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Need a New Sanctuary


DanCole42
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With American Flatbread closed, I need a new place to go to when I have a bad day at work. Here are the things I loved about American Flatbread that I'd like to find in the new place:

  • Local ingredients. Not just one ingredient they slapped on the menu to capitalize on the local movement, but pretty much everything. With farmers stopping by now and then.
  • Local staff. Hostess goes to nearby high school, waiter is owner's friend's daughter, pies are made my sweet neighborhood lady, etc.
  • Cozy. A fire is good, especially if the food is cooked in it.
  • In Fairfax/Loudoun, but not off 66. The Greenway was a much swifter drive, and a welcome respite from my usual commute. And something in DC or Arlington isn't ideal either, since there'd still be plenty of traffic waiting for me after dinner.
  • Less than $50 per person with drink, tax, tip, and leftovers.
  • Good beer and wine selection.
  • Not too crowded. Never have trouble getting a table (preferably a "usual" table), but of course not so uncrowded that they have to close.
  • Visible and accessible proprietors and cooks.

A tall order, but what can I say? I like what I like.

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Isn't there a Fireworks in Clarendon, now? I agree that this will be the closest thing to Amer. Flatbread that you'll find in the area. I keep hearing things about Pupatella in Clarendon, too. It may not be a hangout, but it sounds like a nice place to relax for a short time. Is Falls Church too far off the path? Mad Fox has mediocre food, but excellent beers, wines, ciders and meads and it's not crazy busy until post-rush hour.

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I suppose not!

I don't have a particular recommendation for a place yet, but my thought since you're flexible about cuisine is to find a new restaurant.

It may be easier to have a relationship as a customer if it's right from the beginning. I know last night when I stopped by one of my favorites,

the owner asked where my GF was, we talked about how they've been open, etc.. and how I've been going since the beginning. It's hard to

believe three years have flown by!

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With American Flatbread closed, I need a new place to go to when I have a bad day at work. Here are the things I loved about American Flatbread that I'd like to find in the new place:

  • Local ingredients. Not just one ingredient they slapped on the menu to capitalize on the local movement, but pretty much everything. With farmers stopping by now and then.
  • Local staff. Hostess goes to nearby high school, waiter is owner's friend's daughter, pies are made my sweet neighborhood lady, etc.
  • Cozy. A fire is good, especially if the food is cooked in it.
  • In Fairfax/Loudon, but not off 66. The Greenway was a much swifter drive, and a welcome respite from my usual commute. And something in DC or Arlington isn't ideal either, since there'd still be plenty of traffic waiting for me after dinner.
  • Less than $50 per person with drink, tax, tip, and leftovers.
  • Good beer and wine selection.
  • Not too crowded. Never have trouble getting a table (preferably a "usual" table), but of course not so uncrowded that they have to close.
  • Visible and accessible proprietors and cooks.

A tall order, but what can I say? I like what I like.

Dan, we deadhead from Reston to the front room "cafe" of Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg. I absolutely love the place. Probably 15-16 tables which are first come, first served; half dozen or more seats at the bar. Wine Spectator Award winning wine list with 20 or so by the glass. Softly lit room with great "character" (rustic, renovated 19th C. grain mill)-perhaps curiously I like the front room much better than the actual dining room. It is just more casual and more comfortable, especially for an excellent dinner salad, very good soup along with the regular dinner menu which is mostly locally sourced. Sweet corn, heirloom tomatoes, etc. in season.

Probably have been going once every month or two for fifteen years.

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Might I suggest that chucking the checklist might be an excellent place to start? You're like a widower looking for a woman just like his late wife. Play the field and see what comes up.

You're too young to become a cranky old fart whining about how "things ain't like they used to be."

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Also, it's Loudoun, and has been that way for a couple hundred years. B)

It's good that Dan now knows this, especially with all the Loudon bridges falling down.

On a related note, "doudoune" is French for "ski jacket." By extension, "doudounes" is French slang for "breasts which are huge." I thought Dan might want to know this, too. Or if not Dan, then Al Dente.

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What about Passionfish? Not sure exactly how local all their ingredients are, but the servers and bar staff are really nice. I always seem to be able to get a table. Nice local wines on their wine list. They seem to be rather local??? It was a nice refreshing place for me to hang after a meeting in Reston.

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What about the Icehouse Cafe in Herdon. I used to frequent it a lot 20 years ago when I lived in VA. Cold beer and Jazz are tough to beat.

[Not to mention we could use a review of it since it's one of the oldest unreviewed threads we have!]

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Been eating at "Tuskies" for years, they have really stepped up their game. Ate there last week for lunch and their menu and execusion is really phenomenal.

Plus walk up the road to Moms Apple Pie and you have your local "pies made by sweet neighborhood lady"

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Oops, I forgot a bullet!

  • Deep personal significance. Ideally, like American Flatbread, I will have first gone to the original location of this restaurant when I was seven or eight, and it should have been a formative culinary experience that shaped not only my tastes, but my very values.

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Oops, I forgot a bullet!

  • Deep personal significance. Ideally, like American Flatbread, I will have first gone to the original location of this restaurant when I was seven or eight, and it should have been a formative culinary experience that shaped not only my tastes, but my very values.

You @$$ (Did I just say that?)

MCDONALDS!!!!! Not locally sourced, but staffed by locals, with a deep significance when you were little, and located all over the place! There you go, problem solved.

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How about Clare and Don's Beach Shack, in Falls Church? When they were in Clarendon, I loved them as a hangout. I don't know about local ingredients (suspect not), but they're cozy, local, tasty, and fun. The seafood is very well done and the fried alligator and fried pickles are great comfort food.

http://www.clareanddons.com/

Oh, and they're inexpensive, I think have a good beer selection (I don't drink it so I'm not positive), and have accessible proprietors/cooks.

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Leesburg is a bit of a hike. I'm in the Fair Oaks area. But it could be worth checking out.

Well, right in your own back yard is Blue Iguana. Bear with me here....Eric Robinson is the chef, and he knows what he's doing. The everyday menu is pretty good, but every now and then, he pulls together a wine pairing night that is one of the best 5-course meals in the DC metro area. I have had surprises on the menu, like one of the best Cuban sandwiches in the DC area. And it has a decidedly non-chain feel to it.

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