Mad Fox Brewpub (Falls Church)

We finally had the chance to catch up with the SIL and her new husband for the first time since their wedding, this past weekend. They just recently moved into a place just around the corner from East Falls Church metro and I’m pretty pleased to have a new  neighborhood to explore with them. I’m also pleased to have the SIL so close! She has lived in Raleigh for the past several years.

When they said they were free on Sunday, the lady immediately suggested we go to Mad Fox. We’ve been before, but only for snacks and beer (Lots of beer. They’re not messing around with those flights!), not a whole meal. Last time we were there we started with the pretzel twist and split a burger. It was fantastic. We knew that it would be a place worth returning to. And the lady knew it would be perfect for the SIL and husband.

We started with a round of beers. I had the Lindy’s Weiss, a wheat beer. The lady had a saison and the BIL had the English summer ale. My beer was a little more flat in flavor than I had hoped, but the lady’s was a little more complex. They just didn’t compare to all the sweeter barleywine  and wee heavys we had last time. I didn’t try the BIL’s, but he seemed to enjoy it.

For food, I decided on the arugula salad with chicken. Turns out when you take on eating and drinking as a serious hobby, your clothes will eventually start to get a little tight. I’m trying to lighten up a little, so you may start seeing a different pattern from my menu selections. ANYWAY!

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I expected the dressing to have a bit more acidity than it did, but the salad was excellent. It was a nice light option for a hot day.

The lady had the Fig and Balsamic Blues pizza. I was pretty jealous of her, but at least I got to sneak a couple of bites. It was really good! I love the combination of sweet and savory things on pizza.

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Both the SIL and husband ordered burgers. 

I can tell from experience, those burgers are damn good. And they definitely enjoyed them as well. I suppose it behooves a brewery to have good burgers. And pizza! Classic combinations.

I have a feeling since we now have family in the neighborhood, we’ll be making a few more trips to Mad Fox. It would be nice to keep a finger on their rotating seasonal beers since I was surprisingly impressed with their winter selection. Yeah beer!

  • Favorite thing I had: My salad was pretty good. But that pretzel on our last visit was fantastic.
  • Favorite thing she had: The pizza. It was pretty great, I kept stealing bites of it.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: The grilled veg sandwich sounded really good. I’d also like to give the pizza a try myself. Other beers!
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): We actually have some vague plans to head back with some of the lady’s high school friends sometime in the next month. Last time we were there was in the spring. So, seasonally!
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): I honestly don’t really know yet! There are a lot of things along that strip of street, and I’ve been to Dogwood Tavern before, but haven’t learned enough to direct others.

Compass Rose (14th Street NW)

 

The opening of Compass Rose was well-hyped on social media and other foodie outlets. As soon as all the positive reviews started rolling in, I had to add it to our ever-growing list. I got a look at the menu and it got bumped to the short list. We found ourselves with a free Friday this past weekend and tossed some ideas around. They all sounded good, but nothing got me excited. While on my way further south on 14th St. to one of the places we had decided on, I passed Compass Rose and finally got excited. I texted the lady, changed the plans, and headed over to grab a seat.

Since she wasn’t there yet, they wouldn’t seat me, so I posted up at the bar. My first impression of the space was that it was very cozy. Big plush bar stools and the blue tones used on the walls were very relaxing. The brick, tin, and warm wood layered very nicely. Had I not still felt icky from the cold I was fighting, I would have wanted to just sit there all evening.

While I waited for the lady, I started with a drink. Unfortunately, I didn’t flip the menu over, so I missed the cocktail menu- but I started with the sangria since it was on happy hour. Not too bad! I usually prefer my sangria bubbly, but the green apples and strawberries made up for it. I got a picture, but it was blurry. The lighting at the bar was pretty dim.

When the lady arrived, we decided to just stay at the bar. We started with an order of the fry bread and 3 dips.

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All 3 dips were tasty. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what each of them were, but I preferred the orange one. The chips were sort of like pita chips. It was a perfect little starter. We needed a second order of the chips to finish up the dips.

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For entrees, after much deliberation, I decided to go with the very first thing that caught my eye on the menu, the lamb kefta. Guys, the aroma that wafted across my face as they set this dish down in front of me was worth ordering it alone.

The lady went with the El Lomito sandwich. Which was really quite large.

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Everything about the lamb was perfect. The meat was so flavorful and juicy. The tahini dipping sauce was a perfect complement, and side grain salad was so delicious, I would order that on its own. Oh man, that picture is making me salivate all over again.

The lady’s sandwich was also delightful. Juicy meat, every bite as flavorful as the next. it was too much for her to finish, and even though I was also full, I kept sneaking bites of it.

Everything was so delicious and the service was nice and laid back. I know it will be a couple of weeks before we can get back, but Compass Rose is the first thing that comes to mind to recommend when people are asking what we’ve had and loved recently.

  • Favorite thing I had: The Lamb Kefta caught my eye on my first glance at the menu, courted me, and did not disappoint.
  • Favorite thing she had:  Her El Lomito sandwich. It was so flavorful.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: Basically everything else on the menu. The mussels sounded tasty. The papusas! I’ve heard that the Khachapuri is amazing. The Bhel Puri Chaat was another one of my considerations. Basically, I’d like to try everything on the menu, thanks. I also ordered my drink before I even saw the cocktail menu, sooo, I gotta get back to that too.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): This is the kind of place I want to take people to! There’s so much other stuff on 14th street, but I think we’ll try to get back soon.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): We decided to also try Red Light. We discussed The Gibson or 2Birds1Stone. All are within a couple of blocks.

Longest Day of the Year Weekend Round Up

After a super packed last weekend, and a week of both of us fighting off summer colds, we were a little bit weary of how jammed packed our calendar was this weekend. But life is too short to spend the longest days of the year cooped up inside, so we made the best of it!

On Friday, I cut out of work early for an appointment in Farragut. I got there a little bit early (who am I kidding, I got there 45 minutes early), and spent some time wandering the surrounding blocks. I haven’t spent much time there during the day, but you guys, I think I found where all the food trucks live! I can’t say much yet, but I’m hoping to be spending a little more time exploring that area soon. Fingers crossed!

My appointment was over by 2pm and was free of plans until date night time with the lady. I took advantage of the free afternoon and hollered at my Dupont-dwelling, free-for-the-summer teacher friend for some rare normally-at-work-time hanging out. She was just finishing up lunch with another friend who is lucky enough to escape the typical 9-5. I made the walk from Farragut to her place and swung by Glen’s Garden Market to kill a little time before I met up with them. I checked out their new drafts and saw that they had DuClaw’s Funk, a blueberry citrus wheat beer. I do love my fruity beer, so I had to give it a try. A perfect summer beer! I will be picking up a 6-pack of that and enjoying it outdoors soon. Once I finished my beer, I met up with my friends. We decided that a stop at Pleasant Pops before spending some time lounging in the shade in Meridian Hill Park was the perfect afternoon plan. I really have to figure out a way to have more free weekday afternoons…

Photo courtesy of a friend.

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After a couple of hours lazing about and chatting with good company I got a text that the lady was finally free of her work shackles and that she was headed my direction. We threw out lots of options for dinner, but we ultimately decided on Compass Rose. I had my friends drop me off a little bit further down 14th St., but got really excited when we passed Compass Rose and knew that’s what I really wanted. So I walked back up 14th and was able to grab us a seat, since it was so early. That was definitely the best idea I’ve had all week. That post is coming later in the week.

After dinner, we weren’t quite ready to head home. There are so many things on 14th St. that we still haven’t tried yet, so we decided on making a second stop at Red Light. I wasn’t feeling up to drinking, but I was certainly ready for some dessert. We definitely made the right choice there. That post is coming eventually.

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We had some grand plans to get up on Saturday and take on the world. A workout! A trip to the Old Town Farmer’s Market! ALL THE ERRANDS! But we both woke up still fighting off the ick. So instead, the lady got up and ran one errand, I blogged a bit, she came home got back in bed and I placed my first Instacart order for our weekly groceries. Our neighbor has been singing the praises of Instacart for a while now and I’m definitely on board! I placed the order while laying in bed in my jammies and just had to answer my door when the groceries arrived. I have to say one of my favorite things about DC is how lazily productive you can be.

After some more rest, we got a second start on our day and hopped on the metro to a friend’s house for an alma mater brunch in Bloomingdale. We spent the afternoon enjoying the company of old college friends and meeting other fellow alumnae. Many mimosas were consumed and hilarious stories told.

We eventually had to peel ourselves off the couch and head down to the Nationals game for the annual game for which my company provides tickets (and matching t-shirts, that we didn’t wear). I didn’t anticipate that it would be a wee bit chilly, but a little bit of a beer jacket on top of my mimosa jacket was fine for as long as we stayed… which was only until about the 6th inning. Always was fun to see my co-workers outside of work.

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Sunday morning, I again meant to get up early and CLEAN ALL THE THINGS. But instead I ended up sleeping until like 9:30 (UNHEARD OF for me). We really did not succeed in productivity this weekend. Never the less, we eventually motivated and headed into the city for Birthday Brunch with a friend from back home at Bar Charley! We didn’t go bottomless, but it was still DELICIOUS. That post will also be up later this week.

After brunch, we grabbed some snacks from the store and headed up to Riggs Park for Crabs, Beer, and another birthday celebration, also with college friends and the spouse of a college friend. We spent the whole afternoon lazing about at our friends’ house, picking crabs, drinking beer, playing with Big Bertha, a giant love bug of a 20 lb, cross-eyed cat that our friends’ are fostering (SHE IS UP FOR ADOPTION! from Washington Animal Rescue League.), and watching soccer.

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We almost decided that we no longer wanted to go to work and that we were just going to live with our friends from that point on, but we ultimately decided to drag ourselves back over the river to prep ourselves for another busy week. I’m so ready for a quiet, relaxing weekend, but I certainly can’t complain about all the quality time we got with so many of our friends this weekend!

American Ice Company (U St. NW)

Saturday afternoon took us from the Nats game to U St. NW for some city exploring. As I mentioned in my weekend recap, we decided that a glass of wine and small snacks on a patio would be the perfect next move. We tried to get that at Veritas, but it seemed that they didn’t really have much interest in providing us with that. After a failed attempt to get any attention at the bar or the back patio area, and with no desire to sit down for a full brunch, we formulated a plan B. We thought quickly on our feet and decided on American Ice Company instead. We walked the few blocks and in through the gated area of American Ice and realized that this was much more what we were looking for anyways. The vibe there was much quieter and more relaxed. I’m sure this is not the norm there, but it was perfect for us.

I really liked the space a lot. We had the option of sitting on the patio or inside. We really wanted to keep on enjoying the perfect weather, so we chose one of the tables outside.

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We perused the menu and decided on the swachos (nachos with pulled pork, jalapenos, and cheese sauce) and the pickle sampler. The lady went for a Bells Amber on draft and I decided on Bells Oberon tallboy can. Each were $6. I was pretty stoked about the prices, you can’t beat that. The selection was awesome. Nice craft beer, cheap beer, wine, and a full bar. There is something for everyone. And the beers were served in wide-mouth mason jars. Nice touch.

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The nachos were really tasty, but as soon as I saw the veggie nachos (black beans and corn) I wished we had done that. They were a little heavy after having a big sandwich at the ballpark. The pickles, however, did a good job balancing out the heaviness of the nachos.  My favorite bit was the pickled cauliflower. It was just a little bit sweet. I wish I could have a whole cup of that. I’m all about some pickled veggies these days…

We sat there for about 2 hours, slowly enjoying some really delicious beer and watching the bar fill up. It’s the perfect place to hang out and kill a couple of hours. We will certainly be back to do that again.

  • Favorite thing I had: The pickled cauliflower was really great.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: Any of the sandwiches. I had just already had a sandwich at the ball park and was in the mood for something else. The veggie nachos also looked excellent.
  • What makes this place stand out: The cool indoor/outdoor space. The front is kind of like a beer garden patio situation, and the inside is a nice rustic metal/wood design. I really appreciated that I could get a craft beer tallboy for $6.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): It has officially added to the list of places we default to when killing time in the short period of time that Mockingbird Hill is closed. I can see us there monthly.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): There are so many places to hop to within a 3 block radius: El Rey, Satellite, Nellie’s, Dodge City, DC9. It’s not far from the DB3/ Right Proper/ either.

Pork Barrel BBQ (Del Ray)

I decided to take last Friday off from work after having a couple of really long work weeks. I had all sorts of grand plans to take a bike ride and do things outdoors, but the weather gods had other plans and decided this would be perfect timing for a nice huge spring storm. It did clear up later in the day, but at that point, I realized that the lady had accidentally taken the key for the storage unit with her to work. That’s ok, I found plenty of other things to do to occupy my time.

At some point in the day, I started getting a ridiculous hankering for BBQ (chicken and potato salad in particular). I’ll blame it on all the summery thoughts brought on by visiting Nicecream Factory earlier in the day. I did some internet research and laid out all the BBQ options in the metro area. Since I was off from work, I was already in Alexandria, so Pork Barrel BBQ came up the obvious answer. When the lady got home from work we headed over to Del Ray.

When we walked into the restaurant, I was surprised at how… nice? it was. I’m not sure why, but I think I just assumed since it was a fast casual place, the finishings wouldn’t be so nice. Lots of stone and wood. There was also a full sized bar that ran the full length of one side of the restaurant. We decided to saddle up at the bar and take advantage of their happy hour specials.

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We started with a couple of $2 “Old School Cans.” They had a selection of about 6 different beers. Craft cans were $4. You really can’t beat that. We went with cheap beer because I was craving a Miller Lite (sometimes that just happens), but they have a pretty decent beer selection.

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Since they were also on special, we decided we’d start with an appetizer of nachos.

 

The cheese sauce on the nachos was a little strange. It sort of tasted like it had been mixed from a powder. But everything else about them was delicious! And whoever came up with the idea to put slaw on BBQ nachos is a genius.

Since the nachos were pretty sizable, we decided just to share on entree. We went with the Build A Platter Combo with beef brisket, ribs, potato salad, and baked beans. It also came with a piece of cornbread.

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It was actually a pretty absurd amount of food. And despite how delicious it all was, we could only finish about half of it between the two of us. The brisket was super tender and the ribs really flavorful, and huge! The potato salad hit the spot and added a nice cool element to the meal. The baked beans were delicious, nice and sweet. The other bonus was the 3 types of BBQ sauce on the bar in front of us. They had a NC vinegar style, a memphis vinegar style, and a classic sweeter BBQ. I like being able to choose, and take different bites with different sauces.

The food was great, the atmosphere really nice, and the server/ bartender was pretty fantastic. I can’t believe it took us so long to eat there. I’m pretty excited to go back.

  • Favorite thing I had: Everything was good, and it was exactly what I wanted. My fave was probably the baked beans. And the NC and Memphis-styled BBQ sauces.
  • Favorite thing she had:  The potato salad
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: The pulled pork! Well, we had it on the nachoes, but next time I’m craving a pulled pork sandwich, that’s it. the sausage also sounded good
  • What makes this place stand out: I wasn’t expecting such a nice, huge, fully stocked bar in a fast casual setting. This could double as a neighborhood bar! All that was missing was a cocktail menu. OH! I almost forgot! Since they’re connected, you can also order from Holy Cow’s menu from the bar there. Burgers or BBQ, take your pick!
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): Probably monthly in the lunch/ dinner rotation. It’s a good, affordable option.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): Dairy Godmother would be our usual destination.

Holy Cow (Del Ray)

A couple weekends ago, the lady and I were trying to decide on a good, cheap lunch option close to home. I was torn between sushi or burgers. Two very different things, I know. I settled on burgers and chose Holy Cow in Del Ray, since we hadn’t been there in several months. And the name makes me giggle.

It was pretty busy with tons of families. I had been hoping it wouldn’t be so hopping since it was a bit after lunch, but alas. There was not a long line to order, so that was nice. There are several options. They have a menu with several burger recipes and also the ability to craft your own with several meat options besides just beef. I decided to craft my own and I settled on a regular burger, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, BBQ sauce, and blue cheese. (I did this because most their burgers lack the veggies, and I prefer to balance it out) The lady also went make her own regular burger with the veggies and swiss cheese. We decided to split the smallest order of regular fries.

 

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It did take a while to get our burgers (they give you a playing card to take to a table and bring you your food). So we’re lucky I even have a pic of it, because I was SO HUNGRY. The order of fries was a wee bit small to split, but we made do. And the burgers were delightful. The meat was juicy, and the bun was just the perfect size and thickness for the burger. I sort of want to drop everything and go have one now.

  • Favorite thing I had: Well, my burger. Blue cheese and BBQ sauce were a good combo.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: I feel like I should give their turkey burger a try. They also have really interesting burger of the week, combinations. A milkshake!
  • What makes this place stand out: The fact that they donate 25 cents per burger to local charities is awesome! You choose the charity from a huge list, tell them the number, and it’s done.  It also sits beside it’s sister restaurant, Pork Barrel BBQ and has some nice outdoor seating at picnic tables.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): It will be in the weekend lunch rotation.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): We checked out Happy Tart, gluten-free bakery just across the street. Neither of us are gluten free, but the treats were pretty tasty anyway.

Favorite Friday: Lost Dog Cafe (Arlington)

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I’ve already said plenty about how much I love pizza. And I’ve told you a little bit about how much I love beer. I’ve even talked a little bit about sandwiches. Well, I love Lost Dog Cafe because they have all 3 of those things, and they do them so well. They now have 4 locations (two in Arlington, one in McLean, and one in Dunn Loring along with Stray Cat Cafe, also in Arlington) but we’ve only been to the South Arlington location.

Lost Dog was something we knew about before YEARS before we actually made it there. We made plans to go there once with friends, but it just so happened to be when that particular location was closed for renovations. We lived in Rockville at the time, so we weren’t spending much time in Arlington. When we moved to Alexandria, it came back onto our radar, but still took some time to expand our local circle to that point. As soon as we finally made it there, I regretted waiting so long to make it back! We’ve been making up for lost time and now visit on a regular basis.

My most recent visit was last weekend. My friend, P, asked me if I could drop him and his boyfriend off at his sister’s place for Easter dinner. He described where she lived. I agreed because I love him and it wasn’t too far out of my way, but also because I knew that meant I could have pizza and beer for my own Easter dinner! It had been a long day with two football games (that didn’t go so well for our team) and I just didn’t feel like cooking. So, I dropped them off and hurried over to Lost Dog to pick up a pizza for me and the lady. I plopped down at the bar, perused the beer menu and grabbed a beer by one of my favorite VA breweries, Wild Wolf. The lady had given some guidance via text of what she wanted, so I checked those out and settled on the THE CATAHOULA: Spicy tomato sauce, marinated chicken breast, spinach and sliced tomatoes, covered with mozzarella cheese and basil. It was so much effort to have the pizza in the front passenger seat and not eat a piece of it on the way home, but I made it. I didn’t even change out of my football clothes before I sat down to inhale the pizza. It was a perfect end to a long day.

  • What I usually order: The menu is so huge, I don’t have a regular thing yet. The past couple of times, we’ve gotten pizza. Before that, I was making my way through the sandwiches. The Catahoula we had last time was SO GOOD.  I want to know the secret to the spicy tomato sauce.
  • Why I keep going back: Because I know it’s going to be an awesome meal! The beer selection is huge, so I know I’ll be able to get pizza and whatever beer I want. Or I’ll be able to find a unique sandwich. The one off of Columbia Road is a perfect meet-in-the-middle place for us with friends who live in Arlington. The menu is diverse enough that everyone can find something.
  • Thing I still haven’t tried yet: About 90% of the menu. The pizza that caught my eye last time was the CHULITA’S MADNESS — Cheese pizza topped with homemade meatballs, oven roasted tomatoes, pineapple, and banana peppers. I’m totally going for that one next time. I also still need to get to The Stray Cat Cafe, by the same owners.
  • Fun things about this place: The owners have been rescuing stray dogs and cats for almost as long as they’ve been in business. How can you argue with a business that’s tied to animal rescue? I love my rescue cat as much as or maybe even more than I love pizza.