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Texas Hound coming to town for 3-4 days. Correct my itinerary . . .

I'm a Texas hound who lived in DC about 15 years ago. I'm coming in to town (Baltimore & DC) in a couple weeks, and I'd like any suggestions to correct my itinerary and fill in a couple gaps . . . Your comments are appreciated.

Okay, we get in to BWI late on Monday night and are staying in Baltimore. Due to the uncertain nature of flights, I figured we'd hit Sip and Bite before hitting the hay.

For lunch on Tuesday, I was planning on Chap's before heading to DC. (A suggestion for an early morning activity in Baltimore would be appreciated as well).

For dinner on Tuesday (in DC, Arlington, or Alexandria), I was originally planning the Phillips Waterfront, but was devastated (okay, not really) to learn that it's closed. Is there something else that has an expansive seafood buffet in an all-you-can-eat setting? Naturally, quality will obviously take a back seat to quantity here. If not, is Geranio in Old Town still delicious? If we can't gorge on mediocre seafood, we're pretty open here.

Lunch on Wednesday - Ben's Chili Bowl? Is there something else that is no too huge and is a "can't miss?" I don't think anyone in our group is dying to eat at Ben's, but it seems like one of those places that we should try.

Dinner on Wednesday - I'm thinking City Zen, unless it is truly not worth the time, hassle, money, etc.

Lunch on Thursday - When I was there (2000 - 2001), the best Peking duck was Duck Chang's in Annandale. If that's not the best, what is, that is also open for lunch?

Dinner Thursday - Sunday morning - visiting Lake Anna; probably mostly home cooking, but if there is a can't miss down by the lake (Bumpass/Mineral/Louisa area), we'll try to squeeze it in.

Sunday afternoon and evening (back to Baltimore) - Inner Harbor and ?Joe's Squared? - thoughts?

As you can see, we like almost everything, so all suggestions are appreciated.

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  1. Here are some things you might not have in Austin: Dinner on Tuesday or Wednesday: give up on the seafood buffet and go to Lyon Hall for Alsatian food in Arlington. Another Arlington alternative is Gharer Khabar for Bengali. This place is the cheap eats winner, go for the moglai parotta, roast chicken, fish curry, alu gobi. Or go for Palestinian food at Jerusalem Restaurant and get the musakhan and the makluba. Very good Bolivian food at Sibarita. Eden Center is a Vietnamese shopping center with about 23 or so restaurants. The well-hidden Bay Lo inside the Saigon East corridor has some really good selections like the miscellaneous salad, goat rolls, and the Boy Lo 7 Special with shrimp, pork, and meatballs. Jaleo in Arlington for spanish tapas from a famous chef, please look up specific recs on this board.

    If you want upscale modern American without the upscale, then go to Rose's Luxury in DC, but they don't take reservations so try to get there slightly before 5:30pm when they open. And try to sit at the kitchen counter if possible. As an alternative, the somewhat upscale Alba Osteria in DC has some exceptional homemade pasta dishes. Start off the with ratatuia piemontese, and then go on the the tajarin, the chestnut trofie, and the hay smoked mezzaluna. A unique meal.

    1. If you must have all you can eat seafood, the Quarterdeck in Arlington has all you can eat crabs. I haven't been there in many years, so someone else would have to weigh in on the current quality.

      We do have good Vietnamese options here, but you also do in Austin, so you might want to go another direction than that. How do you feel about Ethiopian? That is a cuisine that DC does well.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Lori D

        at quarterdeck, you buy crabs by the bushel. you'll need reservations, too.

        1. re: alkapal

          They used to have AYCE crabs, but, as I said, it's been ages since I have been.

          For pollo a la brasa, El Pollo Rico. Sides are nothing special, but the chicken is.

          Afghan Kabob House, in Arlington (Courthouse), is good for casual Afghani food.

          1. re: alkapal

            They sell by the dozen or half-dozen, not the bushel (that's usually 60+ crabs...).

            And most days QD does have an AYCE "crab feast" of small-medium crabs. The setup is rather strict, every person at the table has to order the feast, etc.

            Make reservations, even on a weeknight.

            1. re: rachelcp

              you are correct. when i went with friends, i guess it just seemed like a bushel.

        2. duck changs ain't all that, in my opinion.

          and bens' chili bowl? i don't know why anyone would waste an opportunity for a meal to go there.

          you need to go to bangkok golden in seven corners shopping center (near hong kong palace)

          1 Reply
          1. re: alkapal

            I agree about Bangkok Golden in Seven Corners Shopping Center. You don't get Laotian food that easily. We are one of the few cities lucky enough to have it. There are many reviews out there on what to order. Also, I like Steve's rec on Lyon Hall as well. Also, forgo Ben's Chili Bowl. It's great purely for nostalgia, but I don't think the food is really that good. I like DGS Delicatessan if you want to stay in the city for lunch.

          2. I am not sure about a seafood buffet in DC. I haven't been to Geranio. A couple other thoughts: Bastille, Vermillion or Brabo. Or in Arlington- Eventide. Quarterdeck is also a good idea.

            Lunch on Wednesday- which location of Ben's were you going to? If the one in Arlington, you could instead go across the street and go to Ray's for a cheesesteak or a hellburger. If the U St location then you could get a G sandwich by Mike Isabella, it might not be can't miss, but it should be good and fairly iconic as he is one of DC's celebrity chefs.

            CityZen is still worth it.

            What about some Korean BBQ for lunch in Annandale?

            In Baltimore you could maybe get your seafood fix here instead? Bertha's for mussels, I think there is a Philips there, don't know if they still have the buffet one. Or you could go to the market and get all sorts of stuff. Lots of other options for seafood in Baltimore.

            4 Replies
            1. re: ktmoomau

              I had a coule of really bad sandwiches at G, so it is far from a sure bet. Mostly grisly scraps leftover from dinner at $13 a pop. If you've had a good sandwich there then by all means recommend it, but I think their setup is a cynical way to get rid of leftovers.

              1. re: Steve

                I've had several good sandwiches there, and will continue to recommend it as well! Any issues I had were more about a lack of attention to careful sandwich construction, but certainly not the quality of the meat.

                1. re: hamster

                  I can't speak for the meat sandwiches, but I loved the roasted cauliflower. I plan to work my way through all of them at the ball park this season.

                2. re: Steve

                  I have had really good version of both their chicken parm and meatball.