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Dairy allergic visitor looking for inexpensive, Metro-accessible offbeat ethnic gems. Share your faves?

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New England 'hound here, and I'll be staying in the Dupont Circle area soon. I am looking for a handful of places to have dinner while I'm there.

The price range would be about $10-15 for entrees (but a little more isn't the end of the world).

Here are the kickers: I'd like to find some places that aren't typical. While Chinese and Ethiopian are great, I've had them a million times before. I'm also allergic to milk (and butter and cheese...) so I need to be able to communicate with the servers.

That said, what are the places you love so much you don't want to tell anyone about?

Thanks!

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  1. My top pick in DC is the lemon pepper wings at Oohhs and Aahhs, a soul food place at 10th and U Sts, across from the Green Line U St/Cardozo metro stop. Go for sides of greens and cabbage. You could also go for the carne deshilada at El Rinconcito near 11th and M Sts. Very good tamales as well. Salvadoran.

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    Rinconcito Cafe
    1129 11th St NW Ste Lowr, Washington, DC 20001

    1 Reply
    1. re: Steve

      Both sound great! Thanks for the recs!

    2. In that area I really like Regent Thai, not really a hidden gem, but normally you can get it pretty easily. I think they could easily understand your dietary requirements and there is a lot of the menu without any dairy.

      1. Since traveling more (a lot!) I'm more sensitive to being close by or very easy to get to - except for maybe that one or two meals a week.

        For the one or two - think about the Sichuan choices here. I know you say no Chinese, but unless you are specifically also putting the Sichuan centric places in that category you owe it to make one trek to Joe's Noodle House or Hong Kong Palace.

        That all being said - I'd add CF Folks to a weekday lunch itenerary. They are only open for weekday lunches. Only order specials, and if there are questions or requests they should take them (perhaps with a tad of tude).

        Also for a smaller meal, there is Amsterdam Felafel on 18th st North of the circle. There's a place South of DuPont, but I haven't been and don't remember the name.

        With an evening that gives you a tad bit of time and exploration, but not to the extent of the Sichuan choices - try Cleveland Park. You can search a lot on this board, and I'm only modestly familiar, but there are many options across all price ranges. And the zoo is nearby!

        Oh - last one - If you head up 18th to the North and hang a right on Columbia, there's a Torta/Bakery place that has great tacos, tortas, etc. Pepito's is the name.

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        Hong Kong Palace
        6387 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22044

        Joe's Noodle House
        1488 Rockville Pike Ste C, Rockville, MD 20852

        2 Replies
        1. re: Dennis S

          The felafel place south of Dupont is called Maoz. It's on M St. It's good, very good even, but maybe a little too casual for what the OP is looking for.

          I would consider Himalayan Heritage for Indian/Tibetan food. It's in Adams Morgan, about 15 minute walk north from Dupont or south from Woodley Park metro. It's quite good food, and cheap.

          Um, sadly, probably the only cheap ethnic thing I really *love* in DC is Etete, but it's Ethiopian. It's really awesome.

          Oh, another option is either Penang or Malaysia Kopitiam for Malaysian food, just south of Dupont. They're definitely good, and a bit different than the usual.

          Sadly, most of the tremendously yummy ethnic food is in the burbs.

          Oh, here's one, but it's dessert: really good Argentine gelato and non-milk SORBET at Dolcezza. That is truly exceptionally good gelato, and they just opened a new location in Dupont, just north on Connecticut. Check it out.

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          Etete
          1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

          Malaysia Kopitiam
          1827 M St NW, Washington, DC 20036

          Himalayan Heritage
          2305 18th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20009

          1. re: hamster

            My favorite ethnic places are Ruan Thai up in Wheaton, Udupi Palace in Langly/Takoma for Indian and E Pollo Rico in Wheaton for really good Peruvian roasted chicken. You will have to skip the yellow sauce which has mayo but it is so good even without sauce.

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            Ruan Thai Restaurant
            11407 Amherst Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20902

            Udupi Palace - Closed
            1329 University Blvd E, Takoma Park, MD 20912

            Pollo Rico
            7643 New Hampshire Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912

        2. It's not ethnic, but you might find Sticky Fingers very exciting - a local vegan bakery. Also, our awesome gelato places Pitango and Dolcezza have a lot of non-dairy sorbets. Dolcezza has a new branch near Dupont Circle.