Food Factory: Where Delicious Food Exists

George Washington graduate student Ahmed Hassan, American University sophomore John Leo and senior Ali Muhamed stand in front of Food Factory on Saturday Jan 24. Food Factory is known for Mediterranean Cuisine. (Photo courtesy of Ali Muhamed)

George Washington graduate student Ahmed Hassan, American University sophomore John Leo and senior Ali Mohamed stand in front of Food Factory on Saturday Jan 24. Food Factory is known for Mediterranean Cuisine. (Photo courtesy of Ali Mohamed)

If your mouth waters for savory kebab, delectable gyros or tasty wraps, then look no further. Food Factory is the perfect place for you. Bringing South Asia and Middle Eastern flavors to the table, the restaurant features kebabs, buffet, wraps, salads and more.

Located at 8145 Baltimore Ave, College Park, MD 20740, the restaurant is within easy walking distance of the University of Maryland, as well as a number of professional institutions in the laid-back vicinity.

The neighborhood is like no other; it houses a myriad of fine shops and ethnic restaurants that provide cuisine from around the world. A sizable parking lot in front of the restaurant allows for a convenient commute, and from there you can see a few people walking their dogs around and some cars driving past.

At first glance, the restaurant, founded in 1994, seems Indian due to the complexion and the physical traits of its workers, most of whom are actually Pakistani. Another glance will offer a view of patrons sitting on green chairs, devouring the delicious food while chitchatting with those accompanying them. It is this peaceful milieu that makes Food Factory a perfect destination for families or couples.

With word-of-mouth advertising, the restaurant stands the test of time on account of its high quality food, affordability and its aura of friendliness. Besides food, the restaurant provides free WiFi, and the spacious dining area is surrounded with a number of oriental paintings on the wall, making it a great cultural venue for customers to hang out or hold social events like parties or birthday celebrations.

Situated in a beautifully-landscaped neighborhood lined with well-groomed trees that conjure up images of peace and tranquility, the restaurant is a perfect spot for employees on the run, families or visitors who want to have a break and enjoy an affordable delicious meal.

Students also get a discount as per the official menu. The restaurant was bustling with families and students who came to have lunch and make optimal use of the special daily buffet.

“All what you can eat for $7.99″ is the most popular offer the restaurant is best known for.

“$7.99 is reasonable and you cannot find it anywhere. We are economical. We haven’t raised the price for customers for quite a while,” said Mr. Mohammad Javaid, the restaurant co-owner, originally from Pakistan.

Just unleash the hungry person inside you and enjoy the different options provided at the buffet. Eat and refill as many times as you want. Nothing could be more delicious than chunks of lamb and chicken kebab marinated in special herbs and spices served with salad, garlic sauce and naan bread. If you are a vegetarian, there are also some dishes and sandwiches from which to choose.

Once you are there, it will be hard for you to walk away before trying all what the place has to offer.

As the name Food Factory suggests, the restaurant is like a factory that provides dine-in, take-out, catering services and food options that satisfy all tastes. Appetizers, kebabs, side orders, weekend specials, wraps, gyros and drinks are just some of the options on the menu.

Their signature dish is South Asian Kebab, which is not very different from the Mediterranean/Levantine one. The recipe and the Middle Eastern spices and herbs are almost the same, but the bread they have is different.

“We are known for our Persian or Afghan kebab and naan bread,” Mr. Javaid explained.

Kebab is a staple diet in the Muslim world and naan is flat leavened South Asian bread, made of white flour and baked in a clay oven. A visit to the food factory is not complete without trying their delicious desserts, especially for anyone with a sweet tooth. The baklava is not only the most popular dessert, but the most affordable as well.

With profits in mind, the restaurant still has a sublime mission.

“We want to make it affordable for everyone,” Mr. Javaid maintained.

As such, a meal at Food Factory could cost something between 6 to 12 dollars. Yet, be ready for a farm-to-fork dining experience and healthy meal, for all ingredients are fresh, and all kebabs are cooked or broiled on a skewer over charcoal.

“We provide healthy natural food. Whatever we have is fresh. Kebab is charbroiled, not fried,” Mr. Javaid pinpointed, “Our motto is fresh, affordable and healthy Asian cuisine.”

Although the food is more Asian, many customers think of it is Middle Eastern. Interestingly enough, more Middle Easterners dine at the restaurant than any other ethnicity according to Mr. Javaid.  This made the place a cultural melting pot where you can meet people of different backgrounds.

For instance, Ahmed Hassan, an Egyptian graduate student at George Washington University, is an avid foodie.

After his first visit, he put it as such, “I must visit this place again – the food is out of this world and the people are super friendly. For me, the place is a miniature of Middle Eastern restaurants. Honestly, it feels like home.”

Abdullah Al-Hammadi, a Kuwaiti sophomore at American University majoring in economics, echoed the same impression.

“I have been to many kebab restaurants in DC and beyond but this one is the cheapest and the best. And the food is halal, too.”

On another level, John Leo, a junior at American University, has been a regular customer there.

“I first knew the place when I was working in a job nearby. My colleagues were Persians and they recommended me to try this place. Since then, it has become my favorite spot for lunch,” said John, “I usually go to Food Factory because of the quality of the food which is rich in flavor and Middle Eastern pulse. It is also near to where I live.”

Accordingly, it is safe to say that if you try their food once, you will be a regular customer.

Food factory is a must-go lunch and dinner spot for locals, students, employees or families. With its wide variety of dishes and reasonable prices, Food Factory is here to stay. So, next time you want to try a new cuisine, go there, satisfy your hunger, feed your appetite and have the meal of a lifetime. But be warned: it is addicting!

“My Little Sister’s Best Friend is Muslim”

Gil Klein:

Junior Tarah-Lynn Saint-Elien localizes the events at Charlie Hebdo through her op-ed originally published on her fashion blog, Adorned In Armor.

Originally posted on Adorned in Armor:

My little sister’s best friend is Muslim. They met freshman year of high school and the two have been close for a little over a year now. Within their friendship, they have learned to ignore the stares of onlookers that solely see two black girls – one apparently ordinary and one that isn’t, solely because she wears a Hijab. For the ones that know my sister personally, their eyes pop out even wider because she’s a Christian and apparently, Christians and Muslims don’t mix.

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The Salad Days Will Never Die

On January 30th, a little past 9 p.m, a line streamed alongside a trendy taqueria and falafel shop waiting to enter The Black Cat, a staple concert venue in Washington, D.C’s U Street Corridor. The crowd seemed dissimilar as people in cable knit sweaters stood next to some clad in studded and patched denim jackets, but all seamlessly shuffled in. On the venue’s second floor, the stage was retrofitted to become a movie theatre, with over sixteen rows of chairs set in front of a simple projector and screen. Within minutes, all of the seats filled up. Viewers waited while perusing drinks at the bar as lagging attendees happily hopped onto bar stools and pinned themselves to the walls.

“I’m here with a buddy from Arlington who worked at Dischord. He’s been a punk for a long time,” says Dave, 39, originally from Kentucky who moved to Petsworth, D.C. “This stuff was earlier than my time, but its fun to see footage of what I learned about after it happened.”

Dave, along with about two hundred others, came to see “Salad Days: The DC Punk Revolution, at its fifth screening in Washington, and its second at the Black Cat. The film focuses on the Washington punk scene in the late 1970’s through 80’s. Among personal concert tapings, the film features interviews with “scensters” from Fugazi, SOA, Minor Threats, and those who were inspired from it, such as Dave Grohl from Nirvana and the Foo Fighters.

Washington’s punk youth came from a different childhood than its punk contemporaries in other cities such as New York and London, which were working class and a result of long music scene lineage. Washington was, and still is, a white collar town, where government is the industry, and its educated children were of lawyers, politicians, and lobbyists.

“In D.C, there is no rock and roll industry to speak of,” says Ian Mackaye of Minor Threats, Fugazi, and a creator of Dischord Records, a label that released most of the time’s local emerging talents, in the film. “In this town, the canopy is Government.” Soon, a class of youth culminated from a deprivation of an established music scene. Individuals grabbed their friends, started bands, labels, and began playing shows in Georgetown, themselves.

“These kids came from a city that had no music industry and just started to create things,” says Scott Crawford, the film’s director. Since D.C is a smaller city, and by default its underground scene even smaller, bands shared similar styles, sounds, and some musicians even rotated between bands. The sentiment that quality of musicianship didn’t matter, but the act of playing is more important, wove throughout the movement, and made creating art less intimidating for new comers.

The Washington punk scene, at it’s fundamental form, really only existed for a couple of years with few members. Soon pivotal bands like Bad Brains fused punk spirit with soul, and a new genre, emotional-punk rock surfaced, changing how the scene phonically sounded. However the do-it-yourself ethos persisted. The punk scene’s founders set a stage that inspired other artists to not wait for an art culture, but to make art themselves. The nature of DIY is transient, and the punk scene’s music was just as transient as its surrounding culture.

Music will always change, and the film finely balances sepia toned nostalgia and broader themes of the punk scene’s influence, not just how great the time was. The film allows some to reminisce and others to appreciate a transformative era. Also, of course the film jams so music produced in the scene, which the crowd deeply appreciated. (So much so, that the Black Cat simultaneously hosted a punk rock karaoke night on the first floor while the film showed.) Crawford, didn’t want the film to come across as an homage of a scene too steeped in its own connotation. “I didn’t want this to be a bunch of people looking back as if the glory days had already happened…as if talking to a bunch of people in their forties talking about their high school football career. I wanted to steer clear of that line of questioning.”

Just like the movement’s legacy itself, the film makes the punk movement tangible, but doesn’t induce a feeling that viewers missed out on something that will never exist again. There is a huge nod to the future, and the youth that existed forty years ago, still exist today. Monumental D.C music clubs that are featured in the film such as the 9:30 Club, are extremely different now, and others such as d.c space have since closed, but out of necessity, the new generation has created their own places.

“There are a lot of house concerts…there are bunch of clubs, but if you’re just starting out, there aren’t that many,” Crawford mentions. “That really has the same spirit of ‘fuck it we will create our own network’ and that’s what is happening right now in D.C. People are still starting labels and their own music.”

Salad Days, is an important reminder of Washington’s original spirit and the powerful strength that lays in youth. It is a film that doesn’t encourage further lamenting on days past, but to explore and find your own underground scenes. Clearly this message has resonated way passed the immediate Washington D.C community. Scott, and his partner Jim Saah, set up a Kickstarter to raise $32,000 to aid production costs. They reached their goal in six days from over 980 backers spanning from Germany, Russia, Brazil, and all over the U.S who understand the importance of documenting this movement. The film will venture off to various theatres domestically in places such as Oakland, New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, six more festivals globally, and more music festivals this summer. “Then I can sleep,” Crawford says.

National Press Club History

As part of their internship at the National Press Club’s Broadcast Operations Center, Abessalom Araiza, Claire-Francesse Dalzon and Florian Blankenburg produced a video of the Club’s history with Abessalom and Claire in front of the camera and Florian behind it.

Profile: Ashi Day

Sitting in the Terrace Restaurant of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the early evening of Monday, November 3, Ashi Day, the program coordinator for events for students in the education division since 2012, enjoys the calm and comforting classical orchestra music being played in the background of the delicately and dimly lighted dining hall. Continue reading