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  1. I know I have been in an LA Mart before but I wasn't sure which one. I was not impressed. I went to the Van Dorn location last Sunday. There was a line to get it, nicely socially distanced, and you were given gloves at entrance. This location is stellar. For produce, dairy and dry goods, it may be the best Asian Market I have been to so far. It was nothing special for fish & meats. Simple prepared foods with good looking BBQ & Roast meats, a nice looking hot bar, really tasty looking cold marinated meats like chicken feet, various tripes, pig ear etc. and some baked goods. The produce section is very large and then when you get to what you think is the end, there is an entire second section to the left making it L shaped. It is huge. Hugely huge. So huge, your eyes wll be spinning by the time you shop all of it. Fantastic prices on mushrooms, herbs, greens and more. We had an order coming from the farmer's market so I did not really check out everything. The fruit selection was a tad less impressive than the rest. Dairy had a great selection and, surprisingly, a huge emphasis on Middle Eastern items like yogurt drink, various fetas etc. The Latino cheese & crema etc. section was impressive too. They had a huge selection of locally made logan chorizo in multiple styles. The dry good selection was also good but if I came back with more asian cooking ingredients Kay would feed me to Spot. The frozen selection was quite huge, almost as big as Super H-Mart in Fairfax. There is a full length aisle of western and Indian frozen goods too. The Middle Eastern, Indian and Latino selections were excellent and make this a super convenient shop. But it is not a one stop shop because the meat & seafood just seemed not up to the rest of the store. But in all fairness, Kay was waiting int he car so I did not really explore.
  2. Stopped by Sweet Science for a coffee this morning in NoMa, and saw this on the neighboring storefront.
  3. When this place opened in the spring, I had no interest whatsoever in trying it out even though I'm a pizzaholic. It just looked like a place that would serve canned toppings. However, they had a special $7 for a solo pizza with one topping and $1 for a can of soda. I couldn't resist plus knowing that Pete's A Pizza was gone. Well, this place is actually pretty good. The sauce and cheese tastes good and my fresh mushroom topping hit the spot. The crust was just okay -- a sauce and cheese delivery mechanism. I've been there twice and it has been pretty empty. I just hope they are getting the post-bar closing weekend crowds. I also treasure this place because I know my pizza will always be freshly made. I don't have to worry about getting a dried up reheated slice like I did at Pete's and at Bronx Pizza. Please try it out before they close for good. I'm plan on going once a week for lunch.
  4. I work in Ballston. I was a happy sometimes consumer of salads fro Sweetleaf, a short two and a half or so blocks from my office. A nice reason for a stroll. In good or even half good weather. Then, Sweetgreen entered and offred free delivery to a common area in our building by noon. All you have to do is remember to order before 11. It's been my go to because of the convenience alone. The other day, I forgot to gt my order in on time. I wanted salad. I walked to Sweetleaf. And then I was reminded about how much more I prefer sweetleaf. Customization is more in your face and in person, but they toss the salad for you and their stuff seems fresher to me if only slightly. I walked back to my office with a bigger and more delicious salad and devoured it. It hit the spot. Sweetgreen will unfortunately win more than not because of delivery, but when I gotstahaveit, I will get me sweetleaf. You?
  5. I second what Dean said. I started to eat the worst sausage I have ever put in my mouth at the Columbia location. It reminded me why I have said many times that, just because someone knows how to smoke meat it does not mean they know how to make sausage. The skill-sets have nothing in common, yet more often than not the barbecue places that say they make their own sausage almost always disappoint. (I'm looking at you, Monk's BBQ).
  6. This place opened a 3rd location recently at North Point Shopping Plaza in Reston. It is busy, fairly small location for a strip mall nestled near Giant Food and GameStop - no joke. They just announced they are opening their 4th location in Great Falls, just off Walker Road behind the Wells Fargo bank. Pretty ambitious, which is fine, there are a few Thai places in the general Reston-Herndon-Great Falls geographic area.
  7. I got takeout from the fairly new Brgz hamburger place across from Eastern Market last night. The fries were thin, crispy, and good. The burger I got was okay. The dipping sauce ("spicy ranch") that came along with what I ordered was not good. It was watery thin and tasted more of sour than spicy or ranch. The concept behind the restaurant is that the "toppings" are mixed into the meat, so they are not actually toppings. It put me in mind of the mix-in ice cream places that used to be popular (or maybe still are?). Before embarking on my visit, my tiny poll of two people I know who had eaten there resulted in one person who thought the food was fine but too expensive for what it is and the other absolutely HATED the concept. This is not the place for someone who wants bacon and cheese on top of the burger. I got the signature Buffalo Burger, which included the following: Celery, Carrots, Scallions, Blue Cheese, and Buffalo Seasoning. I swear there were small bits of pickle in this burger. Either than or something in the seasoning quick pickles the celery bits or scallions. I couldn't figure it out because I knew it didn't have pickles listed, but something sure tasted like tiny pieces of pickle. In addition to the 8 signature burgers, they also have a build your own option. All the burgers are $9. I can see this being a good place to go to if some people want vegetarian or non-red meat options. In addition to beef (which I got), they have chicken and impossible burgers. So if you want bacon mixed into your vegetarian burger, it appears you can do that. The concept worked okay for me. I didn't love it and didn't hate it. The only outright bad thing was the dipping sauce. The price could have been lower, but it wasn't obscenely expensive. I'd stop by for the $4 fries again.
  8. Went to the Class 302 Cafe location in Cerritos and wasn't super enthused. The drinks are big and colorful but were wayyyyy too sweet, with no compensating tartness, for my tastes. Our group had several of the boba drink options (tea, smoothies, etc.) and I didn't care for any of them (soft boba, ugh). It looks like other locations have an interesting self-serve option, sort of like the Pinkberry of boba spots, but the Cerritos location is counter service only where they make your drinks. I noticed that shaved ice was big with the other patrons while we were there (well, also it's summer). I didn't see if the Cerritos location has hot food but it is available at other locations, according to the online menu. Has anyone else been? The self-serve boba bar might be interesting.
  9. Agree with above. It's been super popular in the SGV and beyond and they continue to build stores in the states (dozens of shops in CA urban areas, one coming soon in Portland, OR, big presence in TX) so thought I'd give it its own thread. Although they have some typical Chinese bakery options, mostly the sweeter breads and pastries (no meat buns, curry puffs, etc.), I wouldn't call them a Chinese or Taiwanese bakery, per se, as they have quite a few Euro-centric bready options. I've been to 3-4 stores and they are usually quite large, brightly lit, with lots of seating, inviting (young!) people to stay and sip/chew/chat. Their website offers lots of modern accouterments, like an app, a rewards program, nutrition facts, newsletter...It's a nice place to stop if you know what to expect.
  10. Señor Ramon Taqueria Opens on Baron Cameron Avenue by Fatimah Waseem, RestonNow Looks like the restaurant will open before the signage goes up; it says in the article it is opening today. This strip-mall shares the Home Depot parking lot and this location used to be a Greeberry's, then a Thai (Hibiscus Thai) place and now this. It is a few doors down from Willard's Menu Reston location. Menu looks pretty good, and will have to go by soon to check it out. We need more local Mexican-type places the Anita's and Uncle Julio's get old quickly.
  11. http://www.falafelinc.org/ We took a group of college kids to the new Spy Museum via the Alexandria water-taxi to the Wharf. After the spy museum we walked down to the Wharf for dinner. We had a vegetarian in our group, and all the group agreed that Falafel Inc sounded good. It is fast casual, with a little machine that pops out falafels to order. The drink options seemed a little limited. You could get a sandwich (in a pita), or a bowl (salad), with add-ons like hummus, zataar fries, tabouli, etc. I think there was a small confusion on what a bowl and sandwich were for the group when we first walked in. It seems like they could just say pita or salad. There are no tables inside, but outside there were high tops and tables you could stand/sit at to eat. They have sauces you can add after you get your sandwich- those have names, but the names don't really correspond to what it is- I would prefer if they just said like cilantro sauce, mild spicy, spicy, etc. I figured the bright orange was a hot sauce of sorts and got that, I was right and I quite liked it. Anyway, the naming could be better, but the sandwich really was pretty decent with the sauce. Fries were good, not quite as good as those from Lebanese Taverna Market, enough for at least two to share. I can't remember if the sauce descriptions were on the hanging menu, they were likely on the printed one, if there was a sign right above the sauces that would help. But also having one that says it can't be described is a bit trite. Anyway, good for a not too expensive grab and go at the Wharf with a vegetarian.
  12. It's not just the GARG joints -- the places run by GARG alums have many of the same/very similar items, just under different names. For example, the menu at Loudoun's thriving (for good reason IMHO, I'm a GARG fan along the lines of Dr. Delicious) Blue Ridge Grill mini-chain features: "Steak and cheese eggrolls" "Smoked salmon" "Brentwood Salad" (my go-to, it's a great deal and I get two meals out of it) "King Street Creole Pasta" etc
  13. Paty's American looks and feels familiar, which is no surprise given it's a new restaurant in the GAR group. To be clear, I've always liked these restaurants, believing they offer a good meal (and most often I think it's better than good), that's reasonably priced, and comes with excellent service. To be sure, thats my take on most "upscale chains" (e.g. Cheesecake Factory), and I'm not a tough critic in general, so you might need a grain of salt with this review. Still, one among an army of hostesses led us to a comfortable booth in a neo-industrial space (with one wall having a gigantic, and bizarre mural consisting of an eclectic collection of famous people), drink orders were taken promptly, and our server even asked our preference for bread in the soon-to-arrive bread basket (we wanted those donut hole-like rolls, natch). I had the Tex-Mex Eggrolls and the Louisiana Pasta and both held up their end of the bargain. We were handled by multiple servers and bus-persons, and everyone was eager to help. The boy got the Calamari, and the lobster ginger sauce that came with it was very tasty. The wife got the Charleston Salad, which looked fresh and comes with quite a bit of fried chicken. This restaurant holds the line with the others.
  14. Wat's wrong wit Del Taco? 😠 A Green Burrito is 69 cents (or was), and completely vegan, save for the cheese - this thing is de-lish. I lived off these in college, and had them as recently as two-years ago - they're my best friends.
  15. Have been indulging in Ariake for years (since they opened in 2005) - the original location is a stand-alone across from Hunter's Woods Shopping Plaza in Reston, a block off Reston Parkway. If coming off the Dulles Toll Road, instead of going towards the RTC, go the opposite direction; obviously various mapping services will get you there easily, more pointing out for those less familiar. I am a selective when it comes to sushi - Ariake has experiences Chef's, daily specials for lunch and dinner, and it is a decent sized restaurant if you want to eat-in. Beware, their carry-out business has exploded and if you go during normal dinner business hours the place is hopping. Despite having their own parking lot, it fills up fast and the employees often park on the grass around the restaurant to open up more spaces. Sounds tacky, but like I said the place is consistently busy. Prices are similar to other decent sushi places, the fish is very fresh and they can be creative. They recently opened a Fairfax Ariake location and took their better sushi chef and a few of the other employees there to open. For those who live in the Dulles corridor this place is almost on par with Tachibana in Mclean, and not as far to drive. In the warmer months, they have outdoor seating which is nice; the sound of their waterfall helps mitigate the noise from passing cars on the two adjacent streets.
  16. I'm admittedly a creature of habit. Each time I'm in New York, I tend to hit a few places from my list of "regulars" - though I try to squeeze in one or two new ones when I'm there. So it's with that context that I say that I've been to La Pecora Bianca in NoMad the last 4 times I've been to the city. LPB isn't the best italian restaurant in New York. And it isn't the best restaurant in NoMad (which, in my opinion, is the NoMad Restaurant inside the NoMad Hotel). But it fills a gap left by the closing of Craftbar (which wasn't technically in NoMad but close enough). It is a restaurant that serves good food that isn't super high priced where we can meet friends for dinner without a reservation 4 weeks in advance. It's always the place chosen on the dreaded text message chain the day before when someone asks "where should we meet for dinner." From the appetizers, I recommend Whipped Ricotta with truffle honey and country toast ($14) and the Meatballs ($14). Roasted Cauliflower with raisins, pine nuts and mascarpone ($15) is also good, but I'm not a big cauliflower person in general. From the pasta menu, Gramigna with house made sausage, broccolini and pepper flakes ($24) is a favorite, as is the Tagliatelle with bolognese ($24). And the Tiramisu for two ($15) is worth the caloric splurge. Fair warning, they are strict about the wine pours, which can change the glass vs. bottle mathematics.
  17. Thai Peppers Menu Hubby and I wanted to try out Thai Peppers as people had talked about it around the hood. I have to say as soon as I saw their menu- I knew it wasn't Thai Square (although they have taken a few of my favorite weird things off their menu), Bangkok 54 or even Thainida. The menu was fairly pedestrian, but I am sure most people think it is fine. That being said my veggie panang curry was serviceable, flavors I expected, nice brown rice, nice and warm, a little spice, but not over the top. The chicken satays were large pieces of meat, not bad in flavor, I just think could have been marinated a bit more. But again, nothing bad. They seem to be a pretty bang out carry out business and service was very responsive. We sat downstairs which has 0 ambiance, and no music, but as I we went out because I was trying to recover from the crud, we really weren't all that particular. Anyway, it's fine but there are a lot better options just a few miles further.
  18. Damn. Back before we got a Maison Kayser around the corner here in DC, I used to hit the 40th St location when I visited the NY office and always ogled the wares in the window at Lady M a couple doors down the block (this is across from Bryant Park). If those things taste half as good as they look....
  19. Website is active and menu posted here. I think they open this week. I have a reservation for next weekend that was booked through open table.
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