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Dining in Ballston


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I will be finding myself in Ballston with regularity and am looking forward to seeing what is close (or close enough) to try. I'll be most often about 4 blocks from the Ballston metro. I see there is a Mussel Bar, a Kapnos Taverna, a Super Pollo and other places to try. Puputella is not too far either. A dash to the German Gourmet to load up on nussschinken and fleischsalat is cool as well.

What places should I be trying? Lunches most commonly but also dinners sometimes. I eat anything and am happy with cheap eats to nicer places - I am an equal opportunity eater. TIA.

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Will you have a car?  Most of the best places IMHO are a short drive away.  In walking distance you have: Earl's Sandwiches (stick with the in-house roast meats like turkey or pork). My husband really likes this place, there are things I like, but I don't love it.  Kapnos, Mike's Cafe for bimbibap or a sandwich, Mussel Bar (some hit and miss items, but I think their mussels are very solid), Cheesetique, Nando's, Big Buns, Sweetgreen (they have some good new bowls), Taylor Gourmet, RusUz.  There are lots of food trucks- which I would eat at if I was here for lunch.  Hunan Gate has some good things on the Chinese menu- I like the hand pulled noodles with meat sauce, sechuan string beans, pork and sour napa dumplings.  Then there are more normal options: Potbelly, Zoe's, Which Wich.  There is a little Italian place behind Thai Temple, Cafe Tirolo that if you are craving spaghetti or something of the like, is fine and cheap- I haven't tried any of their other offerings, I remember having some type of Asian ethnic food I have thought about trying.  I think Rustico is so-so and a bit over priced, but they are decent. I haven't been to Yona in a while.  Pepita used to be great for some things, last time I went they had tamed their salsa verde, which was disappointing, it had a really nice kick.  There is also a peruvian chicken joint back behind the Liberty Center, which we have only been to once.  Oh!  We haven't been to Grand Cru in forever, but it seems to be fairly busy?

If you have a car I would add in Carribean Grill, The Italian Store, Pupatella, Lebanese Taverna Market.

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2 hours ago, Pool Boy said:

Puputella is a 12 minute walk, but yes I do have a car but am slightly loathe to bother with that for lunch. Any word on SER at all? I walked by Grand Cru today and made a mental note to look it up. Thanks mucho for your list o' stuff to consider regardless!!

I had a couple good things when it first opened.  I went back for a burger and it wasn't as good, so I just haven't had the momentum to go back.  Hubby won't go there, so I have to go when he isn't home and I don't cook, which just doesn't happen as often.  BTW there were about 15 (I think) food trucks in Wellburn Square area- there was no lack of options.  I wish I was in Ballston for lunch more often!

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10 hours ago, Pool Boy said:

Puputella is a 12 minute walk, but yes I do have a car but am slightly loathe to bother with that for lunch. Any word on SER at all? I walked by Grand Cru today and made a mental note to look it up. Thanks mucho for your list o' stuff to consider regardless!!

SER is so-so for lunch, better for HH and dinner.

That's not an exciting territory for lunch options, sad to say....

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On 2/18/2017 at 3:18 PM, ktmoomau said:

There is a little Italian place behind Thai Temple, Cafe Tirolo that if you are craving spaghetti or something of the like, is fine and cheap- I haven't tried any of their other offerings, I remember having some type of Asian ethnic food I have thought about trying.  

Cafe Tirolo is an Austro-Italian "cafe" now run by Koreans who learned the recipes from the original owners.  Their chicken parm with spaghetti is solid as is their schnitzel.  They also offer Korean food but I only go there for the European stuff.

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I live around Ballston and I frequently go to Booeymonger's.  Their sandwiches are pretty good, not great, but it is a comfortable place to eat and read the paper.  You can customize your own sandwich so I either get hot pastrami with mustard on rye (or bagel) or I get ham and brie on croissant.  Yes, I'm in a rut.  Friendly staff.  When weather is nice, you can sit outside.  I'm also there sometimes for breakfast too.  I like the Chicken Little (cholesterol be damned).

If you can go to Pupatella, you can go to Fettoosh which is right next door.  Went there for the first time yesterday for lunch.  Food is delish.  I had the vegetarian combo (falafel, spinach pie, cheese pie, dolmas, baba ghanoush, hummus, tabbouleh).  My friends had lamb with veggies and beef shwarma platter.   They liked their meals as well.  Bonus:  they sell Mexican coke (although the staff didn't know it was called that).  Downside:  the place has an overpowering smell of I don't know what - sort of like a car freshener that you hang in your car but 100 times the strength.  I would probably do take out from now on.

 

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You know, I have never been to the Booeymonger in the 11 years I have lived right by it.  The name kind of grosses me out, even though it isn't booger-monger, I just can't get past it.  Oh and if someone tries Sushi2Go, let me know!  I walk by this on the way to my nail place, and I don't ever think it can be good...

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Oh and if someone tries Sushi2Go, let me know!  I walk by this on the way to my nail place, and I don't ever think it can be good..

Sushi2Go is no gourmet experience, but is much better than you might think. I was expecting the sushi here to be in line with something you might get at a grocery store but it is better. This is not Sushi Taro by any means, but everything is prepared to order and tastes very fresh. In addition, the woman working the register (there are usually only two people working there) is super nice and friendly. It is a charming little business and worth giving a short if you are looking for some sushi and not eat it in a restaurant. 

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1 hour ago, ktmoomau said:

You know, I have never been to the Booeymonger in the 11 years I have lived right by it.  The name kind of grosses me out, even though it isn't booger-monger, I just can't get past it.  Oh and if someone tries Sushi2Go, let me know!  I walk by this on the way to my nail place, and I don't ever think it can be good...

I've eaten at booiemongers for probably 30+ years.  It works.  It's more than decent--certainly not great.  I've eaten (not dined) at all of them.  

Its not buggers, its bouie. Get over it. ?

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4 hours ago, DaveO said:

I've eaten at booiemongers for probably 30+ years.  It works.  It's more than decent--certainly not great.  I've eaten (not dined) at all of them.  

Its not buggers, its bouie. Get over it. ?

Bowie-Mongers. Lie Ziggy Stardust.

I ended up at the peruvian chickan charcoal joint across the street from Pupatella today. they oddly serve kabobs and an extremely limited indian menu too. I would rate their Peruvian chicken below Chick on the Run in Bethesda, but it is a solid representation of the dish for sure. Better than anything in Laurel/Beltsville if that is any help.

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I've eaten at Booey's many times. It is convenient for a coffee meeting, but the sandwich counter isn't anything special.

At the risk of criticism, I prefer the Korean buffet on the first floor of 4601 N. Fairfax Dr. to Booey's. I believe it's called Ballston Cafe, and it is among the many Korean-run buffets in our busy working area that includes many positive features -- (1) the buffet itself is immaculate, down to perfect presentation for each dish, (2) you can make your own dish, with plenty of variety and changing options all the time, and (3) the sandwich counter at the back is at least as good as Booey's, and even more meticulous in terms of presentation.

These Korean-run buffets -- and I've eaten at dozens of them -- only have breakfast and lunch service, and the presentation down to the cut of the vegetables demonstrates a kitchen with some degree of discipline. All of that said, I'm merely voicing a convenient option that doesn't suck on that side of Glebe.

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1 minute ago, hopsing said:

A few years ago, I  had physical therapy in that building.  I think I heard the cafe there was good.  Can you sit and eat or is it carryout only?  I like to support the mom & pops.

It has table seating along the windows, maybe enough seats for 30-40 people. Of course, the office buildings all around there make for a very good carry-out business.

 

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On 2/25/2017 at 10:09 AM, Kibbee Nayee said:

I've eaten at Booey's many times. It is convenient for a coffee meeting, but the sandwich counter isn't anything special.

At the risk of criticism, I prefer the Korean buffet on the first floor of 4601 N. Fairfax Dr. to Booey's. I believe it's called Ballston Cafe, and it is among the many Korean-run buffets in our busy working area that includes many positive features -- (1) the buffet itself is immaculate, down to perfect presentation for each dish, (2) you can make your own dish, with plenty of variety and changing options all the time, and (3) the sandwich counter at the back is at least as good as Booey's, and even more meticulous in terms of presentation.

These Korean-run buffets -- and I've eaten at dozens of them -- only have breakfast and lunch service, and the presentation down to the cut of the vegetables demonstrates a kitchen with some degree of discipline. All of that said, I'm merely voicing a convenient option that doesn't suck on that side of Glebe.

It always smells good (they have a blood lab in that building that I have to get my thyroid tested every 6 months or so), but I am normally there at breakfasty time smelling them make lunch.  Will have to go in sometime.  There is another place like this by the tanning salon on Wilson Blvd, I have been in once, it was tasty.

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On 2/24/2017 at 3:36 PM, ktmoomau said:

if someone tries Sushi2Go, let me know!  I walk by this on the way to my nail place, and I don't ever think it can be good...

I'll second what @stupidusername said about it. I went last night. Everything about this place screams "Terrible. Don't bother." but it punches way above it's weight and I don't mean that to be damning with faint praise. Ordered the "Sushi & Sashimi Special" ($24, I believe). Had the usual suspects. Added seaweed salad, order of 6 gyoza, and a premade cold squid salad [altogether = the image shown x 2 + a little extra]. Was plenty for two of us.

Service was extremely fast and the woman running the counter was as sweet and charming as advertised. Will definitely become a go-to for my en route takeout dinner routine, especially since I need to cut down on my Wiseguy's intake. We were originally craving Takumi - obviously not an equal substitute - but given time constraints and worse than usual traffic due to the rain, we had to compromise and were not disappointed.

 

 

Awesome_1488941894556.jpg

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I picked up Peruvian Chicken from the El Pollo Rico (932 N Kenmore St, Arlington, VA 2220) to bring home for dinner. It was good, but not exceptional. While I am slightly forgiving of the final product because it had to travel with me back to Laurel, I think if I ate it immediately, I would have liked it a smidge better, but not enough to rank this as among the best I have ever had. That being said, it's worth a look if you are hungry and nearby.  Their cole slaw was pretty good, FWIW.

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11 hours ago, yeah said:

@Pool Boy @hopsing

Just curious, what are some Pollo a la Brasa places in the area you like better than El Pollo Rico? 

My experiences are mainly in Maryland. My NoVa dining experiences of the Peruvian chicken sort are somewhat slim. I am working in Ballston now, so I am exploring and evaluating. My current benchmark is Chicken on the Run in Bethesda.

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Carribean Grill (you would have to drive) has much much better sides, and I think their chicken is very good.  I like the chicken at El Pollo Rico, and I think it is superior in chicken, but I don't go often due to the sides.

Also we tried Sushi2go on Friday night.  I got the veggie roll, rainbow roll and maryland roll.  The Maryland roll was too big, and the softshell wasn't crisp, I wouldn't get it again.  But the veggie roll and rainbow roll were both acceptable. The rice isn't as good, and rolls aren't as precisely made as nice sushi place, but it was decent, quick and affordable.  The woman working the counter is a hoot though, and they have great green tea behind the counter, they also have melon and mango cream soda.

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I strongly agree El Pollo Rico is superior judging by the chicken alone.  Others I've found either dry, over-, under- or weirdly seasoned (see Don's hilarious post on the Wilson Blvd Super Pollo). The popularity of Rico seems to breed a virtuous cycle of fast turnover, so the chickens aren't spending too much time under direct heat.  Also agree sides are better elsewhere, but I'm not really there for the sides. 

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Tried the Super Pollo again, and was disappointed in the dish as I forgot to ask for dark meat instead of what they gave me - the breast. Overcooked. Tasty enough but I did not finish it. I'll have to march off for one of the other places because when I want Peruvian Chicken, I want it to be good.

Separately, as mentioned in the relevant thread, I tried Gaijin Ramen for dinner last week. Hits and misses - not bad.

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On 6/20/2017 at 4:03 PM, ktmoomau said:

I live in Ballston, there are enough fast casual spots within walking distance of Ballston, we just don't go out that far unless we want something special, and then yes- we normally make the trek into DC or to the burbs.  We used to really like Fuego (closed), GPB menu just doesn't change often enough, why go to Screwtop when we have Cheesetique, why go to Citizen when we have Big Buns, I do still really like Lyon Hall, but I liked Clarendon better when if one place was full we had lots of other options we could walk to... I would love a good Italian place and would go to Clarendon for that.  We really haven't been going out in DC that often though- we are just so darn busy on weekdays and weekends.

I find Ballston woefully lacking in adequate dining options. While it is true, I've only been working there for 4 months, I am....not impressed. Convince me to think otherwise.

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16 hours ago, Pool Boy said:

I find Ballston woefully lacking in adequate dining options. While it is true, I've only been working there for 4 months, I am....not impressed. Convince me to think otherwise.

You'll pay dearly at Isabella Cove, but all three restaurants are at least "good." The Spit-Roasted Lamb ($17) at Kapnos Taverna (which, incidentally, is about to open in College Park) is *the* smokiest lamb I've ever eaten - if they can get this intensity of flavor just from natural marination and spit-roasting, then they're performing some type of sorcery comparable to a Frank Ruta chicken. You'll be angry when you see how small the portion size is, but you'll be amazed by the flavor. 

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22 hours ago, Pool Boy said:

I find Ballston woefully lacking in adequate dining options. While it is true, I've only been working there for 4 months, I am....not impressed. Convince me to think otherwise.

Other than the Isabella triumvirate, Mussel Bar and SER are high quality.  Rustico and Cafe Tirolo are good lunch places (also great beer selection at Rustico). Rus Uz has received good reviews for Russian/Uzbek but have not eaten there yet.

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On 7/1/2017 at 10:52 PM, Pool Boy said:

I find Ballston woefully lacking in adequate dining options. While it is true, I've only been working there for 4 months, I am....not impressed. Convince me to think otherwise.

Yeah, I dip in and out of Ballston weekly for a work engagement, and I have found it to be as you describe, more or less.

For the options listed by others, I note that the daytime/noon lunch service is of generally fewer options and lower quality than is the dinner service, such as at SER or Mussel Bar. Kapnos Taverna is a bad deal any time of the day.

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On 7/1/2017 at 10:52 PM, Pool Boy said:

I find Ballston woefully lacking in adequate dining options. While it is true, I've only been working there for 4 months, I am....not impressed. Convince me to think otherwise.

I am not saying Ballston is spewing with good food options.  It is a fast-casual type of place, with few nicer dining options.  But there is a very limited amount of things to send us into Clarendon as I think the options are just as good for the most part, but I mainly eat dinner and brunch in Ballston.  As I said in my prior post we are so busy normally, that we really have only had time for fast weeknight type of stuff.  We go into DC for fancy meals, but just haven't had the time to go anywhere recently.  

The problem at lunch is that you likely don't drive- the best things near us in my mind you need to drive for as I noted above (Italian Store, Lebanese Taverna Market, Carribean Grill, Rice Paper, Pupatella, Gaijin, etc).  There are also places only open at dinner.  And there are lots of fast casual options that suit your needs when you have been working all day and are just hungry and don't want to cook- Tirolo, Sweetgreen, Nando's, Big Buns, Taylor, Zoe's Kitchen, etc, which suit our needs, but aren't dining destinations.  I don't think I mentioned above- the chinese menu at Hunan Gate, especially the hand pulled noodles in meat sauce, sour napa and pork dumplings, Chinese style mu shu pork.  Again, not mind blowing, but very good from time to time.  The sushi at sushi2go isn't the best sushi in the world, but it is quick and fits the bill.  Also in your location you can likely get delivery from Thai Square (in the winter the pork knuckle stew is very good) the crispy squid is also excellent, and they make some of their own noodles in house and Bangkok 54 which I haven't been to in a while so I wouldn't know what to recommend.  At Kapnos- the best deal at lunch is the gyro which is huge.

Ballston is a reflection of how people there function- there is a good amount of office space for which people want quick lunch options, and there are a lot of 20-30 olds who work most of the day and just want a fast dinner option most nights that is affordable, with a few places they can go out and drink and get dinner for other occasions (I keep telling Matt we are pushing the age limit of Ballston and will get kicked out soon until we can come back to the retirement condo).  It really isn't a destination for the vast majority of people eating there- so it doesn't really have destination food- it is a neighborhood and workplace.  I was the chair of our social committee in my condo for years and we did numerous surveys and figured out- the majority of our residents not only work a job, most of them have some volunteer work, or extracurricular activities (Bocce league, Spanish Classes, Yoga, etc) in addition to their work, plus they tend to go to the gym, some have dogs. Weeknights tended to be super busy for them.  That is a small slice of Ballston, but I think it represents the demographic well.  Most of them were not home until after 6:45-7 pm. Now could that change when they re-open the mall- maybe, but when you are in your 20s and early 30s and paying Ballston rent/mortgage, you aren't likely going out and throwing down the amount of money of even the "neighborhood" restaurants in DC very often, and so when you do you can just hop on the metro and go into DC to do that.  Many of the DC neighborhoods that are sustaining that type of restaurants either are pulling people in from other places or likely have a higher mix of older persons making more money than Ballston or both, I would venture to guess.  

There is good stuff within say 2ish miles of driving distance that have some very good things, but I think it is likely out of your lunch range in where you could go to within a reasonable time and many of them don't deliver.

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On 7/2/2017 at 3:25 PM, DonRocks said:

You'll pay dearly at Isabella Cove, but all three restaurants are at least "good." The Spit-Roasted Lamb ($17) at Kapnos Taverna (which, incidentally, is about to open in College Park) is *the* smokiest lamb I've ever eaten - if they can get this intensity of flavor just from natural marination and spit-roasting, then they're performing some type of sorcery comparable to a Frank Ruta chicken. You'll be angry when you see how small the portion size is, but you'll be amazed by the flavor. 

Thx. It might be worth a dinner some night if traffic is horrible. My wife can Metro over and we can try it. Sit down lunches for me are a rarity because of the demands of the job.

On 7/2/2017 at 8:53 PM, jrichstar said:

Other than the Isabella triumvirate, Mussel Bar and SER are high quality.  Rustico and Cafe Tirolo are good lunch places (also great beer selection at Rustico). Rus Uz has received good reviews for Russian/Uzbek but have not eaten there yet.

I work right across the street from SER - I'll have to give it a try for lunch finally. I'm familiar with Mussel Bar (the Bethesda branch), so I knew about that (again, more likely for dinner on a bad traffic night). I also realize there's a Cheestique nearby - any good for lunch (carryout ideally)? We made it to Rus Uz for dinner with friends after work a month or so ago - not too shabby. Interesting beer selection. Food decent - nice staff.

On 7/3/2017 at 11:09 AM, Kibbee Nayee said:

Yeah, I dip in and out of Ballston weekly for a work engagement, and I have found it to be as you describe, more or less.

For the options listed by others, I note that the daytime/noon lunch service is of generally fewer options and lower quality than is the dinner service, such as at SER or Mussel Bar. Kapnos Taverna is a bad deal any time of the day.

Thx for echoing the other opinions. :)

On 7/3/2017 at 1:02 PM, ktmoomau said:

I am not saying Ballston is spewing with good food options.  It is a fast-casual type of place, with few nicer dining options.  But there is a very limited amount of things to send us into Clarendon as I think the options are just as good for the most part, but I mainly eat dinner and brunch in Ballston.  As I said in my prior post we are so busy normally, that we really have only had time for fast weeknight type of stuff.  We go into DC for fancy meals, but just haven't had the time to go anywhere recently.  

The problem at lunch is that you likely don't drive- the best things near us in my mind you need to drive for as I noted above (Italian Store, Lebanese Taverna Market, Carribean Grill, Rice Paper, Pupatella, Gaijin, etc).  There are also places only open at dinner.  And there are lots of fast casual options that suit your needs when you have been working all day and are just hungry and don't want to cook- Tirolo, Sweetgreen, Nando's, Big Buns, Taylor, Zoe's Kitchen, etc, which suit our needs, but aren't dining destinations.  I don't think I mentioned above- the chinese menu at Hunan Gate, especially the hand pulled noodles in meat sauce, sour napa and pork dumplings, Chinese style mu shu pork.  Again, not mind blowing, but very good from time to time.  The sushi at sushi2go isn't the best sushi in the world, but it is quick and fits the bill.  Also in your location you can likely get delivery from Thai Square (in the winter the pork knuckle stew is very good) the crispy squid is also excellent, and they make some of their own noodles in house and Bangkok 54 which I haven't been to in a while so I wouldn't know what to recommend.  At Kapnos- the best deal at lunch is the gyro which is huge.

Ballston is a reflection of how people there function- there is a good amount of office space for which people want quick lunch options, and there are a lot of 20-30 olds who work most of the day and just want a fast dinner option most nights that is affordable, with a few places they can go out and drink and get dinner for other occasions (I keep telling Matt we are pushing the age limit of Ballston and will get kicked out soon until we can come back to the retirement condo).  It really isn't a destination for the vast majority of people eating there- so it doesn't really have destination food- it is a neighborhood and workplace.  I was the chair of our social committee in my condo for years and we did numerous surveys and figured out- the majority of our residents not only work a job, most of them have some volunteer work, or extracurricular activities (Bocce league, Spanish Classes, Yoga, etc) in addition to their work, plus they tend to go to the gym, some have dogs. Weeknights tended to be super busy for them.  That is a small slice of Ballston, but I think it represents the demographic well.  Most of them were not home until after 6:45-7 pm. Now could that change when they re-open the mall- maybe, but when you are in your 20s and early 30s and paying Ballston rent/mortgage, you aren't likely going out and throwing down the amount of money of even the "neighborhood" restaurants in DC very often, and so when you do you can just hop on the metro and go into DC to do that.  Many of the DC neighborhoods that are sustaining that type of restaurants either are pulling people in from other places or likely have a higher mix of older persons making more money than Ballston or both, I would venture to guess.  

There is good stuff within say 2ish miles of driving distance that have some very good things, but I think it is likely out of your lunch range in where you could go to within a reasonable time and many of them don't deliver.

I do drive to Ballston for work, but I am not breaking out the car to drive someplace for lunch. The few of times a month I go out looking for a carryout lunch, I am not getting in the car. No time.  I did discover that Puputella is a 12 minute walk from my office, so I need to get there stat.  I went to Gaijin for dinner with my wife a month or two ago as well. Generally, I am not a fan of most 'fast casual', but Nando's is a good choice (need to see if they do carry out) and not far from my office. I need to remember that!

Anyway, thanks all for helping me navigate this new-to-me food landscape. Much appreciated.

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On 7/8/2017 at 11:24 AM, Pool Boy said:

I do drive to Ballston for work, but I am not breaking out the car to drive someplace for lunch.

Give Sprynt a try.  

"To Distinguish Itself in Ride-Hail Crowd, Start-Up Sprynt Offers Free Rides," by Luz Lazo on washingtonpost.com.  

Might allow you to make it over to Clarendon for a quick lunch at the bar at Liberty Tavern or Lyon Hall.

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Wanted to chime in that the Cheesetique is quite good. please note that I do not eat cheese. That said, the salad collection is diverse as is the meat and cheese platter. It's a sort of build your own type thing with little condiments. Quite yummy. The wait staff is nice but the space is WAY overlit after dark (IMO).

Wine flights are offered and are quite fun too.

I'm a fan of SER for dinner. That vegan veggie stew thing ($8) is amazing.

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On 7/13/2017 at 0:28 PM, NolaCaine said:

Wanted to chime in that the Cheesetique is quite good. please note that I do not eat cheese. That said, the salad collection is diverse as is the meat and cheese platter. It's a sort of build your own type thing with little condiments. Quite yummy. The wait staff is nice but the space is WAY overlit after dark (IMO).

Wine flights are offered and are quite fun too.

I'm a fan of SER for dinner. That vegan veggie stew thing ($8) is amazing.

Thanks for the tips - SER is an obvious choice to try soon.

Your comment about not eating cheese has me wondering...so many things. I generally do not, flat out, remove entire zones of food from my purview. I am sure people have loads of reasons for not wanting to eat this or that for a number of justifiable reasons - food is very personal. But I cannot imagine life without having the chutzpah and fortitude and bravery to try new to you things, or often, re-try things from either bad experiences or try them again going against mental exercises or for reasons that the foodstuff is intolerable to that person for one reason or another.  It's a curious choice I have made in that I am a lover of life in animals (moreso than humans, often), and yet I eat....animals. I am at peace with it and it is a choice we all must make and be comfortable with.

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11 hours ago, Pool Boy said:

Your comment about not eating cheese has me wondering...so many things. I generally do not, flat out, remove entire zones of food from my purview. I am sure people have loads of reasons for not wanting to eat this or that for a number of justifiable reasons - food is very personal. But I cannot imagine life without having the chutzpah and fortitude and bravery to try new to you things, or often, re-try things from either bad experiences or try them again going against mental exercises or for reasons that the foodstuff is intolerable to that person for one reason or another.  It's a curious choice I have made in that I am a lover of life in animals (moreso than humans, often), and yet I eat....animals. I am at peace with it and it is a choice we all must make and be comfortable with.

Let's call this post "Food Allergy Ballston" to keep it on topic. 

A few years ago, I was diagnosed with food allergies: Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a chronic, allergic inflammatory disease of the esophagus (the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach). It occurs when a type of white blood cell, the eosinophil, accumulates in the esophagus and persists despite acid-blocking medicine.

I ignored the dx because it seemed inconvenient to go through a food restriction and illogical to swallow a asthma inhaler. One day I ended up in the ER with an advil stuck in the esophagus and decided to take the condition seriously. Through food challenges I discovered that milk protein and nuts cause an inability to swallow.

And So, I have learned that SER is very easy on the no dairy folks.  Kapnos Taverna depends on the server. Some will ask for the kitchen to alter items, some will just give you a very limited number of items to try. Despite the name, Cheesetique is very nut-free, dairy-free if you ask but I imagine cross contamination would be a problem for some.  Mussel bar too is very friendly as is Bangcock Thai (agian, ask). Super Pollo, however, I am almost positive, uses butter in the rice. I like Smoothie Cafe and again, it depends on the staff.  Sometimes they forget to hold the cheese.

I miss cheese and butter the most. Second, I miss Blondies with nuts in them. The House of Representatives caterer used to serve the best. I really miss chocolate ice cream with walnuts on top but if I could take one food back, just one, it would be butter. Everything is better with butter.

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Man, food allergies are horrible. I'm sorry you have to deal with them, but glad you know what the deal is and how to manage and avoid the problem foods. I feel incredibly fortunate to not have to deal with them.   Those are good tips for folks that need to be dairy and nut free in Ballston and I am sure others will soak up that very useful info.

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A quick post to share that I'm not a huge fan of the new Big Buns. About half of the toppings have been removed from the build a burger/bowl menu and no fish! Now the little kid sliders are pretty good and yes, they build a damn good burger but I usually like bowls.

Not exactly sure when they changed but my last two outings were less than satisfactory because I wanted to build a damn bodacious bowl; and have something from the sea.

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Rustico, across the street from Kapnos Taverna, was pretty good at lunch today. I had the Cuban sandwich, companion had the brisket cheesesteak, and the pizza at the table next to me was close enough to smell and admire. All dishes were delivered quickly and the Cuban and brisket were quite good. I assume the pizza was too, because it was finished off in record time.

---

Upper Crust Pizzeria (Pool Boy)
Bistro 1521 (NolaCaine)

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We had sushi2go the other night- and I just didn't think it was as good as it was in the past.  Not that it was ever stellar, but I found everything fairly bland.  I think it was that the rice was too soft in a way, it just lacked a little texture.  I need to remember to use my own soy sauce if I want any, their packets are super salty and I don't use a lot, but even a little bit was too much.

We also had Zoe's Kitchen, which has altered their menu a little.  I had my go to chicken kabobs.  You can now choose your sides which is nice.  They have some new bowls on the menu too.

Went to Sweetgreen- had my normal Kale Caesar, I don't know I wasn't feeling it as much as usual, perhaps there was too much dressing, Hubby ordered it for me, and I don't know the dressing level he requested.  But it did have a very good portion of chicken and parmesaen crisps which my dog and I appreciated.  Matt got the fish taco salad/bowl.  It looked very good.

I had bulgogi over noodles at the hot bar in the building behind the Fedex, where I think there are still some INOVA offices.  They give you more noodles than Mike's cafe, and the veggies are sauteed peppers and onions, but it doesn't feel like as much veggie as Mike's.  But I thought the noodles, rice were just as good.  I would give an edge to the bulgogi at Mike's slightly, but the sauteed veggies were better than the steamed.  Next time I might ask for a double portion of veggie though.  It was honestly enough for two lunches for me though, especially if I had added in more veggie.  I would go back to this place when I was working from home.  Honestly, I wish this or Mike's would stay open late enough for us to grab dinner.

I had the hash breakfast sandwich at Earl's.  I still am struggling to find a breakfast sandwich there that I like.  I thought the egg was too much egg, it needed some spice and less salt in the hash.

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20 hours ago, ktmoomau said:

We had sushi2go the other night- and I just didn't think it was as good as it was in the past.  Not that it was ever stellar, but I found everything fairly bland. 

Contra my previous praise for this place, last time I went the entire order of yellowtail sushi was frozen solid, even after about 10 minutes between picking up and getting home. That's just unacceptable to me so I haven't went back but hesitated to call them out (until now).

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53 minutes ago, saxdrop said:

Contra my previous praise for this place, last time I went the entire order of yellowtail sushi was frozen solid, even after about 10 minutes between picking up and getting home. That's just unacceptable to me so I haven't went back but hesitated to call them out (until now).

:blink:

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The other day I was walking to the supermarket, but it was so cold I stopped by the Inova building lobby to warm up for a few minutes before continuing on.  This is across the street from Booeymonger's.  Inside, I noticed they had a cafe. I gave the cafe the once-over and saw that they served Illy coffee (my favorite) and their breakfast sandwiches looked pretty inexpensive. So this morning I went back and had breakfast. The freshly-made egg and bacon sandwich I had was decent. It was not greasy maybe a bit too ungreasy if that makes any sense. The Illy coffee was really good. I had drip coffee but they also served it as espresso, cappuccino, latte, etc. The place is totally clean and also fairly empty. Good place for me to eat breakfast and read my paper once in a while.

Here is their menu. I'm leaving the photos in large form so you can read it.

menu 1.JPG

menu 2.JPG

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On 8/11/2017 at 8:47 AM, NolaCaine said:

A quick post to share that I'm not a huge fan of the new Big Buns. About half of the toppings have been removed from the build a burger/bowl menu and no fish! Now the little kid sliders are pretty good and yes, they build a damn good burger but I usually like bowls.

Not exactly sure when they changed but my last two outings were less than satisfactory because I wanted to build a damn bodacious bowl; and have something from the sea.

Decided to trust big buns and go with their designer burgers. I like the K-BBQ ...I've had it twice and I"m back to really liking Big Buns.

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On 8/16/2019 at 11:58 AM, DaveO said:

A little discussion about being a restaurateur on the Western Side of Glebe Road in Ballston

I'm not a Starbucks fan, and I typically avoid the place whenever I have a choice, but a business associate wanted to meet at the new Starbucks in the Marymount University building on the corner of Glebe and Fairfax Drive. It was actually a nice, clean, well-laid-out space. I had a cold green tea, which was not nearly as offensive as their coffee.

On that side of Glebe, I still can't understand why the continuously-empty SER is still in business. Unless they do an amazing dinner and weekend business, they must be going broke.

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I live around there and the Marymount Starbucks is my favorite Starbucks.  Its window walls make the place very cheery and the staff are exceptionally friendly.  I usually go during breakfast, but watch out for 3PM or so when classes are out because it is a mob scene.  I walk by SER and see people eating lunch in there all the time.  We also used to have Thursday happy hour there--good deals on their wine and tapas.  Sometimes they had a private party and wouldn't let us in so they also make money that way.

We have a designated walk-to restaurant during snowstorms.  In the past, it was Willow.  Then it became Mussel Bar (although they are hit and miss consistency-wise).  Now it is True Food Kitchen.  I make no distinction between East or West Ballston -- just show me the food and that is how I decide!

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On 8/16/2019 at 12:47 PM, Kibbee Nayee said:

I'm not a Starbucks fan, and I typically avoid the place whenever I have a choice, but a business associate wanted to meet at the new Starbucks in the Marymount University building on the corner of Glebe and Fairfax Drive. It was actually a nice, clean, well-laid-out space. I had a cold green tea, which was not nearly as offensive as their coffee.

On that side of Glebe, I still can't understand why the continuously-empty SER is still in business. Unless they do an amazing dinner and weekend business, they must be going broke.

They actually do a surprising lunch and happy hour business.

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