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Northside Social

If there is one thing I love more than eating food, it’s eating food outside. It was the outside dining area at Northside Social that caught my eye awhile back.

The locally owned and operated coffee shop and wine bar is owned and operated by the Liberty Tavern Restaurant Group and is located in Clarendon. Fairly new to the area, the restaurant’s laid back feel is evident by the customers coming in with gym clothes while ordering their food at the front counter.

As much as I love eating outside, the heat wave kept me indoors, which led me to exploring the wine bar upstairs. Much of the featured wine is from small family run vineyards that otherwise could be difficult to purchase. The wine bar menu keeps it simple with primarily cheese and meat plates.

You can order wine and beer downstairs, as well as sandwiches, salads, soups and quiches. It’s not unusual to see people working on their laptops or reading a book while sipping on a glass of wine or coffee. Like the guy below, look he’s reading a book and having a beer!

The coffee is also suppose to be a standout, with different types of extraction methods. Those include espresso (their specific espresso machine is only used by two or three other places in the nation), drip coffee, a specialized coffee production per cup method and the french press.

One the 100 degree day that I visited Northside, there were still people crazy enough to eat outside in front of a massive grill. Perhaps the beef brisket they were serving was THAT good. They also have marshmallows that you can toast outside.

If the marshmallows don’t cut it, the front also has cookies, soft serve ice cream (flavors change and are made fresh daily), muffins, scones and tarts that are all made by their very own pastry chef.  I was tempted to try to the walnut coffee muffin.

Given the time of day I went, I stuck to a glass of chardonnay for $7 and the Black Forest ham quiche. The quiche’s flavor was delicious with caramelized onions through and spinach. The crust was thick and flaky, but I would have like this to have been served much hotter. The fruit and simple side salad comes with the quiche and was a nice light side for such a hot day.

When getting up the front counter, my friend asked for the best sandwich they had. The cashier insisted it was the chicken salad. I didn’t have the time to try the rest of their sandwiches to see if this guy was lying or not, but the chicken salad here is quite tasty. I’m not even a fan of chicken salad. When ordering a sandwich, you have the option of side salad, potato salad or chips. Don’t think you’ll be disappointed with the potato salad.

Much of the food at Northside is local, and you can even purchase local milk from grass fed cows.

I’m looking forward to my next trip to Northside which will hopefully involve a giant cup of their coffee and a chunky monkey scone. Fingers crossed it will be cool enough to eat outside.

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Founding Farmers

My brother has been telling me to go to Founding Farmers in Washington, D.C. for awhile now. I found it funny when my friend mentioned I go to Founding Farmers too. Next thing I knew she was battling the  traffic and trying to understand the contradicting parking meters in order to dine at the farmer-friendly restaurant.

Knowing it was a Saturday, my friend and I decided to be senior citizens in order to avoid the rush and walked in the doors around 4:45. Only a few people were nestled at the bar as our hostess led us up the stairs to an empty dining room. Jars of colorful vegetables and fluffy hanging clouds (made from cotton?) hung from the ceiling.

My friend assured me that the fried green tomatoes were delicious and were quickly ordered. The “Certified Green Restaurant” doesn’t serve bottled water and instead places a glass jug full of water on our table. The drinks at Founding Farmers features eight from the Prohibition era. There are also cocktails and “Farmer’s Favorites” all ranging $8-$25. The $25 includes some absinthe and top shelf liqour.

The thick fried green tomatoes came with two spreads. One had a guacamole flavor called the green goddess dressing. The other was a goat cheese herb spread. Both were delicious but I found myself going back for the green goddess.

Everyday Founding Farmers has a popcorn of the day for two dollars. Old Bay seasoning was sprinkled on top of a large bowl of popcorn that my friend and I munched on throughout our meals.

For dinner I had the prime rib sandwich with au jus. Served on ciabatta bread and with slices of Swiss cheese and grilled onions it was easy to taste how fresh all the ingredients were. The beef was tender and cooked to perfection. The french fries were lightly salted and a great accompaniment to the sandwich.

After leaving and telling my brother what I ordered he was extremely disappointed. He demanded that next time I order the chicken and waffles. It would have been nice if he gave me a heads up prior to dining! Either way I was happy with my selection. As I got up to leave the restaurant was packed with diners who all seemed to be happy with their selections too.

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