Today is Free Cone Day at most Ben & Jerry's, readers! Search HERE for your local scoop shop, and be sure to click "Find only shops that participate in Free Cone Day."

Do not go to Free Cone Day without clicking HERE.

You deserve to make informed decisions. It may not have a dollar price, but it certainly has a cost.

Last warning: Lines get long on FCD. Be patient!

*I in no way specifically promote Ben & Jerry's as the official ice cream of my blog, but when something is free, I usually eat it. It's not a very discriminating policy.



Jaleo is a local tapas place, partly put together by Jose Andres, the man behind many James Beard awards and nominations AND some of the most fantastic and innovative restaurants in the area. You (collectively, or at least E, who is reading) know I cherish the opportunity to try a bunch of things instead of being limited to one dish. I'll tell you what T and I had on a recent visit, whether the dish stood out, and if I'd order it again.

Manzanas con hinojo y queso Manchego: Sliced apples and fennel with Manchego
cheese, walnuts and sherry dressing
This was fresh and crunchy; if it had a little more apple and a touch less fennel I'd order it again.

Coles de Bruselas: A warm salad of Brussels sprouts, apples, apricots, grapes and Serrano ham
Despite my attempt to avoid the ham in this dish, the smell of it was overwhelming. Sadly, the aroma transported to me to when I'm in my mother's pantry and open a cookie jar full of Sophie's dog treats--I suppose they are made of the same material. I didn't really catch anything but sprouts and ham, the fruits were lost to me. I wouldn't order it again.

Coliflor con olivas y frutos secos: Sautéed cauliflower with green and black olives and dried dates
This was yummy--the cauliflower florets were tiny and not soft enough for my liking, but the sweet sauce derived from the dates was REALLY good, especially when sopped up with bread. Order on!

Rape con puré de berenjenas: Seared monkfish over an eggplant purée and finished with black olive oil
The monkfish was tasteless, but the eggplant puree beneath was AWESOME--I wanted just a bowl of that and some bread! Don't order again as long as the monkfish is still the main to-do.

Salmón a la plancha: Seared salmon with a relish of green olives and capers
This was good, but tiny and not super memorable.

Seared scallops with a traditional sauce from the Canary Islands

This sauce was yum. Order it!

Pastel Vasco con helado de leche merengada: Basque cake with semolina cream, cinnamon-vanilla sauce & ice milk
THIS WAS MY FAVORITE THING THE ENTIRE NIGHT! I love dessert, but it's not usually my favorite part of a meal at a restaurant, because many restaurants have scrumptious dishes and "OK" sweets...it's not their specialty, and I have high standards. This cake was divine. We were hesitant about the cream because we didn't want anything to heavy, but Spanish desserts are customarily very light. The sauce, the ice milk (as opposed to ice cream), it all came together beautifully. It was such a perfect ending to a meal that was otherwise interesting, but not to-die-for.

I think I want to go to back with a group of friends and order all of the desserts--I wanted the hazelnut chocolate torte, too! Who's in?

Arlington, Bethesda, DC
Metro: Blue/Yellow Line to Crystal City, Green/Red/Yellow Line to Gallery Place/Chinatown, Red Line to Bethesda


Euro Market

K said, "We love the coffee at Euro Market." Months went by before I decided to have breakfast at EM--a turkey and egg sandwich on whole wheat and fresh squeezed orange juice. As in, I watch the person cut 4 peeled oranges in half and put them into a machine, then BAM! Juice. It's amazing. When I take the first sip I feel transported to a warmer, more exotic place, the sort of locale where gleeful children dive into abundant mountains of fresh produce. The last sip can be a little tart, a heads up for those who want to crinkle your noses in advance.

But don't stop visiting after breakfast.

All wraps come with lettuce, tomato (cut up, not shoved in there), lettuce (shredded), sprouts (!), cucumbers, pesto, special sauce, and a swipe of cream cheese spread used to stick the wrap closed. J noticed that the starch was minimal in my meal, as opposed to the typical wrap these days where I accidentally fill up on the wrapper that's wound around 1/2 inch thick. More turkey for me, please! EM has tons of sandwiches, every which way different types and flavors of breads and wraps, interesting spreads, and overall happiness. They also sell wine and beer (singularly by the bottle, too) and funky imported European candies and chocolates. Looks are deceiving for this tiny gem!

Wow, how could I almost sign off without telling you that they have BREYER'S ICE CREAM! The saddest part of Euro Market is that it's at the base of an apartment building that is not mine.

FYI, Pesach/finals time will bring fewer posts temporarily, but maybe a recipe or two. My Euro Market experience is a pre- (and will be a post-) Passover indulgence.

Euro Market
2201 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA
Metro: Orange Line to Court House



No! It's not a kabab place! Not that there's anything wrong with that...

According to an on-site sign, and declarations on the menu and web site, Ghar-E-Kabab is organic. This Indian-Nepalese eatery is relatively new to downtown Silver Spring, an area with no shortage of restaurants.

Dishes are served in the same tiny copper bowls as this place Jordaan in Amsterdam, where I ate possibly THE BEST Indian food ever. J was there, he can attest.

For dinner we all shared chicken vindaloo (avoided--too spicy for me), lamb curry, chicken saag, and aloo ghobi (potatoes and cauliflower), and paratha (of which we wish there were more). The texture of the lamb was great--lamb is tricky, sometimes it's kind of chewy, but not here. The chicken saag was especially yum, I love saag (spinach) in a serious way. We started with samosas (2 in an order), and great tiny round pakoras--one order came with 4-6ish, so they were very shareable. Taj Mahal beer delighted half of the table, and I recommend trying it on your next visit.

None of us were feeling particularly gluttonous, but if we were we would have went for a thali, a platter that comes with small servings of just about everything. If you're sharing and want all the things on the thali, you can probably get a greater variety-bang-for-the-buck.

Service was commendable. Our waters were re-filled often, and although the place was packed when we arrived, we were told we would be seated in just 5 minutes--and we were.

For a local ethnic eatery, they have an awesome web site.

I don't recommend Ghar-E-Kabab for ECH or BLC, who, after returning from Bangalore, have sworn off all Indian food (possibly forever).

944 Wayne Avenue
Silver Spring, MD
Metro: Red Line to Silver Spring
Ghar-E-Kabab on Urbanspoon


Ray's The Steaks

Ray's is awesome, and it's no secret. Washingtonian named it 43rd in the Top 100 Restaurants in 2008, a letdown from #38 in 2007. The place is known for being reservation-free, which often leaves hungry diners waiting for hours (literally), with only two sparse benches outside to do that waiting. That's why I recommend going early, possibly choosing a weeknight, and avoiding cold or rainy days.

Ray's is by no means any of the following things: softly-lit, quiet, romantic, relaxing, luxurious, pampering. But the food is reliably excellent, the service is prompt, and the prices are extremely reasonable. Thus, it draws a crowd.

On Sundays, Ray's has what they call A Place At The Table--patrons can choose from $25, $30, or $35 options (there are a handful of entrees for each price), and each meal comes with choices for a starter and dessert. A portion of the proceeds go to a different local charity every week.

The French onion soup was just sweet enough without being like candy, and I appreciated the portion-size--after all, it's a starter. it was just the right size. It didn't have the typical layer of sorta melted rubbery cheese on top, thank goodness, and it did have a large happy crouton.

I don't even eat steak, so anyone who knows me would question Ray's as a birthday destination. But Ray's makes the best piece of salmon on Earth. Or at least in Arlington! The blackened salmon is super hot all over, fluffy and moist on the inside, and CRISPY on the outside. CRISPY as in when you put in your fork or bite down you hear a ::CRUNCH::. Oh, it is so good.

Those old reliables, creamed spinach and mashed potatoes, still come in cast iron shareable sides, but I tried to ignore them in a failed effort to save room for dessert.

The dark chocolate mousse with strawberries and fresh whipped cream was so good that I almost wished I'd left some salmon on my plate so I could actually enjoy more mousse. Almost. The mousse has such a great consistency there, it was cold and really thick--if you had a flimsy plastic spoon, it would definitely bend and possibly snap. I can spot a bad mousse a mile away, when it's sort of like chocolate whipped cream, you know? And this was no such mousse!

Ray's the Steaks

1725 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA
Metro: Court House; there is a parking lot, but it is often full--some street parking is around the Rosslyn/CH area, though
Ray's the Steaks on Urbanspoon


April Showers...

...bring new colors and fonts. Thoughts?

I decided it was time for spring cleaning, or in our case, spring spruce-up-our-color-scheme-ing. Taking the time to go through Blogger options alerted me that I've been in PST this whole time--yeah, believe it or not, I haven't been posting many restaurant reviews at 5am or anything.

In other news, B informed me that a link to this very blog can be found on dcfoodies.com. This phenomenon may have something to do with my failed effort to become a guest writer specializing in "cheap eats." I believe my email to Mr.DCfoodies went something like this:

"I'm a law student/big fan and I always read your blog and go to your favorite restaurants and order your favorite dishes and OMG I love 2Amys thanks for telling me about it and also your wife's blog makes me laugh out loud during class hey do you think I could write on your blog about cheap eats k thanks"

I wonder why he said no. My most recent birthday gift should help my situation.


Tom Takes On Noise---How Timely!

In this weekend's Washington Post, Tom Sietsema announced that he would be adding a decibelometer to his reviews. Interested diners will have an idea in advance of whether their destination will allow "Easy conversation" or if they "Must speak with a raised voice," just two of the four categories in the new ratings system.

Apparently, the number one complaint Tom fields regards noisy restaurants. Although I usually reserve the posting of news articles for my buddy, this is just TOO timely after my recent experience at Rustico.

Check out the top 10 list, which barely excludes Central, where a poor lovesick fella attempted to propose marriage to his girlfriend by shouting over the noise. You'll recall that I, too, said Central was loud. And also, Zaytinya, one of the top 10. That means that Mr. Sietsema and I have something (albeit one thing) in common. ; )



Rustico got some media over the summer because of their unique dessert, and we decided to check it out around that time. It was sort of late, around 10:30 or 11, and we thought we'd grab a drink and try a hopsicle. The enormous restaurant was mostly empty, but there were a few people at the bar. The hostess stand was deserted, and we weren't quite sure what to do. It turns out, after a certain point, no one is seated anymore and you just have to go to the bar. It was our first time there, and we weren't quite sure if they were actually open or on their way to closing, it was super awkward, and we went across the street to Buzz to cheer ourselves up with cupcakes (I recommend red velvet w/cream cheese frosting).

On our next visit, we actually ate!

I started with something but already forgot what it was. J says it was a salad, but it must have been pretty boring because...yeah...well...

J started with cream of cauliflower soup, and it was VERY thin--too thin. It wasn't bad, but I've made better at home. And I'm really not that good of a cook.

My pizza--white pizza with provolone, pecorino, mozzarella, fresh ricotta & basil pesto--was delicious. J said there was "too much cheese," which means, he's not really the type that would order a white pizza on his own free will. He had a small piece, and between us we only finished half of it. It made a great snack a few days later. I didn't think it was any better or worse than Faccia Luna, just bigger.

J got the pan seared scallops, which sat on top of sweet potato grits. The grits weren't nearly as good as they should have been, considering the name. I knew J wouldn't want them all--he had a few bites but left the rest to die.

Rustico is REALLY loud, and I knew that it was going to be loud before we got there. All I ask is that really loud places don't make me wait for different courses as if I'm in a nice relaxing restaurant. In Corduroy, waiting 20 minutes after my appetizer for my dinner is welcomed, as we linger over wine and conversation. At Rustico, as I'm straining to hear J over the general noise and temper-tantrum-throwing five-year-old next to us, I can't help but feel like I'd rather be somewhere--anywhere--else. Let it be known, I don't blame the kid. It was 8pm and she looked about 5, and she was probably starving, overtired, and overwhelmed by the loud bar/restaurant environment. Unfortunately, grandma and grandpa had no clue what to do--they were OBVIOUSLY not the parents, from the fit being thrown and the way it bubbled for over half hour before she was finally yanked out of the restaurant.

When we left sans dessert and headed across the street to Buzz, there was our little screamer, getting a cupcake from Grandma to shut her up (and end any chance of her understanding of Positive Rewards v. Getting What I Want For Being Bratty).

The service was OK, our server was a little flaky--she kept explaining how "out of it" she was, and how the computers were down.

They have a great beer list. But for the money, I definitely wasn't wowed. I'd rather go somewhere else.

Apparently the take-out can be fun--at least you can eat in the peace of your own home! Check out what the Post says about how the food held up.

827 Slater's Lane
Alexandria, VA
Metro: None, it's on Slater's Lane
Rustico on Urbanspoon