• 05Aug

    Sugar Factory Rainbow Sliders

    We recently attended the recent pre-grand opening of Pentagon City Mall’s Sugar Factory American Brasserie. Sugar Factory started as a candy store, and grew into a group of restaurants with locations in Las Vegas, New York, Miami, Orlando, Chicago, Dubai, Philippines, etc. They have both restaurants concepts (such as Pentagon City) and small retail stores/cafes (such as  Bahrain, Hollywood, and the newly opened Union Station in Washington, DC. The restaurants include small candy stores (and house-made ice cream).

    Let’s start with the drinks. There is definitely a sweet theme here, with many of the milkshakes and bubbling goblet (group-sized, 60 ounce) cocktails being garnished with candy. The 3 neon colored (individually-sized) martinis we tried tasted like Jolly Ranchers in the best possible way, with the Lemon-Head being our favorite. If you don’t enjoy very sweet drinks, you may want to skip alcohol for the evening. There is no beer or wine menu at this location.


    All of the food including sauces like Buffalo, BBQ, and mustard, and even the turkey in the turkey club are made from scratch. This is something that more restaurants should do because it is more cost effective, but also results in fresher, more flavorful food. The dishes we tried were good versions of classic American food that we grew up on.  The salmon was the one dish that was fancy restaurant fare instead of a good version of a classic diner or pub dish. We tried one brunch dish, the well-prepared  chicken and waffles. The only component of any of the dishes we tried that needs work is the asparagus that came with the salmon, which should be an easy fix.

    This is a good restaurant for groups, besides the goblet cocktails. There were even 5 or 6 birthday parties for children (all girls) going on the evening we were present. Sugar factory even has a 24 scoop King Kong Sundae for groups to share.

    We are looking forward to returning to Sugar Factory, possibly for brunch. Feel free to take a look at the drinks and food (including brunch) on their huge online menu.


  • 21Jul

    Coffee. Whether it’s your go-go juice, your perfect beverage paired with morning zen time, or an emergency pit stop to survive those last hours at work … Hopscotch Coffee & Records in Winchester, VA has your bases covered. The menu skips past the specialty drinks (don’t worry, you won’t miss those mocha-frappa-double-shot-extra-whip-hint-of-bullshit-achinos) because the true, rich flavor of Hopscotch’s locally roasted beans are showcased throughout each latte, espresso, regular drip, and french press. Did I mention that the beans are roasted less than a mile from the shop? I’d say that’s as local as it gets. Nate Rhodes, the owner, has seven years of experience with coffee and really knows what he’s doing behind the counter. I give him mad props for not hiring a bunch of hipster wanna be teens attempting to make coffee with no experience dialing in espresso. He’s really involved in his business, and I highly appreciate that as a customer.

    As for my latte, there were no complaints. I tasted no acidity, and only bold, rich espresso with delicate steamed milk. The drink was not blistering hot, and not at all lukewarm. The kitschy atmosphere reminded me of an urban outfitters, but homier. There was pinball machine in the corner, and cases of records for sale. Modern art adorned the walls as well as a map you might find in a high school geography classroom. There were plenty of seating and power outlets for every occasion, whether it be a business meeting, date with friends, or a quiet study session. All in all, for a shop only opened for 3 years, I see it being as prosperous and delicious for many more years to come.

    -Jara (JMG), Guest Blogger

    Permalink Filed under: Drinks, Etc, Stores Tags: No Comments
  • 12Mar

    My $20 off of $60 code is https://www.relayfoods.com/friend/9WZ8KG.

    I’ve been getting a lot of groceries lately from Relay Foods lately, so here are some of my current top picks from their lineup:

    Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars are whole wheat versions of Fig Newtons are come in various flavors. I like the fact that they are whole wheat and in packages of two cookies for a healthy snack on the go. My favorites flavors are the blueberry, raspberry, original, and peach/apricot. I’m not a fan of the strawberry.

    Ninth Street (out of NC) makes Chocolate Babka. I’d prefer it doesn’t come frozen (because I have to defrost it to slice and toast it), but it is a good product. Keep in mind that it ca be difficult to slice, isn’t overly sweet, and should be toasted.

    Pretzilla Soft Pretzel Sausage Buns & Soft Pretzel Hamburger Buns. They arrive frozen. The hamburger buns they are already sliced but the sausage rolls are not.

    Hex’s Sea Kraut and Farmstead Ferments’ Classic Kraut are both good and local. Farmhouse Culture’s Organic Jalapeno Kraut is my favorite of the three, and is organic, but not local. (The other two are not organic.) Hex is a regular at the Silver Spring Farmer’s Market (and even sells kombucha there).

    I’m always a fan of Hudson Henry’s granola, which comes in three flavors (Pecan, Cashew, or Walnut) and is local. People go crazy for this product. This is my favorite granola right now!

    Asmar’s Baba Ganouj (out of Alexandria, VA) is a good product as well. It’s he best Baba I’ve found outside Middle Eastern Restaurants, although the texture is a little different.

    Escazu and Salazon are good options for local chocolate. The Escazu Dark Chocoloate Pumpkin Seeds & Guajillo, and the the Salazon Dark Chocolate Sea Salt and  Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel are my favorites of these products.

    Eden Brown Mustard with Apple Cider Vinegar is stone ground, organic, and a great product.


  • 04Feb

    Starting a new year meant rolling out a new menu for the French bistro and bakery, Praline. They have added a whole new selection of crepes, offering both savory ones for meals and sweet options for desert. As a French bistro, they felt that the crepes were needed, not only to add a tasty classic, but also to bring a cohesive connection to their artisan bakery downstairs.

    For the locals living in the Bethesda area, they may have probably heard about the bakery. Praline offer goods from cookies, chocolates, pastries, cakes, and the irresistible French macaroon. Upon entry the sweet smell of the bakery fills the air as your eye is drawn to the immaculate display, and diverts the attention of anyone with even the mildest sweet tooth. The bakery is a distraction for many because even the owner Susan Limb admits, “Many regulars have forgotten, or don’t even know, about the charming bistro upstairs.”

    Everything produced from the Bistro and Bakery is made in house from scratch, and if possible, locally sourced ingredients. So it was no surprise that the new featured crepes are a sensation. For those who have traveled to France desire the crepe they had at a tiny bistro in Paris, Praline offers crepes that are on par with anything you can find at a French Bistro or a street cart in France.

    Susan Limb wanted diners to enjoy the authentic of enjoying crepes,  so she is pairing them traditionally with a semi-dry hard cider. This may seem like an odd combination at first, but it works. The subtle sweetness and gentle fizz simply complements the savory crepes.

    Praline’s bistro  is not limited to just crepes as they do have a full menu offering such French classics like escargot, Beef Bourguignon, Poulet Grand Mere, and Ratatouille. However, Americans typically do not think of a savory crepe as a meal, and this mindset is limiting. However, with an open mind, try are the three most popular crepes:

    The Norvégienne is wrapped up in the thin, moist and spongy crepe is crema fesca, which is a lighter, fresher version of sour cream that balances the Norwegian smoked salmon with added flavor and texture from the spinach.

    The Champêtre is stuffed with sautéed mushrooms in a cream sauce and Herbes de Provence, and proved to be bursting with delicious flavors.

    The Maraichère is a seafood crepe packed with crab, scallops, and shrimp in a cognac lobster sauce, a natural choice for any seafood lover.

    For the sweet crepes, the classic and always favorite is the Nutella and Banana stuffed Antillaise, or the Normande with baked apples and cinnamon.

    However, as a special treat and because there isn’t anything else like it, try the signature cake created by Co-owner and Executive Pastry Chef Patrick Musel, called the Walnut Dacquoise. This cake has layers of light cake and in the middle is a layer of walnut butter cream, crushed walnuts, and flakey pastry. If you like any of those things, you will love this cake.

    Praline does not disappoint and before you leave, make sure to grab a box of goodies from the bakery!

    -EWL (Eric)

    Praline Bakery & Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

  • 14Jul

    Last week was a good week for DCFüd. I attended media events for Blackwall Hitch on the Old Town Waterfront and Alex Garcia‘s AG Kitchen in Silver Spring, both of which are fun, hip, casual, and great additions to the area. It was great meeting Chefs Michael Wagner and Alex Garcia. I also finally sampled Ice Cream Jubilee‘s frozen treats.


    Click to add a blog post for Blackwall Hitch on Zomato

  • 16May

    Wonderful food industry people who create extremely tasty products:



  • 14Nov

    …this seems excessive, no? This is from the Shop Rite in Silver Spring, Maryland.

    We all know that expiration dates on many items are little more than educated guesses. I grew up in my family’s small grocery store near Annapolis, and we often would eat the foods that were either nearing or were at their expiration date, generally with no ill effects. Sure, the dates on milk cartons are pretty accurate, and it’s wise to avoid eating deli meats, breads, or prepared foods much past their sell-by date. But most frozen foods can last well past the date stamped on their packages, as long as they’re stored correctly. Even now, seeing food a week or so past the sell-by date just doesn’t bother me.

    Which makes this dented and worn box of Steak-Umm’s chicken steaks I found at the Shop Rite so ridiculous. Super market freezer doors open and close all the time, and that simple action changes the storage temperature. People often will put a refrigerated item in their cart and carry it around the store for an hour and then randomly plop it  in between the Oreos and the Chips Ahoy. How many times have you seen a shopper put back ice cream in something that wasn’t a freezer? Seven additional months of who-knows how many random grabs and placed into how many carts, going through how many freeze/thaw cycles, not including how long it sat on the shelf before April 2014?

    there were two boxes left...hmmm...

    Now with extra salmonella if you use your bonus card!

    That leads me to the sale price – the store had two boxes left, they had different items behind the chicken Steak-umms ready for purchase, AND they just happen to have a two for $7 sale?? Coincidence? Interesting… . I’d guess somebody in the store knew this box of Steak-umms was well-past the expiration date and either didn’t care, or were told to ignore it and sell it anyway, clearing the shelf space at any cost rather than lose a couple of bucks. Given that this location is near a large senior citizen community, perhaps the buyer wouldn’t be able to see the small print, or wouldn’t have the taste buds to tell the difference.

    Seeing this mangled box in the freezer reminds me to start paying attention to the sell-by dates again. Back when I was a kid, that meant counting the chocolate milk boxes that would expire in the next 24 hours, and figure out how many would be left over for me to drink. Now, it means to keep an eye out for potentially dangerous food.

    No matter the reason or the excuse, this is bad grocery store managing. I wasn’t giving the store the Anthony Melchiorri white-glove dust test from “Hotel Impossible;” I was looking for frozen vegetables I could keep at work.

    Although…now I’m totally ready to pitch “Grocery Impossible” where I fix horribly-run grocery stores. Food Lion can be my pilot episode. Maybe the whole first season.


    Note : I moved the other box of chicken Steak-umms out of the way for the photos, and it had a “best if used by” date labeled comfortably in 2015. Having tried the Steak-umm chicken flavor, my personal recommendation for a “best if used by” date is “never.”

    – Ray

  • 15Aug

    CSA box production line. The ones with kale on top are complete.

    Groupon has  a certificate (which they are almost out of so move quickly) that lets you get a produce box from Nall’s (Friday or Saturday) for $12 ($22 value). I just picked up this week’s box, which includes peaches, nectarines, 2 bunches of kale, mushrooms, 4 large green bell peppers, 3 huge peaches, 3 small nectarines, 2 ears of corn and a canary melon. They handled my mushroom allergy by making a box up for my separately and substituting a teeny loaf of bread.

    I will say that 4 big green bell peppers is a lot of green peppers for me–a variety of pepper colors would have been nicer. I have no intention of making stuffed peppers, so some of them may go bad before I can eat them in salads or put some in this or that dish.

    I also bought strawberries, yellow summer squash, a large yellow tomato, and a bottle of Runningbyrd Summer Rain local artisinal sweet tea. I buy a watermelon there weekly, and they have a good variety of them.

    Nall’s has 2 weeks left of the weekly summer CSA program before the fall program begins.


  • 16Feb
    Pic courtesy of http://www.springfieldbutcher.com/.

    Pic courtesy of http://www.springfieldbutcher.com/.

    Yesterday, I paid my first visit to Springfield Butcher (in the strip mall with Trader Joe’s). I heard that this business (which has been in Springfield over 30 years) receives fresh seafood deliveries every day except Sunday, so purchased a $26 Groupon for $13, and headed to the shop. The certificate expires March 22, so you will have to use it relatively quickly. I purchased two crab cakes and some salmon, and both were very fresh and tasty. The crab cakes are of the type that contains filler (scallions, red bell peppers, and I’m assuming bread). It is nice to have good source of fresh seafood closer to me than the Springfield Wholefoods.

    Springfield Butcher also has a good selection of meat and poultry, so I plan on shopping there again soon. Cy used to purchase the California specialty tri-tip here.

    By the way, Groupon has a President’s Day deal that gives you $10 off of a $40 LOCAL certificate through tomorrow (2/17/14) with the code “10OFF40LOCAL” so I did a quick search to see if there are any good deals above $40. It turns out that they have a Cherry Blossom Dinner with Drinks or All-You-Can-Eat-and-Drink Brunch for Two or Four at Mezè in Adams Morgan for $49.


  • 29Oct

    This is what was supposed to be in the produce box, but they ran out of some items so made substitutions. It would be nice if this list was representative of what they actually gave me in the box.

    I recently added an ad/coupon for Relay Foods (a grocery pickup/delivery service) to the right side of DCFüd so that our readers can save $20 off of $60 on their first order. Relay Foods has many good quality products including those from local businesses and farms. I decided to try the grocery delivery service, and write this review about my experience with Relay Foods. I ordered $50 in groceries (total before adding the discount code).

    The Groceries:

    • Local Bounty Share Produce Box. Between the day of the order and the delivery, they changed the box to Fall produce. They should have sent me an email, so that I knew I’d get different produce than I’d ordered. The box did have good quality items, but some of the items in the Fall box were out of stock, so they replaced them with other items. Instead of 2 Asian pears, I received 1 pear but there was also 2 bell peppers instead of one. Instead of butternut squash,  received a small yellow summer squash. Instead of potatoes I received extra sweet potatoes.The greens in the box were organic mustard greens (that were actually from California while everything else seems to be local). The pear has a sticker identifying it as this Stemlit product (and organic); the pear was quite good.
    • Artisan Cuts‘ Freebird Whole Chicken from Artisan Cuts. Their description of the chicken: “These humanely raised chickens are grown in Amish Country, by experienced family farmers, who follow strict animal welfare standards. The chickens are free-roaming in well-ventilated, spacious barns, which offer more room than those of factory-raised birds. The chickens are vegetarian fed sun ripened corn and soybeans, and are never treated with antibiotics.” The chicken was very flavorful and obviously high quality; I will definitely purchase one in a future order.
    • Artisan Cuts’ Plainville Farms Ground Turkey – Fresh, 1 lb. I messed up the ground turkey meatballs by forgetting to add the beaten egg. They taste great, but are heavy and their texture is off, so can’t really judge the ingredient.
    • Family Ties & Pies‘ Mixed Berry Pistachio Scones, two Scones (frozen). I enjoyed the scones, and may try different varieties next time.
    • Mimi’s Whole Grain Cinnamon Rolls, Honey Whole Wheat, 6-8 Pack, 20 oz. These are very good when warmed up.
    • Mission Home Bakeshop‘s Homemade Honey Oatmeal Bread, 16 oz. This had great flavor and texture when used to make French toast.
    • Bombolini Pasta‘s Spinach Fettuccine, 16 oz. It arrived half frozen, but it should not have been frozen at all. When I cooked it, the pasta stuck together (because it is not packaged in one layer so it can be frozen), was gummy, and inedible. I let Relay Foods know about the inedible pasta, and they apologized, removed the item from my bill, and gave me a $5 credit to be used on a future item.

    Other good products Relay Foods Carries:

    Virginia Vinegar Works. I’ve only tried the Heritage Blend Red (which is a good local product) but I noticed that they have the 500 ml White Heritage Blend and Chardonnay varieties on sale for $7.20 (instead of $12) right now.

    Holy Grael Sorbet. My favorite of Holy Grael sorbet is the Blackberry Lime.

    Cavanna Pasta. I am a fan of their Artichoke-Pesto Cannelloni and Spinach-Egg Taglierni.

    Moorenko’s Ice Cream. I have written about this company previously, and Relay Foods carry one of my favorites, the Honey Lavender.

    Soupergirl. We wrote about this soup company in 2009.

    Pickup and Delivery:

    Relay Foods has a map of their pickup spots. You can also get your order delivered (for a fee) or signup for monthly delivery service (for a larger fee).

    Customer Service:

    Relay Foods’ customer service by email and phone is excellent. When I noticed that the ground turkey I ordered was listed in my confirmation message as frozen instead of fresh, I called Relay Foods to change the item. The representative said they were out of fresh ground turkey, told me how to edit my cart, and told me to check the site in the next few days to see if it was back in stock. I let her know that I’d remove the frozen item and that they could email me if they have the fresh version in the next few days. The representative agreed and stated that she would call their butcher. I got an email the next day saying the item is back in stock, and added it back to my order. Customer Service (as mentioned earlier) also handled the issue with the spinach pasta in a positive way.

    The delivery person was running a half hour late (there was a 2 hour range), a customer service person called me at the end of my time range to let me know. When the delivery person (who was very nice) gave me the box (and I checked it out), there was a whole chicken I didn’t order. She told me I could keep it for free.

    So, yes, there were a few glitches here and there, but it is a new business. I will definitely order from Relay Foods again.


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