Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by LizzieH

  1. Maybe I'm incorrect, because I have an only child, and a girl, at that, but when she was a preteen/early teen, if I took my daughter to ESPN Zone for a meal, she'd play for a little while, and then come to me and say "We're in Washington D.C.! Where are we eating? I want a grown up dinner!". She would happily eat a sandwich in a diner, if it was well prepared and had some fun thing as an accompaniment, but she's be mad at me if I fed her somewhere 'corporate'. She always found that less of an adventure, and she adores adventure! Kids are people, just like us, and they're as varied as we are. What does your friend have to say about her boys? That's the key to your plans. Although, I find that boys of that age always eat calamari, it tastes 'good' and there's the gross out factor, too.

    I don't disagree with you - my girls love a well prepared, top quality meal- in the past few weeks, they have been to Firefly, Ray's, Bistro Francais, Les Halles, Two Amy's, and Perry's, to name only a few. My husband is in the restaurant business, so the girls have grown up eating out several times a week and being treated to great food. But, they still do not want to sit for hours after they have eaten while the adults talk around them. Further, the poster seemed to be looking for a true diversion for the boys and have it be downtown, so she can spend chatting with her friend - sometimes that comes at a steep price both for the entertainment and the quality of the food.

  2. This recommendation is definitely not for the quality of the cuisine, but go to the ESPN Zone, give each kid a $20 or $40 game card and you and your friend can dine and talk, and make the boys happy at the same time. Having a teen and a preteen, with whom we eat out a lot, there really is no restaurant that will hold a kid's attention for much longer than the meal itself.

  3. A sheet cake is likely easier that a shaped cake, unless you are making it yourself. Pastries by Randolph always has a huge selection of kids' cake decoration choices in a book - and great cakes - it is on Lee Highway in Arlington. Heidelberg Bakery also has a lot of cake decoration choices. For younger kids, however, I tended to always go with Safeway or Giant - they usually have all the current popular themes, and at a much better price than the better bakeries. Kids generally focus on the optics of the cake and not actually eat it.

    Another option is to get a simple cake and use Batman figurines puchased from a store such as ToyRUs. I did a Rugrats cake like this one year - ordered a cake with a fun color icing and had them place the wording around the toys that I dropped off.

    For a cake in the Batman shield shape, you may be able to make a larger sheet cake and cut the Batman shape then decorate with black and yellow icing. It seems like a fairly easy shape - you could enlarge on a copy machine a picture of the bat emblem and use it as a template.

  4. I really like Kanlaya, a Thai restaurant on 6th St. between G and H. I have taken larger groups (although not more than 15 or so) and have had excellent meals at a very low cost (about $25/ person, although there was not much alcohol consumed). They have a large number of vegetarian dishes and I find them to be, overall, once of the best Thai restaurants in the city - good food and a relaxed setting. It is a short walk from the convention center.

    I also like Zaytinha, but it can be loud. The downtown Jaleo would be harder to accomodate a group your size, I think.

    I would still call ahead to reserve ay any of these, since it sometimes is way more crowded if there is an event at the MCI Center.

  5. It is always difficult to know where your seafood is coming from. Too many people go to Maine Avenue, see the seafood sitting out and/or being unloaded and think it was caught somewhere local and just yesterday. ISeveral different specific seafood industries over the past few years have asked the Government for help in competing with imported product, including shrimp, mussels, salmon, catfish, crawfish, and crabmeat. Much of what we see of these more popular seafood items in many stores/markets is imported. I am not saying whether it is a good or bad thing, just a fact - the idea of US fisherman bringing fresh caught anything to our table on a regular basis is becoming a rarer and rarer event in many US seafood industries. For example, in the US there is a single (commercial) producer of mussels - with many more coming from Canada. Salmon can be fileted and deboned far more cheaply in Chile than in New England. For shrimp, the US industry argues it has been devastated by among other things imported shrimp from Thailand, Vietnam, India and other countries. However, shrimp can come from many many countries, and you have little way of knowing if your frozen/thawed tiger shrimp started its journey to your table in Belize or Bangladesh. There are few places where shrimp cannot be farmed. Even those god awful black plastic shrimp rings that they sell all over during the holidays may have been imported. If it matters, check the origin labels on anything you buy, or ask the counter staff. If they don't know the answer, then I don't know that I would buy seafood there. For the wider availability stores (as opposed to small markets that many people cannot visit on a regular basis), I like Harris Teeter's approach of labeling by country of origin all their seafood - while I love a bargain as much as the next person, I also like knowing that I can purchase North Carolina white shrimp or pink shrimp from the Florida Gulf/Keys. While imported shrimp has been frozen and is largely farm-raised, even any wild-caught shrimp from the Florida Gulf has been flash frozen at some point since the boats stay out for several weeks at a time. Much of the crab meat we find in the stores and used in restaurants is imported from any of several Asian countries, even if done so by long-standing and reliable (and local) US companies. It is a difficult argument to balance, where the cheaper imports have broadened the availability and lowered the price of a wide range of seafood to consumers throughout the US - how many people in the midwest had crabcakes on almost any restaurant menu even 10 years ago - but at the expense of US fisherman. FYI - I tend to buy my seafood at Swedish Fish, American Seafood in Arlington, Whole Foods, and now BlackSalt, because they are on my route home from work and I have had quality product from them. I have never enjoyed the Maine Avenue experience, largely based on a wicked reaction to some bad shellfish several years ago - somehow it just pales in comparison to Seattle. And, I am a fan of the inexpensive Costco flounder for quick weekday meals.

  6. El Charrito Caminante is a very good central american restaurant, but primarily take-out, and a healthy wakfrom the Clarendon metro. It is probably easier with a car. My family gets take-out frequently - they only have 4 (or 6) stools at counters - no tables. I love the basic carbo heavy stuff - pupusas, fried bananas, yuca, etc... and the tacos are great. I understand the goat and tongue are very good, but I have never tasted those. The only disappointment has been a tamal de elote that did not have much flavor.

  7. Good news - I found the book - it is called The Grill Book, but was written by David Barich and Kelly McCune. The name I remembered was Hom, not Horn, and he had written the introduction only.

    I bought 2 cookbooks today and am on my way to rebuilding my collection. I am focusing now on how best to display my books as I design my new kitchen!

  8. Sad story - my collection of about 200 cookbooks was lost in my recent house fire. Except for the cookbooks I have bought while living abroad and church and community group books, many of these books can hopefully be replaced. However, I have been unable to find a copy of a book on grilling that I used frequently. I believe that title was "The Grill Book" and the author's last name was Horn. It was a thin book with sections specific to marinades, various meats, vegetables, etc. There were also several pages of full menus. If anyone has an idea where I can find this, please let me know.

  9. We ate at Leopold's, in Georgetown (Cady's Alley) for a late Mother's Day lunch. The outdoor seating was great - although the beautiful day had a lot to do wtih that. Service was somewhat slow and unorganized, but we wre not in any hurry so it did not really bother us much. Our meals were fine - the frites were crispy and we liked the added crispy herbs on them (ordered some with and some without). We had mussels; schnitzel; a grilled fish; and steak frite. Took a chocolate mousse cake home - quite nice and light, but pricey ($26 for a 6" cake). If you have ever been to Amsterdam, the decor reminds me of the cafe in the Bijenkorf department store - that European utilitarian/chic approach. A much better experience than I expected.

  10. I also was at Oyamel on Sunday. I have to say I like the place most when it is not crowded, not nearly as loud as some earlier visits. This was the first I was back since the new menu (3 earlier visits). I enjoyed many of the new tacos - especially the wild mushrooms and the halibut. Would have liked the shrimp better with at least one more shrimp in each. The grilled green onions (Cambray?) are good, but virtually impossible to eat in the taco without the whole thing coming out in one piece. Not sure what it is, but I just do not like the ox-tail. My favorites continue to be the flank steak, jicama wrappers and the plantain fritters - I could drink the coconut sauce. My 9-year old is quite fond of the chocolate cake with mole and hot chocolate on the dessert menu. She is not as fond of the bathroom, finding the artwork in 2 of the stalls "very scary!"

    The service could be better - it was not awful, but it would have seemed worse had we been in more of a rush. An example, the waitress offered dessert menus but then took at least 10 minutes to bring them to the table (when it turned out she could have reached them just by turning around from our table.)

    I'll keep going because I generally like most of what I have eaten there, it is a beautiful restaurant, and parking is easy and free.

  11. Gabriel's in the Barcelo Hotel on PSt. just off DuPont Circle has an all-you-can-eat brunch. American favorites as well as a lot of Spanish and mediterranean dishes. I believe it is about $30 or so per person.

    oops - didn't think the first one posted. I don't know how to remove this!

  12. We have always liked the all-you-can-eat brunch at Gabriel's, on PSt., just off DuPont Circle. It has the usual brunch favorites you find everywhere, but also features a lot of Spanish and Mediterranean dishes. Not cheap - I believe it is in the $30/person range (maybe somewhat more).

  13. I have been to both the one in Ballston and Washington DC (19th Street). It is a fun gathering for a group, but not an every week type of place. The fondue is not bad, and there is a large enough choice to please anyone. The service has always been attentive.

    The downtown location is much nicer than Ballston - more modern and not quite as dark. If you are in one of the back rooms in Ballston, you may feel you are in Siberia.

  14. I'm not sure about one star either - I ate at Belga this week and the food was quite good. The service, however, was comical - really. First, the waiter apologized as he told us he did not speak "Belgian" as we attempted to order the garnaalan kroketten and the coquilles st. jacques! Later, as he reached across my head to clear the plate of one of my colleagues, he said he was glad he had worn deodorant that day; and finally, when he thought he had brought all the food, we reminded him that our mussels came with fries, to which he replied, "oh, do you really want them?!" Also, for lunch, you have to make sure you have plenty of time - ours took about 2 hours. I will go back, because we all enjoyed the meals, the beer was perfect, and we are so in need of quality resaurants in that neighborhood. However, I can see that some people would find it hard to get beyond the service kinks.

  15. Long time voyeur, first time posting. Went to Belga Cafe for lunch, but it was not yet open. They are opening for dinner tonight (Wednesday) and will be open only for dinner "for now." Lunch/brunch will also not be available this weekend. While the restaurant does not invoke the blissful experience of a sunny spring afternoon on the sidewalk cafes of Brugge, it looked quite welcoming nonetheless.

    I work in SW Washington, and we are desperate for decent lunch places. We frequently travel afar for lunch (even over the river) and are all hopeful for Belga Cafe. Montmarte and the fried seafood place in Eastern Market are favorites, as there is so little appeal to any place in SW or on the waterfront.

  • Create New...