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Tom Sietsema washingtonpost.com Wednesdays 11-12 AM

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#1151 Heather

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 02:29 PM

I try not to use the word "whore" unless I know for sure that they are charging for it.

The topic came up after a poster's visit to Poste, and their surprise at how shabby the room was.

#1152 JLK

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 07:49 PM

The comment about how solo female diners caught my eye. Not my experience at all, but I can see how it happens. I suppose part of it is self-fulfilling prophecy and another part is the establishment in question.

I cringe when I think of my solo-travel-hating mother walking into a restaurant by herself. She hates doing it and it shows; her confidence and verve are suddenly replaced by meekness and a tendency to chew on her bottom lip. Generally, she gets over it when she feels she's among friends, at least temporary ones, but my attempts to make her see the fun in a solo meal have been unsuccessful.

I rarely feel unwelcome as a solo diner, but I walk in with a book or newspaper in-hand and a smile on my face to show that, yes, I'm dining on my own, but happily. I also carry the excitement that comes from choosing exactly where I want to dine without caving to the preferences of colleagues, etc.

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#1153 treznor

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 09:12 PM

Same here. I dine solo fairly frequently since I travel for work and thus am on my own for at least a couple meals a month. I've really never noticed a difference in service anywhere and if anything have noticed that some places are possibly even more accomodating.

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#1154 beezy

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Posted 16 November 2006 - 10:23 AM

Same here. I dine solo fairly frequently since I travel for work and thus am on my own for at least a couple meals a month. I've really never noticed a difference in service anywhere and if anything have noticed that some places are possibly even more accomodating.

I think it's a mixed bag - and depends on where you are. I travel lots and lots for work, so I eat alone. I've had experiences where they have been downright cold to a girl on her own.

I think the thing I notice most is that the service is usually friendly, but after-thoughty. You get one check in to see you need anything (drinks, bread, whatever) in conjunction with dropping off your plate. I have the worst time grabbing a waiter or getting a refill. (I get a greater than average portion of lukewarm food, too.)

I also hate hate HATE flirty chatty waiters - I was once asked if I wanted company for the rest of the night in a fine dining restaurant attached to a hotel. (in another city)

It's better if you eat in the bar, but sometimes, you just want a table.

On the other hand, I've had above and beyond human kindness. One evening, after the worst day ever, I had a great waiter at the Woodgrille ask me what was wrong, to which I started bawling (it was a really, really bad day). He handed me a kleenex and bought me my dinner and several cocktails, with a note saying 'It WILL get better'.
Hmph.

#1155 jtyler

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Posted 16 November 2006 - 07:06 PM

i think this is funny..... look at a profile above... lock below at Tom's chat

Article on dining alone: For your article on dining alone, did you by chance eat at the bar in Corduroy one Saturday evening in early October? Were you that incredibly hot guy in the black turtle neck?

Tom Sietsema: Alas, it was not.

#1156 Food4Me2

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Posted 16 November 2006 - 08:11 PM

I think it's a mixed bag - and depends on where you are. I travel lots and lots for work, so I eat alone. I've had experiences where they have been downright cold to a girl on her own.

I think the thing I notice most is that the service is usually friendly, but after-thoughty. You get one check in to see you need anything (drinks, bread, whatever) in conjunction with dropping off your plate. I have the worst time grabbing a waiter or getting a refill. (I get a greater than average portion of lukewarm food, too.)

I also hate hate HATE flirty chatty waiters - I was once asked if I wanted company for the rest of the night in a fine dining restaurant attached to a hotel. (in another city)

It's better if you eat in the bar, but sometimes, you just want a table.

On the other hand, I've had above and beyond human kindness. One evening, after the worst day ever, I had a great waiter at the Woodgrille ask me what was wrong, to which I started bawling (it was a really, really bad day). He handed me a kleenex and bought me my dinner and several cocktails, with a note saying 'It WILL get better'.

I'm new to the forum, originally from CA and there is only one place I have eaten that the service was the best I have ever had...The Whaling Station in Monterey, CA.
The waiter was great, his timing was such that I thought he was eyeballing our table from somewhere in a remote corner. It seemed everytime I thought of something I wanted, he just appeared out of nowhere,lol. It was great!
Even when we returned from the restroom we would find our napkins had been folded into ducks? or swans? When our water glasses would get 1/2 full, he was there like clock work. We started making bets on how fast he would return to fill the glasses.
I also had a very memorable steak.....porterhouse.....full cut, medium rare....cooked to perfection.
Since I've been here in this area, I have yet to receive that kind of service....however the service at Tony Chiang's did come close.
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#1157 squidsdc

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 12:12 PM

Tom Sietsema: Well, I'm sitting on a VERY JUICY piece of gossip, but I can't confirm it right now. All I'm getting from the owner of the Big Deal Restaurant is a "no comment."

So. Which beloved restaurant would YOU hate to see close?

:P

"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain"--The Great Oz


#1158 Waitman

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 12:59 PM

Tom Sietsema: Well, I'm sitting on a VERY JUICY piece of gossip, but I can't confirm it right now. All I'm getting from the owner of the Big Deal Restaurant is a "no comment."

So. Which beloved restaurant would YOU hate to see close?

huh.gif
Been trying to puzzle this one out. Note that he says "owner" not "chef." And "beloved" not "extraordinary." Not that any of those word choices are mutually exclusive but I'm thinking more of a Washington institution type place, like the Palm (though not the Palm) that a temple of gastronomie place like Citronelle (whose rumors have been circulating for some time and are, hopefully, premature).

Any gossip, hints, unfounded speculation?

L'Auberge Chez Francois? CK? Komi?

"Don't go braggin' about how cool and clean your kitchen is. 'Caus if your kitchen's so cool and clean, ain't nothin' cookin'!"

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#1159 jm chen

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 01:12 PM

Komi?

Gah! Don't freak me out like that.

I agree with the "institution" idea because of the choice of "beloved"... couldn't be 1789, could it?
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#1160 Spiral Stairs

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 01:30 PM

huh.gif
Been trying to puzzle this one out. Note that he says "owner" not "chef." And "beloved" not "extraordinary." Not that any of those word choices are mutually exclusive but I'm thinking more of a Washington institution type place, like the Palm (though not the Palm) that a temple of gastronomie place like Citronelle (whose rumors have been circulating for some time and are, hopefully, premature).

Any gossip, hints, unfounded speculation?

L'Auberge Chez Francois? CK? Komi?

This is fun.

His use of "Big Deal Restaurant," in caps, suggests to me that he is talking about a place more widely known and loved than CK or Komi. They are Big Deals for foodies, but not so much for the rest of the population.

I also thought 1789 at first. But then I looked and found that 1789 is owned by the Clyde's Group. It sounds like Tom is talking about a place with an individual owner.

My current guess, subject to revision or retraction at any time, is Kinkead's (what with it being in Tom's "Old Reliables" Dining Guide section and being something of an institution in DC).

Guess number two: Palena (what with all the relocation rumors).

Guess number three: Inn at Little Washington (what with all the ownership shenanigans that I didn't really follow because I don't expect ever to eat there).
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#1161 Waitman

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 01:31 PM

Gah! Don't freak me out like that.

I agree with the "institution" idea because of the choice of "beloved"... couldn't be 1789, could it?

The Clyde's group keeps getting bigger instead of smaller, and 1789's new chef's getting good marks. I think it was "beloved" under Ris but under Beauchamp is still more "respected." But an interesting thought.

(Let's see if the confirmation -- if there is any to be had -- comes between now and Tuesday so that Kliman gets to scoop Tom by dint of "chog" scheduling once again.)

"Don't go braggin' about how cool and clean your kitchen is. 'Caus if your kitchen's so cool and clean, ain't nothin' cookin'!"

-- Jesse Jackson


#1162 ustreetguy

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 03:25 PM

How about Gerard's Place? Maybe there hasn't been much of a crowd since apicius left.
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#1163 The Hersch

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 04:54 PM

My current guess, subject to revision or retraction at any time, is Kinkead's

I'm afraid I can't accept that.

Tell me, thou little bird that singest,

Who taught my grief to thee?


#1164 The Hersch

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 04:57 PM

How about Gerard's Place? Maybe there hasn't been much of a crowd since apicius left.

Beloved? Big Deal, maybe. But beloved? I vote for the Inn at Little Washington, because it wouldn't make a bit of difference to me. Or L'Auberge Chez Franois, 'cause who cares.

Tell me, thou little bird that singest,

Who taught my grief to thee?


#1165 Miami Danny

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 05:16 PM

I don't know if it was mentioned elsewhere, but I heard a rumor that Cashion's is on the block.

#1166 Waitman

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 05:31 PM

I don't know if it was mentioned elsewhere, but I heard a rumor that Cashion's is on the block.

That thought occurred to me, too. That makes a certain amount of sense, given Johnny's leap in size.

Maybe I better use my dinner certificate soon

"Don't go braggin' about how cool and clean your kitchen is. 'Caus if your kitchen's so cool and clean, ain't nothin' cookin'!"

-- Jesse Jackson


#1167 ladle

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 05:33 PM

My guess was Citronelle, based on the "juicy" comment...I guess we shall see.

#1168 squidsdc

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 06:03 PM

Don says "Say it ain't so" (scroll down to post #11--I wasn't able to link to that exact location for some reason)

"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain"--The Great Oz


#1169 jparrott

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 06:05 PM

If that's it, I have to say, Mr. Sietsema is grasping for relevance.

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#1170 Waitman

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 06:41 PM

Is Drinx beloved?

"Don't go braggin' about how cool and clean your kitchen is. 'Caus if your kitchen's so cool and clean, ain't nothin' cookin'!"

-- Jesse Jackson


#1171 Heather

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 06:53 PM

Is Drinx beloved?

Not really.

#1172 B.A.R.

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Posted 30 November 2006 - 09:25 AM

Maybe the big deal restaurant is already closed, and not coming back. Just a thought.

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#1173 BlakeG

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 01:39 PM

I just got back into town today and was so disappointed when I logged on DR and went to Tom's chat and there was no further mention of either of the two "MAJOR" pieces of gossip alluded to last week. In the words of Teddy KGB, "Just like a young boy coming in for a quickie I feel so unsateesfied!!"

#1174 JimRice

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 12:11 PM

And Tom said today that the news of Red Sage wasn't the gossip about the beloved restaurant he mentioned earlier. Hmmm.

Tom Sietsema: This week's news that Red Sage is closing was NOT the gossip I was referring to in that chat. Things are still "developing" with regard to the beloved restaurant in question ...


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#1175 ol_ironstomach

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 12:10 PM

It's that time of year when each day's difference makes people more generous. Season's greetings!

From TK's chog yesterday:

Arlington, VA:
Hi Todd- For Christmas, my in-laws have requested a gift certificate to a nice restaurant in DC. Our budget is $125. She does not eat fish; he is on a limited diet for health reasons. We are deciding between Vidalia and Palena. ...

--
From TS's chat today:

Arlington, Va.: Hi Tom-
Hope you can help play Santa -- my in-laws have requested a gift certificate to a "nice DC restaurant" for Christmas. Our budget is $150, he doesn't drink, she doesn't eat fish. We were thinking either Palena or Vidalia. ...


Dave Hsu
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#1176 B.A.R.

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 01:48 PM

If the parents can hold out 'til Boxing Day, they can eat at CityZen.

Brian Reymann
I'm in the business but content here solely my own and is not associated with my employer at all.

Sometimes, I try to disassociate myself from my own opinions.


#1177 jdl

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 06:15 PM

Tom is interviewed here.

It's the site's standard Q&A format so there isn't much about food other than the obligatory question about what he had for breakfast.

#1178 Waitman

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 12:00 PM

Where I worked in Dupont Circle (full time server for 8 months and part time for 11 months), we gave 1% of our sales to the managers. The general manager did not take the money (or so he said), but the two assistant managers did. In the end, our tip out was 2% bussers, 2% food runners, 1% bartenders, 1% managers. The sister restaurant (a well-established place in Georgetown) had similar tip-out procedures, including to managers.

As a side note, all credit card fees were taken out of servers' tip money as well. A couple of us complained to the accountant, but nothing was ever done.

Sounds like the place may not have been, as Karl might have put it, a "worker's paradise."

"Don't go braggin' about how cool and clean your kitchen is. 'Caus if your kitchen's so cool and clean, ain't nothin' cookin'!"

-- Jesse Jackson


#1179 DonRocks

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 10:52 AM

If you want an Indian snack replacement I would surely recommend the SEV MURURA CHAAT at Passage to India, Bethesda.

In just eight minutes, you can try the TAHM SEETSMA CHAAT.

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#1180 Jacques Gastreaux

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 11:00 AM

In just eight minutes, you can try the TAHM SEETSMA CHAAT.

Is the "c" in "chaat" hard or soft?
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#1181 bilrus

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 11:33 AM

Did someone really complain because a restaurant's bread was stale but in the same post say that the table ate the bread in minutes and asked twice for more?
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#1182 treznor

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 09:53 PM

Did someone really complain because a restaurant's bread was stale but in the same post say that the table ate the bread in minutes and asked twice for more?

Good catch bilrus. I read it and didn't even notice.

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#1183 jparrott

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 11:11 AM

We actually enjoy bottle water, but when the selection is the usual tasteless Voss or Fiji offered at most area restaurants, we're not interested.

What do they want, more terroir?

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Anyway, I need f (4, 2) resolved to an integer value....


#1184 bilrus

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 11:15 AM

What do they want, more terroir?

That's what I like about Voss and Fiji. Tasteless. The way water should be.
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#1185 Waitman

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 11:20 AM

If I'm paying for the stuff, I want it to taste like something. Those tasteless distilled water things bug me.

"Don't go braggin' about how cool and clean your kitchen is. 'Caus if your kitchen's so cool and clean, ain't nothin' cookin'!"

-- Jesse Jackson


#1186 Waitman

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 11:26 AM

Let me just say that a waiter who did this to me:

At my suggestion we left a 20% tip on the amount before tax. The waiter ended up chasing us down the street yelling at us for not leaving a higher tip. It was extremely embarrasing. I'm not mentioning the name as the owner was extremely apologetic but I think I've lost my go to place for thai.

Would have ended up having a very bad night.

Actually, I can't help but think there was a misunderstanding here. No waiter I know or worked with would have ever chased a person down the street for anything over 10%. Too much work when you have tables to take care of, and a very low ROI.

"Don't go braggin' about how cool and clean your kitchen is. 'Caus if your kitchen's so cool and clean, ain't nothin' cookin'!"

-- Jesse Jackson


#1187 jparrott

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 11:30 AM

If I'm paying for the stuff, I want it to taste like something. Those tasteless distilled water things bug me.

Neither Voss nor Fiji is distilled, IIRC.

Jake Parrott
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Anyway, I need f (4, 2) resolved to an integer value....


#1188 Waitman

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 11:32 AM

Neither Voss nor Fiji is distilled, IIRC.

I don't drink voss because Slater dissed it in the City Paper, actually. :lol:

"Don't go braggin' about how cool and clean your kitchen is. 'Caus if your kitchen's so cool and clean, ain't nothin' cookin'!"

-- Jesse Jackson


#1189 BlakeG

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 11:58 AM

Let me just say that a waiter who did this to me:

Would have ended up having a very bad night.

Actually, I can't help but think there was a misunderstanding here. No waiter I know or worked with would have ever chased a person down the street for anything over 10%. Too much work when you have tables to take care of, and a very low ROI.

This doesn't really make sense. Something is missing. I have worked with some SERIOUS assholes and have never known anyone that would chase someone down for anything in or above the 5 -10 percent range. I think someone might question a tip MAYBE once a month or so and usually that requires some type of circumstance, like they fulfilled special requests or went above and beyond or the customer sat unrushed at the table for like 4 hours or something. And usually when it is questioned it is in a fairly polite way and it is usually an honest mistake.

You hit the nail on the head with ROI, if you think it was intentional then there really isn't a point because you won't get more money by chasing them down, only more headaches. My guess in this situation is a misread number or the person thought they left 20 percent or something. I have had that were a guy thought he left a good tip but left the wrong bills. He had downed a few drinks and thought he had left a 20 and a five but it was actually 2 fives. Everything had been great service wise and he was a real nice guy so when he was outside on the patio smoking I just asked him if everything had been alright with his dinner. He seemed a bit perturbed and said "Absolutely. That is why I left you 20 percent, what is the deal coming out here and asking me about it?" I told him what he left and he felt really bad and gave me what he meant to. That is the only time I have ever asked anyone about a tip actually.

#1190 bilrus

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 12:02 PM

If I'm paying for the stuff, I want it to taste like something. Those tasteless distilled water things bug me.

That's why I always ask for tap water. And I don't ever recall feeling as if a waiter looked down on me because of it. Of course, maybe I'm just psychologically secure. :lol:
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#1191 Spiral Stairs

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 12:33 PM

That's why I always ask for tap water. And I don't ever recall feeling as if a waiter looked down on me because of it. Of course, maybe I'm just psychologically secure. :lol:

I ask for tap water because I believe that bottled water, whether purchased at a restaurant or a grocery store, is a big old scam. I drink about 64 ounces of faucet-grade DC tap water a day, and so far the resulting brain damage has been minimal.
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Nelson Muntz: I dunno. Guts...Black stuff... And about fifty Slim Jims.

#1192 The Hersch

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 04:07 PM

I usually say "I don't want any water at all, thanks." I don't put water on the dinner table at home, why would I want it out? I drink wine with dinner.

Tell me, thou little bird that singest,

Who taught my grief to thee?


#1193 DLB

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 04:49 PM

I usually say "I don't want any water at all, thanks." I don't put water on the dinner table at home, why would I want it out? I drink wine with dinner.

To rehydrate yourself from all the wine. The mark up on bottled water in restaurants is worse than wine.

#1194 BlakeG

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 02:04 PM

waiter crush: hi tom! this is a little off topic, but i was wondering if you or

the 'nuts might have any insight. I've got a fun little crush on

a waiter at my favorite neighborhood spot. i was thinking

about leaving my number when the bill comes, but that

seems so cliche...should i find out if he's got a girlfriend

from on of the waitresses? or should i just bite my tongue

and reduce the risk of being shamed out of my favorite spot?

Waiter crush, in case you read DR I just wanted to let you know, I already have a girlfriend. Sorry.

#1195 lackadaisi

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 02:12 PM

waiter crush: hi tom! this is a little off topic, but i was wondering if you or

the 'nuts might have any insight. I've got a fun little crush on

a waiter at my favorite neighborhood spot. i was thinking

about leaving my number when the bill comes, but that

seems so cliche...should i find out if he's got a girlfriend

from on of the waitresses? or should i just bite my tongue

and reduce the risk of being shamed out of my favorite spot?

Don't just bite your tongue. This is how my husband and I met eleven years ago. But, don't leave your number on a napkin on a wet table; ink bleeds.

"Well, it's business drunk. It's like rich drunk, either way it's legal to drive."-Jack Donaghy


#1196 christopher

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 08:24 PM

I don't know if it was mentioned elsewhere, but I heard a rumor that Cashion's is on the block.

We were told by a bartender that Cashion's isn't closing but may be for sale. Nathan's is closing in about a year.

#1197 CrescentFresh

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 10:44 PM

Tom Sietsema: I'll be celebrating the holiday at 30,000 feet for at least eight hours. (I'm off to Argentina next Wednesday. And yes, you can expect a postcard sometime this spring.)

This is one Postcard I'm going to be VERY interested in seeing. (If Zaytinya shows up on the Buenos Aires list......)
"Give me a Sandwich and a Douchebag and there's nothing I cannot do." -- Lord Salisbury

#1198 TedE

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 12:36 PM

Really hoping you can help me with this one. I have two friends visiting from Manhattan this weekend, and they both think NYC is the end all be all of good food, so I want to show them that they are wrong. Problem is, one friend is a vegetarian, and the other eats from only three food groups: meat, starch, and cheese. Any restaurant suggestions?

So where in D.C. should they go for the "be all end all" of bland food from limited menus? :lol:

"Mmmm ... floor pie ...." - Homer Simpson


#1199 Heather

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 07:14 AM

What the hell was this person smoking:

Silver Spring, Md.: Last week, someone commented re: P/X how much they love a place with great cocktails and a pirate flag.

He needs to get to the Piratz Tavern in downtown Silver Spring. Piratz offers a really great selection of tasty rum-based drinks. The decor is over-the-top pirate, and the music includes Caribbean and Mediterranean world music.

:o

#1200 jparrott

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 07:59 AM

He meant Barrrr Pilarrrrrrr.

Jake Parrott
Haus Alpenz
Importers to the trade, serving the adventurous palate
Follow me on twitter: @jakehparrott
Anyway, I need f (4, 2) resolved to an integer value....






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Tom Sietsema, washingtonpost.com, Wednesdays 11-12 AM

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