Incredibowl

Incredibowl, web site, 14005 Lee Jackson Highway (Rt.50), just east of Rt.28, Chantilly, VA, 703-631-5888 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Ylp]

IncrediBowl

Where Sichuan Village used to be located. No surprises here, but this is a considerably above average take on all the usual Sichuan classics. I especially enjoyed the Fish in Hot Chili Oil and the Shredded Potatoes with Peppers. Note that the place is small and it can fill up pretty quickly.

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Posted in Chinese, Herndon/Reston/Ashburn/Chantilly / Dulles Airport, Virginia | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Silk Road, Uyghur Cuisine

Silk Road, Uyghur Cuisine, web site, 301 S. Washington Blvd., Falls Church, VA, 703-534-3838 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [FCNP | Ylp]

The smallest of the Uighur places, and possibly the most authentic, a true mom and pop. (They have “normal” American-Chinese dishes too.) Get the chopped noodle and also the Chili Paper [sic] Chicken, that should read Pepper. You should visit this excellent restaurant even if you already know and enjoy the other recently opened Uighur places in the area. They also serve lamb hoof and shredded tripe.

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Taco Bamba Vienna

Taco Bamba Vienna, web site, 164 Maple Ave., Vienna, VA, 703-436-6339, note they open at 8:30 a.m. and thus are a breakfast option. (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [WaPo | Washingtonian | TripAdvisor | Ylp | Zagat]

If you read this guide, you probably already know the superior tacos of the original Taco Bamba outlet in Falls Church. The newer branch is yuppified, with longer lines, and the menu is broader, with more kinds of tacos, chilaquiles, tortas, and more sides. I was suspicious, but there seems to be no diminution in quality and a much bigger selection. Definitely recommended. Note that ordering a single taco here gives you much more food than in any other tacqueria I’ve seen, decide accordingly.

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Posted in Mexican, Vienna/Tysons, Virginia | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tortas y Tacos La Chiquita

Tortas y Tacos La Chiquita, 2911 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA, 571-970-2824 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Zagat | Arlington Now | City Paper | Ylp]

Formerly an Arlington food truck, this is now the best Mexican place and tacqueria in Northern Virginia, excellent all around. The tacos are consistent in quality, my favorite are the carnitas. The huaraches are better than anywhere else around I know. Weekends they serve pozole. If you like spicy, get the green peppers snack filled with cheese. I am delighted to now have this place in my repertoire, we haven’t had anything nearly this good in NoVa. Very casual, a comfortable place to sit down and eat, but not quite a restaurant either.

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Esaan Cuisine

Esaan Cuisine, web site, 1307 Old Chain Bridge Rd, McLean, VA, 703-288-3901 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [TripAdvisor | Don Rockwell | Ylp | McLean Connxn]

Another phenomenal northern Virginia restaurant, this one is food from Northeastern Thailand. I would describe this place as offering vivid flavors and full authenticity. You should get the vermicelli with fried mackerel (one of the best dishes around, period), the Kow Soi soup with noodles, and the fried chicken salad, for one of the best meals around, certainly tops in McLean. I tried a few other dishes and liked those too. One note: the prices are not super-cheap. They are entirely reasonable for the location and quality, but not the kind of steal that you might get from other places in this guide.

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ABC Canteen

ABC Canteen, web site, 9528 Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA, 703-865-0377 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Fairfax Times | TripAdvisor | FCNP | Ylp]

The best tacqueria near my home, note it also serves fish and chips (OK), and subs (have not tried them). The carnitas are my favorite, then the barbacoa, the sauces bar is authentic as well. Do note it doesn’t feel like a tacqueria, rather like a converted Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips, which now serves tacos. That is because it is, extra points for that. Oh, and do not forget the tamales, definitely recommended.

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Posted in Fairfax, Mexican, Virginia | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Skopje notes


The earthquake of 1963 is mentioned fairly often; it destroyed about 80 percent of the city.

Mother Teresa was born in Skopje, and there is a museum in her honor. A good day trip from Skopje is the St. Jovan Bigorski monastery, some of the finest woodcarving I have seen. It is striking to view the church in conjunction with the Saudi-financed mosque across the valley, thereby inducing one to ponder the use of stones to capture space in the game of Go.

I am told there are Macedonian enclaves in Totowa, Clifton, and Garfield, New Jersey.

The food is phenomenal, in addition to the roast peppers there are breads, baked pies, meats stewed with vegetables, white beans, stuffed peppers, trout, and Balkan cheeses, all with that farm to table touch. Further to the south I recommend the garlic spread.

Originally posted on Marginal Revolution – click to see comments and suggestions.

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Little Viet Garden

Little Viet Garden, web site, 6783 Wilson Blvd., Falls Church, VA, 703-532-1069 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [WaPo | TripAdvisor | Arl Mag | Ylp]

An offshoot of the quite good, Viet Garden, this place feels a little fresher. The baby clams, the vermicelli, the broken rice, and the caramel fish are all well above average. I don’t think you’ll find any startling revelations here, but if you are looking for a good all-purpose, go-to Vietnamese restaurant, and with reasonable crowds, this is surely one of the main contenders.

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Posted in Eden Center, Falls Church/Seven Corners, Vietnamese, Virginia | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is there a restaurant bubble?

Mostly not, here is a good article by Maura Judkis. Here is part of the chat with me:

What’s happening is something that some restaurateurs may not want to hear: Competition in an already-tough business is getting even tougher. Cowen has an analogy: “Say you went to Hollywood and you asked, ‘Is there an actors-and-actresses bubble?’” he said. True, there is an overabundance of aspiring stars who move to Los Angeles with dreams of making it big. They spend money, time and effort investing in their future. But for most of them, it will never pay off. Drama-school graduates know the risks, and still, they keep heading west, because they believe that they are different. With some hard work, they’ll be the ones to make it big. The overabundance of young ingenues will continue in perpetuity.

“You have too many people trying, but that’s going to persist more or less forever precisely because the reward is high,” said Cowen. “The world of fancier restaurants” — and casual restaurants, too — “has become more of a winner-take-all world.”

And how is this for a blasé response?:

There may be plenty of openings, but “the lower echelons of the business, they’re tapped out. You can’t find people [staff],” said Paul Guzzardo, a restaurant consultant and partner in several restaurants, including Leopold’s Kafe . He thinks that indicates a bubble, but Cowen disagrees.

“It has not been a speculative fervor,” Cowen said. “The laws changed, prices went up, some places had to adjust.”

The article is substantive throughout.

Originally posted on Marginal Revolution – click to see comments and suggestions.

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Posted in Economics of Dining | Leave a comment

Shenyang bleg

Not too long from now, I’ll be in Shenyang, formerly known as Mukden, and largest city of Liaoning province. It is also the largest city in China’s Northeast. What should I do there, and what/where should I eat? What else do I need to know? I believe Lang Lang is from this city, and the famous nine-hour documentary Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks is set in Shenyang. Note that “Due to the popularity enjoyed by many Shenyang-based comedians, the city is nationally recognized as a stronghold of Chinese comedy.”

I can hardly believe my good fortune at being able to visit Shenyang.

I thank you in advance for your assistance.

Originally posted on Marginal Revolution – click to see comments and suggestions.

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