SER

If you have ever been to Barcelona, or most cities in Spain, you have probably had tapas. With authentic style tapas, SER makes you feel like you are back in Spain. Located in central Ballston, SER’s modern interior is beautiful, and like their name they are Simple, Easy, and Real. The tapas are delicious!  Some of our favorites included Pan Catalana, Croquetas De Jamón y Pollo, Gambas al Ajillo (Sauteed Shrimp) and the Revuelto de Setas. The Revuelto de Setas were very thin mushrooms that looked like angel hair pasta with an egg yolk on top, for once you don't have to feel bad about eating pasta!


Hank's Pasta Bar

With a large homemade pasta menu (I mean who doesn’t love pasta), we were super excited to try Hank’s Pasta Bar.  Between the delicious appetizers and pastas, this restaurant is definitely worth checking out. We started our meal off with the meatballs and grilled octopus (we recommend both of these dishes).  The grilled octopus was extremely tasty. For pastas, we had the mafalde (pro tip: add pesto to this dish), bucatini cacio e pepe, and fettuccine and clams. Each pasta dish was delicious and unique in taste from each other, we couldn’t pick one favorite.  The clams come from their sister restaurant, Hank’s Oyster Bar, and were definitely worth ordering! Pro top: every Sunday Hank’s Pasta Bar features endless pasta plates for $25 per person!

Bayou Bakery

Paying tribute to his hometown of New Orleans, Chef David Gaus showcases Louisiana style foods and treats at Bayou Bakery.  Located in Arlington, and the sister restaurant of Lil’ B, this cafe style bakery is a great breakfast/lunch spot. The biscuits and pimiento cheese were seriously mouthwatering.  The cheesy mac was, of course, one of the highlights of our meal (we’re positive you’ll feel the same)! Be sure to check out this neighborhood hotspot!

McDonald's

A nation-wide roll out of technology upgrades and product enhancements has us lovin’ McDonald’s!  When going to McDonald’s, customers now have a choice of how they want to order, and what they would like their experience to be.  Customers can choose from self service ordering at a kiosk, mobile ordering, or sticking with the traditional ordering at a cash register.  Guest experience leads (GELs), a new position accompanying all of these changes, assist customers with their experience. The GELs are in the front of the restaurant ready to help customers use this new technology, and answer any questions they may have.  Another huge change that has been rolled-out in 14,000 restaurants nationwide is that all quarter pounders are now made with only fresh, non-frozen beef. We were able to watch the quarter pounder process first hand, and we have got to admit, we were impressed.  The quarter pounder is grilled for 65-75 seconds. While cooking, the staff preps the bun and toppings ensuring that the sandwich is ready to go as soon as grilling is complete. McDonald’s is finding that consumers are loving these changes, and we aren’t surprised.  We know that you’ll be lovin’ these changes too!
 

The Stand

The Stand is an all around great vibe, with daily La Colombe coffee and B Donuts. This outdoor "stand" is home to a rotating lineup of pop-ups from the hottest vendors around. We got the chance to go during the Paper Horse pop-up and got both the chicken burger and Mexican corn. The Stand has musical guests on Fridays in the summer.

Bakeshop

If you perpetually have a sweet tooth then this is the place for you! Bakeshop is a small bakery located in the heart of Clarendon, VA and their treats won't let you down. From macarons, ice cream sandwiches, cupcakes, cookie sandwiches, to their sweet lattes, and cappuccinos, Bakeshop has it all. We love their heart shaped Valentine's Day themed macarons, and their chocolate chip cookie covered oreos.

Tupelo Honey

Founded in Tennessee, Tupelo Honey is one of the best places in the DC Metro area to get authentic southern cuisine. Tupelo Honey originally was located in the south, however, they have recently opened several restaurants in VA, and Denver, CO. While some people associate southern fare with only lunch and dinner, Tupelo Honey has a great brunch and happy hour program. For happy hour, be sure to ask for the drink that comes in your very own pineapple, as well as the Cherry Bomb Frosé. Some of the other highlights include the pimento cheese nachos, the chef’s mason jar dips, honey dusted fried chicken, and the Shoo Mercy Sweet Potato Pancakes. You really can’t go wrong with anything you get here!

Bar Bao

If you are in the mood for happy hour, and or just a great Asian fusion meal, Bar Bao is your spot. They have outdoor patio if the weather is nice, but also a trendy interior as well. Definitely start with the Wonton Nachos and be sure to get the Fried Chicken Bao Buns. We LOVE buns!

Baba

BABA, Ambar’s sister restaurant, has a speakeasy feel. As you walk in the door and down a dark flight of stairs, the inside is small and cozy. While having the same owners, their weekend unlimited brunch is a slightly different style than Ambar’s—you can order as much as you want off of the menu as well as a small buffet with sizzling mac and cheese, a tray of smoked salmon, homemade crepes, pastries, and more. The unlimited drink menu has untraditional brunch drinks (think beets over bloody marys).