In our review of Delia’s Brick Oven Pizza, I write about our recent discovery of one of our new favorite neighborhood joints. I also opine on the idea of giving restaurants more than one chance to impress, as our first experience at Delia’s was memorable for all the wrong reasons. Check out the review to read about our experience, and to discover, as we did, the surprising dishes (including some of the best octopus you’ll ever eat) that this “pizza place” has to offer.
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Last weekend, we awoke majorly craving bagel sandwiches. It was the kind of craving only brought on by a night of drinking the evening prior. Unfortunately, Alexandria’s bagel scene is majorly lacking, to be charitable. At least it was…until Genuine Water Bagels recently came to town!
But the fun doesn’t stop with fantastic bagels. The morning we first dined at GWB, we learned that in the afternoons, this odd little bagel shop attached to an Italian restaurant turns out New York style pizza and Italian sandwiches. I don’t know why they do this, but I love it!
We finished our round of bagels at about 10:45, and having already made the treck there, we decided that we couldn’t reasonably head back home until we tried out their pizza. But what to do during the hour between bagel breakfast and pizza lunch? In the name of research, and for your enjoyment (and ours), we decided to sample another breakfast spot along Old Town Alexandria’s South Washington Street.
A short walk took us to Firehook Bakery. We sampled cafe mochas, a chocolate tart, and a chocolate croissant. The mochas were good, but the croissant lacked flakiness and the tart was bland and one-note, with no real contrast of texture or flavor to break up the layers of chocolate in crust, ganache, and frosting. The coffee was quite nice, but second breakfast really didn’t come close to the perfection of first breakfast…or of lunch, which was next.
We returned to Genuine Water Bagels just in time for lunch. We each ordered a slice of pizza, and while not the revelation of the bagels, it was still quite good. Like our review of their bagels, our full review of GWB’s pizza can be found over on our Genuine Water Bagels Review.
So that was our morning of two breakfasts and one lunch, done in the name of food research. You’re welcome!
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Last summer, we spent three fun-filled days only a few short hours from home in Virginia Beach. We drank, we swam in the ocean, and, of course, we tried out a ton of local restaurants.
Over on our Travel Page we’ve just posted our guide to eating and drinking around Virginia Beach. Check out our guide to learn where to find the best she-crab soup in Virginia Beach (hint: it’s not at one of the numerous beachfront seafood restaurants), where to drink the fruitiest and best crushes, where to find the best brunch in town, and much more.
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Kathleen’s family, having strong Italian-American roots, has equally strong views regarding the naming of tomato sauce. To them, this classic Italian sauce is always called gravy.
No matter what you call it, there’s no doubt that a good recipe for this Italian staple is a must-have. There are no shortage of gravy recipes, from the quick and easy to ones that take hours. We recently posted one of our favorite gravy recipes, and it’s made easily in under an hour.
Our gravy is great over pasta, topped on chicken parm, or used as a dipping sauce for our fried zucchini patties. So please, stop buying shitty jarred tomato sauce, and enter the world of delicious, homemade gravy that awaits you.
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Over on our Recipes Page, I just did the unthinkable: I posted a recipe for an exclusively vegetable dish. What the hell’s gotten into me?
My struggle with vegetables is well-documented among my friends and family. Despite loving food and wanting to experience a wide range of cuisines, I’ve had an aversion to veggies for as long as I can remember. This has only recently started to improve, thanks in large part to Kathleen’s help in finding vegetable preparations that don’t completely revolt me.
My favorite of Kathleen’s attempts to feed me vegetables is probably this recipe for fried zucchini patties. I can give it no higher praise than this: you won’t even know you’re eating vegetables! If you’re vegetable-averse, like I am, go make some of these and prepare to be delighted.
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Avowed city dwellers though we are, we recently set out to enjoy a quiet weekend at the lake at nearby Lake Anna, VA. A little fresh air, a little sunshine, and some swimming in a nice, cool lake sounded like just the thing for a June weekend. This did not go as planned.
Over on our Travel Page, we’ve posted our travelogue of our weekend at the lake. Check it out to see why Kathleen hates Air BnB, why we had an unforgettably disturbing dinner, and how we ended up bringing home 6 bottles of wine, 12 cans of beer, and a crap load of delicious cider.
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Recently, I was chatting with a new friend I’d made on Twitter (and seriously, you should follow us there @FoodAndDINK if you haven’t already), and my Twitter friend mentioned plans to spend part of the upcoming summer in South Florida. Now, it just so happens I grew up in South Florida, and even though I no longer live there, I do visit regularly. And what do I do when I visit? I eat everything in sight, obviously.
I thought this would be the perfect place to share some of my favorite dining choices back in my hometown. From a 24 hour donut shop with some of the best breakfast options in town to world-class seafood, these are the places I absolutely must visit whenever I return home.
Where to Eat Breakfast
Dandee Donut Factory
During our last visit to Florida, I think we ate breakfast at Dandee Donuts at least four times—it’s that good. They have a couple locations, but the one in Deerfield Beach is about a two-minute drive from my family’s house, making it not only delicious, but convenient. Their donuts are absolutely perfect (though Kathleen complains they are too rich).
But the donuts are just the beginning. They also make a number of breakfast dishes—our favorite being the Jersey pork roll sandwich. If you’ve never had pork roll (also called Taylor Ham), just think of thick-sliced bacon, thrown on a griddle and caramelized to meaty perfection. Add in some perfectly-cooked eggs and melty cheese and you have a breakfast sandwich you’ll never forget.
We tried Sticky Bun for the first time during our last visit, but it immediately made its way on to my must-eat list. This place is typically packed, with good reason. Their homemade biscuits are a marvel, as is their house-made bacon. They also made the best mimosa I’ve ever had—basically a glass of Champagne with just a hint of orange juice. They even have a lot of outdoor seating, for those of you insane enough to want that kind of thing even in the Florida heat.
Where to Eat Lunch
Home to more than a few transplanted New Yorkers, it’s no surprise that you can find excellent NYC-style food in South Florida. The absolute best example of this can be found at V&S Deli. Beautiful fresh meats, flavorful Italian cheeses, and the most remarkable fresh bread are the hallmarks of this gem. Still the best meatball sandwich I’ve ever had, this place will take you straight back to your favorite classic Italian deli. If for some reason you don’t have memories of a favorite Italian deli, let V&S make new ones for you.
New York Grilled Cheese Co.
I don’t know why this place is called the New York Grilled Cheese Co., unless it’s an attempt to appeal to the aforementioned NYC transplants. If New York is famous for grilled cheese, that’s news to me. Nevertheless, this place makes fabulously melty grilled cheeses. Stuffed full of a variety of ingredients to please just about everyone, the sandwiches here never disappoint. My favorite is stuffed with mac and cheese—because I am a glutton.
Where to Eat Dinner
Miami is home to the finest Cuban food in the country. But making the hour plus drive from Broward County isn’t always feasible. Luckily, Little Havana in Deerfield Beach is a more than worthy alternative. For many years I lived in places where it was very hard to find good Cuban food, so I would have to get my fix whenever I visited home. Most of the time, this meant a visit to Little Havana. They satisfy all the Cuban cravings, most especially their amazingly-flavorful roast pork.
Calypso Restaurant and Raw Bar
Calypso is so damned good, they’re not open on weekends! This is definitely a sign they’re doing something right. The thing they’re doing so right is seafood. Their conch chowder is the best I’ve ever had, and that’s only the start. The famous Calypso Cutter is one of the most memorable sandwiches you’ll ever encounter. Shrimp, garlic butter, melty cheddar cheese, and mushrooms (which I skip), this thing is rich, decadent seafood perfection.
Papa Hughie’s Seafood World
Want to dine on some of the finest seafood anywhere? Head to Seafood World in Lighthouse Point. Now, I should acknowledge my bias here—our family has been going to Seafood World for years. They’ve catered major family occasions, and several dishes on the menu at the adjoining Papa’s Raw Bar are named after members of my family.
That being said, seafood doesn’t get much better than this. Want to feast on Florida stone crab? Hint: you absolutely do! You’ll find the freshest fish, prepared in many delicious ways. Go here and experience the pinnacle of Floridian seafood.
Bonus Floridian Eats
Want to eat like a true Floridian? I’ve got two more suggestions that all Floridians know about and enjoy often.
First, at the local grocery store, you’ll find some of the best subs anywhere. What makes a Publix sub so damned good? I’m not sure, but I have loved them for almost forty years now, and it’s still at the top of my must-eat list when I’m in Florida.
Finally, there’s Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grill—another place I’ve loved since childhood. We’ve written about Flanigan’s here before, and I still stand by it as one of my go-to restaurants in South Florida. Is it flashy? No. Is it good? Definitely. There’s a reason you’ll often find a long wait at many Flanigan’s—it’s affordable, it’s delicious, and it’s quintessentially Floridian.
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There’s nothing quite like your first trip to Europe. For us, it took months of planning, multiple changes to our itinerary, and a great deal of narrowing down where to visit (wanting to experience it all). The result: a two-week whirlwind through France, Spain, and Italy, including a seven-night Mediterranean cruise aboard the Norwegian Epic.
We enjoyed that dish so much, we set our minds to coming up with more tasty things we could stuff in wonton wrappers. We came up with a version stuffed with a spicy crab dip, making a homemade version of a classic Crab Rangoon. Click here to check out the recipe!
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Our neighborhood, the Carlyle section of Alexandria, doesn’t have a lot in the way of restaurants. It’s been primarily a commercial zone, populated with chains and lunch spots designed to satisfy the nearly 10,000 people who come to work here each day.
That’s started to change, though, as more and more residences pop up in the surrounding area. It’s now becoming less necessary to make the 30 minute walk to Old Town in order to have a good meal. We got a new French bistro this summer (review to come), and, most exciting of all, a new spot for seafood and whiskey just opened up a short walk away from our apartment.
Whiskey & Oyster is just as the name implies; they serve oysters in a variety of preparations, and they have a whole crap load of whiskeys on offer. We dined there for the first time last weekend and wrote a full review of our experience. We will undoubtedly be back often. Welcome to the neighborhood, Whiskey & Oyster!
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