Kibbee Nayee

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About Kibbee Nayee

  • Rank
    Mayor of Springfield Dining
  • Birthday 05/29/1954

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    bruce_brody@yahoo.com

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Interests
    Eating, cooking, eating, drinking, watching Anthony Bourdain and eating.
  • Location
    Springfield, VA
  1. It was Thursday afternoon, and I was heading to a corporate dinner at Cuba Libre, but I was early and nursing a cold. So I stumbled upon Fig and Olive and stopped in for a spot of hot tea at the bar. Directly across the bar from me was Betsy DeVos, our new Education Secretary, having a white wine and a small snack with a female companion with whom she was engaged in conversation. I was surprised to see a cabinet secretary so visible, but what the heck, it was only Education. And no one was bothering her for selfies or autographs....
  2. I've eaten at Booey's many times. It is convenient for a coffee meeting, but the sandwich counter isn't anything special. At the risk of criticism, I prefer the Korean buffet on the first floor of 4601 N. Fairfax Dr. to Booey's. I believe it's called Ballston Cafe, and it is among the many Korean-run buffets in our busy working area that includes many positive features -- (1) the buffet itself is immaculate, down to perfect presentation for each dish, (2) you can make your own dish, with plenty of variety and changing options all the time, and (3) the sandwich counter at the back is at least as good as Booey's, and even more meticulous in terms of presentation. These Korean-run buffets -- and I've eaten at dozens of them -- only have breakfast and lunch service, and the presentation down to the cut of the vegetables demonstrates a kitchen with some degree of discipline. All of that said, I'm merely voicing a convenient option that doesn't suck on that side of Glebe.
  3. SER is so-so for lunch, better for HH and dinner. That's not an exciting territory for lunch options, sad to say....
  4. I was impressed with Kokkari Estiatorio, and I didn't walk in with Komi-like expectations. When I saw the two roasted whole-carcass lambs at the rotisserie pit to the right of the bar area, I was hooked. Although I only tried one dish, it was a winner. Bib Gourmand 2017 includes Kokkari Estiatorio in its list of 75 for the Bay Area, and it's easily the best Greek restaurant in the area. Is it Komi? Well, probably not quite, but it's San Francisco's distant equivalent.
  5. EPIC Steakhouse is easily one of the best San Francisco steak houses, and most of the "Best of" lists confirm that. Even better, it's not a chain! We waited in the upstairs bar until our table was ready, and I can attest to a large wine list and solid spirits program. I had the Dungeness Crab Cocktail, which was outstanding, and the Prime Dry Aged Bone-in 20 oz. New York Strip. Wow, what a meal. Everything was perfect, and then some. This is not a place for the financially timid - the crab was $21 and the steak was $61, but I was happy to pay for such a high quality meal.
  6. Kokkari Estiatorio is the San Francisco Greek equivalent of Komi in DC. It is high-end Greek, and it is superb. I was on a search for char-grilled octopus in San Francisco, and after some research, I headed to Jackson St., and scored a seat at the bar. The place was packed and fully booked, so I was lucky to get that seat. I ordered a double of the char-grilled octopus, so I ended up with two delicious tentacles, drizzled with olive oil. It was tender, with the mouthfeel you come expect with a properly executed octopus dish. Thumbs up on this dish.
  7. What if I told you there was a wine business that started about 45 years ago, with a wine enthusiast who has developed relationships with all the really good wineries throughout Napa and Sonoma, who has access to some of hardest-to-find or small production (like 150 cases, and he bought them all) wines, with a wine shop and wine bar that you plan to visit for 2 hours and end up staying for 6 hours...? Greg O'Flynn is now on my list of great wine merchants, and California Wine Merchant is now on my must-visit list of places to drink wine in San Francisco. Greg is an affable guy whose passion is all about wine, and the wine he pours shows it. Full disclosure -- I am now in his wine club, where I will be receiving six special bottles every other month. I tasted some remarkable wines, but what struck me almost as much was how fastidious Greg and his employees were in keeping the Riedel glasses pristine, or topping off the open bottles with Argon at the end of every night, and the rarity rack where most of us back east don't sip some of these wines. Among others, I enjoyed healthy pours of Robert Biale "Like Father, Like Son," Kistler, Branham Estate zin, L'Angevin (which is a $42 chardonnay, but made by the same winemaker who made the $150 Peter Michael chardonnay.) Greg is a wonderful fellow and his place is a museum of California (and other areas of the world) wines. In fact, last Thursday night, we also enjoyed a tasting of Italian wines from the Fruili region, and I tasted some first-ever wines for me, like Tokai -- which has to be spelled that way to avoid EU regulations associated with Hungarian Tokay or Tokaji -- and Refosco. I will return to this establishment every time I set foot in San Francisco.
  8. A few years ago, Don helped me get in touch with Eric Ziebold, who in his vast culinary background once worked for Thomas Keller at the French Laundry. I was going to San Francisco and wanted to know where the chefs go to eat in their time off. La Taqueria was one of those places. I hit it again on my most recent visit this past week, and the beef head (cabeza) quesadilla was as good as it was when I first tried it a few years ago. The beefy flavor was intense and wonderful, beating the heck out of any ground meat that might find its way into a typical beef quesadilla. The line to get in is a testament to the place's reputation, and the lunch counter ordering and minimal seating have not dissuaded the multitudes from descending on some of the best fast-Mexican food in San Francisco.
  9. I tried to get into Hog Island Oyster bar on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, but the line was out the door and halfway to the end of the building. I luckily stumbled on Hard Water, a mostly whiskey bar with snacks, and with a charming sign out front that said "Today's Special -- Buy Two Drinks, and Pay for Both." Hard Water is just a few steps away from the Ferry Building, on Pier 3. --- Hog Island Oyster Co. (DonRocks) Boulette's Larder and BouliBar (DonRocks)
  10. I haven't been to Bacchus in a while, but I note that their online menu includes kibbeh nayyeh as a cold appetizer. That can be a good sign, since they are paying attention to its preparation on a daily basis. (Although, on the other hand, Mama Ayesha's downtown has kibbeh nayyeh on the daily menu, and it sometimes comes out looking a bit tired, as if made yesterday and served today.)
  11. I was born and raised in Lancaster -- graduated from McCaskey High and Franklin & Marshall, and then the Air Force dropped me in the DC area a few decades ago. My memories are not of fine dining, but rather the roadside markets in the eastern part of the county, the smorgasbords, and the bars mostly in the Millersville and Pequea areas. I still have family there, and I occasionally hear from them about the Loft or Horse Inn or Rice & Noodles, the latter of which gets raves from my family. The places you mentioned are part of the Brooklynization of Lancaster, or so I hear. I fear Lancaster County is a good place to be from, and I don't see myself returning there for good. Save for a few nice places like Lititz, most of the county and the southern part of the city have deteriorated. That said, all of my childhood memories are there....
  12. Most places offer it as a special, or on weekends and selected evenings. I have not yet tried the version at Phoenicia, but it's on my target list. Of the places where it's regularly on the menu, Me Jana and Lebanese Taverna (Tysons) are the best of my recent tastes. I'll admit that I haven't been to Mount of Lebanon in a while, but I have heard that they have re-branded back to Lebanese Butcher Market. I would bet that the quality of Lebanese Butcher's kibbeh nayyeh is very good. Of those places where it has to be ordered in advance, Mediterranean Gourmet Market in Franconia is my go-to.
  13. Lancaster is my home town, but I don't get back very often. It's on my list when next I return....
  14. I'm tempted to make this my new picture. Roberto Donna posted it on Facebook with the following caption: "Starting my pre birthday in the best way , thank you mom Henriette and Nancy!" Now, how the heck does a top-notch Italian chef develop a love for my favorite Middle Eastern dish?
  15. Dinner tonight at Stan's was my first real disappointment here. It started when I spotted that wonderful bean and beef soup on the specials menu, so I ordered a bowl with great anticipation. What came out of the kitchen was not reminiscent of the dish I raved about in December. Instead, it was barely tepid, almost room temperature, and the substantial chunks of beef were sparse. What few beans in the bowl were swimming in a pool of wan bean broth, and potatoes had mysteriously appeared as if to add faux heartiness to the poor and starving masses. It was, in a word, yuk. My companion asked why I didn't send it back. I told him that I feared the death march that the dish would endure, from someone sticking his or her finger into it to test the temperature, or maybe dipping a spoon in it to taste it, and then nuking it to piping hot....thankfully, when I returned it almost untouched, it was comp'd. Let's give them credit for that. My total bill, considering I was only billed for my club soda, was $3.03.