Monthly Archives: December 2015

Simply Fresh, McLean

Source: DCDining

This is an interesting situation for me as moderator, and if we had an existing thread for Boss Hog’s (we don’t), I’d probably mark that as closed and give Simply Fresh a clean slate. Chef Rana (Rana is her first name) took over Boss Hogs in June, 2015, and changed it to Simply Fresh – both the interior and the patio look *nothing* like I remember Boss Hogs looking like, so unless I’m not remembering correctly, she really gave it a redo.

I was driving in McLean, and was planning on going somewhere else, but I saw the sign for Simply Fresh, and it looked brand new to me, almost like some sort of grand opening, so I parked on Elm Street and marched on in, shocked at how nice looking the restaurant is now. It’s still a cafe, but it’s very clean, and looks like it just opened last week (the cashier told me it’s been open since the summer, which surprises me).

The cashier is a young gentleman, and Rana is his mom (I’m assuming from the language on their website (they have a second website, apparently for online ordering) that she’s the owner as well as the chef). Since he’s attached to the restaurant, and since there’s such a diversity of items on the menu, I trusted him, and flat-out asked him what he liked. “I really like the lamb,” he said, and so the lamb it was.

This is where it gets even more interesting for me, because last night I went to Hula Girl in Shirlington, and had what amounted to a blue-plate special with their steak teriyaki. As it turns out, the Roasted Lamb with Potatoes ($12.99) made these two restaurants, in my mind, somewhat alike – the lamb, too, was a blue-plate special. The dish was like something my mom would have made (if she was Greek) – a few slices of fully cooked leg of lamb, high on the flavor meter, accompanied by large, bite-sized chunks of roasted potatoes, and a side salad – both dishes (this one, and the one from last night) were meat-starch-salad, were about the same size, and were about the same price; the only thing different – vastly different – is the atmosphere of the two restaurants: Hula Girl is a loud, bright, raucous bar; Simply Fresh is a quiet, workaday cafe.

I had just gotten some always-needed cardio, and was starving – I knew halfway through the dish that I was not going to be terribly full, despite it being a perfectly reasonably sized portion of food. Knowing that the Orange Bowl was starting at 4PM, and that I’d be plastered in front of the screen (I’m watching and typing at the same time), I wisely got a second dish to go for later in the day, which was a “special” listed on the chalkboard out in front of the restaurant – however, the exact same dish is on their regular menu, so it was more marketing than anything else. I figured the Roasted Chicken with Potatoes ($9.50) would be the same plate of food as the lamb, and other than substituting chicken for lamb, it was. An uncut, half-chicken was well-roasted – rubbed, moist, and super tasty – whether or not you get the chicken or lamb depends solely if you’re in the mood for chicken or lamb – I can recommend them both as good, hearty plates of food – nothing you’ll remember in a month, but solid.

Just having finished the chicken dish a few minutes ago (I didn’t even need to heat it up), I realize that this was my final meal, and final write-up, of 2015, and I can’t think of anything I’d rather do to celebrate the New Year, than to support a local, family-owned, mom-n-pop (or, in this case, mom-n-son) restaurant – Hula Girl, too, despite it’s pomp and circumstance, is pretty much of a mom-n-pop; just in a completely different style (and most likely with some investors).

Simply Fresh (the sign says, “Simply Fresh – barbecue & more”) has BBQ, and a couple girls walked in and picked up a $100+ order, undoubtedly to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Simply Fresh is big on breakfast, and across from the counter on the right, where you order your meal, it also has a counter on the left, with a pastry display case and an Illy coffee setup – this is probably where the cashier is in the mornings (have a look at this breakfast menu, and file it away in your head for future reference). They’re open 7 days a week at 7AM each morning, except for Sundays, when they open at 8AM – I would not hesitate to try the breakfasts here. It’s a pleasant, albeit somewhat stark, place to eat, and you won’t regret coming here, although it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a clunker or two on the menu (when one person does all the cooking, it’s hard to do *everything* well).

Over the next hour or so, I’ll be either cursing at the TV or jumping with joy (Clemson is down 17-16 at halftime to a resilient Oklahoma Sooner team), and then, when it’s over, I’ll forget about it (unless Clemson wins), and I’ll be spending this evening doing exactly what I want to be doing, given that I can’t be with the people I want to be with: staying home, not having a drop to drink, relentlessly practicing a Beethoven sonata, maybe watching a rerun or two, and being thankful for this wonderful community. Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that 2016 brings you everything you wish for, and please remember always how grateful I am to have you in my life.

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NYC Headline Predictions for 2016

Source: Eater NY

As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. This year, we asked the group eight questions running the gamut from meal of the year to top restaurant newcomers. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited herein. We’ve heard about the top standbys, the hot newcomers, the words of the year, the best neighborhoods, biggest surprises, best meals of 2015, and grievances. Now it’s time for 2016 headline predictions. Please add your own in the ...

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Theater District Staple Frankie & Johnnie’s Moves After 89 Years

Source: Eater NY

New year, new location.

After 89 years on West 45th Street, Theatre District steakhouse Frankie & Johnnie’s is moving one block north. Frankie & Johnnie’s — the restaurant that started as a speakeasy in 1926 — had its final dinner service at 269 West 45th Street on Saturday. Its home of nearly 90 years is “being put to another use,” FloFab reports. Frankie and Johnnie’s new location at 320 West 46th Street, formerly a B. Smith’s, is set to open its doors in early January. Gothamist notes that the new location is a bi-level, 140-seat restaurant with a private ...

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The Last-Minute Guide to a Stress-Free New Year’s Dinner

Source: Grub Street NY

How about pizza at Marta?

New Year’s Eve has arrived, which means it’s time for outrageous cover charges and magnums of overpriced Champagne, right? It doesn’t have to be that way: Even if you think you want to avoid the streets (and restaurants) of New York City tonight, know that there are indeed plenty of delightful places to celebrate — and that require little to no advanced planning. Here, Grub has assembled an ace list of 15 restaurants that are decidedly low-key and moderately priced, and, most important, have space. (It should be noted: A handful of these spots made ...

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Year-End Grievances From New York Critics and Food Writers

Source: Eater NY

As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. This year, we asked the group eight questions running the gamut from meal of the year to top restaurant newcomers. Their answers will appear throughout the week. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited herein. We’ve heard about the top standbys, the hot newcomers, the words of the year, the best neighborhoods, biggest surprises, and best meals of 2015. Now it’s time for dining grievances. Please add ...

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Woman Gets DUI Tossed Because Her Body Brews Beer

Source: Grub Street NY

She has a rare condition called gut fermentation syndrome.

Here’s something new: An upstate New York schoolteacher got her DUI arrest tossed out because her body is trying to get into the craft-beer scene or something. When the unnamed woman was pulled over on October 11, 2014, cops found that she had a blood-alcohol level four times the legal limit — which perplexed her as, she insisted to her attorney Joseph Marusak, she had no more than three drinks in the six hours before cops stopped her. As it turns out, the lady in question hadn’t blacked out but has ...

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For Some Reason, All of Dairy Queen’s Blizzards Will Be Served Upside Down in 2016

Source: Grub Street NY

Fixing to drip.

Dairy Queen’s semi-embarrassing policy of requiring employees to serve Blizzards upside down has always been left to the individual store owner’s discretion, which is why lots of even frequent customers probably have no idea it’s a thing. That blissful ignorance will be no more: Everyone’s favorite industrial-ingredient ice-cream chain is making an “epic resolution” for 2016 that involves all Dairy Queens and so-called Grill & Chills vowing to make sure no one gets one of its signature frozen treats in the socially accepted–facing direction, thereby proving once and for all that the chain is “committed to offering ...

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Rockville biotech preps for trials after getting rare pediatric drug status

Source: Washington Business Journal

Rockville-based biotech firm RegenxBio Inc. received a rare pediatric drug designation from the Food and Drug Administration for one of its gene therapy candidates, putting it on the path toward clinical trials and eligibility for a potentially lucrative federal voucher.

In the first half of 2016, the company plans to file an investigational new drug application to begin trials on that gene therapy candidate, RGX-111, a treatment for a rare neurodegenerative disease called mucopolysaccharidosis…

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Having a Heftier Waiter Significantly Ups Your Chances of Ordering Dessert

Source: Grub Street NY

But don’t go around saying, “Table with your skinniest server, please.”

There’s a new study that suggests there’s a link between the amount that people eat at restaurants and their server’s body mass index. The two researchers behind it, one of whom is Brian Wansink, head of Cornell’s respected Food and Brand Lab, observed about 500 diner-server interactions in 60 restaurants and reported that customers ordered more food “regardless of their own body type” if the waiter was heavier-set (i.e., for the purposes of this study, they had a BMI of 25 or higher).

What customers indulged in wasn’t ...

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The Most Popular Restaurant Stories & Dining Guides of 2015

Source: Eater NY

A look back at the top Eater stories and maps of the year.

Most Popular News Stories:

1) Danny Meyer Is Eliminating All Tipping at His Restaurants

2) Les Halles Executive Chef, Carlos Llaguno Garcia, Has Died at Age 38

3) 12 Crucial Facts About Bourdain Market

4) Michelle and Malia Obama Stop In For Lunch at Community While Touring Colleges

5) Man Beaten and Tasered Over $1 Change Owed at Hell’s Kitchen Chinese Restaurant

6) Sushi Park, Pommes Frites Destroyed in Massive East Village Building Explosion [UPDATE]

7) Lidia Bastianich Cooked Pope Francis’ Meals This Week — Here are ...

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9 New Restaurants Around DC You Need to Try in 2016

Source: Washingtonian Best Bites Blog

District Chaia You won’t miss the meat at Chaia, Suzanne Simon and Bettina Stern’s vegetarian “farm to taco” shop near the Georgetown waterfront. What began as a pop-up at farmers markets has evolved into a 27-seat taqueria reminiscent of those in Tulum, Mexico—airy, health-minded, but rife with small luxuries

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‘World’s Largest’ McDonald’s Closes to Make Way for Even Bigger McDonald’s

Source: Grub Street NY

It even has an indoor waterfall in there, somewhere.

Just six months ago, McDonald’s looked doomed. Now stocks are way up, and a franchisee is tearing down the “world’s largest entertainment McDonald’s” in order to build an even bigger entertainment McDonald’s next door.

Can’t chalk this one up to McCorporate’s sleeper wisdom of all-day breakfast, though, since the old location off Orlando’s touristy I-Drive offered families so many things to do that they probably would’ve considered eating McSpaghetti. There were animatronic McDonaldland characters, bowling lanes, slides, arcade games, a “Mickey D’s Magic & Mayhem Comedy Magic ...

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NYC Dining Was Not Better Than Ever in 2015

Source: Eater NY

At some point in the late part of the fall, I tried to convince Bill Addison, Eater’s Restaurant Editor who travels the country eating at the most relevant and essential restaurants 40 weeks out of the year, to write a takedown of the current New York dining scene. He was in town making the final decisions on his annual National 38 list (debuting in two weeks) and we had just endured an embarrassing encounter with an unforgiving hostess and an underwhelming steak at (the often wonderful) Minetta Tavern and were discussing why everyone in this town is such a jerk.


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Ten of Atlanta’s top chefs look to 2016

Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution

Rocket Farm Restaurants pastry chef Chrysta Poulos.

Rocket Farm Restaurants pastry chef Chrysta Poulos.

While 2015 will be looked back on as a record year for Atlanta restaurant openings and closings, chefs are gazing into the future and wondering what 2016 will bring.

The growing national discussion about tipping doesn’t seem likely to have much impact here any time soon, according to most. But rising food costs and growing competition top the list of worries. And the Beltline, Krog Street Market and Ponce City Market are still hot topics.

We asked some of Atlanta’s top chefs — including Hugh Acheson of Empire State South, Kevin Gillespie of ...

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Arby’s Crashes Into Manhattan, Fuku Introduces Chicken Soup, and More Intel

Three restaurant supply stores are leaving the Bowery, plus more restaurant news and gossip from around NYC.

— Manhattan now has a location of roast beef sandwich chain Arby’s, one again:

A photo posted by Coty (@cotyatwood) on

It’s located at the corner of 40th Street and Eighth Avenue, near Penn Station. For a while, the Manhattan Mall had an outpost of the chain, but it closed in 2008. The former Gage & Tollner space in Downtown Brooklyn also housed a location of the fast food restaurant for a few years.

— The original location of Fuku on First Avenue is now serving chicken soup:

A photo posted by fuku (@fuku) on

A manager at Russ & Daughters, Herman Vargas, arranged a free feast for 700 people in the Dominican Republic recently.  The meal was as a tribute to his late mother, who passed away two weeks shy of her 100th birthday.

A new location of Australian coffee chain Bluestone Lane is coming to 51 Astor Place. The building is also getting a new location of Chop’t.

Three restaurant supply companies are leaving the Bowery. Chair Up is moving to a smaller space at 48 Delancey. Regeant Restaurant Equipment is headed to Queens. And Bowery Boogie notes that relative newcomer East Coast Kitchen quietly closed not too long ago— the building is on the market.

— After an altercation at the McDonald’s on Third Avenue near 59th Street, two people landed in the hospital last night with stab wounds.

— Crown Heights is getting a fancy hot dog shop called Reservoir Dogs.

The operators of Lace Gentlemen’s Club in Midtown are suing the city over a $2,200 fine that the club received earlier this year. The city claims that the club violated the “60/40 rule” that requires businesses to have 60 percent of their floor space dedicated to something other than “adult use.” The club has a sports bar on the second floor, but a DOB inspector asked a stripper to accompany him up there for a dance, and she allegedly said that it would cost him $700.  Because no dancing is allowed on the floor, the club got slapped with a fine.

— Inwood’s Irish Brigade Pub is closing for good after service on January 3. The bar has been in business for over 75 years.

— And finally, here’s how to make a grandma-style pizza like Bobby Hellen of GG’s:

Where to Drink Right Now: Three Bars Reviewed

Source: Philadelphia Magazine » Foobooz


Martha is coming to York Street in Kensington.

Martha is coming to York Street in Kensington.

2113 East York Street, Kensington

Expectations were high for Martha, the Kensington bar from hospitality veteran Jon Medlinsky. For years he’d been the beer steward at the Khyber Pass Pub. He’d been a server in the Garces orbit before that, and it was an open secret around town that he was planning his own bar. What wasn’t clear was what his vision was.

But now that Martha has opened, we’ve been able to see what Medlinsky was dreaming about for all those years. It’s a two-story-tall cube with a long bar ...

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​José Andrés’ Beefsteak gets a big cash infusion

Source: Washington Business Journal

Local celebrity chef José Andrés has raised $9.25 million for Beefsteak, the vegetable-focused, fast-casual restaurant he launched in D.C. in March.

Andrés has eight investors willing to bet big on the concept, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday. Each of those investors contributed more than $1.1 million to Beefsteak LLC, which lists Andrés, CEO Kimberly Grant and CFO Gary Evans as principals, according to the filing.

Beefsteak serves a vegetable-focused…

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U.S. Justice Department Launches Criminal Investigation of Blue Bell

Source: Grub Street NY

More trouble.

Blue Bell’s executives could be in some hot water, criminally, for the ice cream company’s months-long listeria epidemic. The Justice Department has reportedly opened an investigation into Blue Bell to figure out what corporate executives knew and, perhaps more important, when they knew it. In some ways, it’s a wonder it took the agency this long — both the FDA and the CDC have said there’s evidence Blue Bell kept shipping ice cream despite being aware of listeria in the production lines for years prior to the March outbreak (since 2013, according to the ...

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4 places to eat and drink before or after the Peach Drop in Underground Atlanta

Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution

Photo credit: HOBNOB Neighborhood Tavern

Photo credit: HOBNOB Neighborhood Tavern

Tonight, everyone can be a Georgia Peach, or at least see it.

Whether you toast the old or new, ring in 2016 with an up-close or televised look of the Peach Drop in Underground Atlanta. Still figuring out plans? Check out these four spots that are perfect for tonight–and tomorrow.

Jamrock Restaurant: This Jamaican restaurant is located in the heart of Underground Atlanta. Go early for a taste of jerk chicken, stew beef, oxtail, plantains and myriad of other Caribbean dishes. Phone: 404-577-4622.

Red Pepper Taqueria: Okay, this restaurant is in Buckhead, but ...

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