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javachik's Profile

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Hello CVille Hounders! [moved from Southeast]

Welcome to C'ville, Wangus!

I too am somewhat new here, having only lived here since March '09. I' ve been pleasantly surprised so far with the variety and quality of cuisine on offer here.

Taste of China has already been mentioned, which I read about but have yet to visit. There is one place called Marco & Luca's Noodle Shop on the DT Mall that serves a limited menu of dumplings, noodles, and hot & sour soup - but it's all REALLY good and REALLY cheap. You can get an order of about 7 freshly-made pork dumplings and a nice big bowl of hot & sour soup for less than $10. It's cash only, but it's worth the trip to the ATM.

I've also heard some good things about Cafe 88 on Preston Ave - although I'm not sure about its authenticity.

Marco & Luca
112 W Main St Ste 15, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Cafe 88
923 Preston Ave, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Dec 28, 2009
javachik in Mid-Atlantic

Restaurants offering a New Year's Eve menu in Charlottesville?

Surprisingly, I'm having difficulty finding a list of restaurants in Charlottesville that will be offering a New Year's Eve menu. I've come across adverts for a few - Zocalo, Siips, L'Etoile. What else is there?

Dec 28, 2009
javachik in Mid-Atlantic

Looking for good restaurants in Jersey open on Sunday

Thanks! I took a look at the website and also found Suma's. Would you recommend their Sunday lunch?

Aug 27, 2009
javachik in U.K./Ireland

Looking for good restaurants in Jersey open on Sunday

I'll be taking a day trip to Jersey while visiting London next month, and I'm looking for some great restaurants there that are open on Sunday for dinner (I know, kind of hard to come by). Any recommendations?

Aug 21, 2009
javachik in U.K./Ireland

What are the most overrated DC restaurants?

I agree on Restaurant Eve - completely overrated. I wouldn't even say that the decor was all that special. Wrote about my experience here:

Pre-theatre dim sum near Gielgud Theatre, London

My husband and I will be visting London in early September, and will be going to see Avenue Q at the Gielgud Theatre. Since it's near Chinatown, I was wondering if anyone can recommend a really good dim sum restaurant in the area.


Jul 26, 2009
javachik in U.K./Ireland

Baklava in Charlottesville?

Hi all,

So Chow sent me this HEAVENLY-looking recipe for Baklava Sundae with Grilled Peaches, which I'm dying to make. I have fresh local peaches from the city farmers market, and I'd like to get some baklava already made from a local bakery - but where? I'll be honest - I'm really not up for making it from scratch, so I'd rather just buy some. Does anyone know a bakery in Charlottesville that has great baklava?


Help a Brit plan an American-themed BBQ!

I like the pulled pork idea. If you don't want to do that, you could do sliders for a slightly easier take on burgers (just serve them on brown & serve dinner rolls).

Fish for a crowd may be a bit difficult. You could do crab cakes, which are great by themselves or on toasted buns as sandwiches. Crab cakes are good for crowds because you basically make a large mixture and form it into a bunch of patties. You can buy pretty decent flaked crab meat from your local fish mongerer/seafood shop. Here's a grilled crab cake recipe you could try:

Have you thought of doing a potluck? Might make it a lot easier on you if others can bring their own dishes to share. You could just concentrate on a main and the salads you already plan to make.

Good luck, and have a great time!

May 31, 2009
javachik in Home Cooking

Sunday Brunch, Charlottesville, VA

I know I'm late to this discussion; but wanted to weigh in for future reference.

The Horse & Hound Gastropub has an excellent brunch, including full English (without the black pudding, thank goodness!). Very casual atmosphere as well - the waitstaff is even in jeans.

I have not been here yet; but I hear the best brunch in Cville is at the Blue Moon Diner. Here's an article in local blog

Horse & Hound Gastropub
Charlottesville, VA, Charlottesville, VA

Blue Moon Diner
Charlottesville, VA, Charlottesville, VA

Coffee shops near Massanutten/Charlottesville?

Shenandoah Joe's is an excellent choice. Great coffee drinks, and beans are freshly roasted right there on site. Can't go wrong.

Cafe Cubano is my fave on the Downtown Mall. Great place not only for good strong espresso drinks (the Cafe Cubano and the Cortadito are my favorites); but for excellent breakfasts and lunches. I LOVE their Cuban Sandwich - one of the best I've ever had!

NY Pizza in DC/MD/VA?

OK, I'm not from NYC; but I've had NY pizza (at Totonno's), and I can offer a suggestion for the kind of pizza you're looking for.

Piola in Arlington (on Wilson, about 4 blocks up from Rosslyn metro) does thin, brick oven pizza. Piola is a chain based out of Venice, Italy, so it's pretty authentic Italian-style pizza. The toppings are not your ordinary "pepperoni and cheese" either - they have something like 60 or so kinds, and you can go for something basic (like Margherita) or a bit more adventurous.

I'm not purporting that this is NY-style pizza; but I do highly recommend it as something similar that you may really like.

Good 4th of July spot?

Mike - I was thinking of doing a picnic, as a matter of fact. Probably on Daingerfield Island right where Indigo Landing is - just not eating at Indigo Landing.

dcandohio - I'll take a look at both. Thanks for the suggestions!

Good 4th of July spot?

I'm looking for a good place from which to view fireworks, without going into the thick of it on the Mall. We were thinking of Windows Over Washington at the Doubletree in Arlington, but it's a bit more than we want to spend ($115 per person). My next option is Indigo Landing, but I've been there before and I wasn't enthused about the food (although the view of the Cherry Blossom Festival fireworks was spectacular).

Does anyone know of a better place at a reasonable price?

Best places to buy meat?

What's the name of the place in Del Ray, Smiles? I live pretty close and would love to find out.

Cooking/Pastry Classes in VA Reasonably Priced?

Sur La Table in Arlington has some pretty inexpensive cooking and baking classes:

Most are under $100.

RIP: Restaurant K

I went there when it was Jimmy K's, and I wanted to go when it became Restaurant K. So apparently the food wasn't too good?

Good Cultural Festivals in DC or NoVa?

Sorry for the late reply. Thanks for all the great suggestions, especially the Greek Festivals, wookyluvr! I LOVE Greek Festivals! I'll probably hit more than one (Bethesda, DC, and one I found in Fredericksburg...yes I'll drive for a good Greek Fest).

NY-Style Pizza in DC?

Sadly I haven't had any luck either. The best pizza (Italian, not NY-style) IMHO is Piola in Arlington. I've posted a lot about them - no I don't work for them, I just really love their pizza. It's all brick oven pizza, and it's thin like NY-style. It may not be exactly what you're looking for, but I think it may be the closest.

I've been to Paradiso as well - they're pretty similar to Piola and good as well.

Good Cultural Festivals in DC or NoVa?

I've just returned from the Japanese Street Festival in Downtown DC, and I was sorely disappointed. There was an overabundance of nasty non-Japanese food (lots of tents that had fried rice, egg rolls, pad thai, and chicken teryaki - the only remotely Japanese food), then there were tents with sushi. I spotted a tent serving some sort of soup, which tasted like a corn soup (it wasn't very good). I don't know if I just missed the tents serving the good, authentic Japanese food, but it just wasn't good at all.

The whole thing made me wonder if there are any good cultural festivals in the DC area. I used to live in Houston, and there were some excellent festivals there that different churches put on (there was a huge Greek festival with the best food made by the congregation of the Greek orthodox church that held it, and another excellent Egyptian festival put on by a Coptic church - it had the best dolmas I've ever had). Generally the better ones are held by churches or cultural associations and aren't city sponsored. Are there any good ones here? I've read about the DC Festa Italiana - how's that one?

Any suggestions in DC or NoVA are welcome (and possibly in MD, but I'm not really crazy about driving to Baltimore).


A year of DC Eating - A to Z


I'm originally from TX as well (grew up in Austin, went to school in San Antonio, got married and lived in Houston), and I just wanted to compare/contrast with some of your listings:

Austin Grill: No, it's not as good as what you can get in TX (have you ever been to Los Cucos in Houston?); but I haven't been able to find better Tex Mex in this area. The table salsa is good and spicy, the barbacoa is to die for, and the portions are HUGE. They're just missing a couple of things: a good green salsa, and borracho beans.

Capital Q: Again, not as good as TX (you're right on Rudy's; also refer to Goode Co. in Houston and Salt Lick in Austin); but best you can get here. The sauce isn't half bad - especially the hot version.

Five Guys: good, messy burger and GREAT value. Someone needs to bring Beck's Prime up here though. I think it would work well in downtown DC, Bethesda, and Tyson's.

Giffords: I just had a pint of that tonight from the grocery store, and I had no idea they had a shop. Where is it?

Les Halles: refer to the posts here -

Here are some of my recs:

Piola (on Wilson Blvd. in Arlington): awesome brick oven pizza. They have like 30 or 40 some odd different pizzas, and some look weird, but trust me - they're good. Go on Sunday evening after 5:30 for their No Limit - you can try slices of different kinds.

Eammon's (on King St. in Alexandria): really good (and authentic) fish and chips. Get it to go, unless you like sharing a table (there's only two tables and some stools to sit at).

China Garden (in Rosslyn): OK, I haven't been here - yet. I've been meaning to go because I hear it has some really good dim sum. I've been missing the Sunday dim sum at The Golden Palace on Bellaire in Houston, so I need to try this place out.

Carlyle Cafe (on 28th St. S. in Shirlington): great crab cakes, great bread, favorite place to brunch.

Rio Grande Cafe (on Fairfax in Ballston): second best place to get Tex Mex in this area.

Thing is about DC is that there's no real "cuisine" - it's kind of a mish mash of cuisines from everywhere because of all the transplants from all over the country. You might be able to find a Tex Mex place or a BBQ place (or even a Cajun place), but it's not going to be nearly as good as in Texas.


Indigo Landing?

Hi beanthere,

Here's my recent post on Indigo Landing:

I see you've already made a decision to go elsewhere though. That's probably a good idea. I was pretty underwhelmed myself. I read below about the potato chips and tostitos cheese dip and had to laugh (it's true).

The only real reason we ate there was because it had a great view of the fireworks. I might go again to try the sliders or the hamburgers, but probably only if there were a fireworks display to watch!


Has anyone else been to Indigo Landing?

We had dinner last night at Indigo Landing, which is at the marina on Daingerfield Island. I'm posting this as a review, but I wanted to get the opinions of others who have been because I'm straddling the fence on whether or not to return.

We had a spectacular view of the Cherry Blossom Festival fireworks. The food wasn't bad, but the service was mediocre. They were out of a lot of stuff because they had some boating/sailing event earlier in the day, so they ran out of rib eye, prime rib, and bottled still water. It seemed busy, and we had to wait a while for our starters, during which we witnessed another couple leave after waiting an inordinate amount of time for their salads.

We ordered a starter that consisted of kettle-cooked potato chips and a cheese "fondue", which looked and tasted like nacho cheese out of a can. I also had the lobster bisque, which was somewhat flavorful but had the consistency of prepared "cream of" soup from a can (slightly gelatinous). My husband and mother-in-law ordered salads, which they seemed to like (my MIL actually recommended her spinach salad to me for "next time", which had goat cheese, almonds, mushrooms, and a raspberry vinaigrette). For mains, I ordered the crab cake duet, and they both ordered the NY Strip (after being told they were out of the Rib Eye - it was either the strip or the Porterhouse) with gratin potatoes. I love crab cakes, and these were quite good, although I could've done without the rice they served with it, and I had to ask for more remoulade sauce (it only came with a few dribbles on the plate for two big crab cakes). Hubby's and MIL's steaks were good - they ordered medium, and they got medium - plus they raved about the potatoes.

As things started winding down, the service got better. Our waiter seemed to be buzzing around like crazy the whole time, but he was very nice and tried to be as accommodating as possible (he even went to the vending machine outside to get a bottle of Evian for my MIL). As we left, I went into the ladies room to find that it was a messy as the restroom at a movieplex - very disgusting. Otherwise, not a bad experience.

So, as I mentioned at the beginning, I want to know your opinions - should I go back? Do you think this was a one-off mediocre experience, or have you had similar experiences? We've definitely found a good place to view fireworks, at the very least!

arlington near the crystal city metro

LOL bigsky!! That's always my joke to my husband whenever we drive by that place - "Wanna go to Crystal City Restaurant?"

smarkle - unfortunately, a lot of what's around Crystal City and Pentagon City are chain restaurants; however, the other posters make some good recommendations. Make the short trek over to 23rd St. (Restaurant Row) for a variety of different restaurants, or take the metro one stop up to Pentagon City - I recommend Asia Bistro, Lebanese Taverna, and Thaiphoon (I've also heard that Saigon Saigon is good). I would also recommend making the slightly longer metro trip on the Blue Line down to King Street, which puts you right at the head of Old Town Alexandria. Lots of great food there for any budget. I recommend Taverna Cretekou for Greek, Austin Grill for Tex-Mex, Eammon's for excellent (and authentic) fish & chips, and Mai Thai (for, well, Thai).

What is the WORST meal experience you've had in DC?

It's good to see I'm not the only one who thinks Les Halles is so terrible. I had wanted to go since I'm such a fan of Anthony Bourdain (although I know he was the chef at the NY Les Halle, not DC), and I figured it would be a great experience. My husband and I went with a couple of friends, one of which had been to Les Halle and just LOVED it. The service wasn't bad - it was a Thursday night and there weren't a lot of other diners - but the food was horrible. I had French onion soup to start, but it was very greasy. I then had the Croque Messieur, which was also very greasy, the bread soggy, and the ham quite salty.

I also have to mention my recent birthday lunch at Restaurant Eve in Alexandria. The service left a lot to be desired - it took a good 20 minutes for our soup to come out, she didn't leave our bottle of water on the table and we had to ask her to refill our glasses, she didn't offer salt or pepper (we had to request it), and when asked what the "Eve's Blend" coffee tasted like, she got a deer-in-headlights look and couldn't really explain it (I maybe a coffee snob, but I expect any restaurant that serves their own blend of coffee to educate their servers on the basic flavor profile of that coffee). The whole staff also seemed more concerned with replacing and ironing the table linens than serving us (there weren't that many diners - it was a Monday afternoon, post-lunch rush). I also have to mention the very strange hostess when we first arrived - she had no expression to her face! She looked like she'd just had botox and acted like a zombie!

The food was mediocre - the soup lacked seasoning, and my husband's steak was overcooked. Unfortunately, he complained after he'd eaten the whole thing (we had been there long enough and he didn't want to wait even longer for them to cook another steak); but the manager started going on about how their steak is "grass-fed" and has a different flavor, which really riled my husband up ("I've had grass-fed steak and I know the difference - this was overcooked!" he said). Fortunately, we were comped for the steak, although I could tell the manager wasn't happy about it. As many excellent reviews that we read about Restaurant Eve, this was a huge disappointment, especially since I chose this place to have my birthday lunch.

Cherry Blossom Eats and Tips

I don't know where you're coming in from, but a really good pizza place in Rosslyn (and about 4 blocks walk from Rosslyn station) is Piola. Excellent wood-fired pizza and about 100 different kinds. If you decide to do any cherry blossom-sightseeing on Sunday, you can head right in to Rosslyn for dinner after 5:30 and have Piola's no limit pizza special.

Thai festival in Silver Spring

Thanks for the Thai Restaurant Week post! I LOVE Thai food, and one of the participating restaurants is one of my faves near my house in Pentagon City. Woo hoo!