If all were right with the world, every neighborhood would have a casual place to hang out where the food was as thoughtfully prepared as Colorado Kitchen. Every town would have a top notch pizza joint like Sylvana's in Herndon.
But as Chowhounds already know, you sometimes have to travel in search of really good food, and both these places are destination restaurants for that reason.
First the pizza: I confess to being partial to Napolitan pizza, thin and crackly with modest toppings. Like 2 Amys. But if you're in the market for a big cheesy pizza with an intoxicating tomato sauce and an aroma that almost knocks you over, then Sylvana's in Herndon is worth the drive. One slice, and I'm done for. Ok, I had a second slice. Who could resist? Kudos to Joe H. for picking this spot out from the pretenders. Toppings are high quality by the way, especially the ham and black olives.
Lunch at Colorado Kitchen is a delight. The ratatouille with onion tarts is fresh with harbs in a light tomato broth. The tarts (turnovers, actually) have a great pastry with a fairly bland filling. A simple, light lunch. The fried catfish sandwich is served with homemade potato chips and is perfectly executed. I've had tons of Fried catfish, and this is second to none. And the drive through Rock Creek Park is scenic. Good stuff!