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Transplant from Oregon to Woodbridge, VA

hello all,

we've just moved from portland, oregon and made an offer on a house in woodbridge, va. we opted for the suburbs for affordable housing and a bit of a respite from the bustle of d.c. metro (my husband works at l'enfant plaza). as a prideful foodie, the only thing that really worries me about the location is the presence of a LOT of chain restaurants. i know i can head towards d.c. for more adventurous food, but need some options closer to home:

mom and pop diner food
anything ethnic that is good (chinese, thai, indian, italian, ANYTHING)
good coffee (NOT STARBUCKS)
bakeries

anything not cookie-cutter would be great. i also want to support local eateries.

thanks so much for any suggestions!

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  1. I live in Manassas, in Prince William County, just west of Woodb ridge. I'm afraid you are moving into the land of chain restaurants. I am not terribly familiar w/ restos in Woodbridge, but for local ipzza, when I worked in the area Brothers pizza was pretty good. BistroL'hermitage is also highly rated in that area, although I have found it a bit over rated. In downtown Manassas there are a few independently owned one italian).Also, there is Okra's which is cajun and was recently visited by Michelle Obama and her daughter, I also like Columbus Grill which is chef owned and focuses on Portugese cuisine. City square cafe is also Ok in Manassas, but I have a problem w/ their attitude towards handicapped patron so I refuse to patronize them although their food is ok. Otherwise you need to look towards Fairfax, Alexandria,etc. My favorite resto for fine dining within 20 miles is 2941.

    1. Welcome! I, too, moved here from Portland in '03...

      I'll let others weigh in on your area (except to tell you that you have a Wegman's there - and I'm jealous!) - But let your husband know that many of the food trucks stop by for lunch at L'enfant - And to seek them out if he wants something other than the norm!

      -----
      L'enfant Cafe-Bar
      2000 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

      5 Replies
      1. re: tommyskitchen

        nice to here from a fellow stumptown transplant!

        do you have any more specific info about the food trucks (i.e where do they stop at l'enfant)?

        i have heard good things about wegman's and plan to visit. we went into a bloom grocery nearby this past weekend. kind of reminded me of qfc. it will definitely do in a pinch.

        thanks again for your input!

        p.s. any recommendations for good coffee? i am apparently not the only one on this thread seeking it out . . .

        1. re: capicksnw

          http://fojol.com/
          http://www.redhooklobsterdc.com/
          http://www.curbsidecupcakes.com/
          http://takorean.com/
          http://www.sweetbitesdesserts.com/
          http://www.frycaptaindc.com/
          http://dcempanadas.com/mobile/
          http://www.eatsauca.com/

          There are more it seems every day - Each use social networking to update on location. I don't normally use twitter but I set up an account with all of the food trucks loaded so I can check the locations on my iphone.

          QFC - they were so NICE there, miss that. Can't help you with coffee, if you find something let me know!

          1. re: tommyskitchen

            There's also an aggregator:
            http://foodtruckfiesta.com/

            And Best Bites Washingtonian blog is posting every morning, a bit easier on the eyes:
            http://www.washingtonian.com/blogarti...

            1. re: hamster

              you are the greatest! thanks for the detailed info. i have passed it onto my hubby. i will try to find a few of the trucks myself.

              i think i am out of luck on non-starbucks coffee unless i head out of woodbridge in the direction of dc. but luckily, i have an espresso maker and can make do with good whole beans. however, i think i will have to go to whole foods (ten miles away) to get beans i already know i like . . .

              1. re: capicksnw

                Welcome to the area! Here are a few general comments (I live in beautiful Loudoun County, which adjoins PWC to the north and east, and I rarely get down to Woodbridge):

                1. You are very lucky to be near a Wegmans!

                2. Caribou Coffee is better than Starbucks.

                3. Try any "Peruvian chicken" place you can find. Look for words in the window like "pollo a la brasa." Order a side of yuca. Good yuca (such as at Guapo's on 28 just north of Manassas) is a real treat.

                4. Also try hole-in-the-wall kebob joints. There are a fair number of Afghanis and Pakistanis around here, so we have some very good places for kebobs.

                5. The DC food trucks are all on twitter and facebook because of a peculiar local law that prohibits food trucks from stopping unless there are people waiting. So they put the word out where they will be to give customers time to show up.

                6. If you are into wine you might be pleased to know that Virginia has a thriving wine industry. There are about 24 wineries in Loudoun County alone, and many more in Fauquier and the other counties to the west. Definitely worth checking out!

      2. Tough one in Woodbridge. My favorite Salvadoran place was there and closed (although the chains like Buffalo Wings are still next door). A pretty good Pakistani place is Medina Kebab. It's close to the Potomac Mills Mall but tucked in a strip across from it, in a little corner. Very easy to overlook and it's kind of a hole in the wall but freshly ordered food is very good. They have a buffet but while inexpensive, I'd pass on it.

        http://www.medinakabob.com/

        For special occasion, I love Bistro L'Hermitage. They have the best baguettes (though not made in house) I've had. The duck with Israeli couscous is amazing--crispy skin w/ just the right amount of fat, nice cherry reduction. The roast chicken is cooked w/ a slight flavor of bacon and the fries cooked in duck fat. Skip in the desserts.

        I've tried quite a few places in downtown Occoquan and would give them all a pass from Mom's apple pie to Virginia Grill to Mdigan's Waterfront to the little coffee and ice cream shops on the water--they're all fairly touristy, pricey and food fair at best.

        For a change of pace, it's fun to go to Tim's Rivershore in Dumfries. It's on the water, people drive their boats near and take a shuttle in, or it's a 3 mile roundabout route by car. It's not the best seafood you'll ever get but it's the best in the area for deep fried, or crabs, or frickles. You can sit out overlooking the water and there's a little beach w/ an outside bar and chairs.

        For Italian, head to Lorton to Pane e Vino's. They also have a deli next door, for Italian cold cuts, wine, sandwiches, gelato. They have very good lunch special, nice warm rolls w/ assorted olives, herbed olive oil to start. If they have a ravioli special, get it. I had a pheasant ragu ravioli that was excellent. My husband recently had another hand made ravioli (can't remember what it was) that was also very good. Pizzas are wood burning stove.

        And, really, you can't beat the $3.99 meatball special at IKEA for the price. I'd love to find a great coffee shop in that area. If you go to www.delocator.net, you might be able to find one. If you do, please let us know. There are a handful of Caribou Coffees, but I put them possibly a step higher than Starbucks, if that. For Chinese, you'd have to go up to Fairfax County and even then, there are only a handful of places worth going to.

        1. I'll join in on the recs for Pane e Vino, Okra's and Tim's. You should also add Taste of Tandoor (indian) to your list to try.

          1. thanks all for your recs - you pretty much confirmed my suspicions re: chains, etc. but i will definitely seek out your picks.