The All American Steakhouse opened with the goal of providing a more intimate sports-watching and dining experience. That was back in 2003 in Edgewater, Maryland. Today, that idea has caught on at more than half a dozen locations in Maryland and Virginia. Although their sites vary, all of the restaurants have a few things in common, including taking part in their 3rd Annual Summer Sale.
All American is a sports bar, which means there are plenty of ways to watch games, including 6'x8' high-definition projection screens and smaller televisions throughout the space. As a steakhouse, All American prides itself on offering premium beef. The beef comes from corn-fed Midwestern cows and is aged 35 days or longer, then grilled over mesquite-wood flames. But those aren't the only reasons the steaks are top-notch.
“The biggest thing that separates us from all the other casual dining steakhouses … is that we have an in-house butcher [who] cuts all our steaks,” owner George Jones told Prince William Living. Read on to learn about a few of the menu's hand-cut steaks:
Bourbon Street Delmonico: This succulent 14-ounce rib-eye marinates in olive oil and Cajun spices before it's grilled and served up with creamy horseradish sauce (upon request).
Chopped steak: This combination of sirloin, beef brisket, and ground chuck comes topped with sautéed onions and mushrooms, jack and cheddar cheeses, and homemade brown gravy.
Country-fried steak: A tender, dry-aged sirloin gets smothered in house-seasoned flour, deep-fried, and finished with savory sausage gravy.
Gina's Cantina serves a laid-back Mexican feast.
This restaurant also operates a bar, so a round of drinks with dinner is not out of the question.
Children are more than welcome to dine at this restaurant, where there's something for everyone on the menu.
The patio tables outside of Gina's Cantina are the perfect spot for a summer meal.
Gina's Cantina is a suitable restaurant for both large and small groups.
The restaurant's noise level can be somewhat straining on the vocal cords, so intimate get-togethers may be best enjoyed elsewhere.
Gina's Cantina wants guests to dine in comfort, so save that stuffy suit for another date.
Short on time? Don't wait for a driver — pick it up yourself.
Bring your car to dinner and easily find a space in the area — street parking is available, as is a nearby lot.
Meals at Gina's Cantina are incredibly tasty and reasonably priced around $30.
At Gina's Cantina, you can pay with any major credit card.
Pay Gina's Cantina a visit and enjoy a relaxing night filled with flavorful Mexican cuisine.
Gina's Cantina features traditional and innovative Mexican eats, so visit the restaurant today and give your taste buds a fiesta.
Mamma Roma does pasta right — this restaurant is known for its top-of-the-line Italian recipes.
This restaurant also provides alcohol, so diners don't have to worry about bringing their own bottle.
Youngsters are more than welcome to join mom and dad at this restaurant.
Enjoy the luxury of eating a delicious meal outside at Mamma Roma.
For a fancy night out, Mamma Roma's formal dress code will make you feel like royalty.
Getting your food to go is also an option.
You can also have Mamma Roma cater your next event.
Score free parking at the lot adjacent to Mamma Roma.
Travel by bike to Mamma Roma and store your bike at a nearby rack.
Mamma Roma may cost you a little bit more than some spots, but this deliciousness is fairly-priced (and well worth the few extra bucks).
If breakfast isn't your thing, Mamma Roma also serves lunch and dinner, so you can be sure to swing by at some point during the day.
Come see why the Italian food at Mamma Roma is well worth the price.
Experience the fine art of authentic Italian cooking when you sit down a meal at the charming Mamma Roma.
J.KingS serves American-style cuisine in the middle of Gambrills' Odenton district.
Guess what? J.KingS serves food that's free of gluten and low in fat, so everyone can find something that tastes and feels great.
Drinks are also on the menu here, so guests can start the night off right.
If you're in need of a booster seat, this restaurant's got you covered. This is a great spot for the whole family.
Summer meals will taste even better when you enjoy them on J.KingS's gorgeous patio.
It doesn't get much more laid-back than J.KingS, so dress for comfort when you come.
Hosting a swanky shindig? Call up J.KingS for their catering services.
Eating on the go? Order some tasty take out from this restaurant.
J.KingS is located near endless free parking options.
Typical diners should plan to spend about $30 per person on J.KingS's moderately priced fare.
When you're feeling hungry, head on over to J.KingS and indulge in a tasty and innovative American dish.
Pay J.KingS a visit today and fill up on some classic American dishes in a casual environment.
Odenton's Pachanga Grill has tasty eats and creative beverages.
Complete your meal with the perfect glass of wine or beer from this restaurant's drink list.
Families will feel right at home at this restaurant with its kid-friendly menu and atmosphere.
Score quick and easy seating for groups of any size at Pachanga Grill.
Warm weather brings out Pachanga Grill's highly coveted patio seating.
Keep it casual at Pachanga Grill, and save that little black dress for a different occasion.
Pachanga Grill prides itself in its delicious catering.
If you're strapped for time, take out food from this restaurant.
Parking can often cost 25% of your own meal and tab. With us, it'll be 0% every time. We provide free parking to our patrons.
The average check at Pachanga Grill will stay below $30 per person, so it's a relatively affordable option.
Guests can opt to pay by credit card, and most major names are accepted.
Morning, noon, or night, you can head on over to Pachanga Grill since they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Looking for a great burger? Check out Five Guys Burgers & Fries for a large selection of signature burgers.
No need to splurge on a babysitter — tots will be right at home chowing down at this burger joint.
Five Guys Burgers & Fries has a large dining room, making it easy to seat large parties.
Shake off the stiff workday duds at Five Guys Burgers & Fries — attire is casual.
Don't be afraid to enjoy your food on the go — this burger joint offers takeout for your busy schedule.
Going out can be expensive. That's why we have our own free parking lot, so you spend your money on more fun things.
If your preferred mode of transit is of the two wheel variety, you're in luck — there's tons of bike parking outside the burger joint.
Paying with your major credit card is one payment option at Five Guys Burgers & Fries.
When you are in the mood for an innovative and creative burger, look no further than Five Guys Burgers & Fries.
Try one burger at Five Guys Burgers & Fries and you will definitely want to come back for more!
Siu mai: small pork dumplings. Each has a thin wrapper that needs to be delicately pleated by hand. Easily, they’re one of the most labor-intensive items at Phoenix Restaurant in Chicago, where each weekend this Chinese restaurant serves 80 different varieties of classic dim sum snacks.
This little fact about the siu mai is one of many surprising stories I learn from Eddy, the chef at Phoenix, where he also handles a million other tasks to keep the restaurant running smoothly. When I first came in, he was waving at a group of regulars while on the phone haggling with a seafood vendor.
“What we are serving in this restaurant is what we are eating in Hong Kong. ... It’s very typical,” Eddy says.
In 1996, Phoenix was one of the first restaurants to introduce dim sum to Chicago. Its customer base has grown over the years, and today, even with other dim sum restaurants up and down the block, you’ll find long lines winding out the door on any given Sunday.
Sound intimidating? It doesn't have to be.
Here's our guide to dim-sum dining, with a few tips from Eddy.
On the weekend: order dim sum off a cart
On weekends and special holidays, the wait staff winds traditional dim sum carts around tables, lifting lids off stacked steamer baskets to reveal the enticing contents. Should you see something you like, they leave the basket on your table and put a checkmark on your bill (it’s tallied at the end).
Phoenix is one of the only dim-sum restaurants in Chicago that still uses these carts. When I ask Eddy why they keep them, he says “tradition.” Not only to impress the tourists who come in, but also to let Chinese-American customers share this bit of culture with their kids.
Hot tip: if you want to experience the pushcarts without the crowds, head over on a Saturday, which tends to be less busy than Sundays, Eddy says.
On a weekday: order dim sum off the menu
Cartless weekdays offer a quiet, more peaceful atmosphere for ordering off the paper menu, which you can find near the hostess stand. Don't be intimidated—the menu has pictures; it has numbers; it has names written in both Chinese and English. And best of all, you need only point to what you want to have it brought out from the kitchen.
So what should you get?
“Everyone has their favorites,” Eddy says. The most popular dishes with Westerners are ha gao (shrimp dumplings) and siu mai (pork dumplings mentioned above). Kids gravitate toward the crunchy, easy-to-grip shrimp rolls and sweeter fare, from mango pudding (pictured above) to custard rolls.
Foreign travelers, especially those from Latin America, and adventurous eaters alike seem to love the chicken feet (pictured at bottom-right of top photo), a more exotic dish consisting of skin and tendons. While all these dishes are traditional, the chefs can tweak the recipes to accommodate for special diets or food allergies.
When diners are new to dim sum, Eddy encourages them to experiment. He’ll point out a few of the more popular dishes; if there’s something they don’t end up liking, it can easily be swapped out for something else. This way, by the second or third visit, diners will have a better idea of what they like.
And don't forget the tea
At dim sum, the tea is equally important to the food. Phoenix serves three different types: green tea, white tea, and brown tea. “Each one has its own usage,” Eddy says. While we talk, we drink jasmine tea, which is good for getting rid of toxins.
You can show your dim sum know-how by obeying proper tea etiquette. When your teapot is out of water, prop the lid off to the side. This signals to the wait staff that you need more hot water.
Eddy pours more tea and tells me to tap my fingers lightly against the table when the cup is nearly full. “When your friend or host fills your tea, this means ‘thank you’,” he says. “It’s part of the custom.”
Photos by Andrew Nawrocki, Groupon
I had no idea what to expect upon arriving at Elizabeth, the Michelin Star winner from Chef Iliana Regan. But an unmarked, unremarkable storefront between a tire shop and a sporting-goods store certainly wasn’t it. With few exceptions (Schwa, most notably), Chicago’s upper-echelon restaurants boast exteriors that match their illustrious River North and Restaurant Row addresses.
But as it turns out, Regan has no taste for that sort of superficial flash. She dons no chef’s whites. She displays no awards. She does not raise her voice to the Gordon Ramsay–level roar or even the Rachael Ray-ish rollick that TV cameras eat up.
Instead, this northwest Indiana native quietly built her reputation as someone who hunts for frogs and spears them herself. Someone who has suffered tick bites and poison-ivy rashes foraging for wild flora. Someone who has penned an essay on intensity for Lucky Peach and once themed an Elizabeth tasting menu after those violent and visceral A Song of Ice and Fire novels.
So yeah, I was kinda terrified to eat her food.
I’d never done a tasting menu before. And I wouldn’t necessarily classify myself as a picky eater, but I’m not a particularly adventurous one either, particularly when it comes to meat. (I can barely look at plated octopus without shivering.) I’d heard that Regan once served edible ants. Which are, like, bugs.
My nerves were calmed upon walking into Elizabeth, though. Austere yet charming, the whitewashed space was accented by light fixtures made from bare tree branches; dining chairs draped with faux-fur slipcovers; a chef’s counter armed with Elder Scrolls and Vikings Funko Pop! dolls. It was all in support of the season’s menu theme: vikings.
There were two options: land or sea. Or, as the first in a delightful succession of servers explained it, “Imagine a viking ship has reached the shore. One group goes on land to look for food, the other into the sea.” My friend Erin and I opted to order one of each to share and, despite my trepidation of certain meats, placed no restrictions on what we would eat. (You can arrange for some allergies and dietary needs in advance.) We wanted to go all in.
After the amuse-bouche—a surprisingly complex roasted whey carrot dressed with goat’s-milk cheese and edible flowers—came our first courses. The land dish was … a bowl of rocks. The server assured me the top “rock” was actually a baked potato coated in edible clay. But it was very convincing as a rock, so I bit in with trepidation. As Erin ate the rest, dipping it into the cheese and butter puddings it was served with, I forked into her langoustine with lingonberries. (Pro tip: don’t try to tear off the claw without looking. You will stab your finger on a spine.) So far, so very good.
As the servers continued to weave their culinary narrative, I realized there was an unmentioned character in their tale—Elizabeth itself. The restaurant is small, seating about 16 or so, and the kitchen is wide open. It was impossible not to get caught up in what was happening back there, particularly when sous chefs were wielding brûlée torches and “plating” on gorgeous pieces of handmade pottery. And the line between front and back of house was practically nonexistent. One moment, you’d see someone in the kitchen stirring and slicing; the next they’d be presenting your next course or clearing your table. (Chef Regan included.)
This created an unexpected intimacy, one that removed any hesitation when asking about a particular dish. It’s clear the teammates take a deep yet quiet pride in their collective work. They spoke warmly about where ingredients came from, excitedly about the preparation techniques used. They always used “we” or “our,” never “me” or “Chef Regan.” (Again, Chef Regan included.)
Over the next few courses, there were so many charms. An herb-rolled, soft-boiled quail egg served in an actual nest; impossibly chewy seaweed bread darkened by squid ink; a cauliflower-mushroom soup that Erin about died over. I was particularly fond of a course called Barnyard: headcheese dusted with beet powder, paired with a collage of root vegetables and flavored puddings reminiscent of something out of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing.
And that’s the thing. Never in my life would I have thought that I’d be fond of headcheese. I would have probably never eaten it if it weren’t for this meal. But it was fun to break out of my culinary comfort zone.
The other surprising thing? How full we were, considering it was a tasting menu. By the time we were served the entree courses—rare lamb medallions wrapped in swiss chard and pickled fish in a sauce of its own bones—we were taking deep breaths between bites. I’m pretty sure they were the only two plates we didn’t completely clean.
We managed to buck up for our “one-and-a-half” dessert courses, as the server put it. (The “half” was a palate-cleansing sorbet.) Our favorite was Under the Sea, a spongy coral-seaweed cake so realistic looking it prompted me to ask the server just how much of it we could eat. “All of it,” she said. We complied.
Maybe, as a writer, I’m just a sucker for a good story. But I was enchanted by Elizabeth, both in backstory and in not knowing what was coming next throughout the culinary adventure. And while I probably won’t be buying headcheese any time soon, I’m excited to see what Chef Regan has up her non-chef’s-whites sleeves next season.
Shop Chef Iliana Regan's tasting-menu experience at Elizabeth Restaurant:
Watch her explain her approach to fine dining:
As useful as WD40 and much more edible, coconut oil is a powerhouse. In fact, just one jar of the stuff can replace several household staples, from kitchen ingredients to baby wipes. Here’s how to substitute it for 16 total items in 3 rooms of the home:
1. Coffee: Coconut oil is a reputed energy booster. Swallowing a spoonful or two in the afternoon can be a healthful alternative to a cuppa.2. Coffee creamer: Emulsified and poured into coffee, it’s much tastier than (and probably just as nutritious as) that bulletproof stuff.3. Butter or oil (when sautéing): Coconut oil’s high smoke point makes it great for cooking on the stovetop, especially at high heat. Try swapping it in when making stir-fries, scrambled eggs, or pancakes, especially if you like a very mild coconut flavor.4. Oil (when baking): The oil imparts a delicious je ne sais quoi to baked goods—even boxed ones. Use it to give from-the-box brownies an upgrade, and you’ll dream about them for days.5. Condiments: Drop it into quinoa or oatmeal for added nutrients and healthy fats. You can also put it on top of sweet potatoes instead of butter!
6. Moisturizer: It works on your body and your face. It’s naturally SPF 4, so it offers a bit of protection from UV rays, too.7. Leave-in conditioner and anti-static agent: Rub a small amount between your hands and smooth them over your hair to control flyaways.8. Lip balm: It soothes sore, chapped lips, and other skin irritations.9. Eye-makeup remover: Rub it between your fingers until it liquefies, smear it on your lids, and wipe it off with a cotton pad.10. Face wash: Add a little water and rub it in your hands until it foams.11. Hand and foot cream: Massage it into cracked knuckles, or slather it onto your soles and stick them into socks for an overnight soak.12. Shaving cream: It’ll give you a smooth shave, plus additional moisture for your skin.
13. Ouchie ointment: Dab it on cuts and scrapes, which will benefit from its antimicrobial properties.14. Anti-itch cream: Coconut oil reduces itching from bug bites, and helps to calm sunburn, eczema, and cradle cap.15. Diaper cream: A layer on baby’s bottom guards against (and soothes) diaper rash flare-ups.16. Baby wipes: Simply mix it with hot water and pour it over a stack of paper towels that you’ve cut in half. Keep the towels in an airtight container so they stay moist.
Check out more coconut-oil coverage:
Oil Pulling Whitens Your Teeth and (Maybe) Makes You Invincible
The Five Best Uses for Coconut Oil You’ve Never Heard Of