Las Gemelas

Las Gemelas, web site, 1280 4th St. NE, Washington, DC (located within “La Cosecha” in the heart of the Union Market District) 202-866-0550 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google | Washingtonian | City Paper | WaPo | Ylp]

There are two places here, a restaurant (Cocina Mexicana) and on the other side of the (small) mall is a tacqueria.

The tacqueria is the best Mexican food this region ever has seen. Real blue corn tortillas, everything else authentic, could be mistaken for excellent real Mexican food in Mexico. The morning green chile chorizo tacos are the must-get – one of the best dishes in town – but everything is very good. You could just keep on eating here without end and forget the other places on this list!

The restaurant has a small number of truly excellent dishes, and a bunch of “quite good” dishes, noting the menu is pretty small. The first time I went the lamb Borrego soup was the knockout, the second time it was off the menu but the pork cheeks enchilada with mole was an A+, again one of the best dishes in town. I quite liked the toast with honey, though it hardly seemed Mexican (not a complaint, just a warning). If you go to the restaurant, make sure you figure out what you really should be getting. Better yet, sample from both the restaurant and the tacqueria. In addition, the visuals and décor are very nice in both, excellent places to sit and take in the crowd and surroundings.

Overall, this is a major advance for this region’s Mexican dining, and quite simply a significant contender overall. And the prices are entirely reasonable.

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Posted in Current Favorites, DC, Mexican, The Best, Union Market / Gallaudet University | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aditi

Aditi (Aditi Streetside Indian), web site, the new version, same location at 405 Maple Avenue East, Vienna, VA, 703-938-0100 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google | TripAdvisor | Ylp]

Aditi has had many incarnations, and many at this same location, and they all have been good. Not surprisingly the buffet is removed. The restaurant is much smaller and feels more mom and pop. There are new seafood dishes from Cochin and Kerala, and they are the highlight of the menu. So it is still quite good, and reasonably priced, and it is worth a revisit. The Malabar fish masala is one good place to start.

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Rumi’s Kitchen

Rumi’s Kitchen, web site, 640 L St NW, Washington, DC, 202-900-9106 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google | Washingtonian | WaPo | Michelin | Ylp]

Oh what a suburban snob I am! I almost didn’t go to this place, figuring it couldn’t be better than my NoVa favorites. And yet it is. Higher marks for authenticity, better quality ingredients, and a super-nice space to dine in. They have all the classic Persian dishes. At 2x the price mind you, but anyone who cares about Persian food should make a beeline to this place as soon as possible.

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Posted in Convention Center / Shaw, DC, Persian | Tagged , | Leave a comment

“You have to order all at once”

Boia De, web site, 5205 NE 2nd Ave Miami, FL 33137 [Trip Advisor | 4 CBS | Ylp]

Lung Yai Thai Tapas, web site 1, web site 2, 1731 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33135 [Trip Advisor | Ylp | Zagat]

I’ve now been to two different Miami restaurants that have told me the same thing. They will take your food order only once, and you cannot decide later that you would like additional items, though you can ask for more water (and presumably other drinks?).

Perhaps this is part of a desire to economize on labor costs, so you do not need more staff to run around the room and ask diners if “they are OK”? Is it so bad to be forced to know what you want in the first place? And might it induce risk-averse customers to over-order a bit, thereby boosting restaurant profits? Should your enjoyment of the meal really depend so much on the third derivative of the utility function?

Do any of you know of other instances of this policy, or data on its effectiveness?

Is the policy actually time consistent, namely what if you insisted you wished to spend another $100 on the food there? Would they tell you no and bring you the check?

Both places, Boia De and Lung Yai Thai Tapas, were excellent, get the Kow Soi at the latter and then walk up the street to the anti-communist memorials on 14th St. for one of Miami’s most interesting and unusual cultural highlights.

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

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Blend 111

Blend 111, web site, 111 Church St., Suite 101, Vienna, VA, 571-363-3613 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google | Washingtonian | TripAdvisor | WaPo | Ylp]

Excellent, nice, and with quite a new premise. The menu is a blend of Colombian, Andean, a bit of Spanish, and a few broadly North American dishes, such as hamburger. Anything connected to an arepa here is quite good. Corn products are good. Lots of avocado, a smoked sweet potato soup, that sort of thing. A genuinely nice place to sit, very good service, and a first-rate outdoors set up as well. Not a cheap place or a mom and pop, but for what you get I would say the pricing is reasonable but not bargain. If you are looking for a change of place and a new restaurant to discover, this fits the bill.

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Saffron House of Kabob

Saffron House of Kabob, web site, 20921 Davenport Dr., Sterling, VA, 703-444-2002 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google | TripAdvisor | Ylp]

One of the very best pure kabob places around. It is Persian, so you get butter on the rice and they have lamb shank on the weekends and no Afghan side dishes. There are enough very good kabob places around that I am not sure you need to make a special trip here, but if you live nearby, you won’t be needing to make special trips to anywhere else.

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Duangrat’s Oriental Food Mart

Duangrat’s Oriental Food Mart, 5888 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041, 703-578-0622 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google | Ylp]

Previous review

3. Lara Lee, Coconut and Sambal: Recipes from my Indonesian Kitchen. Yes, I have been learning how to cook Indonesian food, a natural extension of my previous interest in cuisines from India, Malaysia, and Singapore. This is an excellent book for several reasons, and a better book yet for a pandemic. First, you can fold it open easily on the kitchen counter. Second, the pages can take some wear and tear. Third, the key ingredients are readily storable. Galangal, turmeric, and narrow red chiles all freeze very well. Refrigerated lemon grass stays good for at least a few weeks. Shallots and garlic and coconut milk and cream are easy enough to buy and store. This is actually the #1 issue for a cookbook, if like me you cannot so often plan your cooking in advance. The Thai grocery in Falls Church has all the “marginal’ ingredients as well. On top of everything, the resulting food product is yummy!

What I’ve been reading

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

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Yu Noodles, Fairfax

Yu Noodles, Fairfax, web site, 11217-C Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA, 703-877-0818, in the same strip mall as Nanjing Bistro. (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google | NoVA Mag | Ylp]

One of the best places around, and yes it opened during the pandemic. It seems to be doing quite well. Sichuan yes, but with a twist, these are mostly dishes from Chongqing rather than Chengdu. Everything here will be broadly familiar to you in terms of soups, dumplings, noodles, ma la, and the like but always with twists. By now I’ve had most of the menu here. It is consistently excellent, my main recommendations are simply to go with the spicy dishes, everything is worthwhile. The specials on the blackboard, which vary, are usually worth trying. Most of the food (soups aside) holds up very well for take-out. One of the gems of this year.

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Posted in Chinese, Current Favorites, Fairfax, The Best, Virginia | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tabla

Tabla, web site, 3227 Georgia Ave. NW, Washington, DC, a bit north of Howard, 202-291-3227, opens at 10 a.m. by the way. (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google | Washingtonian | City Paper | Ylp]

Georgian, a more casual offshoot of Supra. First of all, it is one of the best outdoor dining set-ups in town, as even part of the “indoors” is quite well aerated, while the outdoor section has some real protection again the cold. And the food is great! Get khatchapuri here, most of all the ones with lots of cheese, especially the one with egg on top and then the other one with extra cheese. Yes, the other dishes are fine, blah blah blah, but get the khatchapuri, with the other orders you are merely paying lip service to culinary diversity.

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Hedzole, food stand

Hedzole, food stand, web site, at Angelika Mosaic for the Farmer’s Market on Sundays, 2910 District Ave., Fairfax, VA 22031 (FreshFarm link). @hedzole, they hope to open a restaurant when things are more normal.

Ghanian food, but no fufu. Very good jollof rice and make sure to get it with cabbage and egusi. Right now the best Ghanian food option available to me, and there are many places to sit nearby. Make sure you purchase your intended drink in advance. Recommended, and with a friendly vibe.

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Posted in Food Stands, Ghanaian, Merrifield / Mosaic, Virginia | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment