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Found 13 results

  1. I tried out this new Afghan restaurant for lunch today with a friend & had an excellent meal. Tucked in a small strip mall, near Bozzellis & a giant Puppy Palace (the Olde Towne Pet Resort), there were 2 tables seated when we arrived & it was full when we left, with several people coming in for takeout orders. My friend & I split an order of the spicy beef dumplings, mantu ($4.95) & we both ended up getting the chicken kebab ($9.95) which came with basmati, salate, avocado chutney (I thought it was more of a green yogurt sauce & delicious) & they very kindly subbed out the potatoes it came with, for eggplant. It was all delicious, great service, & I look forward to going back & trying some other dishes. It looked like quite a few people were going for the beef shank qabuli or the lamb shanks. It's an excellent choice for dining near Ft. Belvoir or the Newington area.
  2. Was able to grab a quick lunch today based on a friend's recommendation. The Espositos is located adjacent to the entrance to Fairfax HS, directly across the street from PJ Skidoos. If you are looking for a very casual approach to fresh Italian food, try it. The owner welcomed me to their restaurant when I arrived and and took a moment to thank me when I left. The server was great and recommended the Chicken Francaise, I got a side of spaghetti with meat sauce so I could try their fresh pasta. The chicken (2 thin breasts) was extremely flavorful, as was the sauce. The side pasta with meat sauce was good by itself. She offered me their house, spicy (but not too much), olive oil with a basket of fresh bread - also another nice complimentary touch. Atmosphere is nothing special, as I mentioned before, it is very casual. The people were nice, food was excellent and I will be back.
  3. I nearly missed the ticket dispenser when I first stepped into Russ & Daughters. Packed from end to end with me just barely fitting inside the door, and suddenly engulfed by all sorts of food curiosities I wanted to pursue, it took a moment before I realized to snag my number in line. Ticket 590. I looked down to the end of the store, where the sign flashed 557. It was 11 a.m. on a rainy Friday and I hunkered down for a wait, surrounded by like-minded tourists, locals, chefs, and an angry woman “who drove 45 minutes” and had “never waited an hour in all her years coming here.” One employee smiled and told her to come during the holidays, where she’ll wait for two hours instead of just one. After a few walkout casualties and little regard for the distracted (your number is called once, then promptly skipped after a beat or two), I finally made it to the counter with my order recited: everything bagel, toasted, with cream cheese and Scottish salmon loin. Nothing more. A few minutes later, on a street bench away from all the cellphone picture-taking, elbows and clatter of the 103-year-old institution, I unwrapped perfection. The ideal ratio of bagel, cream cheese and smoked fish. Hot, cold, crisp, tender, fatty, salty. I am not an expert on bagels or salmon or the heritage behind their combination, but for me this was a new personal benchmark. The best of its kind I’ve ever had. What’s the Michelin tagline for three stars? Worth a special journey. Over 1,500 miles from home, finishing my last bite of a Russ and Daughters Classic, and all I could think was -- absolutely.
  4. Well! My thoughtful assistant has brought me two pounds of brisket and one sausage link, all pre-cooked in the pit, from Smitty's Market - has anyone tried this before? It was just delivered from Texas, cooked yesterday I believe, and will be reheated perhaps tonight. She went to college in Austin, and says it's her favorite brisket - she's still quite young, but is also a hardcore food-hound. (Allow me to get a plug in for Operation Honor our Heroes.)
  5. Once, nobody really spoke about restaurants, at least not in the way they do now. Nobody debated the merits of each dish, no one cared what farm their steak came from, and restaurants were more about hospitality than cuisine. That time is long gone, but shards of it remain. One is a few short blocks from my front door, and I'm sure to go every chance I get. Some restaurants transport you to a different place. This one promises a different time. Martin Donohue opened Donohue's Steak House in 1950 on Lexington Avenue near 64th, where it still is today. His son Michael took over a few years later and ran it until his death in 2000. The restaurant then passed to Michael's daughter, Maureen Donohue-Peters, who still owns Donohue's and is there almost every night. None of them ever changed the place. Not one bit. Why would they? Donohue's is a single room paneled in brown wood with a checkerboard floor. The front is dominated by an Art Deco bar. Beyond it is the dining room, which has three small tables at its center and five tall black booths along each of the side walls. The back wall has a "specials" board which almost never changes, and probably never has. I can't attest to the authenticity of everything in the place. But I'd wager it all looks almost exactly as it has for nearly seven decades. The button-tufted booths are flanked with coat racks and a few age-tarnished paintings hang above. The tables are covered in red tablecloths with paper Donohue's mats at each seat. Instead of a rollup, the silverware is still laid out on each mat with a white cloth napkin folded between. Nearly all of the menu dates to the Eisenhower administration as well. Steaks are all familiar cuts like NY Strip or filet, with gentle prices that betray a lack of pedigree. The fish would have been equally familiar decades ago, when baked salmon or scrod were in fashion. Everything else -- hand carved turkey, baked chicken, shepherds pie -- is straight from grandma's house. I typically go for the burger, which is first rate in an "old school" kind of way and served with decent steak fries. I like the meatloaf and gravy too -- one of the permanent specials -- which, with sides of mashed potatoes and peas and carrots, reminds me in a good way of the Salisbury steak TV Dinners of my youth. I also always sit at the bar, over which Tom the affable bartender quietly presides most nights. Tom seems like he's been there 30 years, though I strangely haven't the courage to ask. Regardless, he's certainly not trying to reinvent the wheel. Aside from a handful of flavored vodkas, if you couldn't get it 60 years ago, you can't get it now. In this regard, a Maker's Manhattan is occasionally nice, but bottled Budweiser usually does the trick. After all, you're not here for fancy cocktails. Or amazing food, for that matter. It's good, but that's not really the point. What you're here for is the history and the perspective that comes with it. Donohue's is a living museum. Most patrons know the staff by name because they've been coming for 20, 30, 40, or even 50 years. One even left his two favorite servers a $100,000 tip in his will. The old guard mostly stay in the dining room where they seem to know everyone already. Still, a "newcomer" can usually find a few regulars at the bar to chat with. Often, whether you want to or not. Either way, there's always a good story to be told. There aren't many places like Donohue's left. Places from a time and a city that disappeared before most of us were born. I'm glad to have this small piece of it.
  6. Mama Ayesha's. I've always been intrigued by the location (off by itself at the end of the Ellington Bridge). I now live right behind it, but still haven't made it over. Anyone ever been?
  7. I spend a lot of satisfying times in Bozzelli's and I think it belongs in the dining guide. It is a family-owned and operated deli with a seating area on Alban Road in Springfield -- Backlick runs from Annandale to Springfield, changes its name to Alban roughly at the big oil tanks across I-95S, and then changes its name to Pohick when it crosses Rolling Road into Lorton and Fairfax Station. Bozzelli's menu includes some of the best subs in the DC area. They have a few "signatures" like the Metro (basically an Italian hoagie), the absolutely decadent Pepperoni, Steak and Cheese, the Senator (Italian cheeseburger) and many more, all of which I can tell you are as good as any in the northern Virginia 'burbs....at least this side of the Italian Store. What finally drove me to write them up was the best breakfast sandwich I've had in a long time -- ham, egg, cheese, peppers and ketchup on an 8" pressed Italian bun. Man, was that good...! And on Fridays in Lent, there isn't a better 12" tuna salad sub anywhere. Bozzelli's also offers salads, a few pasta dishes, fresh-made desserts and unusually good pizza. They also have cooking classes on the occasional Wednesday evening, where Mama puts on some displays of excellent Italian cooking. http://springfield.bozzellideli.com/
  8. Quick shout-out to Pop Tacos, which is probably my favorite lunch spot in Baltimore. It's basically a family-owned version of Chipotle run by a super nice Korean couple. You can get burritos, quesadillas, burrito bowls, or tacos with your choice of chicken, pork, steak, fish, or Korean-marinated pork. Onions and peppers are sauteed to order and guacamole can be added for no additional cost. I'm not sure if it's the marinade, salsa, or what, but I've always thought that Pop Tacos' food is everything Chipotle should be. You can also get some Korean specialties like bibimbap and great breakfast burritos as well.
  9. Agree with many of the above, and I reserve the right to post about something I remember later. I do have to give a strong mention for Tango Pastry on Rt 1. It's An Argentinian bakery cafe on the first floor of a Days Inn just south of Old Town. The facturas pastries on the weekends are a stand out, and I think she does great Argentinian empanadas (my favorite being the chicken with the olives and eggs.) I have had one pasta dish and it was quite good, a bolognese, but haven't explored much beyond (yet). Sandra the owner is very friendly and after using her twice for parties can't recommend her catering strongly enough. In this area, this should be on the list of places to try (especially a fresh facturas).
  10. My local Thai place deserves its own thread. I go in about once a week, & get the same lunch special-chicken ka pow, w/ tom yum kai (spicy chicken soup) & a small spring roll-$6.50. The food has always been good, but prior to the roof collapse & renovation, the atmosphere was very diner/luncheonette-white linoleum, bright lights, soda cooler. Now it's painted a nice pumpkin color, has comfy booths & tables, & has a lovely little bar. It's never too crowded, which, is a good thing, but I'd love for them to have more business (I'm selfish, I want them to succeed, so I can have my thai food). I didn't feel I should comment, because I get the same thing over & over, but tonight I got takeout-larb chicken, shrimp cashew, & pad ped talay (shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels in spicy chili/basil sauce). I asked for the larb & pad ped talay to be hot & wow! this is the spiciest larb I've ever had, & delicious! Pad ped talay is equally spicy, I could eat this all day long, as long as I had lots of rice...a frosty Franziskaner weissbier for me, pineapple Fanta for the kids (they like it milder, hence the cashew shrimp), & we're all happy, & ready to wrangle puppies all night long. I realize I need to quit complaining about where I live-I have Thai Nakorn & El Paso right around the corner & for honorable mention-Mamma's Kitchen, Viet House, Chef Huang's (lunch buffet), Restaurant Cosmopolitan (cevapcici) . Still untried-Su Pollo for Peruvian chicken & Alexandria Grill Bread & Kabob...it's not like I'm starving down here, though we have our share of dismal chains...
  11. Little Tokyo - More for its history than its wagashi, I like to stop at Fugetsu-do. According to Jennifer B. Lee's book, the fortune cookie was invented by them based on senbei.
  12. Hey, home-boy! I've had Nate and Al's, Junior's, and of course Canter's--two blocks from my high school--many times. But isn't it interesting that neither of us has had CB from Langer's, which many believe is L.A.'s best? Too far east from that West L.A.-West Hollywood-West Valley world we lived in, no doubt.
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