The Hungry Wanderers

Eating and exploring our way through the world

Posts Tagged ‘DC’

Center Street Grille

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on February 28, 2010

When the Husband and I were in Northern Virginia a few weekends ago, we met up with his parents for lunch on Valentine’s Day in Manassas, VA.  We headed to Center St. Grille as it was close to the Husband’s mom’s new office that we wanted to check out.

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Upon reviewing the menu, I quickly came upon this note that made me happy 🙂

IMG_1941 I also enjoyed the fun water glasses!

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They had both brunch and lunch options and while I originally planned on brunch, both the Husband and I ended up ordering lunch items.

First, we each started with chili – mine with just cheese and his with cheese and onions.  This chili was quite good! It was spicy, but not overly so, and the choice of cheese was excellent!

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For my entree, I ordered a roasted veggie wrap.  It included seasonal veggies roasted with a balsamic glaze.  It was supposed to have goat cheese or feta in it as well, but didn’t.  However, it was so very good without the cheese! The fries were one of my favorite kinds as well – a little bit of substance to them on the outside (perhaps beer battered?). Yum!

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The Husband ordered a Buffalo Chicken Wrap with house made chips.  He really liked his dish as well 🙂

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I took a picture of my father-in-law’s meal (1) because I loved the colors and (2) it was something I considered ordering.  He had an egg scramble with ham, cheese, and tomatoes.  He thought this was really good too!

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Overall, I think we were all very impressed with our meal! I was expecting just a ho-hum, diner lunch and the quality of the food was much better than that.  If you find yourself in Old Town/Downtown Manassas, we definitely recommend Center St. Grille!

Center Street Grille
8971 Center Street
Manassas, VA 20110





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Eggspectation

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on February 25, 2010

A few weekends ago, the Husband and I headed up to Northern Virginia for a good friend’s baby shower.  This was the weekend after the ridiculous snow storm that shut down the nation’s capital for nearly a week, so we were nervous that the snow would cause us delays or possible cancellations.  Little did we know that it would actually be snow in Charlotte that would cause us a delay!

We had originally had a flight booked for around 6:30am Saturday morning so we were somewhat relieved to receive an automated message from United the night before advising the flight had been cancelled and a second phone call about 10 minutes later letting us know we’d been rebooked on the 10:30am flight.  I was NOT pleased, however, when the United call center (in India?) called me at 3am to tell me the same thing… at least I got to sleep in for a few more hours though!

Once we landed at Dulles, we were hungry and decided to get brunch.  I got to choose so I went with one of my favorite brunch places that would be close to the baby shower – Eggspectation in Centreville/Chantilly.

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In general, I’m not big into breakfast foods.  The one thing I do love, though, is eggs! So, a restaurant centered around eggs is perfect to me 🙂

I love the decor of the Eggspectation restaurants.  Whisks for door handles…

IMG_2021 A wine tree…

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Funky bookshelves 🙂

IMG_2013 The restaurants are generally spacious and great for group outings.

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As some of you may have noticed from our brunch posts, I love Eggs Benedict.  Eggspectation has an entire page dedicated to variations of this wonderful dish!

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So, of course I ordered one 🙂  I went with the Smoked Salmon Benedict.  It included two eggs poached, smoked salmon, gruyere cheese, with hollandaise sauce on english muffins.  It came with a side of fruit and grilled potatoes.  Sometimes I substitute grilled tomatoes for the grilled potatoes.  Both options are delish!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t super impressed with my eggs benedict.  I think the gruyere was unneeded and overall it just didn’t hit the spot.  Oh well.

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The Husband ordered an omelet, possibly the Spanish omelet.  He wasn’t impressed either…

IMG_2015 And a side of toast…

IMG_2016 I’m not sure why we didn’t enjoy our brunch that day.  If you like eggs, we recommend you check one of their locations out and see what the food’s like for yourself.  For those of you who don’t like eggs, there are many options sans eggs, both breakfast and non-breakfast related, so don’t shy away just because you don’t like them.  Give them a a try and let us know what you think 🙂




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Facci

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on February 8, 2010

A few weekends ago, in between two weeks of work in DC, I spent the weekend at my parents’ house in Maryland and spent Saturday night out with my girlfriends and my best friend’s husband.  My best friend Alison is a hair stylist and had recently received a recommendation for a relatively new restaurant in Laurel, Maryland called Facci.  She knew that it had pizza and wine so we knew it would be a good choice!

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When I arrived around 6:30, the rest of the group was running late.  It was okay, however, as there was about a half hour wait.  It’s important to note that Facci does not take reservations since they have so many walk ins.  The wait wasn’t bad and if my friends had been there, we may have hung out in the bar area and started on some wine.

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I enjoyed the view, though, of the restaurant from the small waiting area.

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My friend Carolyn was the first to arrive, moments after I was seated, so we decided to get drinks while we waited for Alison and her husband Chris.  I ordered a glass of Chardonnay and she had a Birra Morette (an Italian beer).

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Our waitress, Rose, let us know that they had happy hour specials until 7pm and if we ordered before then, appetizers were half off!  First, we were way impressed that there were happy hour specials even on the weekend (they have them 7 days a week)! Second, we really appreciated the notice, with only 10 minutes till 7pm.  We quickly perused the menu and found two items we thought we would like.

Shortly after we ordered the apps, Alison and Chris arrived 🙂 Alison ordered a Margarita on the rocks and Chris ordered a Sam Adams.

IMG_1831 While we waited for the appetizers, a basket of warm crusty bread and a plate of olive oil was brought out.  Yum!

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Then came the appetizers 🙂  First out was the Stuffed Eggplant.  It was stuffed with spinach, topped with marinara sauce, and a blend of three cheeses.  I can never remember if I like eggplant and I was pleased to find that I do.  This was flavorful.

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Our second appetizer was the Panzarotti. It was potato croquettes stuffed with salamino, parmigiano, and fontina cheese. So yum!

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You can find the menu online so I didn’t include it here.  However, I liked that they noted what body type of wines would go well with the different dishes.  These little glass symbols were found next to the the menu items and then the wines were divided accordingly on their menu.

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On to the entrees!  I originally planned on pizza (it was to be a pizza and wine night!) but debated having pasta as I love italian food! However, once I really looked at the options, the pizzas looked amazing.  I went with the Bianca Neve.  It was a white pizza with ricotta, fresh mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, arugula, prosciutto, and shaved Parmigiano.  So good!  The pizza was a good size for sharing so since the Husband wasn’t with me, I had leftovers to take home 🙂

IMG_1832 Alison ordered the Rizzo Flatbread. It included a lombardo marsala wine sauce, fresh mozarella, carmelized onions, mignon tips, and gorgonzola cheese.  She really enjoyed this dish.

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Carolyn ordered the Salsiccia e Rapini.  It was a white pizza with fresh mozarella, parmigiano, italian sausage, broccoli rabe, and smoked mozarella.IMG_1834 And then Chris decided to be different than us girls and went with pasta.  He ordered the lasagna.

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Overall, we were impressed and glad Alison had received the recommendation to check out Facci.  The food was good, the prices were reasonable, and the service was friendly, personable, and timely.  Although I won’t be around to check out this restaurant again any time soon, I imagine my friends will!

Facci
7530 Montpelier Road (near Rt 29 and Johns Hopkins Rd)
Laurel, MD 20723
301.604.5555





Facci Ristorante on Urbanspoon

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Anita’s New Mexico Style Food

Posted by gingerbreadpirate on January 24, 2010

After arriving in the D.C. area late Tuesday night, I headed to my hotel.  I got checked in, but I was hungry.  I hadn’t had any dinner, and my lunch had been pretty light.  I was very familiar with the area, having lived there for several years after college.  I thought about where I could go that was something reasonably unique to D.C., and would also provide me a tasty meal.

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Not far from the hotel there was an Anita’s.  Anita’s is a 30-year old Northern Virginia institution.  Anita opened the first restaurant after her husband, an employee of the United States Postal Service, was transferred to D.C.  They came from New Mexico, and she brought her recipes with her. 

Now, if you’ve ever been to New Mexico, you know that New Mexico chiles are more of a religion than a commodity.  They’re everywhere.  Kinda like cheesesteaks in Philadelphia, or deep dish pizza in Chicago.  New Mexico chiles are available everywhere, in every imaginable dish.  Some are spicy and some are mild, but they provide dishes with fabulous flavor, and while not literally addictive, certainly provide a sense of addiction

Despite the fact that I’ve been to New Mexico, and I love the cuisine, I only went TO an Anita’s once in the 25+ years I lived in the D.C. area.  That one time, I was working for a sign company, and we were installing a sign at the Anita’s in Fairfax City, so I popped inside for lunch.  That was in 1998.  I have also had several of their breakfast burritos, as it was a tradition in one of the offices I worked in.  I had never been to Anita’s for a dinner, though.

So there I was, at Anita’s.  It was late.  They were getting close to closing.  The waitress asked me what I’d like.  The menu was FAR more complicated than I expected.  I didn’t even really realize that it was a sit-down restaurant.  I thought it was more of a “walk-up”, fast-food-type establishment.  But no!  Definitely a sit-down, dine-in restaurant, with a carryout window.  While I decided, the waitress offered me some chips and salsa.  The chips were lackluster, but the salsa was awesome.  The fresh tomatoes were chunky, and the flavor was not-too-spicy great.

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After a cursory check of the menu, I settled on a pork burrito, served with rice and refried beans in a green chile sauce.   I was looking for something that looked “authentically” New Mexican, and that seemed like a fair choice. 

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I don’t know if it was JUST because I was hungry, or if the food was simply terrific, but it hit the spot.  The pork was perfectly done; large, tender chunks, ready to fall apart, but by no means stringy.  It was well-seasoned, too, providing subtle hints of the spices, while allowing the flavor and texture of the pork to provide the dominant appeal.  The green chile sauce was as tasty as I recall from my time in New Mexico, and coupled with refried beans, made for a wonderful side to the pork burrito. 

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I would have taken my time to enjoy the whole meal, but the restaurant was nearly empty, and they were about to close.   I didn’t want to hold anyone up any longer than necessary, so I asked for the check and a refill on my water.  I gulped down the water, paid my tab, and headed back to my hotel with a full stomach.

In hindsight, I can’t believe it took me so long to find Anita’s.  There are several (six in all, I think) in the D.C. area, and I have had some reasonably close to some of the offices I worked in.  To be fair, it’s only been since I married the Wife that my perspective on any kind of Southwestern/Latin American/South American cuisine has turned to a more positive light, but it almost seems tragic that I missed out on one of Northern Virginia’s mom-and-pop delights. 

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