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About Ericandblueboy

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    Boo Boo
  • Birthday September 1

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  • Interests
    Eat and travel.
  • Location
    McLean, VA

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  1. The development of the Mosaic District and Halstead Square to its north made me believe that NoVA would no longer be a culinary wasteland. My dream was utterly crushed. The restaurants that came and gave me hope have all sank back to mediocrity. First, Ovvio - I think the opening chef lasted a week. Ever since then, the menu has stagnated and while the food isn't bad, it isn't really all that exciting. Second, Brine. Wow, seafood in NoVA. That menu is stagnate too. Lamb and clam and plankton pasta are good, but not good enough to eat every month, or every other month. In fact, most of the entrees are now land based proteins. Third, Gypsy Soul. I loved that place, but it closed. WTF! Fourth, Requin. Ooh, a Top Chef contestant trained by Eric Ripert! Except she's never there, and I think the food there went downhill fast. To be fair, there are some decent ethnic joints - Jinya, Sisters Thai, Four Sisters but I can get better Asian food elsewhere that's cheaper.
  2. Can someone explain to me the attraction of Alta Strada? I've never been to the DC branch because it didn't sound like it excelled at pizza or pasta, and it generally looks boring. Then Alta Strada came to me. By opening in the Mosaic, it was too close for me not to try it out. So with two coughing and sniffling kids in tow, we went to find out what Schlow has to offer. As it turns out, not much. No one liked the crunchy meatballs. A crunchy coating doesn't make an otherwise bland meatball better. The macaroni al amatrciana was actually pretty good - due mostly to the shell pasta being al dente. The fedellini with shrimp and hot chilies was not good - overcooked pasta and fishy shrimp. So the menu is limited and nothing's really all that exciting. As the only Italian joint in Mosaic, it might last awhile, and I might even go back because the choices for dining in Mosaic is pretty lackluster.
  3. Location and Rates for Tonight - Website Hotel Royal is a pretty central location in French Quarter. It is a boutique hotel, multiple floors, with no elevator, but there's a small courtyard with a fountain. My bathroom only had a shower, there was no minibar, and no coffee/tea maker. The room is clean, but definitely on the small side. There was one chair but no writing desk. The area is usually quiet, unless drunks are walking by and screaming at the top of their lungs. The hotel has no bar. I had 2 small bottles of water in my room, but that was not replenished (even though I tipped the cleaning staff). It was 10 days before Fat Tuesday, also the NBA All-Star game was in town, and I booked late, thus ending up here. I think it was around $300/nt. The hotel is rated 3 stars by Trivago, the site I used to book this hotel.
  4. They say you gain a pound a day in New Orleans, and I did, despite having done 5 walking tours and spent most of my remaining time walking. First, Toups South for lunch on Saturday. Isaac Toups was in the kitchen (he was on Top Chef), but his celebrity status did not draw a crowd on NBA All-Star weekend to this non-central location (it's between CBD and Garden District). In fact, the restaurant was eerily empty. I ordered smoked lamb, goat tamales, roasted oysters, and pork rinds. They also offered cracklins. I had to ask the difference between cracklins and pork rinds - apparently cracklins have skin, fat and a little meat (in Spanglish, I would call it chicharrones, but then others use the term chicharrones for pork rinds). I loved the goat tamales - the slight gaminess of the goat, bam, kicked the flavor up a notch. The smoked lamb was thinly sliced and served cold, topped with pickled vegetables - enjoyable but nothing spectacular. The oysters were topped with too much bread crumbs. The pork rinds came out hot - I left no crumbs behind. Dinner on Saturday was at Angeline in French Quarter. This place was close to my hotel. I ordered more roasted oysters, rabbit Milanese, and some greens. These oysters were topped with herbsaint butter, bottarga, herbs, and cornbread crumbs - I liked them better than Toups. Unfortunately, rabbit Milanese is as boring as chicken Milanese. On Sunday, I went to Bourbon House, a Dickie Brennan joint in FQ on Bourbon St. for brunch. I started with a small fruits de mer, with oysters (topped with caviar), boiled shrimp, seasoned and marinated blue crab claws (called crab fingers), some kind of Asian influenced crab salad, and some kind of shrimp salad. The only thing that I didn't like was the shrimp salad, which was kind of ceviched but tasted overcooked. I also didn't eat all the shrimps, because I wanted to try the DES ALLEMANDS FISH CAMP PO-BOY with fried Des Allemands catfish, caviar ranch, bacon, lettuce, tomato (I told them to hold the fried egg). There's something magical about po-boys in New Orleans...makes me want to eat the whole thing but I stopped myself, hence gaining only 1 lb per day. Sunday night, I went to Compere Lapin, Nina Compton's restaurant in the CBD, conveniently close to the casino. Nina worked at Scarpetta (Scott Conant) and then went on Top Chef. She's from St. Lucia so this restaurant is a blend of Caribbean, Italian and southern. So I had some spiced fried pigs ears as a snack, followed by scialatielli with clams and shrimp, and then curried goat with sweet potato gnocchi. Everything was delicious - this is what I had hoped Tails Up Goat would be - interesting food with strong Caribbean influence. Monday morning, I had to eat a muffaletta, and wash it down with some Abita. I went to Café Maspero, near Jackson Square. I only had half a sandwich, because I wanted to eat lunch too, at Domenica. As usual in New Orleans, the squid ink pasta was overcooked, but the crab meat and sauce tasted excellent. By the way, Compere Lapin did not overcook the scialatielli. Dinner was a shrimp po-boy from Copeland's in terminal C - pretty damn good for airport food. I rode the street car for the first time. Each ride is $1.25, and you can pay with exact change while boarding. The alternative is to download an app from the transit authority. For $3/day, plus $.50 convenience fee, you can buy an all day ticket via the app, just show your ticket while boarding. Very easy to use.
  5. All hot pots that I've ever (including at home hot pots) had uses frozen meats. My understanding is that you can't shave the meat that thinly unless it was froze to start with. Hot pot really isn't conducive to single dining. Given the size of the restaurant dishes, I'd say 3-4 would be better.
  6. The pinap berry doesn't double the candy, it gives you 5, and it works until you catch the Pokémon or it flees. the attack damages have been rejiggered, generally everything inflicts more damage, especially the long attacks. Dodging is now really important because you will take more damage if you didn't dodge. lapras CPs have been reduced.
  7. New berries - the only thing of note is that I read that the Pinap berry is only good for the Pokeball thrown immediately afterwards. So if the Pokémon is caught immediately after a Pinap berry is used, you get double the candies (6 instead of 3 under normal circumstances). Human attacks have definitely been slowed. It's throwing off my timing. Right now, I'm collecting all the new Pokemons for my daughter to see. Once you evolve them, some may be worth keeping for fighting purposes.
  8. The Pokémon update available as of yesterday may have slowed the gym fighting for attackers. My quick attacks took longer time so I was getting fewer attacks in btwn computer strikes.
  9. What are the chances that these restaurants get raided? People play a dangerous game.
  10. Restaurants, schools close in 'Day Without Immigrants' Protest, by Perry Stein, Wapo. "Critics of the strike say that immigrants who entered the country illegally should not be protected. Employers and participants of the strike are not distinguishing between who is in the country legally and who is undocumented." BTW, I'm an immigrant but I emigrated legally.
  11. Club is a non-national team. Real Madrid is a club, but you wouldn't call the U.K. National team a club. National association is each country's league.
  12. I often disagree with Tom. I would think if you wanted the "special," you should say you want the special, otherwise you get charged a la carte. If I wanted bottomless drinks, I'd say that up front, instead of sucking down 10 proseccos and then say, oh, btw, I wanted the bottomless drink specials. I'm not even sure a restaurant would or should honor a request after the fact. Don't these people know that it's industry standard to suggests 3-4 small plates per person? Why do some people always suspect they're being ripped off. I would've gone off on the other pair, but what is the proper etiquette? Do people like to punk Tom because he's gullible?
  13. I signed up for Home Chef.  On a couple of instances, I seem to have receive less than fresh produce/fruit.  Have you had this issue before?

    1. reedm


      Just once. Bad potato that wasn't apparent until I cut it. Their customer service is very responsive, and they should be able to help. They credited me five dollars for the bad potatoes so I'm pretty sure they will address your issue.

  14. Is puffed tendon just tendon deep fried so it puffs up like pork rind? That by itself sounds interesting.