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  1. I had heard about this place before, as my friend Satellite Will had moved to the neighborhood, but hadn't tried it. My friend, the Booz Consultant, had a hankering for some XLB, and were not going to be able to go to Rock-vegas on a weeknight, so figured we'd check this place out. It's a super cute little restaurant. I like the red brick exterior. The first floor was pretty packed and we were going to sit at a table down there, but then the waitress told us that some old people came in, and it would be hard for them to go upstairs, so she sent us upstairs. I had the feeling no one would be up there, but the upper floor was also packed. And very Chinese. I think all the Asian people got to eat upstairs. So, we sat down. Took a while to get served. They have wine and beer, maybe cocktails, I don't remember. I got a Goose Island IPA. We ordered soup dumplings (they called them pork soup buns or something like that). 8 to an order, they took a while to come. They were small-ish, and not a whole lot of soup in them. Got a Agaric Garlic Salad, that was basically wood eared mushrooms. It was dry, but when you put the sauce on them, tasted pretty good. Then we got to ordering mains. We looked around and saw these metal bowls over burners, and tried to get an idea of what was going on there, but couldn't figure it out. There was two lovely GW students from outside of Shanghai, and we looked at their menu. Different than ours, of course. It was all in Chinese language. We asked them if there was anything on that menu that wasn't on our menu, they said it was basically the same. I was skeptical. So, then the people next to us got the same metal thing, and we asked the server. He said it was a dry pot. TOTALLY NOT ON OUR MENU!! Why do they do this??? Anyway, we got lamb dry pot and pork with garlic sauce. The dry pot came, lamb, chilis, green pepper, lotus root, mushrooms. I liked it, not super spicy. My dining partner wasn't as big a fan. I liked the pork, too, good flavor. Sort of reminded me of the sauce at the Uighur place that they give you on the side. We chatted with those students, and they said turns out the dry pot was on the Chinese menu, but not on the American one. I don't know what else was on there, but I'm sure they are hiding stuff. So, the XLB crave was sort of managed, but not the best I've had. I did like the dry pot, and don't think that's easily available in DC proper. There is probably other good stuff, they seemed to have some Sichuan options, and the beef spicy noodle soup looked good, but we didn't get since I don't eat beef and she wasn't sure if she'd be able to tolerate the heat. I'd go back and try some other stuff.
  2. JDS Shanghai Famous, or just Shanghai Famous, opened in late March, occupying two adjacent storefronts in the strip mall facing MD-124 near Criswell Chevrolet, right behind the Starbucks. I haven't the slightest clue what JDS stands for in their name, but I'm reasonably certain this may the only time I've seen those three letters _not_ stand for Jewish Day School. But I digress. Photos of their XLB have been popping up all over the past couple of weeks, along with descriptions comparing them favorably to the ones from Bob's Shanghai in Rockville, so I absolutely had to check it out. And...you should too. At lunchtime today, the place was maybe half-full, but essentially all the parties appeared to be Chinese. The menu is straight up Shanghainese food...no Northern Chinese, no Cantonese, no Taiwanese (hence no bubble tea), no Americanized. While I didn't think that the crab-and-pork XLB quite rose to the level of the NYC and West Coast XLB destinations, the wrappers were good (they could be a smidge thinner, but were at least in the ballpark), the soup level was good, and the flavor was good. I give these the edge for flavor profile, although for intensity I think Bob's chicken-soup filling is a bit deeper. Also, porcupine will probably be a bit disappointed in the lack of freshly julienned ginger, apart from a few bits premixed into the black vinegar in the dipping bowl. Still, a credible contender, at least until something even better comes along. 519 Quince Orchard Rd., Gaithersburg MD 20878 Here's The Menu
  3. I don't think there is any decent xlb in the DMV area and certainly not something close to the quality of Ding Tai Feng. I recently had Joe's Shanghai when I visited NYC and even those xlb didn't taste authentic since they used chicken gelatin broth rather than pork gelatin broth. The only way to satisfy my craving while living in VA is to get the Wei Chuan brand xlb from Asian store (its the one that said Nan Xiang pork http://www.weichuanusa.com/a_product_new.htm ) and gently steam it in a bamboo steamer over wet paper towel or cabbage leaves. Dip them in some black vinegar and shredded ginger concoction and they are the best frozen xlb I have ever had, not saying much, but I have to make do with whatever is available.
  4. Greetings; log time lurker, but I only spend two months a year near DC... I just had a long engagement in LA end and I am craving Din Tai Fung big time. Due to time constraints, I'll be confined to the greater Northern Virginia region for the next few days. Any recs for a decent dumpling in the area? Thanks in advance.
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