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Bahn Mi in Sterling!

Pho Rever is the latest Vietnamese restaurant to inhabit the Sterling Clock Tower plaza on Route 7 just West of Dranesville Road. We have sampled relatively little of their menu so I'm not ready to give a full review, but they make a very credible bahn mi to go. So far we have had lemongrass chicken and lemongrass pork. This is certainly not a destination restaurant, but having bahn mi out here in the hinterlands is awfully nice.

Appeal of larger sized Maryland crab, considering cost?

2 people in my family of 3 are relatively slow pickers. We will happily pay for jumbos because it cuts down on the amount of work. Last year on Labor Day, we split a dozen jumbos between 4 adults -- which we all agreed was satisfyingly plenty.

Reston non-chain chow?

In addition to Angeethi, Paradise Indian on Elden Street has a very extensive menu, including some Indian-Chinese dishes and some humungous dosa options. I think Angeethi is higher quality overall and a nicer interior, but the kitchen can be slow at dinner time.

best/cheapest olives

Wegmans and Whole Foods both have olive bars. But for value, our middle eastern markets usually beat both of them. Mediterranean Bakery on Pickett St. in Alexandria's west end has a very good selection. Theirs are in jars and the staff will need to scoop them for you.

Gastronomical adventure in DC?!?

Steve has good points, but I'm going to focus on "inexpensive." For inexpensive, fabulous, and not too far from public transit, you are not going to do much better than Eden Center. There you will find a mindblowingly huge number of Vietnamese restaurants, cafes, and specialty shops. Depending upon appetite and size of your group, you could graze around the Eden Center. I'd suggest cha gio at Huong Viet (and the lotus rootlet salad if you have multiple people, just be aware that the little white "hair" is from the lotus, not a sanitation issue), the shrimp noodle soup at Nha Trang, and bubble drinks and fried tofu and Than Son Tofu.

If you have a car, you may also want to adventure into Annandale for Korean food -- you will find many recommendations here -- or small plates of Northern Chinese cuisine at A&J and some darned good ramen or, if the elderly gentleman is at the sushi bar, the chirashi at Tanpopo Ramen in the same small plaza on Markham Street in Annandale.

If you are interested in new varieties of heat and have a car, Bangkok Golden (Lao) and Hong Kong Palace (Szechuan despite the name) are in the same corner near the Eden Center in 7 Corners, Falls Church, VA. There are numerous rave reviews of each here.

Looking for lamb in restaurants

Cumin Lamb at Hong Kong Palace. I think you're probably SOL on that good glass of red wine, though.

nonsmoothie nonmilk bubble tea in northern VA?

A&J in Annandale has a limited number of flavors, mostly fruit, without milk. Their bubbles are of much better than average quality, being neither oversoft nor too tough. I think they do not use powders.

In addition, there is a new bubble tea shop in the Eden Center with a huge variety of flavors. It is in the corner near the fountain. They had quite a few tea variations.

Affordable Birthday Cake

Matt, since you are not crazy about sweet cakes, you might like the Korean bakeries. Shilla makes some very attractive cakes and they tend to be a good bit less sweet than American cakes. They also have individual portion sizes for many of their cakes so you can try something to see if it it meets your preferences.

Dinning Options near Dulles/Herndon, VA?

A few nearby suggestions:
Angeethi in Herndon is good Indian food and they have a private room about the size you want.

Mikaku is the best Japanese restaurant in the Herndon area and also has a private room for a group your size.

Neither of these will break the bank.

The restaurants in Reston Town Center will be LOUD.

A bit further away in Centreville you can ask for a private room at Soo Won Galbi, a Korean place whose waitstaff have always been welcoming to my family. Their galbi (grilled short rib) is the best we've had in the DC area. We've never had a dish that we thought was a "miss." They don't turn the spicing down for non-Koreans, but my 70-something parents and in-laws have generally not had an issue with spicing levels.

Battle of the Potstickers

While they are not the traditional shape, the pan-fried pork dumplings at A&G (Annandale and Rockville) are excellent. Ask for the black vinegar.

Saturday dinner in Leesburg

Angeethi has an outpost on Rt. 7 just East of Leesburg. I have not eaten at that location, but their Herndon location offers an extensive menu of Indian dishes with plenty of vegetarian options. 5 Vegetarian apps, 13 entrees, plus all the breads, so your guest will not lack choices.

http://www.angeethiva.com/leesburg/

Just discovered whole belly fried clams

Passionfish in Reston has them and tosses some fried dill slices into the mix.

Last Minute Trip

Zaytina is a good choice for food-friendly kids near the Spy Museum. With all those small plates, you can get a selection and your 9 year-old can try everything and perhaps get their own plate of the one he/she really loves. The same goes for Jaleo.

Our restaurants are all kid-friendly if you dine early. My daughter loved Corduroy and the front room at Palena.

DC Metro source for frozen Har Gow/Har Gau/Hacao (Shrimp Dumplings)?

The grocery store in Eden Center has a large selection of frozen dim sum in trays that separate each piece individually. I can't swear that they have har gow, but it seems likely.

Jersey chowhounds coming to Portland looking for Recs

We are also staying at the Mark Spencer this week and These have been very helpful. Last night we had pasta and the beautifully fried frito misto at Grassa. I just came back from Tasty & Alder. I hate dining outside and I have trouble eating if I am overheated. But we ended up at an outside table and it was worth every bite. The grilled octopus was tender, and the lemon zest paired perfectly with it. We had the pork skirt steak and were blown away. Hard to decide which of those two dishes we liked the best. We could easily go back and eat that same meal again tomorrow night.

Aug 06, 2013
PollyG in Metro Portland

Jersey chowhounds coming to Portland looking for Recs

How funny, we will also be at the Mark Spencer, Aug 5-8. The proximity to Powell's Books was the clincher for us.

Aug 02, 2013
PollyG in Metro Portland

Woo Lae Oak

Their kalbi is served in cubes rather than slices, but is pretty good. I recall having an exceptional jap chae, with the noodles really picking up the broth flavors. I get taken to a banquet-style meal (limited menu selection, private room) there at least once a year through my tae kwon do connections. If you are looking for something lighter, they have Hwe Dut Bap, which is sashimi over rice and lettuce with a hot sauce on the side to season to taste.

On the whole, I find Woo Lae Oak a little too much like Korean Lite; everything is good but strong flavors are often toned down. That being said, one of my former Korean clients and I must have come close to a world record for Most Garlic Consumed at a Business Meal. If the kalbi is being grilled at the table, they provide a plate with raw garlic and sliced peppers that you can add to the mix; my client got the server to bring several extra helpings of garlic.

best eggroll?

Four Sisters moved out of Eden Center years ago--they are now in Merrifield at the Mosaic center. The cha gio at Huong Viet in Eden Center are our gold standard.

Recap MoKoMandy ChowMeet 6/11/13. Well worth the visit. Definitely worth a repeat.

We managed to miss you that evening, though in retrospect, we might have seen you all sitting down and going over the menu together.
For dishes you did not have:
As small dishes:
We had the gumbo, which was generous with the shrimp. My chowpup was particularly taken with the rice in that.

We also enjoyed the very thick jambalaya, was studded with thin sausage slices.

The ssam came as lettuce cups, full of purple rice and topped with the meat of your choice. I found them more awkward to eat than roll-your-own ssam, and I would have preferred the assortment of wrapping greens/herbs that are the traditional accompaniment for ssam. But the combo was tasty.

The chowpup ordered the softshell sandwich. They did a nice job of not overbreading the very large crab.

The beer list is a full page, thoughtfully arranged from lighter to heavier flavors.

Caution to all: We live nearby and reservations can be necessary, even on a weekday evening. We've been turned away at the door a couple of times prior to 7 pm!

Report - Mokomandy

Make a reservation on weekends. The place is hopping. If you are not able to get a seat, the Japanese place a few doors down is not bad.

We ate at MM a few months ago and enjoyed it, but it was one of those nights where everything was so crazy that we didn't keep a lot of notes about the food. IIRC, they have a decent beer list, too.

Bar Mitzvah on a Budget in Baltimore?

Oh, one other huge tip from our own celebration this last December--Trader Joes takes returns of your wine. Our guests drank only 25% of what our caterer predicted. My local Trader Joes in Reston could not have been nicer about the massive return.

If you are actually looking to spring for a DJ, if by any chance Baltimore based DJ Mike Pachino (http://www.djmikeonthemic.com/) is available, he was really exceptional. He was super sensitive to the needs of our two wallflower bat mitzvah girls and they just adored him. I doubt he still has the date open, but you never know. Unlike most of the DJ outfits out there, Mike is not looking to be the center of attention and is not interested in throwing a rave for himself. He is really focused on your kid and YOUR celebration.

Bar Mitzvah on a Budget in Baltimore?

Does your temple/synagogue not have a room available?

How about the local VFW, elks, etc?

Also, while it is a long shot, my friends had a lovely emergency wedding and reception (Hurricane Irene was bearing down on us and their original venue canceled because it was in a flood zone) at Relay town hall in Halethorpe. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Relay-...

Restaurant help

In each case it is worth calling ahead to be sure the menus on websites are current and that both the CC and salmon are still offered.

Restaurant help

Do you have a price range and a preferred part of the city? There are a lot of great restaurants in DC which can accommodate your companion's boorish food restrictions, and many have their menus online so that she can review in advance rather than having a snit at the table. With your size group you will definitely want/need reservations. Do the rest of you have preferences, such as not-a-steakhouse?

Best Vietnamese in DC/Nova/Mogo?

Eden Center in Falls Church is an entire conclave of Vietnamese restaurants, cafes, and businesses. You would be hard-pressed to find anything watered-down for non-Vietnamese at Eden Center; most of the customers are Vietnamese.

We're also Nha Trang fans, but the always-busy Huong Viet has an extensive menu and delivers excellent food, year after year. Rice Paper has a more upscale interior but I do not think their food is better than Huong Viet, and we felt very cramped at Rice Paper.

Huong Viet has a very extensive menu. Two stand-outs are their cha gio (best we have had, hands down), and the lotus rootlet salad. Be warned, the lotus rootlets have fine white fiber "hair" that could convince you that there is a serious sanitation issue. Their grilled meats and carmelized fish are also excellent.

Ramen-ya/Udon-ya in NoVA?

There is now Tanpopo Ramen in the same plaza as A&J in Annandale (Markham Street and 236). I've eaten there twice. They have both ramen and sushi. The Berkshire pork slices in the ramen are quite nice. I don't have a lot of basis for comparison, but it was a LOT better than the Sapporo in Manhattan that we visited in August. They offer 3 different broth variants.

They offer some lunch specials, your choice of a small appetizer/side dish with a bowl of ramen. We all opted for the grilled salmon rice ball. The salmon was a shioyaki (salt-grilled) preparation,with a generous chunk in the onigiri.

Indian food?

Any particular geographic area in VA?

In Herndon, both Paradise and Angeethi on Elden Street are excellent. Paradise has an extensive menu including indo-chinese and dosa. Angeethi does a lunchtime buffet including a fresh made-to-order chaat bar with 4 options. Their buffet food is far better than anyone would reasonably expect from a buffet.

Help with Mussels..

The green lipped NZ mussels we get here are all cooked and then frozen, and I agree, they can be pretty tough. If you got them fresh, they might be a very different beast indeed. The key with our Maine/Canadian mussels is to not overcook them.

Dec 18, 2012
PollyG in Australia/New Zealand

TooSso Pakistani in Sterling

We were not crazy about the bright green cream soda, but it was interesting. I liked the almond milk and cardamom drink. We will have to try the faloodah next time--I was tempted by the pictures.

Our biggest challenge will be that the spicing is too much for the chowpup, who doesn't like heat unless she's at Hong Kong Palace.

TooSso Pakistani in Sterling

The one on the outskirts of Regal Plaza, to the left as you enter the whole complex.