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
My favorite summer drink of all time is a frozen swirl margarita/sangria. And they are good at Rio Grande in Ballston. A couple of these during Friday happy hour and you’re good to go ;)
The drink is good, but not the reason for this post. Behold. El Plato Gordo:
Serves 3-4. Ribs, steak, chicken, bacon wrapped shrimp, & fresh flour tortillas. Yummmmmmmm.
4301 N. Fairfax Dr.
Arlington, VA 22203
Love fried chicken? Do the flavors of Korean cuisine make you mouth water? Go to Bon Chon in Annandale, VA for the best combination of these foodie favorites.
Bon Chon chicken is fried to perfection in a choice of spicy or soy garlic sauce with a side of pickled daikon radish. Their cooking process takes a really long time, (usually 30-45 min – so I call ahead) but it’s well worth the wait. It comes out hot and crispy on the outside, and juicy on the inside. Unlike the fried chicken Americans are used to, Bon Chon chicken doesn’t have the flaky batter on the skin. This place is a must-try. Unlike any fried chicken you’ve had before. Guaranteed.
6653 Little River Tpke # H
Annandale, VA 22003
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 :)
We had friends in town from Chicago this past weekend and one of the destinations on our list was THE best coffee shop in the DC area, Murky Coffee. It’s a small quirky hangout spot that is definitely a local favorite. Everything they do here is done with skill and perfection. I seriously have never had a bad latte from there and am more than willing to wait 5-10 minutes for one of their perfect pours. It’s incredible how thick they can get the milk to foam – not to mention the cute latte art they can do with their eyes closed! Katie and Allie, two of their amazing baristas took 1st and 2nd place at this year’s Mid Atlantic Regional Barista Competition. Congratulations girls – you rock :)
3211 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201
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.
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
Pho 75 has the best pho (Vietnamese beef noodle soup) which is rumored to be a great cure for hangovers…
There’s not much else on the menu, but why would you come here for anything but pho anyway? The broth is very flavorful and the noodles are chewy. I like to add all the side items: sprouts, Thai basil, lime, hot sauce, & a little hoisin sauce. The food comes quick, less than 2 minutes after ordering, no joke.
The iced coffee with condensed milk is killer too.
A regular sized bowl is under $7. The restaurant has communal long tables and they take cash only – just walk up to the register and tell them what you got.
1721 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22209