monkeyrotica's Profile

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washington dc italian

Obelisk is always good, but I haven't been in years. I've really enjoyed Osteria Morini my last couple visits, particularly the pastas and red meat.

about 22 hours ago
monkeyrotica in Washington DC & Baltimore

Five Guys vs. In-N-Out

I guess that depends on the target demographic. Burgers in sitdown restaurants around DC run $15. And getting out of Five Guys for under $10 is a chore.

1 day ago
monkeyrotica in Chains

Best Instant Ramen? (please do not mock me, pretty please)

I like the Nongshim Vegan Ramen. No MSG or animal products, but it's still a salt bomb. I end up using just half the seasoning packet and it's plenty flavorful for me. Pretty spicy, too, but not as spicy as the rest of the Nongshim line. The local Asian market doesn't carry them, so I end up getting them via Amazon.

http://www.nongshimusa.com/our-produc...

El Paso Mexican Restaurant [Rte 1 Alexandria]

El Paso is decent family-style Mexican that skews more Tex-Mex and the price is relatively cheap. Pretty popular with the Belvoir crowd. On Route 1, the standouts are La Mexicana Bakery & Tacqueria. They mostly do carryout but they do have a few tables. Excellent tacos al pastor, sopes, and sandwiches. They make the bread in-house so it's really fresh and crusty. And the owners are really nice, too. Tacos El Costalilla is always full of Latino families noshing on tacos and they serve the harder-to-find cuts like lengua, buche, etc. Also good sopes and they have a "fixins bar" so you can top your taco the way you like. Both places serve menudo on the weekends. Ricos Tacos Moya is another local Mexican chain folks seem to like, but I've never been.

There's also District Taco which recently opened in South Old Town. Decent fast casual tacos, along the lines of Chipotle. Always ridiculously crowded because Old Town is a Mexican food desert.

http://www.lamexicanabakery.net/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/res...

http://www.yelp.com/biz/ricos-tacos-m...

http://www.districttaco.com/

Five Guys vs. In-N-Out

It's been done to death, but Five Guys fries are wildly inconsistent.

Red Robin is rolling out a Burger Works fast casual concept meant to compete with Five Guys: smaller shops in high foot traffic areas. They also do breakfast, which I wish Five Guys did outside their Dulles Airport shop.

http://www.rrburgerworks.com/menu

1 day ago
monkeyrotica in Chains

Five Guys vs. In-N-Out

A lot has changed since this thread started 8 years ago. The whole fast casual burger scene has gotten out of control. Shake Shack, Smashburger, Counter Burger, even Red Robin is getting in on the game. Pricing has creeped up as well; a burger, fries, and soda will run you closer to $15. A few bucks more will get you a better quality burger at one of the gourmet joints. Even the slop at McDonalds isn't cheap anymore, unless you're doing the Dollar Menu which is now $1.39. I'll still hit the local Five Guys where the service doesn't suck for a Little Burger once in a while, but depending on your market, there are a lot more options at the same or slightly higher price point.

Mar 25, 2015
monkeyrotica in Chains

Sonic Drive-In Is it worth seeking out?

Jimmy's Grill at Maine Avenue Fish Market does a great strawberry lemonade. Not really the same, but it's a nice treat.

Mar 23, 2015
monkeyrotica in Chains

Sonic Drive-In Is it worth seeking out?

They're in Baltimore and Annapolis now.

http://www.sonicofmd.com/macro-restau...

Mar 23, 2015
monkeyrotica in Chains

Fried Good Dale -- Call to Action!

Full Kee serves Fried Good Dale, but I've never tried it.

http://www.fullkeedc.com/

10 ways to 'fix' McDonald's (if it needs fixing, that is)

I don't think the "food police" forced them to serve healthier options. They survey customers as to what they want to buy. They test the products out and roll out some to their stores. The problem is that people SAY they want 23 kinds of wraps and salads and then they don't BUY them.

How to improve intensity of flavour in chili con carne?

Prudhomme's is my go-to recipe for a bowl of red. Guajillo, arbol ancho, and serrano peppers round out the heat and the 1 1/4 of bacon gives a rich layer of porkiness. And the toasted cornmeal gives it texture and a nice nuttiness. I add a couple tablespoons of fresh chili paste (sambal oelek).

http://www.grouprecipes.com/82743/tex...

Mar 12, 2015
monkeyrotica in Home Cooking
1

Grand Trunk (Penn Quarter)

Crowded and deafening with bizarre decor that feels like a tacky nightclub? This should be a big hit with trendy millennials looking to wait 45 minutes so they can Instagram their small plates.

Why do Restaurants Use Frozen French Fries?

Ugh. Whenever I get coated fries in a restaurant, I send them back. I don't even understand why this stuff exists. They're like fries for people who hate the taste of potatoes; the coating is always overseasoned or excessively salty or just weird. Checkers fries have this odd color to them and black things that might be pepper but are probably just flecks of vermin ca-ca.

There's a fortune to be made for someone to invent a coated frenchfry that's just fried coating with no potato.

Mar 10, 2015
monkeyrotica in General Topics

Why do Restaurants Use Frozen French Fries?

Pretty sure McDonalds Hash Browns are frozen. I think they're pretty awesome, more awesome than their fries. They're just the right combination of crispy and steamy. Burger King serves a hash brown that's like a halved tater tot, that I don't think works as well. The ratio of crispy/potatoey is off.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02...

Mar 10, 2015
monkeyrotica in General Topics

Pimento Grill in Anacostia - Report

You could always get a cab or use the Uber app. Much more Chow-worthy than many of the "Top Ten Places You MUST Try in DC" listicle bait eateries you'd find in foodie blogs.

Why do Restaurants Use Frozen French Fries?

I've also learned to always ask whether the fries are "hand-cut" and "fresh" because they are inevitably terrible; some horrible combination of burnt on the outside and soggy on the inside because they weren't rinsed and fried twice. The exception being Belgian eateries who do volume frites and have the method down, or steakhouses that have their act together. Otherwise, I just skip the fries or go with the frozen crinkle cuts. I have yet to encounter a poorly fried one.

Mar 06, 2015
monkeyrotica in General Topics

Favorite way to use kimchi?

Kimchi bacon grilled cheese.

Mar 05, 2015
monkeyrotica in Home Cooking
1

Old Bay Tartar Sauce Filet o' Fish at regional McDonald's

Agreed. It's not unlike a frozen fish stick, which is neither a fish nor is it a stick. It is a fungus.

Old Bay Tartar Sauce Filet o' Fish at regional McDonald's

Same here. And at that price you can get two fish sandwiches at either Arbys or Wendys, both of which taste better (real filet not process fish loaf and panko bread crumb crust).

Good hoagies in Northern VA or general DC area?

The po boys at RT's are $13 and these are MUCH better. All because of the bread.

http://www.rtsrestaurant.net/lunch_me...

8 Great Irish Whiskeys for St. Patrick's Day

I'm going to plug Contarf whisky. 4 years in bourbon barrels give it a rich, sweet flavor. I've seen it for less than $20 a bottle, which is a steal.

http://clontarf1014.com/aging.html

Feb 27, 2015
monkeyrotica in Features

Good hoagies in Northern VA or general DC area?

Not a “hoagie” per se, but sub-wise, Bayou makes an excellent po boy. On Leidenheimer bread, which many feel is essential. The shrimp and catfish are solid; the roast beef with debris is excellent.

http://bayouonpenn.com/www/food-menu.php

Genghi's Grill Crofton, MD

I got dragged to the Genghi's in Alexandria. Nothing great, but nothing terrible either. Standard mall-type bowl-of-meat-and-veg grill place. Also very LOUD. If I were in Crofton, I'd pay a couple extra bucks and go to Kodo Hibachi for a better overall experience. If I just wanted a plate of grilled meat, I'd go to The Awe Shack. If I wanted something Asian-ey, Grace Garden and Woo Chon are up the road in Odenton and Glen Burnie, respectively.

http://www.kodohibachi.com/index.html

Good hoagies in Northern VA or general DC area?

The Broiler in Arlington does a good ham steak & cheese. Cheeseburger sub is good as well, along with their spicy Italian sausage sub. Been serving them since 1955.

http://www.thebroiler.net/menu.htm

Good hoagies in Northern VA or general DC area?

"DC Steak & Cheese" = L/T/M = Cheesesteak Hoagie. Plenty of Philly places sell them.

What is your restaurant bucket list for the inner DC ring?

I think the chow fun at China Boy are in the same league as the fish noodles at Grace Garden or the hand-pulled noodles at Da Rae Won.

good rub for beef

Second this. If the meat's good, all it needs is salt and pepper.

You might consider a variation on the Baltimore Pit Beef rub and go easy on the garlic powder.

http://www.nytimes.com/2000/06/28/din...

Classy, expensive restaurant in PG County?

In addition to Eve, there's Vermillion, Brabo, and The Majestic.

Classy, expensive restaurant in PG County?

I think the problem here is that Lanham, Hyattsville, Beltsville, and Oxon Hill aren't expensive neighborhoods, so you upscale dining options there are pretty limited, if not nonexistent. There's some solid midrange options and brewpubs (like Franklin's), but the "classy" stuff (like Sir Walter Raleigh Inn) is pretty terrible. Your options improve at places like Osteria Morini, Medium Rare, Montmartre, or Acqua Al 2 which are readily accessible from the South Capitol Street Bridge and the Southeast Freeway. Your other option is hopping the bridge into Old Town for Bastille, Le Refuge, or even Restaurant Eve. If I were your customer, I'd make you take me to Eve's Tasting Room.

Ground Beef: Are my taste buds getting too old, or does Ground Beef have little taste compared to apprx 20 years ago?

Reminds me of the "Do you remember when Taco Bell tasted good?" discussion in the Chains thread. Folks who used to work at Taco Bell in the '70s tell of getting huge blocks of ground beef that had to be prepped and cooked in the kitchen. The stuff was REALLY greasy. Now, it shows up pre-cooked in grey pillow packs that are kept in steam heat and it tastes like nothing. I'd agree that factory farm beef, even the 80% fat free stuff, tastes bland. Demand for real-deal beef, milk, eggs, and produce is what's driving the small farm boom. We get shipments from a place in Maryland; their 2% milk tastes like whole and their whole milk tastes like heavy cream. Also beef isn't aged like it used to be. The difference between a dark, dry-aged steak and a bright red one from the supermarket is night and day.

http://www.southmountaincreamery.com/...

Feb 19, 2015
monkeyrotica in General Topics