OK. This post is seriously off topic. But, life IS more than 3D printing even for the most avid 3D printing fans.
All of us have to eat to live. And, I have to warn you that this post is about eating, and eating extraordinarily well having nothing to do with 3D printing.
But, if you are in the DC area... or ever visit this area, you will be grateful for this little excursion.
Today, my wife and I traveled from Maryland to Tyson's Corner, Virgina to visit one of our favorite restaurants. It's Coastal Flats in the Tyson's Corner Mall.
Now, I live along the Bethesda - Rockville corridor in Maryland. And, we literally have hundreds of good restaurants from which to choose. There are at least five in walking distance of my home. So, it takes a remarkably good restaurant to coax me across the river into Virginia just for a meal.
One is the incomparable Bistro L'hermitage, an absolutely superb French restaurant near Historic Occoquan, Virginia. But, that is more than an hour away in good traffic. So, it is reserved for very special dining celebrations and events.
The other is Coastal Flats. And it lures us across the Potomac River on a regular basis no matter what the traffic.
As the name and decor suggest, sea food has a prominent place on the menu. But, you will be hard pressed to find a better steak filet at even the most famous of steakhouses. Quite frankly, I would actually rather have a Coastal Flats filet than anything I have tasted at Ruth's Chris or The Palm, both of which are famous in their own right for very good reasons. The secret, I'm told, is their wood fired oven expertly held at just the right temperature.
But, what is even more remarkable is that the company that brought us Coastal Flats has created not one; but, NINE different restaurant themes, each quite different in food offerings and ambiance. And even though they are distinctly unique in some way, they are held together by what can only be described as a phenomenal system for hiring great staff and providing wonderful service.
The great news is that Great American Resaurants' locations are spread around a wide area of northern Virgina. While I have not been to all, I can vouch for some. So, if your trip takes you to DC or through northern Virgina, you find yourself near one. Here are those that I've tried.
- Mikes "American" - Springfield, Va. (Classic Steakhouse)
If you are traveling on I-95 and need a break, just take the Springfield, Virginia exit. It's on a few blocks off the exit ramp. I think this was the original site from which they grew.
- Carlyle - Arlington/ Shirlington (Includes Best Buns bakery)
The Carlyle location is a little far for us; but, still a favorite for special occasions because the unique Art Deco motif has a special air of romantic loveliness. Be sure to ask to be seated upstairs to fully appreciate the ambiance as well as the food.
It's located off of I-395 just south of Washington, DC. I urge you not to miss it if staying near National Airport or in Arlington.
- Sweetwater - Merrifield, Sterling, Centerville (Western Theme Microbrewery)
I've only been in the Merrifield location. But, I expect that while each of these locations shares the same western theme, wonderful service and food, the decor is unique. As one might expect of a microbrewery, a bar is prominently located in the center of the action. It's a fun place, even it beer is not your thing and they won't hold that against you.
If you are traveling around I-495, it's just a short hop off the road to the corner of Route 50 and Gallows Road. Love the burgers and iced tea!
- Artie's - Fairfax (Boathouse Theme)
I've only been to Artie's a couple of times. And, that is not because I didn't like it. It's farther away than Coastal Flats and when I'm hungry, I'm hungry. But, if you find yourself in Fairfax, Virginia then I urge you to stop and enjoy the fare and service. You will not be disappointed.
As I said, this post was WILDLY off topic. But, I know that many of you will, sooner or later, find yourselves in the Washington, DC area and northern Virginia in particular. And, I'm not just interested in your shared interest in 3D printing; but, that your whole life be filled with great things... including great food. So, if you have a chance, give one of these restaurants a try... and don't forget to leave room for the Flourless Chocolate Waffle!And, while in Fairfax, if you happen to drive by the old courthouse, raise a salute to my ancestor, Richard Ratcliffe, who leased the land for the courthouse for $3 for as long as they hold court. The lease is still in effect. If you have a bit of time, you may be able to visit his home on Main Street near the Historical Society.
Great American's Warm Flourless Chocolate Waffle
Now, THAT is what I'm talking about! LOL!