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Debbie Does Dulles


Mark Slater
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A friend asked me for advice and I said I would turn to the great minds and quick wits at DR.com for the answer. Here's the question:

"I guess you must know Dulles Airport fairly well ? I'm flying in there on Saturday March 25, arriving 3.25pm, and transferring to a flight to Myrtle Beach SC which departs at 9.40pm. That leaves me a large time window in which to have dinner, but where ?

I assume that I'll be clear of immigration and customs by (say) 4.30pm but I guess I won't have time to check my luggage, get into the city, have dinner, and get back to the airport by 8.40. Or would I ? How long is a taxi ride each way at those times on Saturday ? If it's feasible without making it too hectic for me, I'd love to dine at Citronelle. Obviously I have to allow for flight delays too.

Alternatively, dare I ask if there's a decent restaurant at the airport ? Or maybe one of the airport hotels ?

I'd appreciate any advice !

Incidentally, I have a similar situation on my return on Saturday April 1. My flight from Myrtle Beach arrives at Dulles at 11.52am and my flight to London leaves at 6pm. That sounds like an opportunity for a long, relaxed lunch to me Again, any ideas would be most welcome."

Thanks in advance!

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I think others on the board aren't necessarily fans of it, but I love the place. The original Sweetwater tavern is off of 28 just south of the airport about 5 miles (just beyond 28/29 intersection). That's close, food good, only issue is crowds, so he/she would want to call ahead. Part of the Great American Restaurant chain (Carlyle, Sweetwater, Arties, Mike's, Coastal Flats, etc).

Thanks

Nashman

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I think that if your friend is setting foot in a taxi by no later than 5 p.m., he can be in D.C. for a 6 p.m. dinner reservation, be done by 7:30 p.m. or so, and back at Dulles by 8:40 p.m.

That said, if flight delays mess up the timing of a D.C. trip, I strongly endorse the 2941 suggestion. Or your friend could head the other direction, and check out one of the restaurants in Leesburg. I haven't been to Lightfoot Restaurant before, but it's reputable, and while I haven't been to Tuscarora Mill in a couple of years, I remember liking it.

Sweetwater Tavern in Sterling or Centreville works, too, as suggested elsewhere.

Edited by Demvtr
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Maestro is closer than 2941, and opens the doors at 5:30. It might not be time for a full 7-course menu, but I think one could get enough courses in to have a great meal.

More casual is the Tortilla Factory, a few blocks off of 267 on Elden Street in Herndon. That's where my +1 and I head for a bite before I drop him off at Dulles for a flight.

I've not been to the Sweetwater Tavern out there, but I have enjoyed the one in Merrifield a few times. I doubt it would be mobbed at the times your friend is aiming to eat, and if s/he called from the airport, seating might be available upon arrival (I think they offer call-ahead seating). We've also dined at Clyde's at the Reston Town Center once while waiting for a flight.

There are some other nice-looking restaurants along Elden Street, like Ice House Cafe, but I don't know much about them. I worked in Reston 20 years ago and remember having dined at Ice House then, which is no help now.

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If you can catch a ride to Reston, the choice of restaurants range from: Clyde's, M&S Grill (and their seafood restaurant), Morton's, Big Bowl, etc...

Another posted listed the Ice House Cafe as a suggestion, and while I haven't dined there, it is supposed to be a good place to get a good meal as well as listen to some great jazz. Their website is: http://www.icehousecafe.com/.

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I would not venture out to Tysons area or DC at that time. I drive this area and traffic can be horrendous. Even using the Dulles express road it may take over an hour to get back. The best bet is to go to Reston Town Center as suggested above. Remember he still has to go back through TSA security and that can take over an hour at times. I would also suggest Hama Sushi in Herndon. Going to Centreville for Sweetwater Tavern would not be a good idea either as you have the traffic situation in both directions there! I hate to put a damper on spots buit take it from someone who missed two flights to New York last week because of the traffic out here! And you would think I would know better! :)

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Mom and I are picking up Dad at Dulles and planning to grab a quick bite beforehand. What are the best dining options at Wegman's (still have never been, despite working only 15 minutes away)?

Parents are home after 8 months in Beijing, but headed back in two weeks. I would take my mom to Minerva, but she was not impressed when we ate at Bombay Bistro last year. The alternative would've been Pollo Campero, but we had Popeye's a few nights ago. Maybe SBC Cafe?

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Mom and I are picking up Dad at Dulles and planning to grab a quick bite beforehand.  What are the best dining options at Wegman's (still have never been, despite working only 15 minutes away)?

Parents are home after 8 months in Beijing, but headed back in two weeks.  I would take my mom to Minerva, but she was not impressed when we ate at Bombay Bistro last year.  The alternative would've been Pollo Campero, but we had Popeye's a few nights ago.  Maybe SBC Cafe?

I often opt for the Asian Food Bar at Wegman's - better Chinese food than most of the local holes plus some thai and even Indian sprinkled in. I know this Americanized cooking is much different than is served in China, but someone who has been in China for months might want something different. They also have a pick your ingredients pasta station, a salad station, a soup bar, a sub-shop (better than any of the chains by a long mile), a pizza outlet and several pre-prepared entrees and sides.

SBC would be more leisurely and better food, although not as much choice, obviously.

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I prefer the chicken caeser salad at the salad bar. My friends also like the pizza (haven't tried). Frankly, anything in that whole area you could pick up and go eat. You could get sushi, shrimp, anything as bilrus points out

One small salad could almost feed two people or one of me.

Nashman

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Oops, forgot to mention that sushi is out because we're going to Kotobuki on Saturday with my grandmother. Pizza is out because we went to 2 Amys last week. My mom makes the best Chinese food in the world IMO (though Joe's Noodle House comes close), so that leaves pasta, the salad bar or the sub shop. That works for me. Thanks for the tips.

One other thing -- does Wegman's have a seating area, or is it strictly take out? Because if it's the latter, I suppose we could go to the Hard Times in Herndon. They certainly don't serve Texas or Cincinnati chili in Beijing.

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When I was younger, so much younger than today,

I never needed anybody's help in any way.

But now these days are gone, I'm not so self assured,

Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors... in Fairfax County.

That being said, I am really REALLY hoping that you kindhearted folks here on DonRockwell can help me find some places in Reston, Sterling, Herndon that you would suggest as worth going to!

Please not any other towns, I've been here a month and am still finding my way around without getting terribly lost. So I'd really appreciate all you maven's helping me find at least one of each type of place (with website or ph# preferred!) that is worth us going to once a week on our outings.

Thank you each so very much in advance - I really do appreciate it. Have a great September!

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Stacey: I live in Reston and am as obsessed with food as any human being (or otherwise) that you have ever met in your life!

Kebobs: Shamshiry in Tysons Corner (best Persian in D. C. area) followed by Reston Kebob House (only for chicken kebobs which are outstanding and flavorful-place is a dump), Sorrento in McNair Farms Village Center, Simply Grill in Reston and drive to Moby Dick in Fairfax Towne Center.

Italian: Maestro in Tysons-one of best restaurants in America. Bonaroti in Vienna is good, very good by NOrth Jersey standards. Zeferelli (Herndon) is so-so, Paolo's (Town Center)-OK but no better.- Capri in McLean is surprisingly very good and never mentioned on this or any other internet board.

Seafood: McCormick and Schmick's (chain in Town Center), Legal (chain in Tyson's), Black's in Bethesda which is worth the drive, 30 minutes with no traffic. (Hah!)

Indian: none exceptional. Heritage of India is best in D. C. area on Wisconsin Avenue near Calvert

Chinese: none exceptional. Hunan Lion at Tyson's is, pitifully, the best within 7 or 8 miles although there are some interesting options in Chantilly, Fairfax and closer in.

Vietnamese: never mentioned on here but very, very good is Taste of Saigon in Tyson's especially for their mussels and a whole host of other dishes.

Mexican: Rio Grande Cafe which is Uncle Julio's in Dallas and justifiably popular in Town Center. I am not a fan of Tortilla Factory, Anita's is inconsistent, etc. Drive to Guajillo in Rosslyn for best; alternatively Taqueria Poblano also in Arlington.

Modern American-Bazin's on Church in Vienna which is worth the 10 minute drive from Reston and justifiably popular.

Pizza: none. Sylvano's used to be exceptional in Herndon but it is gone. Drive to D. C. for Two Amy's. Decent local is Ledo's which is nowhere near as good as original in Hyattsville.

Worth mentioning: Colvin Run Tavern at Tyson's (Kinkead's in the suburbs), The Old Brogue (unique and interesting neighborhood pub in Great Falls well worth going out of your way to discover), L'auberge Chez Francois (a wonderful, romantic, special occasion restaurant which is incredibly popular in Great Falls and has won the Washingtonian most popular in D. C. area something like 15 out of the last 20 years-Alsatian French), Sweetwater Tavern (Sterling-worthwhile for salads, some soups, some daily specials-very popular), Coastal Flats in Fairfax Town Center (owned by same people as previous but, I think better), Wegman's (Sterling or Fairfax-just go, when you walk in the door you'll understand: America's best European grocery store), Tuscarora Mill (Leesburg, yes, Leesburg but you want to go to the tavern which is in front; this has exemplery soups and outstanding salads along with an excellent wine list and very good daily specials), Euro Bistro and SBC Cafe (both in Herndon are liked by many on this board; I am not a big fan of either although both are worth a visit; along this line the Blue Iguana near Fairfax Town Center is also worth a visit)

Last: you are 30 minutes with decent traffic from one of the most beautiful and diverse cities on earth: GO DOWNTOWN AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WASHINGTON, D. C.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Edited by Joe H
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Stacey,

In Herndon for Sushi please try Hama Sushi at the Clock Tower shopping center. I think the place is fantastic. Uncle Julio's Rio Grande Cafe is about the best Tex-Mex you will find in our area. Pollo Campero has a Herndon location and some love the place, yet other's claim the quality has gone down since they franchised or whatever they did to expand. Neighboring Reston is Vienna/Oakton and there is a great restaurant by the name of Bazins that opened up this past year. In Sterling there is a very good Chinese restaurant by the name of Changs, not PF Changs, just Changs. They have some food similar to PF but better and they have been around the area much longer. I hope this helps a bit.

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Jacques strangely there's no reston on the suggested DR sites or maybe I didn't read well! LOL

Scottee been to Tortilla Factory, the atmosphere is so/so but it's good grub and nice large serving size. Ice house looks much more my style however and we are definitely going THERE! :-) THANKS!

Joe I think you covered 90% of what I'm looking for THANK YOU so very much... and Raisa thanks too to everyone who has been helpful so far!

Now all I need is an inexpensive place for good pate, duck, lamb n mintjelly etc for hubby and I to spend a nice Fri or Sat meal at. (Ice house has most of it but they're mid-priced) So more suggestions are certainly welcome also if you know any great DIMSUM places in Reston or within 5 mi of here. (No, not DC or alexandria etc!) or any "all you can eat" grub that's edible and has a neat variety (not chinese though ok?!)

I found Thai Palms? that was pretty decent anything different I'm willing to try.

Thank you all once again.

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Now all I need is an inexpensive place for good pate, duck, lamb n mintjelly etc for hubby and I to spend a nice Fri or Sat meal at. (Ice house has most of it but they're mid-priced)

Good heavens, Girl, this is Reston we're talking about! :)

if you know any great DIMSUM places in Reston or within 5 mi of here. (No, not DC or alexandria etc!) or any "all you can eat" grub that's edible and has a neat variety (not chinese though ok?!)

Dim sum, but not Chinese? Now I'm very confused! I was going to say that I thought Fortune had an outpost in the area, but that's Chinese.

There's a branch of a Japanese mega-buffet Sushi/Tempora/Teriyaki AYCE place at the Fair Oaks Mall. You won't die from eating there, and it's VERY KID FRIENDLY.

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Thai -- Chao Phra Ya at the Clocktower in Herndon

Indian -- Minerva at the Clocktower in Herndon

Casual French -- Montmartre at Lake Anne (with just a touch of Vietnamese)

Continental -- El Manantienal (sp?) at Tall Oaks in Reston

Joe H -- Where in Vienna is Bonoroti? I miss me some North Jersey style Italian.

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Thai -- Chao Phra Ya at the Clocktower in Herndon

Indian -- Minerva at the Clocktower in Herndon

Casual French -- Montmartre at Lake Anne (with just a touch of Vietnamese)

Continental -- El Manantienal (sp?) at Tall Oaks in Reston

Joe H -- Where in Vienna is Bonoroti? I miss me some North Jersey style Italian.

Ristorante Bonaroti is on Maple Avenue between Park and Beulah.

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I meant not chinese as in dim sum or something unique or different not the typical restaurant fare or (UGH!) polynesian style but something more unique or tastefully done. However that being said we went to Fortune in Reston and it is DEFINITELY not good in my husbands opinion, i'm a bit more lenient I guess so it's passable (barely) for it's steamed dumplings, char bao (sic?!) and taro root. The taro root was tasty but a bit oily and then we shared beef chow fun or something off the tray which they warmed up, it looked ok on the cart but it was very VERY oily; so much so that hubby stopped after a few bites, I finished about 2/3 of it since I was hungry. :)

(We're going to try El Manatiel? soon.)

Maybe I should find a good Dim Sum place in DC?! Any suggestions? (The more variety the better!)

Thanks!

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Maybe I should find a good Dim Sum place in DC?! Any suggestions? (The more variety the better!)

Thanks!

You might want to check out the recommendations from the Some Dim Sundays thread. Others who participated may differ, but aftter all that we've tried I'd rank them:

1. Hollywood Cafe East on the Boulevard (Wheaton)

Tied for second place:

2. Lucky Three (Bailey's Crossroads)

2. New Fortune (Gaithersburg)

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You might want to check out the recommendations from the Some Dim Sundays thread. Others who participated may differ, but aftter all that we've tried I'd rank them:

1. Hollywood Cafe East on the Boulevard (Wheaton)

Tied for second place:

2. Lucky Three (Bailey's Crossroads)

2. New Fortune (Gaithersburg)

I agree, with several footnotes:

The gap between 1 and 2 is very slight, IMO.

The two tied for second share ownership, so the menus and quality are pretty darn similar.

New Fortune, being substantially larger than any of the others around, tends to have the best variety of things to choose from.

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However that being said we went to Fortune in Reston and it is DEFINITELY not good in my husbands opinion, i'm a bit more lenient I guess so it's passable (barely)

Thanks!

I did warn you, at least gently. :) As the only dim sum in Reston, it is better than the alternatives.

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So my cousin has a super long layover at Dulles on Saturday, and we're looking for somewhere nearby to have brunch. Or, perhaps, just a snack for breakfast and then a later lunch, as most places don't seem to open until 11 a.m. I should also say that she is the world's pickiest eater, so ethnic and seafood options are probably out the window. She is a big pizza fan, though.

I thought of Willow Creek Farm, but for some reason their Saturday menu is a really scaled down version of the Sunday menu. Clyde's in Reston Town Center is a possibility. Is Sweetwater Tavern any good? I see there's one in Sterling. Thanks for looking!

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This may sound really bizarre, but what about Wegman's? That location (click link) appears to have pizza, plus deli fare, etc.

That is a very worthwhile suggestion -- but the truth is that we're both from Wegmans country (western New York), so while we recognize them as being leaps and bounds beyond the quality of the nation's other grocery stores, we still consider it pretty mundane because we eat so much of their stuff back home.

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So my cousin has a super long layover at Dulles on Saturday, and we're looking for somewhere nearby to have brunch. Or, perhaps, just a snack for breakfast and then a later lunch, as most places don't seem to open until 11 a.m. I should also say that she is the world's pickiest eater, so ethnic and seafood options are probably out the window. She is a big pizza fan, though.

I thought of Willow Creek Farm, but for some reason their Saturday menu is a really scaled down version of the Sunday menu. Clyde's in Reston Town Center is a possibility. Is Sweetwater Tavern any good? I see there's one in Sterling. Thanks for looking!

Ford's Fish Shack in Ashburn is open for Saturday brunch at 10:00.

I've been to the Merrifield Sweetwater Tavern three times (yes, don't ask) this year, and I've found a couple things I really enjoy there: the roast chicken, and the prime rib (which is roasted overnight). They currently serve a brown ale (I can't remember what it's called) that's not bad - and by Sweetwater Tavern's standards, "not bad" is a triumph for their beers. Note: the Sterling Sweetwater Tavern does not open Saturday until 11 AM.

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