Archive for the ‘Falls Church’ Category

Enjoy The Present, Enjoy Your Life

0411091849aEven though I’m a somewhat proud Vietnamese American, I don’t often enjoy the cuisine that can be easily found down the road from my house in Seven Corners. I usually don’t frequent the area unless I am picking up food for my family back in Massachusetts or I’ve been dragged there by family hoping I will find good Vietnamese food and maybe a good Vietnamese woman.

This past weekend was one of those times, my family was in town and we all went out to Present down Rt. 50 past Seven Corners to have dinner.

Located outside the Little Saigon cluster of stores, supermarkets, and restaurants; the relatively young restaurant was decorated with new woodwork and a waterfall/fountain deal that quickly set the mood. We were welcomed by the manager and a hostess dressed up in a traditional Ao Dai. My aunt was surprised that the place wasn’t as full as she expected, she mentioned images of lines out the door on a Saturday evening. Her assumptions were validated as crowds grew only minutes after we sat down.

A look at the menu was very entertaining. The menu has a wide assortment of traditional Vietnamese fare, each with it’s own creative name. Titles such as, “Resting Steer on Haystack”, “Wandering Cow”, and “Hard-Working Piglet”, are more poetic than descriptive.

As I enjoyed my Wandering Cow and the Shiz My Family Says, I noticed that the clientele was more diverse from the Asian community that restaurants like these usually cater to. To me that’s a good sign that word is spreading around about the place. The food was good and rivals other established places like Miss Saigon in Georgetown.

While the restaurant’s website has more philosophy than information and the menu looks like prose, the one thing that is for real here is the cuisine. If I ever find myself in Seven Corners for dinner again I’ll be sure to recommend Present- because yesterday is already over.

Present
6678 Arlington Blvd
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 531-1881

Crisp & Juicy Holds It’s Own On The Peruvian Chicken Scene

dsc01971It’s official. I am on a Peruvian chicken kick.

After discovering the bliss that was El Pollo Ricoearlier this month, I got a lot of comments from readers including suggestions that I should try Crisp & Juicy. These suggestions came with words such as “better” and “way better.”

Well I couldn’t let the honor of El Pollo Rico be so shamed- and at the same time I am always looking to find good places to feed my indulgences, so I took some time last week to check out Crisp & Juicy.

Even though there is a nearby Crisp & Juicy off of Lee Highway in Cherrydale, I was told that it was worth the extra time to go to the Falls Church location. Well during a “mental health day” last week I did exactly that. The Falls Church Crispy and Juicy had a look that was more similar to the other Peruvian chicken places I’ve seen around town. The storefront resembled what you would expect at any fast-food chain. The shop was empty since I was getting lunch at 2 PM on a Thursday.

I ordered the “Super Platter” because I had a super craving for chicken. The half chicken came with salad, a roll, fries, and a familiar assortment of sauces.

It definitely appeared that the main difference with Crisp & Juicy was with the skin. The outside of the chicken is crusted in an assortment of spices and definitely had a crisper texture. While the chicken itself was very good, I don’t know if it’s better or worse than El Pollo Rico- just different.

What was really good with the platter was the sauces. Their sauce was also creamy but had the strange ability to have a spicy kick- but not leave your mouth hot like other spicy foods. I was dipping fries and anything else I could find in my house with the sauce. This past weekend I went to the Arlington location and found myself eating pretzels with leftover sauce.

After going to the two restaurants I have come to learn the following about Peruvian Chicken:

  • It is truly a good cheap eat
  • No matter where you go- the fries will always be second rate
  • It doesn’t matter if the fries are second rate because the sauce is amazing

I think Peruvian chicken is now a regular part of my weekends- does anybody else have a place I should try?

No Reservations With El Pollo Rico

l I had a fever today. I’m not talking about the possible fallout from a night of debauchery. I’m not talking about a fever who’s remedy is more cowbell. I’m talking about a fever for chicken- Peruvian Chicken to be exact.

It all started when my intern was watching No Reservations in D.C. it featured a few places I was familiar with, including some Vietnamese restaurants in Eden Center. Then Mr. Bourdain randomly stops by El Pollo Rico, one of the many Peruvian chicken shops in Arlington. Peruvian chicken is one of the many cuisines that run rampant just like Kebobs, Sushi, and Ethiopian. He gave a glowing review of the place as he went behind the counter to see it first hand.

Now my only experience wit El Pollo Rico has been at the catered lunches that will sometimes feature the cuisine from El Pollo Rico, however it’s been awhile since that’s happened and since watching the program the conversation between my intern and I has often included trying to find this world renown El Pollo Rico.

So this past weekend I found myself starving and I decided I was going to go online and find it. It’s actually just down the street from my house in Clarendon, so I happily drove down and found it without any problems. It is a bit off the beaten path over on 932 N Kenmore St in Arlington.

The building is a plain brick building with no markings other than a yellow sign and the smell of roasted chicken in the air. The parking lot was already full and when I walked inside there were two long lines of hungry patrons waiting to get their chicken on.

The restaurant itself is pretty simple, wooden chairs and tables fill the sparsely decorated space. The shop is cash only and offers nothing but chicken in three sizes (quarter, half, and whole.) I was pretty hungry so I got the half chicken with fries and cole slaw. I was impressed with the amount of food I got for only $8. Definitely a cheap eat.

I wasn’t a big fan of the lime hot sauce but I quickly fell in love with the yellow mustard/mayo like sauce. I used it for dipping my fries in as I scarfed down the take-out order at home.

After eating every finger-licking bite I believe I have now found a new staple to my lazy weekends. Is anybody else  in love with this local favorite? I know I am.

Cool Off in Fairfax County

In case you haven’t heard, today is going to be hotter than two rats in a wool sock. Dig the cooling options in Fairfax sent to me by Falls Church Emergency Alerts:

Due to ongoing power outages and extreme temperatures, Fairfax County will open two cooling centers on Saturday and Sunday, June 7-8, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Cub Run RECenter, 4630 Stonecroft Boulevard, Chantilly, and the Providence RECenter, 7525 Marc Drive, Falls Church.

Residents can lie down, cool down and get cold water at both these centers. However, people visiting the cooling centers will not be able to use the fitness facilities or pools for free. Those who need transportation or more information should call these centers directly. Call the Cub Run RECenter at 703-817-9407, TTY 711; the Providence RECenter at 703-698-1351, TTY 711.

This weekend residents also can get a temporary respite from the heat at one of the county’s library branches, other RECenters and pools, or private facilities, such as a mall. However, residents should call the facility first to verify hours of operation.

Resting for just two hours in air conditioning and drinking water can significantly reduce heat-related illnesses.

Residents who need immediate, life-saving help should call 9-1-1. For other safety help, call the public safety non-emergency phone number at 703-691-2131, TTY 711.

More information on how to stay safe and cool is available online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/.

What are you doing today to keep cool?

Blood Drive This Saturday – Come Save A Life!

Kemper Macon Ware Lodge in Falls Church will be hosting a blood drive for the Red Cross this Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until noon. Yep, it’s a Masonic Lodge but you don’t have to be a Mason to come save a life by giving of your own. Come on down and make a difference. The Lodge is located at 411 Little Falls Street in Falls Church.

Not sure about this whole blood donation thing? You can learn more about the process here and get a lot of your questions answered. Saving a life is a great reason to get up and out that early on a Saturday morning. Why not join me?

myLHBS Newsletter – Triple Threat, and Just in Time!

I just got the most recent newsletter (PDF) from Derek Terrell at myLHBS and was thrilled to see that this month’s recipe was a Belgian Triple. This is a type of beer I have had on rare occasions and always enjoyed. Now that I know a recipe, I can darken the doorway of my favorite homebrew shop again to get some ingredients.The newsletter came just in time. I am going to bottle my current brew tomorrow morning and will soon have empty equipment. This is another Derek Terrell recipe – a hefeweizen similar to Blue Moon, if I did it right. I wasn’t sure how much orange peel and coriander to add to the boil, so I added the minimum Derek suggested, since he had given me a range. I wanted to avoid an overpowering flavor but definitely wanted hints of these flaovrs. I can’t wait to try it tomorrow, fresh from the fermenter.Are you a homebrewer? What do you like to make? Interested in homebrewing? There’s no better way to get beer than from your own stovetop, so go see Derek to learn about it or send me an email and maybe you can come by next time I brew a batch. Beer and photography really do go together well!Here is this month’s recipe, from Derek’s newsletter:

Triple ThreatOne of the really nice things about Belgian ales is their simplicity and the degree to which they can be altered by even minor changes to basic recipes such as this one. Triple Threat is one I brew when I’m in the mood for something Belgian yet also can’t settle on exactly what I want to make. Choose Clear Candi syrup for a Strong Golden, or opt for Amber for something akin to Ommegang’s Rare Vos (and maybe even spice it lightly for a Grand Cru). Either of the Dark syrups will brew up a rich Strong Dark Ale. (more…)

4th Annual Sunset Cinema Scheduled in Falls Church


Creepy-ass Flying Monkey

For three Fridays in August, the City of Falls Church will host their 4th Annual Sunset Cinema, a free movie shown at Cherry Hill Park, located at 312 Park Avenue. This year’s series is entitled “Cutesy Shit and Flying Monkeys.” Well, maybe not, but that’s what I would call it.

Here is the lineup:
Friday, Aug. 10, 8:30 p.m. – “Happy Feet”
Friday, Aug. 17, 8:30 p.m. – “The Wizard of Oz”
Friday, Aug. 24, 8:30 p.m. – “Charlotte’s Web”

In case of inclement weather, the movies will be shown in the Falls Church Community Center at 223 Little Falls Street.

Just be sure to cover your eyes during the scenes with flying monkeys. Those things scared the mess out of me when I was a tyke!

Nude Zines

I was driving to an appointment on Sunday when I noticed a placard attached to a phone pole advertising the web site www.nudezines.com. No wonder, I thought, since I was right by Falls Church’s premiere porn palace. Then I noticed the rest of the ad – business cards, custom printing, brochures. Talk about cognitive dissonance – here I was imagining all sorts of interesting naughty, tingly human bits and the ad was for printing.

I couldn’t quite figure out the connection so I looked it up online. Turns out the business is Nu Dezines, not Nude Zines. A tip to our fine printing friends – a simple spelling tutor or copy editor could have helped you out on this one so you could more easily reach your target market.

Cooling Assistance Warms My Heart

The City of Falls Church has a cooling assistance program to help low-income households stay cool in the heat of the summer. Thank goodness we haven’t gotten too hot yet, but the dog days of summer are right around the corner. No doubt it will get hot enough to cook the balls off many a bronze statue in DC.

Why is cooling assistance important? Because the extreme heat we feel every year causes health problems and extreme discomfort. Kudos to Falls Church for administering this program. Having seen a number of extremely low-income abodes in my time, I have to wonder how much it would cost to upgrade the wiring to handle an air conditioner, but that’s beside the point. Probably tarpaper shacks smolder instead of burn, right?

Personally, I think there should be more of a socialized ceiling fan program than air conditioning program, but that’s just me. I like our home to feel like Big Daddy and Brick’s home, except for all that tension and the no-neck monsters.

Until I get my own socially provided ceiling fan, I will be cooling off the only way I know how – either sitting in the yard in a tub of ice water, sipping a beer, or else making every day like pants-optional Friday. Who knows? Maybe both, if the neighbors don’t mind too much.

A Little Bit of Egypt Over in Falls Church

Wayan, my humble fellow writer and colleague, recently took a trip to Cairo, where he encountered sand storms and almost died while trying to cross traffic. As lovely as that sounds, wouldn’t it be nice to have a little taste of Egypt right here in the Capital Region, where you can get run over by our own cars or Metrobuses?

Well now you can!

I took a back road recently on my way to Alexandria, in anticipation of the major roads being backed up due to rush hour hoo-ha and passed the Khan El-Khalili Warehouse. What was this, I wondered. A store with an Egyptian name and tinted windows. Any store with tinted windows is an immediate draw for me, like shiny things are for crows.

Khan El-Khalili Warehouse is a treasure trove of goods imported from Egypt and for sale to anyone with a few bucks in their pocket. The first thing I noticed was the sweet smell of incense and spices, along with intricate artwork on the walls. The store seems to be overflowing with gifts, art, clothes, home decor, furniture and a giant clot of hookahs in the back of the shop.

Mind you, these are tobacco water pipes, not bongs. This is no head shop but the real McCoy in terms of African imports. Or the real El-Khalili. The manager of the store told me all his imports are from Egypt and that the store carries a range of items for folks from various countries, such as Ethiopia and Somalia, on top of Egypt.

Go check this place out. It is at 5826-A Seminary Road in Falls Church. Tell them Carl from DC Metblogs sent you. It won’t get you a discount and they will look at you confused, but it’s always good to tell folks how you heard about them. And there’s a parking lot right there, so you don’t have to act like Wayan and almost get hit.

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