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Nervous Eater

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  1. Nervous Eater

    Dining at The Wharf

    I'm honestly not that interested in trying many of the offerings at the Wharf, but I've driven there multiple times now (from Arlington) specifically for the mercato at Officina. It is awesome - highly recommended. Excellent fresh pasta, semolina loaves, cheese, house cured salami, biscotti, fritti of various types, roman pizza al taglio, and a whole butcher case. Delicious quarts of housemade soups. Chicken liver pate. Pints of housemade gelato. Seriously, as an Italian-focused home cook, I love this place.
  2. I know I should just get over it, but I'm still really disappointed that Little Viet Garden never brought back the incredible banh mi that they sold at their bakery before renovating. When they first reopened, they would always tell me banh mi were coming back soon. After two years it appears they are gone for good. They were a completely different animal from the other banh mi sold in eden center, in terms of quality of ingredients, freshness, etc. I'll get over it eventually.
  3. Last time I went to Little Viet Garden, they were actually not offering the excellent banh mi that used to be their focus when they were the deli. Does anyone know if banh mi are back on the menu (at the counter in the back)?
  4. I love Dino's Grotto. It continues to be an inviting, familiar, comforting, reliable standby for us (though we have used it for special occasions as well, which has always been a great time). Nothing like a few negronis and dinner in the grotto bar after getting home from a boring work trip.
  5. I enjoy Taco Bamba but visit (very) sporadically because of the tortillas. I guess I don't understand why they don't seem to be interested in putting their quality meats/fillings on a tortilla of equal quality. Though they do keep expanding and must be successful regardless, so what do I know? I do my best to hit Oyamel and Espita at happy hour for excellent fresh masa tortillas at reasonable prices (again: happy hour).
  6. To me, Del Ray Pizzeria is decent if looked at more as a local bar (with fair to decent bar food intended to soak up a couple of evening beers), rather than a purveyor of quality pizza. These days, in Northern VA, Pupatella remains king - however, lately I've actually enjoyed Crust Neapolitan in Tysons even more than Pupatella. The dough, at least lately, feels a bit lighter and more digestible than Pupatella. The pizzaiolo is, I believe, a cousin of the owner of Menomale and Salumeria in Brookland (both of which are excellent establishments). Wiseguys is good for NY style, and I enjoy it. Haven't been to Orso since Will Artley was there, but it was good then. I need to revisit to see how it stacks up against Crust/Pupatella/Menomale. I also really enjoy the pizza at Italian Store and have for years - it's somewhat like NY style, but also vaguely reminds me of the lesser quality by-the-slice 'za that is available block by block in every major Italian city. Nothing you'd travel out of the way for (i.e. not a destination pizzeria), but satisfying and comforting in it's on way. That's meant to be a compliment.
  7. Went into Banh Ta a couple of weeks ago and had two incredible sandwiches (as always). These folks simply do not disappoint. Layers of flavor, quality proteins, and they actually CARE about the food they are cooking (can't say the same about DC Sandwich, in my experience). They are getting ready to close (in the next month or two) to renovate after which point they'll become a sit-down restaurant. I asked if she'll still do banh mi and she said some, but not all of what they currently offer. They're also no longer keeping the market component, which I really enjoyed - picking up pickled diakon/carrots, baked goods, etc. was always a great option. It's unfortunate but the owner seems to be very excited so I wish them all the best. I'll still be going in on a regular basis. I just hope the switch to a more standard "restaurant" doesn't mean that they'll suddenly have to deal with direct competition from Rice Paper, etc.
  8. Before Chase the Submarine opened, there was some talk of a butcher-shop component (in addition to the sandwich shop). For those that have gone - has this come to fruition? I believe there was an interview with Tim Ma where he was discussing selling housemade pates, cured meats, etc. Don't make it to Vienna very often but just curious.
  9. Unfortunately, I just checked their Facebook and they were "closed for 3 weeks" as of November 2015. Someone inquired back in January and they were told to go to the slaughterhouse out in Warrenton. Are there any other worthwhile Halal butchers around? Mount of Lebanon was my go-to for grilling lamb in the summer.
  10. I definitely am not in a position to be purchasing a $1000 whole jamon but...just looking on La Tienda I see that they have some for much cheaper: Bone-In Jamí³n Serrano by Peregrino - Free Shipping. Would your ham stand hold something like this? If so, I might say what the hell and come grab that from you this weekend. I'm in Arlington Forest, a 10 minute walk from VA Square.
  11. As someone who enjoys 2 Amys but doesn't go as frequently as I'd like, a question for those of you who go more often: can you order all of the exciting "bar" menu items (the stuff that seems to be very seasonal and sits out at room temp) at a regular table, or do you have to sit at the wine bar? I'm trying to figure out the best time to go to take advantage of summer bounty. Also - any word on if they are still doing porchetta on saturdays?
  12. Nervous Eater

    Apéritifs and Digestifs

    Big fan of Cardamaro! Quick question - are you keeping the open bottle in your bar, or refrigerated? I've heard conflicting advince re: storage, due to the lower alcohol content. Same with Aperol and Campari. Right now I keep Campari in the bar, and the open Cardamaro/Aperol in the fridge (along with the Carpano). This may be completely unnecessary, not sure. Lately, before dinner, I'm a big fan of Cocchi Rosa and soda. After dinner, Fernet, Branca Menta, or Amaro Nonino on the rocks. Ace and Schnieder's have been my go-to spots for finding these.
  13. Went to Dino's Grotto tonight and had an incredible time. We had the "Fuck Restaurant Week" special and it was truly a steal. $35 for 5 courses - every course was well conceived and absolutely delicious. Dean opens with a chickpea/tomato soup - it was so tasty that several folks in our party ordered extra servings. The boar stew was also a highlight. We had some first timers who all agreed they would return to Dino in the immediate future. Just a note to Dean. Someone in,our party loved the whole grain bread (complementary at the beginning of the meal) so much that they purchased a whole loaf to go. I would urge Dean to consider offering this on a regular basis. I would gladly pay an extra $10 at the end of each meal to take a wheat loaf home. In case you couldn't tell - we love Dino!
  14. Just FYI - we attempted to go last night around 6:00 and they had about a 2.5 hour wait. So plan accordingly - just because it's Tuesday and rainy doesn't mean it's necessarily any easier to get in.
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