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Looking for new eats in DC/NOVA

We drive down to DC and NOVA several times a year for a few days to fill up on food that you typically cannot find in the Pittsburgh area. Ba Le is a regular and a must, as is Mama's Dumplings. We love Heritage India, Ray's Hellburger, Amsterdam Falafel, Italian Store for pizza and Hee Been for Korean BBQ. We are looking for something new to try for our little two day adventure and am hoping for some suggestions!!

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Italian Store
3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

Heritage India
2400 Wisconsin Ave NW Ste A, Washington, DC 20007

Amsterdam Falafelshop
2425 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

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  1. How about something like Masa 14 for Asian/Latin small plates? Apparently they also have an amazing pre-fixe all you can eat and drink brunch (I'm trying out for the first time this weekend).

    Also can you get Ethiopian in Pittsburgh? If not head over to Etete for some delicious cuisine.

    Finally how about checking out some of our amazing mixologists. I love Gina's drinks at PS7, especially because the bar food is amazing as well.

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    Etete
    1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

    PS7 Restaurant
    777 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

    Masa 14
    1825 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009

    5 Replies
    1. re: Elyssa

      We've been to Etete and my boyfriend liked it there a lot. I thought it was definitely different. I'll have to check out Masa 14. Are they primarily for lunch or dinner? We typically eat a large lunch and then eat Banh Mi at night! We can never get enough!!

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      Etete
      1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

      Masa 14
      1825 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009

      1. re: Hillbeans

        I've only been to Masa 14 for dinner...not sure if they are open to lunch. Check their website.

        Another good (dare I say better) falafel restaurant is Maoz, open for both lunch and dinner. I love their fries as well and the garlic mayo is addictive.

        You might also like Nando's Peri Peri chicken.

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        Masa 14
        1825 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009

        1. re: Elyssa

          ...and the cadillac of felafel places is Max's in Wheaton, MD. Kosher, not open on Saturdays.

          1. re: Steve

            Yes, Steve, our last trip was in January and we went to Max's in Wheaton and it was fantastic!!

        2. re: Hillbeans

          Masa 14 has a great brunch option.

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          Masa 14
          1825 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009

      2. Masala Art for amazing refined Indian in Tenleytown.

        Fish tacos at Surfside in Glover Park.

        Consider We the Pizza in Capitol Hill for New York pizza and awesome home-made sodas - I like the pineapple best. The milkshakes at next-door Good Stuff Eatery are also yummy.

        West African at Sumah's in Shaw - prepare for a developing world experience, and amazing flavors. I love the tomato and peanut stews best, but they have a wide range of stews served on rice or fufu.

        Near Mama's Dumplings: Have you tried Sichuan Pavilion next to Rockville center? Lots of posts on it. I also love Bob's Noodle 66 right across the parking lot.

        There's a new steak-frites place opening up in Cleveland Park this week. Promises a Ray's-type experience.
        http://clevelandparkblog.blogspot.com...

        Stay tuned for new ramen places opening on H Street (Toki Underground) and Chinatown (by the Sushiko guy, I believe?)
        As well as new Sichuan hot pot in Clarendon, opening TBD:
        http://www.mala-tang.com/

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        Good Stuff Eatery
        303 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC

        Masala Art
        4441 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, MD 20016

        3 Replies
          1. re: hamster

            We haven't tried Sichuan Pavilion. Will defintely look into it! Thanks, Hamster!

            1. re: hamster

              Just went to Good Stuff Eatery and had the banh mi hamburger. Knocked my socks off. Absolutely amazingly delicious, such a great combination of flavors and textures, a nice spicy kick. Awesome.

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              Good Stuff Eatery
              303 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC

            2. Which place is Mama's Dumplings? China Bistro in Rockville?

              Fairfax: Saravana Palace for purely vegetarian South Indian food. There is a special section of the menu for Chinese-Indian food like chili paneer.

              Right next door is Mazadar for Afghan food. They make a bagaganouj without tahini. It's chocolate-brown from smoked paprika. The buranee (leek filled pastries) are also a must order.

              Annandale: soon du bu (korean tofu stew) at Vit Goel. This is a specialty restaurant that serves very few other items, but what they have is damn good.

              Jerusalem for Palestinian food in Bailey Crossroads. Get the makluba and the musakhan.

              Chez Manelle for Tunisian food in Arlington. Get the brika, sigara, hard to go wrong here. They have a great dessert which is essentially a pastry soaked in pudding.

              A& J in Annandale for Northern Chinese dim sum. Think buns, noodles. The niu rou is an outstanding beef -filled fried bun and the zha zhiang mian is noodles in a bean paste sauce. Although not mentioned on the menu, you can ask for the wide noodles, they will be homemade!

              Luzmilla's in Falls Church City for Bolivian food. Closes by 5pm I think. Definitely get a saltena, like an empanada but filled with soup (be very careful). Also great inexpensive Bolivian steak dishes here. The one for $12 is an impressive mess of food. The sopa de mani is an addictive peanut soup.

              Costa Verde in Arlington for Peruvian food. Ask for a fresh bowl of cancha (like popcorn) at the the table. The fish in white onion sauce is excellent andd of course, get the lomo saltado.

              Seven Corners area:
              Hong Kong Palace for Sichuan Chinese. two specials on the wall are spectacular (but spicy): the 100 flavor chicken and the crispy chicken with the crunchy hot peppers. Written only in Chinese, but you can ask for them, they will know.

              The Lao menu at Bangkok Golden. Nam khao (rice ball salad), rice paste wrap, and the khao piak sen (chicken and noodle soup) are quite meal. If you don't mind ordering off menu, ask about the som pa (fermented fish) - either raw or fried it is really great.

              Fairfax Inn for Filipino food. This closes by 6pm. A straightforward diner with a separate FIlipino menu. Daing na bangus is marinated milkfish. One of my favorite dishes anywhere

              If you have a car in DC, then go to Chez Aunty Libe for Senegalese food. Yassa chicken, whole fish, maffe, and manioc (cassava leaf stew) though this last item may be an acquired taste - worth acquiring.

              In far SE DC, Pimento Grill for Jamaican food. Mostly a carryout with a couple of tables (but nice tables). Oxtail brown stew and curried chicken are stunning. They also have a few specialty homemade juices like carrot lime.

              Myanmar in Falls Church for Burmese food. Get the ginger salad, in fact all the salads here are good including the gram fritter salad with chick peas and gravy, and the shrimp and bean sprout salad. Whole roast fish with onion is a winner.

              And you haven't even asked about Maryland.....

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              Chez Aunty Libe
              6115 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20011

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

              Bangkok Golden
              9503 Livingston Rd, Fort Washington, MD 20744

              Fairfax Inn Restaurant
              2946 Sleepy Hollow Rd, Falls Church, VA 22044

              Pimento Grill Restaurant
              4405 Bowen Rd SE, Washington, DC 20019

              12 Replies
              1. re: Steve

                Wow, Steve, thanks for the list! And yes, China Bistro in Rockville. We will be going through that area on our way home, so if I would ask about MoCo... haha

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                China Bistro
                755 Hungerford Dr, Rockville, MD

                1. re: Hillbeans

                  The A&J that Steve mentioned in Annandale has a twin in Rockville. The food is darned close to identical at both locations. This is Northern Chinese small plates, mostly wheat, very little rice, no seafood. The pan-fried pork dumplings are extra delicious; there's a reason you will see them on almost every table. Try them with a touch of vinegar. The pickled long bean and beef is an unassuming looking dish that is one of our favorites. The cucumber salad is hot and crunchy. And WARNING--the pan-fried beef bun Steve recommended is delicious, but full of greasy juicy goodness and therefore potentially messy. You might want to ask for a knife for that one.

                  In Virginia, you didn't mention any visits to the Eden Center. There are a ton of Vietnamese eateries, but I'd recommend the consistently good Huong Viet (currently my nominee for best cha gio and lotus root salad) for your main, then a stroll a few doors down to Than Son Tofu for a small box of whichever tofu has come out of the fryer most recently (eat it immediately) and boba, followed by a trip to the interior mall to the left of the supermarket, for roast pig (not pork, though that is good too), at the Vietnamese-Chinese place Cho Chu Saigon. You can find info about the Eden Center at www.edencenter.com

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                  Eden Center
                  Falls Church, VA, USA, Falls Church, VA

                  Huong Viet Restaurant
                  6785 Wilson Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22044

                  1. re: PollyG

                    You are right to give a warning about the pan-freid beef bun. Not only is it messy, but probably DANGEROUS, as it is likely you will have boiling hot liquid squirting out at you. The food equivalent of The Hurt Locker.

                    Dangerous but worth it.

                2. re: Steve

                  Thanks Steve for the great list I have not had Filipino food since I moved from Cali

                  1. re: Steve

                    How about Ba Bay? That sounds like a lot of the tastes you have hit in the past

                    1. re: Steve

                      Wanted to add to Steve's excellent post that La Carenquena is pretty great and that is food I have never seen in Pittsburgh.

                      1. re: ktmoomau

                        The advantage to La Caraquena is that it is nice inside (despite the location at an old motor lodge), it's open for dinner, plus you can get a Venezuelan domino arepa, which is with black beans and white cheese, in addition to the saltena and sopa de mani.

                        1. re: Steve

                          We were also thinking about going to Joe's Noodle House on our way home. What can you recommend there ?

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

                          1. re: Hillbeans

                            Many good things at JNH. Wontons in red hot sauce, peanuts with fried baby smelt, beef jerky, taro cake with dates (sweet), rice cakes with shredded pork. Homemade bacon with leeks.

                      2. re: Steve

                        What else can you recommend from Myanmar? We were thinking of the goat curry, gram fritter salad and something else.

                        1. re: Hillbeans

                          Ginger salad is the one thing I wouldn't miss if you haven't had Burmese before. Fried watercress, whole roasted fish with onion, and the egg noodle soup (very rich) are all great, but this is one of the few places it's hard to go wrong. Goat curry is a very, very good choice. If you can stand the flavor of dried shrimp, then get an order of the balachaung which is a condiment of dried shrimp and fried garlic. It's homemade, and for about $5 you get a big supply that you can take with you. When I go here it's usually with a large group, so I never have to decide between the things I like; I just order everything.

                      3. We decided we are going to try La Mexicana Bakery and Taqueria in Alexandria for our first stop. Any insight or suggestions?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Hillbeans

                          I think the the Carnitas are the best thing on the menu (burritos or tacos) followed by the Carne Asada. I believe the other thread linked above had a good review of a torta - which is next on my order list when I'm down at La Mexicana. Also they have a great homemade horchata.

                        2. It seems like you're already gotten a lot of great suggestions. I just wanted to second Ba Bay and to add that (if you can get a reservation), you might want to try Rasika in lieu of Heritage India this time around. It's less traditional Indian, but it is delicious!

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                          Rasika Restaurant
                          633 D Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

                          Heritage India
                          2400 Wisconsin Ave NW Ste A, Washington, DC 20007

                          1. We had a very nice trip (which is never long enough!) and I want to thank you for all of the recommendations. Our first stop was in Alexandria. We went to La Mexicana Bakery and Taqueria and split the 4 taco plate along with a sopes which were excellent! We then decided to have a little snack at Cho Cu Saigon in Eden Center. I ordered a small portion of roasted pig which was also very tasty. And then we had our Banh Mi feast from Ba Le in Falls Church.... which is never a disappointment. I have always wanted to try their Pho-style soup and to scratch an itch, I ordered the rice noodle with wontons. It wasn't superb, but for some reason, we couldn't stop eating it!! Oh, and we also had to have a chicken leg as another snack! On Friday after walking about the cherry blossoms, we decided on Mark's Duck House. My boyfriend was having a Peking Duck urge, so we ordered a half of a duck and some Dim Sum. The duck was good, but nothing spectacular. The Dim Sum was very good with the pork rice noodle being the best. We ended our trip at China Bistro in Rockville where we took 3 orders of dumplings and the spicy wonton soup home. I am sure we will be back again in a few months and will be trying some of the other recommendations. Thanks, again!

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                            Eden Center
                            Falls Church, VA, USA, Falls Church, VA

                            Mark's Duck House
                            6184 Arlington Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22044

                            China Bistro
                            755 Hungerford Dr, Rockville, MD

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Hillbeans

                              What's funny is that when I go to Pittsburgh, I always come back with some sort of food!

                                1. re: Hillbeans

                                  Stuff from the Strip District (Penn Macaroni largely), Eastern European goodies, stuff from various kosher stores that is more of a pain to get here and bagels. I love the bagel factory. YUM. Their pound cakes also freeze very well, which is always good to have on hand.

                            2. It's that time again! We're heading back down for Labor Day weekend and have most of our venues planned. We still need one more lunch for Saturday. We are going back to JNH and Hee Been, as they were phenomenal the last time. We are staying in Chantilly this time around. Mazadar? A&J? La Caraquena? Any suggestions to curb my craziness?

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: Hillbeans

                                if you haven't been, A&J is worth it. there's also a new hunan place in fairfax called 100 degrees that's great.

                                1. re: xdcx

                                  There are tons of places we haven't been and we've been given many recommendations. We get all crazy when it's time to decide where to go. It's like being a kid in a candy store!!!

                                2. re: Hillbeans

                                  A & J certainly. I adore the sweet/sour noodles (no, it's not the orange glop), ask for the wide noodles. Those are homemade though no mention is made on the menu; it's a secret.

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                                  A & J Restaurant
                                  1319 Rockville Pike C, Rockville, MD

                                  1. re: Steve

                                    We have been debating on going there every time but we chose JNH on our last trip. It was so phenomenal per your recommendations that we want to go back this time around. Rick is still set on getting the Kung Pao Homestyle and Mapo Tofu. Any other rec's for A & J?

                                    -----
                                    A & J Restaurant
                                    1319 Rockville Pike C, Rockville, MD

                                    1. re: Hillbeans

                                      Bean curd with thousand year egg and fried beef bun (niu ro xian bing) -this comes out boiling hot and soupy inside, use extreme caution to nibble at it.

                                      The noodles I mentioned earlier are suan la mian, hot and sour noodles.

                                      1. re: Steve

                                        Thanks so much!! That is enough for both of us, right? Haha

                                        1. re: Steve

                                          Steve, thank you so much for the A&J recommendations! We ordered the fried beef bun and the hot and sour noodles, which were phenomenal. We also ordered the bean curd with the thousand year egg. Rick thought the egg was fantastic, I not so much... Per other recommendations, we ordered the Beef Noodle Soup Schezuan Style with wide noodles. The noodles and beef were wonderful. We added some bite to the broth which made it taste better as it did not have a lot of flavor, but it was still very good.

                                          Joe's was delicious- Kung Pao Homestyle was awesome. Rick wanted the Mapo Tofu and he loved it. Thank you for all of your recommendations! Joe's will be a regular now, we just have to determine what else to order!!!

                                          1. re: Hillbeans

                                            I have a standard dozen or so items I rotate at Joe's.
                                            Shredded radish, H21 (with fish), wontons in red hot sauce, peanuts with fried baby smelt, rice cakes with shredded pork, homemade bacon and leeks, taro cake with date, sichuan beef jerky, cucumber salad, pressed bean curd in spicy sauce, homemade sausage (this is a seasonal special, posted behind the cash register), sichuan green beans - they make two versions, one vegetarian, and they are both great.