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Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese?

Need help in I-95-adjacent NoVA

Wahooty Mar 4, 2012 08:51 PM

I grew up in the Dale City/Woodbridge area and am in town visiting my brother for the week. I am rarely here for more than a day or two, and brother/SIL/nephlet are all occupied from 9-5, so I need to find a way to occupy my days. Here's the thing: I need to be home when everyone comes home from work, so I'm trying to keep my wandering radius tight. I need to keep things south of I-66, east of Manassas, and preferably outside the Beltway, although your standard A-places (Arlington, Alexandria, Annandale) are doable.

Already on the list:
1. Eden Center. It's not convenient, but I am powerless against an entire center of Vietnamese goodness. But if there is good Viet to be found closer to me, I'd love to hear it.

2. We have a Salvadoran consulate in one of our strip malls, so I figure I would be remiss to not investigate our local pupuserias.

What I am looking for:
Decent Thai, Chinese, Latin, Middle Eastern, Korean, African...you name it if it's not going to end in rush hour traffic. I live in a very small town in Michigan where the options are Bennigan's vs. Ruby Tuesday's vs. Applebee's, so I crave pretty much everything. I'm planning one day in DC that will most likely involve Ethiopian (I did Etete last time and highly enjoyed it, but am open to suggestions there too).

TIA folks.

  1. z
    Ziv Mar 5, 2012 05:05 AM

    For Thai I would hit Arlington, either Bangkok 54 or Thai Square. Get anything with basil, squid or pork belly. Also, Sakulthai (Alexandria) has a pretty good floating market soup, really rich and flavorful. In your area, I still kind of like Dixie Bones, so it hasn't changed much since you left I would guess. Not great, but good.

    1. monkeyrotica Mar 5, 2012 07:19 AM

      West Springfield has some decent kebab options. I like Food Corner and Kabul Kabob. Delias is a nice Greek/Italian diner. Rahama in Woodbridge has decent Ghanaian cuisine. Fairfax County Parkway should help you get in and out before rush hour.

      2 Replies
      1. re: monkeyrotica
        Wahooty Mar 5, 2012 09:06 PM

        Rahama actually entered my plan after I posted - I clicked on "African" on the local Yelp listings and was shocked to find a hit. Went for lunch today, and very much enjoyed it. I'm far from an expert in Ghanaian food, but it is very cool to see how much the area has changed (and they make a WICKED ginger beer!). It appears they just opened a new location in the District (as in, a week or two ago).

        Thanks all for the suggestions - I'll be checking some of them out and saving this thread for future use. There's another nephlet on the way, so I'm hoping to have many more of these visits.

        1. re: Wahooty
          monkeyrotica Mar 6, 2012 03:02 AM

          Rahama's definitely an acquired taste, particularly the T-Zed texture and the amount of okra, but those soups and stews are the ancestors of gumbo and definitly worth searching out. Particularly those who rail against "dumbed down" Americanized dishes or those whose only experience with African cuisine is Ethiopian.

      2. Dennis S Mar 5, 2012 09:08 AM

        I haven't been in awhile, but Temptasian for Sichuan or Hee Been for Korean. Both just off of 395 and in the same parking lot.

        1. s
          Steve Mar 5, 2012 11:30 AM

          Given your parameters I would go to Fairfax. There are three excellent choices:

          Saravana Palace for purely vegetarian South Indian food, Mazadar for Afghan cusine, and Thai by Thai (despite a fast food look it's seriously good).

          Mazadar: get the baba ganouj, the bulanee subzi, and the kadu chalow. At Sarawana Palace get the chili paneer, the chaat papri, and the dosa. At Thai by Thai: anything with heat.

          1. chowser Mar 5, 2012 12:47 PM

            Closer to you (assuming your brother is in Woodbridge) is El Sabor Boliviano in Springfield on Backlick Rd. It's in an old Village Chicken shop and still has the old sign, and decor. W/in walking distance of that is Le Bledo Bakery. They have good banh mi. While you're waiting for them to make it, check out the premade food next to it. We always end up buying far more of those items than the banh mi. And, the hot buffet looks/smells good, too, but we've only stopped by to take out.

            A new restaurant in Alexandria/Springfield, near the INOVA complex (would be easy for you to get to) is Walker's Grille. They do local sustainable food and is one my new favorite lunch spots if I want something simple. I really enjoyed my duck salad last time and my friend raved about her quinoa salad and portabella mushroom sandwich. They have truffle mac and cheese, too, if you want something different.

            1 Reply
            1. re: chowser
              thistle5 Mar 6, 2012 03:34 AM

              Al- Zaytoun, on Smokebridge Rd. In Woodbridge has a good Afghan/Pakistani lunch buffet, w/excellent mint lemonade. Further up Rt. 1, just past Lorton is ThaiBox, w/Thai & Cajun food-it is located right next to Hunan Deli, which contrary to it's name, serves excellent Korean food. A few more miles up Rt. 1, there's Kimchi House & Su Pollo, just try not to get stuck on Rt. 1 during peak commuting hours.

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