Category Archives: VA

Dots Back Inn

I’ll preface this post by saying Guy Fieri has been here and we have a bit of a past. While Fieri’s descriptions of food are lacking, his unhealthy breakfast spots are not. Seriously,  his food descriptions are lacking — watch the video below about Dots’ black bean corn cakes.

I am a lover of unhealthy food, especially at breakfast. When I saw Dots Back Inn on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, I knew a trip to Richmond would be in the works. Even better that my trip to Richmond came on the first day of 2012.

Located in somewhat of a suburban looking area, Dots serves breakfast, brunch, and lunch in their small restaurant. Along with a basic diner interior, there comes a typical diner menu. I’m not complaining.

Eggs any style, stuffed French toast, corned beef hash, and chunky monkey pancakes all grace the the brunch menu. One the first day of 2012 my eye went directly to the huevos rancheros.  Perhaps it was The Little Grill in Harrisonburg, Va that got me hooked to Mexican dishes for breakfast, but once I saw the rancheros I immediately ordered. Smothered in what looked to be homemade salsa, there were fried eggs (cooked perfectly) on top of chili, cheese, sour cream, and taco shells. I added black beans to the mix, too.

The consistency of the chili mixed with the sour cream and egg yolk paired quite nicely with the crispy flour tortilla shell. Every bite had a crunch as well as a bit of spiciness. In the words of Guy Fieri, it was “really good.”

So obviously my New Year’s resolution had nothing to do with losing weight or eating healthier. A favorite to many of the locals, Richmond’s Dots Back Inn brings heavy, but delicious meals, with amazing service to Virginia’s capital.

Watch the 5-minute clip about Dots on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives:

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Filed under VA, Washington D.C.

Sunrise Donuts

I heard about Sunrise Donuts from a friend of mine who happened to stumble upon the shop in Gloucester, VA. With the post Thanksgiving traffic on Sunday, my brother and I decided to take the “scenic” route back to Northern Virginia.

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How fitting is this picture? Opened last September in a strip mall, Sunrise Donuts already has a steady stream of customers, and according to The Daily Press newspaper, some of those customers come in at 3 am on their way to the shipyard.

Flavors range from the basic cinnamon sugar and glazed to the popular maple glaze with bacon bits. Started by Holli Cohoon, her small staff cooks from 9:30pm till 2am.

And their not just cooking doughnuts. They also serve cinnamon buns, apple fritters and a selection of other pastries.

Knowing what rave reviews the actual donuts from Sunrise had received, my brother and I picked out the banana chocolate doughnut and the cinnamon sugar. Be warned, these doughuts are massive.

You can tell just how fresh these doughnuts are upon your first bite. In regards to flavor, I think the simpler the better.  To me, the banana frosting tasted artificial, but when paired with thick doughnut, the frosting flavor wasn’t overpowering– in a good way.

If you ever take the “scenic” route through Gloucester, Va, I still suggest making a pit stop.

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Filed under Uncategorized, VA

Bakeshop

It’s hard enough to make it as a bakery today, but to stay in business with the giant cupcake company Crumbs less than a mile away, I knew Bakeshop must be offering sweets that keeps customers coming back.

With a simple name, the inside of Bakeshop keeps it fairly simple, too. A few wooden tables sit inside the crafty shop, and the front counter is lined with cupcakes ranging with flavors from almond joy, 7Up, nutella and of course, red velvet.  Cupcakes aren’t the only thing Bakeshop takes out of the oven.

Other tempting items include blueberry oatmeal cookies, layered cakes (custom orders), cream pies and chocolate chip cookies with an oreo baked inside.

Justin Stegall, who is the face behind Bakeshop, previously worked as a cake decorator in Brooklyn.  After making his way back to Northern VA, his sweets were starting to pop up at local coffee joints. That’s when the buzz started and soon enough Bakeshop was born.

I’m still obsessed with the fall, thus I am still obsessed with anything pumpkin flavored. This pumpkin cupcake topped with the perfect amount of cream cheese frosting. The flavor of the cake was delicious.

I’m still thinking about the cupcake, but another sweet on my mind was the homemade banana pudding. A special for the day I went, the pudding was sold out by the time I arrived. Stegall calls it “one of the best desserts ever.” So, yeah I’m taking another trip back.

You get the local vibe in Bakeshop, and what’s more, you get a friendly vibe. In fact, if you see Stegall in the shop, he encourages you to “Stop by and say ‘whatsup!'”

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Filed under Arlington, VA, Washington D.C.

Sushi Rock

What sushi and rock music have in common is beyond me, yet somehow, Sushi Rock mends the two together quite well (and not just through the name). Located in Clarendon, away from the nightlife scene, this two floor modern restaurant has an industrial architecture inside decorated with warm tones.

I went to Sushi Rock with a friend on a weeknight and was seated immediately. We were greeted promptly by our server who fit the rock/waiter bill perfectly. Well, he had pierced ears, and in my book, that means he probably wears a leather jacket while listening to Axl Rose. That is my definition of a rocker.

Before I even got my hand on the drink menu, our rocker waiter was back asking if we’d like to start with an appetizer. Two seconds later he was back asking if we had made a decision. Pretty sure I still had my purse on at this moment. I had to politely ask for a few more minutes a couple more times until we were ready to order drinks. Searching through other reviews of this restaurant, the majority of complaints pertain to service.

Above is the “Day Tripper.” Both the drinks and food have rocker themes, and yes, I felt like an idiot ordering every single thing. The Day Tripper has raspberry vodka, blended juices and coconut foam. Doesn’t get much girlier than that! Something tells me our waiter never orders this drink.

For dinner, my friend and I decided to go with three different types of sushi.

The sushi presentation is done beautifully. If I remember correctly, above is the Ziggy Stardust roll. Ugh, I feel like an idiot just typing the name of the sushi. This roll has an interesting twist, rather than fish, this is rolled up kobe beef, asparagus, red pepper and a jalapeno mayo. I like the creativity of this roll, but every bite I found myself thinking “wait, this texture is weird,” and then I’d have to remind myself about the beef. Quite the mind game let me tell you.

Our favorite of the evening was the You Shook Me All Night Long (ugh). As the menu breaks it down, it’s tempura shrimp + avocado + cucumber + crab stick + black tobiko + red tobiko + scallion + Japanese mayo. What’s tobiko you say? Fish roe. What is fish roe you say? Fish eggs.

Fun fact: Roe is a rich source of vitamins A and D, fatty acids and zinc.

If fish eggs or sushi in general aren’t your thing, Sushi Rock also has shared plates that range from salmon to meatball skewers.

It’s a fun place to go with friends while taking in a cool atmosphere. While the service was a tad overbearing at times, sometimes you have to remind yourself that every rose has its thorn (nailed the rock reference!).

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Filed under Arlington, VA, Washington D.C.

Shilla Bakery & Cafe

 

When the Washingtonian shared their favorite doughnuts recently, I was shocked when I saw one of the picks was only a few miles away from Springfield, VA. Shilla Bakery & Cafe is known for their Korean Bing Soo (I’ll explain what that is because I had no idea) and baked goods.

Located in Annandale, VA, Shilla had a lot of customers around lunch time. They all seemed to be either sipping on the Illy brand coffee or eating Bing Soo. It’s a massive bowl of the Koreans’ take on shaved ice topped with fruit.

While the Bing Soo intrigued me, I was there for the red bean doughnuts. The entrance of Shilla is lined with shelves of breads, doughnuts and a bunch of things I’ve never heard of.


I spent a good five minutes awkwardly walking around trying to figure out what anything meant. Finally, I saw the words doughnut and placed the two in my basket.

Each baked good is indivuadally wrapped with the exception of the cheese danishes that were fresh out of the oven.

I figured two doughnuts was probaby enough carbs for one reviews. Next time danishes and Bing Soo are mine!

Since I had no idea what I was really purchasing when it came two these doughnuts, I guess it makes sense that I actually bought the same doughnut twice. Well, one was sugar coated while one was not.

I recommend the sugar coated one with red bean paste filling. Yeah, red bean. Never even known that was filling, but it actually has a subtle sweet taste and pairs well with the sugary dough. Red bean has been a popular Korean flavoring that comes from boiling down azuki beans and adding honey or sugar to the paste.

When getting a doughnut from Shilla, you can tell the dough is fresh and dense. And hey, if you end up liking red bean paste (which I did) you can also get your fix from the red bean bread, red bean cookies, and yes, red bean bing soo. Patbingsoo to be exact.

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Filed under Arlington, VA, Washington D.C.