2 great dining finds

Gotta tell you about 2 great delish’ dining finds, one franchise-wide, one local (to McLean, Virginia).

Last night, made a stop at Cheesecake Factory as an alleged mystery shopper, probably disqualifying ourselves because we didn’t sit right at the bar like we were instructed, even tho’ we did seat ourselves right next to the bar at an open counter. Sure beat the 30-45 minutes waiting in line. The special find on the menu is buried in the salad section: Spicy Thai Steak Salad. Exquisite layers of flavor, lots of slices of medium rare steak, wonderful textures and tastes for the palette. I didn’t find it, my dining mate found it, and while I’m usually not a taster of other people’s food, this exception was worth the risk, and this menu item will definitely be on my order at my next Cheesecake experience.

Tonight’s find is in the new wing of Tyson’s Corner at the food court near the AMC theatres. The place is called Taka Grille, and while they don’t have printed menus to hand out, they do have a website and great range of food as a Pan-Asian Bistro. TonkatsuI talked briefly with the owner while waiting for my fresh-made food (I’m a sucker for Tonkatsu), and noted the excellent menu selection from a range of Asian cuisines: Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean, and Vietnamese. She commented that she picked the best dish from each culture, and I affirmed and concurred with her selections.

Being fellow Asians, the conversation naturally graviated towards our ethnicities. I’m Chinese, on both sides. Don’t know how far back my 100% Chinese purity might go, but I’m Chinese by blood, and even speak some Mandarin (tho’ I don’t advertise.) Her daughter commented: “You don’t look Chinese.” I don’t know what to say to that. I need to get me a snappy comeback.

Getting on the Internet tonight has been its own adventure, here at Tyson’s Corner. I borrowed a few bytes from the Food Court on 3rd level, but not enough to sustain a connection for a blog entry. When I tried to login at Barnes & Noble SBC Freedomlink, my Norton Internet Worm Protection has detected and blocked an intrusion attempt: “Default Block Deep Throat Trojan horse”. Now I’m wired at the Starbucks Tmobile Hotspot at the middle of the older part of Tyson’s Corner. Voila.

In case you’re wondering what I’m doing out in a mall on a weeknight, with family waiting at home: I’m making the most of my time, waiting for a flight arrival at Reagan National, where I’ve offered to pick up my sister-in-law, who’ll be with us for about a week over the Christmas holidays.

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  1. Daniel says:

    Taka Grille sounds pretty good. Might have to try it out sometime.

  2. jen Lemen says:

    hey deej,
    is the thai salad at cheesecake factory similar to the evil thai steak salad at houston’s? that’s my all time favorite order. love that stuff. and i’m a sucker for tonkatsu, too, though i’ve never had it stateside. now there’s something to look up next time in nyc.