that's difficult; it's keeping up with the numerous characters, and adapting to sudden shifts in time (without being told you've shifted in time). I've read tougher books in my life, but probably less than a dozen (and I've read some pretty darned tough books). I highly recommend "Red Sorghum," but it sure isn't for everybody - you have to *want* this novel, and steel yourself for some very complicated and confusing literature. I got to the point where, for the final two-thirds of the book, I was taking notes on the pages - titling every single page with the gist of what happened on it; otherwise, it would have been impossible for me to refer back and find something I needed to find. Is this Nobel-worthy literature? Yes. I understand the Nobel is a lifetime-achievement award, but this is a worthy component of Yan's oeuvre that contributes fully to him winning the Nobel. Writing long-form literature this complex is a skill that I could never possess, so it's difficult for me to even comprehend how someone could write something such as this - it must have taken him forever-and-a-day, and I suspect the reason this was Yan's first novel (at age 31) was that he had spent the past decade thinking about it. My guess is that it's very unlikely that any of our members have read this, but if anyone is out there (even just lurking) who has, I would love to discuss aspects of this novel with you - I read it without any help, and as I post this, I have still yet to read any reviews or critiques of "Red Sorghum." I look forward to doing so, so that I can figure out exactly what in the hell I've spent the past six months reading. Also, don't do what I did (pick the book up only occasionally) - this is a novel that needs to be read continuously; not sporadically. I am *so glad* I decided to take notes (I even bought a second book several months ago, so I could have a new one once I was finished defacing the one I read).
  15. I had heard about this place before, as my friend Satellite Will had moved to the neighborhood, but hadn't tried it. My friend, the Booz Consultant, had a hankering for some XLB, and were not going to be able to go to Rock-vegas on a weeknight, so figured we'd check this place out. It's a super cute little restaurant. I like the red brick exterior. The first floor was pretty packed and we were going to sit at a table down there, but then the waitress told us that some old people came in, and it would be hard for them to go upstairs, so she sent us upstairs. I had the feeling no one would be up there, but the upper floor was also packed. And very Chinese. I think all the Asian people got to eat upstairs. So, we sat down. Took a while to get served. They have wine and beer, maybe cocktails, I don't remember. I got a Goose Island IPA. We ordered soup dumplings (they called them pork soup buns or something like that). 8 to an order, they took a while to come. They were small-ish, and not a whole lot of soup in them. Got a Agaric Garlic Salad, that was basically wood eared mushrooms. It was dry, but when you put the sauce on them, tasted pretty good. Then we got to ordering mains. We looked around and saw these metal bowls over burners, and tried to get an idea of what was going on there, but couldn't figure it out. There was two lovely GW students from outside of Shanghai, and we looked at their menu. Different than ours, of course. It was all in Chinese language. We asked them if there was anything on that menu that wasn't on our menu, they said it was basically the same. I was skeptical. So, then the people next to us got the same metal thing, and we asked the server. He said it was a dry pot. TOTALLY NOT ON OUR MENU!! Why do they do this??? Anyway, we got lamb dry pot and pork with garlic sauce. The dry pot came, lamb, chilis, green pepper, lotus root, mushrooms. I liked it, not super spicy. My dining partner wasn't as big a fan. I liked the pork, too, good flavor. Sort of reminded me of the sauce at the Uighur place that they give you on the side. We chatted with those students, and they said turns out the dry pot was on the Chinese menu, but not on the American one. I don't know what else was on there, but I'm sure they are hiding stuff. So, the XLB crave was sort of managed, but not the best I've had. I did like the dry pot, and don't think that's easily available in DC proper. There is probably other good stuff, they seemed to have some Sichuan options, and the beef spicy noodle soup looked good, but we didn't get since I don't eat beef and she wasn't sure if she'd be able to tolerate the heat. I'd go back and try some other stuff.
  16. Liu Chaosheng - who dat, you might ask. Well, he's the guy who opened Hong Kong Palace and Uncle Liu's Hot Pot, and he's now opened Asian Origin, in the old Panache space on Pinnacle Drive as noted in this McLean Patch article. When I first received a menu, I noted its Sichuan dishes and instantly decided to compare it to HKP (not knowing at the time they're sister restaurants). The beef, tendon, and tripe dish is $9 at HKP and $12 at AO. Spicy wontons are $6 at HKP and $8 at AO. Dan Dan Noodles are $7 at HKP and $8 at AO. So the prices are higher at AO, presumably reflecting a higher rent as well as fancier décor. Now I have to decide whether to drive a little farther to HKP or stay in McLean.
  17. I read the WaPo article about this place Friday and, since I was working from home that day anyway, and am on the hunt for Shaanxi-style food, ran there to get carryout before the storm hit. The place is brand new (the sign for the old eatery is still up), and although not fancy is clean and looks nice. The menu isn't that large, it seems mostly the "burgers" rou jia mo and noodles. The service was very friendly, and we quite enjoyed the food we had. The noodles were all strongly flavored (a good thing, imho) with noticeable heat without being too spicy. the texture of the noodles themselves was average, not particularly chewy, and the noodles had less vegetables in them than the pictures in the post. We had: --Liang pi noodles--different than the ones I remembered from Xian (which seemed to have a more sesame based sauce, and more vegetables) and even from the picture in the Post-- these were noodles coated with a red/orange spicy, slightly creamy sauce, with a few things that looked like croutons tossed in (they were soft and chewy). spicy and flavorful. --Hot oil noodles--These are quite similar to Peter Chang's grandma noodles, but--and I can't believe I'm saying this as I love the grandma noodles--these might be even better. the slightly chewy texture of peter chang's noodles is better than texture of the noodles here, but the flavor here was stronger, with a slick of vinegar or some dark sour sauce at the bottom that was great. --mung jelly in spicy sauce--these were broad noodles of mung bean jelly tossed in a not-too-spicy but flavorful sauce. the texture of the jelly was great--the ribbons were much more noodle-like and flexible than most of the jelly I've had, but they still absorbed the flavors and retained heat beautifully, which was perfect for a snowy afternoon --pork rou jia mo--I didn't try this but heard it was less strongly flavored than the noodles and quite greasy, but still good overall. One nice thing--many of the noodle dishes can be vegetarian, and they even have a vegetarian potato burger. Overall we really enjoyed the food and will definitely be adding it to the carryout rotation.
  18. Shaved as in from the knife straight to the pot? Could you see them do it?? If so, this calls for a road trip...
  19. [posted on eGullet 2003-2004] Tom's April, 2003 review is here. I finally made it to Bambu for a light lunch, and while I found it edible, my meal was very ordinary. The sushi-sashimi lunch special ($8.50) included a pretty good miso soup, with finely cubed, custardy tofu, scallions and a fair amount of dark-green seaweed. The pickled ginger on the fish plank was distressingly pink, and the blandish, powdered wasabi had the texture of thick mashed potatoes. The sashimi consisted of six chunks of good, fresh medium-fatty tuna, presented atop a typically boring pile of seaweed (with sesame seeds/oil and hot pepper flakes); the sushi was one piece of flounder and two pieces of very thick-cut salmon, all fresh, but inexplicably served with no wasabi, and sitting atop poorly vinegared rice; and then there was the unfortunate California Roll, with the usual shreds of pollock, decent avocado and a bit of curiously cranberry-colored fish roe. Nothing was so terribly bad, but there's no reason to go here for sushi when Kotobuki and Makoto are just down the street unless you're driving by and want a quick, low-calorie carryout lunch. The menu also has an odd blend of Chinese and Thai dishes interspersed with the Japanese fare. Cheers, Rocks.
  20. I was out in Fairfax so I finally stopped in Nanjing Bistro (in the same shopping center as Chuy's). It's supposed to be authentic Nanjing cuisine. The menu I received has lots of pictures, so if you didn't get an authentic looking Chinese menu with pictures, you should request it. I had a cold spicy chicken dish (the sauce is surprisingly sweet with a hint of fishiness, probably from some kind of fish sauce), a bean paste fish filet, and some stirred fried veggies. None of them knocked my socks off but the food is pretty good.
  21. Guess some of you will be headed down my way now. http://news.fredericksburg.com/businessbrowser/2013/02/14/broker-new-fredericksburg-restaurant-likely-to-draw-from-no-va/
  22. I go to A&J in Annandale on a sporadic basis, essentially going either when I suddenly get a craving for their stuff, or if I happen to be in the neighborhood, which is rare. But I was there this weekend with my partner's Chinese teacher for lunch, and we wound up talking about something I had noticed for some time--with one exception, any non-Chinese there were accompanied by Chinese people. I am not sure whether this is because of the location, or because the menu is a bit restricted, or some other reason, but there is really no reason for "foreigners" not to go here, since the food is fantastic. For those not in the know, A&J is a Taiwan-based chain, called "Ban Mu Yuan" in Chinese (means half-acre field) with locations all over Taiwan, Beijing, California, Rockville and Annandale. They are specialists in "small dishes", such as dumplings, noodles, vegetable dishes, etc, though they also have more substantial fare, like pork ribs, fried chicken and other meats with rice. It's all very authentic, and on weekends you can even get Chinese breakfast foods like soy milk and "you tiao" (fried dough sticks). Prices are very good, too, though be warned that they only take cash.
  23. I was walking past the old Sorriso space in Cleveland Park and saw that it was open for business. I popped my head in to see what was up - Dolan Uyghur Restaurant Things looked to be bare bones with no decor. I saw several plates of fat noodles with stir fried stuff on top going by. If I hadn't just picked up a bunch of Thai food I would have stuck around and ordered something to go. But the menu looked pretty extensive so I'll have to return with some neighbors to order a bunch of stuff. i've never had Uyghur food before but looking forward to trying it out.
  24. I was walking back to the office after an almost life-changing Garlic Chicken Lemongrass Banh Mi from Bon Mi (about which I will post separately) and saw out of corner of my eye across Eye Street a restaurant I'd not seen before called Chalin's. Couldn't even discern from the name what cuisine it served so I walked in out of curiousity and found it to be an old-school-looking Chinese restaurant. Lightbulb then went off in my head that it used to be a downtown location for Charlie Chiang's. I would have nothing to post about except that I wound up having a long and delightful conversation with the guy who is managing the restaurant (during the absence of his wife, Jessica Zhang, who is apparently in China visiting family). His name is Kenny Wang and he was a delight. He told me the story of the restaurant's evolution from being part of the "Chiang" chain (I didn't precisely follow it, but I gather that it is now independent of what is left of the "Chiang" dynasty). We got talking about their chef and his reputation locally and among the Chinese diplomatic community and the IMF/World Bank and all kinds of special functions (with suitably exotic menu's) for which he has cooked. This led to him showing me the "Chinese menu" (in English and Mandarin) that, he confided, they give as the ONLY menu for customers they perceive as native Chinese and as one of TWO menu's (that and the regular "American" one) they give to Chinese-Americans. Non-Asian customers just receive the "American menu." I expressed interest in arranging a lunch or dinner for friends or co-workers and Kenny said that the chef would be happy to design a menu to our specifications (the only determinant being how much we wanted to spend per person) and he (with really contagious excitement) pulled out some Chinese language invoices from past events to walk me through some of the dishes we might want to consider (he seemed to think I'd be disinterested in tripe but he was so enthusiastic about it, who knows, I might go for it!). I ate nothing during this visit (rest assured I will when I go back) but what I was struck by (and what led me to post) was the energy and enthusiasm and pride that Kenny exhibited in chatting with me. I can't help but expect that, when I DO dine there (perhaps after prearrangement for some special dishes), it will be a delightful meal. I'm so glad I stuck my head in!
  25. Surprised no one has written up Da Hong Pao. Went for dim sum Saturday in short time we had between kid holiday season activities. Arrived right at 11:00 and there were about 8 tables open. Within about 20 minutes, every table seemed to be full ad 40 minutes, there was a sizable number of people waiting, though not as long as the lines at Oriental East in Silver Spring. The strength of Da Hong Pao is the variety. They have a lot of different things, rivaling some places in Chicago Chinatown, but not as many as the more extensive NYC Chinatown places. Definitely more than any place else I have been to in DMV. Had our usuals of siu mai, ha gao, yu choi, shrimp cheong fun, lo bak go, and stuffed tofu. The steamed dumplings were all well done. The lo bak go was disappointing in that it was stone cold. By the time it came, we had requested it, we were pretty full anyway, so we ate half and packed the rest to go, figuring we can microwave later. Stuffed tofu was interesting in that it was fried like Japanese agedashi tofu, with a crispy corn starch style crust. We also got fried shrimp balls which I enjoyed, but since the kids surprisingly did not like, I ate two and a half which get pretty heavy. Highlight for me was that they had the crispy roast pig. Got my week's animal fat intake, and am very happy for it. Finished with egg custard tarts for dessert which are nice and light and come as three small ones rather than two larger ones as most places seem to do. Service is generally pretty good and they are responsive with keeping tea filled. Carts that come around have mostly the steamed items, and the rest, you request using the pictures on the menus. My son liked the pictures so much he wanted to take it home. They were gracious enough to give him a clean one. This is definitely above average for DC dim sum, and head and shoulders above the rest for variety.
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