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  1. Barking Mad Cafe has a solid coffee program. They use Counter Culture beans and can draw a serious espresso. Their cappuccinos and lattes are also good, although I have had a few cappuccinos that were wetter than I prefer. They have drip coffee, but no pour over. The standout, though, is their cold brew. During the summer, they had two offerings, both on nitro taps. It's so smooth it's like drinking Guinness coffee. The coffee served at Barking Mad Cafe would be noteworthy anywhere in the DC area. IMHO, it's extraordinary in Gaithersburg, which has nothing comparable within a reasonable distance.
  2. I heard from an inside source today that Stephen Starr's restaurant group has signed a lease for the old Q Street Cleaners space at 1601 14th St. NW, and it's going to become a Buddakan. Confidence level? Since I'm relying on a source for this (as opposed to hearing it with my own ears), it can't be 100%, but it's up there.
  3. Has anyone heard what's going in at the old Dan Kain trophy shop location next to the post office on Washington Blvd.? Construction is underway. I just love that space. -Wendy
  4. Normally, I wouldn't review a restaurant based solely on their brunch menu and I try not to try out new places with brunch being my first foray. It's a much maligned meal, often an afterthought by chefs. But, being that we are pretty new to Houston and have a long list of places to try, and this is a pretty new forum, here we are. It's New Years Day and people needed brunch (and brunch drinks) The deets: part of Delicious Concepts restaurants, opened in Summer 2016, executive chef Jordan Asher launched the restaurant and left in August, replaced by Albert Vasquez: Aug 1, 2016 - "Surprising Chef Swap: Jordan Asher is Out and Albert Vasquez is In at Ritual Restaurant in Houston" by Phaedra Cook on houstonpress.com The setting: industrial farmhouse vibe, wood tables, exposed brick, wood beamed ceiling, accentuated with lime green chairs (very comfortable). Waitstaff in jeans and striped suspenders. Sizeable bar looks like a welcoming place to spend happy hour or late evening hours and I think they had a pretty good NYE turnout last night judging by the beers that were not available today. Cool points for the cursive neon sign of Pixies lyrics "drive my car into the ocean" and as someone who left their heart in NYC, the huge, Grand Central Station-style arrivals board with beers on offer instead of trains pulling in, is a clever touch. The Meal: we started off with Sourdough hush puppies with jalapeño jelly. Light and airy, these bore more resemblance in consistency to fancy donut holes you find on dessert menus than a traditional hush puppy, (and that's not a criticism). Glazed with the jalapeño jelly that was more sweet than hot, these were delicious and a nice accompaniment to my Bloody Mary. We had read so much about the seafood gravy that we had to try. It came out in a large bowl and our attentive waiter quickly took it back to the kitchen and divided into small cups for us to share. Rich and creamy and dotted with pimentos, it is definitely not to be missed. It would be a great warming lunch on a cold day. Alas, the high today was 74. Entrees were The Standard for our 4yo (yard eggs, breakfast meat, hash brown, toast), chicken & waffles (cornbread waffle, cayenne pepper rub, seasoned maple, house pickle) for the husband (aka Josh, this forum's host), and Ritual Benedict (biscuit, city ham, 63° egg, green chile hollandaise, hash browns) for me. (I do love Anthony Bourdain but I also love Eggs Benedict against his advice) The 18m old, being an omnivore, got some of everything. The apps came out pretty quick, but the entrees lagged a bit long. Our waiter apologized and thankfully kept us updated. Side note-high chairs and kids cups at the ready, despite having no kids menu, we found it pretty kid friendly. Benedict was overall tasty. These next thoughts are very mild criticisms. The biscuit, while good was a bit much...biscuit. The bread component felt a touch out of proportion to other ingredients. Of course, I'm willing to take some of the blame here, having filled up with the hush puppies and the seafood gravy, I was slowing down halfway into the dish. The Green Chili Hollandaise was mild and not discernibly different from standard. Would like to see it punched up a touch. The egg was decently runny but my guess is it wasn't served right away. Thus is the danger of offering a 63 degree egg. Hash browns are served in a block- brown and crunchy on the outside. I'm more of a "scattered" kind of gal, but these were good and understandly more upscale in presentation. Smoky and salty, layered in pink porky ribbons, the star of the dish is the city ham, and rightfully so. Felix Florez of Black Hill Meats is a co-owner. Ritual is a temple to meat, lest you forget. And if you do, there is a huge glass-walled walk-in in the back of the restaurant displaying hanging sides of pork waiting their eventual plating. You won't be bringing your vegetarian friends here. Josh I imagine will weigh in on the chicken and waffles but the bite I had was delicious-a milder version of Nashville hot chicken on a crisp cornbread waffle-a tasty rendition of a southern classic. Brunch here is a worthwhile endeavor, not a chefs bastard child. A great neighborhood place to celebrate day one of 2017. We will be back.
  5. Having returned to Texas after a 20-year absence, I've been trying to immerse myself in as much Houston-ness (and Texas-ness as a whole) as I possibly can. Gotta get back into the swing of things. So far, this has meant an embarrassing number of tacos (of the breakfast and non varieties), barbecue galore, all manor of delicious Vietnamese things, Whataburger lunches, and of course, vats of queso. I don't think I've had a non-Texas beer since returning, and I don't feel a longing for anything else at this point. (OK, that's a bit of a lie, as I would kill for a Bell's Two-Hearted right now.) So in that spirit, Hugo's seemed to be a natural choice of venue to celebrate my ##th birthday last week. Dinner started with margaritas (there are a number of interesting variations to choose from in addition to the very well-made standard), chapulines (fried grasshoppers served with salsa, guacamole, and blue corn tortillas), and tamales de pescado. Our waiter only showed the slightest raise of the eyebrow with the chapulines order, but I wanted to compare what I would be served at a restaurant with tablecloths and an award-winning wine program with what I bought in a paper bag in the market in Oaxaca years ago. The crispy critters are served with a standard guacamole, and smoky, mildly spiced chipotle salsa, meant to be wrapped in deliciously thick blue corn tortillas. The bugs themselves are nicely crispy, with no untoward chewiness, and nicely salted. The winner of this round (and the whole night, really), though, were the fish tamales. Served three to an order, wrapped in banana leaves, these were impossibly light, moist, and filled with nicely cooked bits of white fish (I should've asked what type, but it's mildly flavored and on the lighter side). A pleasantly bright and fresh salsa Veracruzana comes alongside and completes the dish. These are a must-order item. I moved on to the cabrito, tender roasted goat served with sautéed cactus, guacamole, rustic corn tortillas, and a fiery habanero salsa. I love the gaminess of goat, but even timid souls would get along with this preparation. My only caveat is that the salsa is no joke, and clashed mightily with the glass of Rioja I paired with the dish. My wife's callo de hacha (scallops) were perfectly seared, and placed atop a half-inch thick slab of sweet cornbread. The menu mentions rajas con crema, though here the poblanos are blended with the cream, creating a pale green sauce topping the bread. Very nice dish, though it seemed tame after a few bites of my habanero salsa. Service was solid throughout, and if you want, the valet service will even wash your car while you eat (which I had no idea was a thing). Chef Ortega has been a Houston fixture, and on the shortlist for a James Beard several times, and not without reason. We'll be back, especially to check out the Sunday brunch buffet, and of course, for more of those tamales de pescado.
  6. Normally, I'd be eating Chinese food and seeing a movie. But thinking outside the box and wondering where my son and I could go for brunch or lunch on both the 24th and the 25th. Open to any kind of cuisine. We're in Arlington so I'd prefer places that are reasonably close. Thanks.
  7. Hi all - looking for a brunch place for a group for my mom's birthday in a couple weeks. I was looking at Kafe Leopold because she's expressed interest in trying them and we could walk there, but they don't take reservations, and after reading the thread it sounds like service is bad (still) and food is just OK, which won't make up for bad service. Any recommendations for Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, or maybe somewhere in DC (though if in DC, it has to have easy parking - valet or a lot)? Would definitely prefer a place that takes reservations, and a little bit nice in atmosphere (doesn't have to be fancy). Virginia would be preferable to DC, but I'm not seeing wonderful options. Willow was her favorite Arlington place before they closed, and she liked Water and Wall for dinner a couple years ago, but I went for brunch last year and was disappointed (also, don't know about the new chef yet). We've been to Tupelo Honey and had iffy service there, she's not a fan of Liberty Tavern or Kapnos (though she loves Zaytinya), I'd like to go to Ambar for dinner soon but don't think their brunch menu looks like what she'd like. She doesn't like Japanese food, or I'd try Yona. Fiola Mare is fancier than I was thinking. Bastille is 3 courses prix fixe, and some of us are likely to want 1 or 2 courses only (same is true of Ser). Not loving Jaleo's brunch menu, though she loves Jaleo generally (hasn't been to Crystal City, just DC). The Majestic and Chart House (she likes the caviar on the salad bar, among other things) are the best that have come to mind so far. Thanks for any ideas!
  8. Check out Grumps on Forrest drive for Breakfast. Very Local, you will be happy.
  9. In PA for a wedding this weekend. Looked at us a bit funny as 3 families with kids strolled into a pub for brunch, but frankly not much else was open or looked good...plus all the parents needed a beer. Great draft list. I had a local bitters on cask (Yards ESA, I think). Po-boys were tasty and filling, and the fried green tomato BLT with Benton's bacon hit the hangover helper high points. Definitely a solid brunch/lunch option if you're in that neck of the woods.
  10. I have been meaning to try Gazebo Cafe in Kentlands for a while because it has pretty good local press. They don't have a website, but they have some sort of Facebook Page [unofficial].. Located a short walk from my house in the Kentlands, this is a little space with a bar and a few tables inside and outside (probably can't seat much more than 15 people, if that). Whenever we have tried to go, we couldn't get a table because it is so popular. Today we tried and hit it at the right time and nabbed a table. Gazebo is pretty much a coffee car with a breakfast/lunch/brunch menu. It is Korean owned and as a result they have a Korean menu also. All dishes looked very fresh and like they were prepared with care and love. Today I opted for the 2 eggs, with Korean beef with scallions and waffle brunch item with organic ginger/honey tea. I ordered the eggs over medium. They were served on a plate with the beef. I broke the yoke and mixed everything together. The flavors were very good. The waffle was also good, from a Belgian press. The tea came with a bunch of fresh ginger in the bottom. The tea was perfect for me as I have a cold, and the honey coated the throat. My wife and daughter each got half a waffle with ice cream (which holds a spot in my wife's heart from her days dining in Long Island diners). My 5 year old daughter had no idea what she was in for and sat wide eyed in disbelief at what she had ordered. Needless to say she finished every bit on her plate and asked for a spoon to try and get what remained of her cookies and cream ice cream. The waffle had a generous scoop of ice cream, with whipped cream, some drizzled chocolate syrup and couple of sliced strawberries. My wife was equally pleased. The service was very warm, kind of like you were dining at someone's home. We will definitely be back. Oh yes, it wasn't a typo, but they do also have dry cleaning, although I am pretty sure it isn't done on-site. I need to go back and have a pure Korean dish. I am sure it will be good.
  11. Jessica Sidman tweeted that DC Harvest is opening on Sept. 2. It's at 517 H St, NE, DC. More info about the restaurant is here.
  12. I am pleased to announce the A Day At The Beach Wine Dinner at Tallula on Tuesday, July 19th @ 7:30. The dinner will consist of a four-course meal with wine pairings plus a selection of the Amuse Yourself items from the regular menu. We have room for 12 people. The cost is $95.00 which covers everything - dinner, tax, tip and paypal fees. Prepayment will be required. Please email me if you are interested or have any questions. The menu for A Day At The Beach Wine Dinner includes: Starter Shrimp Broil - Carolina shrimp, baby corn, and fingerling potatoes seasoned with Sierra Nevada and Old Bay paired with a 2004 Domaine d'Eole Rose Second Course Duo of Chesapeake Crab - Jumbo lump crabcake and tempura softshell crab paired with a 2003 Dr. Konstantin Frank Riesling Main Course Grilled Maine Lobster with lemongrass risotto and basil hollandaise paired with a 2004 Brampton Viognier Dessert Funnel Cake with fresh fruit and vanilla ice cream paired with a wine selected by our staff
  13. Helping a friend. She's looking for a place to go to brunch in suburban MD, somewhere in/between Silver Spring and Laurel (and probably willing to veer a bit east or west as needed). Nothing too fancy, but good food and where you do not need to feel rushed about. My only ideas are generally in DC (or Baltimore). Thoughts?
  14. Celebrating our 16th anniversary Sunday and want to do brunch. We live in Woodbridge and will consider DC, NoVA, and Loudon, Culpepper and Fauquier counties. Price and travel time not an object, just looking for the best brunch found. Won't hurt also if they have an amazing Bloody Mary.
  15. "How Brunch Became The Most Delicious and Divisive Meal in America" by Roberto A. Ferdman and Christopher Ingraham on washingtonpost.com
  16. Which do you like better? We're going to get brunch today and need to pick a place.
  17. If you're ever around in Baltimore around brunch Miss Shirley's is a great place to go. The place is always hopping on the weekends. They have excellent grits with applewood bacon, sweet potato fries and salmon BLTs.
  18. Still no specific information about an opening date, but there is a lot more detail on the menu pages. And a familiar face if you click on the "about" section! Looks like this could be quite an exciting addition to the Old Town dining scene.
  19. We will be reopening Café Indigo in Sperryville, VA on Saturday, September 1st. It's a work in progress, so we will just be opening for breakfast and lunch on Saturdays and brunch on Sundays until the liquor license comes through. I hope to see you all soon!
  20. One of my goals for the New Year coming up was to be able to create a brunch menu that caters to everyone. With that in mind, It always bothered me that there no restaurants in DC area that serve Persian brunch. I never understood why Italian, French and American restaurants get so much more hype then Persian cuisines. Persian food is as amazing if not more. In Iran you cant just slap a NY strip on the grill and call it the day! You will be disgraced.. no one will ever eat your food. I mean dont get me wrong, I love the western cuisine, a lot of what I cook consists of it. Its good if youre craving that kind of food. But at the same time, I feel like no one is doing anything about Persian culinary arts. A lot of chefs say that Tokyo offers to most prestigious and colorful culinary arts in the world. I agree, Tokyo is all about precision and craft, but so is TEHRAN!! Why hasn't anyone paid attention to it? Did you know in Iran they boil beets and eat them with roasted walnuts for breakfast? Did you know that we braise lamb for hours over night so it'd be ready for breakfast? Did you know that we have a dish called "Haleem" thats pretty much steamed wheat, brown sugar, cinnamon and braised lamb or turkey? It is The best brunch food I have ever had! For most of you, the Answer to my questions are No!! And That's probably because you were too busy eating the same old boring pancakes and/or oat meal.There's so much work and art that goes into Persian style of making food. Its not just about feeding good food, its about making sure that youre able to sense flavor, texture and smell all at the same time. Nothing is lacking and nothing is overwhelming, always perfect no matter where In Iran I have eaten brunch. Over the years, I've picked up on some really cool westernized cooking that I thought would be really cool and compatible with Persian style of making brunch. I want to show how relative and similar Persian food is to all of world's most popular cooking. And maybe for once Persian food is something people finally notice. And I thought the best way to do that is by creating a brunch menu that is collaborated by Persian and American style cuisine. Attached are photos of some of the brunch Items being presented next weekend. Saturday January 4, 2014 starting at 9am Amoo's will start serving brunch on the weekends. Please note, we have been getting a lot of calls regarding the new brunch menu, I highly advice that everyone RSVP via facebook link provided below in order to book your tables. Reserve NOW!! See you at Amoo's https://www.facebook.com/events/600041600062197/
  21. "Jerry's Bar: Shot-and-a-beer hangout turn fine gastropub" by Craig LaBan, philly.com, on August 30th. Jerry's Bar's Website.
  22. Have brunch at either Morning Glory (on Fitzwater between 9th and 10th) or Sabrina's (910 Christian St) or both. A few blocks from each other, both are located in South Philly, and Sabrina's is right around the corner from DiBruno Brothers and a cool spice shop. Morning Glory is my favorite brunch place; cjsadler would recommend Sabrina's.
  23. We have a family committment in the area next weekend. Mr. BLB offered to come back through Manhattan. We could have breakfast/brunch and maybe finally check out the High Line. Except that it is Mother's Day. Isn't every dining establishment going to be a zoo? (We don't dine out typically on any of these type of days.). Ideas? Thanks!
  24. While I haven't revisited Marigold or Django lately, since they've had a chance to settle their chef and ownership changes, I'd say that Matyson is definitely at or near the top of the BYOB scene.