Multi-state meat

As I promised last time, well maybe I didn’t promise but I said I might, I present here some mini-reviews of places where I have dined while in the Washington, D.C., area. Here is how it will work: The criticisms will not be critical unless the place is just so horrible that it made me sick or violent. So far, none of the places in which I have dined while up in the D.C. environs have had such adverse effects upon me.

Last night I met an old college friend for dinner in Virginia. Mary and I spent at least some of our trying to remember how long it had been since we had seen one another. I don’t think either of us actually figured it out but it was in the 20-plus-year range, we finally decided.

My friend took me to a Tex-Mex place in her neighborhood of Alexandria, Va. Now if I had sought out a place to eat in Virginia with someone other than an old friend, I probably wouldn’t have chosen a Mexican restaurant since I live in Texas. Nonetheless, the poblano chiles rellenos were very good and the place had an impressive mas Southwestern decor that wasn’t felt bullfighters or Elvis. The food took a back seat to catching up with my old friend, or rather it was a bonus.

Los Tios Grill #2
2615 Mt. Vernon Ave.
Alexandria, Va.
Price: Reasonable

Since the class I am here for (as a requirement of my part-time government job) is, and previous classes I have had were, very near Union Station in downtown D.C., I have eaten lunch in the giant rail station on numerous occasions at its many restaurants and fast-fooderies (not a word, not a problem!) For some reason, I have never until today noticed the Station Grill even though it is located just to the side of the Massachusetts Avenue entrance where I normally enter the station.

Today I had their Reuben with home fries and iced tea. Once again I have to compliment the people in these parts on their iced tea. You can actually taste it unlike the same drink in most of the places back home. My theory has been that perhaps people back in Texas drink iced tea so much that the large receptacles from which they are dispensed rarely get a break and thus a cleaning. I don’t know this for a fact, just a guess. The Reuben was a little on the buttery side and the last thing I needed were fried potatoes but I didn’t go hungry. The bar, which is where I ate, was a nice old hardwood structure of the kind every bar should have. I suppose the only disturbing thing I saw was a customer sitting next to me who did something I had only experienced before in Arkansas. He ordered a barbeque pork sandwich which came with cole slaw on the side and he topped the ‘que with the cole slaw. In Arkansas the sandwich actually came with slaw on top. In both places I wanted to scream: “What the hell is wrong with you people!”

Station Grill
Union Station
50 Massachusetts Ave.
Washington, D.C.
Price: Not too expensive for D.C.

Since I got back to the hotel at 9 p.m. last evening and I returned at 5:30 p.m. today, I decided to seek out an eatery close by. This was even though the hotel had gratis baked potatoes and chili (Oh my! I had to pass, as I told a fellow Texas classmate, I don’t eat chili outside of Texas or die trying not to).

There is an Argentinean restaurant next door that I probably will try before I leave but it just didn’t seem appealing this evening nor did the almost equally nearby Ruth’s Chris Steak House where a meal just about will gobble up my per diem. But I found a little Chinese place around the block. It was a nice place, had kind of an old feel to it and very courteous waiters.

Also to be found were good portions. I had the Imperial shrimp, which along with jumbo shrimp (which were the type found in the Imperial) seems like an oxymoron. The meal itself was a little on the bland side but it was damned sure filling. Of course in an hour or so …

There was an elderly couple who came to dine out and despite the batteries for their hearing aids which they conversed about for several minutes, they apparently were still kind of hard of hearing and talked sort of loud, bless their hearts. They were a cute couple though, the gentleman dressed up in a suit and the lady in a nice dress. I felt like the slob that I was. The best line of the night was from the woman:

“I can’t eat like I did when I was a kid of 75.”

Still, I imagine one would find a dish of their liking at the Moon Gate Restaurant as they have a very extensive menu.

Moon Gate Restaurant
4613 Willow Lane
Bethesda, Md.
Price: Very reasonable considering the portions

Thus concludes my non-critical criticisms on a two-state, one-district-which-has-taxation-without-representation dining binge. Maybe I will write something more inspiring tomorrow. I mean, there is always hope.

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