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Review of Cafe J in Clinton, NY

I gave Cafe J three out of five stars in August 2013 and again in August 2014.

Cafe J
1 W Park Row
Clinton, NY 13323
(315) 853-6656

I enjoyed a very good spicy chai tea during the music festival and have had wonderful food and chocolate flavored iced coffee at Cafe J a year ago when I last visited. Fun staff with character, fun customers, prime location, worth a quick or relaxing visit.

Expect a little banter and attitude and have fun with it. The visit will be better.

Review of Peter’s Cornucopia in New Hartford, NY

I gave Peter’s Cornucopia four out of five stars in August 2014.

Peter’s Cornucopia
38 New Hartford Shopping Ctr
New Hartford, NY 13413
(315) 724-4998

Delightful cafe/bistro inside a healthfood store; counter service is fun and excellent, food is fantastic: had Picasso wrap and sala an coffee for only $11 and loved it!

You can socialize at the bar or enjoy a quiet table or take your food to go. Everything is fresh and cooked to order, so there may be a small wait but it is well worth it. No heat lamps here! Whole kitchen is in plain view and is immaculate and a delight to observe in action.

Oh, I realized that my review is for the cafe only. There is a whole grocer here as well.

Review of Tomato Pie Cafe, Lititz, PA

I gave Tomato Pie Cafe in Lititz five out of five stars in August of 2014.

Tomato Pie Cafe
23 N Broad St
Lititz, PA 17543
(717) 627-1762

What an amazing gem to find! We stopped briefly in Lititz for Wilbur’s chocolates and popped across the street for a snack, discovered patio seating out back and had a spectacularly lovely meal!

We started with watermelon and serrano soup and then I had grilled peaches on arugula salad with goat cheese and peach pie for dessert. Wonderful staff and location on a beautiful day. The child’s grilled cheese sandwich my friend’s daughter enjoyed was made with very colorful bread! Fun place and a delightful visit. We will be back.

Update: Since that magical original visit, we discovered a second location in Harrisburg, which was also very good – but did not have the magic of the one in Lititz.

Review of Fresh & Organic, Ashburn, VA

I gave Fresh & Organic five out of five stars in April 2014.

Fresh & Organic
20693 Ashburn Rd
Ashburn, VA 20147
(703) 726-9629

Best chai tea I have ever had started my first experience at Fresh and Organic off nicely, then following that with amazingly delicious gluten-free sour cherry cake and friendly service made my day!

I ordered “Smoked Salmon and Eggs Benedict” and got a really good bagel with cream cheese, smoked salmon, fresh capers, onion and Benedictine eggs and it was spectacular and my partner’s Belgian Waffles were delicious too! She would not share her bacon but it looked perfect.

We liked the cake so much we ordered A whole one to go.

Review of Origins Thai Spa, in Sterling, VA

I am a raving fan of Origins Thai Spa in Sterling, endorsing them for five out of five stars since January 2014.

Origins Thai Spa
46179 Westlake Dr
Sterling, VA 20165
(703) 376-8711

I was not a frequent professional massage customer, but I will be now; I have had perhaps fifteen professional massages in my life, and the massage I got from Tida tonight was the best professional massage I have ever had.

Origins Thai Spa is clean, quiet, comfortable and feels very wholesome. The staff is very welcoming and calm, and even after a stressful day at work I was relaxing just entering the lobby and enjoying a cup of tea (which was especially welcome as this was a very cold and windy night). We filled out a little paperwork and were taken to a couples massage room after our massage therapists introduced themselves. We made ourselves comfortable on the massage tables covered with beautiful silk brocade coverlets over the usual sheets.

Tida was assigned to me and she asked me if there were any places that were bothering me and I told her my neck and shoulder on left side and my lower back; and she wasted no time starting with a hot cloth and then just the right amount of pressure – which is impressive, as I like really strong pressure and she was not a very large therapist at all. She has an amazing touch and very strong hands, and she did deep tissue massage and added a little stretching. I have never had anyone get effective results massaging my shins before, she did; and she came close to eliminating a stress not in my left neck/shoulder area with just one session; which is very impressive. My lower back feels wonderful!

We liked both massages so much we decided to become members of the spa and will be going at least monthly for the next year; not a bad start from a Groupon deal!

I am so very thankful my friend urged me to go – it turned out blissful and I feel I have been on vacation. I will be trying traditional Thai massage and deep tissue massage again and again.

Update: Tida has retired, but I continue to enjoy excellent and relaxing massage at Origins Thai Spa whenever I go.

Review of Monsoon Siam, Charlottesville, VA

I gave Monsoon Siam four out of five stars in May of 2013 when I wrote a review.

Monsoon Siam
113 W Market St
Charlottesville, VA 22902
(434) 971-1515

Tried Monsoon Siam on a Sunday night at 9:30 when pretty much everything else was closing down for dinner; and we were stunned. Really, really exceptionally good papaya salad and nam tok (strips of beef with onions, chilies, cilantro, pepper seasoning) – delightful service and tasty cocktails.

I also had a special called Jade Island that was scallops (less than wonderful scallops) with a green curry that was amazing. Very good, though I hope the scallops are usually better (it was Sunday night – so I suspect they usually are better).

I’d skip the Thai Iced Coffee here – it did not stand up to other Thai restaurant experiences, but the food was very good and staff enthusiastic despite the late hour.

A surprise to find really good Thai food – and we were happy with it.

Review of Smokin’ Eddies BBQ in Louisa, VA

I gave Smokin’ Eddies three out of five stars in May of 2013.

Smokin’ Eddies BBQ
213 W Main St
Louisa, VA 23093
(540) 967-1990

Had an afternoon to explore the thriving town of Louisa, VA and decided to try Smokin’ Eddie’s BBQ. It was a casual experience, sit down and order – but casual enough that I initially thought we should order at the counter and sit down. The sauces were flavorful but not that spicy, and the meat came out very smokey tasting; and despite the name, I did not quite expect that. The brisket was pretty darned good, but the ribs were smokey enough to not really be great, though with enough hot sauce they got to be enjoyable.

The surprise delights were the slaw and potato salad, neither of which is normally my thing, but they were very good according to my dinner partner!

Skip the green beans; so overcooked as to not be worth it at all.

The sweet tea was quite good, and the service was friendly, helpful, and willing to engage in conversation (which we welcomed) – highly recommend the service staff.

Review of Cherry Blossom Restaurant & Banquet Hall, Sterling, VA

I gave Cherry Blossom five out of five stars in January of 2013, but would revise that down to four stars today.

Cherry Blossom Restaurant & Banquet Hall
46110 Lake Center Plz
Sterling, VA 20165
(703) 444-0080

The lunch buffet at Cherry Blossom is spectacular!

Best eggplant on the planet.
Best four bean salad on the planet.
Fantastic Dahl (Lentils).
Fantastic Chicken and Beef Kabobs.
Very good Qabili Palaw (rice with carrots and raisins).
Very good chick peas, hummus, and stewed beans.

When they have it, there is a rose flavored dessert that is stunning (it’s rare though).

For dinner, there is no buffet, and the kabobs are even better – but it is hard to get a variety unless you go in a group and everyone orders different things and you all share.

Sometimes the music is a bit repetitive and bizarre (Twin Peaks theme song?) – but lately it has been some guitar music that is pleasant enough.

The lunch value is stunning; it is a must do for lunches in Sterling area. Easy to eat vegetarian, but not exclusively vegetarian.

Update: I no longer go for dinner, as the buffet is the star attraction and ordering individual dishes gets you less variety and runs up the tab quite quickly… though the food is every bit as good.

Review of A Taste of Burma, Sterling, VA

I gave A Taste of Burma four out of five stars when I reviewed the quiet establishment in January of 2013 and stand by that strong review.

A Taste of Burma
126 Edds Ln
Sterling, VA 20165
(703) 444-8510

I love A Taste of Burma in Sterling, Virginia. The food is always delightfully prepared and very flavorful. The service is very good, and exceptional if you are lucky enough to get Jeremy who is very helpful and entertaining. It is easy to eat vegetarian here, with plenty of choices.

I am still exploring the many choices on the menu, and so far I have had nothing bad; everything has been very, very good. It is quiet, comfortable, and usually not very crowded. Highly recommended full table service. Kids welcome, but no special menu, so only bring those with adventurous appetites.

Update: Jeremy, sadly, has not been at A Taste of Burma for a few years now, but service remains good, if a little slow. The food is still spectacular and the establishment very quiet.

Review of Thai Square, Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA

I enthusiastically give Thai Square five out of five stars, and maintain that it is the best Thai food in the Washington area at least since September of 2012.

Thai Square
3217 Columbia Pike
Arlington, VA 22204
(703) 685-7040

Thai Square is quickly becoming my favorite Thai restaurant. They excel at several of my favorite Thai dishes, and while I may like the crispy duck at Thai Luang in Herndon, or the Pad Thai and Tiger Cried from Thai Basil in Chantilly a smidge better, or miss the legendary Larb Gai and Tiger Cried from the long gone Bangkok-Vientiane of Falls Church… none of them excels at so many dishes at the same time. Also, none of them has the amazing Bean Threads that Thai Square has. Amazing!

Prior to discovering the Bean Threads at Thai Square I had to book a flight to Cupertino to get decent Chinese Bean Threads, but the Thai version is so much better. Service is friendly and quick.

Squid with Basil is amazing, not nearly as heavy as most fried squid… and succulent with a lovely garnish of roasted basil leaves.

The Panang Curry chicken is delicious and heart-warming on a cold day.

The Papaya Salad is perhaps the best served anywhere, crisp and infused with chilies.

Columbia Pike, long a haven for really good eats, has a new standard now – and very few places along the pike can compete with this gem; absolutely delicious.