Patty's Place on Warren St.: this is actually only open like early morning to early afternoon M-Sat. It's in a tiny industrial park, tucked into a residential area. A true hole in the wall, serving el Salvadorean food. Our order usually sounds something like this: 7 papusas, 5 tamales, 1 horchata( to share amongst the 4 of us). I think it used to be an American Diner, but when the current owner took over, he was too cheap to change the name.
these next few are all within 5 blocks of each other:
Mr. Chicken on Georgia Ave: wonderfully roasted whole chicken and 3 family sized sides $15.95. I love this place. We go at least 1x/wk. Wonderful black beans. Fragrant rice. Yummy fried yucca. One of my favorite places for fried plantains ever.
Big Fat Greek cafe: there are 2 on Georgia within 2 blocks. We go to the one more South. Their Greek fries are a sinful indulgence ( homemade perfect fries with tzieke (sic?) sauce and herbed feta cheese. Awesome gyros, etc. All their desserts though are too sweet ( coming from someone who halves sugar in recipes.)
Negril Jamaican restaurant on Thayer: jerked chicken, chicken roti, meat loaf- which is actually Jamaican pulled pork (meat) baked inside a large coconut bun (loaf). Anything with their own homemade coconut bread is yummy. Their rice is very good, cooked with coconut juice. Very good soups. We often get a slice of their homemade carrot cake to share among the 4 of us: not too sweet, lots and lots of carrot, very moist, homemade cream cheese icing.
Thai grocery store a few steps from Negril has a small takeout/ eat in section. This place is truly a greasy spoon. But tasty and cheap. Their meat on a stick is very good, very moist.
Ghar E kabob off of Georgia for Indian.
Oriental East off of East West for dim sum. Best dim sum in area. Silver Fountain in Rockville is actually better (although you probably wouldn't even notice unless you're Chinese) and and in a classier restaurant, fancy enough for receptions.... but is 20 min north. Be prepared for long waits (at Oriental East).
for homestyle Chinese meals: PJ's in Wheaton mall on the Silver Spring border and Wong Gee on University just off of Georgia. Both are excellently priced. Especially the arrive before 3pm (PJ) or 6 pm (Wong Gee) and get family soup, 3 entree for $18.95. PJ's roasts their own peanuts for appetizer ( when you sit down, you get a bowl).
We usually get salt pepper pork chops, grouper, sweet potato greens at Wong Gee. Actually anything off both menus is really good.
for desserts: Cakelove on Fenton. I have baked ALOT since the age of 5. To the point that I bake alot without recipes. And I think baking a cake is EASY. But I would still spend the large amount of money for cakes from Cakelove. They are that good.
Rays the Classics on Colesville just off of Georgia is supposed to be the best place for steaks. We drive by every few days but haven't stopped. I find cheaper than eating out steak.... buy the Wagyu beef or rib eye from Balducci's (in Bethesda's Wildwood Center) when on sale and grill ourselves.
well, that's a good start and I have to do stuff around the house now. Bon appetit!