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  1. Lunched today at Kabobistan, a new eatery in the Bradlick Plaza strip mall in Annandale. As the name implies, it's a kabob shop, but they also have a few other Afghani dishes on the menu. My sister and I tried a couple of those today; her, the quabili pilau, and me, the Afghan curryanee, both of us asked for lamb. Since the curry was being freshly made, they told me it was going to take about 20 minutes, and the owner, Joe -- who was making regular rounds of the dining area -- came by to tell us that he was going to make sure the two plates came out together and brought us each a small bowl of soup, gratis, to enjoy while we waited. It was a nice homestyle veggie soup with a bit of pasta and chickpeas and a little spicy heat to it. The grilled meats smelled great and the place was doing a good business, both eat in and carry-out, while we waited. Of the two dishes we ordered, I think my sister's was better. The rice was done with raisins and carrots, the spinach was simple, very mildly seasoned and good, and the pilau was tasty although a rather unappetizing greige color. My curry was tasty but very oily; when finished, there was probably 1/3 cup or more of oil in the plate. Mine came with Afghan naan style bread that was excellent, freshly baked, a bit of char and tender-chewy. They have red sauce and green sauce at the table, both vinegary and the green hotter than the red. Both our plates came with a side of mast-o-khyer, and I have to say, tearing off a hunk of that good naan, spreading a little mast-o-khyer on it and toppign it with some curry was just about a perfect bite. I also heard Joe talking to another table that he was hoping to get the space next door because he thought that restaurant was going out of business. That surprised me, because next door is Thai by Thai, which I thought was pretty solid, but walking by as we left after lunch, I looked in the window and didn't see a single person in there. Kabobistan has cramped seating for about 30, and the kitchen is so tiny that it can get backed up just because there's no place to plate more than one meal at a time. Will go back soon and try some of the kabobs. That's what most folks were getting, and as I said, they smelled great while cooking.
  2. I go to A&J in Annandale on a sporadic basis, essentially going either when I suddenly get a craving for their stuff, or if I happen to be in the neighborhood, which is rare. But I was there this weekend with my partner's Chinese teacher for lunch, and we wound up talking about something I had noticed for some time--with one exception, any non-Chinese there were accompanied by Chinese people. I am not sure whether this is because of the location, or because the menu is a bit restricted, or some other reason, but there is really no reason for "foreigners" not to go here, since the food is fantastic. For those not in the know, A&J is a Taiwan-based chain, called "Ban Mu Yuan" in Chinese (means half-acre field) with locations all over Taiwan, Beijing, California, Rockville and Annandale. They are specialists in "small dishes", such as dumplings, noodles, vegetable dishes, etc, though they also have more substantial fare, like pork ribs, fried chicken and other meats with rice. It's all very authentic, and on weekends you can even get Chinese breakfast foods like soy milk and "you tiao" (fried dough sticks). Prices are very good, too, though be warned that they only take cash.
  3. Thought people might be interested to hear about Chef Guo, a new restaurant featuring Chef Guo Wenjun's take on Chinese banquets. This is probably the closest the DC area has had to Chinese fine dining, and I'm interested to see how it fares. The chef serves a selection of two tasting menus, the Banquet of Eternal Bliss Hot Pot ($68 lunch, $98 dinner), and the Banquet of Peace and Prosperity ($158 dinner only), both of which feature 10+ courses in the style of imperial cuisine. Scroll through the website to see the full menus, pictures of the dishes, and a press release detailing the overall concept. So far there hasn't been much buzz about this place outside of the Chinese community, but some friends who have gone reported it to be luxurious, visually and conceptually unique, and a lot of (too much?) food, mostly very good to excellent. There seems to be a mix of traditional cuisine and modern/Western techniques. If I understand correctly, the dinner they attended was a special event combining dishes from both menus, with all of the guests at a shared table and Chef Guo himself coming out between each course to explain the concept behind the dish (in Chinese); it's not clear to me how different the experience will be once the restaurant gets settled in, but from their website it seems like they are definitely interested in catering to non-Chinese clientele as well.
  4. 7410 Little River Turnpike Annandale, VA 22003 (703) 256-5737 Small strip mall restaurant serving Korean style Japanese food. Their house special is Katsu. The menu has a small appetizer section of which the Takoyaki is my favorite. Most of the other appetizers are just so-so. The entrees come with a very pleasant chawan mushi. They have the menu divided up into sections: Katsu, Ramen, Udon, Over Rice. Then there are combos. If you order the katsu on a combo, yo get a smaller portion. My favorite is the pork katsu. The pork is not juicy, the breading is crunchy. You can get the pork with grated daikon. You get two pork cutlets, a bit of kimchi, some pickled radish, a good katsu sauce,the chawan mushi and a salad. The katso is served on a rack so they do not lay on the plate ad let the breading get soffy. I have not had the beef or the spicy pork which comes with an extremely spicy you are on your own warning. Kay has had the flounder Katsu which is a bit bland. Shrimp Katsu is very heavily breaded shrimp, I am not a fan. All the Katsu come with a small udon noodle in broth which is outstanding. They also have rolled katsu where the meats are wrapped around mozzarella cheese which I have not had. They also offer ramen which is better than average. On the combos you can get cold noodles which are very good as well. Very nice people, good service. Fun place for a good meal for not a lot of money.
  5. My daughter returned late last night from a trip to the grandparents, she had a long day yesterday w/ little food, so she was famished this morning & I decided it was a good time to try a place I'd heard about, but had not visited yet-Miso. It's in Annandale, across from a bowling alley, in a shopping center, so no parking issues. Specialties are katsu & udon, so that's what we tried-Lizzy got the chicken katsu/ udon combo, while I got the flounder & shrimp katsu/ mini udon (so I got a small bowl of rice, too). It was quite a spread, we had a small salad (iceberg w/ ginger dressing) & a chawanmushi (steamed egg), then a tray w/ the katsu (on a tiny rack, which it didn't need, it wasn't greasy at all), shredded cabbage w/ dressing (I also had a scoop of potato salad, which wasn't good), small bowls of cabbage kimchi, radish cubes, tonkatsu sauce (I had pinkish w/ my seafood, hers was brown & sweeter, mine was better). Lizzy got the large bowl of udon, while mine was smaller, w/ a side of rice. Katsu was good, but not particularly memorable, just fried stuff, but the udon was definitely the star for Lizzy, she was slurping & saying how it was the best thing she'd had in a week. Mine was good, but I'm not really into noodles. For dessert, we were offered a choice of coffee or mini yogurt, $10.95 for the set lunch was a deal, although Lizzy said she'd go back just for takeout udon.
  6. My youngest has speech therapy on Little River Turnpike at 8:15 a.m. Afterwards, I wanted some brunch. We could've gone back to Yechon or Gom Ba Woo but I thought we give this 24 hr joint a try. We only got 3 banchons - kimchi and two kinds of marinated daikons. The bulgogi was pretty good. The mandoo were very black peppery, otherwise not much flavor. The kimchi jeon (pancake) was too thick and flavorless.
  7. Just throwing out a reminder that the holidays are coming up and you may be cooking, slicing and chopping more than usual. Are your knives up to the task? Maybe it's time to put a fresh edge on them. You can message me on this site or email me at ladygoodknife at gmail dot com. I'm in Annandale, inside the Beltway between the Braddock and Little River Turnpike exits. You can drop the knives off, or we can arrange a meet. I also have loaner knives available if you need a backup while I’m working on yours. Blades 6” or less - $5 per Blades 6”-12” - $7 per Serrated Knives - $8 per Swords & machetes - $15 Ceramic blades – steel blade prices plus $2 per knife Louise Comninaki Lady Goodknife
  8. I don't know Annandale that well but, as best I can tell, amidst all the great Asian restaurants, it's an area very under served by good coffee. While I can't be 100% certain (and would love a good challenge here from any who know Annandale better), I feel pretty safe advising that anyone in the area looking for decent coffee should go here and only here. OTOH, by no means would it make sense to drive here from Arlington County, Alexandria, DC or MoCo for coffee. Beanetics, like Caffe Amouri in Vienna or Misha's in Alexandria, roasts their own beans, which they largely buy from a NY based wholesaler. Relative to all the other roasters I can think of in our area, the operation here is a bit larger in terms of the square footage devoted to a large capacity roaster and related equipment and beans at immediate left when you enter. Pretty cool setup based only on curb appeal. I ordered a small cappuccino and a pourover (the latter using their own roasted Hawaiian Kona coffee since that's a varietal less common with shops who sell other roasters' beans). I forget the type of espresso machine they have but it wasn't a Marzocco. The capp was heavy on foam relative to the espresso and the espresso itself was a bit bitter. Serviceable to be sure but probably a better bet to go for freshly brewed coffee here. They offer either french press or pourover though the latter with a plastic funnel and filters too small for the opening but workable. My Kona was okay. Nothing with especially notable flavor or complexity but smooth enough and drinkable. The owners here have definite passion for what they're doing. They had maybe a dozen different single origin and blended beans available for sale in unusual but perhaps more advanced packaging. They do put roast dates on all the packages, which is great to see. Most were roasted within the past 5 to 7 days with just a few that went back no more than 17 or so days. Pastries, cookies, muffins are all fairly standard for area shops. They serve Two Leaves and a Bud tea, one of the two better options available on the market for bagged teas. I like when I see this or Mighty Leaf in a coffee shop since I don't expect them to invest more in the best loose leaf tea program. If looking for a decent cup before or after an Asian repast out Annandale way, you probably can't do too much better than Beanetics unless headed back toward DC.
  9. TL/DR: good Korean version of Japanese pub food, good value, warm service: Please get your butts and seats into their chairs as we have never seen it with more than 10 people and we don't want it to go out of business. Of course, Korean Hipster places tend to be packed Friday & Saturdays late. We tend to go during the week. You know you are a regular at someplace when you are placing an order and the waiter say: How about your usual Makkoli? And what makkoli! it is listed as draft makkoli which I am not sure if it means off of a tap or if it is just the style but it seems like it is the style whjich includes live yeast in the bottle. In any case, this is the best makkoli in the area: Served iced cold in a brass tea pot with melamine bowls. Lucky Makkoli is 6% alcohol or less since it seems to force you to drink it. Booze with a self destructive mindset! We are definitely not the target demographic at Khan, a tiny Korean style Izayaka in Seoul Plaza which has an address on Markham. Everytie we go, the other {few customers} are either Korean salarymen or Korean Hipsters or couples obviously on a date. While we fit this last demographic, we are old enough to be the grandparents of most of the datenight couples we see. But the warmth with which we are treated plus the slow business conditions make me urge you to go for very fun bar food. Disclaimers: the extremely good makkoli may have influenced some of the following opinions. Isn't that the purpose of going to an Izayaka in the first place? Our new home is within the Door Dash delivery zone. They have a happy hour 'til 9pm Sunday thru Thursday with about 10 items for $5. We have had: Tako Wasabi ~ incredible version w/green seaweed salad, lots of little bits of raw octopus and a dusting of masago, served with a pile of wasabi & a pile of seaweed pieces. You plop some of the slimy mix on the seaweed, sel apply the wasabi, roll and eat. This is our must order dish. Takoyaki ~ One of the best in the area. Crispy on the outside balls with chewy bit of octopus in a moist doughy batter spritzed with kewpie mayo, Korean worcestershire and lots of bonito flakes {high quality flakes with large shaved pieces} Salmon Temaki ~ very tasty, you get two small handrolls for $5 Wings ~ so good they do not need the mayo based dip. The manu says 6 pieces but last night we got more. They cut the wings into drumettes and then the two bones section. Light batter, greaseless, crispy with moist chicken meat. Gyoza ~ definitely a purchased product but very nicely cooked and juicy. The lease favorite and yet still a good dish. The menu has pages of dishes of which we have tried: Assorted yakitori which come with a slightly too sweet for my taste tare but I love yakitori so much I go for it anyways. Shrimp {this is the soy cured} I loved these but Kay did not: sticky, firm texture with a funk flavor from the soy curing, about 10 head on shrimp Onigiri: a bowl of rice, slices of nori. What you are supposed to do is use the gloves given so you can scoop the rice into the nori and enjoy. Outstanding rice. Codfish Soup & Seafood Soup in spicy broth: I've had better elsewhere but very fine renditions. Lots of stuff and less broth. Spicy Chicken Ramen: Just ok, served dry, very spicy dry ramen. I can make this at home with a package from Super H. Stuff I really want to try: Shrimp 6 huge raw shrimp, possibly served nigiri style, fried heads Beef tataki {saw this served and it was a huge plate of good looking seared beef in ponzu w/decorations} Steamed Egg Anything deep tried as they fry with a sure hand. Definitely want to try the Korean Karaage {spicy or non} and the Tonkatsu Baitop Shell salad w/noodle Mackerel plate: appears to be mackerel sashimi slit vertically nad stuffed with stuff, grilled mackerel and maybe more as the online photograph I looked at was pretty hard to judge. Stuffed I'm too old for Pouch cocktails, neon cocktails with popsicles in them Anything with sausage in it as they seem to think that sausage means a mediocre hot dog with a spiral cut so that any hope of juices are cooked out of the rubbery and fake smoke flavoring. Of course I ate the two different examples that we ordered {the second time, it came unsuspectingly on the ramen.} Assorted fries which seems to be a huge plate {enough for 6 normal people or two Hipster Korean guys who ordered two, this all based on specific observation.} However, the small version is on the happy hour menu so I am sure I will try it in a self destructive mood!
  10. We have made a few visits for Korean Fired Chicken in Annandale. I will post a running commmentary of our visits but I htink it would be fun to complie a compenduim of places and experiences! Pelicana is next door to The Block. It is small with a bar on one half and tables along a banquette on the other. The music is loud without being obnoxiously so but the hubub from the guests can get quite loud. The bartenders are earnest rather than really skilled. There are a lot of different was to have chicken. Wings come grilled or fried; the former with a choice of three sticky/messy sauces and the latter can be had original, extra crispy or soy. I prefer the crispy while Kay incorrectly prefers the soy. They fried comes with a sauce and all come with a tiny bowl of pickled daikon cubes. We had the fried gizzards which is a huge plate of chopped gizzards fried perfectly but it is way too much gizzard for two. Again, you get a cup of sauce. We have yet to try much of the appetizers and other dishes but they have a have variety on offer. The onion rings look incredible while the fries look just ok. On the drink side, they have a variety of 22 oz beers from Japan & Korea but with noting unexpected. They offer soju cocktails for $20 a decanter and we had the yogurt one and it seemed quite defective as there must have been a hole int he bottom of the decanter as it emptied was sooner than our drinking would indicate. It was so good that I googled a recipe and it is trivially simple to make: one of those little 2 oz frozen yogurt drinks, 4 oz of soju {did you know soju comes in liter bottles at the VABC?} and 2 oz of sprite or club soda. Hard shakle over ice and strain. Highly recommended but you can OD on fried foods easily.
  11. Way too much sauce on the chicken at Pelicana. The joint would function surprisingly well as a sports bar--big TVs, good views of them from all seats--but our meal was ruled a death by drowning in sauce. Should have heeded the server's subtle between-the-lines to get it without the sauce.
  12. I went to Annangol for dinner and enjoyed it overall. It's at 4215 Annandale Center Dr, in same shopping strip as Napoleon bakery. The seafood pancake was alot of green onion, slices of carrot, and a few little bits of octopus and shrimp. But mostly green onion. The fried dumplings were good though a little greasy. For the main dishes, we ordered short ribs on the bone, short ribs not on the bone, and spicy pork ribs. The server brought a plate of lettuce/other greens for wrapping the meat. She also brought a round platter divided into sections with banchan (including kimchi and a scoop of potato salad) and raw garlic, slices of long green peppers, and spicy bean paste to include with the lettuce when wrapping the meat. She also brought a metal bowl filled with slices of onion. Although there's a burner in the center of the table, she brought the meat already cooked. That's a plus or a minus depending on how much you like cooking it yourself. We were glad to receive it cooked because then we could eat it right away without fussing with it. The onion slices went on the burner with the meat. The short ribs had a bit of a smoky flavor, and my parents were glad that the marinade was not too sweet. The spicy pork was 1 bone plus meat, and the pork was not particularly spicy. I liked the beef better overall. (Annangol also has duck on the menu, both with and without special sauce. The server told us it's a minimum of 2 orders though.)
  13. Hi everyone. I just moved to Annandale, VA from Texas over this past weekend. I have no idea what is going on around me and I feel like an ant in this booming place. I'm looking for those restaurants that are a secret to the masses. Also, anything nearby as well. I understand that that there are about ten thousand cities within a mile of my condo. --- [The following posts have been split into separate threads: Honey Pig Izakaya (Kibbee Nayee) Annangol (cheezepowder) Pho Cong Ly (thistle) Gangnam Sushi House (cheezepowder)]
  14. I figured we need a topic for the rather interesting The Block in Annandale (Here's their Yelp since their "main" page is the Instagram account, as it is for most of these places.) Currently at The Block are: Snocream Company (Yelp) Pokeworks (Yelp) Balo Kitchen (Yelp) (Facebook) (might be out of soft opening) Roots Thai (Facebook) (I think is still in soft open) Block Bar Munch (ice cream topped donuts, not open yet) So far, I've tried the first three. Snocream is a veteran of Annandale with their shaved-ice-cream concoction (good!). Pokeworks is poke bowls and the one I've tried was good. I've tried Balo Kitchen and I'll say the Street Bread with sausage was yummy, and most of their menu looked intriguing. I'll probably go try Roots Thai soon. (As I don't drink, I can't attest to the Bar.) Now, every time I've gone here I'm fairly certain I might have been the oldest person there. And as it is a big concrete box with hard tables, it does get to "get off my lawn" levels of noise for me, but, well, I'm not the target audience. Anyone else out there have experiences to share? If so, we might want to break these up into separate threads.
  15. TS offered it up as one of his top bargain eats this week. The name is certainly distinctive...and curiously hard for me to spell. Someone has even video-diaried it in this YouTube clip. So, anybody been?
  16. In an update, I went to Kimen Ramen this afternoon for dinner. I had their mazemen ramen (ETA: from the menu: soupless ramen, spicy hot minced pork / egg yolk / fish powder / minced garlic / green onion / chives / dried seaweed -- note, wasn't that spicy) and it was good! I'll be back. That said, I'm not sure the music they were playing was of this world. Or I'm getting old.
  17. Its been a long time since we ahve been to Yechon. Last night, after spending 6 hours at Dino on my "day off", I picked up Kay downtown and after only taking three wrong turns we arrived at Yechon in need of food and drink. The greeting was particularly cheerful as we sat. We looked at the huge menu and finally made some decisions.... sort of. The waitress approached and was very patient as we dithered and switched our order several times, but finally we settled on a couple of soups, a pancake, man doo and cold sake. First to arrive was about 8-9 small dishes: Almond (?) jelly with a bit of peanut and a soy based sauce Cucumbers and assorted veggie garnish in a slightly sweet sauce with a touch of a bite (If Kraft Catalina dressing were actually food and well made and slightly spciy it would taste like this) Potato salad- creamy, traditional American picnic style with carrots and peas Fried tofu with spicy sauce- insanely good. The tofu has an egggy custardy consistency, incredible flavor and just the right amount of soy and spice based sauce. Asparagus- out of season but nice Kim Chee- very crunchy, very spicy Mystery greens in a sesame oil based marinade- wonderful Shredded raddish in spicy sauce- great, standard preparation Next up was the pancake. It was maybe 14 inches across and cut into 8 slices. Korean opancakes may be an acquired taste and we like them in moderation every once in a while. This one had scallions and oyster. The batter was quite eggy and fluffy and very good. It was crispy brown on the bottom giving it more flavor interest than most versions I have had. The only problem with it was the size of the portion. It would ahve been incredible with 8 olk at the table as we could have wolfed it down and been left wanting more. As it was, we ate only half o f it and were stuffed. The oyster falvor was distinct with the creamy milky briny flavor of cooked oyster. I had the cold buckwheat noodle with sliced beef in cold broth. The broth came with ice floating in it too keep it really cold. The beef was incredible and the other garnishes were welcome, especially the pickled mustard green. Kay had a bowl of soy miso broth, tofu, squash soup. It was superb. Many versions of this dish are too salty for my taste and this one had a distinctly miso flavor and the veggies, while well cooked, were not mush. As we ate the soups we asked for some more Kim Chee and we got 5 more dishes of the side dishes- this time we got a cabbage salad. Alas, we did not get a refil of Kimchee but were too stuffed to even dream of asking for it by then. Dessert was a complimentary cup of watermelo and orange juice. This feast was $56. I think it was the best Korean meal we ahve ever had (Gom Ba Woo with Grover and Escoffier would be a close second). I would love to go back with 6 other friends and have more variety. All the food was bright, clean flavored with lots of distinct tangy flavors. We were stuffed but not weighted down. The service was warm and friendly, we were doted over by our waitress. When we asked what another table was having we were told "Fish soup". But then she went over to that table and looked at the dish, went and got us the menu and showed us which fish soup it was (clam and cod). So in ending, what stands out most in my mind is not just the food, but the warm welcome we got at Yechon. If only my local Korean restaurant would learn that lesson!
  18. Got a late start on Saturday night and places were either closed or packed with no tables available until midnight, and we were circling around and ended up at Blue Sand for dinner around 10:00 or so. The menu isn't particularly easy to navigate for non Korean customers, but with some help from the server, we ended up with a double order of pork belly (double order required), and squid tempura. The good: about a half dozen banchan -- seaweed salad, kimchi, pickled eggplant, mung bean salad, spinach, a couple of other things I didn't recognize -- and two different soups came with the meal, a tofu soup/stew and an egg soup that eventually cooked into a soft custard. The squid tempura was very nicely fried, not greasy, tender with just a little chewiness, a good sized order, and came with soy sauce & onion to dip into. The pork belly was cooked at the table grill and was not seasoned or marinaded at all that I could discern, so a little bland. Definitely needed the gochuchang and lettuce wrappers to give it some oomph. For two people, the bill came to $50. The bad: the music. incessant 90s Korean disco pop, loud enough that it was impossible to ignore and we so wanted to ignore it. Also, this is not one of the 24-hour restaurants, and so we closed the place down at 11:00, but the tables that were remaining when we came in were all male and all 50+ in age, so not a hipster joint by any stretch of the imagination. The place was clean but the decor was tired looking.
  19. Jajangmyun is adapted from the Chinese which is why you don't find it at every Korean restaruant (and the reason we haven't suggested Choong Hwa Won is that we were going to in March...I think people are ready for Korean/Chinese food. At the rate Dean finds Korean restaurants, we could have a Korean $20 Tuesday from now until the end of 2008)
  20. I have been wanting to try this hole in the wall place. The only problem is that the menu is in Korean only, and I am not Korean. Anyone being to the place and can recommend a couple of dishes? Thanks
  21. Blue Sand has a daunting menu, so we took the easy way out and ordered set menu #2, which included bulgogi, soy sauce crab, beltfish, etc. Unfortunately nothing was memorable and we really didn't see why this place is better than the other Korean joints we've been to. Starting with the banchans, they were all vegetarian (kimchi, sprouts, kale, cucumber, seaweed, and one stemmy green) and none were special. The crab was marinated but raw. I liked the flavor, but am not generally in favor of eating crabs raw. I like grilled beltfish, I also like them fried. These were good but not different than what you'd get anywhere else. Seafood combo with veggie casserole. I liked the soup itself and I ate most of the veggies. We let the seafood sit in the boiling soup and they definitely got overcooked. There's a wad of soft and coral/brain-like looking thing that had no flavor and I couldn't tell what it was. It kinda creeped me out. The chawanmushi was not particularly refined. The pan-fried stuff were imitation crab, cucumber, Spam (or something similar) and mung bean cake. I barely touched the bulgogi.
  22. In case someone's really dying for Ramen in NoVa and can't drive to DC/MD for their fix, Tanpopo is now open. Some photos are on Yelp. A hand written message regarding their hours indicate that they open at 11:30 Tuesday to Sunday. For the avoidance of doubt, they're closed on Monday. The same hand scribbled message states they're only serving ramen and a few appetizers at this point.
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