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Found 24 results

  1. Best coffee in western fairfax. There. I said it. Really, this is a no lose scenario for me. If someone had one better, I will go there. I have 4 small kids. I need a lot of coffee. I normally just get the house coffee which is damn fine. They normally use an Ethiopian blend. These days I get 2. One for the morning and one for the afternoon. Cold Stumptown is better than the office coffee. The standouts at this place are the lattes. They were closed during December because of a fire. While they were off their batistas won a regional coffee competition. Artistically they look good but taste even better. My favorites are the rose latte and the honey cinnamon. If you don't like coffee the hot chocolate is good too. They do pour overs too if you are into that. I normally like those but have never tried it because the house coffee is soo good. Seriously. These guys are good. If you haven't tried them yet, you should. I only wish they were there back when I worked nearby.
  2. I'm not much of a writer - and Tyler Cowen has already briefly covered this place - but I would urge everyone to visit Dumpling Queen and order the xinjiang ribs from the chef's specialty portion of the menu here. These pork ribs have presumably been cooked twice or even thrice! They have a crunchy, fair-food, fried exterior and are completely SAUCELESS! What makes them so delectable? The addictive spice blind that adorns the aforementioned ribs. I am not exactly sure what is in it, but I could detect sesame seeds, fried shallots, fried garlic, and peanuts. I ate an entire order by myself! I'll probably return and do a little further exploring next time I am in the area.
  3. Sthitch: have you tried Willard's in Chantilly? For a jack-of-all-trades place they do a good job. Don't miss the cobblers!
  4. Its not a restauraunt but it is a purveyor of food. Run out of an industrial park in Chantilly, Lobster Maine-ia has gotten some recent press. I've gotten some lobsters from them and I am not a connaisseur but they were darned tasty and cheaper than a grocery store. Its also worth it to have them steam them for you (costs extra), put them in a cooler and take them home. Recently they started selling lobster rolls. As I need to be near there every sunday for a kids activity, I have swung in and tried them twice and as far as lobster rolls go (maine style) they are pretty darned good. They are 10 dollars and are zero frills, but they have a goodly amount of meat. Check ahead of time before you go, they have limited hours and weekends are best but they are worth trying if you are in need of a lobster fix.
  5. The Northern Virginia Table Tennis Center (NOVATTC) is one of very few professional-level table tennis facilities in the Washington, DC area, and is owned and operated by Zhongxing Lu, who I'm proud to say is my coach. Coach Lu was on the Chinese National Junior Team, was a Top 16 player in China, and has kept up an extremely high level of playing throughout the course of his life - in 2013, he got to the semi-finals in the United States 45-and-over national championships. Coach Lu speaks almost no English, but we manage to communicate very well, and nearly everyone else at the club speaks English, so language is never a barrier. I once asked Coach Lu if he was the best player in Virginia. He looked at me like I was crazy - to this day, I still don't know if he didn't understand me, or was shocked that I'd ask such a trivial question (yes, he's *that* good). He did tell me that there are players in the Gaithersburg and Germantown area who are world-class - Olympic-level players from China. Last weekend, the Lu family traveled to Houston, where his 13-year-old daughter, Jie, won the 14-and-under division in the Junior Olympics - she'll also be eligible to play in this event in 2017 - it's very possible that one day, a few years from now, Jie will be in the Olympics representing the United States. Here is a video of Jie accepting her Gold Medal. And a picture taken by the proud parents: For non-members, Coach Lu charges $45 an hour for lessons, and considering you're getting instruction from a legitimate, world-class player, that is incredibly inexpensive. NOVATTC has open, walk-in play each night from 5-10:30 PM. I cannot imagine another table tennis facility that is so well-equipped, and so expertly staffed - certainly not in Northern Virginia, and I cannot recommend a coach more highly than I recommend Coach Lu - he is one of the kindest men I know, and if you're an advanced player: Avoid his forehand loop like the Bubonic Plague. Here's a video of Coach Lu and Jie I took about six months ago, just having a casual rally (this looks impressive, but they're really just having an easy back-and-forth - both players are capable of hitting lethal shots at any time - you'll notice that Coach Lu doesn't even come close to missing: Initial error aside, both players could potentially keep this type of rally up for an hour without an error). If you're a table tennis player, or want to learn how to become one, write me, and I'll put you in touch with Coach Lu - you'll be glad you did. If you're a beginner, there are other coaches available that aren't quite as expensive or, um, "intimidating." Don Rockwell
  6. Everyone has one. A go-to Chinese food place that you go to whenever you have the urge for good Americanized Chinese food. I had one once but it closed 13 years ago. The old Sampan café, back when it was run by Brian. My family went there for 25 years. I haven't found anything close since. Sure, I still by Chinese food, but it is more for simplicities sake. I am generally not happy afterwards, but when you have a bunch of kids, and no time to cook, Chinese food is in the rotation. Flash forward to last night - I had some of the kids playing at an indoor playground while mulling over what to get for dinner. We just did Café Rio and I couldn't stand to have Chick Fil e again. We hadn't done Chinese food in a while, and I wasn't in love with the place we normally go to so I pulled up tripadvisor and searched for restaurants near me. The number 1 restaurant in town, according to the wisdom of the massed happened to be this place. Higher than Ford's. Higher than Thai Basil. I was intrigued. I placed my order and headed over to Airline Pkwy to go pick it up. The place was not that busy but the staff was very friendly and attentive. I ordered: Triple Delight Soup with house made noodles, combination fried rice, governor's chicken (kung pao), and smoked tofu with pork. The food had to travel home for 20 minutes but at the most part it ranged from good to very good. I want to eat there in person sometime and there are a number of interesting things on the menu that I want to try. Something noteable that the meats in the soup and fried rice were actually really good. They actually tasted like meat. Upon completing our meal, my wife commented "Why don't you go here from now on." I agree, I think I will forego any of our other carryout places for this one. I put this out there because I know many of this board's denizens live in the South Riding/Chantilly area. If you do, I encourage you to give them a try and let us know your opinion.
  7. Been a while since I posted but I think I found another place worth reviewing. Got a fun Saturday planned? Maybe you're going to go to Home Depot. Yeah, buy some wallpaper, maybe get some flooring, stuff like that. Maybe Bed, Bath, & Beyond, if you have enough time. If your suburban angst has you going to Target and Costco and Chantilly then you should treat yourself to a meal at Chennai Express. Recently opened, this place is tucked away in an industrial park in Chantilly in the former Talking Turkey space. Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu India. A state in the southern part of the country and the menu is designed accordingly. Do not expect to find Butter Chicken or Palek Paneer, Do expect to find authentic food prepared with care. The owner is passionate about his food and it shows. We stopped in on Sunday for some carry out. I'd like to tell you what I got but I could not pronounce most of it. Regardless. It was all good. Most important is that they do Chicken 65 right. No sweet sauce for this. Just dry, crispy juicy chicken with just the right amount of kick. There isn't a menu posted yet but who cares. Check it out. Its a great addition to the Chantilly food scene.
  8. I hadn't seen anything on them so I thought I would give them some press. They have been open since this summer and we've been twice. Both times we got the Donner and the Boregi and both times it was quite good. Service was also quick and helpful and the owners were willing to answer questions about the menu. If you are in the area give them a try. I don't see them that crowded and I want small places like that to succeed.
  9. The best naan in Northern Virginia. That's right, I said it. Let m back up. As a GMU alumni I follow Tyler Cowen. A few months back he wrote this place up. I used to work near it so I had been years ago (right after they opened). I had not been impressed at the time. Being in their recently, they either cleaned up their act or changed hands. My kids have swim lessons at the Swim School in the same shopping center. I got the bright idea to take them their Saturday night for the open swim which runs right until bedtime. Keeping small children up late had an obvious result, chaos. My 4 year old was in full on rampage mode (Like something out of Archer, but without the guns). It was 8:00 and against our better judgement, we took them to a restaurant to feed them instead of ta place they could trash and still allow us to get out with our dignity intact. It was amazing..... tood got my kids to shut up, be still, and eat quietly. We ordered the lamb korma, butter chicken, chicken kahari and two kids meals (chicken kabob and seekh kabob). My 6 year old loved the chicken, my 4 year old loved the seekh kabob. The other entries were fine. The kahari was the star. If/when I go back I will err towards the Pakistani side of the menu. With all that said, if I want chick peas, Rawal Kabob is better. I prefer the kahari at Khan Kabob. But the bread.... oh my, the bread. Bug huge flufy fresh pieces of Naan. Perfectly cooked. Not dry and the perfect texture to sop up some sauce or another. I'm not sure how well it would travel, but eating it fresh out of the oven there..e highly recommended.
  10. Little man requested Chinese food and the only criterion was to try a "new place," or "somewhere we haven't been before." Seeing this place in the Washington Chinese newspaper recently, I thought this would be a good candidate. Good signs: specials written in Chinese on a white board, mostly Chinese families, busy on Friday night with mostly Chinese families, Chinese families sharing a big round table, fish tanks, lots of clay pots and roast animals on tables, and good-looking roast ducks, chicken, pigs, and porks hanging on a window. Not so good signs: the prices. Little man and I shared: half roast duck ($12.50), stir-fry snow pea shoots ($14.95), vegetarian egg rolls ($2.45), and kingdom style pork chops ($12.95). We had more than half of each entree for leftovers, but even so, I had a little bit of sticker shock. I did really like their rendition of Kingdom Pork Chops. It was nicely sweet and sour, with a nice, slightly crispness to them. Little man's favorite tonight. The pea shoots are out of season, so it was slightly tough, but still good, even if a bit pricey. The duck was fine. I think XO or Golden Hong Kong has a slight edge to this duck. I didn't get to ask any questions about the chef or when they opened, as they were swamped tonight, but little man placed this restaurant in his top-eateries list. So we will be coming back. It is a great option for those living close to here. Taste @ Hong Kong (Ignore the wrong Chinese characters on the website's main page. The ones I used match those shown in the picture.)
  11. Late last year, my car broke down in Chantilly, and I drifted onto a frontage road, parked, and stepped into a little dive called Bianco Pizzeria while I waited for the tow truck. It was a short-order type place with a flat-top grill, a deep fryer, an oven, and specialized in pizzas and subs, and it was just awful - it wouldn't surprise me if I'm the only member of this website ever to eat here. I minimized the damage by getting a Cheesesteak, and it was about as good as I could have done. Today, I drove by and saw that it had changed concepts (it also turns out that when I went, it had recently changed owners). Now, it has had a little money put into it, and has reopened as The Burger Shack. The outside of the restaurant has charm, as it's in a reproduction of an 18th-century Potomac Valley Farmhouse - judging from the sign (below), I'm not sure when this house was built, but inside, it's very similar to what it was before, except whoever owns it has chosen to focus on "premium burgers" instead of subs and pizza. I didn't try anything, but the first three things on the menu I saw screamed "Frozen, Frozen, Frozen!" (Mozzarella Sticks served with Marinara, Basket of Tots served with Ranch, and Sweet Potato Fries served with Honey Mustard) - eewww. Anyway, this may be a decent place to get a burger, and it will call out to passers-by in a way that Bianco Pizzeria never could. Here are some pictures of the historic marker, the restaurant, and the menu:
  12. Not wanting to cook on Friday night we gave this place a try for carry out. We got the A2 - Pan fried dumplings (Beef), A7 - Seafood Pancake, C8 Bulgagi and e8 Bibimap. Pretty much everyone enjoyed everything which is a feat when you have four kids. My 3 year old daughter loved the dumplings and declared them one of her favorite restaurants (Entering the pantheon of ABC Canteen). My favorite was the seafood pancake but really everything was strong. Since they are conveniently located halfway between my office and my house I can see them entering the carry out rotation.
  13. Bawarchi was similar but not quite as good as Karaikudi. With that said, the buffet was usually excellent. Unfortunately when we went last week we were informed that they discontinued the weekday lunch buffet. I imagine I will be writing another epitaph soon.
  14. There have been a couple of relatively large changes in the relatively small Lee-Jackson Station shopping center on the South side of Route 50 in the heart of Chantilly this year. The buffet on the far left of the shopping center has changed - it used to be the second location of Il Mee, and as you can see above, was at one time called Super Buffet (this may have been part of Sichuan Village, but I've never been inside). Just yesterday, I noticed it's now called something else, but it's still an Asian buffet. I can't remember the newest name. [Correction: I'm wrong - it still says "Super Buffet."] Right next door, what used to be the second location of Annangol (like with Il Mee, the first location of both of these still remains in Annandale) has changed also: It's now SGD Tofu House (which may be an outlet of a NJ chain with a similar name). Pastry Corner bakery, the second outlet of an Ashburn bakery (at Lotte Center) still remains.
  15. What do they say about restaurants? Location Location Location. This one sucks. The food on the other hand, doesn't. Between this, Rawal Kabob and Food Corner Kabob house we have entered a golden age in Chantilly/Centreville ethnic cuisine. I've been 4 times so far and have not had a bad meal yet. Especially noteworthy are their excellent redntition of the obligitory chick peas. With the chicken Kabob you can really taste the difference in their marinade. the real star here is the Kahari Chicken which is delicious (granted I have not had it elsewhere but it was damned good). If you beleive Yelp it is owned by Tariq Khan the original owner and founder of Ravi Kabob . I'd verify with the website but it is down right now.
  16. Ok. This place is part of our regular rotation. Its nestled in a little strip mall near the nicest trailer park you'll ever see. I can honestly say I have never had a bad meal here. I have also never had a great meal here either. Everything I have had is in a solid 7 range. The Carnitas, Barbacoa, and Stewed chicken are probably the best. Put them in an enchilada, burrito or taco... it's kind of the same. On Saturdays they have a Kid's eat for a buck promotion.... So I find myself here once a month. Most of the time they have a woman in there that does balloon animals. She is an artist. Really some the most elaborate balloon animal creations you'll see at a Mexican restaurant at 7pm on a Saturday (or anywhere else). Hey... I have three kids.... these things are important. With that said, they are doing a good job of playing to the Chantilly/SR demographics and tend to be full on a Saturday. My favorite thing here is actually their breakfast burritos. I like them better than Anitas (heresy!). The difference between a breakfast burrito with chorizo here and at Anitas is that El Fresco actually puts chorizo in theirs. If you are in the area, they are worth trying. I always get the chorizo with red chile.
  17. This place is a favorite in the lunch rotation, but for some reason I had not been in a long time. Lunch was a nice dish of Pad Kra Praw, but the interesting was all these pictures around the restaurant of Bobby Flay. Seems like he came for a Throwdown. Click for pics. That makes at least 3 places in the VA/DC area that have been featured to my knowledge.
  18. On Saturday, we were at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center and looking for a place to have dinner after the movie. This popped up on our search for something interesting and close by and so we decided to check it out. We arrived around 7:30pm and our party of 6 was easily seated despite having a very full restaurant. Due to the crowd and family friendly atmosphere, it was fairly loud for about our first 45 minutes and then it was quieter and easier to hold normal conversations. I had the Peru 73, which included ceviche, a chimichurri steak skewer, quarter of chicken and Peruvian fried rice. My husband had the Mar y Tierra while friends had the Picante de camarones and Tacu Tacu Con Bistec- Chicken. We also had the Algarrobina to drink. This was the first time really venturing past pollo and I thoroughly enjoyed everything I tried as did everyone else in the group. I'm not in the Chantilly area very often, but this restaurant is definitely worth returning to in the future. Aquaymanto's Website
  19. I've heard tell through the internet that the new Chettinad restaurant in Chantilly, Karaikudi Restaurant, has opened. It's been a long time since I've had even meh Chettinad food, so I'm curious to know if anyone has been (for buffet or meal)? The menu has the usual egg-based and egg-featured Chettinad specialties, various parottas, quail, goat, crab, fish, prawns... Heck I was happy to see Chicken 65 if only as an appetizer, been a long time since I've seen that! They also have a pretty good selection of vegetarian dishes as well, including ulli theeyal which I'm not sure I've ever seen around here. I'm thinking a weekend trip here might be in order.
  20. I've been keeping an eye on this space for a while since the old Scotto's Rigatoni Grill disapeared. I've seen the signs for Aguaymanto for some time but they hadn't opened yet. Last thursday I was cutting through the area on my way to Chipotle (having talked my son out of Chick'fil'e). As I droe by I noticed lights on here and hung a quick left to check it out. I'm glad I did. They opened a few weeks ago. and they did a very good job of remodling space. The staff there was very nice and were especially kind to my rampaging 2 year old. We got carry out, a half a chicken with yuca and Seco con Frijole which was a Beef stew (with cliantro and garlic), beans and rice. Both dishes were quite good although the chicken was a little dry (probably the nature of the beast). Qhile we waited for the food they gave out a small bowl of freshly roasted corn (which was quite good). When the food was ready one of the managers even helped me carry the food to the car (as I was wrangling with the aforementioned 2 year old). Anyways I am glad to have them around as they are on my way home and will likely be a regular addition to the carry out rotation. Edited to add the website: www.aguaymantorestaurant.com
  21. I searched and couldn't find a thread for this place which is a shame because I think they may have some of the best Kabob's in the area. My office goes here all the time and they do a brisk carry-out business. I've been going here for years and I don't think I've ever had a bad meal here. It's one of those places where you walk down the hall and say "Anyone want lunch?" and people demure saying that they have leftovers from home. You come back down the hall and you say "Anyone want Kabobs?" and their leftovers go back in the fridge. I'd like to say that I have explored a lot of the menu but I have not. I either get the lamb kabob or the Rawal kabob special (a skewer of chicken and a skewer of seekh kabob). All meals are served with nan, rice, salad and vegetables. I always get the channa masala which is always excellent here. This shopping center really is a culinary mecca. Picante, Minerva, Thai Basil (when it is good, which hasn't been recently) and Rawal Kabob. All in a low rent out of the way strip mall.
  22. They serve funnel cakes at Milwaukee Frozen Custard now, just FYI. They're not bad, but they don't have that "special" feel to them that you get knowing that you don't WANT to know how often that oil's been reused. Uh, since this is now its own thread (and not an offshoot of the Kings Dominion one ), for those who don't know about this place: http://www.milwaukeefrozencustard.com/
  23. We tried MoCA this past weekend. Overall, a good addition to the neighborhood. The restaurant is small and not nearly as ornate as the other locations (as depicted on the MoCA website). The smallness is a good thing. The place filled up with families and there was a good vibe. If I had to encapsulate this place in a few words, it would be "family-friendly suburban sushi." It's family-friendly in that the menu is full of stuff kids should like. Ours loved the shu mai, and liked the tempura. The tempura is in a panko breading instead of the usual tempura batter. That stuff was pretty bland, which some kids will be quite pleased with. Others (and most adults) will want to try the dipping sauce, which was pretty good. The tempura appetizers ($6) are a good size to serve as kids' meals. As for the sushi, I was pleasantly surprised. The menu has a long list of "special rolls," some pretty complex. Twinsmommy tried the "spider roll," which features fried softshell crab, and the "Queen Roll," which has avocado and a lot of other stuff. The Queen roll, which was huge, was her favorite. I got a spicy scallop roll, a salmon skin roll, and several pieces of nigiri sushi. One nice thing about MoCA is that the nigiri sushi and sashimi is priced per one piece, not two. As my ability to devour huge amounts of sushi has declined over the years, this is a nice feature since I like to try several different kinds of fish whenever I eat sushi. The salmon skin roll was meh, the spicy scallop roll was really good (with a great kick), and the nigiri were very good. The tobiko was a particular highlight -- three different colors of eggs on one piece. It looked a flag. That is a very nice touch. My plate was very attractive in general. In short, I can't see how this place can fail. I encourage sushi lovers in Western Fairfax and Southern Loudoun to check it out. PS: The service is still a work in progress -- my plate of sushi came out well after the rest of our food, and our miso soup didn't come until we asked about it when Twinsmommy's sushi rolls were delivered. But I will cut them some slack for a while on service. There were two guys working behind the sushi bar and they were working hard.
  24. Tried 88 China on Saturday and was disappointed. Spicy capsicum chicken was certainly hot enough, but was more heat than flavor. Shredded chicken with leek was terrible. Crabmeat and asparagus chowder was tasteless. Every time we get one of these "Authentic" places out here in Western Fairfax, I get my hopes up and they are always dashed. Happened with Sichuan Village. Happened with 100 Degree Chinese Cuisine. Happened with Taste @ Hong Kong. All these places have some good dishes, but none comes close to a stellar eatery like HKP. Cheng's Asian Cuisine has some potential. And we haven't had even a decent dim sum spot out here since Fortune Reston closed.
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