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Tyler Cowen's Ethnic Dining Guide


johnb
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While there's much to argue about with some of his choices (and it seems many picks are out of date-- like he hasn't visited these places in quite a while), I love this bit about 1789 (which is exactly how I feel about the place):

"Georgetown standby, it has about the most boring looking menu you can imagine. That being said, quality is uniformly excellent across the board. In a nice old building, the room is charming in the sort of way that appeals to fireplace lovers. Wealthy parents of Georgetown spoiled brats eat here. I can’t complain about the quality, but I will only eat here if someone else is paying the bill. Many will love it, and I enjoy it when I go, but it is not my thing."

Edited by cjsadler
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While there's much to argue about with some of his choices (and it seems many picks are out of date-- like he hasn't visited these places in quite a while), I love this bit about 1789 (which is exactly how I feel about the place):

"Georgetown standby, it has about the most boring looking menu you can imagine.  That being said, quality is uniformly excellent across the board.  In a nice old building, the room is charming in the sort of way that appeals to fireplace lovers.  Wealthy parents of Georgetown spoiled brats eat here. I can’t complain about the quality, but I will only eat here if someone else is paying the bill.  Many will love it, and I enjoy it when I go, but it is not my thing."

Now that Riz is leaving 1789, it will be interesting to see what happens there, not to mention wherever her new place turns out to be.

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Would it be too much trouble for him to use boldface, italics, underlining, or blinking neon red arrows to separate the names of the restaurants from the narrative? Sheesh. My eyes and brain hurt in equal amounts after plowing through a portion of that list.

It is interesting, though. I'll be dining at one of the Afghan places he mentioned (Faryab) this weekend, and I don't think I've ever had Afghan food...

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"Chipotle, numerous area locations.

OK, let’s get the bad news out of the way up front. This is a chain. Even worse, it is a chain owned by McDonald’s corporation, the fount of culinary evil. That being said, it is pretty good. Fresh and relatively authentic Mexican food, you tell them how to put together your meal. The salsa is genuinely spicy. The carnitas are the best meat. Not much choice, but you don’t need it. I’d rather eat here than almost any other Mexican place on this list."

AAAARGH. I love Tex-Mex on weekends for lunch. Last week had a very disappointing meal at Los Poblanos so I decided to see what Tyler Cowan recommended this week. I can get great Tex-Mex in Memphis, okay not as good as San Antonio but good enough. Why in DC would one of the better places be a chain owned by Ronald McD? Especially since our administration is so heavily dominated by Texans????

AAAARGH.

EDITED: Looking for suggestions by the way... places I have tried and crossed off the list: MexiCali Blues, Burrito Brothers, the place in the food court at Ballston (loved for a long time but got sick a couple of times), Chevy's (chain), Rio Grande (chain)...

Edited again because I am shocked at how far away the good places listed on Cowan's list are from where I live in Virginia. 30 to 40 minutes... AAARGG

Edited by NCPinDC
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EDITED: Looking for suggestions by the way... places I have tried and crossed off the list: MexiCali Blues, Burrito Brothers, the place in the food court at Ballston (loved for a long time but got sick a couple of times), Chevy's (chain), Rio Grande (chain)...

The Well-Dressed Burrito

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I was not that impressed with Taqueria Poblano. I thought the food was heavily laden with salt. The salsa for which they charge was mediocre at best, the chips not so good. Oh, and it does not equate to a bargain though it is considered a bargain restaurant in DC.

I do forget about the well dressed burrito. Wonder if they are open on Saturdays?

Has anyone been to Taco Baja on Route 50 near the Greatlands Target? Curious...

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I was not that impressed with Taqueria Poblano.  I thought the food was heavily laden with salt.  The salsa for which they charge was mediocre at best, the chips not so good.  Oh, and it does not equate to a bargain though it is considered a bargain restaurant in DC. 

I do forget about the well dressed burrito. Wonder if they are open on Saturdays?

Has anyone been to Taco Baja on Route 50 near the Greatlands Target?  Curious...

I think you're only going to find the Well Dressed Burrito average. Has anyone checked out any of the places in Bladensburg lately? That's my last hope for good Mexican in the area.

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I think you're only going to find the Well Dressed Burrito average.    Has anyone checked out any of the places in Bladensburg lately?  That's my last hope for good Mexican in the area.

The places in Bladensburg are fine in my experience. Relatively authentic, at least by DC standards.

Much better than Well-dressed Buritto is El Charrito Caminante. Outstanding burritos, tacos, pupusas, etc. Carry-out except with some counters around the wall in front. If you haven't been to this place you must go. Both the cabrito and the chorizo are great--have the cabrito on taco and the chorizo on the burrito. It's in Clarendon on Washington St. I think, in the last set of stores before the road gets wide and takes you down to 395. Cheap too.

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The places in Bladensburg are fine in my experience. Relatively authentic, at least by DC standards.

Much better than Well-dressed Buritto is El Charrito Caminante. Outstanding burritos, tacos, pupusas, etc. Carry-out except with some counters around the wall in front. If you haven't been to this place you must go. Both the cabrito and the chorizo are great--have the cabrito on taco and the chorizo on the burrito. It's in Clarendon on Washington St. I think, in the last set of stores before the road gets wide and takes you down to 395. Cheap too.

I am so excited that you have tried El Charrito Caminante. I noticed it on Sunday and was going to try it this week. Gracias!!!

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Has anyone been to Taco Baja on Route 50 near the Greatlands Target?  Curious...

I've eaten at Taco Baja many times. It's a rather peculiar place. It's a pretty mediocre Tex-Mex place with counter service, and a pretty good Salvadoran place with table service. The Salvadorans who eat there sit down at a table, and a waitress brings them menus, chats them up, takes their order, brings their food. The gringos who eat there walk up to the counter, order enchiladas or tacos or whatever, go sit at a table, and then retrieve their order from the counter when called. As a gringo, and a solo luncher, I've never quite had the nerve to walk in and sit down at a table and see what would happen. I have ordered a Salvadoran dish at the counter, however, and when I go sit down at a table, the waitress then brings my order to the table. It's very weird.

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I wonder how many people he typically dines with. Under Indique, the author suggests:

Everything is excellent, but get as many appetizers as possible, ten or twelve I would say.

I'm not finding this Tyler person all that charming or interesting (or helpful, for that matter).

Spices, 3333-A Connecticut Ave., near Ordway, 202-686-3833.

Pan-Asian food, owned by the Oodles Noodles people. By now this stuff is passe rather than new or interesting. If you like this place, it just means you haven’t enjoyed the real Asian food to be had around here. You are probably one of those carless people stuck in Washington D.C.

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I wonder how many people he typically dines with.  Under Indique, the author suggests:

I'm not finding this Tyler person all that charming or interesting (or helpful, for that matter).

Who cares about charming? I think it is pretty well known that the better Asian places are not in the city.

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Has anyone been to Taco Baja on Route 50 near the Greatlands Target? Curious...

I cannot speak for Taco Baja, but Picante's, just down 50, west of 28 is not bad at all. Inexpensive, well prepared tex-mex is what they have. Ok tequila selection, but I prefer Pacifico anyway. If you go, the queso fundido cannot be missed. Melted queso blanco and peppers and tortillas rock the house.

craig

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Has anyone been to Taco Baja on Route 50 near the Greatlands Target?  Curious...

Once, some time ago. Like many such joints in the area, the menu skews heavily towards Salvadorean rather than Mexican cuisine and the food isn't bad, just unremarkable, from what I can recall.

Edited by Capital Icebox
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As far as stale goes, Prof. Cowen doesn't seem to update his listing with restaurants that have closed, but does add new places. At least that is my impression. He's got some good choices (I like his opinion on Ethiopian restos) but I don't think his guide is all that great for anything other than a guide to what kinds of food you can get where -- the numerous ethnic varieties available in the city and burbs.

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He's got a blog now.  Worth keeping an eye on, as he sometimes ferrets out some very obscure places, such as Manila Cafe in Springfield (mdt, call your office!)

I may have to check this place out. Of course I need to figure out how to use the condiments with the food. Why doesn't he go into this?

Looking at info about this place I found this, "Want to impress your friends at a dinner party? Serve (with one day advance notice) the lechon (whole roasted pig), plus some Filipino side dishes." Might be a good place for a DR.com outing.

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I may have to check this place out.  Of course I need to figure out how to use the condiments with the food.  Why doesn't he go into this?

Looking at info about this place I found this, "Want to impress your friends at a dinner party? Serve (with one day advance notice) the lechon (whole roasted pig), plus some Filipino side dishes."  Might be a good place for a DR.com outing.

I'd be in for that one.

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Looking at info about this place I found this, "Want to impress your friends at a dinner party? Serve (with one day advance notice) the lechon (whole roasted pig), plus some Filipino side dishes." Might be a good place for a DR.com outing.

That's a great idea. Are you volunteering to organize one? :)

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