Category Archives: You're Welcome

Good Eats 5.0

In anticipation of guests (visitor season runs preeeetty much all year), I bequeath unto you, version 5.0. Note, this is not in order of rating or preference.

Good Eats 1.0

Good Eats 2.0

Good Eats 3.0

Good Eats 4.0

Baji’s Top Eateries Around Town:

  • Best Brunch: SS: Eggspectation has usurped the throne from Le Madeline. A chain, yes, but only 6 restaurants in the area and a few elsewhere. Anyway, not only is it around the corner from us, but the menu is wide and varied with enough selections to please anyone. The Brioche Beauty has mysteriously disappeared (victim to Le Mad’s revenge?) but other dishes support Egg’s coup d’etat.
  • Best 24-hour:  SS: Tastee Diner. It’s actually terrible. But it is open all the time. Nowhere near as amazing as DC’s The Diner  or Open City but it is around the corner from us and the milk shakes are amazing, especially when coupled with hot, crispy fries. Plus, they don’t mind you using their free wi-fi and a/c or heat when the power goes out which, as we found, is about once a season. Also very kid-friendly.
  • Best Burger: BurgerFi. You’d think I’d say Urban Butcher but I actually prefer their ahi tuna and ginger ceviche than I did their unhinge-your-jaw, hope-you-like-it-raw burger.
  • Best Steak: The Classics (formerly known as Ray’s The Classics). Downside: only open for dinner and kind of kid-unfriendly.
  • Best Greek: SS: Big Greek Cafe.
  • Best Sushi: SS: reluctantly vote Ikko sushi for this category. It’s fine and all but it’s no Kotobuki. DC: Kotobuki. Bite-sized morsels that melt in your mouth and at a great price.
  • Best Ethiopian: SS: Abol. Although I suspect they stole my credit card info and now only use cash, I still go here because the food is good and the lunch special is a deal. If in DC, Meskerem – NO!  RIP. Dukem only because it’s the only other one I’ve been to and it’s still in business!
  • Best Indian: SS: Toss up between Ghar-E-Kebab and Jewel of India. Both are close by although Ghar is closer to our ghar than Jewel is. Don’t listen to tp who always insists that the tandoori chicken is the way to go. Get the butter chicken and thank me later (i.e. while I’m helping you eat it off your plate). DC: Rasika. Seriously amazing stuff including their famous Palak Chaat (crispy spinach).
  • Best South Indian: SS(ish): Udupi Palace. Woodlands. No longer a hike to get there and the all-you-can eat brunch with free dosas makes it worth it. Discovered that the non-buffet sit-down-and-eat-properly fare is even better. The grocery store next door is nicely stocked as well. And if you want meat dishes, visit Jewel of India (see above).
  • Best Spanish tapas: SS: La Malinche. Great food for high prices. Maybe just go there for lunch. DC: Goodbye Jaleo and your stupid new tricks [food in a shoe, indeed]. We’ll choose DC’s Oyamel for now with its absolutely lovely waitstaff and wonderful table-side guacamole show.
  • Best Vietnamese: SS: Lotus Cafe. Appropriately run down and reminds us very much of St. Louis. Runner up: the new but too trendy (and acc’ to tp, the pho doesn’t have enough subtle layers of flavor) Pho Hiep Hoa. DC: Nam Viet. Haven’t had a bad meal there yet.
  • Best Thai: SS(ish) Nava Thai   Ruan Thai. Beware, this place is wildly popular on the weekends. One larb-gai-craving evening, we called to place an order to pick up and we were told there was over a two-hour wait.  TO PICK UP! Worth it.
  • Best Middle Eastern: Lebanese Taverna. Another crowd-pleaser that we often visit when money-bags parents are in town. There is a cafe version in DTSS which offers tasty falafel and hummus but nothing beats the newly-renovated DTDC one. DC: Rosemary’s Thyme. Pide is divine. Go on the weekend and they’ll throw an egg or two on it for you!
  • Best Pizza: SS: Pete’s Pizza. Pete’s offers New Haven-type pizza and delivers AND a opened just around the corner from us! DC: Two Amys offers Neapolitan style pizza and requires driving and I haven’t been there in years but have fond memories of it. MD and DC: Vace. Salty goodness.
  • Best Bagels: SS: Goldberg’s New York Bagels. Goldberg’s is closed on Saturday for the shabbat so you KNOW they are good. DC: So’s Your Mom.
  • Best Afghan: VA: Afghan Restaurant. What the name lacks in cleverness, the cuisine makes up for in taste. Way far away in Crystal City.
    Best Turkish: VA: Kazan. Our go-to place when visiting Grandpa in McLean which is lousy with conservatives but that’s the price you pay for visiting this lovely eatery.
  • Best Kebabs: MD: Tie between our beloved and mild but tasty and juicy Moby Dick (Bethesda and also in DC) and Kabob N Karahi (spicy and quite a hike; worth it). VA: Food Factory. Kabob Palace. Also way far away in Crystal City but since LB works right there, easy enough to place an order through her and have it delivered.  Through her.  Tip well!
  • Best Mexican: MD/DC: Mi Cocina. only the good die young! I miss you, tacos de brisket!  [tbd] DC: Mixtec.Super Tacos. Just click on the link and turn up the volume to get your first taste. Mi Rancho is much much closer but does not even compare. Pity Taqueria Distrito Federal didn’t stay in business. Why can’t Silver Spring keep its Mexican restaurants?
  • Best Latkes, Pastrami Sandwiches, Matzoh Ball Soup, and French Toast: Open City. SS: Parkway Deli. Don’t let the cranky old people dissuade you from standing in a sluggish line to get seated elbow-to-elbow with them.
  • Best Seafood: DC: Grillfish. Wide selection and since they specialize in fish, you can’t be steered too wrongly as, say, if you visited one of those mix of cuisine joints.
  • Best Italian: SS: Santucci‘s. Mean subs: DC: La Tomate. The other dishes are great too but I love their ps’ghetti. VA: Italian Store. Does exactly what it says on the tin.
  • Best Lasagna: SS: Olazzo. Veggie and meat.
  • Best Gelato: DC: Dolcezza. Pitango Gelato. *dies*.
  • Best Ice Cream: SS: Tropical Ice Cream. Update: they closed. Update: they are open again but I’ve not been to the new rendition so will reserve judgment.
  • Best Spring Rolls: DC: Thaiphoon. Crunchy and veggie.
  • Best Tea: DC: Teaism. Lovely wares and calming atmosphere.
  • Best Coffee: Our house. Seriously, nothing much comes close to our Nespresso. MD: Kaldi‘s. Ridiculously uncomfortable chairs, pretty decent cup o’ joe. DC: Illy. Always.
  • Best Bakery: SS: Kaldi’s again!  House-made buttery, flaky goodness. For cakes: Woodmoor. DC: Le Caprice (will fess up to slight nepotism here as my friend’s family owns it).
  • Best Cuban: Cubano’s. If all you want are arepas, then visit Arepas Pues. If you want all other Cuban dishes done right (and hot and in a timely fashion), go to Cubano’s. Viva ropa vieja!
  • Best Cupcakes: DC: Baked & Wired. Who knows how long this ridiculous cupcake fad will last but while it does, this is the place to go.
  • Best Fancy Nearby: GP: Black Market Bistro. SS: 8407 Kitchen Bar. Last time I was there, I got the “8407 Lamb Bolognaise with House Made Tagliatelle” and was well-pleased but ownership has changed hands since then so I’m not sure if I can vouch for them any more. I could have chosen Mrs. K’s Tollhouse but unless you are a 70 year old woman and/or just coming back from church on Sunday morning, you should stick with Kitchen Bar. DC: Komi. Haven’t had the pleasure or luxury of hitting up Rose’s luxury but they’d have a high bar to jump to beat Komi.
  • Best Burmese: SS: Mandalay. Gives me tummy rumblin’s every time but I keep going back.
  • Best French: MD: Mon Ami Gabi. Our go-to place for exquisite steaks, mouth-watering seafood, and artery-clogging fries and dessert. DC: Le Diplomate. Perhaps all the fame has died down and you can get a seat here but hedge your bets and go for lunch instead of putting all your money on a weekend night.
  • Best Laotian: DC: Thip Khao. Not much competition but even if there were, this would win for the sticky mango rice alone.
  • Best Jamaican: SS: Negril. Not much competition but even if there were, this would win for the patties alone.
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Superb Blurb: N.A. Bhatti

I recently came across a letter written by my grandfather to my mother. My grandfather was a writer by trade and by DNA – a trait I have inherited. I’ve heard the stories about how he would slip layers of carbon paper between airmail sheets, chronicle the day’s events, and send the original and carbon copies (you didn’t know that’s what cc stood for, did you, youngsters?) to the family. I, myself, received numerous letters full of amusing anecdotes, inquiries as to my education and health, and words of wisdom. I was overcome with a wave of déjà vu when I read this passage because it is exactly what my mother told/taught us whenever we would thank our parents for all that they did from giving us love, respect, and a good education to taking us around the world to giving us money for everlasting gobstoppers. Here’s a special Thanksgiving Day edition of Superb Blurb to consider as you give thanks next week:

Islamabad, 1st August, 1968
You write that you are always grateful to us for whatever we did for you. You need not say so. As long as you conduct yourself like a Muslim and in a manner such as will bring credit to the household to which you now belong and to the family of which you were a part, we shall consider that as your expression of gratitude.

30 Minute Meals With Rasheed Reikh

Unanticipated visitors arriving within the hour and you don’t have any appetizers stashed away in your fridge?  Too lazy to fry up some onions and garlic, add some garam masala and tomatoes, and dump a can of garbanzo beans/chick peas with a pinch of baking soda for a quick dish of channa?  Then follow these easy steps to satisfy and impress your guests!

1.  Go to the local grocery store (mine is Harris Teeter but Whole Foods works as well) and purchase a box of Sukhi’s Gourmet Indian Cuisine.  I deliriously and highly recommend the Samosa and Chutney.

2.  Pre-heat oven (five minutes) and bake (twenty-five minutes).  Rest the bag of chutney on top of the stove to speed up the thawing of the delectable condiment.

3. Plate and serve.  Try not to be a chut slut(tm).

I Thought You Should Know…

…that someone is selling a set of two small white Chanel shopping bags for $14.95, plus $5 shipping (they are authentic, y’all, the seller says so!). The glossy ones will set you back $21.95, plus shipping.

Public Service Announcement: The Kumars and Stephen Fry

Dear Netflix subscriber who is racing madly through the Instant Queue but got distracted when you saw that The Kumars at No. 42 is offered and had no choice but to bump it to the top of the list:

Do not panic when you hone in to view the episode in Season Two identified as “Episode 6” and featuring “Stephen Fry” (love) and “Lesley Garrett” (only watchable b/c Fry is still there) and instead wind up with “Nigel Havers” (charming) and “Ronan Keating” (who?).   Somebody mixed the two up and what you should really aim your cursor at is “Episode 3” to get your Fry on.  Or, you can go ahead and cancel your Netflix immediately and just watch it here with horrible sound quality.

Happy Bananaversary to Us!

Aw, our tiny little darling of a blog has turned a year old.  Both of us missed the momentous and auspicious date.  Meh.

Introducing The All Gelato Diet

I recently acquired (translation: borrowed from LB/KG) an ice cream maker and have been experimenting every night with new concoctions.  Brown sugar ice cream (molassesy!), lemon lime sorbet (puckery!), dark chocolate gelato (blinding.  and by that i mean when you take your first taste of it, your eyelids slam shut in ecstasy and you can’t see for approximately twenty to twenty-five minutes).  I tried to sneak some watermelon away from TP and Babu last night but they totally bogarted the whole thing.  My homemade salsa is such a hit that I’m seriously considering making a sorbet version soon.  Until the test results are out on that, enjoy this photo and top five and, if you are so inclined to make a batch yourself, follow these instructions.

you know you are dying inside

Top Five Reasons Homemade Gelato is Healthier For You Than You Thought:

  • Less fat than ice cream
  • Fresh ingredients v. Processed Ingredients = TKO
  • Separation of egg yolks results in ample amount of egg whites which (if you are like me and hate to throw stuff away) means you can make healthier omelets
  • Less air than ice cream makes it denser and feel creamier and therefore you don’t feel like you need to eat more than a scoop
  • Small production unit means tiny portions doled out in a highly stingy manner means less calories and fat all around.

Update: upon seeing the gazpacho sorbet and the tomato and basil sorbet recipes, I tried my hand at salsa sorbet – not a complete FAIL but nothing I’d guzzle down and ask for seconds any time soon.  Half a teaspoon taste for all (if only to say we tried it) and now it’s back in the fridge to be used as regular salsa.