Easter Brunch

Every year before Easter I post the best Sunday Brunches around. This year we have a few new restaurants to the list. Make sure to get your reservations before Sunday.

Sunday Brunch is a ritual for a lot of people, but where to go is always a chore. I know that every single restaurant these days has brunch and it is hard to decide where to go. I wanted to write up a list of great places that I have gone for brunch, to make your lives easier. Plus, a lot of these places are not that well known and will allow you to call today for reservations.

Pienza Italian Market

One of my new favorites is the brunch at the Pienza Italian Market at the Gaylord National hotel at the National Harbor. The buffet is like one in vegas. It appears to be a quarter mile long. They offer everything from fresh baked pastries to custom omlets to a dessert bar with fresh custard. It is definately a place to go.

For Reservations call (301) 965-2000 – 201 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, MD 20745.

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Review: Granville Moore’s

Do you ever watch the Food Network?  If so you have probably seen the Chef/Owner of Granville Moore’s, Teddy Folkman.  He beat Bobby Flay in a mussels throwdown.  He also was on season 5 of the Next Food Network star.  Granted he was best known for being the guy that lied, but heck that has nothing to do with his food.  Besides Teddy, Granfille Moore’s is known for Moules Frites.  What is Moules Frites, why it is Mussels and Fries.  I love mussels so I had to give this place a try.

Walking to the place we almost missed it and walked right by the door.  The only sign is quite small and above the front door.  If it wasn’t for the line outside, we would totally have missed it.  Once inside we waited for a seat at the bar.  Oh, if you don’t have a reservation, you will be waiting a long while for a table.  Luckily we found a spot at the bar.  I like the bar, you can really see how a restaurant works by watching the waitstaff.  It doesn’t matter what restaurant you are in, the waitstaff always migrates to the bar.  If the waitstaff is having fun, you will have fun.  Plus, the bartenders will not steer you wrong when it comes to the menu.  This might be a bit biased, as I bartended for 8 years, but it has not failed me.

Granville Moore’s goes through 1200 pounds of mussels and 1400 pounds of potatoes every single week.  They must be doing something right.  The menu is focused on a Gastropub theme that is heavily focused on the mussels, fries and dipping sauces. Don’t forget the massive selection of Belgian Beers.  Chimay anyone?

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What to do this weekend in DC – (November 13 – November 15)

This weekend in DC is a little slow.  Not too much going on in the culinary scene.  Although not much is going on, there are still plenty of things to do.  So this weekend I am going to highlight a few places that I love to go to eat. The location this week is Annandale.   They are a little out of the way for you DC and Maryland readers, but well worth it.

The Mount Vernon Gingerbread House – (Nov. 12-24)

Roland Mesnier the former White House Pastry Chef is constructing a replica of George Washington’s Mount Vernon.  Every day from the 12th to the 24th Roland will be constructing the replica in the Vaughan Lobby from 10am to 3pm.  Visitors can watch as Mesnier constructs the masterpiece, which will include intricate details such as works of art on walls and several marzipan figures.  The best part is that admission to the Mount Vernon Estate is not required to visit the Vaughan Lobby, so this is totally free.

Great Places to Visit – Annandale, Va

Honey Pig Gooldaegee Korean Grill – 7220-C Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA 22003

Honey Pig is a hip Korean BBQ grill.  With good music, fun atmosphere and the fact that it is open 24 hours makes this a go to place for Korean BBQ.  I recommend the Sam Gyup Sal (Pork Belly), Kalbi (short ribs) and Bul Goki (marinated lean beef).    Don’t forget to get some soju (Distilled rice liquor, similar to vodka with around 20% alcohol content).

Read moreWhat to do this weekend in DC – (November 13 – November 15)

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Best Buffalo Wings in DC

I love buffalo wings. As can be seen from the Wingtacular, Best Buffalo Sauce and the red stain on my shirt. So I have decided to list the best buffalo wings in the DC area. This list is not totally complete as I haven’t had every single hot wing from every single restaurant, but it is rather thorough. Feel free to chime in with your favorites. If I haven’t been there I will look it up and try them out.  They might cause the list to change up.

Hot Wings
Hot Wings

Requirements for a great hotwing:

  • Nice juicy wing
  • The wing has to have meat, some places serve the tiniest wings that literally have no meat on them.  (They are not on this list, you know who you are).
  • The wing sauce has to be spicy, but flavorful.  Some sauces are hot, but there is no flavor to the wing.  All you get is spice.  On the other hand there are places that have smokey and sweet sauces but absolutely no spice.  There has to be delicate balance.
  • The wings have to be affordable.  I don’t want to pay $20 for 10 wings.  That is absurd.  Chicken wings are cheap to purchase and unless the sauce has gold dust in it, I am not paying that much for a wing.

Click below to see the list

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Columbia Firehouse

109 South Saint Asaph Street
Alexandria, VA 22314-3119
(703) 683-1776
http://www.columbiafirehouse.com/

Columbia Firehouse is located in Old Town Alexandria in the same space as the old Bookbinder Steakhouse.  Walking in I thought I was still in Bookbinders.  If you didn’t see the name out front, you wouldn’t know walking into the restaurant. Almost as if they did not even change anything at all.

The building is nice. It is full of rich woodwork, stained glass and even has a atrium dining room. I was seated in the atrium dining room for my meal. It nice but rather noisy. The service was a little slow and the server had to be asked about the specials (pet peeve). I originally went to Columbia Firehouse with Ryan and Melissa for Restaurant Week, but after glancing over the menu we decided to order off the menu.  There was only one entree that could be combined with one appetizer on the whole menu that could add up with dessert to be $35.09.  To make matters worse, neither of those options were available on the Restaurant Week menu.

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Restaurant Review – Pienza Italian Market

Pienza Italian Market – 3 stars My parents came to town this last weekend and since it was Mother’s Day I made brunch reservations at Pienza Italian Market.  Pienza Italian Market is located in the Gaylord National Hotel at the National Harbor.  They have a large outdoor dining area that is located underneath the giant … Read moreRestaurant Review – Pienza Italian Market

Sunday “Easter” Brunch

With the upcoming holiday weekend I wanted to post about what to do this weekend in Washington, DC.  But after realizing that it is Easter weekend, there is only one thing came to mind.  Sunday Brunch!!! and… Mimosas.

Sunday Brunch is a ritual for a lot of people, but where to go is always a chore.  I know that every single restaurant these days has brunch and it is hard to decide where to go.  I wanted to write up a list of great places that I have gone for brunch, to make your lives easier.  Plus, a lot of these places are not that well known and will allow you to call today for reservations. 

Read moreSunday “Easter” Brunch

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Minibar

405 8th Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 393-0812
http://www.cafeatlantico.com/miniBar/miniBar.htm

I said it in the Cafe Atlantico post, I would return.  I did and it was a whole lot better than the first time.

Ahh minibar. When visiting cafe atlantico on the second floor sits a small counter with just six stools. Many without knowing think it is just a small bar sitting area for the one tops, but no, the lucky few that get to sit at those six seats each night are the luckiest people in the restaurant.

With just six seats and two servings each night it is hard to get just one of those hallowed seats. But how do you get a seat at minibar? My only answer is to call, call a lot. Reservations for minibar open up every day when the restaurant opens. But remember when you call you are calling for a reservation exactly one month from the day that you call. So if I call today March 30th, it would be for a reservation on April 30th. Sounds easy right? Nope. One more caviat. They start taking reservations at 10 am and  are regularly booked by 10:01 am.

So what are a few tips for snagging a reservation.

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Ray’s Butcher Burger

1713 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA 22209 (703) 841-0001 Butcher Burger, or Hellburger as it’s known locally, makes some damn good burgers.  Which is not totally unexpected, since it is owned by the same man who runs Rays the Steaks, located just a few storefronts away.  Whether it is worth the money and the time, that’s … Read moreRay’s Butcher Burger

Flying Fish – The Recap

815 King St Alexandria, VA 22314 www.flyingfishdc.com The yellow and purple Chi-chi-esque decor, out of place with the younger, hipster patrons who frequent this otherwise stylishly furnished sushi bar/restaurant, is only a foreshadowing of the gastronomical delights in store for those who eat here. Our server was a bubbly, personality-laden red-head who swore, wrongly, that … Read moreFlying Fish – The Recap

Cafe Atlantico

405 8th Street NW Washington, DC 20004 http://www.cafeatlantico.com/ The expectations for this restaurant were very high.  With Jose Andres and Katsuya Fukushima one could expect nothing but perfection.  After eating at Cafe Atlantico I have come to the harsh reality that my expectations were completely wrong.  Everything started great.  We sat at the bar and … Read moreCafe Atlantico