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Relaxing, Romantic dinner in/near Arlington 8/8/07

You have some options. Georgetown is a short walk but I don't think of it as relaxing. There are a couple of good places fairly near your hotel in Arlington. Village Bistro and Rays the Steaks both fit the ambience you seek and are in the same small shopping center. See below for a (somewhat dated) review of Village Bistro.

Also, the bar/restaurant atop the Key Bridge Marriott, though not stellar, does offer a very rare nighttime view of DC and is worth investigation.

Happy Dining!

Best Hotel Bar in Washington, DC

Fellow 'Hounders, looking for your thoughts on the best hotel bar in Washington. I'll throw out Off the Record at the Hay Adams as a candidate. Those in the know, set me straight.

martini anyone?

that's a big roj. insisting on almost no vermouth is one of those bits of contagious ignorant snobbery that swish around in bars. i say, if you just want a glass of gin, ask for a glass of gin. that's how the queen plays it.

Jan 20, 2007
traveler in Spirits

great pork

That is cool, I am heading over there tomorrow AM.

I was pretty much in the dark about food ingredients until I read the book. I'd sum it up for you like this. Due to advances in technology and screwy government policies, US farmers produce way too much corn. We can't eat it all, so the excess corn has to go somewhere. Enter 2 major players: food processors and the beef industry. The food processors turn excess corn into stuff like high fructose corn syrup--which cheaply sweetens sodas and countless other products--and a host of other thickeners, preservatives, emulsifiers, etc. The book enumerates a number of disadvantages to this, not least of which is the cheapening of sweetened foods to such an extent that we consume too many of them, giving a third of our children Type II diabetes.

The beef industry converts the cheap corn to meat by feeding it to cattle. The problem is that cattle weren't made to eat corn, so the rich diet and other poor conditions they live in tend to sicken them. This requires antibiotic and nutrative infusions that degrade the beef's quality. But hey, whereas it took 5-6 years to get them to slaughter weight in the 1930's, the corn'll get 'em there in 18 months.

That was a huge eye-opener to me. The other major interesting part is the discussion on grass feeding operations -- this is basically the right way to farm, because it harmonizes animal feeding with managing pastureland in a very sustainable way that generates very high quality meat.
Eco Friendly foods is mentioned in the book because they mostly process and market this pasture-fed meat, and are strongly supported by the farmers that operate like this.

I've only captured a small part of the book for you here, but hopefully illuminated some of it. It's well written, fascinating, and the kind of book that you keep discussing with others for months after you read it.

great pork

Too cool. Just turned on to these guys by reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, and am plotting strategy for how to find some decent meat. I think Eco Friendly shows up at Arlington on Saturday mornings? Are you buying mostly pork roasts or what? And cooking how?

If you haven't read TOD, you must, as there is an interesting discussion on the pig's function as a pigaerator in the cattle stables.

Is there decent mexican in DC?

I am with you - not huge fan of LP. But it is kind of a Warshington institution.

Sweet, but not sour, cocktails?

Sounds like you're trying to gather piss with a rake my friend - too many constraints if you rule out all citrus, hard liquor, and cream-related ingredients. Forget cocktails and go for a sweeter wine, sangria, or something along those lines.

Jan 17, 2007
traveler in Spirits

Is there decent mexican in DC?

To make the rounds of the DC classics for Mexican you'll want to hit Lauriol Plaza in Dupont, Austin Grill near Chinatown (or in Alex) and Cactus, which you've been to. There is also a neighborhood favorite in Capitol Hill (name escapes me - Tortilla Coast?) that as I recall is more a 'ritas and nachos kind of place. Rosa Mexicano, near the MCI Center, is hip but pricy, crowded, and not worth the overhead. The other major chain around is Rio Grande, which is very similar to Don Pablo's if you've ever been to one of those.

I've recently come to appreciate Mexicali Blues, a Mexican place in Clarendon with Salvadoran influences. They are attentive to the details, make great salsa, have excellent specials and good prices in general. I recommend the fajita platter for lunch.

Another VA favorite is about a mile and a half from Ballston Metro--it's called El Paso Cafe. They do yeoman's work on all of the classic tex mex dishes and serve it up in a neat neighborhood restaurant atmosphere. Pricing is good.

Need some GOOD Cheap Eats in DC

Two great ideas here. Bistro (btw Dupont and A-M, right?) feels like it's been transplanted from the Champs and dropped right into DC. It has a rustic feel to it and a lot of character and is loud, maybe because the floors are ceramic tile, the walls uncovered, and there are few interior partitions. Neat place.

Cafe Asia is a DC classic. You can't beat it for quality, value, and svelte asians dressed in black with headsets. As I recall they have a pretty good happy hour with sushi and drink specials. Entrees $9-12.

Decent French in NOVA?

This place looks very cool. Planning a visit soon. Hell of a web site. I like their description of the philosophy behind the place.

Decent French in NOVA?

Right, E Glebe. Always get confused down there even though it's nto that hard to find.

Was last at CF last spring; don't recall it being too hard to get a res, but we may have gone during the week. Have not yet dined on their patio, which I've heard is first come first serve. In the summer, if you go early, you might luck out with a table there.

And while you're out in Great Falls there's the Old Brogue Irish Pub, sort of around the corner. Worth a stop in before dinner to check it out; or after, if you don't linger too long over wine at CF.

Need some GOOD Cheap Eats in DC

I find the best values in DC are usually for Asian or Indian food. I'm a big fan of a relatively new Indian place in Arlington, near Clarendon metro called Tandoori NIghts. The interior and atmosphere are chic, the food is excellent, and the prices very reasonable. Service also good.

2 Amy's is a good suggestion; a similar option, again in the Clarendon area, is a pizza place called Faccia Luna. Very good pizza and salads.

If you're coming in from out of town, staying in DC, the most unique DC experiences would be in Dupont Circle or Adams Morgan. I'm not an expert on those areas but there should be plenty of good options. One that does come to mind, near Dupont, is Cafe Luna - well known to locals as an excellent source of standard american fare.

Decent French in NOVA?

Definitely make a res and go with someone who'll appreciate the french dining experience. Bon appetit!

Decent French in NOVA?

JP -- you gotta head out into the deep country to L'auberge Chez Francois in Great Falls. It's worth the trip if you're looking for excellent cooking from the frogs. The restaurant's ambience and decor are consistent with the somewhat countrified location, so you feel a bit like you're actually in le pays. Take your Amex, though, it ain't cheap.

For a very different but interesting experience you might try Chez Andre, off S Glebe Rd down in Alex. The cuisine is not green guide, but it's a family owned joint with a long history and they serve a pretty decent escargot.

Best and worst on the Outer Banks

In summers past our family's mainstays were RV's and Owens. RV's was casual; Owens more upscale, or rather, old school. If nothing else the decor in Owens lobby is worth a stop for a cocktail. RV's also has a nice sound view.

Jan 16, 2007
traveler in Southeast

Good Italian Lunch in Atlanta

Also, when I go back to visit we often go to Figo: casual, good food, decent prices. I think of it as uniquely Atlanta compared to other places. Have not been to the new place on Howell Mill, but assume it's closer to downtown.

Good Italian Lunch in Atlanta

My friends swear by Sotto Sotto:
[from a review] Sotto Sotto will make you rethink your preconceived notions of Italian cuisine. Inventive pasta dishes, including "naked ravioli" for low-carb dieters show a chef that's willing to experiment while not sacrificing his vision of authentic rustic Italian cuisine in a sleek, high energy setting.