Posts Tagged ‘Restaurant’

Contortionism at it’s Best!

March 26, 2009

Tonight my parents, Capt., my friend DG, her husband, her parents, and I (we’re a HUGE party!) are going to see Cirque du Soliel’s Kooza.  I am so excited to see a Cirque show, hang out with one of my all time oldest and closest friend, and just enjoy a night out. 

kooza

We’re starting the evening out at Lucy’s Irish Pub (formerly Maggie Moore’s), which might be one of my favorite Irish restaurants in Baltimore.  Lucy’s is different than the other Irish places in the city because it’s not an irish pub that serves good irish food, like James Joyce and Mick O’Sheas.  It’s an Irish restaurant that serves beer.  I has great authentic Irish meals, like stew, Shepherd’s pie, and corned beef and cabbage, but also has some great looking nontraditional meals that sound delicious.  I’m already eyeing up their Low Country Shrimp and Grits.  Mmm . . .

A cool note about Kooza, Charm City Cakes, of the Ace of Cakes fame, made a specialty cake for the cast of the show.  See the cake presentation here: http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/dining/reviews/blog/2009/03/post_129.html

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Tea is an Irish Thing too!

March 14, 2009

One thing I told Capt. that I wanted to do this weekend was finally check out the Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company location in our area.  As you all know, tea is a weakness of mine right up there with cupcakes, so a visit to Baltimore Coffee would just tickle me pink!

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After a slow start this morning, due to a late night trip to Atlantic City last night, we got moving with the intention of doing a little shopping and catching some lunch.

The store is set up so coffee lovers can go to one side of the store and shop at a huge assortment of flavored coffee beans (fair trade at that!) and get a few coffee making accessories.  When you walk into the store, the smell of fresh coffee just hits your nose, making the place have such a warm and cozy feel to it.  I tell you what, if I drank coffee, I would have picked up some of their Pumpkin Spice coffee beans.  Capt. got himself a cup of their Toasted Almond coffee and said that it was delicious.

I headed directly to the side of the store that sold tea!  I haven’t used my tea strainer that Capt. got me last Christmas in a while and I was eager to get some loose tea leaves.  You better believe that was an easy thing to do!  The store had tons of different kinds of tea by all different companys, all packaged adorabley (because to some people packaging means a lot!).  I picked up Blackberry-Apple and Peach and Ginger tea by Baltimore Tea.

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After shopping was finished, it was time for lunch!  I got the Eastern Shore Chicken Salad (with craisins and walnuts) on ciabatta and Capt. picked up the Bay Blue Roast Beef, which he got on a pretzal roll instead of baguette.  The sandwiches were all around delicious sandwiches and were consummed quickly and happily!

All in all, the food was good, the merchandise better, and it’s a great place for a tea and coffee lover to check out.  Go there instead of starbucks!

Oh, and they had the most delicious looking gelato, which I really really wanted, but by then we had decided that we were going to get cupcakes!  More on that on Monday . . .

Happy Birthday . . . 3 Weeks Later!

March 3, 2009

To celebrate my friend, DG’s birthday, we went into Downtown Frederick for a little brunch and shopping.  I think for people who aren’t familiar with Historic Frederick, it’s really an underestimated place. 

Frederick has some great restaurants and fun shops.  Whenever I go, I insist on popping into Muse for a few locally made goods like jewelry, paints, journals, hair pieces, and home goods.  Actually DG and I signed up to take a bracelet making class through Muse in March!

DG requested that we go to Cafe Nola for brunch on Saturday and boy was it a good choice!  Cafe Nola buys directly from local farms (and there are a lot in Frederick County!), offering fresh food while supporting the local community.  Cafe Nola was very casual with a modern cafe style.  You seat yourself and wait for a server to come to you, again, the service is casual, so if you’re in a hurry, I don’t know if I would recommend popping in there.  If you’re spending an afternoon with your best friends, want delicious food, and to have a good time, go ahead in!

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JC (on the right) and I head into Cafe Nola!

We started off with some coffee and Tea, Cafe Nola proved to have a large selection of tea, and DG branched out and got a Brazilian Berry Tea. Mmm . . . It didn’t take us long to decide what we wanted, although DG made sure that we all knew everything there was good.  DG and JC wanted their baked tofu sandwich, which has baked tofu, goat cheese, spring greens, hummus, and onion.  Unfortunately, they were out of tofu, and we all ended up getting the Grilled Cheesey sandwich.  The sandwich included provolone cheese, tomato, fresh basil, and pesto, on focaccia.  The sandwiches were served with a side of bagel chips which were salted to crispy perfection.

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JC and I digging into our grilled cheesey!

I’m a little fussy about pesto, I think because my first time eating it wasn’t the best experience.  Let me just say that I walked away extremely happy about every item that was used to create my grilled cheesey.  Actually, JC got hers without basil and pesto and I looked over at her eating it and thought that she was just missing out!

It was delicious, I hope to go there again next time I make a trip to Frederick, and think you should go to!  Branch out and see everything Frederick has to offer!

Eat a Pancake!

February 25, 2009

Many people at my new office are getting excited for Mardi Gras.  There are a lot of Mardi Gras traditions I didn’t know about, like the King Cake (I did NOT win the baby), that are positively delightful.

My favorite new tradition for today was introduced to me by my dear friend, DC, who isn’t even from New Orleans (they’re not the only people who celebrate the days leading up Ash Wednesday).  It’s called Shrove Tuesday, AKA Pancake Tuesday!  My friends and I have interpreted this as being a day where you eat pancakes and drink beer . . . a bit more wholesome than showing your boobies for beads, but just as fun!

I have fond memories of Pancake Tuesday last year.  My friends and I skipped out of work to watch the New York Giants Super Bowl parade and visited a local diner afterwards to indulge.

Much to my surprise, a number of place in the Baltimore area promote today, whether it’s celebrated as Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Tuesday doesn’t really matter.  So much so, that the Baltimore Sun even wrote an article and published a recipe to go along with the celebration!

Here’s the recipe, enjoy!

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Blue Moon Pancakes

(Makes 4 to 6 five-inch pancakes or 12 to 14 silver-dollar pancakes)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 eggs

2 to 3 tablespoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups milk

3 tablespoons melted butter

3 tablespoons sugar

Combine all ingredients and stir until lumps are gone. Ladle onto a hot (350 degrees) griddle coated with vegetable oil or clarified butter.

If you would like to add extra ingredients, such as chocolate chips or berries, sprinkle them on the wet side of the pancake now, while the underside cooks.

Look for bubbles on the wet surface (a sign that the air is cooking out of the pancakes), or use a spatula to peek underneath, making sure the pancake is golden brown. Flip and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve with syrup, whipped cream and more berries or chocolate chips.

Courtesy of Sarah Simington, chef/proprietor of the Blue Moon Cafe in Fells Point

PER PANCAKE (BASED ON 6 LARGE PANCAKES): 255 calories, 7 grams protein, 9 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 34 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 91 milligrams cholesterol, 232 milligrams sodium

PS – I sooo planned on eating pancakes for dinner tonight, but I ended up playing racquetball instead and was not hungry at all afterwards.  I am making up for it by drinking beer.

PPS – Sorry for the light posting this week.  I’m a bit overwhelmed and disoriented, in a good way, from starting a new job.  I’ll be back in the game next week!

Valentine’s Day Re-Cap Finale!

February 19, 2009

We finished off a Valentine’s Day weekend at Woodberry Kitchen, which is outside of Hampden, Baltimore in an area called Clipper Mill.

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Clipper Mill itself appears to be a new up and coming area of Baltimore and it’s well on its way.  We hope to go back in the daytime and check it out because the building surrounding Woodberry Kitchen were very hip, deconstructed, yet modern.

Before heading out, I looked online to see if I could find any reviews of where we had chosen to eat, just to see what people were saying about it.  Surprisingly enough, there wasn’t much, which in retrospect, I think is such a disappointment. Woodberry Kitchen proved itself to be a place that should be shared with people.

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Woodberry’s main draw is that it focuses on using seasonal and organic food from local farms.  The food that you eat is only the best that you can get from the Chesapeake Bay region, farms that Woodberry is happy to share with you on their menu and on their website.  Capt. and I are very supportive of these intiatives and are happy to eat at places that help to support local agriculture.

The decor of Woodberry fit in with the whole feel of the Clipper Mill area.  I think Capt. described it perfectly when he said that Woodberry was one of the nicest casual places you could go.  There was lots of wood, exposed brick, dimmed lighting, and waitresses dressed kind of like milk maids.  When you go, you’ll completely understand.  It was cozy, romantic, and unpretentious.

We started with the melting cheeses, which were a slab of melted cheddar cheese and a slab of goat cheese served with bread and crackers.  There wasn’t anything quite impressive about this appetizer and we wish that we had gotten a little more creative in our choice, but it was tasty nonetheless.

For our entree, Capt. order a grilled rockfish that was served with a leek sauce and turnips.  I chose a cider-brined pork loin served with a buckwheat crepe, cooked apples, and cabbage, which on the plate appeared as a apple and cabbage turnover.

We ended up trading dishes because Capt. realized that he doesn’t care for stronger tasting fish.  After trading, we both enjoyed and savored every bite.  The food had a fresh and strong flavor that popped with every bite.  Everything worked perfectly together and there was no weak point to either meal.

 The crepe with the cabbage and apples was one of the highlights.  It was definitely something that I would love to be able re-create but know that it wouldn’t taste nearly as good.

We saved room for dessert.  Capt. ordered a dark chocolate souffle-like tart that was served with orange ice cream and I ordered a creme brulee with cranberries.  Let me just say that the chocolate dessert made up for the disappointing brownie we had had the night before.  It was spectacular and he was happy.  I personally love creme brulee and enjoyed the pop of flavor that came with each fresh cranberry that I bit into.

We walked away agreeing that Woodberry offered one of the best meals we’ve had out in a very long time.  We plan on going back in the summertime when they offer outdoor seating and most likely a completely different menu.

Here are the farms that Woodberry Kitchen has a partnership with:

Our Growers include One Straw Farm, Reid’s Orchard, Black Rock Orchard, Trickling Springs Creamery, Springfield Farm, Tuscarora Organic Growers, Woolsey Farm, Richfield Farm, McCarthy Farm, Roseda Farm, Truck Patch Farm, Martin Farm, Gunpowder Trading Co., Fig Leaf Farm, and Fountain Farm.

Fresh seafood is from Rappahannock River Oysters, Marvesta Shrimp Farm, Walton Seafood, Prime Seafood and Gaylord Clark at Two Oceans Seafood.

Valentine’s Day Re-Cap Part II

February 18, 2009

Our Saturday started off on a high note with Slumdog Millionaire.  I’ve been wanting to see it since it opened a few months ago, and now that it’s blowing up and is in more theaters, it became much easier for us to go and see it. 

It was a fabulous movie with great music, great actors, great plot, great character development.  They even finished it with a great Bollywood performance at the end, which I loved!

Go see it when it’s on the big screen and just enjoy.

Later that night, we headed out to try to find a place to eat that wouldn’t be full of the Valentine’s Day crowd.  Capt. and I were planning on eating a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner on Sunday, and so our purpose was just to find somewhere good that wouldn’t be crowded.  When Capt. suggested Paper Moon Diner, I happily agreed and we headed straight there.

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Paper Moon Diner isn’t your typical diner.  It’s an eccentric, artistic, and quite frankly, out there version of a 1950s diner.  I believe it’s located near the Maryland Institue College of Art and certainly appears to be decorated by a MICA student.  If you go there, expect to be welcomed by bright colors, sit next to a number of decorated mannequin bodies, and see vintage toys hanging from the ceilings.  And, after you’re finished taking it all in, sit down and be prepared to enjoy their delicious food!

Capt. and I both order burgers, which were juicy, full of flavor, and cooked perfectly.  My burger was the Fancy Pants burger, which was a beef patty with cooked onions and goat cheese served on a foccia roll.  I was also served sweet potato fries on the side, which were absolutely delicious!

The only downfall of the meal was our dessert, a warm brownie sundae.  I learned that brownies are one of Capt.’s favorite desserts, and Paper Moon Diner’s didn’t quite meet up to his standards.  Perhaps it was the burnt brownie or the fact that it was covered completely in ice cream.  We were nonplussed by it, but it certainly didn’t dampen our high from our great meal.

If you want diner food with a twist at a not quite so typical diner, head straight to Paper Moon.

We then ended our night at one of my favorite bars in Baltimore, Little Havana.  Little Havana is much more popular in the summertime, when they open their doors and welcome people to sit outside on their balcony, which overlooks the Bay.  If you’ve never been, I recommend that you wait until summertime so you can experience the bar when it’s most bumping!

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Overall, Little Havan offers a casual environment with a shuffle board board, bar favorites like Golden Tee and Silver Strike, decent food, and wonderful mojitos!  The food is cuban inspired and they have some of the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever had. 

Apparently their brunch — which is about $15.00 for a meal and bottomless mimosas and bloody marys — has a huge draw and is supposed to be delicious.  I’ve never been, but it’s at the top of my list.

We drank mojitos, watched the 3-point competition of NBA’s All-Star weekend, and ended our night.  Another great day of the weekend!

Valentine’s Day Weekend Re-Cap

February 17, 2009

Capt. and I had such a great weekend, that I figured I’d give you all a full re-cap over the course of the next three days.  From Friday through Sunday we drank, dined, and just had a great time (I was missing a third D to describe our weekend.  No alliteration from me!).

We started Friday a little slowly and probably not as healthy as we would have liked.  But, we figured that it was my last day at a job I hated, and we were allowed to enjoy!

We headed to Pei Wei, which is essentially a fast food Thai restaurant by the same management company as P.F. Chang’s.  Capt. has been wanting to eat at P.F. Chang’s but we haven’t made it there quite yet.  It’s pretty popular right now and on a weekend night, it’s practically impossible to get into.  So, we go to Pei Wei and it always kills our craving for Thai.  We’ve found that it’s a pretty reliable place to get a quick and somewhat affordable bite.  It also doesn’t hurt that they serve Thai and Japanese beers, which we’re both so fond of.

We then headed to DuClaw, which has become one of our default bars in Fells Point, Baltimore to go out to.  We first went to DuClaw when I had some friends from New York in town and we were trying to show them the sights.  We took the water taxi over to Fells and ended up heading to DuClaw.  We loved it and could have spent our whole day and evening there. 

duclaw

If you ever go to DuClaw, start off by ordering a flight of their beers.  It’s affordable and their don’t skimp on the tasting sizes, we had enough for 5 people to sample and finish off their favorites.  They have a ton of beer to try and this is the best way to choose your favorite.  Capt. loved one of their seasonal stouts called Black-Out.  My personal favorite is an ale called Mysterium.  Here’s a little summary of them both:

Blackout
Paint it Black.
Succumb to this dark, medium bodied German-style dark lager’s smooth roasted flavors and light hoppy bitterness. Don’t worry, you’ll remember everything the next morning.

Mysterium
Get a clue.
This golden Belgian ale will mystify you with its medium body, its subtle malt and hop profiles, and its complex blend of spices. Fruit flavors, produced by a special strain of Belgian yeast, combine with Belgian candied sugar, chamomile, grains of paradise, and cardamom to create an unfiltered ale so intriguiging, you’ll never want to get to the bottom of the mystery … or your glass.

Unfortunately for us, our favorites are seasonal and not for the winter!  In lieu of Black-Out and Mysterium, Capt. had a brew called Alchemy and I had Bare-Ass Blonde.  Both are tasty beers and proved to be good companions to us both as we watched the Rookie-Sophomore game of the NBA All-Star weekend.

Here’s a little summary of these beers for you:

Alchemy
Transform
Conjuring forgotten lost arts, our Brewmaster has infused flaked oats and malted barley to create this mystical, inky-black elixir that transforms one’s soul and spirit. Its silky smoothness will imbue the drinker with great vigor and delight as it flows through the veins. So what are you waiting for, give in and try a little bit of our sorcery.

Bare Ass Blonde
The naked truth.
This handcrafted brew is our most popular beer. Could it be the mild hop character and smooth drinkability that brings people back? The light color and medium body? The name?

After consumming our fair share of what DuClaw had to offer us, we headed straight to another one of our favorite bars in Baltimore, Slainte

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We like Slainte because it’s a small cozy bar, is rarely overwhelmingly crowded (but not boring), and because it’s the place to go to watch soccer and rugby.  In fact, they’re so well known for showing Rugby and Soccer that they have their television schedule on their website for all sports fans.  I’ve never had Slainte’s food, but Capt. says that it’s generally tasty Irish pub food.  You really can’t go wrong with that!

There we drank, gave a cheers to a great weekend, and ended our Friday night on a high note.

Oh, and because I’m antsy about gift giving, we exchanged our gifts before heading out.  Capt. hooked me up with Jamie Oliver’s newest cookbook, which I LOVED.  I got him two tickets to see the Baltimore Blast soccer team play in March.

We like sports.  Can you tell?

Noshing in the Dark

February 10, 2009

Elizabeth Large, who blogs for Dining@Large for the Baltimore Sun does a “Top 10 Tuesday. ” Today she’s highlighting “Top 10 Restaurants for the Budget-Minded.”  Her number 1, Annabel Lee Tavern, is a bar that I’ve been dying to go to!  My beau** and I are planning on staying in for Valentine’s Day, but if we did go out, I would definitely go to Annabel Lee’s. 

Now for us, we’re trying to choose between dinner at Jack’s Bistro or brunch at Little Havana (ba ding bottomless mimosas and delicious food for $15.00!) on Sunday.  I’ve told him I can’t decide and I am worried that my head might explode if I am forced to.  He might have told me to “get a grip.”

This is where Dining@Large suggests you go:

* Annabel Lee Tavern in Canton. Dark and romantically mysterious setting. Good food and drink. Need I say more?

* b Bistro in Bolton Hill. This appeared on my original romantic restaurants list, as the Most Romantic, Budget Edition, so I could hardly leave it off this list.

* Cafe de Paris in Columbia. Romance with a French accent, mais oui. And the $30 prix fixe menu can’t be beat.

* Eden’s Lounge in Mount Vernon. It’s primarily a sophisticated, upscale lounge, but the Ethiopian food is excellent if not the main event, and the price is right.

* Feast@4East in Mount Vernon. This quirky little place has some intriguing Valentine’s Day specials like Velvety Lobster Bisque ($9), Sensuous Oysters Basque ($9), Buckwheat Blini with Crème Fraîche and Wild Salmon Roe ($10), and Melting Petite Filet Mignon ($18).

* Helmand in Mount Vernon. You knew it was going to be here, but really, how could I leave it off? Sure, the tables are close together; but the candlelight, handsome surroundings and suave service put it on most people’s romantic list — prices aside.

* Indigma in Mount Vernon. The setting is so pretty, and the lights are low. Some of the menu is expensive, but Indian food gives you so many delicious vegetarian options, there’s plenty to choose from if you’re watching your pennies.

* Meli in Fells Point. I have to say it: honey for your honey. (Sorry. Meli is the Greek word for honey.)  The lounge downstairs is most intimate. The regular menu will be served on Valentine’s Day, and it’s not expensive.

* Orchard Market & Cafe in Towson. This pretty little restaurant serves good, moderately priced Persian food like poached chicken in an orange-mango-saffron sauce. A bonus, if you’re on a budget: It’s BYOB.

* Tusk Lounge in Mount Vernon. Faithful readers of this blog know that the Brass Elephant’s elegant bar will be serving a tapas menu for those who aren’t feeling romantic. I say if money is a consideration, take your sweetie there anyway. What are they going to do? Turn you away?

**My beau would now like to be referred to as Capt.  He does not sail a ship . . . he dreams of being a whaling captain, just like Ahab.  I blame this book.  I also blame myself a little bit.  I liked the book too.  But we do not condone hurting whales, we think they’re lovely creatures.

Tea-a-Tete

February 10, 2009

* It’s really not a tete-a-tete because there are 3 of us!

I have two girlfriends who I have known for a majority of my life.  One I have been linked to since I was in diapers.  The other I’ve known since elementary school, although it hasn’t been until later in life that we’ve really deepened our friendship.  I love these girls and the time we spend together.  The sad thing is that we live in different cities, as friends tend to do when they become grown-up. 

One thing we try to do to keep ourselves connected is to go out, and we are rather fond of going out for tea!   Actually, we have only done tea twice, but I like to imagine that we’ll do it more often and we’ll become pro tea drinkers!  Here are the places we’ve been:

Teavolve
1401 Aliceanna Street
Baltimore, MD
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Here’s what they have to say:
Have your favorite loose leaf tea freshly infused by the pot or iced, a house-made scone served with clotted cream & preserves, four delectable tea sandwiches & a Patisserie Poupon dessert trio. All for $19.95 per person (excludes tax & gratuity)

Great idea for any social gathering, bridal shower, baby shower, mother & daughter tea, sweet sixteen or just spending time with special people.

Available Saturday & Sunday By Reservation Only–To Make Yours Call 410-522-1907
Now Teavolve Will Host Your Afternoon Tea Party During the Week For Parties of 8 or more!

Our Verdict:
The place was obviously new and we were the first and possibly only people there while we were eating.  Service was good, they had everything all set-up for us when we got there and were very attentive.  I thought the food was what you would expect it to be for a tea party — very rarely does the food blow me away — little sandwiches with the crust cut off a plenty!

Teavolve is also in/very close to Fells Point, so I would do a little tea and go wander down there . . . Maybe stop into DuClaw for a little post-tea beverage.

Beans on the Belfry
122 West Potomac St.
Brunswick, MD 21716

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Here’s What They Say:
Every Sunday and Wednesday
between 2pm and 5pm
Traditional English Tea Service
live music during tea time most Sundays, reservations required
view tea menu

Our Verdict:
I usually only go into Brunswick once a year when I go biking riding on the C&O Canal.  I start in Brunswick and ride to Harpers Ferry and then back.  So, this was my first time actually going inside one of the few restaurants and shops in Brunswick.  To be perfectly honest with you, until someone proves me wrong, there is very little reason to go to Brunswick other than the C&O Canal.  But, Beans on the Belfry really surprised me!  It is a little coffee shop inside of an old church.  The decor is adorable and it’s really family friendly.

Tea service itself was good, once our waitress/hostess realized we were all there.  The sandwiches and scones were really tasty and the tea itself was pretty good, my main complaint was that they didn’t let it seep for long enough before serving.  I would recommend popping in if you’re in the area and even just grabbing a cup of joe to go. 

Maybe next time we get together, we’ll consult this website and see where it takes us!  My goal will be to enforce a strict dress code of a fancy hat and little white wrist gloves.

Eat Your Way Around DC

February 4, 2009

I don’t go into DC very often, even though I grew up only about 45 minutes to an hour from the place.  Now that I’m back in Maryland, I am trying to make more of an effort though.  I went to the Washington Zoo this past summer, went to a Wizards game (and am going to another one on Friday), and attended a work holiday party at the Museum of Natural History.  I promise, I am trying to take advantage of where I am.  Baltimore is just a little easier and closer to get to . . .

I digress . . . Washingtonian Magazine recently released its 100 Best Restaurants in DC issue, and I think it’s a pretty good resource for a person who doesn’t know much about where to go in DC but knows that she (or he) wants to eat!

Online, the restaurants are reviewed based on cuisine, mood, what it’s best for, best dishes, insider tips, and service.  They also have a search engine where you can find restaurants based on cuisine, price, location, and review.  I’m a  huge fan on consulting local magazines and newspapers to find new and interesting restaurants to try out, and would definitely recommend checking out the Washingtonian magazine or website this month!

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