Archive for the 'Dining Favorites' Category
First the good news, Maryland crab season opened today. We are talking wonderful, justifiably famous Maryland blue crabs.
Second, the bad news. Last year’s catch was Maryland’s second lowest since 1945 and winter population surveys indicate that this year’s harvest may not be much better. That means small, thin mostly male crabs with little or no fat. Not a pretty picture.
Blue crab celebrations are a tradition in my family. In semi-retirement my parents lived at Scientist’s Cliffs in Calvert County, Maryland, right on the Chesapeake Bay. My mother was Icelandic but she loved the United States and was particularly entranced with its history. It didn’t hurt that her birthday was on the Fourth of July. And what did she want every Fourth? You got it, bushels and bushels of steamed blue crabs. Family and friends would fill the back deck, cracking crabs until there was nothing left to crack.
Last summer bushel baskets of crabs were going for $70. Guess I need to start saving my pennies.
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The 2008 Zagat guide for the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metropolitan areas features 8 new listings for Alexandria restaurants for an overall total of 47.
Nina and Tim Zagat, fanatic New York “foodies” started the first guide in 1979 as a hobby involving 200 friends and friends of friends. Today more than 300,000 individuals contribute to the surveys for 15 U.S. cities and 6 cities around the globe. Zagat is considered the world’s leading provider of consumer survey-based information on where to eat, drink, stay and play worldwide.
As The New York Times said, the Zagat Survey is “a necessity second only to a valid credit card!”
So, what are Alexandrian’s raving about? In alphabetical order:
1201 North Royal Street, 703.519.3776
Charming rusticity transports diners to provincial France at this wine bar and bistro. The menu reflects the recent Parisian revolution in Gallic fare as the chef-owners reinvigorate the classics with Mediterranean flavors. Outdoor patio. Conveniently located next to a wonderful store, Abaca Imports, which is located next to Metro Stage. Shop, have dinner, go to the theater and never leave the block.
901 Slaters Lane, 703.600.2899
Industrial-chic, WiFi-equipped coffeehouse, dessert lounge and bakery is an unofficial community center for nearby and newly minted neighborhood, Potomac Greens. A recently added wine bar serves wine and cocktails. I can vouch for the cupcakes!
Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong (owners of other local fav’s Restaurant Eve and the Majestic) bring Dublin to town via this small, spare recreation of Irish fast food. Fish ‘n’ chips, battered burgers, Irish beer. Tip – when the blue light outside an unmarked door on Columbus Street is “on”, patrons can buzz for entry to the upstairs PX, a speakeasy-themed lounge. Easily the best fish ‘n’ chips anywhere; very casual.
600 Franklin Street, 703.778.2233
A white tablecloth setting for distinctive New American cuisine featuring influences from France and chef-owner Moruo Quattara’s native Ivory Coast. Quattara was a recent contestant on Iron Chef America.
4906 Brenman Park Drive, 703.461.3663
Cafe, wine bar and gourmet market in Cameron Station with a 15-seat room serving communal diners with locally sourced ingredients. Co-owners, Christy and Tom Przystawik were formerly with Cafe Atlantico in the District.
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