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DC BBQ


sandal
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So, I enjoy an occasional gluttonous BBQ outing.  I've been in DC for 2 years, and never really found anything.  Old Glory in G-town is OK, I suppose.  I was wondering if there are any other suggestions.  Steve  mentioned Rockland's BBQ, which I hope to visit soon.

On a totally unrelated note, I just went to Georgia Brown's, and thought it was wonderful.  The pork chops are divine.  The appetizers were plentiful, but not too impressive as the entres and desserts.

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Sandal--you may have seen we've had a few heated discussions about barbecue on other boards.  If you read the Post and the Washingtonian they've had their favorites and there is little agreement or concensus--nor can there ever be inherently.  I think it also depends how much barbecue baggage and pre-conceptions you bring to the issue.  (Barbecue tends to bring out alot of "authenticity" wackos who wax poetic on proper technique.)

I haven't had good experiences at Old Glory--and actually think it fits in quite well with Georgetown, an area I frequently bash for being underwhelming and unimpressive for dining.  Though some, whose opinions I trust on other restaurants, have written and spoken highly of it.

I've never been disappointed with Rocklands since the original location in Glover Park opened.  I lived a few blocks away for 10 years and enjoyed many a brisket, pulled pork or grilled salmon sandwich there.  Now that we live in Courthouse, we still go to the Carpool Rocklands--and when my wife and I got married last year, we asked John Snedden to do our rehearsal dinner.  He didn't disappoint and even did a whole roast pig for us, which we proceeded to pick apart very primally.

Also in this part of Arlington is Red, Hot & Blue in several forms, none of them consistent of late.  Years ago I've had very good food from them.

I haven't had any ribs up here, even at Rocklands, that rival the regional barbecues I'm used to, like in Louisville Kentucky.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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I don't (really) eat red meat, so I don't hit the bbq joints too often. But that being said, I adore side dishes of the sort you might get with bbq. I went to a potluck once that somebody brought Rockland's goodies from, and I really enjoyed the corn casserole she picked up.

So, when you talk about bbq joints, please don't be shy and mention the sides. Does anybody do a good hush puppy in DC?

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Malawry--on the non-meat issue--and admittedly not barbecue, but have you tried the red vegetarian chili at Hard Times?  Nicely spiced and interesting, I think.  I've chosen to order it over the meaty ones several times.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Here is Malawry's Hard Times Vegetarian Chili History:

1. I eat it in 1998 when I work on-site at the FBI when they have a booth for some festival day there. I think it's fine.

2. A year later I eat it at another street festival. Same opinion.

3. Six months after that, my partner Erin's (not edemuth) office moves close to Clarendon. Erin starts raving about Hard Times vegetarian chili and insisting we eat it.

4. I join Erin for dinner there. I order sweet tea and the vegetarian chili over spaghetti with onions and cheese. They've won my heart with the sweet tea (I am a native of NC after all) but am still neutral on the chili.

5. By happenstance, I end up dining there again a week later. Halfway through my plate I realize this is really good.

6. I lick my plate.

7. I wake up the next morning craving more.

8. I start a weekly Hard Times vegetarian chili habit. This lasts for about a year.

Current status: I still like it a lot but the worst of my addiction has fortunately waned. I always eat it on spaghetti with cheese and onions, and I usually polish off a piece of cornbread while I'm at it. (The sweet tea, much as I love it, is just too much calorically since I can slurp back a gallon in the blink of an eye. So I avoid it now.)

It's very different from my own personal vegetarian chili, but it's still ultimately satisfying. Whoda thunk peanuts would be good in chili? Hm, I should bug Erin about going back sometime soon...

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Oyster crackers RULE.

I've had two good BBQ experiences recently:

BreadLine, 18th & Pennsylvania Avenues (on Penn next to $tarbuck$).  They make a mean pork BBQ sandwich, nicely vinegary hot (not sweet at all).  As with all their sandwiches, it's on great bread.  Note:  they're only open M-F for breakfast and lunch (always crowded).  Their sandwich offerings also change daily, so it's not available all the time.  Also not-to-miss:  their Cuban sandwich and their fried fish sandwich.

Bungalow Billards in Shirlington (across from the movie theater).  Another good pork BBQ sandwich; this one slightly less spicy and a little sweet.  It comes with kick-ass fries, some of the best I've had.  Their food is definitely a notch above your average pool place; good service too.  Lots of beer on tap and in bottles if you're so inclined.  I like the Newcastle Brown Ale.

I LOVE Hard Times.  Been a regular since the first one opened in Old Town.  I'm partial to their house root beer on tap and their Terlingua Red chili (Texas before that).  I always ask them to serve it as dry as possible, and even then there's still plenty of grease!  But it's oh so good.  :biggrin:

Erin
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Also in this part of Arlington is Red, Hot & Blue in several forms, none of them consistent of late.  Years ago I've had very good food from them.

Sorry to hear that.

Years ago when they first opened (and I used to impersonate him with GNP) it was great fun to have Lee Atwater working the room. He would even sit down and chat with you.

I remember the food being good.

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Really good Christopher, really good.  But then that was before Lee died and before their big franchise push all over the place.

You should come back to Clarendon and Courthouse for a visit--there's some interesting development going on--a "Ballston-like" encrouchment on all the used car/old timey quaint character of the neighborhood.  We're going upscale and upladder in a hurry.  There's a slick "Boulevard Woodgrill" set to open diagonally across the corner from Whitlow's on Wilson ( a place, incidentally, where I have never had adequate food.)

Have you seen the new fake "Shirlington-style" town center that just opened up across the street from the Whole Foods Market?  It's anchored on one side by Pottery Barn and on the other side by Crate & Barrel.  What this portends for dining--fine or otherwise--remains to be seen.

Just my luck Kinkead's will open a spin-off.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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  • 1 month later...

To tie several threads together:

Edemuth, my partner Erin, our housemate Abi, and I hit Hard Times last night for din dins. I ordered my usual 4-way vegetarian chili mac, about half of which I ate and half of which I will consume for lunch. Edemuth ordered the Terlingua Red, and Abi got the Cincinatti style, so I had the opportunity to sample beef two ways. This was my first beef in about a decade. It wasn't that flavorful on its own...what I tasted was mostly chili spices. I liked the Cincinnati style more but I sense that if I acclimated to eating red meat, I'd probably prefer the darker, hotter Terlingua. I was also quite happy with my vegetarian chili, which I washed down with a pint of the house root beer. Mmmmmm.

Afterwards, we went home and I served my first-ever homemade pie: strawberry-rhubarb two-crust. I'm allergic to strawberries so I didn't eat the pie, but I tasted the crust and it was quite excellent. I like pie! I'll make one again soon...maybe once blueberries come into season.

So, Jinmyo, no Texas chili for me, but both the Terlingua and Cincinnati were bean-free chilis. And followed up with pie, how good can life get? :biggrin:

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  • 1 year later...

I tried to eat at Rocklands in Clarendon last night. :angry: I wanted to take my husband out to celebrate a career milestone and he wanted ribs. We got to Rocklands, walked in the door and were asked for ID. I had mine, but he had left his at home. We were told to leave. I asked "Can't we just eat?" And was told no. We are both 28 and don't look young. What gives? I can see the need to be careful, especially since the place is so close to GMU, but I have never been turned away from eating at a restaurant because I didn't have ID. NOT a good way to to business. A happy customer tells two or three people. An unhappy customer tells everyone they know....

So I guess I'll never find out if Rocklands is any good, because I'm not going back.

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I tried to eat at Rocklands in Clarendon last night.  :angry:  I wanted to take my husband out to celebrate a career milestone and he wanted ribs.  We got to Rocklands, walked in the door and were asked for ID.  I had mine, but he had left his at home.  We were told to leave.  I asked "Can't we just eat?"  And was told no.  We are both 28 and don't look young.  What gives?  I can see the need to be careful, especially since the place is so close to GMU, but I have never been turned away from eating at a restaurant because I didn't have ID.  NOT a good way to to business.  A happy customer tells two or three people.  An unhappy customer tells everyone they know....

So I guess I'll never find out if Rocklands is any good, because I'm not going back.

It's actually in Ballston.

Anyway, that Rocklands is IN a bar (Carpool) so they proof. We were proofed there once, when we tried to sit at a table. I certainly understand your frustration.

I will say this for N.VA...the places that proof seem to do it regardless of how old you look. I've seen people in their 50's proofed buying bottles of wine at Giant. *shrug* I'm not within a decade of 21..but still get proofed.

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I wasn't mad about being carded- I just felt the situation was ridiculous. I had no idea that Rocklands was in a bar. We checked out their website before heading out and there was no indication of it. And obviously it's not in my 'hood since I thought it was in Clarendon (Wilson Blvd. is all the same to me anyway :raz: )

Regardless, live and learn.

I'm not fond of Annette's. The times I've eaten there the meat seemed "wet" to me. Not what this Georgia girl likes in a bbq. Guess I'll have to wait until I go home for a visit to eat some good ol' pulled pork.

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I wasn't mad about being carded- I just felt the situation was ridiculous.  I had no idea that Rocklands was in a bar.  We checked out their website before heading out and there was no indication of it.  And obviously it's not in my 'hood since I thought it was in Clarendon (Wilson Blvd. is all the same to me anyway  :raz: )

Its not on Wilson. Its on fairfax Dr. :)

Is Anette's metro accessible?

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:biggrin: And I was sober! What I love about Arlington is how there are something like 10 23rd streets in the county. Easy to get lost, but I like living here anyway.

Annette's isn't very metro-friendly. It's in a shopping center on Van Dorn Street. I think you could go to Van Dorn Metro and take a bus if you want.

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This really surprises me, I eat at that Rocklands branch all the time. Happy customer here telling everyone I know. Which entrance did you go in? And what time were you there? The main entrance to Rocklands faces N. Fairfax Drive--you open those doors and you are AT the cash register to place your order. I've never seen anyone at that front door carding people. Did you park in the lot on the side and enter by the patio--if so, that's into the bar and I can understand carding people there. It's likely you got a doorman with an attitude NOT in the employ of Rocklands, indeed, not connected in any way.

I hope you give it another chance. John Snedden has done good work for a long time, I was living in Glover Park in 89/90 when he opened that first store and he'd likely be as upset about your inconvenience as you were.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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The Ballston location is the Rocklands I've been too and there is usually someone at the door in the restaurant in the early evening. I'm 42 and he will usually ask for ID (but not always). Probably depends on the person and how he feels at the time.

I recall reading their policy on "carding" somewhere in the restaurant. I think it is only done at certain times of the day. Perhaps when the bar next door is open? My impression was that it depended on the situation: young kids (e.g., 8 y.o.) were okay because no one would serve them alcohol and an inspector would not think they were being served. But I think anyone who is a teenager or older is suspect. I recall the explanation was something to the effect that Rockland did not want to "card" once you were on the premises so you had to prove you were over 21 to enter. Even if you were only eating there and not intending to drink, Rocklands did not want to have to justify to an inspector that a teenager was not being served.

Edited by Gary Tanigawa (log)
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The best bbq in the D. C. area is in Charles County at one of several places including Johnny Boy's on route 301 in La Plata. Charles County, I believe, is the ony local jurisdiction which allows open pits and there are at least 10 to 12 if not more. Several will rival the better places in Georgia and elsewhere. Most have the ambience to match anywhere: primitive.

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The best bbq in the D. C. area is in Charles County at one of several places including Johnny Boy's on route 301 in La Plata.  Charles County, I believe, is the ony local jurisdiction which allows open pits and there are at least 10 to 12 if not more.  Several will rival the better places in Georgia and elsewhere.  Most have the ambience to match anywhere:  primitive.

It's good to know there are open pits in the area. What style of BBQ do these places serve?

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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there's a place over in ft washington off of indian head hwy-don't know what it's called but i was out w/al dente one afternoon and he smelled it before i did-quite a feat considering that i was born in north cackalackey. we stopped and got some delicious ribs w/ sauce and slices of white bread. there's also a spot over in the landmark section of alex. called (i think) tastee burger. the Q is imported from n.c. but they pile on the slaw and it's good for a quick fix. they also serve greasy truckstop breakfasts and half-smokes. when i lived in tx, i went through total pig withdrawal- all i could get was friggin' brisket, but now that i'm away from it i think that capital Q is pretty darn good, cheap and i can get smoked turkey there-great before hockey games. but give me an oven or grill and i can make some pretty bitchin BBq-hush puppies on the side (i go for vinagar style with a little hash thrown in!)

"Ham isn't heroin..." Morgan Spurlock from "Supersize Me"

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