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Looking for more interesting grocery stores

Does anyone else find it odd that it's mostly middle eastern shops that have butchers?

I live in Montgomery County, but range all over the BW corridor, with occasional forays into NoVA for work/Wegman's.

Wagshal's is stellar, but it's a bit pricey and somewhat inconvenient, so I don't go often.

The Japanese store in Bethesda closed almost a year ago, AFAIK. I'm also aware of a Thai market in Silver Spring ("Thai Market"), but they mostly do dry/canned/preserved/frozen stuff, not much fresh. There's also a few Ethiopian markets in Silver Spring/Takoma Park, but I haven't been to those.

I really like Today's Catch in Columbia for fish, but it's moderately inconvenient. I've yet to find a fish market in MC that I really like. I'll have to check out Blacksalt and Maine Ave.

Looking for more interesting grocery stores

Great tip. I did not know about this. I suspect this is seasonal - can you confirm?

Looking for more interesting grocery stores

Does anyone have any favorite grocery-type stores (especially specialty shops like butchers or fishmongers) that they go to for interesting, non-prepared foods?

I'm always on the lookout for places to find great ingredients. I regularly shop at Whole Foods, Giant, Trader Joes, H-Mart and my local farmers' markets. However, I find that there are a lot of ingredients out there that can be tough to find and that there is a real dearth of great fish/meat counters. For instance, it's really tough to find scallops in the shell, precisely labeled cuts of beef/veal, offbeat mushrooms (I've never seen a fresh porcini anywhere in the area), Japanese mirin that wasn't mostly corn syrup, kaffir lime leaves and more.

LA CHer coming to DC, critique my list please

After going through the thread again, a few notes/clarifications/things to emphasize:
- Mandalay is definitely walking distance from the Silver Spring metro station. Ruan and Nava Thai are both walking distance from Wheaton metro, and while I can't vouch for their authenticity, I can vouch for their deliciousness.
- Rasika is the best of the three Indian restaurants you picked, though all are very good, but at the high end of your budget.
- Don't go to Levante's. It's not bad, it's just not worth putting on any lists. Bethesda location is closed.
- Do go to Ben's Chili Bowl. It's a DC institution, the home of one of the rare indigenous DC foodstuffs, the half-smoke. It's not the best, but it's one of those boxes you have to check off.
- The Mexican food in DC is okay. Keep in mind, DC doesn't get a lot of Mexican immigrants. We get a lot more from farther south in Central America, so you'll generally do better at those restaurants.
- Chinatown is not the place to go for Chinese food, Rockville is. I don't know why. It probably won't stack up to LA standards, but it's better than anywhere else in the area.
- Food carts. Good value to be had in a "casual" setting. Check http://foodtruckfiesta.com/ for a pretty comprehensive look at the budding number of options.
- Be willing to travel. As should be evident by now, the kind of things you're looking for are more available in the suburbs than the city proper.

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Ben's Chili Bowl
1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Rasika Restaurant
633 D Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

Levante's
1320 19th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036

Nava Thai Restaurant
11315 Fern St, Silver Spring, MD 20902

LA CHer coming to DC, critique my list please

There's a lot more to add. First of all, a lot of the dive-y places and inexpensive places will NOT be near Chinatown. It's gotten to be a very commercially appealing neighborhood, a lot of stuff has been driven farther out. There are areas with very good Korean, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Salvadoran/Guatemalan and Chinese in the suburbs around DC. Check out the DC food cart scene too. It's cheap and has tons of variety.

There are tons of restaurants out there, with new ones opening and closing all the time. Check out urbanspoon and yelp in addition to Chow.

A few spots I'd recommend:
- Mandalay
- Palena's cafe
- Founding Farmers
- Brunch at Firefly
- Neyla

If you want more/better recommendations, you'll have to be more specific about what you're looking for.

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Palena
3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

Founding Farmers
1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20006

HELP!?! New to Silver Spring/Aspen Hill/Rockville/Wheaton with nothing to eat!

I've been to Pacci's 4-5 times now, and am consistently pleased with it. The Neapolitan style pizza is great, and the Italian pizzaiolo was devastated when Italy lost in the World Cup - he was moping around drinking beer the day after.

What's the best 'cheap eat' you ever had in DC?

There are tons of restaurants that would fit your revised description. Budgetwise, you'll do great at any of the Central/South American places that fill the MD suburbs, though Irene's Pupusas and El Patio come to mind as the best options. Crisp n' Juicy is pretty reliable for chicken, as is Nando's Peri Peri.

Tons of great Thai, Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese restaurants would meet your budget: Ruan Thai, Oriental East, Nava Thai, Joe's Noodle House and A&Js are personal favorites. There are also countless pho joints, all under $10. I've yet to go to one that was bad, but I've also yet to go to one that was noteworthy.

There are Ethiopian places that are doable in your price range, but the better ones in NE tend to be a bit more than you're looking to spend.

You can check out the WP Cheap Eats choices, which will often be in the $15-under category.

For very informal dining, keep your eye on the DC food cart scene, which is almost always under $10 for a complete meal:
http://foodtruckfiesta.com/
Good luck with your cheap eats.

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Ruan Thai Restaurant
11407 Amherst Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20902

Oriental East
1312 E West Hwy, Silver Spring, MD 20910

Nava Thai Restaurant
11315 Fern St, Silver Spring, MD 20902

Joe's Noodle House
1488 Rockville Pike Ste C, Rockville, MD 20852

Irene's Pupusas
2218 University Blvd E, Hyattsville, MD 20783

Ramen at Cafe Japone?

I'd eaten at Ren's, which was totally satisfactory, if not spectacular, and I have been poking around DC boards for replacements. There are TONS of pho joints all over the area, but only three restaurants with ramen:
1. Temari Cafe in Rockville
2. Satsuma in Bethesda
3. _______ in NoVA. (blanking on name/location, blue sea something?)

I went to Satsuma once, hoping to get ramen, but they told me that it wasn't available that day. Sort of baffling. I remember being pleased with the restaurant otherwise, though I don't recall any specifics.

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Temari Cafe
1043 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852

Baltimore Italian

I was very satisfied at Da Mimmo, but have found Chiparelli's to be lackluster.

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Da Mimmo
217 South High Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

lunch in Ellicott City -- suggestions?

I really enjoyed eating at Rumor Mill. Interesting food and drinks. Also the kitchen staff came out and said hi, which is always a nice bonus.