Tag Archives: Clarendon

Memorial Day Weekend Round-Up

Apologies for the absence of posts this week; it’s been hectic as of late.  But thank goodness for federal holidays! Though I’m looking forward to lounging around my apartment and barbecuing for a good portion of the weekend, I’m also planning to check out some of the many events scheduled. From an Argentine festival to a pig roast to a chili cook-off, there’s something that every foodie can enjoy–without dropping tons of cash.

Friday

Jazz in the Sculpture Garden: Normally, I don’t include Friday events, but this one is probably my favorite part of summer in DC. Jazz in the Sculpture Garden officially starts on Friday  from 5-8:30 p.m., across the street from the National Gallery. After a long week at work, DCers all convene at the sculpture garden to picnic with friends, sip sangria by the fountain, and lay on the grass amongst contemporary sculptures. And with jazz playing in the background and the sun setting, it makes for a truly delightful scene. Jazz in the Garden takes place every Friday evening till September, so be sure to check it out at some point. And even if it rains, concerts will still take place in the National Gallery atrium. Click here for more info.

Saturday

23rd Annual Argentine Festival: If you like tango and empanadas, then this is the festival for you. On Saturday from 4-10:30 p.m., head to Arlington for the 23rd Annual Argentine Festival, featuring performances from several Argentine artists, arts and crafts, tango lessons, and of course, plenty of Argentine food. Tickets cost $20 and can be purchased here.

Rockville’s Hometown Holidays: The Rockville Town Center will be the place to be for Montgomery County residents this Saturday and Sunday. This annual festival features live music, an arts and crafts fair,  a green festival presenting green products. Plus, several Rockville restaurants will be on hand offering tastes of their menus. Participating restaurants include La Tasca, Potomac Pizza, Giffords Ice Cream, Bombay Bistro, and more. Click here for more info.

Sunday

Durkl Block Party: I’ll admit, I was pretty jealous when I heard about Silver Lake Jubilee back home in Los Angeles–a huge street festival with live bands and tons of gourmet food trucks. Luckily, DC will host something similar this Sunday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. The Durkl Block Party, located in a parking lot on 5th and I St. in Chinatown, sounds like it will be awesome. With free admission, open grills for visitors, Sweetflow and Sauca, and “a DJ lineup that reads like people you normally pay $10 or more to hear” (according to GOG), Durkl Block Party has all the elements for an memorable Memorial Day celebration. Click here for details.

Spiked Sundays at Capitol Skyline: If you’re a fan of Spike Mendelsohn of Top Chef fame, or his popular burger joint Good Stuff Eatery, don’t miss your chance to see him in action at Spike Sundays. Every Sunday till Labor Day from 10a.m.-6 p.m., Chef Spike will be at the Capitol Skyline hotel grilling and chilling by the pool. The $15 admission price will get you a burger with toppings and sides from Spike, drink specials, a live DJ, and all-day access to the pool. Click here for more info.

Charity Pig Roast: Head to Clarendon’s 3 Bar and Grill on Sunday at 4 p.m. for their charity pig roast, where a 250 lb. plus pig will be made into pulled pork. Pulled pork sandwiches will be $5, with all proceeds going to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Drink specials will also be available. Thanks to Metrocurean for the heads up.

Monday

Cafe Saint Ex and Bar Pilar 2nd Annual Chili Cookoff: From 12-4 p.m., gorge yourself on delicious chili from Cafe Saint Ex, Bar Pilar, and local contestants vying for the title of Best Chili. Face painting, wash-off tattoos, a lemonade stand, and drink specials await visitors. Make sure to bring cash, since it’s cash only! All proceeds will be donated to the Fillmore Art Center. Click here for details.

And with that, my friends, enjoy what is sure to be an epic weekend!

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Silver Diner: Not a Greasy Spoon Anymore

I will admit that I’m somewhat of a food snob. On our first date, I warned my boyfriend that if Chili’s or McDonalds was our destination, he would almost certainly be dining alone that night (luckily for both him and me, he hadn’t chosen either of those places). I avoid chain restaurants like the plague, opting for local joints instead. My food elitism is precisely why, when I received an invitation to attend a menu sampling at the Silver Diner, I hesitated at first. I thought to myself, “A chain greasy spoon? No way.”

But when I read the invitation more closely, I was intrigued. The event was slated to unveil Silver Diner’s newly launched Fresh and Local menu to the DC blogger community. I’m a sucker for anything with the words “fresh” and “local” in the title, so I decided to check out the event with my friend Jen, of Fresh Cracked Pepper.

The evening proved once again that you should never judge a book by its cover. My skepticism was proven wrong, and Jen and I came away with mostly positive impressions of Silver Diner’s new initiatives. The event began with introductions from owner Bob Giaimo and Head Chef Ype Von Hengst (pictured above). Giaimo discussed the rationale behind revamping Silver Diner’s menu and his decision to go the fresh and local route. He explained that after a month of conducting focus groups with Silver Diner customers, he discovered an overwhelming demand for fresh and local cuisine. More importantly, he found that diners were willing to pay more for locally sourced ingredients–compensating for the additional costs that the Diner would incur.

Chef Ype then presented the new menu offerings. Having grown up near a farm in Holland, where his mother brought him along to buy fresh milk and vegetables, he is passionate about bringing local ingredients to the Silver Diner. The first round of tastings included a summer citrus salad, chopped asian salad, and a variety of sliders (salmon, pesto turkey, hamburger, tomato mozzarella).

Chef Ype boasted that the strawberries (in the citrus salad) arrived in the restaurant that morning from a farm in Delaware. They certainly brightened up an otherwise run-of-the-mill salad. I also enjoyed the salmon and turkey burger sliders: both were served on whole wheat buns (sourced from a local bakery) and tasted juicy and tender.

Next, Chef Ype served the entrees (as if the surfeit of sliders and salads weren’t enough!): 600 calorie smothered BBQ meatloaf, 600 calorie vegetarian noodle stir fry, gluten free shrimp scampi with Maryland goat cheese and locally grown asparagus, brown rice with edamame, and guacamole pepperjack burger (which used hormone-free ground beef).

The guac burger was delicious: the patty was cooked with a perfectly pink center, and the addition of avocado, cheese, and bacon pushed the burger over the top–in a good way. The shrimp scampi, made with gluten free brown rice flour pasta, was also surprisingly good–and not an entree you’d expect to see at a diner. The earthy asparagus, along with the tangy Maryland goat cheese, added color and sophistication to the dish. The only dish that I wasn’t a fan of was the noodle stir fry (though I do applaud Chef Ype for using whole wheat pasta). The teriyaki sauce was a bit cloying for my taste.

Of course, I couldn’t leave without sampling some dessert: apple pie, chocolate cake, and a gluten free brownie sundae (sorry, no photo of the sundae available). The desserts were decent, but a tad too sweet for my taste. I did enjoy those fresh, juicy Delaware strawberries, which made another appearance atop the apple pie.

The night ended with some fabulous complimentary gift baskets, which included fresh bunches of asparagus, more of those delicious strawberries, Greenberry’s coffee, a Silver Diner mug, and 2 bottles of Virginia-brewed beer.

I think Silver Diner’s Fresh and Local menu is quite admirable. Yes, “fresh,” “local,” and “organic” have become buzzwords in the food community, and there are many restaurants out there that just slap on those labels without doing the legwork. But Silver Diner is not one of those establishments.

After listening to Bob Giaimo and Chef Ype, it’s clear they have done extensive research and found the best local ingredients they can afford: asparagus and strawberries from Delaware, hormone free beef from New Jersey, eggs from Lancaster County, PA, and locally baked buns. Some would argue these locales are not local enough. But in my opinion, that’s close enough and still way better than buying strawberries from, say, Mexico. And, perhaps most importantly, the food is tasty: not all the dishes were winners, but overall, I was very satisfied with my meal.

Head over to the Silver Diner in Clarendon to try their new Fresh and Local menu for yourselves! (The menu will be implemented at other Silver Diner locations soon.) I’m sure you’ll be surprised, like I was, to find that it’s not your typical greasy spoon anymore.

Silver Diner Clarendon

3200 Wilson Blvd.

Arlington, VA 22201

703-812-8600

Silver Diner on Urbanspoon

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