Renovation in Progress.
If you want to eat great food cheap nearby, here is my list:
Taqueria El Charrito Caminante: Tacos of chorizo or goat are the highlight, but almost everything here is quite good.
La Union carryout (Old lee Hwy): another place where it's hard to go wrong, but the veggie enchilada is a standout. Also high quality tamales and plaintain empanadas.
El Pike: saltenas and humintas.
Na Trang, ground pork wrapped in rice paper
Saigon Garden BBQ: grilled meats, corn on the cob smeared with chili paste
Than Son Tofu: the tofu, duh, but also the vegetable cake, which sells out early.
Viet Huong: Sweet and Sour seafood soup.
Restaurant Mai: good, relatively cheap place for steamed blue crabs
Little Saigon: Duck soup!
Pizzeria Paradiso (georgetown): atomica pizza
Amma's Vegeterian Kitchen (also georgetown): lentil cakes
Ghin Na Ree: Yum nua and shrimp wrapped in wonton skins (appetizers here are entree-sized, good value)
If I were stuck dining out/ordering in, here is my list:
* Hong Kong Palace in Seven Corners. My new favorite. Steamed triple delight and oyster casserole. If you get takeout, you'll have quite a bit of the sauce leftover that you can use, with, for example, a microwaved bit of rice and stirfry from a place like trader joe's.
*Ted's Montana Grill has some good options
*Taqueria Poblano in the Lee-Harrison shopping center in Arlington or in Del Ray.
*Food Factory on Fairfax across from the Ballston metro. Daily specials are good.
*Cafe Tirolo on Fairfax, also near Ballston metro, behind Tara Thai.
Also, if you have access to a microwave, you can still have some good foodie experiences:
From Trader Joes:
*frozen precooked brown rice (cooks up perfect in micro)
*veggie and pork potstickers (cook up great in micro, just use a micro steamer or put on a plate and cover with damp paper towel)
And TJs has many, many good entrees.
From Asian markets and Trader Joes, try the Annie Chun's noodle dishes. Quite good and easy and fast.
*Baja Fresh (blushing at a chain, but I like them.)
I've been there! Our 1 month planned without kitchen stretched into 3, but luckily it was during the summer, so we cooked out on the grill many days.
I recall that at times I longed for meals that weren't too "restaurant-like," so I'll add another couple of options.
The first is that America's seafood behind the shopping strip with Arrowine and Crisp and Juicy makes up fish platters, as well as some fish salads and fish soups. They even have key lime pie for dessert if you want. All make for a decent meal.
That reminds me: various good roterisserie chicken places abound in Arlington and Falls Church.
Another option is Flavors just off Columbia Pike before you get to Bailey's Crossroads. Good choices of meat or fish, vegetables, and a starch. Just like home.