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  1. Today
  2. this was pretty fantastic. i'll definitely be returning. wife and i popped in for an impromptu dinner. everything we ordered was good at minimum and most were great. we started with cocktails - the Viens Avec Moi (gin, green chartreuse, citrus, absinthe, pineapple cordial - $13) for me and the Bresca French 75 (honey gin, clarified citrus, bee nectar, champagne syrup - $13) for her. both of these were outstanding. my wife remarked that she may enjoy the still take on the French 75 more than the classic. we ordered a myriad of dishes and our waitress divided them into an appetizer course and a main course. for the appetizer course, we had the Buckwheat Pancakes (parsley root ice cream, trout roe, herbs and flowers - $25). this was pretty good, though not perfect. the ice cream and caviar were on the cold side of their respective expected temperatures. the flavors worked well enough, but i felt the execution could be better. next was the Nantucket Scallop Crudo (yuzu, asian pear, ponzu, charred scallion - $17). this was outstanding. just the ingredients alone make this a superlative dish, but it really was executed perfectly. the scallop was fresh and delicious and paired so well with the asian flavors without being overwhelmed by them (as something delicate can be if you just pour ponzu on it). final appetizer was the Foie Gras "PB&J" (madeleines, concord grape, celery - $17). and just holy crap. this was outstanding. i'm a sucker for foie gras in any form, but this was the essence of a super rich and decadent "PB&J". the house baked madeleines were still warm to the touch and were divine. this is a must order on every trip. another round of drinks was the Boisson Royale (dark rum, cognac, pandan cordial, lime, strawberry bitters - $13), a take on a tiki type of flavor it seems without the cloyingness of the imitators pervading DC right now, and the 1906 Old Fashioned (bourbon, creme de yvette, bee nectar, bitters - $12) -- which, well, what can you say about an old fashioned, but it is really good with the creme de yvette - a welcome floral note. the two main courses were the Koji Veal Breast (kuri squash, apple, kohlrabi, pumpkin seed & oil - $21) and the Sea Urchin Linguini (truffle, chili, yeast butter, porcini - $22). the veal was perfectly cooked - tender and a mix of unctuous fat with the breast meat worked perfectly with the accompaniments. i share this thread's concerns about the linguini, but ultimately, it was one of my favorite dishes. yes, the uni gets lost in the dish -- i actually heeded this thread's advice and isolated the uni pieces to have with a small bite of noodles rather than attempting to mix it in. but the pasta without the uni is just so divine. i'd order this every time at $16 with no urchin. the desserts received high billing so we also shared one Foie Gras Cake Pop (hazelnut, chocolate, amaretto, gold - $5) and Tropical Ambrosia (tapioca, mango, meringue, passion fruit - $11). the cake pop was the best cake pop you'll ever have. it was reminiscent of the Foie Gras Snickers at Chicago's Aviary. if starbucks sold these i'd be 500 pounds heavier. the Ambrosia is my subjectively perfect dessert. light, but with the meringue and tapioca to ground it with some substance. tropical fruits are my favorite, and passionfruit tapioca is every bit as good as i wanted it to be. i'd absolutely return, and want to try some of the other dishes, particularly the seafood ones. i also find the prices incredibly reasonable given the ingredients used and compared to other tapas places (even other tapas places just on 14th Street NW).
  3. Yesterday
  4. There is nobody in their family to continue running the school. They lost a lot of credibility when Chef Patrice Olivon left. The new people they hired were just not the same caliber.
  5. This is a huge loss. I attended several Bastille day dinners that Francois held in Gaithersburg, volunteered and took several classes in Bethesda back in the day and have enjoyed great food from many graduates. Always top notch, educational and fun. Francois was a force to reckon with and his staff top notch. This is a huge void in the area both for professional as well as recreational chefs.
  6. I admit I don't follow DC-centric food news much but since I have friends who live in the area, of which one is an alum of this school, the news of the close struck me like a blow.
  7. L’Academie de Cuisine, the local culinary school that’s produced distinguished alumni including James Beard Foundation Award-winner Aaron Silverman, Mirabelle pastry chef Aggie Chin, Daikaya co-founder Katsuya Fukushima, and celebrity chef Carla Hall, just shut down its professional campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland. L’Academie founder Francois Dionot, who started the now-revered institution in 1976, informed staff late Friday, December 15, that the professional facility (16006 Industrial Drive, Gaithersburg, Md.) was done effective immediately. "L'Academie de Cuisine" by Don Rockwell on donrockwell.com "Culinary Launchpad L'Academie de Cuisine Is Closing" by Warren Rojas on eater.dc.com Wow. I admit I don't follow DC-centric food news much but since I have friends who live in the area, of which one is an alum of this school, the news of this close struck me like a blow.
  8. A friend of mine re posted this list of predictions. A fair amount of it has to do with automobiles:
  9. Looking at the folks driving around me going to and from work, I fail to see how a computer could do any worse. I do agree that commercial truck driver is probably not too great an area to recommend our teenagers look into. That being said, Buffett just bought the largest chain of truck stops, so clearly he doesn't think this is coming too soon.
  10. Me too. I was in the Bethesda triangle a lot in the 80's -90's. I thought the classes would be interesting and fun. Damn. I never took one. As to one small item above. I doubt the MD department of Education was the "reason" or one of the reasons for closure. We deal with them. We've dealt with state educational offices and boards in numerous states. Its a Pain In the Neck element of running a school. Some of the things they require one to do and report are both time consuming, detailed and cost some $$. In our experience it has never been an element to make or break a school. In my experience Md's educational regulators are a little on the tougher side versus the majority of states wherein we have experience. Very tough for all the staff. I hope this hasn't extended to the Gaithersburg locaction
  11. National Chains

    Yeah, some of the bbq places right off 95 generally are not the best. Back before the kids came along, I used to do some bbq runs down south. It was much harder pre-internet. I remember driving around with a New York Times clipping.
  12. Call me old-fashioned, but the notion of these things still scares the hell out of me - especially being next to a truck on the Interstate (cross-country truck drivers are going to be a dying breed, I suppose). One thing I've thought of that I haven't heard mentioned elsewhere: I envision a future - perhaps not during my lifetime - where self-driving cars on demand pull up to your residence, and take you away (but how will they know where to park?!). This, of course, has been mentioned before. The novel thing that I've thought of is that, accompanying this disturbing inevitability, will be a *huge* increase in demand for run-flat tires. Companies owning self-driving cars on-demand will not want to send someone out to change a flat tire each time there's a blowout; instead, they'll merely summon the cars back to a central location, and change the tires there - ergo, run-flat tires.
  13. Yeah that's what I was expecting. Poke for me, pasta for my son, etc. But wait, according to the Washingtonian article, there's going to be a mini-food court inside the Eatery: The Dining Hall Can’t decide where to eat? This 120-seat sit-down restaurant pulls from five Isabella Eatery spots, serving a menu that mixes Pepita tacos with Requin raw bar, Arroz tapas, and Yona sushi. Sounds to me like the old joke about the Starbucks inside the Starbucks.
  14. Damn...that was far and away the best of the fast-casual pizza spots that sprouted up in the last year or two. Need to find me another go-to pizza joint.
  15. I volunteered in the recreation classes a 2-3 times a month for years when I lived in Bethesda. I learned to be a very competent cook and baker from the wonderful chef instructors there. Many staple recipes for my family come from those classes, and my knife skills and cooking skills are definitely due to them. I don't live in the neighborhood anymore, but I am sure they will be greatly missed.
  16. Yes, I'm updating the announcement as details come in. See above. As of 3:15 PM, I received a message which said, "All done. No real explanation. It is all over." My guess is that later today, Warren Rojas will have a more detailed story on Eater, so you may want to keep an eye out for it. The sad summary is: L'Academie de Cuisine is no longer. Another message at 3:26: "Doubt there will be a real story. Whole school is done." At 3:28: "Many reasons not just 1 main one. Too much to overcome."
  17. We need a point of clarification here. The Bethesda school is the recreational classes. Gaithersburg is the location for their professional school (the classes I took were at the Gaithersburg school) So are talking all of L'Academie closing or just Bethesda?
  18. I don't know, it seems like multiple restaurants with their own ordering systems and seating? Patrons can hop from one place to another with a drink in hand. True food courts should allow you to grab something from each of multiple restaurants. Or for example six people get their preferred food and sit down at the same table. I guess I expect something more like Time Out Market Lisboa where you could sit at a bar at one of the stands to eat and drink something from just that vendor, or you could order what you want and take it to tables in the middle to combine it with something else such as a charcutaria plate, then add a suckling-pig sandwich, and then finish with coffee, all from different vendors.
  19. It's a sad day: They are closing, and today (Graduation Day), will be the final day for students. On Dec 31, 2017, the doors in Bethesda will shut for the final time, and the locks will have been changed - L'Academie de Cuisine Bethesda is no longer. This is an honest-to-goodness sad day for Washington, DC cuisine. As a tribute to the great François Dionot, L'Academie de Cuisine is going to be retired ranked in Bold in the Maryland Dining Guide - it will be the only non-restaurant in the 12-year history of donrockwell.com to be honored as such. --- As of 3:04 PM, I'm updating this thread as news comes in (e.g., I had originally stated that the doors were being locked today, which made no sense since the lease likely runs through Dec. 31). I'm still trying to find out details about Gaithersburg.
  20. Dining Solo

    I did not go wrong! (This probably deserves its own thread.) Actually walked right in -- no line! -- at 2:30 yesterday, and had one of the most enjoyable and delicious meals in memory. And perhaps because there was no line, it also was not rushed. (Over the next 90 or so minutes, there was an occasional wait, but I'd be surprised if it was ever more than 15 minutes. From what my server told me, 11-1:30 and all day Fridays are the busiest times -- but he was careful to stress that you never know, from day to day . . . .) Leisurely, conversational (with the servers and a motley array of patrons, local, national and int'l), and convivial. What Rockwell & Bourdain say is true. Can't believe I never ate here before (and was deterred by the lines -- silly me!). My order, as it turned out: Anchor Steam on tap. Cup of Chowder (excellent, but not life-changing, Don, especially compared to the other things). Half-dozen mixed oysters -- perfect. "Italian sashimi"---aji tuna; scallop; mackerel; hamachi; salmon. Capers, onions. Oh. Lord. (See photo here--a "cheat sheet" you really should read before you go.) Uni (in its still-moving shell) -- so much smoother, fresher, and more delicate than any I've had before. And then the "half" order of smoked salmon--and I have to agree with Don, this was at least equal to, if not better, than Russ & Daughters', which in my book is saying a lot. Just delicious. I was so tempted to cap it all off with an order a combination cocktail, if only to sample the delectable-looking crab, but I had latkes coming in a few hours, and the salmon was a perfect capstone; and so I called it a day. A very special experience. (Followed by a walk to the Walker Evans exhibit at the S.F. MOMA--and perhaps the best collection of modern German art I've ever seen in one place (Kiefer, Richter, Baselitz, etc.). Very well-spent afternoon.)
  21. National Chains

    Sysco I was somewhere between Arlington and...North Carolina (can't remember where) when we stoped at a mom 'n' pop BBQ shop. My DH LOVES BBQ. This entire place was Sysco. Almost any national chain would have been better...or even WaWa.
  22. I took the 20-week-long skills class at L'Academie, what a great environment. One night a week with demo instruction and then cooking in their kitchen. They realized that most of the students were taking the class for fun and to better their home cooking skills, even though it was an accredited adult continuing education course (3 credits!). The instructor's attitude was how often are you going to get to play around in a fully stocked professional class kitchen...go at it. She took the time to make duck confit (amazing), we had to break down squab (they come fully clawed), we got to clean and cook sweet breads, during pasta class they made sure we had wine. Indeed a sad day if they are closing.
  23. This winter, the Women's Voices Theater Festival returns to DC. This year's edition will feature 25 plays, many being produced for the first time, staged across area theaters. Great way to support local theaters and local theater groups.
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