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-   -   Where/What To Eat in D.C.? (https://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/where-what-to-eat-in-d-c-1668066/)

fourfortravel Jun 9th, 2019 07:52 AM

Where/What To Eat in D.C.?
 
Fodorites,

After 7 years in Europe the powers that be are sending us "home" to D.C. We'll be touching down in just a couple of weeks, and until my cookware arrives in our air freight shipment we will either have to dine out or microwave stuff from Trader Joes. Woe to us, I know. ;)

On the dining out front, last spring on a home leave visit we loved Rasika and Oyamel (ate there twice). Layalina disappointed a bit, though. Where else should we dine? We eat across all cuisines and all budgets.

On the Trader Joes front, what is the one comestible I "can not live without" from the store?

Thank you, in advance. Looking forward to viewing my hometown through fresh lenses.


sf7307 Jun 9th, 2019 08:25 AM

Trader Joe’s gyoza are great, but maybe not for a microwave. Also, their coffee is very good and much less expensive than comparable brands.

Christina Jun 10th, 2019 09:48 AM

I don't like Trader Joe's coffee at all, by contrast. At least not the varieties I've tried, I thought it was terrible so never buy it. I've tried French Roast and Colombian mainly. Any basic chain supermarket has better coffee in my opinion.

I never ever eat "apps" and rarely frozen fish, etc., they seem to have a lot of frozen stuff which I would never eat. They also have a lot of junk food, even if "good" junk food (lots of cookies, candy, etc, which I rarely eat). The few things I buy that I like are their frozen mac and cheese (with some kind of peppers in it), and a couple frozen Indian meals (palak paneer, etc). And their frozen NY cheesecake is pretty good.

I'm not a super big fan of Trader Joe's and only go maybe once a month at most. They are horrible about environmental waste, all their produce is in plastic where I live (except maybe bananas and avocados). They do that because they ship it long distances and so they don't have to weigh it, I think. And the one near me is always crowded except when it first opens, and doesn't have enough parking.

I buy a few other things sometimes when I"m there but it's nothing special, just because I'm in the store, you can buy the same kind of stuff anywhere (like milk, which they have good prices on). I buy baking nuts there sometimes as their prices are reasonable. Their filet mignon is also reasonably priced, but nothing different, just a little cheaper than other stores if the other stores aren't having a sale.

I don't dine out that regularly and wouldn't eat in places like Rasika routinely as it's expensive by my terms. Just look at some Washington Post reviews or maybe Washingtonian magazine. The Post restaurant critic has a few favorites he always is mentioning over and over again, they are usually expensive by my terms.

gardendiva Jun 10th, 2019 09:56 AM

If you have a regular oven, I like the frozen pizzas at Trader Joe's. My favorites are the red pepper/mozzarella and the pesto with broccoli and tomato. Sometimes I add a little more cheese and basil to the red pepper one. I just slide them right onto the oven rack. They cook quickly. Add a salad. Done.

Good Stuff Eatery might be fun for a casual dinner or lunch in DC.

Macross Jun 10th, 2019 10:26 AM

TJ's has great veg and fruit. Great bag salads. I love the stir fry and chicken dumplings but only on a stove top. We buy their cod fish. I like a lot of the prepared meals but try not to buy. The steak and chicken pie are good but high in calores. I also bought organic four buck chuck last visit. They do have a good wine and beer selection. The chilli lime spice is my new fav and love well rested tea. Great snacks, peanut butter filled pretzels and fig bars are always in my cart. start getting the monthly ad. Best place for fresh flowers. Will you live in DC or in Md?

maitaitom Jun 10th, 2019 01:53 PM

Chicken Tikka Masala with Cumin Flavored Basmati Rice. You're welcome.

((H))

fourfortravel Jun 10th, 2019 09:57 PM

Thank you, everyone. I called out Trader Joe's because it is within reasonable public access from our flat. We will have a car, though I want to walk or (try to) use public (I know, I know, WMATA isn't anything like Wiener Linien) as much as possible; plus, friends have assured me that DC traffic hasn't aged well in 7 years.

Our flat has a full kitchen; unless I can borrow DS's cookware (in exchange for feeding him, no doubt ) we'll be relying on the microwave and the oven to make meals happen.

As for coffee, we are French Press people. Any press users who purchase coffee from Trader Joes?

Christina, Trader Joe's was my go-to. It was on the way home from the office, and I could pick up everything for dinner (including good wine). We're not prepared food-eaters normally, but I won't have my (bare-boned) kitchen supplies for about a week and really don't want to purchase crap from Target that I neither need nor want.

Macross, we'll be in Northern Virginia, steps from an Orange Line station. I remember the fig bars. Mmmm. Looking forward to investigating the wine selection, too!

maitai, thanks for the recommendation. DD is a major Indian-food fan, but it will take a while for me to reconstruct my spices arsenal so this will hopefully placate her cravings.

Fra_Diavolo Jun 12th, 2019 06:35 AM

You mentioned liking José Andrés' Oyamel. Try Jaleo, his Spanish restaurant (same neighborhood).

lisaindc Jun 12th, 2019 07:26 AM

Which Orange Line station? Lots of great restaurants in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.

sf7307 Jun 12th, 2019 07:38 AM

We also really liked Jose’s Zaytinya.

tripplanner001 Jun 16th, 2019 10:40 AM

Welcome back home, fourfortravel. I happen to like the Trader Joe’s next to Clarendon station; it’s my go-to when I’m in the area. For Indian, I like Kadhai in Bethesda. I second the suggestions on Zaytinya and Good Stuff Eatery. MXDC is good for casual Mexican (a block away from Treasury Dept.) and Da Hong Pao for dim sum (14th Street). Supra, near Chinatown, serves authentic Georgian food - so good! Oh, and Amber for Serbian, a couple of blocks from the Clarendon stop; there’s also one on Capitol Hill. And if you’re “homesick”; Old Europe in Wisconsin Avenue does a good job with German and Austrian staples.

fourfortravel Jun 16th, 2019 10:05 PM

Fra_Diavolo, we've eaten at Jaleo's previously and enjoyed our meals; a return is certainly warranted.

lisaindc, we'll be near to the Clarendon station.

tripplanner001, thanks. It's T-4 days until I touch down. Pack-out commences in a couple of hours, though our house has been deconstructed for days. :sob: DS has mentioned MXDC; and the Serbian place sounds great. I have a fondness for Tartare and eagerly await their preparation, and I'll be curious to taste their wines. Our dear Slovenian friends gifted us two cases of Slovenian and Croatian wines that will bob across the ocean, and it will be nice to have a local source, too. I think it might be awhile before I miss Schnitzel, though. ;)

Macross Jun 17th, 2019 06:03 AM


Originally Posted by Fra_Diavolo (Post 16935378)
You mentioned liking José Andrés' Oyamel. Try Jaleo, his Spanish restaurant (same neighborhood).

YES, he just did DineNDash in DC.* I love him and more importantly what he does. He was in Fl before FEMA feeding all the troops and people without a home.*
*

lisaindc Jun 17th, 2019 07:13 AM

You have great options near the Clarendon metro. Ambar is right there on the corner of Wilson and Filmore. Also, check out Lyon Hall, Liberty Tavern and Screwtop Wine Bar. All great options and Lyon Hall has a great selection of food on happy hour everyday (including mussels). Also, head up to Ballston, where new things are opening everyday - True Food Kitchen is wonderful. Enjoy! I love our neighborhood.

obxgirl Jun 17th, 2019 04:59 PM

I am on board with what lisaindc is saying. That part of Arlington is stacked with great eating opportunities, both eat-in and carry away. Not that I wouldn't enjoy a José Andrés meal every day for a hundred years (except possibly China Chicano) but no need to travel downtown for good food.

Ditto for coffee. There are a boatload of indie shops and small chains offering something different than SBux & DunkinDonuts. My husband finds one of TJs dark roasts perfectly serviceable for his french press. TJs has a grinder and the setting we use is on the left of the dial, half way between "coarse" and "percolator" so you can gauge from that for yourself.

My favorite easy peasy TJ dinner are the green chili & chicken tamales (fresh not frozen) slathered with their mild pico de gallo and hatch green chilis (not a TJ product, lately I buy 505 Southwestern). Microwave to table in under 5.



*

obxgirl Jun 17th, 2019 05:42 PM

If you like Rasika (gosh, who doesn't?) you'll probably enjoy another in their restaurant family, Bindaas. It's more casual but just as good. Locations in Cleveland Park and Foggy Bottom, both near metro stations. We are in FB and are there more often then I'd care to admit.

For restocking the pantry, I'd recommend India A1 Grocery on Lee Highway. They are deep in spices, flours, sauces and all sorts of fresh, canned, dry and frozen comestibles. There is another great grocery in Falls Church whose name escapes me at the moment. Easy to google tho.

Some days it seems to me that much of DC is returning from a foreign posting and many of the rest are headed off on their next posting. No one, as far as I know, would bother to compare Vienna''s public transportation to DC's metro.

fourfortravel Jun 18th, 2019 04:22 AM


Originally Posted by lisaindc (Post 16937961)
You have great options near the Clarendon metro. Ambar is right there on the corner of Wilson and Filmore. Also, check out Lyon Hall, Liberty Tavern and Screwtop Wine Bar. All great options and Lyon Hall has a great selection of food on happy hour everyday (including mussels). Also, head up to Ballston, where new things are opening everyday - True Food Kitchen is wonderful. Enjoy! I love our neighborhood.

Yes! DH told me of the changes to Ballston Mall; he flew DDog back to D.C. last week and met a colleague for dinner who lives near there. Totally putting Lyon Hall on the list; any time we get to eat mussels is a happy hour for us!

fourfortravel Jun 18th, 2019 04:31 AM


Originally Posted by obxgirl (Post 16938242)
If you like Rasika (gosh, who doesn't?) you'll probably enjoy another in their restaurant family, Bindaas. It's more casual but just as good. Locations in Cleveland Park and Foggy Bottom, both near metro stations. We are in FB and are there more often then I'd care to admit.

For restocking the pantry, I'd recommend India A1 Grocery on Lee Highway. They are deep in spices, flours, sauces and all sorts of fresh, canned, dry and frozen comestibles. There is another great grocery in Falls Church whose name escapes me at the moment. Easy to google tho.

Some days it seems to me that much of DC is returning from a foreign posting and many of the rest are headed off on their next posting. No one, as far as I know, would bother to compare Vienna''s public transportation to DC's metro.

Are you thinking of Eden Center? I shopped there quite a bit once upon a time, but don't know much about it now. There's also H&H, which looks new. Looks like India A1 is down the street from Heidelberg Pastry Shop, in case I'm missing sausages and Black Forest tortes.

obxgirl Jun 18th, 2019 08:08 AM


Originally Posted by fourfortravel (Post 16938387)
Are you thinking of Eden Center? I shopped there quite a bit once upon a time, but don't know much about it now. There's also H&H, which looks new. Looks like India A1 is down the street from Heidelberg Pastry Shop, in case I'm missing sausages and Black Forest tortes.

No, not Eden Center though that'a a very worthy place to eat and shop.

It's called Indian Spice and the address is 1067 B West Broad in Falls Church. Like India A1, it's a family business but the shelves are packed from floor to ceiling. Freshly made samosas were being sold my last visit there. It's in a little strip mall and is on the back side of the shopping center. They prefer cash.

Don't know H&H -- where is it? Always happy to add one to the culinary arsenal.

Re: Eden Center. The supermarket that anchors one end started out as an H Mart but is now called Good Fortune Supermarket and is an excellent resource. They usually carry fresh and frozen kaffir lime leaves so that alone is a reason to go there.

My favorite restaurant in Eden Center is Rice Paper. The service there is a little odd (dishes rountinely come out of the kitchen haphazardly) but the food is outstanding. We'll do take away after a trip to Good Fortune. My favorite banh mi shop is Banh Mi So 1. If we're getting them for the road, they're usually nice about packing the ingredients separately so the bread doesn't get soggy.

girlonthego Jun 18th, 2019 08:25 AM

Tupelo Honey Cafe in the Courthouse area of Arlington does a nice brunch on the weekends 1616 N Troy St Arlington, VA
My daughter and son in law used to live in Courthouse area and they took us there a couple of months ago. Food was very good.
https://tupelohoneycafe.com/location...s/#brunch-menu

sf7307 Jun 18th, 2019 08:51 AM

We recently had dinner at Tupelo Honey in Asheville. The fried chicken was great.

girlonthego Jun 18th, 2019 05:27 PM

My daughter's favorite meal there is the fried chicken!

fourfortravel Jun 19th, 2019 04:07 AM

obxgirl, the H&H is at 315 S. Maple Ave. A friend lives down the street and drops in for her spices. I know where Indian Spice is; once upon a time there was a fab organic-type place that served amazing cold borscht in the summer in that strip. I'm sure the area is now all hipster-ified.

girlonthego and SF7307, thanks for the Tupelo Honey recommendation. We're not at all brunch people (we're usually out the door and on an adventure of one form or another long before brunch begins), but I look forward to comparing their fried chicken to Austria's Backhendl.

obxgirl Jun 19th, 2019 11:05 AM

>>>> the H&H is at 315 S. Maple Ave.<<<<

Thanks for the resource!

>>>>I'm sure the area is now all hipster-ified.<<<<

Parts of the area for sure, but not that shopping center. There's a mom & pop mediterranean market, a pizza joint and, I think, a barber shop among other things.

Good luck on your re-entry.

fourfortravel Jun 20th, 2019 03:51 AM

"Good luck on your re-entry."

Thanks. So far the only headache is importing my Vespa. The EU and the USDOT have different "certification" standards, and we may be looking at a last minute sale tomorrow rather than fuss with the U.S. and its $5000 "quarantine" deposit while they decide if my ride is U.S. road worthy.

starrs Jun 20th, 2019 03:18 PM

Ben's Chili Bowl!

annhig Jun 21st, 2019 03:13 PM

only just caught up with this 4for so I can only wish you bon voyage and happy landings.

5alive Jun 21st, 2019 07:59 PM

Welcome back to the States. Can't help with restaurants in DC. Trader Joe's oven or microwave options -- we are fans of the samosas, both chicken and vegetable. The spanikopita. Sweet potato fries. Their Japanese fried rice isn't bad. Their boxed tomato & red pepper soup is good.

​​​​​​I also wouldn't want to buy lots of dishes, only to donate them. I would buy a cutting board and a paring knife. Obviously once you buy meals in a disposable aluminum pans, you can handwash and reuse those.

I would try to mix it up. For me, microwave and oven only would get old fast. Some ideas:

Soft taco wraps, deli meat and veggies, black beans and salsa or guac make a nice meal.

Chef salad with baked chicken tenders, or deli case turkey and deli ham. Various veggies and grated cheese.

A meal can also be made with pita chips, hummus, tzatziki different cheeses or salami, fruit. TJ has the lower calorie pita chips.

I also think you could make an interesting take on lasagne with premade sauce, no-boil lasagne noodles, meatballs, peppers, onions. I don't know if TJ has them but I have bought frozen meatballs several places.

​​​


fourfortravel Jun 22nd, 2019 03:10 AM

starrs, all the old haunts are on the list. Between the suggestions here and DS' wish list, it's going to be an epicurean summer!

annhig, thank you!

5alive, We're not big microwave people, either; we didn't even own one in Vienna. DS is loaning us some of his cookware and dinnerware until the air freight arrives; presumably the "payment" will be that I'll be setting a place at the dinner table for him occasionally.

I landed yesterday and briefly wandered into Trader Joe's for a few "essentials." Had to ring DS to grab a Car2Go and fetch me. :lol: Even after all that he and his girlfriend grabbed carryout from an old Afghani/Pakistani haunt (Panjshir) and paired it with a Slovenian white that I left off the sea freight list and had to bring with on the flight. Absolutely delicious, just as I remember.

Melnq8 Jun 22nd, 2019 12:56 PM

Welcome back to no Sunday Shutdowns!

And reverse culture shock. I feel ya.

fourfortravel Jun 24th, 2019 02:32 AM

Okay, I may have been in, "The World's Most Livable City" for seven years, but nowhere ever did I encounter the green nectar of the Bolivian gods, aji verde! DS and Girlfriend picked up empanadas from somewhere in Falls Church (?) Saturday evening and Oh. My. Gosh. The empanadas were out of this world delicious, but That. Sauce!

Melnq8, thank you. I went back to Trader Joes on Sunday, just because I could. :) Found a Grüner Veltliner from Hungary that I will pair with the leftover empanadas this evening.

I also went to Amazon Whole Foods. I'm not keen on Mr. Bezos knowing even more about my shopping habits, but I do love the 365 Peanut Butter Balls cereal. Next time I'll pay with cash.

obxgirl Jun 24th, 2019 08:13 AM


Originally Posted by fourfortravel (Post 16941421)
Okay, I may have been in, "The World's Most Livable City" for seven years, but nowhere ever did I encounter the green nectar of the Bolivian gods, aji verde! DS and Girlfriend picked up empanadas from somewhere in Falls Church (?) Saturday evening and Oh. My. Gosh. The empanadas were out of this world delicious, but That. Sauce!

Melnq8, thank you. I went back to Trader Joes on Sunday, just because I could. :) Found a Grüner Veltliner from Hungary that I will pair with the leftover empanadas this evening.

I also went to Amazon Whole Foods. I'm not keen on Mr. Bezos knowing even more about my shopping habits, but I do love the 365 Peanut Butter Balls cereal. Next time I'll pay with cash.

Do you mind sharing the label of the Grüner Veltliner you found at TJs? I'm a convert to VG and will look or ask or it at the Foggy Bottom TJs.




charsuzan Jun 24th, 2019 10:51 AM

Welcome back to the states. Trader Joe's does have some pretty good frozen meatballs in two sizes.

fourfortravel Jun 24th, 2019 11:44 AM

obxgirl, the label reads "Floriana." I like GV's that are crisp with a spicy finish and the label on this one mentioned white pepper, so I was sold. And, at $6 a bottle it was worth the experiment! I haven't tried it yet so I can not offer commentary, though.

charsuzan, thank you. DD loves to snack on meatballs, oddly enough, as they were conveniently packaged in Vienna as "to-go" snacks.

Melnq8 Jun 24th, 2019 03:31 PM

Do you mind sharing the label of the Grüner Veltliner you found at TJs? I'm a convert to VG and will look or ask or it at the Foggy Bottom TJs.

Another VG covert here, but our Trader's Joe's (yep, just one and 45 minutes from us) doesn't sell alcohol.

obxgirl Jun 25th, 2019 09:37 AM


Originally Posted by Melnq8 (Post 16941791)
Do you mind sharing the label of the Grüner Veltliner you found at TJs? I'm a convert to VG and will look or ask or it at the Foggy Bottom TJs.

Another VG covert here, but our Trader's Joe's (yep, just one and 45 minutes from us) doesn't sell alcohol.

Arg.

Thank you, fourfortravel, I'll look for it!

TDudette Jul 27th, 2019 06:14 AM

Just following up, 4for4, to ask how things are going.

Also, have you seen the DC gtg thread in the Lounge? Stay tuned for a link.

TDudette Jul 27th, 2019 06:17 AM

See if this works...I'm not great on the kindle:

https://www.fodors.com/community/fod...019-a-1666588/


fourfortravel Jul 28th, 2019 03:01 AM

Thanks for checking in on me, TDudette! I hang my head in shame over not posting sooner. We have been back in D.C. for a month now; and with two long weekends away (also not written up) and countless “catching up with friends” I have yet to find a routine. The air freight arrived eight days after I, so I now have my kitchen cookware squad. Rebuilding the spice arsenal is taking time; every dinner recipe seems to require a trip “somewhere” (Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Eden Center, A-1, or the Hispanic Market whose name I can not recall) for “something.” Thank you also, for the DC GTG link.

Tripplanner001, Ambar was terrific! DD and I dropped in during the week for their “Express Lunch” and loved everything. The Green Tea Soda was a unique taste that I have been trying to recreate at home—quite refreshing on these warm days.

lisainDC, we dined at Liberty Tavern on their “Fried Chicken Monday.” Liked, but did not love. Their chicken was not quite the Backhendl that I fondly recall from Austria. The Prosciutto and Burrata starter was well received at our table, however.

obxgirl and Melnq8, I was unimpressed with the Hungarian Veltliner from Trader Joe’s. It had a rather flat finish; I ended up mixing it with sparkling water to make a sad G’spritz.

tripplanner001 Aug 4th, 2019 07:14 AM

Glad to hear that you are starting to reacclimatize and venturing out in the area.


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