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El Paso Mexican Restaurant [Rte 1 Alexandria]

District Taco (the one in Arlington) is getting better and better. You have to ask for a corn tortilla for the tacos. The carnitas, al pastor, and the barbacoa are all surprisingly good, and adding grilled peppers and onions (free) bring them all up a notch. Teh salsa, cilantro, lime, and chopped onions, etc on the slalsa bar are very good.

about 10 hours ago
Steve in Washington DC & Baltimore

Shanghai Trip Report

So rarely do the Chow Gods put two great places together in such a convenient way as JJTB and Yang's Fry Dumplings.

about 24 hours ago
Steve in China & Southeast Asia

Pan Fried Steamed Pork Belly at Chang's - Report

Maybe we were in the restaurant at the same time? I was there last night too, though I did not take a hard look around to see if I knew anyone.

His dishes are not meant for one person, you're right. Such is the dilemma of most Chinese cooking.

about 24 hours ago
Steve in Washington DC & Baltimore

Shopping: Hidden Gems to find Unique Items

My latest obsession is red rice, and I can buy the exact quantity I need from the bulk bin at Mom's Organic Market. Maybe other places as well....? Cooks like regular rice, but uses twice as much water. Great tossed with a combination of raw ingredients, (cherry tomatoes, radish slices, onion in lime juice, torn basil, olive oil) along with a few charred items like string beans, cashews, garlic cloves.... really whatever you want. No recipe, just whatever you have on hand.

Shopping: Hidden Gems to find Unique Items

It is simply Duangrat Market or maybe Rabeing Market, I forget which. Shares the same kitchen as Duangrat, but they have a Thai-only menu for carryout and offer dishes not on the regular menu.

Figs Mediterranean Cafe, Moroccan in Palisades - Report

Adding to my list of things to order, the cousocus salad, which is made with enormous pearls of couscous and plenty of fresh vegetables.

But I think the tabbouleh is over-marinated in lemon.

Pan Fried Steamed Pork Belly at Chang's - Report

Avoid the kung pao. I've had it many times before when he was cooking at China Star. There, it was an assertive dry-fried version with a lot of scallions, chilis, and sichuan peppercorns. Here it is with a gloppy sauce and the peanuts are sprinkled on top, raw. Very unsatisfying.

Restaurants - DC Redline

My favorite pizza in DC right now is Distict of Pi. Go for the Berkeley deep dish. Excellent salads too. You can walk there from the Gallery Place metro.

Or get all your favorites at Range, huge menu, maybe intimidating for some:

http://www.voltrange.com/menus/

21st birthday weekend (with parents)

Celebrated chef Jose Andres has developed quite the empire of excellent restuarants that feature mostly small plates. Jaleo (Spanish tapas) is his flagship restaurant, but also Zaytinya (Panhellenic), Oyamel (true Mexican) and China Chicano (Chifa cuisine, form the Chiense in Peru) all have their place in serving high qulaity food. If any of these interest you, I can make specific menu recommendations.

21st birthday weekend (with parents)

Farmers Fishers Bakers (though I like your Biblical take on the name) is not Chow worthy. Basically, this is our term for 'not worth discussing.'

If you are not limited to Georgetown (which is generally bleak for food) then the world of DC opens up. How many are you for that meal?

Paris, Change of Pace Meals

Also for a change of pace, I recommend the antillais restaurant inside the Marché des Enfants Rouges, especially for the crabe farci and crabe beignet.

The oldest covered market in Paris, started in the 1600s, I am told.

Mar 24, 2015
Steve in France

China Chilcano in DC- Report

There is a lot of counter seating at China Chilcano, which some restaurants do not reserve. I do not know what their policy is. This is not bar seating on stools, but regular chair height. If you get their early for dinner (before 6pm) it may be easy to walk in, but better to call them first.

Pan Fried Steamed Pork Belly at Chang's - Report

Please note this dish, because I think it's a real standout, and something you should seek: #46 Pan Fried Steamed Pork Belly. Since this is becoming a super popular restaurant where reservations are increasingly necessary, you want to make sure you strike gold, and this is it.

There is at least one other pork belly dish on the menu but this is different. For this dish the pork belly is marinated, steamed, and then fried. It is not the thinly sliced pork that you find quite commonly in other places and perhaps elsewhere on this menu. It's served thick, meaty, and exceptionally tender with intricate flavoring from the marinade.

The caution I have here is not to order a bunch of ma la or deep fried dishes, but to make sure you get as much balance as possible.

Trip report: A. Noste, Les Déserteurs, Bistrot des Capucines, Le Lulli, Mangetout, La Vache et le Cuisiner, Le Pramil, Stéphane Martin

Ah, I just realized that I ate at Cafe Capucines, a 6 minute walk from each other...... sorry.

Mar 22, 2015
Steve in France

Sri Lankan food in DC or Maryland

Thanks for pointing th is out. Has only been open since September, and some of it sounds promising.

Restaurant Web-Site Fails...

I suppose my point is that there are cultural differences so that some places are less likely to rely on the Internet.

Mar 22, 2015
Steve in Not About Food

Restaurant Web-Site Fails...

In France it is common for restaurants/boulangeries/etc to take a multi-week vac. To find out when that is, you usually have to do some detective work. If they have a website; it is rarely posted, and certainly not much in advance. Despite all my extensive website research, I still wound up at Bac à Glaces in August, faced with a shuttered store.

Yes; some places make it difficult on their customers for no apparant reason.

Mar 22, 2015
Steve in Not About Food

Restaurant Web-Site Fails...

I am thinking mini-series.

"Next week, on Serial...."

Mar 22, 2015
Steve in Not About Food
1

Trip report: A. Noste, Les Déserteurs, Bistrot des Capucines, Le Lulli, Mangetout, La Vache et le Cuisiner, Le Pramil, Stéphane Martin

We had four items here, two from a lunch special menu and two from thw printed carte. The special items were so, so much better than the carte.

Mar 22, 2015
Steve in France

Tasting menus and other no-choice restaurants: why the praise?

There is a false assumpition that a tasting menu represents "quality" or the best a chef can do.

Mar 21, 2015
Steve in General Topics

Restaurant Web-Site Fails...

I pointed to examples in which restaurants either do not have a websites nor update it frequently enought to account for emergency closings. The theme of these examples is mostly cultural. Not everyone shares the same attitude, I guess.

In many countries, not all restaurants have websites. And of all those Chinese places in the San Gabriel Valley or in Flushing, how many do you think have websites?

And guess what, in Paris there are ice cream parlors that close down for a few weeks vacation... in the summer! Not every decision in is made for 'better business.'

Mar 21, 2015
Steve in Not About Food

Restaurant Web-Site Fails...

"I manage three small retail businesses."

Are any of your retail businessses restaurants?

Cheesecake Factory, for example, is not going to close because somebody gets sick, is in a serious accident, or if a toilet is broken, but I can imagine some restaurants needing to close. One broken toilet will do it.

I also find it interesting to note that a lot of small mom n' pop places do not have websites.

In some countries, France for example, there are a lot of restaurants with no websites.

Mar 21, 2015
Steve in Not About Food

A Question for CHs Knowledgeable About Both Chinese and French Cooking

It's not a question of high end or not, and I take exception to Melanie Wong's "you need to go to a better class of Chinese restaurants," because that could be misleading. It has nothing to do with class, in any kind of-socio-economic sense.

Many Chinese restaurants I go to (I avoid Chinese-American) have a range of soups. The fat can be highly prized in some, and is not an indication of class other than 'good' or 'not good.'

Mar 21, 2015
Steve in General Topics

Little Serow in DC – Report

Fermented fish (som pa) is now on the menu at Thip Khao. This has been my favorite 'secret' dish at Bangkok Golden that did not appear on any menu.

DuPont Circle or surrounding area on a Friday night

At Central, go for the fried chicken, tuna burger, macaroni and cheese. Food here is super rich, so make sure you don't over-order.

What type of cuisine do you NOT like?

The most important thing to know is that the food should come out hot. I know this seems obvious, but does a restaurant 'hold' their tandoori offernings as a matter of efficiency? Tandoori food should be made to order and come out smoking hot and sizzling.

Mar 19, 2015
Steve in General Topics

Private room in Washington, DC restaurants near the convention centre

Corduroy has private rooms according to their website.

Does anyone else suffer "fly-away posts" when posting on Chowhound?

Happens on every intenet site I am aware of, not just Chowhound. There's a point at which writing and saving on another format becomes essential.

Mar 16, 2015
Steve in Site Talk

Peter Chang to come to Arlington?

Its been too long ago to compare... but it was stellar, no doubt.

One Week in D.C. - Seeking comments, suggestions on Final Draft

What is "Saturday: Lunch at Estonia?"