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About jeffmhunt

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  • Birthday 08/15/1983

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  1. A friend and I spent the weekend trying three recent additions to the Northern Virginia hot chicken scene - it just so happens that all three have an Asian influence thrown in for good measure. Here are our results: 🥉Mama Mei's (inside The Block food hall in Annandale) wings look perfect - great color, slight shine, and good size. While the skin is pleasantly crispy and the meat is juicy, the flavor is dominated by oil and not very interesting - even the spiciest level ("hot mama") barely registers. Highlight is the hot honey walnut nuggs - chicken nuggets mixed with candied walnuts and broccoli in a Chinese takeout box. 🥈Wooboi (Herndon) wings are substantial and simply presented - the satisfying crunch is apparent even before the first bite. The meat could be a little juicier* but level 4 ("code red") has great flavor with mild Szechuan seasoning and strong heat. Level 5 ("code blue" - they make you sign a chalkboard waiver) ranks among the spiciest hot chicken I've eaten in the past 15+ years, but the intense and numbing spice mutes the flavor - even the level 3 sandwich has a noticeable kick but pleasant flavor. Good crispy waffle fries reminiscent of Arby's curly variety. *caveat - these sat in the car for about an hour 🥇Hot Lola's (inside the Ballston Quarter food hall) does not offer bone-in chicken, but the tenders are meaty, the sandwich has a heavily seeded bun, and the tender dog (exactly what it sounds like) is a solid novelty. Since there's no skin, there's very little breading and crunch. The meat has a nice chew, and the flavor is outstanding - a slight sweetness and a strong Szechuan buzz, most pronounced in the OG and Too Hot levels, but also noticeable in the Dry Hot. Best pickles of the 3 - sizable and crinkle-cut. --- Hot Lola's (funkyfood)
  2. Friends and I are doing a version of Hot Ones this summer - we've procured a selection of hot sauces, so now we need the chicken. My first thought is to just buy a pile of pre-cooked wings from some place and then heat and toss at home, but of course I want them to be plain vehicles for sauce - any suggestions? Thanks.
  3. At the risk of overrating a place that has been underrated in the past, my low expectations were blown away this past Saturday night. My party of 4 had 6:45 reservations (and needed them - the nondescript exterior makes Buck's seem less lively than it was that night, at least) and we stayed until almost 9, not least because we enjoyed our meal so much. Great for out-of-town guests with less adventurous palates (hey, one man's boring is another man's safe), the menu is simple, homey, and almost perfectly executed. Deviled Eggs were unremarkable (not bad! just had better), but Gordy’s Fried Pickled Jalapeno w/ Yogurt Dip was a nice change of pace from the fried pickles (i.e., cucumber) more prevalent in this kind of restaurant - just a little zing of spice. Crisp Iceberg Wedge Salad w/ Point Reyes Blue Cheese, Applewood-Smoked Bacon & Horseradish Dressing was fresh and well-balanced, but the revelation in the Starters was Carrot Dip w/ Grilled Flatbread - I was sure it would be a cloying glop, but it turned out to be so much more subtle (cream cheese? sour cream?) and satisfying. Aforementioned out-of-towners raved about their matching cheeseburgers, but everyone was jealous of my Pan-Roasted Halibut w/ Sauteed Green Beans, Cauliflower Puree & Roasted Pepper & Herb Sofrito Sauce - perfect from first bite to the last. Service was friendly and not too attentive, and price is very reasonable for DC. Everyone liked that the decor was cheesy on first glance, but quirky upon further inspection. Limited draft selection, but Bell's Two Hearted is always great.
  4. Surprised to see no discussion about this place beyond a final post in the old L'Enfant Cafe thread. Hoping to check it out this weekend and wondering if anyone has recommendations. Write-ups in Washingtonian, Eater, City Paper, and the Post all skew very positive.
  5. If there was any additional seasoning/marinade, it was very minimal - some (most?) places didn't even seem to use much of a batter beyond flour. Henry's (top right above) had the most substantial batter and complex seasoning, but even that was fairly subtle.
  6. Hey all, the runner-up was Henry's Soul Cafe (my personal choice) and the overall winner was Eddie Leonard. Howard China and Full Yum were pretty good, Jerry's and Andy's less so. Yum's was in the middle of frying up a party order of 150 wings, so we had to skip them. We were surprised by the variation across mumbo sauces - at worst, it was glorified ketchup, and at best, something like traditional* American-Chinese sweet and sour sauce or Chick-fil-A's Polynesian sauce. Eddie Leonard's had an almost fermented "zing" that didn't necessarily taste great on its own, but complemented the chicken quite nicely. I admit that I expected some of these places to be pulling their chicken out from under a heat lamp, but every single one fried it up fresh. The quality of the meat varied (best hands-down was Henry's), but the only straight-up bad wings came from Andy's, which used no discernible seasoning and actually burned the meat. It was a very hot day, but I'm glad we walked the full 4+ mile route mapped above - got to know the District and a few neighborhoods a little better. Stopping at Anxo for a drink halfway through the taste test was like visiting another planet. *whatever that means in this context
  7. Don, I saw this discussion in the Shopping and Cooking topic, but I thought my taste test might merit its own discussion in the Restaurants and Dining topic. As always, I defer to your expertise if you think this post should be shuffled elsewhere. This coming weekend, inspired by this video and article, some friends and I are heading out to compare several versions of mumbo/mambo sauce. I made a map of 11 restaurants and plotted a course that will hit 7 of them in about 4 miles of walking, weather permitting: http://bit.ly/mumbomap I also made a simple scorecard that you're free to use: http://bit.ly/mumbodoc Of course I'll share the results once we complete the taste test, but I wanted to check with the group to see if I missed any places, can improve the scorecard, or if you have any general advice for how to best enjoy this local specialty.
  8. Tim Carman just posted a fairly positive write-up of this latest franchise from the Tennessee-based chain. Having dined at a couple of the Memphis-area locations over the years, my expectations are very high and I will be investigating shortly. It's pretty spicy (but nothing like Nashville Hot) fried chicken and typical southern sides (menu here) in a relaxed atmosphere - at the downtown Memphis location, it was common to see folks waiting on a table with a 40oz bottle of malt liquor from the shop around the corner. Opening this thread in the hopes that someone has beaten me to the spot and can tell me if I should make the trip or just wait until I'm back in Memphis to visit family.
  9. Visit was tainted a bit because they claimed they couldn't process my Groupon since it was printed (as opposed to displayed via the app). I try to put the food above all else, but that was very frustrating. Waitress was extremely nice, but the tight basement space made the few loud patrons at the bar absolutely overpower the room. I had the egusi with goat and a side of jollof rice. The entree (menu: "Ground melon seeds cooked with spinach and palm oil") was very good, but I was especially impressed with the rice ("cooked in mild tomato sauce and savory seasonings") - very flavorful and pretty spicy. My wife ordered vegetarian combo #1 - essentially an assortment of sides. Waakye ("Brown rice slowly cooked with black eye peas and our homemade shitto sauce"), Nkontombre ("savory spinach sauteed in tomato stew with red peppers, onions and garlic"), and Yor Ke Gari ("Stewed black eye peas in palm oil"). All were exceptional. $40 + tip. We left extremely full, but we'll probably try another Ghanaian place before we come back - that Groupon bust bummed us out and the loud space just wasn't ideal for conversation. If you can, I would recommend carryout.
  10. I'm trying Appioo for dinner tonight and was surprised to find no discussion on here. Anyone been? Recommendations? It's billed as African but seems to be Ghanaian - a cuisine I'm not familiar with. I will report back on this thread later this evening or tomorrow. Appioo on Facebook "A Taste of Ghana in DC: Appioo African Bar and Grill" by Jaimee Swift on blackfoodie.co
  11. Planning to check out the outdoor market at Union Station tomorrow and looking for recommendations. Does that location have the same menu as their Georgia Ave location?
  12. Full disclosure: this review is biased by the fact that last night's dinner was my first experience with Uyghur cuisine and my wife and I let our Uyghur friend order for us in the language. That being said, I think this restaurant is a unique opportunity for our region and everyone on this board should give it a shot. We were the only customers in there for an early dinner (4:30-6:30) on Thursday, so I hope that they get more traffic during peak hours. I didn't take pictures of our meal, so the links below are to Yelp pictures from other users. We started with the Uyghur style salad - our waitress (attentive and friendly) mentioned blueberries, but they didn't appear in our version: fresh vegetables, cheese (think feta), and a subtle (lime? fish sauce?) dressing that reminded this novice of a cross between typical Mediterranean and Thai salads I've had in the past. I've seen a few different anglicized spellings of our next dish - the menu goes with Polow (think pilaf). Again, a slight discrepancy with the picture menu and what arrived: we got rice (oily, but our friend indicated that this was a feature and not a glitch), carrots, and lamb, but no raisins. Subtle flavor, but probably my least favorite of the evening - still, I'd like to give the full picture version another chance. The lamb kabobs were a highlight - well seasoned and perfectly grilled. For the full effect, eat them as soon as they arrive. I was pleasantly surprised by the meat nan - I expected the pastry to be flaky or doughy, but it was closer in texture to the chewy potstickers I grew up eating at Americanized Chinese restaurants. Everyone's favorite dish was the dry-fried noodles - clearly hand-pulled thick noodles, well-cooked vegetables, and beef lightly spiced with something like Sichuan pepper all added up perfectly. That's the dish that will call me back to this place. We ordered "spicy," but I came away with the understanding that Uyghur cuisine just doesn't go for the heat-spice of Indian, Thai, Latin, etc. - more aromatic and, with this dish in particular, mildly numbing. Not cheap but not outrageous - five substantial dishes for $75 plus tip. We left very satisfied. Based on the reviews above, I definitely want to try the Big Plate Chicken, and a few other Yelp pictures stood out - Ding Ding Noodles and cold black wood ear.
  13. I have reservations at the Dabney at 6:30pm tomorrow, with time to kill when I get off work at 4pm. Can/should I walk in the Columbia Room at 5pm? Or just Lost & Found happy hour at 4pm? Or Baby Wale at 5... Thanks in advance for filling me in.
  14. I had been to the Charlottesville restaurant a handful of times, but last night was my first experience at the Rockville location. I split a few dishes with my vegetarian wife, so I can't comment on the meat dishes yet. The Hot and Numbing Tofu was a little less numbing and a lot more oily than the version we'd had before - still good. Thanks to the forum, we tried the Cilantro Flounder Fish Rolls - crispy and flavorful, excellent. Grandma's Noodles were also a bit oily, but had a pleasant spice and good chew. Since all of the above were basically beige, we asked them to add steamed broccoli to our Mapo Tofu - probably sacrilegious, but it worked better than you might expect - excellent dish that rivaled (but probably didn't quite best) the version I love from Hong Kong Palace. Slightly off-topic, but I'm wondering if someone can point me toward more vegetarian-friendly Chinese restaurants in the area - in my very limited experience, it seems like other Asian cuisines (at least locally - particularly Vietnamese) have more options in that regard, but hopefully I'm wrong. I found the Vegetarian Dining topic, but it's more generic and a bit of a ghost town.
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