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Free Wilma

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  1. According to Washington Business Journal (which I can't actually read 😡) the folks from Virtue Feed and Grain are taking over the Carluccio space: "Here's Who's Taking Over the Former Carluccio's Space in Old Town Alexandria" by Rebecca Cooper on bizjournals.com It will be interesting to see what concept they go with; especially with Virtue being diagonally across the street.
  2. Tried out Hummingbird last night. It's a beautiful setting; especially on their patio overlooking the Potomac. The staff was attentive and gave good recommendations. We had a group that was slow gathering and the staff didn't rush us, and they helped us to enjoy extended visit. The bar service was generous and well-prepared. We had a dozen oysters which were good, except for the server who delivered them knew zero about the varieties. The crab fritters were terrific and had a nice spicy dipping sauce. We ended up going with the restaurant week meal $35 for 3 courses. I enjoyed the Caesar salad. The rockfish was decent, but not amazing. Our table sampled all of the desserts on the menu. The key lime bar and mud pie had the most flavor. The hummingbird cake was good and the cookie plate had some good..and some not quite as delish. I'll definitely be back!
  3. The chicken piccata is the daily special....almost every day. It's a huge portion of pounded flat, lightly fried chicken. Get it with the house salad and give it a big squeeze of fresh lemon. I also like to doctor it up a bit with their WONDERFUL roasted red pepper spread too. Simple but satisfying. My daughter raves about the cevapcici. The location is a bit odd in that the space actually used to be part of the Gold's Gym. But today it is its own separate storefront and has a very loyal following.
  4. DRP Belle Haven has been wildly successful since it opened in the spring. The bar is a great spot to grab an beer and burger after work....if you can get a stool. The buffalo chicken pizza, burgers, wings and steak salad are all hits with our family. Not a big fan of the nachos (which are oddly composed) or the duck, which was downright mushy when I tried the Ruben sandwich. This past summer they opened the terrific patio on one side (with cornhole to entertain the kids while waiting for your food) and a seasonal frozen custard stand on the other side. This outpost has rapidly become a much-needed local watering hole for many. One caveat.....I have yet to have a fully successful carry-out experience. Every order seems to have some sort of error each time, even with VERY specific confirmation of the order placed over the phone. Something seems to get lost in translation with the kitchen.
  5. Mamma's kitchen is a regular for our family. It's not fancy, but the quality is reliable and the service quite good. I love their Greek salad with gyro meat; as well as the gyro. I also enjoy their three dip appetizer too. The owner, Marianna, grew up in the Greek restaurant family business and runs a tight ship. They have a very steady lunch and dinner business...but I've seldom had a wait. The exception to that rule seems to be when they are sponsoring a fundraiser for a local school. And despite their awkward location, just off Rt. 1, there is an absolutely lovely patio for outdoor dining. Additionally, be sure to visit their Oil and Vinegar speciality shop next door to the restaurant. It is called EVOO.
  6. I love some oysters on the half shell....but this article has me reconsidering. Yuck.
  7. The slow service continues to be standard....and somewhat baffling. I LOVE their quiche. It's light, fluffy and flavorful. It comes with a simple but well-dressed side salad and is a terrific breakfast or lunch item. Clearly, it's been baked in advance. Why, then, does it take more than 20 minutes for it to be ready for me to carry out (or eat-in!) Yes, there are a few other customers in the cafe...but time management is definitely an issue. That said, the baked, pastry goods are consistently delicious and beautifully prepared. That is easily the strength of the establishment....and will keep the business afloat. The counter service for the cafe is somewhat of an afterthought...even though once you actually receive the food, it's generally quite tasty. Now after being open more than a year, I keep thinking some of the kinks will work themselves out. But alas, that's not the case for the cafe food preparation speed.
  8. This new venture opened recently in the Belle View Shopping Center, just a bit south of the beltway, off the GW Parkway. it has taken literally YEARS for their doors to open, but I'm glad they finally have done it. they seem to be first and fore-most a bakery of BEAUTIFUL European-style breads and pastries. However, in recent days they are adding to their cafe menu. there doesn't seem to be a regular standing menu for the cafe food. Each day's menu is posted on a chalk board outside and posted on their Facebook page (where they post captivating photos of dishes while they are being prepped in the mornings). they seem to have a couple of soups and sandwiches daily. I tried their Asian flank steak sandwich with cucumber cilantro lime slaw on wonderful bread. my friends enjoyed the butternut squash soup which they reported had a nice spice to it. My daughter and I split one of their HUGE chocolate eclairs and both wished we hadn't have shared! I've gotten their pain au chocolate and ham and cheese croissants for breakfast too. all have been a delight! this establishment is just nowgetting on their feet in regard to decor. they have a big glass wall that separates the cafe area from the significantly large working bakery area. the cafe is slowly adding artwork and more tables. Once they work out those minor details, it will be a wonderful spot to sit and eat. I'm definitely looking forward to warm weather when they can open their big French doors that lead to the sidewalk. Outdoor dining maybe??
  9. This is my go-to for Cupcakes in Alexandria. light and flavorful cake and creamy icing. they have some interesting combinations...but nothing too complicated either. the service is always friendly and helpful.
  10. we have eaten at zento or carried-out three times this month. They are on my husband's way home from work and are the perfect spot to meet-up or have him grab carry-out. the sushi is very fresh and well prepared. We LOVE the shrimp goyza! Really light and delicious. We've tried the Mexican tuna roll, avocado and tuna roll, spicy tuna roll and some daily special rolls. The daily special rolls are a couple of pieces larger than the regular rolls and worth the additional price. It's a nice addition to North Old town where it's pretty easy to find free parking within a block!
  11. Just spent three nights in Vegas as a plus one for my husband's work trip. There was plenty of mediocrity and a couple of highlights. For some reason I was with folks who were interested in going to "old vegas" style restaurants. But "old vegas" was just tired vegas. We went to Piero's italian restaurant and I was so bored by the menu that I had a difficult time choosing even one dish that interested me. I ended up with the linguine with seafood...which was fine. My husband got the HUGE prime rib. Also fine. They just seemed to care more about serving us HUGE portions rather than mildly interesting food. I don't care that they filmed the movie "Casino" there or that Pia Zadora entertains in the lounge on the weekend. blah blah blah! We also went to Hugo's Cellar at one of the downtown hotels/casinos. It was a dark, dank steakhouse which had terrific tableside salads and decent steaks. But the sides were banquet quality mashed potatoes and a herb crusted baked tomato. As for the highlights, we greatly enjoyed Samba/Sushi at the Palazzo/Venetian. We stuck with the more standard sushi fare and didn't delve into the Samba-type items. It was fresh, slightly inventive and we were quite pleased. We enjoyed Bouchon's terrific Sunday brunch at the Venetian. the beautiful stacked apple french toast was almost a bread pudding..and I loved it. Light, gooey, beautifully cooked apples with just the right crust. Highly recommended; as was the the side of smokey, thick cut bacon. I'd go back again tomorrow! Our last night was spent at the National Finals Rodeo...and I recommend dining somewhere else. Even for event, arena food...it was awful. But the cowboys were amazing!
  12. Decided to give The Dandelion Pub's brunch a try largely based on location and the inability to get a reservation at Starr sister restaurant Parc. Dandelion is housed in what seems to be an old Philadelphia home and was delightfully cozy on a chilly fall morning with a fire burning in the fireplace. It was actually a little difficult to identify the restaurant from the street because there wasn't a prominent sign. I was glad I'd kept the street address in my phone. Two of us went with traditional breakfast fare enjoying the 2 inch high, fluffy Brioche french toast and Eggs Benedict. I was pleasantly surprised to receive two poached eggs over perfect English muffins, rather than just one that it seems many restaurants think constitute a full entree. The other half the group went with more traditional pub menu of fish and chips and Shepherd's pie. Both were given high marks and really hit the spot on a morning that felt like fall had definitely arrived. The bloody mary's were just as spicy as requested and the service unrushed. The house has several small dining areas and fusty English vibe. The bar area has a couple of spectacular mounted boar's heads if you're into that sort of thing. A good solid choice of standard brunch food....but nicely matched with pub classics.
  13. Had a terrific dinner last night at Tinto. I went with one person who is eating Paleo, a somewhat picky 13 year old and an adventurous college freshman. Tinto beautifully met everyone's needs and had us wishing we could return again today. We had an early 5:00 reservation due to a theatre commitment later in the evening. We were surprised that we weren't the only people in the cozy dining room! By the time we left about 6:30 the place was bustling and full of patrons. There was a good deal of debate about which was everyone's favorite shared dish: Spiced meatballs, Duck Confit or Chicken Brochettes with Truffle Jus. Service was attentive but we never felt rushed. We had a couple of wines by the glass but didn't have time to sample the sangria or other speciality drinks. After such a terrific experience, we are definitely looking forward to trying some of Jose Garces' other properties.
  14. While attending a Fringe Festival production in the neighborhood we decided to give Xochitl a try for dinner. We were seated right on time and the wait staff was very responsive. They do an interesting take on the table-side guacamole where you get to customize your ingredients. We stuck with pretty basic ingredients, except for shaved black truffle which really didn't add all that much additional richness. We share the ceviche and thought it was very light and citrusy. I had the Shrimp Nogada which was incredibly rich, cheesy and stuffed in a poblano pepper. My daughter had the Pollo Frito which was fine...but not terribly memorable. We ordered dessert but all I can remember is that the mexican chocolate mousse just had too much cayenne heat to be a fully enjoyable dessert. The margaritas were well mixed and the service quite attentive. They were nice enough to come find us when my daughter had left behind her sweater. Overall the right restaurant in the right location for us. A bit pricy but relatively solid interior Mexican food.
  15. Tony Luke's has actually opened an outpost in Temple University's brand new Morgan Hall dormitory. Reports from my daughter who lives in the dorm are that the lines have been CRAZY long since the moment they opened!
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