Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pizzeria Orso

When Pizzeria Orso opened in Falls Church in 2010, many argued it was suburbia's answer to 2Amys. After all, opening day pizzaiolo Edan MacQuaid had been working the ovens at 2Amys for years in addition to stints at some of DC's other pizza temples. The positive reviews came fast and furious, and we knew we had to get ourselves out to Falls Church for a pie or two.

Life sped by and before we knew it, months had passed. MacQuaid parted ways with Orso before we got a chance to check out his pizzas. Undeterred by his departure and subsequent plummeting reviews, we stopped in to Pizzeria Orso on a trip home from Dulles.

The atmosphere felt much more Mellow Mushroom than 2Amys, and it was mostly empty on this stormy Friday night. We settled in with tomato arancini (risotto balls) and the Sardinian Salad (mixed greens, salami, pepperoni, artichokes, cherry tomatoes, grana, Sardinian flatbread). I wasn't a fan of the risotto balls as they had an overpowering tomato flavor and were so small that they tasted more of fried breading than risotto. The salad was a dream come true for people who like their salads disguised as charcuterie platters. It was packed with meaty morsels but yet still managed to strike a nice balance with the field greens and delicate dressing.

On the suggestion of our waitress we tried the Orso Bianco pizza with mozzarella, pecorino Tuscano, fontina and grana cheeses along with a vampire-repelling dose of garlic. A very good rendition of the classic "white pizza" with a chewy/crispy crust rivaling the best we've tried in DC.

We also tried the Crudo topped with arugula, prosciutto, mozzarella, grana, tomato, and basil.

Both pizzas were solid and provided us with plenty of leftovers for the next day. If you put pizzas from 2Amys, Red Rocks, and Orso in front of me in a blind taste test, I'm not sure I'd find a ton of difference between the pies. If we're in Falls Church and we want pizza, we'll be back to Orso. Worth a drive when we're blessed with so many other pizza options in the district? Probably not.

Second Thoughts from B

I'm not shy about my love of garlic. When people aren't looking (or sometimes even when they are), I'm the guy who licks the bottom of the garlic fries cup to eat the chopped garlic.

I'm also not shy about my love of all things salty. We're talking "in need of an intervention and possibly rehab" love of salt. When I was younger and dumber, I would eat chips and crackers in front of the TV until the salt burned my tongue. Gross, right? Let's just say I don't allow myself to walk down the snack aisle at the grocery store.

So when a white pizza arrived in front of me covered in a carnival of salty cheeses and garlic, I was a happy camper. Salt and garlic are the duct tape of the kitchen in my mind. If you add enough, any meal can be salvaged.

I'm not saying this pizza needed salvaging . I'm just saying that it had enough cheesy, garlicky, salty goodness that it could be two week old DiGiorno and I wouldn't complain... but anyone that had to live with me for the next couple of days might.
Pizzeria Orso on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 25, 2011


We celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary this month by crossing off a restaurant near the top of our DC Bucket List: Citronelle. Citronelle is one of the pillars of the DC restaurant scene and has been serving Michel Richard's whimsical take on French cuisine since 1994.

Over the last few years it has become popular to claim that Citronelle's service or food has slipped and it "isn't what it once was." Since it was our first Citronelle experience, we can't tell you if it's as good as it ever was, but we can say that we had a fantastic experience from top to bottom.

From the attentive but not pushy service, to the artful presentation of each and every dish, we were wowed.

To get the full experience, we embarked on Michel's Promenade Gourmande tasting journey. We put the camera away, picked up the champagne flute and enjoyed ten courses of celebration:


Delicate hamachi and jalapeno paired with an oyster shooter and served on glowing "light show" plate.

The bowl of gazpacho was served on a large bed of glowing ice. The complex flavors of the soup could convert any gazpacho hater.

I was awed by this dish. It had the precise texture of a beef tartare but was made with tomatoes. How do they do that?

What do you get when you take a soft shell crab and fill it with more crab? Pure bliss.

Each element was perfectly cooked. Great ginger flavor but probably not a dish I'll remember in a month.

Mini lobster sliders changed B's opinion of what sliders can be. These were tender and packed with flavor. They were served with a cone of the thinnest, most beautiful potato crisps that looked like delicate tree leaves dipped in gold.

After tasting this 60-hour sous vide short rib, B said "Best. Meat. Ever. Game, set, match. Done."

We forced ourselves to make room for a sampling of cheeses. Favorites were a Portuguese sheep's milk, strong bleu, and creamy camembert.

Another gorgeous presentation and delicious dish. Looked just like a runny egg in a shell but was actually meringue in a white chocolate shell.

There is no other way to describe this other than ridiculously cute. We had to take a picture of this one. This little ducky was more than just looks. He was entirely edible (and tasty) and served on a "bath" of scrumptious coconut foam. If every chef did foam that tasted like this, I would never roll my eyes at the "foam trend" again!

Right when I was getting ready to raise my napkin in surrender, our waiter brought out a plate of petits fours on fire (with a sparkler) and a chocolate Happy Anniversary note.

While we couldn't eat like this every day (or even every month), it was a fantastic way to celebrate our anniversary. Every dish and every element screamed "celebrate!" Hats off to Michel Richard for embracing his creative and whimsical personality and letting it shine on the plate.

Second Thoughts from B

Ever since we moved to DC, Citronelle has been considered among the best restaurants in the city. You may have your personal favorite, but Citronelle is always in the conversation. Unfortunately, it took us 4 years to experience it for ourselves as it is also one of the most expensive and sought after meals in Washington. (Though a couple of trips to the more casual Central provided a sneak peak)

There are many things to say about Restaurant Week in DC. Generally the conversation sounds something along the lines of: great deals that come with large crowds and poor service. But let me add one more thing to this commentary. For those restaurants like Citronelle that do not participate in Restaurant Week, finding a table can be uncharacteristically easy. Case in point, when a spot opened up on our calendar at the last minute (~5pm) and no anniversary dinner on the books (instead, J planned a getaway weekend in Mexico), I jumped online to find a reservation available at Citronelle for 7pm that same night.

We've been blessed in that we've had the opportunity to spend our last two anniversary dinners at Plume and Komi. Let's just say that those two spots required significantly more planning. So how do they all stack up?

No where in the city can you match the service at Plume unless you rent out a mansion and an entire staff to go with it. It is almost strange being so well taken care of. As for the food alone, Citronelle is right up there with Komi and others (Minibar, CityZen, and Adour immediately come to mind). It is really a matter of preference at this point.

Citronelle was notable on two fronts. First, other than Minibar which is understandably more personalized and labor intensive, a tasting menu at Citronelle is significantly more expensive than at other elite establishments. However, the construction and presentation of the dishes has more than a touch of Michel Richard's famous whimsy. While I may dream of the silky smooth flavor and texture of the short rib, I'll never forget the UFO-esque amuse bouche or the lemon meringue pie disguised as a quail egg (the witness protection program would be proud).

So while my wallet quivers at the thought of spending enough at Citronelle to fund 2 trips to CityZen or 3 to Philadelphia's Chifa, it made for a truly memorable night. And isn't that what anniversary dinners are supposed to be?
Citronelle on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

MLK Memorial

Unless you've been living under a 30 foot block of granite, you've noticed the construction of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on Independence Avenue along the Tidal Basin. You probably also know that President Obama will be dedicating DC's newest iconic feature on Sunday. What you might not realize is that the Memorial opened to the public yesterday, allowing you to see it before the President gets his turn.

In short, the statue of Dr. King - controversially sculpted by the Chinese artist, Lei Yixin - emerges from the "stone of hope," which is cut out of the "mountain of despair." The mountain is flanked by famous quotes that focus on justice, democracy, hope, and love. Standing significantly taller than the famous statues of Lincoln, Jefferson, and the Capitol dome's Freedom, Dr. King faces the Tidal Basin and the memorial for Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and the oft referenced words, "...all men are created equal."

This positioning along the Tidal Basin will make for a particularly grand view, especially when the cherry blossoms bloom. However, I found it a bit odd that people are supposed to enter from the Independence Ave. side, through the mountain of despair (MLK and the quotes all face the opposite direction).

Overall, the site provides a powerful yet reflective experience. I thought that the sculpture of Dr. King presents him as stern and determined, rather than angry as some critics initially reported before a redesign was ordered. The space is more expansive that I had imagined but it remains intimate.

There are plenty of benches to relax and soak everything in, and I can imagine taking advantage of them on those warm winter nights when the city feels empty (one of the many benefits of living downtown).

For those of you eager to see the city's latest addition, we were pleased and surprised that at 8pm on the first day we were able to walk right in. While I'm sure we'll have to return a few times to fully appreciate all the nuances of this memorial, I'd encourage anyone to come on down and be part of the opening week. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, sometimes you just have to be a tourist in your own city.

J Says

What a treat to live among such beautiful memorials. Every time we drive back into DC from Virginia and catch a glimpse of the Washington Monument or the Jefferson Memorial, I get goosebumps and remind myself how fortunate I am to get to see these treasures every day.

The MLK Memorial is a new jewel in DC's crown and a new stop on our famous (or infamous) "let's march our visiting friends through every single monument at night to make sure they see it all" tour.

Whether you marched on Washington in 1963 or are just out for a leisurely jog around town, make a point to visit Dr. King and sit a spell. The site and its meaning are guaranteed to give you those fantastic DC goosebumps. . . even in August in the middle of a swamp.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mala Tang

When B and I first lived together in Santa Monica, CA, our downstairs neighbors would often set up a hot pot on their patio and cook meat and vegetables for dinner. They also set up a torch lamp that shone light directly up into our bedroom rather than down onto their dinner (grrr), but the point is that we observed a lot of hot pot eating in our first few years together.

For some reason, despite seeing and smelling hot pot-style cooking every week, it took almost eight years together before we ever sat down to a hot pot of our very own. Thank you to the new Mala Tang in Arlington for providing us with that opportunity.

Hot pot cooking is what it sounds like: it's a hot pot full of broth that you dip thin slices of meat or veggies in to cook. Different cultures have different names for it (shabu shabu, anyone?) and different levels of spice and flavor in the broth. Mala Tang specializes in Sichuan-style hot pot, which uses the mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorn for flavor. (Mala translates roughly to "numbing and spicy hot"). Not to worry if you're a spice wimp. You can ask for mild broth in your hot pot.

One unique feature of Mala Tang is that each diner gets an individual hot pot. In a lot of hot pot restaurants, you share one or two pots with your whole group. The individual pots allow people of all spice preferences and dietary needs to dine together, and it makes for a fully interactive experience as everyone is in charge of cooking their own dinner.

The Mala Tang space is large and airy with intricately-detailed tables and chairs. There is a large bar area and patio where you can pretend to be our old neighbors and get your hot pot on under the stars.

Being hot pot rookies, we opted for the set-price menu which, for $30 each, allows each person to select the following from a list: an appetizer, hot pot broth with one protein and two vegetables, and dessert. For our appetizers we selected the spicy wontons and spicy cold noodles. Both featured tender noodles and a healthy dose of the mala spice. Overall, a good way to kick off the experience.

This is the point in the post where I wish I could tell you about how much I liked the dan dan noodles. I read a lot about them before going to Mala Tang, so even though they weren't on the fixed price menu, I tried to order them in addition. Unfortunately our waiter forgot about them, so no dan dan noodles for me. It turned out to be a good thing because we had plenty of food to go around.

And now for the main event! Between us we had beef, enoki mushrooms, broccoli, bean sprouts, shrimp, and white mushrooms. Our waiter gave us cooking instructions (things cook very fast!) and we were off to the races dipping and swishing and dunking the cooked items into the various dipping sauces.

I'm so short that I had a hard time seeing what was in my pot. Maybe a booster seat next time... Nevertheless, we successfully cooked and ate a massive pile of food in no time flat. While maybe not the most impressive ingredients we've ever had in our lives, the punch from the broth and dipping sauces created a really flavorful and fun experience.

The dessert portion of the meal was, well, really bad. They offered a choice between pumpkin pie (in August?) and sesame balls. They were out of pumpkin pie so we got the sesame balls, which were flat, oily, flavorless fried things that A) did not have sesame seeds on them, B) were not balls, and C) in no way resembled the classic "jin dui" that B's mom loves to order at dim sum. Seriously, they'd be better off going to the Giant next door and buying some ice cream to dish up. B always says "my people don't do dessert," but I've had some really good Chinese desserts and Mala Tang's does not come close to making the list.

Lots of Yelpers claim you can get much cheaper hot pot at other local places and they're probably right. At Mala Tang you pay a premium for a spiffy new space.

The premium also includes "entertainment", at least on the weekends. As we finished our meal we noticed a guy in a mask standing near the restroom. Suddenly, the lights dimmed, music played, and the costumed man began to walk between the tables in a semi-dance flipping off one mask to reveal another with a different expression painted on its face. Then, he blew a big fire ball that proceeded to catch his cape on fire, much to the shock of the people at the table next to him. He quickly extinguished his cape, took some pictures with a birthday boy, and dashed off into the kitchen. As B and I exchanged completely baffled looks, we asked our waiter how often he lights himself on fire. Our waiter deadpanned, "about once a week." Everyone went back to their meals like nothing had happened and we left, scratching our heads. Anybody know what that's about?

Mala Tang provided us with a tasty meal and a good story about a guy in a mask catching himself on fire. What more can you ask for?

Second Thoughts from B

I have a few confessions to make. I really did not like our hot pot cooking neighbors from Santa Monica which may taint my view of Mala Tang. I also burned my tongue on some freshly cooked meat, so my ability to taste all the hot pot goodness may have been lost.

With those two elements working against me, I have to say that I enjoyed our appetizers much more than our hot pot. The noodles were served in a savory sauce that had a little kick for complexity, and the texture was perfectly Jello-like (that might not sound appetizing but I love noodles that jiggle).

As for the hot pot, I think I missed something. The aroma was great and it made you want to sip directly from the boiling caldron of flavor. However, my dippables only picked up a hint of that flavor, which combined with a burned tongue, made the meal a little disappointing.

Now for one last confession. J mentioned the sesame balls. They were unappealing to me on paper and nothing changed when a pair showed up in front of me. Since I was taught not to waste food, I quickly took advantage of J's trip to the bathroom by putting one of my sesame balls on her plate. When she got back, I successfully convinced her that we were both given 3 balls and I was down to my final one. Sorry babe, my people don't do dessert... but oh boy do they do noodles!
Mala Tang on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 15, 2011

Metrocurean's 5 Bites (times Two)

Last week, one of DC's best food sites, Metrocurean, featured us in their "5 Bites" feature (see here). As the title implies, these are our favorite dishes in DC. It was really hard to narrow it down to less than 100, much less 5, and our choices may change depending on the day of the week (so don't kill us that we failed to include BCB's Half Smoke). We tried to have some balance to our list (no duplicate items or restaurants) and pick things that we have made a special trip for, thereby eliminating some fantastic dishes from Minibar, Komi, and Adour, just to name a few. So without further waffling and rationalization, we present our 5 Bites:

Five Bites from B
  1. Negril fish tacos at Surfside
  2. Crispy shrimp at Tackle Box
  3. New Jack Zing burger at Ray's Hell Burger
  4. Garlic bread at Nando's Peri Peri
  5. Handroll bento box at Teaism

Five Bites from J

  1. Rocky's risotto balls at Taylor Gourmet
  2. Milky Way malt shake at Good Stuff Eatery
  3. Frites dipped in curry mayo at Brasserie Beck
  4. Two Amys pizza at 2Amys
  5. Strawberry cupcake at Baked and Wired

Friday, August 12, 2011

Food Two Go: Philadelphia's Chifa

We love DC for a lot of reasons but one of our favorite things is its proximity to so many other cool things. It's so easy to just get in the car and drive somewhere awesome.

We woke up on a recent Saturday to find that our scheduled Ultimate Frisbee game was cancelled. Having an unexpectedly free Saturday, B suggested we drive up to Philadelphia to use the restaurant gift certificate that his parents had given us for Christmas. Less than an hour later we were on the road. Less than 3 hours later we were standing here watching people do Rocky impersonations:

And exploring the fantastic collections at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

We worked up quite the appetite touring the museum (museums make me hungry!), so we hurried across town to an early reservation at Chef Jose Garces' Chifa.

Chifa is "inspired by the unique hybrid of Peruvian and Cantonese cuisine found in Peru." It is an interesting blend that might be a disaster in the hands of a less talented chef, but Jose Garces knocks it out of the park.

Garces, winner of the Next Iron Chef, dominates the Philly restaurant scene with five restaurants. He's like the Jose Andres of Philly and his food is just as good.

Thank you to B's parents for providing us with a gift certificate that enabled us to go all out and try the chef's tasting menu, along with a couple of inventive cocktails. Favorite dishes included the Pulpo (rock octopus, garlic-ginger, purple potatoes and ginger gastrique) and the Thai beef salad (Kobe beef!, Thai herbs, romaine, lemongrass and spicy peanuts).

Instead of a bread basket, they serve pan de bono which is a yuca flour/cheese bread concoction that, when paired with the sriracha guava jelly, might be my favorite bread basket of all time. Dessert, rather than being an after thought, was one of the highlights. B, who never gets very excited about dessert, was ecstatic about the coconut panna cotta with mini coconut cakes. People talk about a dish transporting you to an exotic locale and we've never felt that quite as strongly as with this tropical-inspired masterpiece.

Thank goodness B was a champ and drove us home because it gave me time to stretch out in the passenger seat and reflect on a fantastic meal. I fell asleep with my face attractively smashed against the window and dreams of sriracha guava butter dancing through my head.

Second Thoughts From B

I've always thought of Philly as a tough, blue collar town. Maybe I've seen Rocky too many times or heard too many stories about the Broad Street Bullies and Philly fans booing Mike Schmidt and Santa Claus. But let me tell you, the city is a lot more refined than the cheesesteak scene at Gino's and Pat's, and just as delicious. After all, there aren't too many streets in the world that hosts chefs like Jose Garces, Morimoto, and, Eric Ripert all within a few blocks of each other.

Doing a tasting menu at a place like Chifa quickly exhausts your vocabulary. How many times can you say something is amazing, awesome, incredible, wonderful, delicious, surprising, unbelievable, spectacular, phenomenal... you get the idea.

Top to bottom, it was a fantastic meal filled with extremes. Flavors were intense and complex without being overwhelming. The textures alone could have entertained our mouths (the short ribs were so tender I ate them with chopsticks!). The service was knowledgeable, attentive, and enthusiastic. Need I go on?

Like a great chef's menu that gives you a taste of many different things, the Philadelphia Museum of Art was a perfect pairing with our culinary tour of Peruvian-Asian fusion. The museum had enough breadth to cover artistic styles from all over the world across all mediums and eras. But somehow it also had enough depth for us to linger among masterpieces from our favorite genres without feeling overwhelmed.

If life is about balance and a diversity of experiences, Philly has it. From the fine dining of Chifa to the iconic street food of Reading Market, from the high culture of the art museum to the raw passion of their sports fans, Philadelphia has shown me that it is far more than my initial ignorant impression.

Chifa on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Score another win for Savored. Recently we've been using this discount dining site to check out restaurants that have been sitting on our list. In this edition of Everything Is More Fun at 30% Off, we headed to Vidalia. The restaurant, tucked away in a basement location on M Street NW, serves cuisine that is "original American with a subtle Southern influence."

When we first perused the menu, I didn't feel up to doing the five course tasting menu. However, when our waitress told us that each person can make up their own tasting menu out of any of the items in each category (cold appetizer, hot appetizer, seafood, meat, dessert or cheese), I was sold. Combine that freedom of choice with a 30% discount through Savored and I couldn't say no. We selected 10 dishes (5 each) and let the fun begin.

Amuse: watermelon with creme fraiche and micro greens.

J's cold appetizer: heirloom beet salad with beet gelee, blue cheese fondue, walnuts, and bliss vinegar.

B's cold appetizer: chilled watermelon gazpacho with jumbo lump crab, pickled rhubarb, and basil sorbet.

J's hot appetizer: Vidalia five onion soup with duck dumplings and cornbread croutons.

B's hot appetizer: soft shell crab. Even though this dish was on the evening's specials list, B was able to select it as part of his tasting menu. When they say the entire menu is fair game, they mean it!

J's seafood course: shrimp and grits with Vidalia onion, spinach, and tasso ham.

B's seafood course: seared sea scallops with corn puree and shaved black truffles.

J's meat course: spice-crusted duck breast served over Carolina gold rice pudding. It was served along with a square of what I can best describe as a duck bread pudding.

B's meat course: braised barbecue bison shortribs with cornbread puree.

J's dessert course: chocolate peanut butter crunch.

B's dessert course: lemon chess pie.

The "as if we needed any more food" course: Assorted pastries served with the check including a really good banana muffin/cupcake.

As you can see, Vidalia doesn't skimp on portions for its tasting menu. As the endless parade o' food continued, I found myself wishing that they were a little less generous. When the food is as pretty as this was and tastes as good, it's too hard to push away the plate before you've licked it clean.

I was really happy with each of the dishes I tried. The duck was the most tender and least gamey I've ever had. The beet salad was as pretty taste-wise as it was in the looks department. The chocolate peanut butter crunch was the kind of dessert that motivates me to get to those dastardly 6:00 a.m. spinning classes.

We decided to walk the 10 blocks home in an attempt to burn off a couple of the zillion trillion calories we just demolished. Despite the fact our stomachs sported food babies the size of basketballs, we had a spring in our step the whole way home. We had just eaten one of the best meals of the year AND we scored it at 30% off. A reason to skip, indeed.

Second Thoughts from B

Growing up, I was a very introspective kid and one of the internal debates I had was this: Would I rather try and be the best at one thing or be good at a lot of different things? (For the record, I'm still working on the latter) Enjoying 10 different dishes from Vidalia clearly shows that they are far more renaissance man than one trick pony.

I won't remember Vidalia for having a "Best Thing I Ever Ate" dish, though the bread basket was incredible if you love onions like I do (if you don't like onions, why would you consider a place called Vidalia?). However, I will remember it for having 10 consistently well conceived and well executed plates of food that all looked like artwork.

I'll also remember getting another great deal. The tasting menu was definitely worth the $74 they charge, but getting it for $52 makes the evening that much more delicious. And the cherry on top? We didn't have to suffer through Restaurant Week crowds, menus, or service issues to get a deal. Once again, Savored FTW!
Vidalia on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Max's Best Ice Cream

As B and I celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary this month, I want to dedicate this post to one of the reasons I love him so much: his willingness to feed my ice cream addiction at all hours. I love ice cream so much that I can't keep it in our house. I never go down the ice cream aisle in the grocery store. I like to make ice cream eating a special event.

Last week we were sitting at home on a weeknight watching The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Ice Cream and B saw the look in my eyes. As soon as the show was over, he was on the computer looking up a new ice cream place for us to try. He told me to get out of my PJs (a.k.a. cozy pants) and get dressed for an ice cream outing. I jumped off the couch and let out a big cheer! Ice cream on a weeknight? YES!

He gave me the choice between Dolcezza Gelato and Max's Best Ice Cream. Gelato has its place in the world, but let's face it, it's not ice cream. After watching the celebrichefs on Best Thing I Ever Ate rambling on about ice cream sundaes, I needed an ice cream sundae and I knew Max would be the man to deliver. Max has been serving ice cream on Wisconsin Avenue in Glover Park since the days when Starter jackets and hypercolor shirts were cool (as evidenced by the outfits being sported by the kids in the photos on the wall). He makes all the ice cream (and the whipped cream) in the store and features a rotating menu of flavors such as peanut butter and jelly and fresh peach.

I ordered a small sundae with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and hot fudge. Max gets extra points for including a choice of candy topping on his sundaes. The peanut butter cups were a great match for the cookie dough. I also love that the whipped cream is spooned out of a mixing bowl and not squirted out of a can. The only drawback was the hot fudge. It was hot, but not as thick and gooey as hot fudge should be.

B loved his fresh peach ice cream and savored every bite of it. I wolfed down my sundae in record time and got to peruse the photos on the wall. Max has framed photos of hundreds of his customers over the years and it was fun to see fashions change and to try to identify the celebrities and pseudo-celebrities in the photos.

Max's is a great neighborhood ice cream shop. If it was in my neighborhood, my waistline would be in serious trouble.

Second Thoughts from B

At the risk of making this post the equivalent of a sappy Rom-Com, how lucky am I that ice cream scores major points with my wife? While others are stuck shelling out several months of their salary at jewelry stores, I get to savor freshly made ice cream for what amounts to pocket change. Clearly I'm the big winner!

I'm not the connoisseur of ice cream that J is. I don't claim it is my favorite "food" and I don't dream about it. But I do know the difference between the stuff out of the freezer at home and the velvety smooth deliciousness served by masters like Max. After all, we've sampled homemade ice cream from Dupont to Georgetown to Alexandria, frozen yogurt from the goofy to the chic, frozen custard worthy of POTUS, and I don't know how many milk shakes (Good Stuff's is still the runaway favorite). We may not be at the level of the girl from One Good Scoop (thanks for pointing us in the direction of Max), but we know our way around this town's frozen dessert scene.

To date, I was always a Larry's fan. In my book, his ice cream has never disappointed and really can't be beat in terms of creaminess and flavor. I even like the quirky (some might say intimidating) Soup Nazi aspect of the store. However, Max's ice cream might just be on par with Larry's (I'm looking forward to getting a second crack at this), and his welcoming shop and warm smile screams small town neighborhood store to me. If ice cream is J's comfort food, there's no better way to enjoy it than a comfortable place like Max's.
Max's Best Ice Cream on Urbanspoon