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  1. Guess some of you will be headed down my way now. http://news.fredericksburg.com/businessbrowser/2013/02/14/broker-new-fredericksburg-restaurant-likely-to-draw-from-no-va/
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. I was surprised to not see a thread for Joe's Pasta and Pizza. After all its been around for decades in various locations; the North Arlington and Vienna locations remain. Its simply a mainstay as a neighborhood restaurant. Admittedly I know or more properly knew and was friendly with Joe. So I'm a fan of the restaurateur and his restaurants. Quality of food? Well even as I ate at the different locations quite a lot, I'd never call it the best quality. I would call it great value and friendly, and a perfect place for inexpensive Italian comfort food. My personal favorite were always the buffets, and my recent trip took me back there. Do you want to fill up on Italian comfort food? Go to Joe's. Eat up. In fact, pig out if you can. Then nap for the rest of the day and be glad you didn't have to cook. For my tastes the buffet and the roasted chicken within it were always the highlights. Now for many many many others in the areas where they have been ( North Arlington, Vienna, formerly Fairfax, Gaithersburg, and Bailey's) I've known its always been both a dependable takeout option, and its an absolutely great place for families, kids and groups. The pizza? Well as much as I liked Joe, it was never my favorite. But the buffet. Had it again recently. It still is a great deal. In my book emphasize the roast chicken and add some other items....and its a terrific way to fill your tummy with Italian comfort food and leave the cooking to Joe et al.
  6. I've kept this quiet for weeks out of professional courtesy, but you'll hear about it very soon anyway, so you may as well hear it here first. Breaking News: Brian Zipin will be GM (and a partner) of Medium Rare, a sub-$20 American-style steak frites restaurant opening in late February in the old Yanni's space. Behind the operation? Mark Bucher of BGR was one of the creators, and none other than Michel Richard was (quietly) involved with developing sauces and desserts, but Brian and Tom Gregg (past President of Cuisine Solutions) are involved as non-silent partners. Cheers, Rocks PS Don't ever underestimate Michael Landrum - the guy gets around. But I've been told ... no sous vide (and I asked "are you sure? about ten times). So you weren't quite right, Michael!
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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"¦.
  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. 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).
  12. Though we were generally operating in the Fish Tales-type space, Rosenfeld's Jewish Deli was easily the best meal had this week. Two eggs any style (5.95) were perfectly over-easy with a chewy, tangy, dense bagel and potato latkes that contrasted a crisp exterior with fluffy interior. Sit outside in the morning and watch the Coastal Highway traffic slowly come to life with sea breezes to accompany--this may be the most comfortable and sated you will be all day. I went back two mornings later, wanting to leave the City on a high note, had a two eggs bagel sandwich (5.95 + 1.00 for Swiss cheese), which performed as well. Coffee came from a very industrial-looking burner but was of pleasantly moderate strength and temperature. The person behind the counter was warm, cared about the business she was getting, and had none of the indifference seen at nearly every other establishment visited.
  13. Rounding the corner after a very satisfying meal at Mama Chuy the other day (go!) I saw Salt and Pepper Grill, a new Pakistani/Indian place on Georgia Ave right across the street from Howard. Has anyone been? Any reports? The menu is pretty typical Indian restaurant fare, but there are a few things I'm looking forward to trying like lamb karahi and and a few goat dishes. Too bad they don't have halim or other Pakistani specialties. The address is 2632 Georgia Ave, phone 202-588-0666. Edited to add: first attempt to use this phone number has not been successful as it's been busy all night, but that's what's printed on the menu.
  14. Rocklands is opening a new location in Wintergreen Plaza on Rockville Pike. Any reason for me to get excited about this, or should we continue to get our 'cue from Urban? The only Rocklands we're tried was the Glover Park location and that was at least 7-8 years ago. I remember nothing about the meat, but their corn salad was pretty good. The new Rocklands would be about 3 minutes from our house, rather than a trek down the Pike.
  15. Local chain El Tio Tex-Mex Grill expanding where the former Great Falls Tavern (closed), then more recently Triny's Mexican restaurant existed, but recently also closed. This will be their 4th location and they are working on a refresh/remodel before opening in the near future. Location is excellent at the corner of Georgetown Pike (Rte 193) and Walker Road.
  16. So, I was over on Georgia Avenue this morning where there's a newsstand,where my husband was picking up the Racing Form to handicap the Derby, when I spotted this place called Pacci's Neapolitan Pizzeria - http://paccispizzeria.com/ - opening today. I had to run in and check it out, and there was the wood-burning oven and the pizzaiolo from Naples. I had a brief chat with the owner who assured me that this would be the real thing. They're making fresh mozzerella - and hopefully this will be vera pizza Napolitana. We were going out of town for the weekend, but I hope to check it out on Monday. Looks so promising!
  17. I just saw the paperwork in the window. Oriental Cafe's signage is still up and the interior looks untouched thus far. Please, if there is a Santa Claus, let this place be better than the Little Caesar's abomination a few doors down.
  18. Last night Olazzo in Silver Spring. Fair to middling, but economical and close to the house. When I pointed out that we could have gone to Dino for the same money, my plus one made a puss-face.
  19. "This is it," I thought to myself. "This is the best taco I've ever eaten in my life." I had read about the lines at farmer's markets for Suzanne Simon and Bettina Stern's taco stand, but didn't really know much about it. The other day, I decided to go see for myself, and I am *so glad* I found out early on about Chaia. First, the location: Chaia is on Grace Street, which is just a few feet off of Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown, south of Georgetown Park Mall - it's *right there* off Wisconsin, and even has a little sign directing pedestrians to "tacos and beer" - don't let the words fool you. Having read their website before I went, I had a pretty good idea of what I was in for, and I also had a pretty good idea of what I was going to order. One thing of great importance: Chaia is a daytime-only taqueria: Tuesdays through Saturdays it closes at 8PM, and on Sundays, it closes at 6PM - it's closed altogether on Mondays. Please don't forget this, or you're going to show up and find a closed taqueria. And they serve beer, too - in keeping with their "hyper-local" theme, the two breweries they sell are Port City Brewing and Atlas Brew Works. Don't make the same mistake I did: Donnie Boy just *had* to have a beer with his tacos, and for no particular reason, so I started off with a plastic cup of Atlas Brew Works Rowdy Rye ($5). Why in God's name I did this, I don't know - Chaia sells cold-pressed juice from Misfit Juicery and seasonal shrubs, and non-alcoholic beverages are what you should be paying attention to here, unless you *really* like hop-laden beers at the opportunity cost of something truly special. Read on for another reason not to succumb to the temptation of ordering a beer. I got the Market Trio ($11), saving all of twenty-five cents from the í la carte taco prices of $3.75. You should ignore this special, and order however many tacos you want, and get whatever sounds good. Still, three tacos were just about right for me, and gave me a chance to try three different versions, the top three on the list: 1) Mushroom with feta, red sauce, and cilantro 2) Smoky Collards with queso cotija, tomatillo salsa, and pickled radish 3) Creamy Kale + Potato with pepperjack, polano crema, green sauce, and pickled onions. On this one taco, I sprung for a fried, pasture-raised egg ($1.50, available weekends only) - I'm a sucker for eggs and potatoes together, since they conjure up memories of diner breakfasts. I'd gotten my beer first, and nursed it throughout the meal. Note that you're not allowed to go out on the patio if you order beer, so if you want to eat outside, keep it non-alcoholic. Wanting to enjoy the egg while it was hot and runny, I ate my tacos in the order 3), 1), 2), and as I was about one-third of the way into the Kale and Potato taco, I paused, and said to myself, "My God, this is the single greatest taco I've ever eaten." I know it's California-style, and that it's vegetarian, but I don't care - this was not only the best taco I've ever eaten, it was the best quick-serve food I've ever eaten (think what that's saying). The corn tortillas are unbelievable, and the combination of ingredients on this taco was perfect. Do yourself a favor and *get the egg* with this - I could not believe what I was eating, and even cheated a little bit by dripping some of the egg yolk onto the other two tacos (only a few drops, as I didn't want to flirt with ruining perfection). Read that previous paragraph as many times as you need to read it - get this taco, and get it with an egg. In fact, get *three* of these tacos, and get *each one* with an egg. It'll set you back $15.50, and you'll love yourself (and me!) forever and ever. The Mushroom taco was next up, and it was fantastic as well, with thinly sliced mushrooms that picked up everything because they were so thin. A few days ago, I complimented the Wild Mushroom Taco at Virtue Feed & Grain - allow me to paraphrase my dear friend Terry Theise: 'I like tortilla chips, and I like truffles, and I also have no problem recognizing which of the two is better.' It's the same situation here: Virtue's Wild Mushroom Taco was tasty bar food; Chaia's Mushroom Taco was a great and profound taco by taqueria standards - there's a huge difference between the two, and if you like mushrooms, get over here and order this - it would also be terrific with an egg. Then came the collards, and this is why I should have gotten a cold-pressed juice: the collards are, by nature, bitter, and the rye-based beer was loaded with bitter hops - it was bitter on bitter, and literally left me with a bitter taste in my mouth, even as I was driving over the Memorial Bridge to get home it was still there, in a pronounced way. This is a *very* collard-greenish taco, and you have to really love collard greens to love this (think about the collard greens you get at barbecue shacks, without any of the pork they usually put in them). I'm not saying 'don't order this,' merely that you should be prepared for a blast of collard greens, and if that's what you're in the mood for, then you'll really enjoy it. As a boxed set, for $11, this was a fantastic meal, and I cannot recommend Chaia enough, both for vegetarians, and also for lovers of California (San Francisco, not Los Angeles) taquerias. This food was fantastic, and I contend that the first taco was the single greatest taco I've ever eaten in my life. I don't like putting pictures into my reviews, because I think it's lazy, and ruins the surprise for the reader when they get to the restaurant. However, in this case I'm going to make an exception, because this food is so beautiful, and tastes so good, that you'll be surprised no matter what I publish. Here you go: Enjoy your meal, and thank me later. Chaia is strongly initialized in Italic, and is one of the very greatest taquerias this city has ever known. It's also quite possibly the best quick-serve restaurant in DC, and happens to be the only one currently run by women. You're going to love this place.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. So I stumbled on the website for this BBQ joint and I can't find any threads about it on DR. Anyone been to Black Hog?
  23. This morning I walked by the place (that has been under renovation for some time) across from the Tenley Mini Market and was heartened to see a sign up for a new place called 'Sandwish' (motto: your wish is our command). Anybody have any info on this place? It looks like the kitchen and dining area are installed, so they might not be too far away from opening.
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