I just looked through our messages and I don't think we've discussed anything like this before. What are the places in DC where you can duck in and grab a very fast, cheap, but good lunch? E.g. what are the equivalent of McDonald's for DC/Balto chowhounds.
I ask because I happened to stop in International Square which is a food court attached to Farragut West Metro's 18th Street exit today. While there I got food at a little place called Havana Square. (I think that's the name, unfortunately I was kind of wandering around in a daze and didn't keep my bill). The server/owner(?) was amusing in a NJ deli kinda way, chatting up and picking on his customers. When he ran out of the pork morsels to provide a full plate, I just said, give me what ya got and maybe something else and I'll be happy. I ended up with a nice little sampler platter.
I was served passable puerco asada, pork morsels which had been deep fried. They had a tangy vinegary taste which is probably not quite how they taste in Havana, but were actually pretty yummy. I also sampled the yuca con frites (fried yuca - starchy and relatively crisp), an empanada like item filled with beef stew - actually didn't really like that and black beans and rice. The black beans had a nice taste of garlic, but were a bit salty. It's not incredible Cuban - it might not fly in Miami, but it passes the bill for fast food as entrees are in the $5.25 area. You could also make a meal of 3 appetizers. The entrees are served from prepared food in those little silver containers under glass (what would you call that - cafeteria style??) so it's extremely quick.
There is a food court area in which to eat which features a rather pleasing two story fountain that mimicing rain and boulders. It reminds me of the rain forest exhibit in the San Diego zoo. Get there early or really late for lunch, if you want to actually get kind of close to the fountain - there are fewer seats around it, than in the food court proper. International Square also has a selection of several other places, Cajun, and ??? that I haven't tried. Has anyone else had experience with their fast food?
The idea of fast food alternatives to McDonalds also has me thinking of the 2nd floor of the Rosslyn Metro Mall. They have a really neat little Mexican Place, Chico Rico which I've mentioned before. For $.92 they will serve you a nice solid breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs and tasty potatoes accompanied by decent salsa. Their lunch is less impressive, but they serve the burritos all day.
OK, that's my contribution to fast food alternatives. Comments, critiques, questions, other places we should be thinking about for a quick bite???
P.S. Geoff - you missed some great chili this weekend(if I may quite modestly say so myself).