Adventures in Chowhounding, Chapter 1
My New Year's resolution this year is to take a page out of Tyler Cowen's playbook and start trying interesting looking joints here in Northern Virginia, places that appear to be flying well below the radar.
First stop: Luzmila's Cuisine, Broad Street, Falls Church. Went in without even knowing what kind of food they serve. Turns out to be Bolivian. First visit was just for takeout. I got a cheese empanada, one chicken saltena, and one beef saltena.
The cheese empanada ($0.90) was terrible. A dry, tasteless turnover.
Saltenas ($1.90 each) are apparently the national fast food of Bolivia. A bit of an acquired taste, I think. Saltenas are also turnovers (the pastry is slightly sweet), filled with a soupy mixture of small cubes of meat, peas, hard boiled egg, and olives. Oh, the soupy filling is also kinda sweet. So it's sweet and salty and tangy, plus you can add some incendiary green hot sauce to the mix. These might have been great saltenas, but I can't say. What I can say is that I don't crave another saltena.
Anyway, next visit was better. I ate in and chose from the very interesting list of entrees "pique macho." This consists of a gigantic pile of marinated rib-eye and andouille sausage served over french fries. The whole thing is topped with sliced onion, tomato, and the ubiquitous hard-boiled egg. I took the onion, tomato, and egg off, and ate the rest. Quite tasty! The meat is very tender and the fries were also good. If you like fries in gravy you'll really like this. Two people could easily share one of these for lunch. Price: $9.00.
Please try a Thai restaurant further down Rte. 7 in Bailey's Crossroads called Rabieng. It is located behind Duangrat's (a sister restaurant) and next to a Greek market as well Duangrat's Market. And while I have never been to Thailand, this is by far the best Thai food that I have had in my life (no exaggeration). And even though I now live in Los Angeles (which has the largest Thai population outside of Thailand), I can honestly tell you that the much acclaimed Thai restaurants out here don't even come close to Rabieng (or any of the good Thai restaurants in D.C. area for that matter). Trust me, I am speaking from first hand experience. So please check out Rabieng, it is a 100% authentic Thai restaurant and there isn't a single bad dish on their menu (which is limited only to the dishes they can prepare well). Every time I go back to the D.C. area I always make it a point to eat there, IT'S THAT GOOD!
Harsha: that is a very good recommendation. What's good about Rabieng is that they serve some regional dishes that most of the other Thai restaurants around here (and there are a ton of good ones) don't do.
What I plan to do in my Adventures in Chowhounding is to really just walk into some of the more offbeat, lower profile places around here. Falls Church is full of them, and I already have a couple more in mind!