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  1. Not trying to go totally off-topic, but Orthodox church festivals in general are a chance to eat some high-quality ethnic cuisine for a reasonable price, take a dip into that culture with music/dance/arts/books, and rest assured that your modest expense is going to good causes. The best ethnic Egyptian food I've had lately was at the St Abanoub Coptic Orthodox church festival in Springfield a month ago. The St Aphraim Syriac Orthodox church festival in May had some excellent Syrian food. St George Antiochan Orthodox church downtown has wonderful Syrian food too. When you go behind-the-scenes and see all the moms and grandmoms show up a few days prior, and start rolling grape leaves in the kitchen, you know you're in for the real deal. (With that, I'm sure Don will begin a new topic on Orthodox church festivals.)
  2. Situated on Lake Anne in Reston, Kalypso's Sports Tavern, with expansive outdoor seating across from the dock area and water. Plaza is dated due to the concrete theme of 1970s construction, but there are several recent additions to the area which all appear to be fairing well. Had not been here in some time but found ourselves there Sunday and decided to give it another shot. Outdoor seating area was nice, umbrellas are a little worn and could use a cleaning, but the open-air area was nice. They have improved their ordering system so it is automated and very efficient. From Humus appetizer to dinner salads, entrees and kids meals, everything was fresh, and nicely prepared. Service was efficient, and food came out quickly and hot. Lucky for us they had live music Saturday evening starting at 5:30 PM, which was great for atmosphere. Place was decently busy and when we departed around 7, there were people waiting to be seated.
  3. Could folks list restaurants (Middle Eastern, Greek, Mexican, Turkish) that stack their cones with real meat, instead of the processed stuff? I don't care if the meat is frozen; I just don't want it processed. I don't care if it's ground and mixed with spices; I just don't want fillers. I'm talking about something like this: as opposed to something like this:
  4. Mamma's Kitchen is 5 minutes away from me and pretty much what the OP describes Mamma's Kitchen has been our family spot for years. It's close by and they're very consistent. It's been run by the same Greek family since it opened. It's casual, family friendly comfort food. The menu is made up of various cliches like fettuccine alfredo and lasagna, but also a smattering of Greek dishes like mousakka. Nothing very adventurous, but the food is good, everything is made fresh and there's zero chance you'll leave hungry. And the gyros are great.
  5. Continuing my theme of restaurants that I enjoy but that most would probably abhor, Anthony's Restaurant is an old standby when in F-Church and needing a good bite, cheap. Sure, you need to keep a blind eye to the décor, make it two blind eyes, but for my money, they churn out a number of quality items. Highlights include the Gyro, Chicken Suvlaki, and Steak & Cheese -- all piled high, well seasoned and appointed. A basket of crinkle cut fries (yes!) or rings will complement those items nicely. I've also had their pizza, which is good, tho it can come out with too much cheese at times. I think their tzatziki is pretty good too. **Waves good bye to whatever credibility existed** My next post will be on the delicious club sandwich that can be had at the Cheesecake Factory"¦
  6. Kliman has listed this place in his chats recently. Spit-roasted pork sounded like a good idea today, so I stopped in for lunch. Yia Yia's is a smallish place, and somewhat awkardly laid out. You order at a counter, and then shuffle around being in everyone's way for 10 minutes or so until your order is ready. There are several tables as well, although it looked as though the food was still delivered in takeout containers. The menu is succinct. There are 3 options for gyro: chicken, pork, and beef+lamb, all roasting on vertical spits behind the counter. The pork looked the best of the three today, and that's what I chose. The pork was well-seasoned, and as promised, there were plenty of pleasantly charred crispy bits, along with more tender pieces. The sandwich was served on thick, soft, pita with a healthy schmear of tzatziki and a small handful of chopped tomatoes and onions. It's definitely filling, though the hand cut fries I saw people munching on may be worth a try on a return visit. If you're in a hurry for lunch, it may be a good idea to call in your order ahead of time, as there seemed to be a good bit of confusion expediting the orders, and had I not remained visible while waiting, I think my order would've taken much longer to come out. Anyone else in DR-land stopped in here?
  7. Eleni's is not yet open, but the signage is mostly in place and a look through the front door reveals "Eleni's" etched in the glass that separate's the entrance area from the dining room. A quick Web search reveals no other Eleni's this side of Crete or Washington State. What Springfield needs like a hole in the head is another family-run Greek restaurant. I'm looking forward to see what Eleni's will do to distinguish itself from Delia's or Saratoga Family Restaurant or Springfield Restaurant or even Malik's. The concept is ubiquitous, sort of like opening a Pho shop in Falls Church.
  8. Still true in my experience, unfortunately. Our server was ostensibly charming but overbearing. The pacing was horrible. Once he took our orders, he largely disappeared. At one point, I wondered if he'd clocked out for the night. While it was a busy Saturday night and the kitchen might have been in the weeds, he did nothing to apprise us of the status of our orders. He also did not bother to course the various parts of my order, though I should have been assertive about that. It was bad to assume that he had a plan. I shied away from the entrees (starting at $35) and instead ordered a first and second course and a side dish. I'm accustomed to servers asking how I would like items to come out under those circumstances. He didn't. I should have asked about that, so mea culpa. But, really, a professional waiter should have known better. I didn't get any food (except bread) until almost an hour after placing our orders. The rest of the food came out somewhat haphazardly, in part because two people shared a first course and one person got a first and second. Even when the entrees were coming out for everyone, though, they didn't all appear at the same time but in bursts. (I was the only person who didn't order an entree.) The food (after all this) was okay. Decent. Fair. There were some bones left in the filleted whole branzini. One person who ordered crab cakes didn't like them enough even to finish them. Looking over at the Caesar salad (ordered by my husband), I thought it didn't have any lettuce in it. There was a mound of stuff in the center of a plate. It turned out that everything was covered in a blanket of grated cheese and dressing, rendering the lettuce invisible in the dim lighting of the restaurant. It did have an actual Caesar dressing on it, though, with anchovy coming through. When I finally got my food, there was barely enough room for the three large plates on the table. My favorite was the brussels sprouts with wild mushrooms. I wolfed them down and didn't really note what was in their sauce, I think a vinaigrette of some sort. (Balsamic?) The sprouts were crisp-tender and cooked to my liking. The grilled calamari was cold by the time it reached me. Other than being a little on the tough side (and cold), it had a pleasing smokiness to it and was pretty tasty. The red and yellow beet tartare at first appeared to have been cooked, which puzzled me, until I realized it was simply the way everything had been diced and formed into a cake. (Not being able to see much was a hindrance to appreciating the visual aesthetics of the food). That was bathed in what seemed to be a citrus vinaigrette and had some bits of feta mixed in. I can't comment much on the food I didn't eat. Most of the plates looked good insofar as I could see them. The plating of the filet mignon with asparagus and potatoes was especially attractive. There was also an amuse bouche, which seemed to be tuna tartare. It was served with a couple thin shavings of something that seemed to be hard cheese but had no real flavor. I still don't know what that was. No one at the table particularly liked this. The ambiance of the restaurant is pleasant enough, and I can see it being described as a romantic dining spot, if only because it's very dimly lit. The courtyard is charming. This place is impressive on the surface. We were someone else's guests, and the person paying the bill didn't notice the auto-grat, so he added in a tip on top of the total, Fortunately someone at the table noticed it and pointed it out so he could "X" out the additional tip. I'd like to think the server would have pointed it out if it came to that, but...yeah.
  9. We stopped by this place just to get a drink. While there we picked up a homemade "Ring Ding." Amazing! Don't know if they have this every day, but if you stop in and they do have it, better pick one up as it was delicious. It was the yummiest thing we ate in NYC during a weekend of plenty of good eating!!!! As a kid I didn't even like Ring Dings, but this thing was a winner.
  10. After the Post listed their cheese pie in their cheesy-dish guide i thought I'd stop by and get some carryout, and i was glad i did. The shop seems mostly designed for lunch--they close at 6. they have a number of savory pies, and a couple sweet ones too, and at least one cake and some salads in a case. the savory pies come in spirals and rectangles, and large and small sizes, so if you want you can sample more than one pie. most of the pies feature cheese and most may be vegetarian--i've had plain feta, spanakopita, cheese and olive, and cheese potato and leek. They were all tasty. They make their phyllo in house and you can tell--it's quite different than the usual stuff, thicker, you can taste the olive oil, and just overall much more flavorful. it's hard to explain but usually i feel like phyllo mostly adds crunch. theirs is an ingredient, not just a wrapper, and adds its own flavor as well.I was slightly apprehensive about getting an all-feta pie, but their feta (as the sweetheart of a proprietor informed me) is from greece and quite different. she was so proud of it she gave me a mini pie to try right there to show how mild it was, and she was right, it's very good. It was also lovely to talk to someone so proud of what she was doing, and her ingredients that she just had to have you taste her product. if you get carry-out, you pop the pie into the oven for a few minutes and it crisps up beautifully. i think that with a salad, one pie is more than enough for dinner for one person.
  11. I tried Kyma yesterday evening for a light dinner and came away feeling - meh - another corporate concept restaurant. Think a very small Zaytynia without the zing (same architectural designers, the executive chef came by way of of Jaleo in Crystal City) - exposed brick walls, minimalist furniture and decor, open kitchen with wood burning oven. The place bills itself as a Greek mezze and Spanish tapas place. All menu items are color coded: yellow for Spanish, blue for Greek. We tried a couple of their "pizzas" - the pide "Athena" with Greek meatballs in a tomato and eggplant sauce with feta, and the cocas "Catalana" - roasted red peppers, caramelized onions and goat cheese. Both come on a long narrow piece of flatbread - tucked up in the corners for the Greek pizza. At $6.00 each, these were tasty and well executed. We also tried a couple of meat tapas: montado de lomo- marinated pork loin smothered in roasted piquillo peppers on a large toasted roll, and the pothi arnou - lamb shank morsels with eggplant puree and rosemary glaze in a baking ramekin. Neither one wowed us as the meat had very little flavor, the pork was tough, but the eggplant puree was nice. As with so many of these concept places, I'd wager that there was nobody in the kitchen last night who was either Greek or Spanish. I won't go out of my way to go back, but I'll probably try it again to try some of the other tapas. A couple of heads up notes: if you want some bread to sop up any sauces, it costs $5, and a soda will set you back $3.50.
  12. This is an interesting situation for me as moderator, and if we had an existing thread for Boss Hog's (we don't), I'd probably mark that as closed and give Simply Fresh a clean slate. Chef Rana (Rana is her first name) took over Boss Hogs in June, 2015, and changed it to Simply Fresh - both the interior and the patio look *nothing* like I remember Boss Hogs looking like, so unless I'm not remembering correctly, she really gave it a redo. I was driving in McLean, and was planning on going somewhere else, but I saw the sign for Simply Fresh, and it looked brand new to me, almost like some sort of grand opening, so I parked on Elm Street and marched on in, shocked at how nice looking the restaurant is now. It's still a cafe, but it's very clean, and looks like it just opened last week (the cashier told me it's been open since the summer, which surprises me). The cashier is a young gentleman, and Rana is his mom (I'm assuming from the language on their website (they have a second website, apparently for online ordering) that she's the owner as well as the chef). Since he's attached to the restaurant, and since there's such a diversity of items on the menu, I trusted him, and flat-out asked him what he liked. "I really like the lamb," he said, and so the lamb it was. This is where it gets even more interesting for me, because last night I went to Hula Girl in Shirlington, and had what amounted to a blue-plate special with their steak teriyaki. As it turns out, the Roasted Lamb with Potatoes ($12.99) made these two restaurants, in my mind, somewhat alike - the lamb, too, was a blue-plate special. The dish was like something my mom would have made (if she was Greek) - a few slices of fully cooked leg of lamb, high on the flavor meter, accompanied by large, bite-sized chunks of roasted potatoes, and a side salad - both dishes (this one, and the one from last night) were meat-starch-salad, were about the same size, and were about the same price; the only thing different - vastly different - is the atmosphere of the two restaurants: Hula Girl is a bright, loud bar; Simply Fresh is a quiet, workaday cafe. I had just gotten some always-needed cardio, and was starving - I knew halfway through the dish that I was not going to be terribly full, despite it being a perfectly reasonably sized portion of food. Knowing that the Orange Bowl was starting at 4PM, and that I'd be plastered in front of the screen (I'm watching and typing at the same time), I wisely got a second dish to go for later in the day, which was a "special" listed on the chalkboard out in front of the restaurant - however, the exact same dish is on their regular menu, so it was more marketing than anything else. I figured the Roasted Chicken with Potatoes ($9.50) would be the same plate of food as the lamb, and other than substituting chicken for lamb, it was. An uncut, half-chicken was well-roasted - rubbed, moist, and super tasty - whether or not you get the chicken or lamb depends solely if you're in the mood for chicken or lamb - I can recommend them both as good, hearty plates of food - nothing you'll remember in a month, but solid. Just having finished the chicken dish a few minutes ago (I didn't even need to heat it up), I realize that this was my final meal, and final write-up, of 2015, and I can't think of anything I'd rather do to celebrate the New Year, than to support a local, family-owned, mom-n-pop (or, in this case, mom-n-son) restaurant - Hula Girl, too, despite it's pomp and circumstance, is pretty much of a mom-n-pop; just in a completely different style (and most likely with some investors). Simply Fresh (the sign says, "Simply Fresh - barbecue & more") has BBQ, and a couple girls walked in and picked up a $100+ order, undoubtedly to celebrate New Year's Eve. Simply Fresh is big on breakfast, and across from the counter on the right, where you order your meal, it also has a counter on the left, with a pastry display case and an Illy coffee setup - this is probably where the cashier is in the mornings (have a look at this breakfast menu, and file it away in your head for future reference). They're open 7 days a week at 7AM each morning, except for Sundays, when they open at 8AM - I would not hesitate to try the breakfasts here. It's a pleasant, albeit somewhat stark, place to eat, and you won't regret coming here, although it wouldn't surprise me if there was a clunker or two on the menu (when one person does all the cooking, it's hard to do *everything* well). Over the next hour or so, I'll be either cursing at the TV or jumping with joy (Clemson is down 17-16 at halftime to a resilient Oklahoma Sooner team), and then, when it's over, I'll forget about it (unless Clemson wins), and I'll be spending this evening doing exactly what I want to be doing, given that I can't be with the people I want to be with: staying home, not having a drop to drink, relentlessly practicing a Beethoven sonata, maybe watching a rerun or two, and being thankful for this wonderful community. Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that 2016 brings you everything you wish for, and please remember always how grateful I am to have you in my life.
  13. Why can't anyone open a diner here like they have in NY? Where you can order everything from eggs, eggplant rollatini, or souvlaki, etc.
  14. My wife and I have been going to Havabite in Old Town Fairfax for a while now. Our kids love it. In fact, my daughter picked it for her birthday dinner yesterday. My daughter and I are fans of the bacon pizza. Not bacon bits, but nice strips of bacon. My wife generally gets the chicken souvlaki. Last night, we ordered the hummus appetizer and enjoyed that too. They also have gyros, Greek salads, Greek appetizers, Greek entrees, pasta, calzones, subs, and burgers. This place is very reasonably priced and offers friendly service. That's friendly service, not necessarily speedy service. They sometimes take their time. But, I mainly wanted to post this to mention the friendly service they provided last night for my daughter's birthday. We ordered my daughter's birthday cake from Victoria's Cakery, which is on the same block as Havabite. Unfortunately, they close at 5 PM on weekdays and we weren't going to be able to get there in time. When my wife mentioned that we were hoping to get the cake when we were in the area at Havabite, they suggest we ask Havabite if they can pick it up for us. Well, we did and they did. They picked up the cake for us and kept it for us until we finished dinner (around 8 PM). Then they brought it out for us with plates and forks.
  15. Just wanted to alert everyone to a new Greek restaurant in Reston called Mykonos. They have been open for just over a week and are located where Peppers BBQ used to be at 1810 Michael Faraday Dr, Suite 11. off Sunset Hills just before and across from the Reston Post Office. I talked to Nikki Dimitriou who was acting as hostess and waitress when we were there this past weekend. Evidently her dad Andreas is one of the owners with Costas who used to be at Sylvanas (sp?) in Herndon. We first discussed the renovations of the space. For those of you that aren't familiar with the previous tenants this location was dark, brown, and to me just plain dirty and run down. It's now been transformed into a lovely space that is open and inviting. Evidently Andras and Costas did all the work themselves. It's a small space with about 40 seats (plus a couple at the bar that overlooks the kitchen). As to the food I ordered the Mykonos Combination and the hubby just did the salad bar and then we split everything. The Mykonos Combination was a wonderful combo of mousaka, pastichio, soutzoukaki (meatballs) and spanakopita. Also accompanying this was wonderful fasolakia (braised greenbeans), oven roasted potatoes, and real garlic bread. All of the main entries called house specialties come with a very nice salad bar. We ended up with a very satisfying feast. To end our meal we had bakalava. I like mine cold but Nikki also offered to warm it up if we prefered. We really enjoy the food and the friendlyness of everyone there. I think that this will be a nice little gem in Reston. They are open early for breakfast from 6:30 - 11am, and are open till 9pm Monday through Saturday and closed on Sunday. For those that are interested I'm typing in the most of the menu for you. If you need a description on something let me know and I'll add it, otherwise I'm just giving the titles.
  16. Vaso's is opening a 2nd location soon. "Vaso's Kitchen Preparing New King Street Location" by Drew Hansen on patch.com -- [sorry about the tweets guys; I hadn't had my coffee yet.] (Glad you had such a nice time, SeanMike - nobody deserves one more than my good friend.)
  17. Aside from the place on Connecticut, where else would you go for good Greek food? I know, there's Zaytinya, but I'm looking for something that's entirely Greek, not referential. And, is there a specific occasion that warrants plate throwing, or is it just for fun?
  18. Has anyone been? I have a reservation for Friday, and I can't find anything on DR.com about this place. I would be very grateful for feedback from anyone who have information. And dear mods, if there is a topic already, feel free to move this post and delete the duplicate. Cheers.
  19. With apologies if this topic already exists but couldn't find it with a search using highly complex and proprietary methods Great shop owned by a wonderful European couple which has been open almost two years. Just a few storefronts north of La Tomate, the store has a wonderful and thoughtfully-chosen selection of a wide range of products from Greece, Italy and around the Med. Vinegars, cheeses, pastas, coffee, some refrigerated lunch or dinner items and some really wonderful honeys including one (Stayia) from a small Greek producer only available here and at Bread Furst, who get it from these guys. Really worth checking out next time you're in the Dupont area or need something specific of Greek provenance. Niko and Oana are both really knowledgable and hospitable. Sort of a mediterranean-focused concept like the new Indian Pansaari on 17th but in a smaller space. Online here.
  20. In that ubiquitous category of consistently mediocre suburban restuarants that offer Greek and Italian fare, and lots of it, but not all that good, but definitely the place to take your kids, or maybe your grandmother, there is the Springfield Restaurant. And there I was for lunch today after a haircut at the hallowed institution of Bob's Barbershop. (Note to all men in northern Virginia -- if you get your hair cut at any place other than Bob's, you're missing the best of the soon-to-be-extinct regular American barbershops.) Springfield Restaurant is similar to Delia's in its offerings, with the exception of an incredible weekday buffet. For $7.50, you get as much of ~30 items as you can (literally) stomach. There are at least five different kinds of pizzas, constantly replenished. There are plenty of hot dishes, like the stuffed bell peppers I gorged on today. There are all the fixings of a Greek salad, with plenty of olives and stuffed grape leaves and feta and chick peas along with all the salad stuff. Plus a really good macaroni salad. The menu is vast, and I might have eaten about half of it over the years. Perfectly fine for kids and grandmas, and hits the spot on those days when quantity matters.... Did I mention $7.50? http://www.springfieldpizzava.com/
  21. I just ordered Pastitsio noodles from Amazon, as there seems to be no place in the area to buy them. It's not hard to make.
  22. This is a Greek restaurant where you can get Italian and American food. The people there are very friendly and try to make you comfortable. There is a small salad bar and nightly specials. Gyro's are great and the lamb is very good. They have a nice Sunday brunch. We often eat there when we are passing by and don't want to be too fancy. Try the dolmas, they are quite good. On some days they have a Greek buffet that is quite a good deal.
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