Hank's Oyster Bar

1026 King Street
Alexandria, VA  22314
703.739.4265
www.hanksdc.com
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Fridays during Lent have always proved to be difficult to me as a somewhat lapsed Roman Catholic since I'm not primarily a fish eater (I mean I like fish but I generally tend to choose different proteins).  So, this particular Friday, I decided to try out Hank's Oyster Bar which I had heard a bit about from a co-worker.  I went to the Old Town location and luckily it was open for lunch (note to self: always check hours of operation before going to eat at a place) since it isn't open for lunch on other week days.

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Burger Delite

5650 Edsall Road
Alexandria, VA  22304
703.751.9692
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My parking spot in my building's garage sits right beside a concrete pole.  Every night that I pull in, I always cut the turn a little tight so that my car is pretty snug against the pole.  So, being the dumb ass that I am I was pulling out one morning this past week not realizing how close I was actually to that pole and chipped off a piece of my side mirror.  Subsequently, I brought it to the dealership, got a loaner car and I picked up today.  $334 (the part cost $49 and the rest was basically highway robbery) and a head bowed in shame later, I needed some lunch and more importantly, a cheap lunch! Across the street from the dealership just happens to be Burger Delite which looked like it fit the bill.

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Café de Paris

8808 Centre Park Drive
Columbia, MD  21045
410.997.3904
www.cafedepariscolumbia.com
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I'll preface this by saying that we did not technically eat at Café de Paris but in the adjacent space called Crêpe Café which seems to be Café de Paris' brunch/lunch offering.  We went here after one of my niece's lacrosse games and my parents and I were craving some good brunch fare.  The only items available to you for brunch here was off of their crepe cafe menu.  We chose to try the Norwegian  Crêpe  smoked salmon, sour cream & capers) so a play off of bagel & lox, the classic  Crêpe Suzette served  Café style, and a banana, apple and strawberry crêpe.

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Food We Love: Bolognese Sauce

So, this is my first attempt at describing how I make some of my favorite things since learning to cook food is just as important as eating it. I think it was after I read Heat by Bill Buford that I really fell in love with the narrative form of "recipe"-telling rather than a straight point-by-point method.  I'm not saying I can write nearly as well as Buford but I think I can at least try (although this has taken almost a week for me to write). 

This topic may also turn into something more than recipes.  Maybe a reference to favorite foods or dishes or just guilty pleasures as it relates to food.

Alert & Apology:  When I first wrote this I completely forgot a really important element.  The tomato sauce!  It has since been added in.  I apologize for any inconvenience.



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Boccato Gelato & Espresso

2719 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA  22201
703.869.6522
www.boccato.com
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I know there is sentiment out there that dislikes the consumerism and fast food like appeal of Starbucks, especially in the foodie community.  I have to confess that I am not one of these people.  I enjoy Starbucks and its ubiquity.  While I'm not fond of the prices (they do allow local coffeehouses to charge more and stay afloat) and it may certainly not be the best cup of coffee around; I think they still offer a quality, reliable and available product.

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Whitlow's on Wilson

2854 Clarendon Blvd
Arlington, VA  22201
703.276.9693
www.whitlows.com
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It's amazing that some of places are still around after all these years.  Whitlow's used to be a favorite of mine and my co-workers about 13 years ago when I first lived in Arlington.  I remember we used to go religiously to half-price burger night every week and I remember that the burgers used to be great and they were great before burgers became the next thing in culinary circles.  I decided to try it out again after all these years to see if the food still stacked up to my memory.

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Crisp & Juicy

4540 Lee Hwy
Arlington, VA  22207
703.243.4222
www.crispjuicy.com
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The first time I lived in Arlington, VA (about 13 years ago), I moved to an apartment that was walking distance to the Crisp & Juicy on Lee Highway.  Usually, when I move into a new place, I tend to unpack slowly and so that means not really having the ability to cook anything for the first few days.  Also, when you move to a new area, you want to find out if there are any nearby places that can provide a solid and reliable meal.  Within those first few days, way back when, I stumbled upon Crisp & Juicy and now that I've moved back, I still consider it one of the best places to eat that I've ever tried.

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Lovers of Today

132 East 7th Street
New York, NY 10009
212.420.9517
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A good way to end the night is to have that one last drink in a place that is warm, soothing, servers good drinks and is a little bit on the cool, hip side.  We found such a place in the Lovers of Today.  Around the corner from the much busier and packed Niagara (both owned by the same people), you get stopped by a big bouncer type right in front of a narrow iron gate that leads to stairs going down into an alleyway.  I guess for all intents and purposes, it could be called a speakeasy.  But for us, after a night of Patron Silver and Karaoke at Sing Sing, it was a welcome sight to slow down and just enjoy the company of good friends.

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Blue Smoke

116 E 27th St
New York, NY  10016
212.447.7733
www.bluesmoke.com
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Blue Smoke, like Zampa, is a place where the experience is greater than the quality of the food. We went there to celebrate a friend's birthday and also take in a show at the Jazz Standard. Pedrito Martinez was playing that night and while I had never heard of him until then, it was pretty extraordinary music, at least to this novice.

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Riverpark

450 East 29th Street
New York, NY  10016
212.729.9790
www.riverparknyc.com
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Nothing like a good pre-game spot to get your night and your palette going.  We decided to walk around a bit before our scheduled dinner at Blue Smoke (next post!) and decided to have a drink and maybe a bite to eat at Riverpark.  The restaurant is located in the Alexandria Center for Life Science which is a beautiful new building built by New York City that is intended to provide a life science "park" in order to faster cultivate cutting edge research.  The building is sleek, modern and the restaurant space reflects that in that classic Colicchio way.  The other unique aspect of Riverpark is that attached to the building is a garden specifically made to provide fresh produce for the restaurant.  The Riverpark Farm is a much needed green space in the middle of concrete and matches the modern building beside it.

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Zampa

306 West 13th Street
New York, NY  10014
212.206.0601
www.zampanyc.com
Zampa Winebar & Kitchen on Urbanspoon
This place is proof positive that the enjoyment of food & drink is not solely based on the enjoyment of the food & drink alone.  This is a bit eye-opening not only for how this blog will go forward (since you don't eat in a vacuum) but also how my perspective changes when I think about food.  Sometimes a meal may actually be better than it is because of the company but I think I would take that trade-off any day of the week....and twice on Sundays.

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