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Mississippi Snopes

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  1. Yes, this place should be one of the top tourist sites in NYC, both for the fantastic food and the fascinating temple. Anthony Bourdain visited here on one of his shows back in 2009 (along with a trip to the fantastic Golden Mall food court in Flushing).
  2. Todd Kliman initially was a big proponent of the lamb brain karahi, but backed off on a later visit. My wife and I had the lamb brains this spring and it was a revelatory dish (sorry to be cliched, but it's late). It was like really chewy and savory scrambled eggs in a nest of Pakistani spicing. It was amazing, but the owner said he'd be moving back and forth between Pakistan and the US for a while, so I don't know what you'd get right now if you tried Khan Kabob. But when my wife and I ate there it was something entirely new and really really good.
  3. I probably eat at El Charrito Caminante 30 times a year or so and have been eating there since it was a food truck in the parking lot across from Fort Myer (20 years ago, maybe?). There are a lot of good taco options in Arlington now (with District Taco, the truck off Route 50 near Rosslyn, the truck in the parking lot in front of the Food Star at George Mason and Columbia Pike -- the one by George Mason, not the one by Columbia Pike, and El Jarochito II at the intersection of Glebe and Route 50), and some of these have more adventuresome fillings than ECC (tripe and brains and al pastor are all available at El Jarochito II). But for me, El Charrito remains by far the best. I endorse the recommendations here for the cabrito and lengua tacos, with the chorizo being just a touch behind those due to a little greasiness. But I would recommend three other non-taco items on El Charrito's menu highly. The steak and cheese is superb (it blew away a food-snob friend from Philadelphia) and the chicken tamale is basic but soul-satisfying. The star of the non-taco menu, however, is the Salvadoran-style chicken sandwich (panes con gallina). Like everything else at ECC, it is a tremendous bargain, way more than you can eat for very little money. It's not really a sandwich, since its heart is a big chunk of bone-in chicken, making it impossible to eat without deconstructing it. It also has a boiled egg, a generous dollop of mayo, and coleslaw (maybe curtido?). I seem to remember some beets too, though I'm not positive about that. It's a sloppy, delicious wonder. I lost track of Jose when he moved his food truck from near Fort Myer to over by the INS office, which was then in Ballston, so I didn't eat at ECC when it opened as a brick and mortar store on Washington Boulevard for the first several months of its existence. Jose has told me that when they first opened, for the first few months they had tripa and cachetes (cheeks) as taco fillings, but nobody bought them. I've tried to convince him that the market is more open-minded now, but he seems convinced by his early bad experience with the more exotic ingredients.
  4. When we were in Ethiopia last month, perhaps the surprising thing about the food that we saw was that in many (maybe all) of the Ethiopian restaurants we ate in they served western-style bread (white or wheat) along with the injera. If Ethiopic is serving western-style bread, it's because they do it that way in Ethiopia too.
  5. My wife and I spent nine days in Addis Ababa (and Lalibela) last month (March 2016), so I thought I'd add a little about the food. I should immediately say that our trip wasn't food-focused and that getting around Addis to go to restaurants is not at all easy (especially for non-Amharic speakers like us), so our contribution to this discussion might be discounted somewhat. Moreover, we had decided (in part thanks to Todd Kliman's suggestion on Twitter and the vehement recommendation of every Ethiopian-American we know) not to risk any raw meat while we were in Ethiopia, so we missed a key part of Ethiopian cuisine. Restaurants (in Addis Ababa unless otherwise stated) - Habesha 2000 (described by qwertyy above) - We ended up eating here twice, both times taken by friends of an Ethiopian-American friend of ours. This is a famous "cultural restaurant," which features a wide array of traditional Ethiopian food and traditional dances at night. But the crowd was more than half Ethiopian both times we were here. Both times, at our hosts' suggestion, we ate from the buffet. At lunch we had the "fasting menu" buffet, which is vegetarian with no animal products at all (including no cheese and no eggs - vegans would have a very easy time eating in Ethiopia). The next night for dinner, we ate from the full buffet, with meat (but no raw meat). Both times I tried the tej (honey wine, I guess) and was as underwhelmed by it in Addis as I have been in the USA. The food was good at both meals, but except for the all-teff injera (which is far better than the typical mostly or all wheat injera in the US), not quite as good as the better Ethiopian restaurants here in DC. That's probably to be expected from having eaten off the buffet, which tend to tone down the food a good bit everywhere. The dance show is tremendous, however, so I highly recommend a visit to Habesha 2000, for that reason alone (especially if you are interested in learning the shoulder-shrugging "chicken dance"). - Taza Cafe - This restaurant/bar, which is just off Gabon Road near the intersection with Bole Road, is just a local place, though a good bit more upscale looking than the other nearby restaurants. The menu, which is all in Amharic except for western dishes like hamburgers, is massive. But both times we stopped here, all they really had was mixed veggies, shiro (a pureed lentils dish), fir fir (basically injera with shiro, I think), and lamb tibs. It was fine, but nothing you would ever seek out. - Eggy Yummy Diner - This is the inhouse restaurant at the Bow Hotel and is only one of many reasons to stay there (other reasons include the warmth, knowledge, and helpfulness of the husband and wife Canadian-Ethiopian owners -- and the unbelievable $45/night price). The "mixed juice" is one of the greatest things I've ever had -- it's colorful pureed layers of whatever fruit is available plus layers of pureed avocado. All the guests were scarfing this stuff down (at about a dollar a glass). The western food (especially the breakfast) is well done, and the small Ethiopian menu of standards (fir fir, tibs, etc.) cooked by Aster (the co-owner wife) was easily the best Ethiopian food we had in Ethiopia (and would be excellent even by the competitive standards of DMV's various "Little Ethiopia's"). Real zinginess and flavor, plus much better injera than we can usually get here. - Ararat Club - There has been an Armenian community in Addis Ababa since the 19th century, though it is much diminished now. My wife and I love Armenian food, so we made an effort to seek out this hard-to-find Armenian restaurant located in what is left of Addis Ababa's Armenian neighborhood. The restaurant was prettily decorated and it was a pleasant meal, but it was really more generically Middle Eastern than Armenian. The menu focused on such standards as hummus, stuffed grape leaves, and kabobs, with just a few items that might be distinctively Armenian (manti, e.g.). Ararat receives good reviews in the guidebooks and on TripAdvisor, but it was slightly disappointing. - Jewel of India - This restaurant, located on a side street near the intersection of Bole Road and Gabon Road, is directly across the street from a huge furniture store and a large Yemeni restaurant. It receives rave reviews from the guidebooks and from most reviewers on TripAdvisor, and deservedly so. This was probably the best meal I had in Ethiopia. We had a lamb curry, a fish dish (maybe jalafrezi), and an appetizer of grilled meats (accompanied by a tomato with a candle inside). We just had northern Indian standards, but they were complex, and delicious. If this restaurant were in Northern Virginia, I'd be a regular there. - Little canopy shelter by the side of Lake Ziway (in the Rift Valley). There is only one thing to eat here. Just-caught wild tilapia are cleaned on the spot, fried in a propane-heated pan, and eaten with your hands from a paper plate while you are perched on a cheap plastic chairs -- with the bones thrown to the dozens of huge wild lake birds clustering a few feet away from you (pictured below). Quite an experience and wild tilapia is far superior to the farmed crud. - Sora Lodge (Lalibela) - Lalibela is known for its 11th century rock churches, not its food, but the food at the Sora Lodge was solid, both the western style breakfasts and the limited menu of Ethiopian standards. The only miss was the hamburger, which was made German-style and has way too much bread for the amount of meat. The setting is gorgeous, as you eat overlooking a deep mountain valley. The hotel is top notch too. - Mamma Mia! - This lovely Italian restaurant was my wife's favorite meal of the trip and I really enjoyed it as well. It is in a lovely garden setting. Bruno, the owner, is half-Italian and half-Ethiopian and ran a restaurant in Italy for several years before moving to Addis. There is no menu -- Bruno tells you the day's offerings in perfect English (with a charming Italian accent). The food is upscale Italian, heavy on the house-made pastas. My wife was blown away by her agnolotti (and tiramisu); I am not wildly crazy about Italian cuisine in general, but enjoyed my conchiglie dish. The guidebooks and online commentary seem to agree that this may well be the best Italian restaurant in Addis right now (and Addis has lots of Italian restaurants). - Airport cafes - Do not eat at the restaurants in the chaotic Addis Ababa airport.
  6. I don't have enough experience with Paris to pretend to be able to add anything to the discussions here about the best bistros and brasseries or the latest hot chef. However, before heading to Paris I did a lot of studying on the English language foodie sites to try to find the most popular African restaurants. We finally settled on Restaurant Fifa, a Beninoise restaurant near Gare du Nord (16 rue Joseph Dijon). We really enjoyed our meal there -- the cuisine of Benin appears to be fairly distinctive by comparison with other West African cuisines -- but the welcome was what really made the experience for us. The owner is very friendly (no English, but we were with a friend who is fluent in French) and seemed to relish the opportunity to explain the whole menu to us in detail. Among the dishes we ended up sharing were attieke (a dish made from fermented dried cassava), gboman ablo (spinach with beef), an excellent grilled chicken with a red corn dough cake with tomato sauce added (amiwo au poulet, apparently the national dish), and grilled fish. Fifa is also a hangout for African artists, so the people watching is excellent. The neighborhood, which is heavily African and Arabic, is also fascinating.
  7. It's not exactly off the beaten track (Yelp had it as the #7 favorite readers' restaurant in the USA for 2015), so the lines are long, but Gaucho Parilla Argentina is worth the hassle. Lots of grilled Argentine meat sandwiches (with chicken, seafood, and fish -- way more variety than you'd likely see in Argentina), empanadas, a few small plates like a seafood stew (caldo de mer), provoletta. Very casual and fairly cheap -- you order at the counter. We ate well in our long weekend in Pittsburgh (Aug. 2015), but Gaucho Parilla Argentina was definitely the highlight of the trip. It's located on Penn Avenue, down at the end of the Strip, so parking is a hassle on the weekends too. Still, it's worth it.
  8. Abay is the place where Tony Bourdain went with Tim Carman and didn't like the tere saga (kurt). He mimed just biting into the big hunk of raw steak, which is not how you eat it, of course (it is sliced and dipped into sauces). Nevertheless, the image has been enough to deter my wife from being willing to eat here, so I've never actually been to Abay Market to eat (but have bought berbere here). But I wanted to share what seems to me very useful information from a post on Yelp -- according to the poster (Roderick L of DC), the English menu at Abay is not the full menu. There is a second menu, only in Amharic, on each table, which is about the size of a business card. Roderick took the trouble to translate the full menu: (Original Amharic Text/Transliteration/Best guess what it is): Abay leyu quret (special raw meat) Abay dulet (tripe and other bits) Abay kitfo (raw ground beef) Gored gored (raw chunks of beef- difference from tere sega is unknown) Yebeg tibs (lamb) Yebere shnt tibs (beef ribeye) Yebeg alicha (lamb yellowish stew) Yebere choma tibs (fatty beef) Yequanta tibs (dried beef/jerky) Yequanta firfir (dried beef with injera bits) Melasena sember (tripe and tongue) Ayibe kitfo (cheese kitfo?) Apparently, the dulet, yequanta tibs, yequanta firfir, and melasena sember are missing from the English menu.
  9. This is pretty far from you, but Showa Baltena Market, an Ethiopian grocery on South George Mason Drive in Falls Church (near the Skyline shopping center) carries teff (grown in Idaho!). It also carries a selection of Amish foods and products. https://share.america.gov/ethiopians-build-largest-u-s-community-in-d-c/
  10. Halalco, which is in the shopping center on Hillwood Avenue near the intersection with Annandale Road, has a fairly extensive selection of halal meats. However, it is a big step down from the Lebanese Butcher -- it's cramped, crowded, and has a much smaller selection. Still, at least in the Arlington/Falls Church area, it's the only source I know of for fresh goat. Troika Gastronom, a Russian grocery in the same shopping center, is worth checking out too. Their house-made borscht is excellent and they have a wide selection of Eastern Europe and Russian canned goods and teas.
  11. Max's Kosher Deli, whose turkey/lamb shawarma was by far my favorite food at Nats Park, is not on the online listing of the 2016 food vendors on the Nats website. Has anyone walked by there to see if they're really gone? If so, it's a huge loss.
  12. There is a new cart just added at about section 110 or so that has turkey and veggie wraps, fruit salad, hummus, and other healthy looking stuff. I saw the cart for the first time this past Sunday (May 24).
  13. The butcher side of the Lebanese Butcher is a gem. They have their own slaughterhouse in Warrenton, so the meat is fresh and they are amazingly patient about giving you the exact cut you want. I once ordered lamb ribs and they went out to the just arrived truck, brought in a whole lamb and hand cut the ribs for me -- they even deboned all the birds for a Thanksgiving turducken, at no charge! Language can sometimes be a communication problem, but it's well worth the effort, especially if you like goat, which is superb here. Because of the language, I'm not sure positive about this but I think their chickens may be free range. I asked the son (it's a family shop) if they raised the chickens themselve in Warrenton. He said yes. I asked how they kept them during the day and he seemed puzzled at the question. After a little back and forth, he said, "they just walk around the yard, of course." The prices on their chickens are about the same as Safeway or maybe a little lower.
  14. I don't know how the service has stood up to the crowds, but pre-Sietsema the service at Present was superb. I've eaten there only three times, but the second and third times the owner greeted me at the door with an enthusiastic "so good to see you again!" He and the other servers have patiently spent ten to twenty minutes helping us review the menu in detail and making recommendations about what to order. It's a little sad to hear about the new crowded Present, but I've never been more in agreement with a three star review.
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