Results for “annandale”
8 found

In praise of Annandale

It's one of the smaller NoVa communities and it has a coherent downtown.  For me it has a useful frame shop, tennis club, dentist, a Western Union branch, Giant (easy in and out), and it has one of the best public libraries around, all within walking distance on a single strip and one side road.  Natasha gets her massage there.  There are plenty of small shops, ethnic and otherwise.  It has the best food of any single locale in the D.C. area, including a Korean porridge shop, Korean barbecue, gloopy, disgusting Korean noodles, Korean fried chicken, a Korean tofu restaurant, a Korean bakery (the best hangout around, period, plus the best bakery around), a Korean restaurant specializing in pumpkin dishes, non-disgusting noodle houses, a Korean crab and fish and chips place (with kimchee too), at least two restaurants with "Korean-Chinese" food, and a bunch of 24-7 Korean restaurants, with varying emphases but with Yechon as having the best late night or early morning crowd.  Many of the other places stay open until 2 or 3 a.m. (you'll find many reviewed here).  The town has over 900 small businesses run by Koreans and catering mostly to Koreans.

On the strip is also the area's best Afghan restaurant, a good Peruvian chicken place, and just off the strip is an excellent Manchurian restaurant, A&J.  There is a decent community of antique shops, including a place with some good Afghan textiles.  South of 236 you can find a colony of contemporary homes, rare in most parts of Fairfax County.  Annandale has the central branch of a 60,000 student community college.  The traffic is bearable for the most part, the rents are reasonable by NoVa standards, and you have easy access to the major arteries of 495 and 395.  The schools are well above the national average.

Exxon/Mobile has a base on the edge of town.  The first (third, according to some sources) toll road in America, ever, ran through Annandale.  Mark Hamill once lived there.  It has a lovely Civil War church and a rustic barn.  Its history dates back to 1685 and it is named after a Scottish village.  Many of the people in Annandale are very physically attractive.

What's not to like?

West Annandale is more of a cultural desert than is East Annandale, though it has some Korean cafes and billiard shops.  All of Annandale is ugly, with a vague hint of unjustified pastel in the central downtown area.  The Into the Wild guy grew up there.  They did fight on the wrong side in the Civil War but that has little relevance to the current town.  The used CD shop has closed up.

The pluses outweight the minuses.  You get all that — and more — for only 50,000 people or so.  Boo to Annandale naysayers.  Hail Annandale.

From the comments:

I was thinking about the interesting contrast between Annandale which is ugly but is very livable and has wonderful services, vs. some small towns abroad I've visited which had a beautiful town square but limited and overpriced services and few really good or interesting restaurants, with everything being very expensive. Undoubtedly, some tourist visiting the latter towns and spending "summer money" in the busy clubs and cafes would feel the latter superior, and might think Annandale a wasteland. But they may not want to live in said quaint town, especially if salaries were below Virginia standard.

Ten years after enrollment

At Bennington College in Vermont, over 48 percent of former students were earning less than $25,000 per year. A quarter were earning less than $10,600 per year. At Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, the median annual earnings were only $35,700. Results at the University of New Mexico were almost exactly the same.

There is more here from Kevin Carey.  There is the well-known debate between human capital and signaling theories, but sometimes education is neither…

The evolution of northern Virginia

When I visited Santa Monica in January it struck me how much it reminded me of…Arlington.  Arlington is now essentially a part of Northwest, at least Arlington above Route 50 or so.  Arlington and Santa Monica have never been more alike, or less distinctive.

Parts of east Falls Church will meld into Arlington, and south Arlington will become more like north Arlington.  Real estate prices east/north of a particular line are rising and west of that line are falling.  Fairfax is definitely west of that line.

The Tysons Corner remake will fail, Vienna is not the new Clarendon, and the Silver Line and the monstrously wide Rt.7 will form a new dividing line between parts of Virginia which resemble Santa Monica and parts which do not.

Incumbents aside, no one lives in Fairfax any more to commute into D.C.  Why would you?  The alternatives are getting better and Metro parking became too difficult some time ago.  Fairfax is not being transformed, although some parts are morphing into “the new Shirlington.”  Most of it will stay dumpy on the retail side.  Annandale will stay with Fairfax, whether it likes it or not.

For ten years now I have been predicting various Fairfax restaurants will close — casualties of too-high rents — and mostly I have been wrong.  The good Annandale restaurants are running strong too.  Annandale won’t look much better anytime soon, thank goodness for that.

“Northern Virginia” is becoming two different places, albeit slowly.

Is Washington, D.C. America’s “coolest” city?

It turns out we are getting our own branch of Momofuku.  And Forbes recently decided DC is the coolest city in the United States.  As an act of apparent satire, they followed up by naming Bethesda #19.  I say Bethesda is about the least cool town around, Annandale should have done better.

What do I think?  Well, Washington would be cooler if it were breeding its own Momofuku equivalents; northern Virginia did produce or at least refine or perhaps drive crazy the unreliable Peter Chang.  David Chang, the Momofuku guy, did grow up in northern Virginia and ate in the “American-Chinese” restaurants of Vienna, VA, before striking out on his own in New York City, rated by Forbes as the eleventh coolest city in America (doesn’t NYC have to be either #1 or “totally not cool at all”?  Can you really sandwich it between #10 Dallas and #12 Oakland?).

You know, I very much enjoy and admire quite a few Forbes writers, most of all Modeled Behavior.  So I don’t mean for what follows to cast any aspersions on Forbes, but…you know…Forbes itself isn’t actually all that cool, not in the world of media at least.

Can we agree that…Washington really does deserve to be Forbes’s idea of the coolest city in America?

(I thank J.O. for a useful conversation related to this blog post.)

Assorted links

1. Is traditional publishing really dead?

2. Is the euro really dead?  (Too much on stocks, not enough on flows, to convince me.)

3. Is the stamp really dead? (aka: the culture that is Sweden)

4. Cooperating elephants, and more here.

5. MIE: North Korean food in Annandale, Virginia.  And here is study abroad in the Hermit Kingdom.

6. The future of educational reform, by Steve Teles.

7. Robot debates in science fiction.

8. On DeLong and Varian, Reihan gets it right.  From DeLong, here is stagnation for thee but not for me.

The countercyclical asset, northern Virginia edition

It is Little Seoul, mostly in Annandale, spilling over into West Alexandria.  The number of innovative Korean restaurants continues to increase and they are usually crowded.  I love the new place devoted to the many forms of Korean porridge. Seoul Gool Dae Gee Honey Pig on Columbia Pike has the best decor (and the pork neck) around.  TodamSoonDooBoo (also known as Tofu House, next to the Giant, straddling 236 and Columbia Pike) has dumpling soup and tofu.  The two branches of Shilla Bakery and Le Matin de Paris give Virginia a cafe scene.  Much of my eating out is now Korean or in the new Vietnamese places in the Western Saigon interior branch of the Eden Center; either that or Ray's Hell-Burger, Hong Kong Palace, Thai X-ing, or the now-reopened Nava Thai, right next door to the shuttered old branch. 

Annandale used to be a nice appendage to the peak places to eat.  Now it's the epicenter, the main culinary show, and also the coolest place to hang out.

Addendum: Here is a good article, which mentions Korean food as the next trend to come.  Let's hope not.

Bonchon chicken

6653 Little River Turnpike, #H, Annandale, VA, 703-750-1424, www.bonchon.com.  Is it the best fried chicken I’ve had?  I didn’t even mind the forty-minute wait, though now I know to call ahead, as the Koreans do.  Get it with both sauces – soy and garlic, and hot –and be sure to ask for the kimchi.

Here is the NYT on Korean fried chicken.  It’s also healthier than you think: crunchy, spicy, and non-greasy. 

Ethnic goes Exurban

Here is my article from today’s Washington Post, on the history and development of ethnic dining in the DC area.  Excerpt:

This new mobility is weakening the whole notion of the ethnic
neighborhood. Forget the old Chinatown paradigm: Diffusion is the new
model.  As a result, ethnic restaurants are more like scattered
outposts, drawing from a wide radius.  As [Victor] Serrano points out, "Our
competition is not right next door. We compete with . . . restaurants
five or 10 miles away."

…Korean food…remains largely the province of Korean patrons.  Most Westerners don’t go beyond bul gogi (broiled beef) or perhaps bibim bap
(rice bowl with egg and vegetables).  The cuisine tastes harsh to the
uninitiated, with its abundant garlic and unusual seafood delicacies.
This also explains why Korean restaurants remain so tightly clustered
near Korean communities (most of the best are in Annandale) and why
just about every Korean restaurant is good.  Unlike Chinese restaurants,
there is little danger of Koreans taking the Americanized
beef-with-broccoli route.

Herndon, western Fairfax, and Chantilly have never been better for food.  Adams-Morgan, Dupont Circle, and Georgetown are not quite deserts, but I can’t imagine having to eat there all the time.