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JimCo

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About JimCo

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  1. No one has put it this frankly so I will, ZZQ is one of the best barbecue restaurants in this country. I say that based on visits to Franklin’s, Lewis’ BBQ and Snow’s (currently Texas Monthly’s best bbq restaurant in Texas). A field trip to Jamestown on Friday led me to my fourth visit. I ordered everything to go. Then traversed the 95 corridor late on a Friday afternoon returning to Alexandria. The staff couldn’t have been more thoughtful or helpful. I ordered a pound of turkey, and they made sure to package it with turkey fat and au jus to ensure it wouldn’t dry out. Two hours later, the brisket was still some of the best I’ve ever had. Their hot guts sausage is amazing. Turkey is fantastic. Your mileage may vary (literally). It can be a haul to get to Richmond. I know. But know if you do, one of the best BBQ experiences in America awaits you.
  2. I've always bought them at the Spice and Tea Exchange in Alexandria. https://www.spiceandtea.com/alexandria.html
  3. I agree. It's the toppings (like bacon) that make this place popular. The donuts are meh.
  4. I kind of like it the way it is, because if I’m planning a trip to Richmond I prefer having access to an overview. Individual threads would make that slightly more difficult. But either way, I’ll be glad to have it. 😀
  5. Spent a couple of days in Richmond between Christmas and New Year's. A late lunch at Edo's Squid was tremendous. I love the laid back vibe, and the place was nearly empty at 1:30 on a weekday afternoon. I started with the broccolini with garlic and red pepper. It was drowning in olive oil but remained crisp and spicy. For a main, I ordered the spaghetti with clams. This was also covered in olive oil and contained an absurd (but absurdly delicious) amount of garlic. I couldn't finish it but came close. On our way out, three servers were gathered around a table hand peeling hundreds of cloves of garlic which went into a giant basket. I wish we had a place like this in DC. On our way out of town, we finally went to ZZQ. I wondered if this would live up to the hype, but they managed to surpass it. Their brisket is second only to Franklin's in terms of the best I've ever had. It has a perfect amount of smoke. The turkey was extremely juicy, and I also loved their house made sausages. We tried the hot guts sausage, and a queso fuego which was their daily special. Both were loosely packed but with a good amount of fat. This is a special place, and I suspect it will get even more attention and acclaim over the next couple of years. If you're near Richmond, you owe yourself a chance to try it. (Sorry, the picture is a little bigger than I intended.)
  6. In appreciation for my favorite dish in this area. Their Chengdu Kung Pao Chicken continues to be the best version I’ve ever had. I stopped in for lunch today. They have a Kung Pao Chicken lunch special with rice and an egg roll. I asked if I could have the special with the Chengdu Kung Pao Chicken. They said no. I didn’t even care. The real “special” is the Chengdu version and this confirmed it. I’m always here with groups and order multiple dishes, so it was great to just focus on one outstanding dish. Outside of the traditional chicken, peanuts, and peppers, they also include sliced ginger and garlic. These take it to the next level. I’m usually a stickler for using chopsticks, but I was wearing a tie so I used a fork for safety. This also made the dish better as I could get all the flavors at once rather than one at a time. These folks take my favorite Chinese dish and make it my favorite-ist.
  7. Dinner at Rare Tavern on Saturday night was hit and meh. The cheese curds (It is a Milwaukee steak house after all...) and charcuterie board were very good appetizers. For an entree, I had the dry-aged pork porterhouse which was overcooked. The meat wasn't too dry, but it was rock hard which was disappointing since one of the points of dry-aging is to tenderize. The butterscotch pudding for desert was excellent. The service was strange. We had a group of four and the bartender took one drink order, made it, and then wandered off. He then seemed surprised when we flagged him down to order three more cocktails. Service was friendly, but our server seemed nervous and kept tripping over the remarks he was clearly required to make. Also, in our 2.5 hours there, we witnessed glassware being dropped on the floor three different times including once right next to us. The entire restaurant and bar was nearly empty at 8pm on a Saturday night. Given their location and price point, perhaps they're busier during the week for expense account dinners. But based on our meal there, I'm not sure this place will last much longer. I won't miss it.
  8. You'll be right near Makeda, a fantastic Ethiopian restaurant. My wife and I had lunch there this summer. There's a lengthy bar with some good Ethiopian beer. Tom Sietsema gave the place a favorable review. Like him, we found the kategna and quanta firfir to be excellent.
  9. Tamales are big in Texas over the holidays. I’m less familiar with Pasteles, but I trust if these folks are behind them, they are great. Order them here:
  10. Go for brunch. Order the brisket sandwich. A fried egg, fried onions, and queso can cover up a myriad of sins against beef.
  11. I've been meaning to post about Borinquen Lunch Box for quite some time. It is a fantastic Puerto Rican food truck run by a husband and wife team that serves the Northern Virginia area. Their everyday menu includes a a list of sandwiches including a Cubano. I have found that Cubano fans can be quite particular, so I'll let others judge it. I had it once and thought it was very good. What I would very much recommend is their daily special -- whatever it is. Over the past month, the specials have included Masitas de Cerdo (sauteed pork), Fricase de Pollo, Pernil (pork shoulder) and Arroz con Pollo. Each has been delicious, and served with a generous portion of rice and sometimes red beans. Free tip -- ask for the hot sauce. It's an herbaceous, oil-based concoction that goes especially well with their pork dishes. I also love their empanadas. There is usually a chicken and beef option, as well as a vegetarian (which is usually pizza). One of the first things I do on Mondays is check their Twitter feed to see if they're going to be nearby that week. If they're close, I go. They're also typically at Port City Brewery on Friday nights, where the line for them forms quite early. (PS -- They also traveled to Puerto Rico last year to feed people after the hurricane, but I don't think they have any publicists...)
  12. It is a shame that Hill Country blew it when the Texas Monthly BBQ Editor was in town. Yesterday, the brisket was on point... (Get it? Because 'point' is a cut of brisket? I'll pause 'til you're done laughing...) ...seriously though. I had two slices of 'moist' cut right off the end. A load of peppery bark on each morsel with tender beef fat that just melted in mouth. The jalapeno sausage from Kreuz' Market in Lockhart is also a must-order anytime I'm there. Unfortunately, the corn pudding is not available. The server said it would be back by November. In its place is "ATX Risotto" which was basically red beans and rice, minus the beans. It was good, but not as good as the corn pudding.
  13. Aaron Franklin has said Cutter is the most important position at his restaurant and one that takes years to work up to. Same at Katz' as I recall. This is the reason I guess.
  14. Based on recent posts to his Instagram and twitter feeds, it looks like Tim Carman is working on an interesting update to his Top 10 Barbecue list this year. Last weekend, he hosted Daniel Vaughn, the Texas Monthly Barbecue editor. According to Vaughn's twitter feed, they visited six places. He gave a thumbs down to Hill Country, and Carman agreed saying it was a particularly bad day there. He praised Federalist Pig, saying they had excellent ribs, some of the best smoked wings he had ever had, and really good sausage and brisket. He was less kind about Texas Jack's, saying the ribs, brisket and sausage were all dry. He noted that wings and brussels sprouts seemed to be the common thread in DC barbecue. I would argue that brussels sprouts are just having a cultural moment, not sure that's a 'DC' thing. I'll be interested to read the list when it comes out. Carman was tweeting from Rodney Scott's whole hog bbq in Charleston today, so perhaps he's doing a 'compare and contrast' theme.
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