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Comfort Foods To Warm You Up This Month

From roast chicken, to grilled cheese to pork tamales, there's plenty to order from local restaurants to keep you satisfied all month long!

Mindy’s provided enough food to feed a small army. Every bite was wonderful

Alexandria, VA – It’s been another long month of sheltering in place and relying on no contact delivery and pickup. Being unable to cook because of an injury, I have been depending upon the kindness of others to bring me cooked food. Before I tell you about my experiences, I want to thank everyone who has shared a meal with me including Jill F., Mary L., and Mary T. or brought me a meal from their restaurant or food service.

Although known for their crepes, try the burger at Fontaine. It is a ooey gooey mess of beef, onions, and melted brie

Fontaine Caffe & Creperie, 119 S Royal St., is well known for their savory and sweet crepes. I found an amazing burger hidden among the many treasures offered on the menu. The French Bistro Burger is topped with melted brie cheese, garlic mayonnaise, and caramelized onions on a brioche bun and served with a house side salad and their classic frites. This burger is a mess to eat but so worth it! Each bite oozes melted brie, onions, and mayo so be sure to have plenty of napkins. I love this burger. And the fries travel well. If you can manage to eat dessert after finishing that burger and fries, try a dessert crepe. There are many versions including chocolate, peanut butter, lemon, and other fruit flavors. I had the Charming Frenchman – a lovely combination of caramelized apples, French vanilla bean ice cream, and calvados. It’s like eating a lighter version of an apple pie and so much better. Order a glass or bottle of wine, beer, cider, or cocktail to accompany your meal.

Del Ray Café: Look at this beautiful container of roast chicken with gravy from Del Ray Café.

We all know that meals from the Del Ray Café, 205 E. Howell, are delicious when sitting in one of their lovely dining rooms. I can tell you that their food travels well. I was regaled with their Rotisserie Natural of moist and tasty chicken which is further enhanced when topped with the flavorsome sauce. Sop up all these juices with the chunks of the baguette you can order with the meal. I was in a ‘chicken coma’ when I finished my meal. Adriana Sifakis delivered a hot and fresh veggie pizza from her cute little carry out, The Italian Place at 621 Wythe St. The crust was yeasty, thin, crisp on the bottom, and chewy on the edges. The toppings were generous with an assortment of veggies and cheese. With a beautiful bottle of red wine from their well curated wine selections, I was a happy camper. Why would anyone want to eat a Domino’s or a Pizza Hut pie when you can get a gorgeous handmade pizza from The Italian Place. By the way, the have a wide variety of subs, paninis, and salads to choose from too.

Mindy’s Catering, (erin@mindyscateringdc.com), has stepped up to provide a choice of delicious meals with a soup to nuts menu. They provide a choice of appetizers, entrees, side dishes, and desserts to meet all of your desires. I received a delightful meal that had more than enough food to last for more than two meals. A container of tomato bisque contained a mellow, rich, and thick soup that brought back memories of summery tomato goodness. It was followed by a large serving Pork Carnitas and Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas with red enchilada sauce and melted jack cheese, and chipotle scallion sour cream on the side. The sides dishes included absolutely wonderful roasted sweet potato wedges that I hoarded and doled out to myself careful in order to savor them longer. The Poblano, Potato and Corn Gratin was loaded with lots of corn and cheese and just enough poblano chili to remind you it was there. The corn bread was some of the best I have ever had. I wish I had more! Dessert was fudgy, chocolaty, rich Mindy’s Mocha Fudge Walnut Brownies. Wow. Did I mention they include detailed instructions on how to reheat their dishes. Mindy’s meals will make you very happy. Although based in DC, Mind’s pays Alexandria sales tax on all of their food delivered in Alexandria, helping our local community. C.J. from Hops ‘n Shine, 3410 Mt. Vernon, has created a mecca of grilled cheese and beer! The little storefront nestles between a 7-11 and a laundromat, an unlikely place for such great food. Take a long look at the varieties of grilled cheese sandwiches and tots to find a rendition that will tickle your tummy. I’ve had plenty of buffalo wings so I was delighted to order the Thai Chili wings. They delivered plenty of heat with just the right hint of sweet. After mulling over the choices, I chose the very popular and very delicious Steak and Cheese Grilled Cheese. It was filled with shaved ribeye, sauteed onions, green peppers, red peppers, American cheese, and mayonnaise, all on grilled sourdough bread. Of course, I had to order some tots too. Please sir, may I have some more? With a menu loaded with all sorts of choices of grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, soups, salads, and chili, it would be hard to not find something to like. As Arnold would say, I’ll be back.

A feast of Mexican flavors greets you when you order your meal from Taqueria Poblano

Taqueria Poblano, 2400B Mt. Vernon Ave., is the place to go for real Mexican style food. Jeff Wallingford and crew are dishing up some of the best meals since I moved away from the Southwest US. Taking his recommendation, I ordered the Steak Tampiqueño, an achiote-seasoned 5-ounce grilled rib-eye steak. Served with two cheese & onion enchiladas, salsa verde, rice, and refried beans, I had at least two dinners. I could not resist trying the pork tamale too. One bite and I was back home, tasting the flavors I loved as a child. The menu includes a wide variety of tacos, burritos, and platas. Did I mention the salsas? Or the tomatillo-pepper, ancho red chili sauce, or habanero sauce? Oh, oh, oh! And, whatever you do, order a margarita, sangria, or an ice-cold beer to go. One of my favorite local chefs is Eric Reid. You might know him from his stints at Evening Star, The Reserve, and Catch on the Avenue. With the pandemic, he’s not creating his amazing food in a restaurant right now but he stepped up to create a fabulous meal for me. Sea bass served with sauteed spinach and a cauliflower risotto put me in heaven. Look for Eric’s food truck, Wagon Wheel, where he’s serving up dishes like Garlic Nectar Sticky Pork Belly with green beans and rice, watermelon salad with feta and mint, and balsamic dressing, or his award-winning Nashville Hot Chicken. You can often find him at the Fair Winds Brewing location, serving up his amazing food that goes so well with their beers and ciders.

Keep frequenting our local restaurants. They are working very hard to provide you the best in food in these trying times. You will make everyone happy you did.

ICYMI: ‘The Meal Train Diary’ of a Grateful Food Editor

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