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  1. I grabbed lunch to go from the Laurel location. Based on Hunter's review, I ordered the "moist" brisket as part of my 2 meat combo. I enjoy cooking brisket at home, but don't tend to order it out anymore because it's rarely anything but boring and bland. This meat was delicious however. I will happily order it again. My experience pretty much lined up with Hunter's experiences. Pulled pork was good, but probably nothing to write home about - heavily seasoned, a little on the dry side. I remember having potato salad (that I really liked) as a side when I had it at the catered event - they seem to have replaced it (seasonally) with what they call baked cheesy potatoes. Good, especially with a touch of salt, but I missed the advertised golden brown crust. Cole slaw was good. Corn bread is meh, very soft and crumbly with dried out pieces of corn. They had 6 sauces available, none particularly traditional in my inexperienced opinion. I found a good number, including the spicy one had a touch of sweetness that I could do without. I ended up using the KC Classic the most, and adding some of the smoky sauce (one that had a touch of sweetness) mixed with the classic to the pulled pork. Staff was very friendly, my food was prepared efficiently and the place was rocking for a brand new location. I will definitely be back - I support what they're doing and I liked everything I had enough to want to try more.
  2. Based on the sign I saw in the window, it appears that the former Drinx location is going to be the 12th Green Turtle. I can't wait, another restaurant in this location that will have no impact on the culinary landscape and I can completely ignore.
  3. Reaching into the past here, but there's a Maiwand Grill with locations in Baltimore and Burtonsville, which seems to be unaffiliated with Maiwand Kabob (5 area locations) as far as I can tell. That said, the Maiwand Grill in Baltimore City is a fantastic restaurant. The hummus and pumpkin with ground beef were on point, and the kabob entrees are amazing deals for the amount and quality of food (~$10 with bread, rice, salad, and spicy green chutney). The kofta kabob and chicken malai (marinated in sour cream and butter with ginger, garlic and fresh coriander leaves) kabobs I tried are incredibly tender and flavorful. The chicken malai, in particular, is dry grilled but still juicy, with a nice mild herby flavor that pairs great with the chutney. Definitely will be my go to whenever I'm in the Hippodrome/Royal Farms Arena area.
  4. We took my boyfriend's sister in to Total Wine in Fairfax. She's newly 21 and we wanted to pick up a sampling of beverages for her to try during her visit. The cashier upon seeing her ID handed her a form to sign verifying that she is 21 years of age. When we asked about it, the manager came over to explain that it was company policy that all people born in the newly 21 year (1985) sign the form every time they purchase anything from the store until the year (2006) expires. I mentioned that it was the first time I've heard of a procedure like this and it was a bit odd. Making the visit even stranger, the manager explain to us that the policy was not odd and we were wrong. Policies are policies and I understand that but I don't believe this is a common practice. That being said I haven't had my age questioned for a number of years so I haven't had to deal with the oddness of being 21 and the efforts to combat underage drinking. So my question to the group is has any one heard or experienced this? Is this normal? Thanks, Emily
  5. FWIW, I just noticed today that they've opened a location in College Park on Rt 1 about two blocks north of the UMCP main gate. (On a related note...when did gentrification hit Hyattsville?!)
  6. It's not exactly a restaurant, but you have a new place to put at the top of the Logan Circle Dining Guide: Pitango Gelato. My wife and I have passed this place numerous times on the way to the gym, resisting the urge to eat back the calories we just burned until today. Their list of flavors is similar to Dolcezza, if a little less creative; Pistachio, Bourbon Vanilla, Rhubarb, Creme Fraiche, Chocolate Chocolate Chip, etc. I got a small cup of the Bourbon Vanilla and Creme Fraiche and my wife got the Chocolate Chocolate Chip. All were delicious, with the Bourbon Vanilla being the star of the show despite not tasting too strongly of bourbon. All 3 were creamy but had very clean flavors and no annoying ice crystals. It is worrisome that this is so convenient to my house, but the prices will probably make this only an occasional splurge. Like its sister in the fad dessert scene (cupcakes), boutique ice cream places have been charging exorbitant prices for their product, although I'll say that at least the gelato places we have been offer a better product than I can get at a grocery store or make at home (unlike the cupcakes). However, Pitango has really gone over the top. For two 2-ounce cups of gelato we paid $9.70! The guy behind the counter said that the prices were so high because it takes 3 times the amount of milk to make gelato as it does ice cream, but I still found this markup to be absurd. The place was pretty crowded when we were in there and we've seen lines out the door on weeknights, though, so it appears that the boutique dessert shops have still not found a price point at which people will stop coming back for more. I will say, though, that the cup of ice cream I had tonight was better than any dessert I have had at any of the restaurants in the area, so maybe instead of getting a $7 piece of cake at Logan Tavern people might as well pay their checks and head here for some delicious ice cream.
  7. Washingtonian is reporting that Andrew Evans, of Inn at Easton fame and owner of The BBQ Joint in Easton and Pasadena has signed a lease with Union Market. Sounds like the bbq will be counter service and the meat is being smoked at the Pasadena location and brought over to Union Market. Fair warning. December-ish opening. It's starting to get smokey around here.
  8. Has anyone been out to the new Lotte in Chantilly @ rt 50 and sully (close to that intersection)? supposedly its pretty big.
  9. Per oldtownalexandria.patch.com, it looks like they are finally doing something with the long vacant Torpedo Factory Food Court. It is a huge space.
  10. Well, Tyler Cowen reviewed it today, so I'm guessing it's open. Looks like we need a new topic...and a group of NoVA folks to come with me so I can order many dishes.
  11. Went to the Naked Lunch restaurant on Saturday, in the bottom floor of the new Mom's Organic Market in Courthouse (on Lee Highway). Enjoyed my lunch thoroughly. They don't seem to have a separate website (though they're a separate restaurant that I think only operates in MOM's - there's one in Rockville and Merrifield, maybe others). I can't find their menu online, so I'll try to remember to take a picture of the takeout menu I brought home. Some of the items are described in the yelp reviews. It's a tiny, tiny place - one two-top table, four barstools (with backs and padded, yay) at a little counter, and that's it. Good for take-out, if it's too full to eat in. Service (ordering at the counter) was a little slow, though it could be because they don't have their routine down yet. Service was also very friendly and accommodating. Everything was vegetarian, and I believe they can make most or all of the dishes vegan. Mostly it's fast-casual steamed or roasted veggies, on top of grains, with tasty sauces. They have set items (I was looking at the Lin Bowl and the Moler Bowl, but ended up with roasted cauliflower steak over spinach, brown rice, mushrooms, and a couple other things I think, with a zingy chimmichurri sauce/dressing). They'll substitute anything, it seems like, or just add things (I had asked about another dish that included sweet potato, and when I ended up with the cauliflower, she asked if I would like sweet potato on it too - yes please). And you can create your own combo if you prefer that to the bowls on the menu. Mine was very tasty and filling. I asked for light dressing, and she gave me extra on the side because she said she'd gone very light - I appreciated that. Delicious dressing, and it complemented the veggies very very well. My husband had the Sushi Bowl, which included tofu, rice, avocado, and some other things, and a gingery sauce that I liked very much (I'd order that dish another time if I wanted a change from the cauliflower). They have lots of fresh juices (all the combos had vegetables, which I'm not a fan of in juice form, so I didn't try them, but I wouldn't be surprised if I could get it without), kombuchas, bottled drinks in the refrigerated section, and a black bean burger as well as the various bowls. I'll definitely go back.
  12. My wife, son and I went to the Greystone Grill in Rockville (33 Maryland Ave, in the new Rockville downtown) last night after the movies. Admittedly it was late, about 9:30, but our experience was not one to make me want to return. Things started well, the place has the right look for a modern steakhouse/grill, stone hearths, a good mix of banquettes and tables and lots of glass and steel. The server, an nice young man who was just trying too hard, offered to give us a tour of the menu (like I needed that) and there was a reasonable (for Montgomery County) wine list. I even noticed the wine lockers and asked about them. For $1500 (a year) you can have your own wine locker and they will store and serve your wine for you when you come in, but you have to fill it with wine that you can buy in Montgomery County, so that is a major waste of money. They offer a fairly nice selection of wines by the glass too and you can order a trio of three ounce pours of any of the by the glass wines for $13. The bread was piping hot and very good, and came out quickly. But things went down hill from there. I ordered the trio of wines, a Pinot Grigio to go with my appetizer, and Pinot Noir and a Cabernet Sauvignon to go with the steak I ordered. Unfortunately, it didn't show up until after the appetizers were done and gone, and I even tried to eat them slowly to give them time to get the wine to me. For appetizers I ordered the Crispy Cheese and Smoked Salmon, described on the menu as Haloumie cheese layered with smoked salmon and pesto. Served with horseradish scented creme fraiche. Actually it was some salmon between two layers of cheese, lightly breaded and deep fried. While it wasn't awful, it was pretty weak and much less interesting than it sounded. My son had the Greystone Skewers, strips of beef, marinated, grilled and drizzled with peanut sauce. It was actually quite good. My wife ordered the Calamari Rockefeller, which turned out to be fairly good, but not exciting fried calamari. For entrees, my wife ordered the Mango and Mandarin Salad. It came with blackend shrimp, fresh blueberrys and raspberrys, Mandarin oranges, on top of greens tossed with a Champagne vinaigrette, finished with sliced Brie cheese, sliced red onions and toasted almonds. She specifically asked for the vinaigrette to be served on the side. When the salad came, it was dressed (overdressed in fact, a constant problem with the salads here) and had to be sent back to be done correctly. However, when the properly served salad came out, she pronounced it to be very good. I ordered the Flatiron Steak. I ordered it medium rare, and it came Rare, but I didn't complain since I really prefer it to the rare side anyway. It was quite good. The entrees come with a side and a salad. I got the Greystone salad, greens, candied cashews and crumbled Maytag bleu cheese tossed with raspberry viniagrette. It was tasty, very fresh, and very overdressed with the viniagrette. (Word of warning, ask for the dressing on the side and send it back if it doesn't come that way unless you like your salads soaked in dressing.) I ordered the sautéed mushrooms as my side, but when the steak came, it was with the Yukon Gold mashed potatoes. I pointed out I had ordered a different side and my server brought me a bowl of the mushrooms. He shouldn't have bothered, the potatoes were better, as the mushrooms were simply white button mushrooms that had been quartered and sauteed in some herbs and were very ordinary and unexciting. My son ordered the 12 ounce Fillet. It came cooked rare as he asked but he thought it was ordinary and lacked any ommpf; but that the steamed broccoli was quite good, served with a roasted red pepper butter sauce. He also ordered the wedge salad, but thought the Maytag blue cheese dressing didn't taste any better than what he got out of a bottle from Kraft. So bottom line, the steaks are pretty good, but not great, and pricy. Sides are hit and miss, salads are not bad, but overdressed, and the service was poor. Entire dinner before any tip, $125 for the three of us, and that was without dessert. If I was one of the young professionals who are buying all those condos around there, I might be willing to eat here, because it is a nice space, and seems to have a very nice bar. But there are plenty of places where I can get better service, good steaks, and good wine for less. I think they are trying too hard and just don't get it yet. If they straighten out the service problems, and quit trying to be as pretentious as they are, they might be worth going to on a semi regular basis, but I don't know if I'm going to give them the chance to change my mind. I certainly wouldn't make a trip to go there.
  13. The Waterfront Market & Cafe held their press preview last week and friends and family grand opening on Sunday. The official public opening date has been announced as next Tuesday, November 26. Based on photos from the various events, the space looks great and it should be a very nice addition to the quite limited options located directly on the water. There's definitely a push to draw locals in with the "back to your waterfront" tag line. The menu will include custom sandwiches, salads, prepared gourmet items, beer and wine to go (or drink there), fresh sushi, pastries, etc., with similar items available for purchase at the retail market. More specifics here, via LocalKicks. Jody Manor, the owner of Bittersweet Cafe and Catering (in business since 1983), knows a thing or two about creating a sustainable, successful business, so here's wishing him a long run in this latest venture. I'm looking forward to checking it out soon after it opens!
  14. So we went to the one in Baltimore for lunch before a trip to Port Discovery. We also got the whole chicken family meal. Sides of black beans and fried rice. The chicken is definitely smaller than Crisp and Juicy (Arlington). When we get the whole chicken there, usually about a third of the chicken is left. At Chicken Rico, we went through the whole thing. The chicken, while flavorful, I found to be a bit too much on the salty side for me. The fried rice was much better when mixed with the black beans. It was good for what we needed at the time.... something kid-friendly and quick in the right location for us. I was a bit intrigued by a couple of the stirfry things on the menu. If we go to Port Discovery again, we'd certainly consider going back, but it's not a place we're ever going to crave, particulary when we live just a couple miles from Crisp and Juicy.
  15. Some friends of mine are suggesting we meet here for dinner this weekend. Looks like cheerless chain hell to me. Anyone been? Red Rock Canyon Grill
  16. I guess we don't have enough pizza styles or options in Virginia, but I am legitimately interested in the new Coal Fire Pizza opening in the Rolling Valley Shopping Center this year. Coal Fire replaces a Japanese steak house on the slab adjacent to Anita's, and it will join Cedar Cafe, the credible suburban Tau Tau Americanized Chinese and a few other food options in that neck of the Burke area. I'm looking forward to some legitimate anthracite coal fired pizza around here.
  17. Given the unseasonably warm weather, I decided to try the bubble tea at the Barracks Row Capital Teas today. It was a nice day to sit in the courtyard. I'm not sure what the event was at the Barracks, but I encountered a motorcade on the way over and was serenaded by the Marine Corps band as I drank my tea and read a book. The tea I ordered was the featured flavor: blood orange pu-erh. They have another half a dozen or so standing flavors. I had tried the hot version of the blood orange at the outside urn and wasn't sure about it. The staff member I was dealing with assured me that it's really good iced, so I went ahead. It had more flavor than it did hot. I thought the bubbles were good--firm and kind of gummy and chewy, but I don't have experience with bubble tea that enables me to give an expert opinion.. The mixture seemed a little too sweet to me, but I don't typically consume sweet drinks. It wasn't overpoweringly sweet, so someone who likes a moderate amount of sweetness would possibly think it was fine. I believe they sweeten with agave, but I didn't confirm this. The amount of milk seemed good, but it could have used more ice. The serving was very generous. A small was $6.25 ($6.61 with tax).
  18. You give us Alain Ducasse; we give you The Fractured Prune. "Fractured Prune Launches National Expansion ...." by Lorraine Mirabella on baltimoresun.com "The 37-year-old chain now has 13 locations in Maryland, including Ocean City, Parkville, Halethorpe, Frederick and Salisbury, and in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Later this month, a Fractured Prune will open in Utah, with more planned for New York City, Philadelphia, northern New Jersey, Arizona, California, Florida, Nebraska, Nevada, Idaho, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, Brinton said." The name sounds ridiculous until you read about its backstory - it's actually kind of sweet (pun intended).
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