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Sep 3, 2006 02:25 PM

Earth to Tyler Cowen ...

Hard to believe that Tyler Cowen could write about ethnic dining in the DC burbs without mentioning Wheaton . . .

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  1. Everyone's a critic I guess. I thought it was a decent article about the evolution of the suburban Virginia ethnic dining scene (and that article was not, at least the way I read it, intended to be a comprehensive survey of area ethnic dining just briefly touched upon the parallel trend in MD). Give the guy a break.

    He speaks quite favorably about several Wheaton establishments in his dining guide, so you can find your Wheaton "shout out" there. It's not like he's not aware good places in Maryland exist.

    1. well, there was a map of the entire area on the cover ... so at least the editors thought it was supposed to be comprehensive.

      And then, there's the generic Washington area headline and the first few paragraphs that refer to ``the area'' and ``the region" so perhap I was misled.

      1. While the article isn't a comprehensive survey of ethnic dining it helps explain to people who keep asking for recommendations inside DC and wonder why the board points them to places outside the Beltway. Question: What, why isn't there good dim sum in Chinatown (or many other examples)? Answer: restaurant owners following the population/market and looking for cheaper rents.

        This article can be found at: (free registration required).

        Not sure why it was the cover story of the Outlook (opinion) section (along with two other food related articles) maybe the editors were focused on the trends, not the details (like the food or magazine sections).

        2 Replies
        1. re: Lydia R

          BTW, the Thai Hut mentioned on the West End of Alexandria has been closed for over six months. Their replacement is Sakul Thai or some such at the following website.

          I really like their Poh Tak but it hates me something awful. That makes it a great dish for the brain to assert its authority!

          1. re: malveaux

            Glad to here that it isn't just me. It is soooo great, but when I dared to consume three of them in a single evening, it served to painfully clean my inner pipes as well. Still worthwhile to have occasionally but the side effect keeps me from trying to live off of it. I suspect that the effect is a natural one from excessive lemon grass but have never confirmed it.

        2. I guess what struck me first was the map (which I know that Tyler didn't personally generate).

          If you're going to illustrate the broad point of the story (and this was a broad, big picture kind of piece -- comprehensive isn't the right word, but ``regional overview'' might be better) -- then Wheaton was a glaring omission. I mean there are about 15 towns/'hoods noted on the map -- and clearly Wheaton ranks among the region's top five or so areas of exurban ethnic dining. It was deserving of at least a mention in the story.

          1 Reply
          1. re: repete

            FWIW he highlights Wheaton on a short list of underrated ethnic dining localities in his dining guide (along with Chantilly, Fairfax, West Alexandria, and Bailey's x-roads). I would agree that all those areas are strong, I don't know that I'd call them underrated any more, but they probably were at the time he wrote that bit into his guide.

            I was a little surprised perhaps that he didn't mention Wheaton in his brief comparative digression into Maryland, but I didn't really see it as a glaring omisssion as I just saw the article as one primarily about Virginia (read it online so didn't see the map).

            Cowen is generally Virginia-centric, which is to be expected since he lives and does the large majority of his eating in the Fairfax area. I do believe however he is correct with his assertion that Virginia is far ahead of Maryland nowadays when it comes to surburban ethnic eats. There are pockets of good stuff in MD though and Wheaton is definitely a strong one.

          2. I haven't had time to read the article yet, but this thread certainly isn't helping me eat better. Quit with the gripin' and get with the recommendin'! I may occasionally get to go to Wheaton for lunch; where should I go?

            I already know about El Pollo Rico (awesome), Thai (Ruan Thai is pretty good and the others not) and dim sum (Hollywood East and Good Fortune, both tasty), and I've been to Ahn Bin (pretty good), Marchone's (meh), and Pho Hiep Hua (ok, but not worth the drive when there are better pho places closer to me).

            What else should I know about, please?

            Has anyone been to the Burmese place in Wheaton? It's called Peacock something or other, it's on Georgia Ave in the same shopping center as Ahn Bin, I think. I just noticed it for the first time a few weeks ago but I've not had a chance to visit. Any good?

            2 Replies
            1. re: alopez

              The only rec I have outside of everything you've mentioned is El Pulgarcito, which is one block east of GA Ave, just south of University. There was another place on the same physical block, but anti-caddy corner if that make sense - basically walk south from E.P., when you reach the corner, take a left and it'll be on the left. It's been at least a year since I've been up there, so this is somewhat dated.

              1. re: alopez

                Lucia's makes a good Italian sub, and Thai Derm is under-rated (but a tough sell only one block from Ruan). At Derm, I recommend the seafood talay.