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  1. We finally got around to checking out La Casita, a pupuseria and carryout in a tiny little strip near the corner of Piney Branch Road and Dale Drive. The pupusas mixtas had a nice little crunch to the outside, creamy beans, and good curtido. Carne Asada was respectable and the grilled shell-on jumbo shrimp, Camarones a la Plancha, were much better than expected. All Platos de La Casita come with yellow rice studded with tiny pieces of carrot, and either pureed and rather soupy refried red beans or a surprisingly fresh salad. We ordered Enchiladas Salvadorenas (corn tortillas fried until very crisp and topped with beans, queso seco, and curtido) on a whim and we wouldn't get them again; they were greasy and dull. The store has an extensive selection of frescos tropicales and liquidos that bears exploring, and they offer Atol de Elote, a hot corn drink that has me curious. Two platos, two pupusas, and two enchiladas came to $21.00. La Casita 8214 Piney Branch Road Silver Spring, MD 20910 301-588-6656 (They offer the usual beans, cheese, pork and combination pupusas but next time I'd like to try loroco.)
  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. Rock-n-Roll Sushi is at least better than the flyer Nooshi mailed out last year advertising "Funky Sushi" at happy hour. Funky sushi. EWWWWWWWW.
  4. Sounds like part of Ardeo+Bardeo will be re-vamped into Bindaas, an Indian street food restaurant with Vikram Sunderam overseeing the food: "Rasika Chef Vikran Sunderam to Oversee Upcoming Indian Street-Food Restaurant" by Becky Krystal on washingtonpost.com At 50 seats, I'm assuming the smaller side space that used to be Bardeo will become Bindaas. Targeted opening early August, but you know how that goes. According to the article, Ardeo+Bardeo will continue with a dining room and the upstairs patio.
  5. Rappahannock River Oyster (RRO) is totally overdue for its own topic here on dr.com. Of course, that assumes it doesn't already have a topic on here somewhere? I only found scattered mentions in other topics like for Union Market or under shopping as an oyster source. Bet many of you didn't know: - RRO dates all the way back to 1899 and is still owned by the same family? - Rappahannock has an amazing 8-10 seat shack in Topping, VA by the bay with super, interesting and incredibly fresh and local seafood. Has anyone been? - They just opened up their latest and most grand restaurant in Richmond at 320 East Grace St.? - That said restaurant managed to pry open (pun intended) the Columbia Room enough to get bartender Katie Nelson to consult on a drink menu paired with RRO's seafood? - That the Croxton cousins, the owners, plan to open more places to slurp, eat and drink in/around DC/VA? - That these guys really are among those leading the effort to restore the Chesapeake oyster industry and claw back market share from those pesky west coasters, canadians, kiwis and gulf coast types? - That you don't have to go all the way to Topping (or Richmond) to slurp some fine oysters since they're up and running at Union Market (okay, most already know that ) I've now eaten my way through most of the menu at the very popular RRO Bar at Union Market. Wonderful oysters whether raw or grilled. I especially like the Stingrays and Rappahannock River oysters. Raw oysters sell for $2 each. Likewise on the tasty clams. Oh, and that oyster chowder which I think is made with Olde Salts (one of the four varieties they cultivate)! And, the more substantial meals: - the crab cake is both ample and packed with blue crab (served with a very nice celeriac salad); perfect for lunch ($14) - wonderful, large, sweet sea scallops with a healthy peppery arugula salad ($14) - an interesting and satisfying "lamb and clams" dish with sofrito, fingerlings and one other ingredient I'm forgetting. ($14) The bar at Union Market also has a short but nice wine list and friendly servers. Need to get a report from someone on the new Richmond outpost as soon as a rockwellian makes it there. Maybe it'll be me...but probably not knowing how far-ranging dr members are. Nothing stays unreported on long around here. Finally, An interesting Food & Wine article about the company and it's history written by Tom Colicchio Washingtonian's coverage of the new Richmond restaurant RRO's nicely done website
  6. OK, I couldn't find a listing for this restaurant, so here it goes... I have tended to only go to the take out place in Arlington and the new "cafe" in Silver Spring recently, but Friday I found myself at the Lebanese Taverna in Woodly Park. I used to go here all the time in years past, so when were were looking for a quick bite to eat, we thought we would give it a try. I would say the food was ok, but not as good as I remembered. I think ultimately knowing you could go to Zatinya and have similar food, but prepared in a more inspired way, you would pick Zatinya. We ordered a bunch of the mezza. Some items were fine (the Kibbeh and hommus), one item was very good (sharaht ghanam- which was sliced lamb), and others were average to not very good (the lamb kabob appetizer was terrible, the pieces were so fatty my piece was impossible to eat as it was all fat). I know that its location near the hotels means that there are many tourists, but I think they may have dumbed down some of the food for them. I used to remember this restaurant as a fun and interesting place to go. I still like the take away in Silver Spring, but if I want to sit down and eat, Zatinya is the winner, with better food and atmosphere. I wonder if they are successful with the 100 King restaurant in Alexandria, they will go back to to Woodly Park, and give it a much needed update.
  7. Over Christmas Mr. MV and I visited Osteria. In a word: fantastic. We started with the bread- two kinds of rustic bread and grissini, served with a light fruity olive oil. The salted bread was soft, chewy and fresh. The pizza was simply the best I've ever had. Seriously. We had the Lombarda which has mozzarella, bitto cheese, cotechino sausage and a baked egg in the middle. The pizza dough was thin and done perfectly throughout the pizza. The crust had some nice blisters and the egg was immensly rich. The size is about 12 inches around, in case anyone goes and wants to gauge how much to order. Pizzas are cooked in a 700 degree wood fired brick oven. We will be back for the pizza alone, let alone the rest of the menu. We also split a lobster spaghetti special, which has a whole lobster with meat taken out, shell on bottom topped with spaghetti and chunks of lobster in a light tomato sauce. This was a big dish. Next we had suckling pig which was brined and braised. It was intensely flavored with fennel and a hint of garlic. We ended with a cranberry and hickory nut tart/cake toppped with zabaglione gelato. All meats (except proscuitto which is cut to order on a killer Berkel slicer positioned among the tables), gelato and many pastas are made in house. I am now in search of cotechino sausage. It's flavored with cloves and nutmeg. The space is warehouse meets warm tones and wood on a red wine stained concrete floor. There are 2 bars- one around the L-shaped kitchen and one in the back. For the above meal plus two glasses of prosecco we paid around $150. We were stuffed. I can not wait to go back. Between the pizza, antipasto, primi, secondi, contorno, dolci and daily specials, there are too many ways to enjoy this gem to go only once. And...of course we had a roast pork with sharp provolone and rabe at DiNic's in Reading Terminal Market.
  8. Also in the neighborhood, a couple blocks to the east, Wiseguy NY Pizza is supposed to be opening this week..... sandy willing.
  9. When I moved to the DC area in 1997, one of the first "serious" restaurants I went to was Jaleo. I was just back from nearly a year in Europe with over a month of that time in Spain, so I was hankering for a tapas bar. I was prepared to be disappointed with Jaleo, but instead found myself returning every few weeks over the next couple of years. I intended to go to Cafe Atlantico last night, but the bar at Jaleo looked tempting. And for the first time in a long time, it looked like there were a few free seats. I started with a couple of scallops in Romesco sauce. I enjoyed the sauce, and the scallops were a bit past their prime but still decent. Queso de Tupi "Abuelo Tunica" was a surprise. This was a soft cheese that had been mixed with some sort of Spanish liquor served with bread and fig puree. It had a boozy sharp flavor that hit the spot. I also tried the Ensalada de Remolacha which consisted of beets, orange segments, walnuts, mixed greens and Cabrales-- one of my favorite cheeses. This was tasty, though the beets just didn't taste super fresh. I wouldn't go so far as saying they were canned, but they had definitely been around a while. I finished up my meal with a variety of sliced Spanish sausages: Chorizo, Soria, Butifarra, and Salchichon de Vic. All the meats were great, but I didn't care too much for the whole wheat toast points that came with it. Everything was washed down with a Garnacha, Carinena, Syrah, and Merlot blend called Perlat. I'm glad I stopped in. It had been too long. If I'm in the area, and it's still early enough in the evening to get a seat at the bar, I'll be back. Soon.
  10. A coworker is touting the quality of Vace's pizza, saying it's the best slice in the city. Having never been, and not seeing a thread for it here, I ask for your opinions. There's also a Bethesda location. http://www.vaceitaliandeli.com/ 3315 Connecticutt Avenue (202) 363-1999 (Cleveland Park) 4705 Miller Avenue (301) 654-6367 (Bethesda)
  11. Tried out the newish Duke's Grocery today for lunch over in Dupont on 17th street. First a few odd things: 1) it is not much of a grocery - they have a few baskets of produce for sale, but it is really a restaurant, 2) its menu consists solely of sandwiches, a few sides and a bar menu - but for now they do not offer carry out sandwiches (concerns about too long of a wait when they have a tiny open kitchen and basically one (maybe 2 sometimes cooks), 3) it looks like it'd be a place for counter service, but they have bartenders and waiter?/food runners so it is unclear whether tipping is expected. I sat at the bar where you order on the ground floor when you enter - but they have an upstairs with tables and some other ledges and stools around on the first floor too. Overall, I think they are still trying to figure out what their concept really is. Nevertheless, the bar is nice and 2 young bartenders were very friendly and nice explaining the menu and chatting. Now onto the food. So the price/value is great here. All of the amply portioned sandwiches are just under $10 with tax included and despite my gluttony of finishing my whole Brick Lane Salt Beef monster, it easily could be shared by 2 people. The other couple of sandwiches I saw come out were equally well-made, fresh in the kitchen using mostly homemade ingredients in small batches and likewise large. The sandwiches come on a variety of breads from Lyon Bakery including rye, ciabatta, etc. I've never been to the UK nor had Salt Beef but it was described as less salty corned beef. It had thick cut soft white bread that was good and then piled high large chunks of tender beef (not melt in your mouth, but soft). The sandwich is slathered with sinus-cleansing Colman Mustard (think horseradish or chinese spicy mustard without the heat) and house made dill pickles with bit of onion laced within. I said next time I'd get the sandwich with less mustard and more of the good pickles. The sandwich was good and definitely well made with quality ingredients - but I think the mustard overwhelmed the somewhat lightly seasoned meat. Probably go back and get something else or maybe the salt beef on rye with sauerkraut and dilled mustard (Ruby on Rye). Besides these 2 options there are several pork ones, a chicken salad, and a vegetarian aubergine/eggplant sandwich - but check/call before you go if you want something particular as most of the menu changes according to the staff.
  12. From the sounds of things, it seems that Little Sesame is a separate entity getting its start in DGS's lower-level, with a common co-owner in Nick Wiseman. Thus, it will also get its own thread. Congratulations to the whole team, Nick, Robin, and everyone else - please stay active here and let us know when you expand beyond lunch, get a beer and wine license, open another location, etc. All these pop-ups and restaurants within restaurant are parallel to recent college graduates living with mom and dad for a couple of years because they can't afford to pay rent (heck, I did it for a year - I think it's a great idea, and it can even bring the family closer together).
  13. Brought two of my younger colleagues to dinner here last week. We were looking for a casual spot that was fairly lively and had good food. One of my colleagues read somewhere that the Mermaid Inn on MacDougal was something of a "baby bernardin", so off we went. First of all, the notion of comparing the Mermaid Inn to Le Bernardin, baby, toddler, adolescent or full grown version is crazy. Totally different set up and vibe. This is a casual restaurant with a bustling oyster bar that makes a solid effort to turn out good seafood dishes at a fair price. Our group started with "escargot style" lobster knuckles, charred Portuguese octopus and blue crab tostada. The lobster knuckle escargot were really interesting - the kitchen used a very deft hand with the garlic so as not to overpower the knuckles. I'm a sucker for any charred octopus, and this rendition was good - the hot peppers in the dish were reminiscent of Peasant's "Polpo en Purgatorio", although Peasant's version of charred octopus is superior. The tostadas were a miss - for whatever reason we didn't find a whole lot of flavor in them. My main was a yellowfin tuna with sauce gribiche - seared rare as requested and served with some local asparagus. My colleagues also enjoyed their meals, but the details have been lost toi time at this point. No dessert, but with the three entrees, three appetizers and two bottles of sancerre (blanc et rouge), we had a great time and spent well less than expected for a "nice-ish" dinner out in NY, especially for a menu featuring seafood. While our experience was at the MacDougal location, you could do worse than happen by here or one of the other locations for a quick oyster fix or casual meal.
  14. Hey everyone--I hope you'll forgive this little plug for a friend of mine. I live in Columbia Heights and can attest that new blood is sorely needed over there, as our dining options are pretty limited. James O'Brien (former owner of funky-but-defunct music venue Staccato in Adams Morgan) has changed venue and flavor. His new venture will focus on brick oven pizza and other cafe fare at the corner of Park Road and 11th St. NW in Columbia Heights, near the Tivoli and the new Giant. The new place is called RedRocks and is scheduled to open in February. Besides brick oven pies at a reasonable price-point, RedRocks will also feature a full bar with tasty beer (look for some good Belgians), a brunch menu, and outdoor patio seating.
  15. Overall a good impression on a lovely Saturday night at Denizens. Outside they have a large patio with picnic tables with seating for 200 people. The vibe is urban beer garden. Inside are various rooms over two stories. To be honest, most of the offerings they have on tap right now aren't really in my beer wheelhouse, but the Lowest Lord English-Style ESB was solid, perfectly fine to quaff on a late-summer night. The veggie burger with cheddar was actually pretty tasty and the fries were on the thinner match-stick side. The patio was busy all night, but it didn't feel crowded. They certainly seemed to be doing good business. I've sampled a couple of their beers now, not sure I would rank them in the top tier of DC area breweries, but they are probably squarely in the next tier down and put out a solid product. If it wasn't such a trek out to Silver Spring, I'd be back more often.
  16. Team, We have been reading this forum for a long time and found it very helpful in enhancing our dining experience. Now, me and my partner Enzo Algarme have opened our own food establishment and want to invite you guys to check it out. Enzo, who is from Naples, Italy, worked in the kitchen of the renown "Il Pizzaiolo del Presidente" (certified by Verace Pizza Napoletana) in Naples, where he learned how to make authentic Neapolitan specialties, which we are now making here, in Arlington, Virginia. Some things, like the Neapolitan Fried Calzone, you can't find anywhere else in this area. We also make Palle di Riso (crunchy rice balls stuffed with peas, veggie crumble and cheese), Panzarotti - potato croquettes stuffed with mozzarella, Neapolitan-style pizza (we do not have a wood-burning oven, but use the same recipe and the ingredients as pizzerias in Naples). The food we serve is the authentic Neapolitan STREET food, just like you find on the streets of Naples. Our food establishment is a STREET CART, not a restaurant, so the prices are more than reasonable. We have been open for about 1 week in the neighbourhood of Ballston, in Arlington, VA just outside the Metro station, at the corner of Stuart and 9th streets. We are only open Mon-Fri for breakfast and lunch right now, from 8 to 3:30, but soon will be open until 8pm. Come to give us a shot! Anastasiya and Enzo pupatella.com myspace.com/pupatella1pizza
  17. Went last night to ChiKo in Barracks. I had been interested in going, but just don't get to that area as much these days. It's "Chipotle-esque" inside, industrial look, done quite well. There isn't a whole lot of seating, you get in line, take a number and then hope a table opens up. There were 3 of us, so we went to town ordering. It's small plates-ish, but some of the items could definitely make a good size for lunch. It's not Chipotle as in customizable - you order items that are being continuously made fresh in the open kitchen. - Double fried chicken wings - spicy soy glazed - expertly fried, just a bit sweet for me, compared to BC, but these come right of the fryer and perfect crunch - Pork and kim chi poststicker - really tasty, with a nice dipping sauce - Kimchi stew - with pork belly, subtle, not very hard core on the kim chi, but well done - Smashed salmon - with squash and korean red chili paste ... very good - Wagshal's chopp'd brisket - this came most highly recommended by the staff member, but it was not the most loved - I didn't try it, since I don't eat the beef, there's a soft egg and you mix it in. - Cumin lamb stir fry - with wheat noodles... this was one of my favorite dishes I've had in DC in a long time, really well prepped, noodles had good chew (not sure if made in house), spicy but not terribly so, braised tender lamb, pretty much everyone's favorite - Chiko "shrimp and grits" - another WOW dish! Congee and garlic-sauced shrimp, so tasty. I think maybe I liked this better than the lamb. - Wok blistered Chinese broccoli - greens, a palate cleanser, done differently than at Chinese restaurants - it has thicker stems $125 for 3 of us, including one adult beverage each. Not really "fast-casual" - it takes a bit of time to get your food, as it is made to order, and it's not exactly cheap to get full for dinner (what we had was a good amount, we finished almost all of it and were comfortably full). But, high quality. I really like it - I would go back for that lamb stir fry. The ingredients are all really good compared to most Asian places, I think that's why everything just tasted "brighter". And, as someone else on Yelp said, it's not really Chinese - Korean fusion - it's Chinese and Korean dishes, all on the same menu. It's pronounced - "Chi" with a long I sound .. duh - "Chinese Korean". Got corrected when we said chee-ko.
  18. I've been watching progress on this place for the last few months; PoP reports today that it is opening this week. Menu looks to be strictly standard American Thai offerings, but here's hoping that it will be tasty and fresh (good pad thai is good pad thai). They will be takeout only until they receive a zoning change to operate as a sit down joint. I'm certainly not expecting Taw-like levels of quality or deliciousness, but if they serve up decent Thai it'll be a hell of a lot more convenient! Good to see more options around my 'hood.
  19. Chef Jamie Leeds had left 15 Ria a month ago. Her own, Hank's Oyster Bar, is slated to open on May 15th. It's a cute bistro-looking place in the corner of 17th and Q Streets. I'll be trying it real soon. Wishing her well"¦.
  20. [i'm surprised that there isn't yet a thread on Teaism, but in case I just missed it, please re-file.] Five pm. Sustenance thus far today consisted of a bag of Fritos. Awful day at work. About to meet a friend for drinks. And then I turn the corner and see Teaism, and something about the place draws me in. Nothing about my tuna bento box was extraordinary, but everything was Good. Soft sweet potato in peanut sauce. Crisp cooked broccoli in thickened ponzu. Warm rice, seared tuna were just fine. Delicate cold mint tea. I've got no standing to judge this meal relative to others in the DC area. All I know is that this was the first meal in a month that felt nourishing and tasty and satisfying and relaxing. Thanks, Teaism. ETA: In case there's anyone in the metro area who doesn't know it yet, the salty oat cookie sold at Teaism is one of the great triumphs of baking. I've been able to mock up a reasonable facsimile at home, but there's nothing like the original, eaten out of wax paper on Connecticut Avenue with a ginger-lime tea. Sublime taste pleasure.
  21. I went here with my family. We ate at Buena Vida. The complimentary chips and salsa were excellent (tomatillo, some kind of smoked red salsa and picked veggies) were excellent. We had elote off the cob, a bunch of tacos and ceviche. Even the beans and rice which we ordered for the kids was great. My favorite tacos were the lengua and the duck carnitas. Service was okay, not the most attentive server. --- Tacos, Tortas, & Tequila (ElGuapo)
  22. Who else is excited for some Jersey-style pizza? Tweet from @AllPurposeDC leading to this article: "Where to Eat in 2016" by Jed Portman on gardenandgun.com (featuring a paragraph about All Purpose).
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