Why beltsville is the d. c. area’s best cheap-eats destination _ the washington post

For nearly three years, the $20 Diner has been roaming the metro area in search of bargain vittles. Shake and bake chicken fingers But since August, I’ve been keeping an eye out for destinations where diners can sample a variety of flavors in one centralized area. What to eat with chicken fingers I’ve considered strip centers, small towns and destinations familiar to even casual food scouts. Sides for chicken fingers But none of them surprised me — and delighted me — as much as the restaurants along Baltimore Avenue in Beltsville, which has been a way station for travelers seeking sustenance since the late 1700s.


This Prince George’s County suburb has the perfect ecosystem for cheap eats: The rents are low (at least compared to the trauma-inducing ones in the District), the population is diverse (home to a heady mix of blacks, whites, Latinos and Asians) and landlords are more open to restaurateurs without a track record.

The difference? A Guatemalan with slicked-back hair and a shy smile bought me a Modelo just as I was settling my tab. Best fried chicken fingers recipe I have no idea why he made the gesture, but I like to think it was because I attacked my plate of Salvadoran steak and eggs with gusto, savoring how the salty queso duro jacked up the flavor of everything it touched.

The Guatemalan and the Nebraskan spent the next 30 minutes fumbling through a conversation, employing a mostly convoluted mix of Spanish and English nouns. Kids chicken fingers We struggled as much as we succeeded while searching for common ground among our dissimilar histories and interests. Crispy oven chicken fingers We were a Central American Tex-Mex platter: a clash of cultures that somehow transcended our ignorance and limitations. How to make chicken fingers from scratch I bid my friend goodbye after buying him a couple of beers. Recipe of chicken fingers He’s a Corona man. Recipe for homemade chicken fingers I wasn’t trying to trump his earlier show of generosity; El Sombrerito just enforces a stiff credit card minimum.

Such acts of human kindness happen routinely in Beltsville — at least they happened to me, and I don’t believe any of these restaurants knew (or cared, for that matter) that I am a critic. Recipes using chicken fingers At Manila Mart, a Filipino grocery with a microscopic cafe in back, members of the Boic family will give you samples of anything on the steam table, and these freebies, I swear, can be as sizeable as a small plate at Oyamel. How to make chicken fingers in oven The courtesies extend to full-service restaurants, too: If the kitchen is in the weeds at Pho 88, the server won’t take your order without first asking if you have time to wait.

I visited that Vietnamese noodle shop on the day Snowzilla stomped into Washington. How to make crispy chicken fingers The place was packed with those looking for a last slurp or seeking to stock up on soup before the storm forced us into housebound hibernation. How to deep fry chicken fingers And yet: Pho 88 wasn’t about to send out watered-down bowls just to satisfy the heavy demand, even as snow began burying cars in the parking lot.

Then, nearly 40 minutes later — the longest I’ve ever waited for pho — my No. Deep fried chicken fingers batter 1 bowl arrived. How to cook chicken fingers in oven I was prepared to hammer the place for making me sit there like a stoner who can’t feel his legs. How to make breaded chicken fingers Until I tasted the pho, this well-developed broth that’s achieved only with a patient simmering of meat and bones. Chicken with fingers It struck me as an un­or­tho­dox pho, the broth cloudy and seemingly unstrained, but its flavors were balanced and bottomless. Chicken fingers pictures Some things are worth the wait, even if your car fishtails all the way home on snow-slicked streets.

My down time at Pho 88 gave me a moment to size up the crowd, which was almost evenly split among Asians and Latinos, with a few black and white diners scattered among the customers. How to bread chicken fingers I wanted to chalk up the cross-cultural clientele to the inherent appeal of pho, but then I talked to other restaurateurs who say that as the face of Beltsville changes, they must find ways to expand beyond their traditional customer base, which is likely shrinking.

In such a market, some restaurateurs might try to compete by adding dishes that cater to other cultures. Homemade chicken fingers oven But that’s a losing proposition if the kitchen doesn’t have the skill or the palate to execute such dishes. Chicken breast fingers In Beltsville, the dining community has taken a different approach: They’ve decided to do what they do as best as they can.

Inyoung Choe, manager and co-owner of Da Rae Won, provides a case study. Homeade chicken fingers When she and her husband, Hyeong Mu Choe, opened their noodle house in 2003, Beltsville had a thriving Korean community, the manager says. How long to cook chicken fingers in oven But in the late 2000s, when the housing bubble burst, many started to migrate to Germantown and Ellicott City in search of better homes and schools.

The Choes responded by doing what they’ve always done: making their own supple, lush and ever-so-toothsome noodles. Who invented chicken fingers You can tell when Hyeong Mu Choe is working the dough. Golden chicken fingers It sounds like a WWE match in the kitchen, as he pounds the dough against the counter, the blows as concussive as a wrestler’s body thrown to the canvas. Chicken fingers recipe buttermilk This is serious business.

When I first wanted to write about Da Rae Won, in June 2013, Inyoung Choe said her husband preferred that I wait until fall or winter. Chicken fingers recipe indian style Confounded, I wondered why. Chicken fingers recipe by shireen anwer The noodles, she told me, are better in colder weather. Chicken fingers dip recipe In heat and humidity, they can become flabby. Chicken fingers recipe filipino style “The chef is always nervous about summertime,” she told me then.

That story has become something of a touchstone as I explored the eateries along Baltimore Avenue. Chicken strips recipe uk The anecdote reminded me that, to some chefs and restaurateurs, excellence is its own reward, above critical recognition or awards. Chicken strips marinade recipe Excellence, of course, can also generate a different kind of publicity: a word-of-mouth buzz that keeps a restaurant humming in the community.

But at this moment in its evolution, the small, diverse Beltsville dining scene deserves more than local buzz. Chicken tenders recipe nz It deserves the attention of diners from across the D.C. 4 fingers chicken wings recipe region. Baked chicken strips calories You can start with these 10 places.

Don’t be alarmed. Juicy baked chicken tenders The thunderous thwacking you hear is only chef Hyeong Mu Choe and his team beating the dough into shape. Baked chicken tenders panko buttermilk They make the noodles fresh for every bowl ordered, including the lush, sweet and earthy jajangmyeon, a Korean comfort food from Seoul to Annandale. Baked chicken tenders temperature There is no dessert menu, but every check comes with a 2-ounce “frozen dessert,” which goes down like a slushy orange creamsicle.

What to order: jajangmyeon (above, listed as “noodle with fresh black bean sauce”), noodles with vegetables and spicy seafood, fried pork dumplings.

Vietnamese fried egg roll (above) and pho with sliced eye of round steak, well done flank, fatty brisket, soft tendon and bible tripe at Pho 88. Baked chicken tenders time Pho 88

Like its numerical soul mate, Pho 75, Pho 88 focuses almost exclusively on the Vietnamese noodle soup, perhaps to the detriment of the few other items here. Homemade chicken fingers with flour Avoid the garden rolls, which come bloated with watery lettuce. Homemade chicken fingers with panko Stick with the main attraction, the big white bowls brimming with beef broth — rich, cloudy and aromatic. Homemade chicken tenders batter No matter what bowl you order, it will come packed with your choice of meat and offal. Homemade chicken strips with bread crumbs And I mean packed.

What to order: pho No. How to make chicken fingers with flour 1 with eye of round, well-done flank, fatty brisket, soft tendon and bible tripe. How to make chicken strips without eggs Order it with a side of nuoc beo, spring onions in rendered fat.

This boisterous pub-cum-sports bar takes its neighborhood responsibilities seriously: Chef and owner Ahmet Kantar and his team prepare almost everything from scratch. How to make chicken strips for salad Kantar’s sons are often behind the bar, which leans toward flavored vodkas, not small-batch spirits. Chicken finger sub calories But you’ll find craft beer, including bottles from Flying Dog. Calories in two chicken tenders Perhaps I don’t need to say this, but the suds pair far better with pub grub than Three Olives Loopy vodka, which tastes like Froot Loops mixed with furniture polish and desperation.

What to order: Buffalo chicken tenders (above), Philly steak-and-cheese sandwich, white pizza with garlic butter and mozzarella, fish and chips platter.

Chicken, beef and cheese enchiladas with rice, beans, lettuce, guacamole, pico de gallo and sour cream at El Sombrerito Tex-Mex. 4 chicken tenders calories El Sombrerito Tex-Mex

It’s best if you ignore the Tex-Mex descriptor altogether, especially if you’re from, say, San Antonio and have strong opinions about the cuisine. 4 fingers crispy chicken calories The Salvadorans who run Sombrerito aren’t catering to Tex-Mex hard-liners. Baked chicken tenders recipe easy The owners are merely trading on the name to get you in the door to sample their Salvadoran dishes, which are built on traditional ingredients and are uniformly excellent. Chicken fingers recipe Even the kitchen’s free-form attempts at Tex-Mex and Mexican fare exceeded my (admittedly low) expectations.