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Alexandria, VA suggestions?

Been back to Virtue several times since this post, and have had plenty of snack items there that were tasty for sure. Still not a go to place for me for an entree, but I do love their mac and cheese, Adobo wings, and a few other apps. For me however, I go there for the hoptails and the bartenders. Still love this place, and will probably stop in tonight for a nightcap after my drive back from Jersey. -mJ

Jul 15, 2012
njfoodies in Washington DC & Baltimore

Alexandria, VA suggestions?

Finally made it over to Southside 815 a few weeks ago and they did have a decent burger as well. Unfortunately though, the A/C was out, so the front of the bar was almost unbearable, and the beer was a bit on the warm side. I'll have to check it out again in a few weeks and see how it is when the temps inside are tolerable. Regardless, seems like it'll be a good spot to watch a game. Thanks for that tip monavano. -mJ

Jul 15, 2012
njfoodies in Washington DC & Baltimore

Del Ray, Alexandria neighborhood destinations

Living in Old Town, this area is really starting to grow on me. I visit Cheesetique often, and have hit Evening Star as well.

Thanks for the other tips and suggestions. I will have to check them out. I had no idea there was a custard option in the area, so being a midwesterner, I am going to have to seek this one out. Cheers! -mJ

Jul 15, 2012
njfoodies in Washington DC & Baltimore

Thoughts on Virtue in Old Town? Not a great first experience...

While I am not a huge fan of Virtue's menu, there are a few things on there that I go there to snack on. Something things that come to mind include:

Mac and Cheese (what is there not to love)
Adobo wings (not exactly the original Filipino style, but tasty nonetheless)
Fried calamari (can you really screw up anything that is fried?)
Haddock chowder (not sure if it is still on the menu)
Short ribs (may not be on the menu during summer?)

What I go to Virtue however for are the hoptails. Leave it again to Todd Thrasher to come up with some innovative, tasty, and killer drinks to serve, cleverly named hoptails as they are beer inspired. They are all absolutely delicious, made with their homemade mixers, bitters, etc. I've yet to have one that I didn't enjoy. The "I Did It For George" is just the thing after an exhausting day in the office. And the second one makes it even better.

Unlike most of my friends, I prefer sitting at the downstairs bar. It is large, and the bartenders are great, and they know how to make some great beverages. But even if I am just craving an ice cold Rolling Rock on a hot day, it is a great place to pull up a stool.

Back to the food, I would much rather have a full meal at Restaurant Eve or Brabo, but I do like to snack at Virtue on ocassion. As I also like to snack at Columbia Firehouse. But to me, it's the drinks, the atmosphere, and the bartenders that keep me coming back to Virtue! Cheers! -mJ

Jul 15, 2012
njfoodies in Washington DC & Baltimore

Cedar, 8th and E Street NW, Washington DC

Having attended this dinner with dinwiddie, I have to say that it was the best meal I have had in DC to date (disclaimer: I need to start hitting DC at least 1-2 times per week).

The courses here were impecable IMHO. I was a bit nervous with the chef's selection for the heirloom tomatoes with pinot noir, but it was spot on. I can't tell you how many times I have found tomatoes absolutely destroy a pinot noir. Definitely not the case here. This was amazing.

The foie gras was some of the best I've had on the East Coast, if not in the nation. Absolutely delicious, and a little piece of heaven. The Sea Smoke pinot however left a lot to be desired (and I am the one who brought it).

The chicken was easily some of the best, tasties chicken I have ever had. I will be sourcing chicken from this farm in the future for sure.

As for the Wagyu, what is there to say other than awesome! This was absolutely delicious!

Overall, every course was great, and the service from Chef McCloud and his staff was impecable! This made for a truly great evening, and a great dining experience. I will definitely be back in the future. Thanks again dinwiddie for setting this up! Cheers! -mJ

Jul 15, 2012
njfoodies in Washington DC & Baltimore

Grenache Rose from Yesteryear?

I have never had the wine that you mention, however, check out the grenache rose from Curran. It is absolutely delicious, and Kris makes some killer wines! The grenache blanc is worth checking into as well! -mJ

Jun 27, 2012
njfoodies in Wine

Delorenzo's Tomato Pies, Robbinsville

Nah, but spending a ton of time in DC as that is where my job is now headquartered. But I do telework from Jersey quite a bit which is a bonus! Best of both worlds! I get my Delorenzo's fix, and I get to check out a TON of new (tom me) restaurants in Old Town Alexandria... -mJ

Jun 12, 2012
njfoodies in New Jersey

Vermillion - Old Town Alexandria

Well, I have taken it upon myself to make my Wednesday night the night to go out and have a good meal before I make the trek back to Jersey (assuming I am not teleworking from Jersey that week). Tonight I decided to hit Vermillion in Alexandria, as it is just a few steps from "The Bistro South."

I sat down at the bar and was greeted by Alex, who has been my bartender before. I ordered a glass of pinot noir, and he gave me 2 different options to "try before I buy." Needless to say, I went the Burgundy route (2009 Jean-Michel Guillon), and was plenty happy with this.

I decided to try the tasting menu tonight, and I was very impressed. First out was a canapé, with a pureed carrot of sorts I think. Needless to say, this was a nice starter to wet my whistle.

Next course was a Softshell Crab BLT, that I thought was nice and creative. The soft shells were fresh with nice flavors, though a bit on the watery side, but this happens. This was served with a crisp smoked bacon, curly endive, 2 slices of delicious fried green tomato, and a whipped avocado. The flavors were succulent, and the preparation was very nice. I would order this as an appetizer again in the future.

From here we went to today's Atlantic Fish selection, which was grouper, and this was by far my favorite item on the tasting menu. This came with a perfect sized piece of crusted grouper, served over a bed of fresh market vegetables and bacon. There were some other ingredients here as well, but I can't remember them off the top of my head. Even so, this was very fresh, very light, and extremely delicious. I could eat this a few times a week and never get bored!

For the steak course, I ordered a glass of cabernet (2009 Pellegrini “Cloverdale Ranch”). This was a decent cabernet for a by the glass wine. It was more new world and fruit forward, which is sometimes how I like them. Tonight it hit the spot.

From here the next course was a Flat iron steak and this too was delicious. Nice tender strips of flank steak with baked crespelle, spinach, Maitake mushrooms, and a truffle jus. Aside from the steak, the highlight here for me was the Maitake shrooms. The flavors were amazing, and they were cooked absolutely perfectly.

Finally for dessert was a piece of cheesecake with a pecan granola, fresh local rhubarb, and a sherry gastrique. Though I am not a huge cheesecake fan, the flavors here were delicious, and it was a great way to close out the meal.

At the end of the day, this was a great meal, and a good value. There were a lot of fresh flavors and ingredients, and it made for a nice meal. As always, the service behind the bar was great, and this was Alex's 2nd to last night behind the bar before he heads to ChurchKey in DC. I wish him the best, and will be sure to check the place out in the future.

Vermillion will be on the list for another glass of wine in the future, and as always I look forward to it. Cheers! -F. Scott

Vermillion
1120 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: 703.684.9669
http://www.vermilionrestaurant.com/

Jun 09, 2012
njfoodies in Washington DC & Baltimore

Bordentown - Trenton -Princeton Area - Party for 25

Coltello in Crosswicks is another option in addition to those mentioned previously. Great Italian IMHO, and I've never had a bad meal there. Hell, if Mario Batali frequents the place they must be doing something right! -mJ

Jun 09, 2012
njfoodies in New Jersey

Delorenzo's Tomato Pies, Robbinsville

Always a pleasure to dine there. Was lucky enough to visit twice in the past 2 weeks on trips back to Jersey. Still as good as the original on Hudson Street. -mJ

Jun 09, 2012
njfoodies in New Jersey

Jamesburg (Monroe Twp) NJ

Fiddleheads is a great rec. Spent a few birthdays and anniversaries there and it is still good. Need to get back soon, but with spending so little time in Jersey these days, it makes it tough! -mJ

May 20, 2012
njfoodies in New Jersey

Looking for great crab cakes

How is that possible? What was binding it together? ;-) -mJ

May 12, 2012
njfoodies in Atlanta

Looking for great crab cakes

I had the crab cake app at Ruth Chris the other night as I am staying right here at Embassy Suites. While they don't use jumbo lump, they are still pretty damn decent and tasty. No idea what percentage of filler is in there, but there is definitely more than I like to put in mine.

Living in the DC area during the week now I am very spoiled with so many places with great crab cakes right in town. -mJ

May 12, 2012
njfoodies in Atlanta

Cinco de Mayo --- WHERE????

I have yet to find really good authentic Mexican in Central Jersey. The old Tortuga's in Trenton is a decent substitute, as well as a few places in Lambertville. But none of them are either really good, or really authentic.

Ended up at Palate in Newtown, PA last night for another lovely dinner. -mJ

May 06, 2012
njfoodies in New Jersey

Best Authentic BBQ

The same way the post that I was replying to related to NJ. -mJ

Apr 25, 2012
njfoodies in New Jersey

Best Authentic BBQ

Rudy's is damn good, and I frequent anytime I am down in San Antonio at Joint Base Lackland. I'll also drive the 70 miles or so to Lockhart as well when I am there to hit my favorite 3 places there as well! Kreutz, Black's, and Smitty's are as good as they IMHO... -mJ

Apr 21, 2012
njfoodies in New Jersey

Alexandria, VA suggestions?

Thanks for the tip. I still haven't made it over to that side of town yet, but will have to check it soon! Can't beat half price! Cheers! -mJ

Apr 21, 2012
njfoodies in Washington DC & Baltimore

Best Authentic BBQ

Local Smoke in Cookstown is my go to as well, though I don't frequent nearly enough now that I am living in the DC Metro Sunday night-Wednesday night. Weekends however when I am at Joint Base McGuire-Dix Lakehurst however always require a lunch on Saturday or Sunday there. I will however say that their brisket doesn't have nearly as much bark as I like to do on mine, but theirs is still damn good! -mJ

Apr 20, 2012
njfoodies in New Jersey

Alexandria, VA suggestions?

Burger at Overwood was actually pretty damn tasty, and cooked to a perfect temperature of medium. I enjoyed their fries at all. Will definitely visit again sometime, but for now, there are way too many other places to check out. We'll see where I hit next when I get back into town on the 29th! Cheers! -mJ

Apr 20, 2012
njfoodies in Washington DC & Baltimore

Alexandria, VA suggestions?

I'm sure Virtue has some great dishes, and I wouldn't hesitate to go back. Next time I'll definitely order something different. I enjoyed the bar and the bartenders there, and will be back soon. Probably stop there for a cocktail on my walk back home.

Havent had the Wellington at BGR yet but saw it. I'm a burger fanatic and if I were on death row, I'd probably ask for a burger. On the hunt for the best burger in this town.

We have Elevation Burger in NJ and it is good as well. I haven't seen in here yet. We also have Bobby Flay's "Bobby's Burger Palace" which
Is good as well...

Someone told me that the burger at Overwood is the best in town, so I'm sitting here now, skipping my usual hanger steak or Monday night angus special and giving the burger a whirl. We'll see how it is! -mJ

Apr 16, 2012
njfoodies in Washington DC & Baltimore

Alexandria, VA suggestions?

I'm actually a bit shocked to see that many people thing that the restaurant scene in Alexandria is mediocre. I've lived in Jersey the last 10 years, and done the foodie circuit throughout New Jersey, New York City, and Philly, and I have yet to be disappointed with anything in Alexandria.

I just moved to the area 3 weeks ago, and I have yet to be disappointed. I moved 2 blocks from King Street, and I am in absolute heaven. The scene in Old Town and the proximity to my offices going against traffic was perfect, hence the reason I chose to live in the area.

In those 3 weeks, I have visited many of the restaurants mentioned. So far, my favorites include:

Restaurant Eve
Brabo Tasting Room
Vermilion (loved my fish and the bartenders were awesome)
The Majestic (meat loaf rocks!)
The Formagerie (great place and very close to me)
Grape and Bean (I snack here twice a week)
Evening Star (Del Ray) (decent burger and Goose Island on tap)
Cheeserie (Del Ray) (love the cheese boards, flatbreads, and grilled cheese)
Columbia Firehouse (great tuna tartare and great bartenders)

Some of the restaurants I would consider on the mediocre side:
Virtue (good drinks)
Union Street Public House
The Wharf (decent crab cakes, service was a miss)
La Tasca (decent tapas)
Bistro Lafayette (tartare was uninspiring)
Tiffany's Tavern (decent burger and fun music)
BGR (similar to Five Guys and pricey for the quality)
Rock It Grill (fried food for when you are hammered)

Those are the ones that I can think of off of the top of my head. I'll chime in more on this area soon as I absolutely love it in Old Town! Cheers! -mJ

Apr 14, 2012
njfoodies in Washington DC & Baltimore

Pizza Help

I couldn't agree with the Delorenzo's reference more, however if he is looking for something reminiscent of Brooklyn, this is not the place. But I would take Delo's over a Brooklyn pie any day of the week! -mJ

Mar 09, 2012
njfoodies in New Jersey

Possible to find good, reasonably-priced eats near Rittenhouse?

I'm surprised Twenty Manning doesn't get more traffic on this board. Absolutely LOVE the place! From the food, to the drinks....it's my go to in Rittenhouse... -mJ

Feb 28, 2012
njfoodies in Philadelphia

Hamilton's Grill Room, Lambertville

Foody4life: I can't tell you how many times I too have been in there and waited because the gentleman was on the phone. His name is Reed, and he is always dressed to the nine's in a suit with a bow tie. I know exactly where you are coming from though, and I too have been annoyed by this. Sometimes he seems a bit overwhelmed.

I've never had the delmonico there, but have always heard is explained as being a thin cut steak. Definitely not my thing, and I always hope they have some Kobe or Wagyu on the menu. If not, the cowboy steak is my go to, unless I am in the mood for something else.

Sorry to hear you had a bad experience though. There is no excuse for crap service in my opinion... -mJ

Feb 28, 2012
njfoodies in New Jersey

Looking for really good Chicago style deep dish pizza in Jersey

Here's a pic for you as well.

Feb 26, 2012
njfoodies in New Jersey

Looking for really good Chicago style deep dish pizza in Jersey

It's a great little spot actually. Nice little wine list, good draft and bottled beers, and genuine Vienna beef hot dogs! It's heaven, all the way down to the sport peppers, celery salt, and neon green relish! I've know about the place for almost a year, but didn't go until the last 2 weeks. Had I known they had Chicago dogs, I would have been there the day they opened. I'm sure I'll be back again one night this week...LOL! -mJ

Feb 26, 2012
njfoodies in New Jersey

cherry hill?

Nothing in Cherry Hill has ever blown my mind. I'd drive another 10 minutes and check out Blackbird in Collingswood, or perhaps Cafe Melange in Haddonfield depending on what kind of cuisine you are looking for. -mJ

Feb 26, 2012
njfoodies in New Jersey

Looking for really good Chicago style deep dish pizza in Jersey

D'oh, I forgot to mention it. It isn't actually really a hot dog joint, more of a restaurant and bar called 11 Front. It is located at 11 Front Street in Trenton, and is a great little spot to stop for a drink...and a Vienna beef dog! Heck of a great resource to have so close by! Note that they are only open lunch til about 8PM. I would get there by 7PM to ensure that the kitchen is still taking food orders. -mJ

Feb 26, 2012
njfoodies in New Jersey

Looking for really good Chicago style deep dish pizza in Jersey

By far one of the things I miss most about HOME is deep dish. Pizzeria Uno, as well as Due were my favorites. Lou's was always good, as were Gino's and Giordano's! YUM!

Definitely no true Chicago style deep dish in New Jersey, or anywhere on the East Coast for that matter...and least not that I have found. The Uno chains are garbage.

Even the thin crust out here is different. Don't get me wrong, there is good thin crust here, and outstanding tomato pies here, however, sometimes you just want some good old Rosati's from back home! Was so good when I had it over the holidays while back in Barrington, IL.

As for other delights, I finally found a true Chicagostyle Vienna beef dog in Trenton of all places. All genuine ingredients, with the exception of the buns, though the buns are poppy seed and baked fresh daily locally. I am actually talking to the owner to see if he can get Italian beef from the vendor he buys his dogs from, so stay tuned! More to come there!

TastesofChicago.com does indeed do the trick. I receive Lou's pies from there every Christmas from my sister, and it is the best option I've found to have deep dish here on the East Coast. Thank God for them, and worth the price of admission IMHO... -mJ

Feb 26, 2012
njfoodies in New Jersey

2.5-hrs to deliver very mediocre food and poor customer service

Never trust the electronic ordering on a website. Seems to be flawed so many times. Next time pick up the phone and place your order that way.

I have never ordered from this place, so I have no idea. I can say that I have ordered from My Kitchen via there website, and they are also located in this same vicinity. Never had a problem with their online ordering, and they send an e-mail when the order is received.

Most places that have online ordering have a service that actually receives the order, and then the service faxes the order in to the restaurant. There could be huge delays with this process, hence the reason it is easier to call it in. -mJ

Feb 26, 2012
njfoodies in New Jersey