Well...2600 more miles on the car and about 5 extra pounds on the waistline. Not bad for a week plus.
First of all, it was great to meet the DC folks at Grilling at Galileo last week -- the food was pretty good but eclipsed by the fellowship of Hounds. Thanks especially to John for the e-mail info on directions etc.
I ate the majority of my meals while doing various construction projects on my brother's house, but I did manage to get out a bit (all places selected by friends) although none of it will be new to you all. In no particular order:
Jaleo - I haven't seen if this place is well-regarded on this board, but I had a very enjoyable meal here. The quail stuffed with foie gras, ham hock (?), pine nuts, raisins etc was excellent, although only consisted of one small piece (I guess that's part of the tapas risk/reward). It screamed of "autumn food", which was a good reminder of home here (where the maple in my front yard is already red!) We also had the calamari (the fried one) which was very light with a wonderfully tasty aioli, a beef with roasted red peppers, garlic shrimp and potato cubes with a muscular (that's a good thing in this case) cabrales cheese. Nice vibe, good location...I would definitely go back, but would encourage my friend to be more adventurous -- I'm guessing there are some great finds in the unconventional combinations.
Bonefish Grill (Centreville location) - I've been following your conversations about Outback-owned Bonefish. It was my first visit, but I'm sold. I ordered the ahi tuna with the Pan Asian sauce. Save for a small sinew in the middle of the cut, it was absolutely perfect. The triangular cut was generous in size, spiced on the outside then seared perfectly, and tremendously complimented by the teriyaki-style sauce/glaze. I'm not sure I'll ever taste any of the other dishes, as I'll be tempted to order this time and again. In it's category, the atmosphere, price, menu and service were all well above average. The tuna would compete with any I've had, excluding Japanese. We need a place like this in Minnesota.
Yorktowne Deli (Fairfax?) - On the way to Home Depot. An acceptable source of bialy with nova lox and cream cheese.
More on Galileo briefly - As a whole the sandwich was very good, especially for $5. The sauces and bread saved the day. I was a little disappointed in the meat (pork shoulder and ribs). Maybe my expectation of shoulder is too rooted in BBQ joints, but I think spiced, salty and a bit crispy when I think of pork shoulder. This was tasty, but really relied on the accompaniments to make it work. That said, it was good enough a lunch to make me a regular if I worked in the area.
I can see why my earlier inquiry requesting Downtown Manassas places didn't elicit any response. I didn't see anything that screamed "diamond in the rough". Despite the extra weight from all these meals, I represented Team Chowhound well with a great 5K by my standards (24 min. 15 seconds), but settled for the post-race bananas, gatorade and glazed donuts.
Inexplicably, I drove by China Star a hundred times, but never made it in. My loss. One quick non-food item -- the new WWII Memorial is spectacular at night. If you haven't been there in the dark, I highly recommend it. Stunning.
Thanks again for all of your tips and ongoing conversation which I follow daily. It was great to meet some of you.