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Request for mini reports week ending March 30

Please post brief reports (or make them as long as you want) for the past week or so. This is not to discourage longer reports that are their own threads, but rather to encourage shorter reports so we'll get more of them and get them more frequently. If people like this format maybe we can make this a weekly thing. I'd love to hear about food experiences for both new and established places.

Please include locations along with the names. I'll post mine later.

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  1. At the tiny house in an Annandale parking lot, Mandu Rang Kimbap Erang, I had a dubu jungol (tofu hotpot) with crushed black sesame seeds that gave it a nutty flavor though gritty texture. They only make a few items here, but everyone one of them is distinctive.

    1. Veritas Wine Bar, Dupont - I had a voucher for wine flights and a plate of cheese/charcuterie for two. I've been here before and I find the staff 50/50 in terms of wine knowledge - it just depends on who you get. Regardless, they like talking about wine, and I do, too. I thought it was a pretty good deal and I like the place, in general. The "hot lomo" (spicy, dried pork loin) was quite tasty, especially with one of the tempranillos I had.

      Mourayo, Dupont - hadn't been here in awhile and after we left, wondered why. The bar was empty on a Monday night. We didn't have a full meal (post Veritas), but enjoyed the dip/spread platter (red pepper dip was a favorite), cold seafood appetizer platter (good octopus salad) and a couple glasses of Greek wine. Nothing mind-blowing, but flavorful and hit the spot. Good pita, too.

      1. I had lunch at Baytna, south Alexandria, near Ft. Belvoir-it's fast Mediterranean, similar to Chipotle in setup- so rice, salad, or pita, w/ different toppings-hummus, veggies, sauces. I thoroughly enjoyed it-quick, inexpensive, tasty.

        3 Replies
        1. re: thistle5

          Have you been to Cava Mezze Grill? If so, I'm curious how you think they compare.

          1. re: KeithW

            I haven't yet, & I rarely go to Chipotle either (too crowded), so my experience is limited, but I liked this place, the people there were very nice. I wanted to get it to go, but after we got our food, my son wanted to eat there, so we did.
            I got a salad bowl, w/ chicken kebab, pickled turnips, Arabic salad, olives, baba ghanoush, feta, tabouli, w/ tatziki, & a side of falafel.

          2. re: thistle5

            Good to know. The menu is posted on my work fridge but I usually end up with pho in that shopping center. Will try Baytna next time.

          3. I also got takeout lunch from ThaiBox, which is a small Thai/Cajun place near Ft. Belvoir. I got chicken ga prow, asked for med spicy 6/10, it was a bit smaller than I remembered, but delicious, fried egg on top, just a smaller ratio of chicken to rice. I was hoping they would have the shrimp/pineapple curry as a special, but since I didn't see it on the board, I didn't ask for it.

            2 Replies
            1. re: thistle5

              I wish that ThaiBox was open evenings or weekends, but I don't think ti is....

              1. re: Steve

                It's not. :-( I tried calling them on MLK Jr. day since I had the day off, but no one picked up the phone and we were not about to make that trek for naught. (Makes sense they were closed given the location.) I regularly crave the pasta jambalaya, which I haven't had since Cajun Bangkok closed in Richmond.

            2. Not sure this is really chowhoundy enough, but could be a good tip for tourists or others going to cherry blossoms, tidal basin area.

              Last week I checked out the cafeteria at the USDA building, which is a quite nice, very large, and very reasonably priced place. The entrance is on C St SW between 12th and 14th, north side of the street, door with a red sign on it. So about half a block from the Holocaust Memorial Museum. You have to go through security and show id, as it's a govt building.

              I got there a little early for lunch, so not everything was out yet, and I didn't eat much (some ham and bean soup, which hit the spot on a cold day but nothing super special) so not much really to report (thus using the "mini-report" thread) but...

              There were lots of different areas with different types of hot and cold foods. As an example of variety and size, there was an area that had a couple kinds of pho, a bunch of udon noodle soups, and sushi -- and that was just one little corner, relatively. Those soups weren't ready when I was there, so didn't try them, unfortunately. The salad bar was big with a variety of interesting different types of salads and looked really good.

              I'd say prices might be almost a third of comparable museum cafeterias and the quality and choice seemed better.

              Apparently it opens very early for breakfast, too. And since it can be hard to find somewhere to eat in that area, I'm glad to know it's there.

              3 Replies
                1. re: mselectra

                  do they charge by the pound for anything other than the salad bar?

                  1. re: alkapal

                    I think so, alkapal. It was a big place and there were several salad bar type areas, some of which probably weren't actually salads. But I'll check next time I'm there.

                2. The Partisan
                  Had charcuterie plate P2. Thought the cured meats were seasoned too mildly but the pate was really good. Their jowl ham with honey was outstanding. Shaved brussel sprout slaw was a great dish to cut the richness of the rest of the meal. Generous portion of foie for $18.00. Fried chicken was dry especially the pieces with no skin. Ribeye cap was disappointing. It was just barely warm and didn't have that rich/meaty characteristic I associate with it.

                  Osteria Morini
                  Smoked trout crostini is a must order every time.
                  Cappeletti and lasagna verde were the standout pasta dishes. The seafood bucatini at Fiola is better.
                  Bone in strip for 2 was cooked a perfect medium rare and the wood fire grill lent the perfect amount of char and smoke.

                  Blue Duck Tavern
                  Chefs Table - Too many dishes to recount here but it was one of the best dining experiences I've had in D.C. The kitchen was incredibly accommodating as they literally prepared up to 3 separate variations of a course for vegetarian and gluten free diners. I'll try to post a picture of the menu if I can find it.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: shake N baik

                    Did your sea urchin bucatini have a tomato flavor? On my first visit, the sea urchin pasta was served without tomato sauce (as it should be). On my second visit, the sea urchin pasta had a distinctive tomatoey flavor. Neither time was I happy with the dish, because it lacked the richness of a proper sea urchin sauce.

                    1. re: Worldwide Diner

                      It was tomato and more shellfish in flavor. Wouldn't get it again. I had the uni pasta at Obelisk around 6 weeks ago and their version also lacked the richness of a sea urchin sauce that I prefer. Does any restaurant in the area have a good version?

                      1. re: shake N baik

                        It's hit and miss at Fiola. Maybe Fiola Mare can get it right consistently.

                        With respect to Fiola Mare, I believe when they first opened, the Scottish Langoustine was $13 each, not it's $16. The sea urchin Bucatini is $32. In Sicily, a bowl of spaghetti ai ricci is between around 13-15 Euros, as of a couple of years ago.

                  2. Marchone's Italian Delicatessen
                    11224 Triangle Ln
                    Wheaton, MD 20902
                    I had an Italian cold cut sub on a hard roll and it was very good. I haven't been here in several years and gone are the familiar faces, but still a well above average big sub on good bread for $8 with good sliced hot and sweet pepper available. I also bought some good italian sausage (sweet or hot (with or without fennel)).

                    The Breadery -
                    418 Oella Ave, Catonsville, MD 21228
                    I am a big fan of their Cranberry Nut yeast bread. This time I also tried a Raspberry Peach Corn Muffin which was moist and tasty with nice chunks of tasty peach (I don't know how). Every time I get their pastry type items I am surprised how good they are. I don't like most bakeries. I also got an excellent baguette with a wonderful crust. I also frequently get half price bread from the day old rack.

                    Maxim Gourmet Oriental Market
                    460 Hungerford Dr
                    Rockville, MD 20850
                    I went to get ingredients. They have a prepared, ready to eat stall in the store so I ended up buying half a roasted duck which was good and much better than I got the last time I was there, several years ago. I also got a large scallion pancake that had egg and some fine noodles as well as scallions in it - terrific.

                    KeithW have you considered doing this for a month at a time or at least starting the thread when the week starts? I do like this thread.

                    1. The pig tostada at Green Pig Bistro in Clarendon was everything I hoped it would be, and at $5 during Happy Hour, was priced right. Normally $9 on the regular menu.

                      This is a really good deal and the other HH oferings are similarly reduced, but the portions remain the same. Unlike the $5 'tastes' at a place like DGS in Dupont, which are rather pathetic.

                      1. I finally made it to the Cosmopolitan Grill on Richmond Highway in Alexandria part of FFX county. My friend and I both had the grilled trout salad which was a grilled trout, boned w/ crispy skin on, next to a large, nicely dressed salad. It reminded me of a similar meal I had in Romania at a lakeside grill.

                        The bread was served with a small dish of sour cream topped with feta. Very good!

                        1. Au Bon Coin--new french bistro in Springfield on Commerce near the mall. It's actually Mediterranean owned and has a wide array of french and Mediterranean foods. I tried the special chicken schwarma which was okay. The bread was good, chicken kind of flavorless. The baked goods looked good, made in house. I brought home chocolate mousse (again, okay) and lemon tart which we've yet to try. Coffee was basic. It's Illy but not something I'd go there for.

                          1. Omakase at Sushi Taro - always amazing. Particularly liked the smoked oysters this time. Menu changes every 2 months or so, $150 per person, only 6 seats available per night.