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wombat's Profile

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Zoofari?

I have been many times and I think it's a blast. A zillion restaurants handing out tiny portions of many different things, how can that not be fun? If you don't like one thing you can have the next thing. There are always certain trendy dishes that get repeated too much but in general there's a huge variety.

However, it's not that great to combine with a trip to the actual zoo. They close the zoo early and clear everyone out and then you have to come back later. Also, it's kind of crazy expensive, even when I have never paid full price (have always had member, volunteer or employee discount). But we count it as a birthday or anniversary and hey, we could never throw such a huge party ourselves, right?

Apr 13, 2012
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Lobster Rolls

Shhh, don't tell anyone!

Aug 19, 2011
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Where can I get an Eggcream in DC?

Just outside DC, Parkway Deli on Grubb Rd off 410 in Silver Spring.

I'd love to meet the genius who convinced the world it needed an egg cream kit.

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Parkway Deli & Restaurant
8317 Grubb Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20910

Aug 19, 2011
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Searching for favorites from defunct Indian restaurants

Oh and also - the yellow sauce was made with yogurt.

Mar 27, 2010
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Searching for favorites from defunct Indian restaurants

No, Udupi Palace is still there, isn't it?

The name was one word. Two or three syllables. The letter 'a' and possibly 's' were in it... it's driving me nuts.

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Udupi Palace - Closed
1329 University Blvd E, Takoma Park, MD 20912

Mar 27, 2010
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Searching for favorites from defunct Indian restaurants

I recently went running to Masala Art in Tenleytown because I read that they had two dishes that I hadn't had in years, that used to be my favorites at two different long-gone Indian places. Of course, they weren't exactly the same, and you'd think the disappointment would teach me a lesson.

But no! It just made me think that maybe I wasn't looking hard enough - like, I had never even asked on Chowhound!

One dish is spinach with corn. Kind of like palak paneer but with corn instead of cheese, and less creamy than palak paneer usually is. We used to have at a place on University Blvd that I can't remember the name of - it was just after Riggs Rd heading towards the university. (If anyone can remember the name of this place, that alone will be worth having made this post - it's driving me nuts.)

The other is fritters/dumplings in a yellow curry sauce. We ate it constantly at Siddartha, which was a hole in the wall vegetarian place in Silver Spring. They basically put pakoras in this yellow tart sauce. They also used the same sauce for cauliflower.

If anyone knows other places that have these dishes, I will go running to those too. I have frequented a lot of Indian restaurants in various cities and somehow have not encountered them except at Masala Art and the two late lamented establishments.

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Masala Art
4441 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, MD 20016

Mar 27, 2010
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Goldberg's Bagels coming to Silver Spring?

Just stopped by last night and still "opening soon."

Feb 21, 2010
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Announcement: New Board Breakdown for Chowhound

And I'm right on the DC border in Maryland, and can't remember the last time I went to Baltimore even for a special day out. I was very surprised to see that so many changes were being made and this board wasn't getting a split.

Jan 24, 2010
wombat in Site Talk

Dangerously Delicious Pies now in DC

They used to serve them at Austin Grill in Silver Spring for a while. I was underwhelmed.

Sep 16, 2009
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Cookie Cake from Metro-Accessible Bakery?

Don't know anything about this place except having walked past it. It's not too far from metro in Bethesda.
http://www.bundlesofcookies.com/

Aug 02, 2009
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Wagamama

OK, now I'm kind of curious about this place - the absolute worst ramen on the planet sounds like an experience that might be worth having, ONCE.

Jul 26, 2009
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Great Chinese food in Bethesda or D.C. area?

I'd think twice about bringing a vegetarian to A&J's. I can't find their menu on line but while I know they have a few vegetable dumplings, I think it might be a frustrating experience.

Jul 05, 2009
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Ren's Ramen, Bethesda

It is a tiny place but was not crowded on a Saturday lunch - maybe not discovered yet, so you should run right out and try it like I did!

I thought the broth of the miso ramen was excellent. The shio was not what I am used to - a smoky pork taste almost like bacon. The pork seems like it's oven roasted, which I also found disappointing. There is a sign on the wall that you can get stewed fatty pork for an extra charge.

The main problem is that to get exactly what I want - which would be to add corn, more bamboo shoots, and probably that fatty pork- you'd be talking like 15 dollars for a bowl of soup. Cheaper than a trip out of town, but not an everyday possibility.

So actually my verdict is that this place is just what I hoped - it's good enough that I'd definitely eat there again on my occassional visits to Daruma, but not so perfect that I am going to have a constant inconvenient craving and always be moaning that I don't live closer.

Jun 20, 2009
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Pizza in Silver Spring

There is a new brick oven pizza place called Roscoe's in old town Takoma Park.

There's also another pizza place aside from Flippin' Pizza on the way in Silver Spring, I heard from a local blogger who keeps track of such things. But after that Alberto's sign was up for two years and then never came to pass, I'll believe both of them when I see them. But for what it's worth here's the post on both places:
http://silverspringpenguin.com/2009/05/13/the-watercooler-5/
http://silverspringpenguin.com/2009/0...

Jun 15, 2009
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

General Store in Silver Spring - Report

"They could probably do everyone a favor by posting the menu of the day where the customers can see it when they walk in. If they run out of something, they could just cross it off".

Um, yeah. Isn't that kind of basic? I just don't get the attitude of this place. I live pretty nearby, and have been in a couple of times. I don't mind counter service, but to me, "not welcoming" is exactly what I call a place where you have to work to figure out what to do or what there is to order. And I see from one post on the MySpace page that not only is Sunday dinner different, but they won't do takeout. Really great way to convince people that the Sunday dinner idea is a good one - make it hard for them to get it. "Sunday dinner Nazi" might be funny on TV but it's not what most people are looking for in a restaurant in real life.

But I still haven't given up - so, has anyone been to Sunday brunch? Are there any secret rules about it that I should know before I go?

Jun 15, 2009
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Louisana Cooking

Whole Foods carries Cafe du Monde coffee.

Apr 12, 2009
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Gillian Clark's The General Store

I went on Sunday late afternoon and had the fried chicken with collards and cornbread and split pea soup. I liked the idea of the place, and have been waiting years for something to open up there, and had heard so much about her original restaurant and ... it was kind of disappointing. It was OK but nothing to write home about. I live pretty close so I will definitely go back and try the other items on the menu, but that's more based on the reputation and on stubbornly wanting it to be good, than on my actual experience so far.

Jan 29, 2009
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Across the Street Cafe in Silver Spring

There's some discussion on this local blog:

http://silverspringpenguin.com/2008/0...

As I reported there, I was quite unimpressed, and I have seen no reason to go back. They are trying to be everything to everyone and therefore doing none of it really well. If you have to go I'd stick to simpler things like sandwiches. Other people commenting on the blog thought it was wonderful to an extent I found mysterious.

I'd love to hear some more reports here.

Dec 18, 2008
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Cashew Fruit Juice - Where in the area?

just saw it at Rodman's on Wisconsin.

Dec 01, 2008
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

French Nougat

I am pretty sure I saw nougat at Le pain quotidien in Bethesda a few weeks ago.

I also got some fancy nougat that may have been French at Whole Foods once. I haven't seen it lately but perhaps it is worth looking there around Christmastime.

Oct 19, 2008
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

The 25 Dollar Dinner Challenge

Mandalay in Silver Spring. If you get two vegetarian entrees you can squeeze in an appetizer. Otherwise you could get two pork or chicken entrees. Gotta drink water, though.

Ethiopian is a good suggestion... lots of places where one combo platter can feed two. And I'm sure you can get two entrees and an appetizer for that at the Thai places around here but I don't know which count as Chowhound-worthy.

Aug 15, 2008
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Five best restaurants in suburban MD?

Can you say more about Itoyanagi? Is it worth a trip from waaaay downcounty? I guess what really matters to me is whether they have dishes that I can't get elsewhere, and last I looked they didn't have a website so there's no menu on line. There's another thread that says it's 'very authentic' but then the posts talk about sushi and teriyaki and tempura, and I don't need to drive the better part of an hour for that, you know?

Aug 15, 2008
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Why are there so few good bakeries

You know, 'not recognize' and 'not appreciate' might not be the right way to put it. A lot of people actually DISLIKE what the people in this thread would consider real bread. I love the bread from Bonaparte bakery at Savage Mill. One time I was eating in their cafe and watched a couple who'd ordered sandwiches - who'd obviously had no idea what they were going to get. They were clearly appalled. I heard them complain about how hard the bread was to chew. They really seem to have never seen anything like it. They left most of their lunch on their plates.

And really, you have to feel sorry for them. I mean, if you put it in the context of expecting supermarket bread, you can see why it might be a kind of inexplicable and nasty experience. And it's
certainly not that they couldn't tell the difference - they sure could, and they were NOT happy.

This is why the rest of us can't get artisan bread on every streetcorner. We are a specialty market. Not everyone wants what we want. That couple was exposed to what I would call good bread right there and then, but it did not make them want to buy it. You know, for all we know, in the old days, there were people who would have much rather had Wonder Bread, if only it had been invented. So nowadays, maybe not everyone would like 'real' bread no matter how much exposure they had to it.

Aug 14, 2008
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Dinner Recs in Silver Spring

Congrats on the picky eater breakthrough. Maybe she's just a late bloomer!

Aug 10, 2008
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Nicaro in Silver Spring, big disappointment!

We live in the neighborhood and were just there on Friday night.

I missed this thread earlier and looking over it, a lot of this doesn't sound like the same restaurant we were at. Nothing we had seemed like it had come out of a bag - this was definitely food that was all hand-made with serious intent. They even had an appetizer of house-made prosciutto, which was fantastic - not too salty, and melt in your mouth. The room was not loud, and the service was perfect.

The one complaint that does resonate, though... it was really too expensive. We also spent about $125 with tip for two. For that much, I want the meal to be a little closer to the memorable end of the scale, not just good. The prosciutto was fantastic, the chocolate bread pudding was great, the ice cream that came with my dessert was excellent. The squid ink pasta that was part of my entree was excellent too. The rest of it was only good. I agree that it is too pricey for a neighborhood place but not fantastic enough for a destination.

I'm really sorry about this, because I was hoping to like it better. This was our second time there - the last was a few months ago - and maybe I should have taken a clue from the fact that I didn't remember anything specific about that meal.

Aug 10, 2008
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Dinner Recs in Silver Spring

I never noticed that rule - I think it would be reasonable to ask if they make and exception for children, they seem pretty child friendly.

But the main dishes are not huge servings at Mandalay. If three people ordered an app, salad, soup, and two main dishes, that would cover it, and I don't think it would be too much even if one only ate the appetizer.

Quarry house serves burgers and if I recall correctly, grilled cheese. Those seem like the fundamental picky-eater foods to me. Maybe check out the sandwiches at Piratz Tavern on Georgia at the corner of Bonifant.

Aug 09, 2008
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Shaking Duck Butt Burrito?

If they named it that, I would drive all the way out to Glen Burnie.

Aug 05, 2008
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Shaking Duck Butt Burrito?

Oh, come on, you HAVE to try it!

Aug 04, 2008
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Greek place across from Ferdinand's in Wheaton

We just went, on my husband's demand that we have something different that wasn't Asian. I found this an insane request, but, you know, marital harmony and all...

We had had a light lunch, fortunately for review purposes, and ordered an assortment of an excessive number of appetizers. One was the dip platter, and first of all, I am glad they offer a dip platter, because not every Greek place does. The taramosalata was very fishy, which I liked. The tzatziki was very dill-y, which made me realize that there is not enough dill in my life. The eggplant dip didn't hold my attention in comparison to those two.

The downside of the dip platter is that their bread is lousy. Just that crummy kind of American Italian bread that you get in middling Italian restaurants. It occurred to us later that maybe we should have asked if they had pita (I recall some places like Yanni's in Cleveland Park where you can get pita at least if you care enough to pay extra.). On the other hand, they asked if we wanted more bread about a thousand times, and you'd think they should have offered if they had another kind - especially since we were the kind of people who ordered octopus and said when questioned that the taramosalata was our favorite so far. So we obviously wouldn't have been frightened of slightly unusual bread.

I sometimes wonder if places like this and the aforemention Italian places make a deliberate choice to have this kind of bread even though they know it's no good. Because since it's a kind of ethnic food that less adventuresome Americans eat, and those people are actually often appalled by artisan bread (I've seen it happen), they know that they can't please everyone, and they might as well go for the cheaper option instead of a more expensive product that a certain percentage of people will hate.

Well, anyway... We had some zucchini pancakes that reminded me that I used to make a thing like that a long time ago, and that I should make them again now that I see the wonders of a ton on DILL in them. I can't remember the last time a restaurant made me want to go home and cook something, so they get points for this.

We had something described as meatballs in avologemono sauce that came as patties sitting on sauce. This did not impress me and I would rather they had been meatballs. We had asked and were told that they were a combination of beef and lamb. They tasted kind of gamey but not really lamby and didn’t have a lot of flavor otherwise. I’d skip these next time.

We ordered octopus salad – I wish they had a grilled octopus on the menu instead. It was fine, but we had also ordered a regular salad which was good but the total effect was too much vinegar.

My husband insisted on the mussels. They came in a cream sauce with feta. The mussels themselves were good. The cream sauce tasted like a good clam chowder and I was sorry that I didn’t have a spoon. The whole combination didn’t work for me – I was raised in an Italian family, and have an automatic reaction against the combination of seafood and cheese, like some of my nonobservant Jewish friends are turned off by non-Kosher combinations of meat and cheese even if they never kept kosher in their lives. So I can't judge - it just seems wrong before I even start. But your mileage may well vary since the components of the dish were all good.

We ordered baklava for dessert – just one order to share – but the piece the waiter brought was TERRIFYINGLY massive. And I say this as a very serious dessert eater. He can’t have been serious that that was one order. I am assuming that he was being nice because we were spending so much, or something. It was also VERY thick.

The baklava was not bad. It is not as good as my favorite, which is the one they sell at the autumn church festival on 16th street. Which, by the way, freezes perfectly for months. But it was a good baklava if you don’t mind a very tall version with a very thick layer of filling. Not crazily excessively sweet or anything.

We were the first people there when they opened for dinner on a Sunday so the service was perhaps excessively attentive, but I mind that less than the other extreme. And the food arrived very quickly. the presentations are a little fancy. The room is nice. The other patrons were mostly grey-haired. We spent an astonishing amount of money, but you could definitely eat here for less if you ordered a more normal dinner.

In sum, there were some good things and some just OK. I was not overwhelmed, but they are the only game in this part of town for Greek food, so would like to go back try some of the entrees. We had already bought ingredients to cook moussaka at home this week, so it wasn’t a good time to try that. I would order the taramolsalata and tzatziki again instead of the whole platter, and see what some of the main dishes are like.

Aug 03, 2008
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Pizza: let's try for description rather than rage

This is the best Chowhound thread title ever.

Another place that delivers in Silver Spring is Armand's. I think they have thin crust too now, but their normal kind is thick crust. (They claim to be Chicago style, but that will probably bring out the rage, so let's forget it, OK?) They use what seems to me a large quantity of cheese. We always get the spinach and garlic topping, which is not heavy on any vegetable-like matter, but is pretty garlicky. The crust seems like it has a fair amount of fat in it (compared to the plain bread NY style crust I grew up with or would make myself.) If you are in the mood for starch, garlic, and grease - and I mean that in an entirely positive way - it's just the thing.

Z pizza is thin crust. I think it's a California chain. They have what I consider newfangled toppings and various organic options: their website is www.zpizza.com and you can see the menu there.
I didn't know they delivered and so have never had it delivered, which I mention because in my experience it's different if you take a whole pie home or eat a slice in the store. I think their crust needs to be extremely hot and fresh to be tolerable.

I have never tried Manny and Olga's in all the years I have lived here - and now that I think about it, I think it's because Olga just doesn't sound like the name of a person from a pizza-making culture.

Jul 24, 2008
wombat in Washington DC & Baltimore