Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Jul 1, 2009 09:58 AM

July 4th Cookout -- Need to order sides in NOVA

Last minute gathering, and I don't want to stress about getting everything ready. Having 12-14 ppl over for the 4th. Burgers, beverages, patio.

So..where to order the potato salad and maybe corn pudding or mac and cheese? I prefer lower-mayo red skinned potato salad, and it must be great. Also open to suggestions of other sides that I shouldn't miss.

I am hoping for NOVA locations so I am minimize runing around that day.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)

    How about Rocklands? I think the sides are pretty good, esp the corn pudding.

    1 Reply
    1. re: yvetteski

      I agree that Rocklands BBQ has some excellent sides. Of course, if you go you can decide for yourself with a taste test. Corn pudding, greens, and very crunchy lo-mayo cole slaw. Some folks don't like this style of cole slaw, but you can always decide for yourself. They also have some very good sides at the Caribbean Grill on Lee Hwy at George Mason. I think they may have a potato salad which is no mayo. Very good black beans. Cuban.

    2. If you want great, I'd trying a catering company, such as Bittersweet in Old Town.

      1. Red, Hot & Blue has great side -- especially their potato salad. Don't think they have corn pudding or mac and cheese. Their baked beans are really good too.

        1 Reply
        1. re: SheriS

          Red Hot and Blue uses industrial size containers of frozen Stouffers for their mac n cheese catering.

        2. I second the Red Hot and Blue for potato salad. It is the best I have had in the DC area. I am not a fan of their stuff in general, but I will stop in the middle of the road for the potato salad!

          Another thought is Dinner Zen in Reston. While you can assemble your own meals, they also do frozen meals and - great sides in catering sizes.

          1. Don't laugh, but I love the vinaigrette potato salad sold at Giant. There's no mayo at all. Just red bliss potatoes, diced celery, diced scallions, oil and vinegar and salt and pepper. (Serve at room temperature for maximum flavor.)

            11 Replies
            1. re: Indy 67

              That sounded so good I went into the Giant at Loehman's Plaza today to get some and the lady at the deli counter said she didn't know of it, so they must not have had it for a while. When and where did you last get it?

              They do have "Amish" potato salad that looks chunky and a little crunchy but it still looked like the dressing was mayo-based.

              1. re: MikeR

                I bought some at the Giant in McLean within the last week. Maybe you could get your Giant to call the McLean Giant to get the recipe.

                This recipe is the classic French recipe for vinaigrette potato salad -- the type that gets served with salad Nicoise. I've been buying thisi stuff at both the old Giant Gourmet and the regular Giant in McLean for 20 years. Good stuff.

                1. re: Indy 67

                  Thanks. The McLean Giant is just as convenient as the other two "locals" so maybe I'll
                  give that a try next time I'm in the area. I ended up bringing some Red Hot and Blue potato salad to the party and that went fast.

                  1. re: MikeR

                    The vinaigrette version is not one of the potato salads offered daily, but I see it in rotation with some frequency. I recommend you phone the deli counter to see if it's available before making a trip.

                    Another suggestion is to phone ahead and ask if the vinaigrette version can be included in the offerings on a certain day. For example, I'm a huge fan of the Mexican cole slaw at Whole Foods, and there have been times when I've made an advance request for that recipe. The service deli manager is the right person to talk to about special requests.

                    1. re: Indy 67

                      Thanks for the info. Sounds like when I don't plan ahead it'll be hit or miss. Might as well just plan to make up some of my own favorite recipe.

                      1. re: MikeR

                        I just got home from shopping at the McLean Giant and I thought you'd appreciate an update on the vinaigrette potato salad.

                        The chef at this Giant has a new toy -- a sous vide bath -- so the store was offering tastes of many of the dishes prepared using this technique. (The words "Top Chef" could be heard often in the conversations between the chefs and the customers on the topic of sous vide.) McLean's head chef was mingling with customers so I put in a plug for the vinaigrette potato salad. He thanked me for my feed-back and said they value comments like mine. He also said that someone phoned yesterday to inquire about the vinaigrette potato salad. With this display of interest, he'll try to put it into rotation on a more regular basis. If you weren't the "someone" who called yesterday, I recommend you phone next week to keep the ground swell going.

                        1. re: Indy 67

                          you have a *chef* at your giant? and with *sous vide*?!! what dishes did he offer?

                          dang, i feel deprived. i'm lucky to find the butcher at my giant. maybe some stimulus/porkulus $ will get us a chef, thus ensuring equal access to chef-i-ness.

                          1. re: alkapal

                            The standard lemon-oregano chicken breasts have been replaced by sous vide-cooked boneless chicken breasts. The standard grilled salmon filets have been replaced by sous vide filets. The chicken breasts were too salty, and the incredibly soft texture takes some getting used to. However, the moisture of the chicken was amazing. I don't know if I will ever buy these sous vide versions for eating unadorned. However, I used to buy the lemon-oregano chicken breasts to strip the meat and cube it for a quick chef's salad. The sous vide version works just as well for this purpose. The salmon filets were more successful.

                            Incidentally, the visual appeal is mixed. Each piece of meat/fish is given a brief grill treatment to create score marks, but the grill time is too brief to impart much flavor.

                            I didn't taste any of the fancier, prepared dishes. One of these is chicken florentine, which, I presume, is a spinach-stuffed chicken breast. Another customer was chatting with the chef about this dish. The customer complained about the saltiness and the processed chicken mouth feel. He was interpreting the extreme juiciness of sous vide-prepared chicken as the result of being injected with water like processed chicken meat.

                            The kitchen was also sampling a sliced roulade. Based only on appearance, I'd say this was slices of pork tenderloin rolled around a stuffing of vegetables and something else (ground pork? bread crumbs?).

                            Again, my dominant reaction is visual. The chicken florentine is offputting because of its uniform appearance and extreme pale color. The roulade looked more appealing.

                            1. re: Indy 67

                              indy67, thanks for the report. sounds like your giant has a big "prepared" foods section.

                              ps, on the "ready-to-eat" topic, maybe you've tried the pumpkin, pomegranate, and walnut kibbe at the "gourmet basket" market across the street? so delicious...

                              the place also has good bulgarian feta and pretty fresh pita. (though not as fresh as that just baked at ali-baba in vienna).

                              1. re: alkapal

                                I think the McLean Giant has a big prepared food section as the fall out from the closing of Giant Gourmet which was located directly across the street. Many of the recipes that used to be available at Giant Gourmet and no place else transitioned to the regular Giant when the former went out of business. Probably, the potato salad vinaigrette I mentioned in my first post is such a recipe.

                                A very enthusiastic thanks for the recommendation of the pomgranate kibbe. I've long loved pumpkin kibbe from the Gourmet Basket, but I didn't know that store offered any more non-meat options. (I prefer Lebanese Taverna's meat kibbe to Gourmet Basket's, but GB's pumpkin trumps them both!)

                                Now, let me return the favor. Have you tried Gourmet Basket's cous cous salad or it's sauteed, sliced eggplant salad? If not, here's a strong shout out for both. GB's version of cous cous salad includes all manner of added goodies like baby lima beans and pomegranate seeds with a great dressing. I won't purchase the same salad at Lebanese Taverna, but I inhale it from GB. The sauteed sliced eggplant salad is loaded with garlic, but absolutely divine. I purchase this dish only when I've looked at the calendar to figure my social engagements for a day or two post-eggplant consumption.

                                1. re: Indy 67

                                  indy, i'll def. look for the eggplant and cous-cous dishes at gourmet basket.

                                  i usually try a prepared food, then make it myself, if i can. btw, i noticed pomegranate seeds in a little clamshell at my harrison-street harris teeter.

                                  and i'm sorry to disappoint, but the pumpkin kibbeh at gourmet basket is the one that *contains* pomegranate, i believe.

                                  it's been a while since i've been there in mclean, since i didn't even realize that the gourmet giant had closed! ;-)).

                                  and...i getcha about the eggplant with GARLIC! speaking of garlic, make some loubiah, if you haven't done so before. summery goodness of green beans (pole beans, better), tomatoes, garlic, onions and olive oil. good at room temp, or chilled. a heckuva lot better than that from leb taverna market. here's a recipe: (i just wing it these days, but i have some in the fridge now. it keeps well, too. great for a picnic!).