My first meal of the summer season dining al fresco was perfect. The weather, the food, and my dinner mates made it great. Restaurant 3, owned by the Whitlow’s folks, has a nice patio section on Clarendon Blvd. where people-watching is prime. The first thing I spotted on the menu was ‘mac & cheese’ and it was hard to pass up. Turns out, I’m glad I went with my cheesy instincts. 3 doesn’t use traditional elbow noodles or just one kind of cheese. Linguine is the noodle of choice and it was a nice surprise. The dish is very rich and the bowl is deceptively deep, so eating the whole thing would probably bring on a stomach ache for most, but I powered through. I’d definitely order it again after I try a few other menu items that have been calling my name. Next time I’ll get Dickey’s Fried Chicken & Waffles. Hopefully, it will live up to the hype!
3 Bar & Grill
2950 Clarendon Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201
My first trip to the Reston Town Center landed me at The Counter for dinner. From the website it looks like they are a California chain expanding to other states. I’ve never heard of it, but was really excited to build a custom burger once I took a look at their menu. There are all kinds of toppings to choose from. Some are expected like lettuce, tomatoes, and onions, but there are some really interesting options like black bean and corn salsa, spicy sour cream, and fried eggs to name a few. The one I put together (pictured below) was a 1/3 lb beef burger on a honey wheat bun, with spicy sour cream, sauteed mushrooms, scallions, gruyere cheese, jalapenos, lettuce, and tomato. It was REALLY good. Cooked medium – pink with a warm red center.
The burger was juicy and the toppings were fresh. If I didn’t gobble a complementary slider while we were waiting on a table, I might have been able to eat more than half. I was probably also stuffed by all the sweet potato fries and onion strings we ordered. I’d definitely recommend either of those over regular fries. If it were at all possible, I would have tried a milkshake, but I definitely didn’t leave enough room. Maybe next time!
The Counter Reston
11922 Democracy Drive
Reston VA 20190
The most delicious coffee in the world is Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. Something about the cream makes it addictive. So good. And good on your wallet.
Well, my favorite coffee place is letting US decide what the next Dunkin’ Donut will be! How cool is that? They’ve widled it down to 12 finalists and voters can cheer on their favorite creation once a day till May 27, 2009. I’m feeling the “Mexican Hot Chocolate.” VOTE!
These pictures are from our car ride from West Palm Beach to Miami for this year’s South Beach Food and Wine Festival. It hurts my heart I don’t live near a Sonic Drive-in, but you best believe we find the nearest Sonic is when we go on road trips!
Notice how deliciously greasy the hash brown box is. Heaven. But my favorite menu item has to be the strawberry limeade. I love those babies. I couldn’t finish the huge breakfast burrito stuffed with sausage, cheese, egg, tomato, onion, and jalapenos, but I was satisfied with half.
During our trip to Miami for the South Beach Food and Wine Festival we stopped at Jerry’s Famous Deli for lunch. Jerry’s has locations in California and Miami and are known for their extensive menu – over 600 items! Here’s what we ended up ordering:
Cuban sandwich with slaw and potato salad
French toast with a side of fresh fruit
The food wasn’t really noteworthy. Basic diner/deli style food. We gave it a try because we heard that the history of the building is pretty neat.
It was originally called Hoffman’s Cafeteria when it opened in the 30’s, then it became the Warsaw Ballroom. In the 80’s it was a gay nightclub that celebrities like Madonna and Gianni Versace frequented. It was also a building that was used in Miami Vice!
Jerry’s Famous Deli
1450 Collins Avenue
South Beach, Miami, Fl 33139
The food at Ray’s is just as delicious as before! The dining room looks a little different, but I can assure you the furnishings have no affect on the steaks! If these pictures don’t tempt you – you must be crazy 🙂
Today was the grand opening of the new Ray’s the Steaks location in the Navy Building in the Courthouse neighborhood of Arlington. For those of you who don’t already know, Ray’s the Steaks was previously located on Wilson in Rosslyn in the same shopping center as Ray’s Hell Burger. I stopped by to make a reservation and to check out Michael’s new digs. The owner, Michael Landrum took my reservation himself! He is so nice and reminded me I could call and make reservations now too. I could have called, but I decided to stop by to do a little scouting for our group Valentine’s Day dinner this Saturday. At the old Ray’s location, seating was first come first serve – no call ahead reservations!
All the doors were open and as I walked into the reception area I realized it was because the entire place was smokey. Grease fire maybe? Mishaps are not uncommon on opening nights, but the interesting part was that none of the diners seemed to care! Not only did the diners look happy, the people walking in were not deterred by the smoke either! The food is that good. I can’t wait to enjoy the crab bisque, a big steak, the amazing sides, a glass of red wine, and a slice of key lime pie. This place has to be my favorite place to eat…anything.
Ray’s the Steaks
2300 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201
I watched an episode of Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives and this dish stood out when Guy Fieri visited Dot’s Back Inn. It’s named after the street the restaurant is on in Richmond, VA. I tried recreating it at home and loved it! It’s super easy too.
Ingredients (makes 4 servings):
3oz olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
2-3 chicken breasts
1 roma tomato
1 medium white onion
2-3 oz dry white wine
2 -3 oz feta cheese
1 lbs angel hair pasta (I used whole wheat)
salt & pepper to taste
Boil pasta to al dente drain and set aside. While pasta is cooking dice tomato and slice onion and chicken. In a large skillet heat olive oil and garlic. Add onion and chicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. When the chicken is almost fully cooked add white wine. Let the wine evaporate and then add cooked pasta. Stir and add feta and diced tomato.
Dot’s Back Inn
4030 Macarthur Ave.
Filet, Lobster, & grilled mushrooms
Swordfish topped with Crabmeat & Pea Risotto
For NYE in Chicago, my friends and I had dinner at this swanky restaurant and lounge. The Palms Hotel in Las Vegas also has a N9ne steakhouse, which I have never tried before. N9ne Chicago has a club-like vibe which made me glad we sat in a semi – private room in the back but it was still a bit loud. Ben Gordon (and his lady friend) were seated in the first booth from the front entrance! He probably noticed us freaking out because we did not do a great job of hiding our excitement. 🙂
The decor was clean and modern and the service was great. The waiter was experienced and helpful, but had to scream over the music and conversation to deliver the specials. We had the whole shebang – apps, entree, wine, champagne, dessert, and coffee. Everything was good. Nothing blew me away, but I’d go back again for the atmosphere. Next time I’ll scale back and just order an entree with a glass of wine. Our NYE pricetag was $160 per person not including the drinks we had after dinner at Ghostbar upstairs.
440 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60606
My co-worker told me about the greatest deal – $4.99 chili mac week at Hard Times Cafe! It runs till Sunday, November 2. We went last night and it was delicious! First, the waitress came by with small samplings of 4 kinds of chili.
When she came back to take our order, I picked the Terlingua 5-way and added chopped jalepenos and sour cream. Chili mac also comes with a warm slice of cornbread. I could only get through 1/3 of the plate before I was completely stuffed (guess what I’m having for lunch today 🙂 )! The chili has a lot of flavor and the spaghetti was cooked al dente – just how I like it.
Hard Times Cafe
3028 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201