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Favorite Arlington food?


foodgeek
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Haleem is grains and beef and spices all cooked together and then kind of whipped up. It looked like runny refried beans (I know this sounds gross, but it was really good!) but it packs a spicy punch and has a nice, smooth texture.

I got it off of the buffet at the Pakistani place on 23rd- Mogul Grill- and had to ask what it was before I took it because it was right next to the "hot and spicy beef feet" and I don't care for innards or feets. But the haleem is good! It seems to be one of the weekend specials at a lot of the kabob-type places.

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Elote is corn

Whoops, I stand corrected! Thanks :biggrin:

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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What is this El Caminante?

Could you provide any details as to location and menu? Would you say it's southern Mexican/Central American or more Northern/Central Mexican?

As a Mexico City transplant I'm always on the prowl for good Mexican.

Gracias!

Tried el caminante yet? I had a goat torta (sandwich) there other day as a change from the taco. I prefer the goat taco. :) And of course I had a lorocca pupusa. :)

-Jason

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Sara--Mexicali Blues does a pretty good pupusa with loroco--an edible flower--have you had those?

Never been to mexicali although it is within my stomping range. I'll check it out. lorocco has been described to me (by the people at El Charrito) as a Mexican herb. Its a flower?

BTW, El Mexicano...on wilson near common grounds is talking about making their menu more authentic, and lorocco pupusas (and tongue tacos) are on the menu they are working on. I saw that menu...since I'm friendly with the owner. I wouldn't bother with the current menu, although the place has free wireless internet. I sometimes stop in there for the $2 day old bag of (6) donuts...since they still taste fresh then. Its an odd place, since the owner is Inidan, and bought the franchise rights from the also indian owner of the other El Mexicanos. Plus...the owner is vegetarian, so hasn't tried half of his food.

-Jason

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An Arlington favorite of mine is Saran Foods on Lee Highway (near the H. Teeter). It's cheap, and the stuffed naan is excellent. The quality of the naan itself isn't as good as Ravi's (my fav.), but it's decent, and with garlic, ginger, and spices stuffed inside, I don't mind.

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An Arlington favorite of mine is Saran Foods on Lee Highway (near the H. Teeter). It's cheap, and the stuffed naan is excellent. The quality of the naan itself isn't as good as Ravi's (my fav.), but it's decent, and with garlic, ginger, and spices stuffed inside, I don't mind.

We don't like Ravi, although I'm not sure if we tried the nan.

We're ok w/food factory (a few blocks away), and their nan is good. Bukhara's is good as well....and they have different kinds (including stuffed ones).

Never been to Saran.

-Jason

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I'm curious why you (foodgeek) don't like Ravi. The chick peas alone are worth a visit. On occasion, I've gone for lunch and returned for dinner in one day--just for those chick peas. Re: the naan, I like it because it's chewy and thick on the outside and crispy in the middle. Friends of mine disagree with me on this point, and think the naan at Deli Dahrba is better because it's crispy all over. Other than the bread and the peas, I'm a fan of the chicken on the bone (the boneless is no good) and, more recently, the lamb chop.

I've been to Food Factory twice, and both times I've been satisfied. But, the chick peas there are inferior to those of Ravi. Considering that Food Factory is a closer lunch choice, do you have some recs on what to get at FF?

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I'm curious why you (foodgeek) don't like Ravi. The chick peas alone are worth a visit. On occasion, I've gone for lunch and returned for dinner in one day--just for those chick peas. Re: the naan, I like it because it's chewy and thick on the outside and crispy in the middle. Friends of mine disagree with me on this point, and think the naan at Deli Dahrba is better because it's crispy all over. Other than the bread and the peas, I'm a fan of the chicken on the bone (the boneless is no good) and, more recently, the lamb chop.

I've been to Food Factory twice, and both times I've been satisfied. But, the chick peas there are inferior to those of Ravi. Considering that Food Factory is a closer lunch choice, do you have some recs on what to get at FF?

Well, we went to ravi once, and the kabobs were dry and overcooked. It was bad enough that my dining partner (the one who is driving) won't go back. i did try the chickpeas, which I liked, but I haven't tried it at FF.

At ravi...I often get the steamtable chickendish (whatever it happens to be) or that new ground chicken and herb kabob.

You must work near where I live. :)

Have you tried Kabob Bazaar (Persian) in Clarendon? I prefer it to FF and Ravi.

Have you Tried Bukhara (Indian) in Ballston (Glebe and Washington blvd)? They have a lunch buffet, but ive only been there for dinner. good stuff!

-Jason

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The boneless chicken is very dry at Ravi, indeed, but the bone in chicken is very moist. You could eat it without dentures if needed, the meat is that tender.

I haven't been to Bukhara or Bazaar. For some reason, every time I walk past Bazaar, there's no one there, which leads me to wonder. You shouldn't have mentioned the buffet at Bukhara. One afternoon at Mehak in Falls Church confirmed that my voluntary consumption of Indian--especially the milk balls--far exceeds normal intake.

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My favorite place for coffee is defintely greenberry's. Although I don't like the decor so much, they definitely serve the best coffee in the area. Also I like Java Shack. Common Grounds serves gross coffee that manages to taste both burnt and weak. Yes, the service is rude too. It's a shame because the space is quite nice.

El Charrito is far & away the best place for mexican, followed by Guajillo. El Paso Cafe & Rio Grande are good for Tex-Mex. Mexicali Blues has gone way downhill. El Mexicano is pretty bad, I would love if they did revamp the menu since I live so close. I'd rather walk to Baja Fresh for fast-food Mexican. It doesn't surprise me to learn that it is owned by an Indian gentleman because the El Mexicano in Gaithersburg used to also serve Indian food.

I love Kabab Bazaar for Persian. Ask them to make you a falafel sandwich, it's not on the menu but is a lot of food for under $4.

My tip for cheap weekday lunch is the Verizon cafeteria ...it's not bad for a cheap/quick lunch. They serve salads, pizza, sandwiches, hamburgers, etc...most made to order. If you work in the courthouse area, it's a nice change from going to Wendy's or Boston Market or Cosi or whatever.

Also I really like Abi's for popusas & salvadoran fare.

Has anyone been to the Broiler? It's on Columbia Pike I believe...a lot of my coworkers like it but I've never been, I hear the Philly Cheesesteak is pretty good.

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My favorite place for coffee is defintely greenberry's. Although I don't like the decor so much, they definitely serve the best coffee in the area. Also I like Java Shack. Common Grounds serves gross coffee that manages to taste both burnt and weak. Yes, the service is rude too. It's a shame because the space is quite nice.

El Charrito is far & away the best place for mexican, followed by Guajillo. El Paso Cafe & Rio Grande are good for Tex-Mex. Mexicali Blues has gone way downhill. El Mexicano is pretty bad, I would love if they did revamp the menu since I live so close. I'd rather walk to Baja Fresh for fast-food Mexican. It doesn't surprise me to learn that it is owned by an Indian gentleman because the El Mexicano in Gaithersburg used to also serve Indian food.

I love Kabab Bazaar for Persian. Ask them to make you a falafel sandwich, it's not on the menu but is a lot of food for under $4.

My tip for cheap weekday lunch is the Verizon cafeteria ...it's not bad for a cheap/quick lunch. They serve salads, pizza, sandwiches, hamburgers, etc...most made to order. If you work in the courthouse area, it's a nice change from going to Wendy's or Boston Market or Cosi or whatever.

Also I really like Abi's for popusas & salvadoran fare.

Has anyone been to the Broiler? It's on Columbia Pike I believe...a lot of my coworkers like it but I've never been, I hear the Philly Cheesesteak is pretty good.

This El Mexicano is the different Indian owner than the owner of the other 3. He used to eat at the ones in MD, liked the food, talked the MD owner into franchiseing, and opened in Arlington. It (Arlington) has free wireless inet, btw.

-Jason

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Wow, you guys are covering a lot of places! :)

My favorite for vietnamese food is Cafe Saigon... They have great pho there (pho ga is high quality chicken compared to most places), as well as great bo luc lac (aka shaky beef, aka vietnamese steak)...

Hey, has anyone tried that new Tapas place that opened next to CheeseCake factory in Clarendon? (It's across from Boulevard Woodgrill)

"Compared to me... you're as helpless as a worm fighting an eagle"

BackwardsHat.com

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Wow, you guys are covering a lot of places! :)

My favorite for vietnamese food is Cafe Saigon... They have great pho there (pho ga is high quality chicken compared to most places), as well as great bo luc lac (aka shaky beef, aka vietnamese steak)...

Hey, has anyone tried that new Tapas place that opened next to CheeseCake factory in Clarendon? (It's across from Boulevard Woodgrill)

Cafe Saigon is the one owned by Nam-Viet?

Yes, I've been to La Tasca (a British chain of Spanish tapas) twice. The sangrias and desserts are good. My g/f says that their rice pudding is her favorite that she's tried around here, a nd she has tried several. The crema catalan is not crema catalan, but is chesecake, buit it is good.

With the exception of the goatcheese/tomato salad (which was good) and the lamb w/wine (which was bad)...the other 4 or so tapas we tried were mediocre.

The service has been excellent, with the manager, hostess, and waiters being sensitive to my dinign partner's dietary restrictions. They even substituted the kind of cookign oil in one dish, and went through the whole menu for us...telling us which 10 items she can safely eat.

The place gets really busy though, apcked with young people, and only takes reservations for 5 or more.

Overall, we'll still eat there...because it is close to us, and overall have had good experiences. Not sure why anyone would eat at the DC location, with how close to Jaleo it is.

-Jason

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My favorite place for coffee is defintely greenberry's.

Where is Greenberry's available locally? I got hooked while I was in grad school at UVa, but I didn't realize I could get it up here.

I assume it's someplace in Arlington not so near to where I work (Ballston -- in the E*trade tower).

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My favorite place for coffee is defintely greenberry's.

Where is Greenberry's available locally? I got hooked while I was in grad school at UVa, but I didn't realize I could get it up here.

I assume it's someplace in Arlington not so near to where I work (Ballston -- in the E*trade tower).

I haven't been, but it is in Rosslyn, on wilson, near Guajiullo's and Ray's the Steaks.

-Jason

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El Charrito is far & away the best place for mexican, followed by Guajillo.

I'm new to Arlington, with my office in Ballston....Where is El Charrito? I have seen it mentioned a couple of times on the board and would love to know where to find it! This former Austinite would love to find some good tacos! Thanks!

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El Charrito is far & away the best place for mexican, followed by Guajillo.

I'm new to Arlington, with my office in Ballston....Where is El Charrito? I have seen it mentioned a couple of times on the board and would love to know where to find it! This former Austinite would love to find some good tacos! Thanks!

It is about a mile and a quarter from ballston...down washington blvd past clarendon blvd/wilson blvd.

Why don't you try Rio Grande in Ballston? It is good Tex Mex. I hear El Ranchero (Mexican) on Wilson in Ballston is good, but haven't tried it.

BTW, we tried Tia Maria near the mall yesterday, and it was good Peruvian food. I had the goat.

Other Ballston recs:

Tara Thai

Tirolo (Italian/ astrian, open for lunch only). it is hidden behind tara thai

Food Factory (Pakistani kabobs)

Matsutaki (sushi)

El Pollo Rico is good...but is a metro stop away, at Virginia sq. on kenmore between wilson and fairfax, nera the law school. great rotisseie chicken, but only sides are fries and coleslaw.

-Jason

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Reading through this thread, there's been one thing I've wanted to ask--so I will: how many of these places are special enough to you, or distinctive enough against their competition elsewhere, that you would make an effort to drive to them if you didn't live or work near Arlington? And how many of them are "favorites" more due to proximity?

On my list of Arlington best restaurants that I'd make the effort to drive to even if I didn't live here would be, in order of merit and likely frequency:

Ray's the Steaks

Minh's

Singh Thai

Rocklands

Boulevard Wood Grill

Italian Store (pizza, subs)

Rio Grande (just for the fajitas and iced tea)

That's probably it. I've stopped going to Mexicali Blues, Harry's Tap Room, Guajillo's or any other place in that Ray's the Steak's strip, which I used to think were decent; I've stopped going to any of the many other Mex/Tex-mex/New-Mex places, any other Viet place besides Minh's, any Chinese, any Indian, any sushi, any other Thai besides Singh Thai, because they're not as good as they should be. I drive elsewhere for those cuisines when I get the urge. The chicken places mentioned here seem somewhat better than elsewhere but I've had really good South American-style chiicken all throughtout NoVa--I doubt I'd need to drive back to Arlington if I moved. Too many of the other restaurant types or genres mentioned on this thread seem, at least to me, to be done better elsewhere. I still drop into some of them though because of convenience. For instance, I like Hard Times--and have liked what they do for decades and doubt they could do what they do any better--but I doubt if I lived in Herndon that I'd make the effort to drive to them.

Am I just too jaded or do some of you agree to a certain extent? What makes your "worth a regular drive" list?

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Reading through this thread, there's been one thing I've wanted to ask--so I will: how many of these places are special enough to you, or distinctive enough against their competition elsewhere, that you would make an effort to drive to them if you didn't live or work near Arlington? And how many of them are "favorites" more due to proximity?

On my list of Arlington best restaurants that I'd make the effort to drive to even if I didn't live here would be, in order of merit and likely frequency:

Ray's the Steaks

Minh's

Singh Thai

Rocklands

Boulevard Wood Grill

Italian Store (pizza, subs)

Rio Grande (just for the fajitas and iced tea)

That's probably it. I've stopped going to Mexicali Blues, Harry's Tap Room, Guajillo's or any other place in that Ray's the Steak's strip, which I used to think were decent; I've stopped going to any of the many other Mex/Tex-mex/New-Mex places, any other Viet place besides Minh's, any Chinese, any Indian, any sushi, any other Thai besides Singh Thai, because they're not as good as they should be. I drive elsewhere for those cuisines when I get the urge. The chicken places mentioned here seem somewhat better than elsewhere but I've had really good South American-style chiicken all throughtout NoVa--I doubt I'd need to drive back to Arlington if I moved. Too many of the other restaurant types or genres mentioned on this thread seem, at least to me, to be done better elsewhere. I still drop into some of them though because of convenience. For instance, I like Hard Times--and have liked what they do for decades and doubt they could do what they do any better--but I doubt if I lived in Herndon that I'd make the effort to drive to them.

Am I just too jaded or do some of you agree to a certain extent? What makes your "worth a regular drive" list?

It kind of depends on where we moved to, and what was around there but:

The Italian Store

Arax (Armenian place for Middle eastern desserts, homemade icecream, pita sandwiches)

Taqueria Charrito El Caminante

Nam Viet

Kabob Bazaar

The Courthouse Farmer's Market

Lebanese Taverna (3 are in Arlington, including the original)

I'm on the fence about Bukhara, El Pollo Rico and Tirolo, but I probably wouldn't include them in the list.

I don't like Rocklands, which is too bad since I'm a block from it.

-Jason

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I don't like Rocklands, which is too bad since I'm a block from it.

I have that Rocklands problem as well.

Pollo Rico is great, but I still could not see myself going too far out of the way to get it, especially if I were to move into DC. Maybe if it was nice to sit in there I would consider it, but I usually I just take it home which would be tricky if I wasn't in the area

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I don't like Rocklands, which is too bad since I'm a block from it.

I have that Rocklands problem as well.

Pollo Rico is great, but I still could not see myself going too far out of the way to get it, especially if I were to move into DC. Maybe if it was nice to sit in there I would consider it, but I usually I just take it home which would be tricky if I wasn't in the area

Oh, I don't mind the decor at all. My problem with EPR is the lack of sides. I don't want fries every time I go, and I rarely want slaw.

-Jason

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Everyone always complains about the sides at pollo rico on here, but I think they make really good fries and slaw and look forward to that as well as the chicken. If they started expanding the menu that would only expand the price in my opinion, and that is one of the best selling points

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Re: Matuba

We used to go there, as our first choice in Japanese restaurants in and about Northern VA. Great lunch boxes, etc.

However, what turned us off was a couple of times when we ordered vegetable tempura and one of the vegetables turned out to be parsley. (In the James Bond novel Goldfinger, having bumped against our hero a couple of times, Mr. G said, "Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action." We didn't want to try for the third time).

LARRY W

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Re: Matuba

We used to go there, as our first choice in Japanese restaurants in and about Northern VA. Great lunch boxes, etc.

However, what turned us off was a couple of times when we ordered vegetable tempura and one of the vegetables turned out to be parsley. (In the James Bond novel Goldfinger, having bumped against our hero a couple of times, Mr. G said, "Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action." We didn't want to try for the third time).

We like Matuba and Matsutake, but haven't been out for sushi in Arlington for a while. We aren't Appetizer Plus fans.

-Jason

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