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LIA’s (Chevy Chase, MD)

As a celebration after completing our Washington, DC Death March (10 hours walking, 22.9 miles), we decided that a celebratory brunch was in order the next morning. It’s not particularly easy to score brunch reservations for a large party, but one of our Marchers, Jeff, recommended LIA’s in Chevy Chase. Part of the Chef Geoff group of restaurants, LIA’s is one of the places focusing on “Posh American” cuisine: American classic dishes done up with quality ingredients and with interesting twists. But, most importantly, they were easily able to hand a group of 12 with last minute reservations, so we found ourselves traveling up to Chevy Chase for brunch.

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Mark’s Kitchen (Takoma Park, MD)

For our DC “Death March”, we ended up walking around 23 miles through the DC area, basically walking from Takoma Park, MD to Arlington, VA, via, well, almost all of the tourist sites. A walk like that requires a good, hearty breakfast, so we decided to convene our walk just a block outside of DC at Mark’s Kitchen in Takoma Park. Walking in, Mark’s looks like your standard American “breakfast restaurant”, and indeed, the menu has all of your standard American breakfast fare: omelets, pancakes, French toast, and the like. But if you dig a bit further into the menu, you notice a lot of items that aren’t on your usual breakfast menu. Ginger scrambled eggs. Seaweed omelets. Kimchi omelets. Bibimbab scrambles. Smoked salmon pancakes. In fact, a single trip back past the kitchen as you wind up the (distinctly not accessible) stairs to the restroom, the rice cookers, jumbo bottles of sesame oil, and various Asian greens being prepped in the kitchen tell you a nice little secret: Mark’s Kitchen is also a Korean place.

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Siri’s Chef Secret (Greenbelt, MD)

One of the unwritten rules amongst most of my coworkers that travel a lot is that you shouldn’t waste a business trip meal eating someplace we could eat back at home. So that usually means seeking out at least one of the ethnic cuisines that aren’t well represented in our neck of the woods, in this case, several of us knew of a decent Thai place down the road from NASA Goddard in Greenbelt, MD: the oddly-named Siri’s Chef’s Secret. Siri’s describes themselves as “Thai and American Food”, but with the exception of the dessert menu, most of the menu is straightforward Thai dishes, with just enough American food that if you brought a group and one person wasn’t comfortable with Thai food, they’d be happy. But they’ve got most of the major dishes I look for, including Tom Yum and Tom Kha soups, several rice dishes, basil dishes, and noodle dishes, served up with levels of spice ranging from mild to truly spicy (also a pleasant departure from the generally light spicing of Northern New England).

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Lambert’s Seafood (Glenn Dale, MD)

There are three food items I always think of when I’m in Maryland for business: Crabs, pit beef sandwiches, and crabcakes. I’ve reviewed a few crabcake places before (like G&M in Linthicum), but on a recent trip to NASA Goddard, several of us wanted crabcakes for lunch, and Lambert’s had be recommended to us by a few NASA folk. Lambert’s Seafood is one of those places you really have to know about by recommendation or reputation, since, aside from one tiny ~4″ tall sign on the front of the strip mall, the place is completely unsigned, and you’d never know this place was there. Even looking at the front door, there’s no clear “Lambert’s” sign or anything.

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G&M Restaurant (Linthicum Heights, MD)

It always helps to have, well, peeps. My business travel again had me traveling to Arlington, VA, and in general that leaves me with two options to get there from NH: I can either fly from Manchester to Reagan National Airport for a lot of money and really inconvenient flight times, or I can fly to Baltimore with good flight times and extremely low cost. The downside of the Baltimore route is that it involves planes, trains, and automobiles, since getting from BWI to Arlington generally requires some combination of shuttle bus, train, and Metro. But the useful thing is that I know quite a few people that live near BWI, and have often used this as an opportunity to have them pick me up for a meal before I catch the train to DC. Last time, it was the Paper Moon Diner. This time, my friend Betsy picked me up, and we decided to try G&M for some crabcakes…

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Paper Moon Diner (Baltimore, MD)

Last month, Carol and I had a quick mini-vacation trip to the DC area (actually, it started as a business trip, but the business part got canceled and I decided to go anyways). Seeing that the fares from MHT to BWI are crazy-cheap ($118 RT at the moment), it was easy enough to fly through Baltimore, where we got picked up by my friend Betsy, and we met up with several other online friends at Paper Moon Diner. The first thing that really stands out about Paper Moon Diner is the decor. You know those kids that instead of just playing with their toys take them apart? I think they hired one of those kids to do the interior decorating. The main diner room is filled with all sorts of action figures (including some fairly recent ones, like Treebeard) and Pez dispensers. The front dining room is filled with random “stuff” (like a blender), and the back room, where we ended up getting seated, is filled with Barbies and partial mannequins. It’s definitely a trippy experience, especially late at night…

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Obrycki’s (BWI Airport, MD)

We’re all familiar with the great quandary when traveling, which is where to eat. Most airport restaurants aren’t terribly well known, are expensive, and generally serve sub-par food. However, when traveling, I occasionally come across a gem that’s worth noting (Burger Joint in San Francisco and Milltowne Grille in Manchester, to name two). Obrycki’s is another one of these places that’s head and shoulders above the rest (although not without it’s flaws). Obyrcki’s is an airport branch of the venerable on Pratt Street over in Baltimore, long known as a quality vendor of crab cakes. The BWI location is but a mere shadow of the real Obrycki’s…

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Roy’s Place (Gaithersburg, MD)

My current business trip brought me to Greenbelt, MD (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), which was also a good excuse to get together with some of my MD peeps for dinner. As a destination, we picked “Roy’s Place” in Gaithersburg, MD (a bit of a haul from my hotel in College Park, but I was given a ride). Roy’s is a Gaithersburg institution, a nice, dimly lit saloon featuring a long list of sandwiches. Indeed, it’s not just a long list of sandwiches. It’s a truly exhaustive list of sandwiches, with over 200 different sandwiches…

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