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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com January 10, 2011 at 5:00 am 2,780 79 Comments

Arlington Tourism Declines — Tourism revenues in Arlington County, Virginia’s top tourist destination, declined by $276 million between 2008 and 2009, according to data released in December. Arlington is currently seeking state approval to renew a hotel tax surcharge that funds its tourism promotion efforts, but county officials acknowledge that Arlington’s tourism draw is primarily its proximity to the District. [Washington Examiner]

McDonnell To Propose Transportation Spending Splurge — Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell wants to borrow $3 billion over the next three years to pay for transportation projects in the state. [Washington Post]

Arlington Lawyer Gets Year in Prison — A local lawyer convicted of defrauding the parents of special needs children has been handed a one year sentence by an Arlington County judge. [Washington Post]

Mexican Food Search Reveals Uncle Julio’s — After three years of searching for some decent Mexican food in Arlington, a couple has finally discovered Uncle Julio’s Rio Grande Cafe in Ballston. [Patch]

Flickr pool photo by Paul Derby

  • BrownFlipFlops

    …but do they like chips and salsa, and a magarita?

    Tsk, tsk, Arlnow. It’s not nice to troll your own site!

  • Rick

    How did these two not go to rio grande sooner? It’s been around longer than I have. They deserve to eat bad food at chevys

    • I’m with you, Rio Grande is one of the few Mexican/TexMex bright spots in the area. Taking 3 years to get there amazes me.

      • Eponymous Coward

        Chill; they were stuck in traffic.

        • TryTheTacos

          They were waiting for a guy with Maryland tags to pull out of a metered space – in hopes it still had 30 mins left on it.

    • LP

      Something is wrong with these people. 3+ years and not realizing Uncle Julio’s, obviously they don’t get out much and don’t utilize technology when they’re sitting in their cave.

      • Burger

        Everyone knows that Rio Grande is a chain, right? It is the Mexican equivalent of TGIFridays.

        There are a number of better Tex/Mex places in the area but you need to get off the beaten path and stop being stuck in yuppiedom to realize it. Heck there is a better Mexican restuarant less than a 1/2 mile from Rio Grande.

        • ballston

          1/2 mile from Rio? I just hope you’re not talking about El Ranchero. There’s a lot of Salvadoran food around, but is there an actual Tex/Mex place you’re referring to?

        • AllenB

          To compare Rio Grande to TGIF is offbase. There are about 16 Rio’s around the country (check their website) and I’m guessing hundreds of TGIF’s. Carlye in Shirlington is part of a chain of 11 restaurants (different names but all similar) – does that make them like TGIF too?

          • Rick

            Was Rio a chain long before they started with the Uncle Julio nonsense? FWIW I don’t get the chain vibe in there, also haven’t been there in 14 months

          • AllenB

            Rick, not sure of their history with Uncle Julio. I only know that for many years now I remember seeing that affiliation on their menu. Regardless, I think their chips, salsa and fajitas are fantastic.

      • Lola

        Yeah, I was wondering how it could have taken them so long to eat there, as well.

  • Darwin

    This is great to hear about Gov. McDonnell following through on his campaign promises to improve VA infrastructure in order to expand business opportunities outside just NOVA. One of the things I like about President Obama’s administration is their emphasis on making infrastructure “cool” again after decades in some cases of neglect. Seems like the Dems and Repubs have something in common here.

    • KalashniKEV

      I hope he’s thinking more like the Silver Line and less like Trolley to the Ghetto though…

      • mehoo

        It’s been fun, now it’s time to grow up Kev.

        As for McDonnell, funny how if a Democrat were going to borrow money he’d be bashed by Republicans for deficit spending.

        • Lou

          People are bashing McDonnell for borrowing the funds. But that’s because he’s spending it on roads and not trolleys.

          • mehoo

            No, they’re bashing him because most of his supporters would probably bash a Democrat for doing the same thing. They’re hypocrites.

          • Lou

            Are you referring to anyone in particular when you say “they”?

            Because I can tell you there were people who specifically called him out for “mortgaging the future” by using bonds, when in fact their main gripe was the money was going to roads and not transit.

            I’m not saying you’re wrong, because when you make such a generic statement like you just did I’m sure you can find some case to back it up. You can, right?

          • mehoo

            Nobody specific, just anyone who criticized borrowing or spending before but isn’t now. They know who they are.

          • Darwin

            Mehoo you attack people pesonally calling them jerks and telling them to grow up and so I think it’s obvious you are the one that needs “to chill”. The rest of us will stick to arguing our points.

          • mehoo

            I haven’t called anyone a jerk here. I only call people that who start out far worse than me, like racists. I don’t consider telling someone to “chill” an insult. Grow up? Maybe, but again, I was aiming at something I thought was worse.

            Meanwhile, you’re hinting people are racists with absolutely no reason.

            All this over the USPS not taking tax money.

          • The Pope of South Arlington

            mehoo’s insults are but badges of honor!

        • KalashniKEV

          And by “grow up” you mean advocate flushing a ton of money on a garbage project that will only result in hemmoraging *more* money in the future on operations and maintenance? How very mature of you…

          • mehoo

            No, that’s not the part you need to grow up about.

          • KalashniKEV

            I’d personally rather have a one time folley of a dog resort and at least get everyone’s animals in one confined space than to have the constant eyesore and traffic hazard of a trolley with no neutral ground to run on. The added insult is to know that I’m propping it up with taxes like it’s the stupid postal service or something…

          • mehoo

            The Postal Service is self-supporting, it doesn’t take tax money, Kev. Just FYI.

          • KalashniKEV

            You’re just making yourself look silly… what about the $8.5B they lost last YEAR?


            OK, so the postage pays salary and benefits for all these people and the shortfall gets thrown in the national debt, but still gets paid out. What does delivering packages have to do with governing anyway? This isn’t the Pony Express anymore…

          • mehoo

            The Postal Service doesn’t take a dime of tax money, like I said. Read first, comprehend second, post third.

            As for their losses, most of that is not really losses, it’s payments to their own retiree health benefits that must by law be prefunded, unlike any other government agency or business.

            But again, the point is that the USPS is not subsidized by tax money. It’s losses do not contribute a dime to the national debt. That’s what you get for reading the Times.

          • KalashniKEV

            Like a typical liberal, you fail to understand that spending more than you take in is unsustainable. Spending $8.5B more than you take in, for an inferior service that should be solely performed by the private sector anyway??? Suicide.

            The truly sad part is that if they ever went under, the people currently employed and enjoying all the .gov bennies wouldn’t be very useful to employers in the real world… and Courthouse Metro would look like a huge block party for Bums.

          • mehoo

            Kev. Chill.

            I didn’t say the USPS wasn’t losing any money. Like many businesses these days, it is. But it’s really alot less than you think, because most of those “losses” are really just money being transferred, as I explained above.

            You said the USPS was losing TAX money. You were wrong. It doesn’t take tax money, and it doesn’t contribute to the federal debt. That’s all I was saying. Get over it.

          • Al Sharptongue

            Like a typical liberal, you fail to understand that spending more than you take in is unsustainable.

            Your hero Dick Chaney was the one who said “deficits don’t matter.” We all know what a liberal he is.

          • mehoo

            Nah, all Republican debt is good but Democratic debt is bad. Darwin sez.

          • Darwin

            Mehoo once again you attack other’s views while being poorly informed yourself. The Post office, much like Amtrak are half-government agencies, meaning they aren’t free to operate like a true business. They have plenty of ways to become solvent again but every time they ask permission they are told “no”.
            Can we close unprofitable branches? “No”.
            Can we get rid of Saturday service which 75% of Americans support? “No.”
            And so on. It’s typical government trying to run businesses and failing.

          • mehoo

            Hey Darwin, you chill too.

            All I said was that they aren’t taxpayer funded. I was correcting a faulty fact. And then I corrected another one about it’s losses. I never said anything about whether it was a good business or whatever. I’m sure there’s a forum for discussing that somewhere else.

          • Just a friendly reminder that off-topic diatribes and ad hominem attacks are frowned upon here.

          • Darwin

            I ‘heart’ arguing on the internet!

        • Darwin

          I thought about this because part of why I like him is because he is so fiscally conservative….yet he does this. The difference is Democrats tend to borrow to give hand outs and keep people dependant on them where as Bob McDonnell is borrowing to bring even more businesses to Virginia than the impressive amount he already did last year. This will increase the tax base greatly and result on a huge return on investment.
          So to recap:
          Republican borrowing=high return investment
          Democratic borrowing =flushing money down the drain

          • mehoo

            But that’s not what we hear conservatives complaining about, do we? They bash ALL borrowing and ALL spending, not just the kind they think is good. Now suddenly they’re making distinctions.

          • South Arlington

            Yes, that’s the theory for the oft-derided trolley – invest in infrastructure to spur new business and development on Columbia Pike which leads to a new tax base resulting in a return on investment.

            Similar to the investment the rest of the county is forced to make to prop up Metro and the wealth created for the Metro-adjacent property owners.

          • Al Sharptongue

            What about the Republican borrowing to flush all those billions down the drain in Iraq?

          • Darwin

            Well if you consider removing a dictator and freeing millions of Iraqis (I know they’re not white America’s so why help right?) flushing money then yes Republicans did waste billions over several years. Of course it pales in comparison to the near trillion Democrats flushed all in one year!

          • mehoo

            We didn’t go there to free anyone, we went there for WMDs. The return on investment was pretty low.

          • Al Sharptongue

            Your attempt to ingect racism into the debate shows just how weak your argument is, “Darwin”.

          • mehoo

            Wow, I missed the race comment. Really really low, Darwin.

          • KalashniKEV

            I assumed it was you…

  • Black Flag

    Rio Grande and Chevys are both yuppie crap

    • G::NativeArlingtonian

      Agreed. Rio is a chain. A declining one at that. My go to spot is El Paso Cafe near Pershing and Glebe.

      • Charlie

        You can run there. As long as pres bush isnt

      • SD

        Another El Paso fan!

      • Dale


        • FrenchyB

          Yeah, let ’em stick with Uncle Rio’s Julio Grande.

      • Tater Salad

        Are you kidding? El Paso sucks – terrible fajitas, lame margaritas with sickly sweet mix.

    • Darwin

      If you aren’t a fan of Yuppies and/or their crap I hate to be the one to tell you but you may be in the wrong county!

  • RR

    I would much rather dine @ El Ranchero and Chevys or Rio Grande.

  • yuck – someone likes Rio Grande and Chevys? That’s fake Tex Mex for heaven’s sake!!! El Paso is the closest you can come to basic Mexican food.

  • Rick

    Maybe an anita’s will open up in clarendon… or is that too corporate for everyone

    • AllenB

      I ate at an Anita’s last year out in Fairfax area. Thought it was horrible – overcooked and underseasoned.

    • LP

      “Too corporate” – Are you sure you’ve been to Anita’s? It’s the furthest thing from corporate.

      • Rick

        Your sense of humor needs work.

        I love anita’s, I think it would be different food for arlington. Used to order take out from them when I was at gmu.

  • southie

    Agreed….. El Paso is much better. La Union on Wilson is good too. Not much in terms of
    atmosphere but great food

    • Lou

      I always wondered about that La Union place. I’ll have to give it a shot.

      • Charlie

        La union on Wilson and their store w carry out on lee why ROCK. But it is salvadoran not Mexican. Similar but different. Best kept secret of Arlington.

    • Anon

      I prefer La Union over El Paso – Cheaper and better.

    • Tater Salad

      I’m glad nobody knows about the real jewel in the Arlington crown – Taqueria Poblano in the Harrison Lee shopping center. OMG good!!

      • Anon

        haha thats a chain too.

        • HappyNsthArl

          Chain??? The owner has 2 locations!!! It’s not a Rio/Uncle Julio…

  • Darwin

    Chipotle rules!

  • Lacy Forest

    Mexican or Tex-Mex? You have to go to El Paso (on Pershing near N. Glebe, behind Glebe Market). Anything else is corporate chain food.

    • ballston

      You know you’re dealing with Arlingtonians when we give Glebe Market as the landmark. 🙂 It’s next to the friggin’ Popeye’s. Attached to it, even.

      PS. I love Popeye’s. If El Paso is too crowded, I know there’s some spicy chicken in my future.

  • JamesE

    El Paso Cafe is way too yuppie and corporate for me, unless my food is served by Danny Trejo it is not authentic tex mex.

  • Is that Rio Grande article for real? Are you sure that Patch hasn’t hired Jean Teasdale from The Onion?

    • That was a pretty shoddy review…however it may have been better than most Yelp reviews.

    • Jason S

      Rick took Jean out for a special treat: Fajitas!
      As usual, hubby Rick just complained about the prices on the menu before ordering whichever beer was the cheapest and complaining that he would rather be at home watching with a case of his “real beer” and Cops on the TV.

  • spooner

    I like El Charrito’s on Wash blvd. Thinking of their torta is making me drool.

    • craig

      El Charrito’s is head and shoulders the best i’ve had in Arlington. It’d be great with a few tables and some chips and salsa. Has anyone been to El Manantial?

  • el fat kid

    Uncle Julio’s is over priced and there’s nothing special going on.

  • Clarendruid

    Guadalajara in Charlottesville is good, basic Mexican. I actually like Rio Grande but would only call it tex mexican-esque.

    I like that Chef Rick Bayless from food network – he knows Mexican !

  • TexGal

    I 2nd tater-salad, best “on the rocks margaritas” (no mix) is Taqueria Poblano. I only wish they made Queso!

  • Mexican Food?

    OMG! Rio Grande? Please…I’ll take the couple to real spot–District Taco Restaurant on Lee Highway in Arlington! Rio Grande? Might as well heat up food from a can???? As a real Mexican, I’m offended!


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