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  1. 7 points
    When looking at Serious Eats today, I saw this article and before clicking thought: I wonder how this will compare to the stuff I've seen from Julien on DR.com...to my surprise, it was an interview with him! Its nicely done and as many of his blogposts and posts on here do - fills me with wonder regarding just how amazing his work is. http://www.seriouseats.com/2017/11/obsessed-julien-shapiro-pate-en-croute.html
  2. 7 points
    Finally got to dine here over the weekend and am so glad I finally made it down (and was able to get a reservation time slot. Started the meal with a glass of Digby English Sparkling Wine while my wife had the American quarter cocktail. Both were excellent, although I'm a bit biased on the former as it's produced by a college friend. For starters we went all in and got the fois gras torchon and the Lobster French Toast. I actually preferred the former - the French toast was good but didn't blow me away. Two entrees were the Rack of Lamb and the Kinship Sauerkraut. The former was really, really good - the curry was excellent, the eggplant was quite tasty, and that's before we get to the lamb itself. That being said, our consensus was that the pork and sauerkraut dish was the winner for the evening. Wow. As my wife put it, it's not too hard to make foie gras taste great, but when you make sauerkraut the star of the evening (successfully), you should take a bow. Admittedly, we've both got a bit of Eastern European in our genes, but this one was amazing. Kudos to the team there. Finished up with the donuts and peanut torte for desert. In retrospect, probably should have skipped this course, although both were very good, as it just ended up making the whole meal a tad too rich. Unforced error on my part, so this shouldn't take anything away from the kitchen. Service was excellent through the night as well. Definitely enjoyed everything about the meal and can't wait to get back.
  3. 6 points
    Friends and I had dinner last night at the newly opened Maydan. I hadn't realized that it was opening night; the bf had sent a Post write-up to our group when we negotiating dinner options, but somehow I'd missed the timing. Front of house is still working out kinks -- more on that below -- but the food is already strong. So, the good first: the six of us ate our way through much of the menu's small plates, and everything was good or better. Hummus (tahina, chickpeas, lemon) was classic, and the baba ghanoush (eggplant, tahina, garlic) was nicely smokey. (Smokiness is pervasive -- unsurprising, given the giant hearth on which everything is cooked -- but many dishes also had a bit of sourness, which created a nice balance.) The pillowy flatbread was delicious, and while we were initially a bit skeptical that we were only given two rounds for the six of us, servers were diligent about circling with warm refills. Our favorite spread was the beet borani (yogurt, dill, black sesame), a vividly purple, bright, creamy puree. Baby eggplant (Georgian walnut sauce, pomegranate) was interestingly nutty, pleasantly a bit sour, and laced with softened onions. (I love onions.) Rounds of eggplant (orange blossom water, honey, vinegar, red onion) were nicely balanced sweet-sour-a bit of char. Halloumi (Dukkah (Egyptian spice blend), honey) was very tasty -- halloumi lovers, among whom I count myself, will be happy -- but like the hummus, on the classic end. Grilled carrots (lemon, harissa) were probably the spicest dish, enjoyable but a bit one note as a result. Shrimp and squid, both marinated in charmoula (lemon, garlic, parsley, saffron) and accompanied by lemon wedges, were well-cooked and appropriately charred. (The squid had the tender, fudgey texture that I associate with cooking sous vide before grilling.) Our carnivorous friends seemed to enjoy lamb and tenderloin (although some other cut was substituted in the prep that night) kebabs. Our server suggested that we order all the condiments (which are only $1 each), but we went with five of the seven: charmoula, zhough (parsley, cilantro, cumin, serrano), ezme (tomato, onion, peppers, pomegranate molasses), toum (garlic, oil, lemon), tomato jam (sesame, cinnamon), passing on the more familiar tahina and harissa. The most memorable were the toum, which was whipped -- I vaguely recall a mention of egg whites -- into a light mousse that reminded me of the texture of Nostos's excellent taramasalata, and the tomato jam, which was delicious but sweeter and more cinnamon-heavy than when I make my own, and consequently tasted less clearly of tomato. Interesting cabbage (olive oil, lemon, mint) arrived as an afterthought when I mentioned at the end of our savory dishes that we hadn't yet received it, where it served as a nice palate cleanser, like a mint-heavy (and mayo free, of course) cabbage slaw. (I bet it would have been excellent alongside some lamb.) We ordered the two desserts (there's no dessert menu), both very good: a delicious rose-water soaked cake, and honey-drizzled, phyllo-encrusted mozzarella dusted with pistachios, which sounds odd but worked (think bizarro brie en croute). Three people opted for the Filfuli (Pepper) with Ilegal joven mezcal, blood orange, ginger, paprika, honey, and soda; it tasted like a refreshing artisanal orange soda that I could enjoy drinking all day in the summer. Two ordered the Jnayney (Garden), with Greenhat gin, cucumber, fennel, dill, lemon, and arak; it was very herbal, with a primary fennel-seed flavor. I was the only one to opt for wine instead of a cocktail, going with the Georgian Vino Terra (Rkatsiteli), the only by-the-glass option of five wines in the "skin contact" category. I love skin contact wines -- be they refined or a deep amber glass of barnyard funk -- and consequently this was quite disappointing. It looked totally white (not disqualifying as a satisfying skin-contact exemplar, as I love SP68), but I would never have guessed it had any contact from the taste. (Overall, the wine list seem kind of expensive relative to food prices. While there was one white, one rose, and two reds in the $30-$38 range, everything else jumped to $51 and higher. The Vino Terra was $51 a bottle, and the next cheapest in that category is $67 before heading into the $80s. Not a list designed to introduce diners to the pleasures of orange wine. Contra Red Hen, which has six or seven orange bottles in the $45-65 range.) They were definitely experiencing new restaurant issues. The restaurant itself is at the end of an alley just east of La Colombe, but there is no signage on the street or even on the restaurant to indicate where to go -- it's not even obvious that a restaurant could be at the end of the alley from the sidewalk -- which led to a lot of confusion in finding the place. (When I mentioned it, I was told a sign will ultimately be put up.) I'd made a reservation online, but we weren't ultimately seated until forty minutes after our reservation time, while we stood around the vestibule and watched staff (as many as four people at one point) huddle around an iPad attempting to figure out what to do with us. We were eventually told that the system had automatically assigned us to a table that they subsequently realized wouldn't comfortably fit a larger group, so they were trying to figure out where else to put us, and then were waiting for one table to finish so that they could push two together somewhere else. (We were told that they didn't want to tell the people to leave, which I wouldn't have expected them to do, but being told that felt a bit like we were to blame for our own impatience thirty minutes after our reservation time.) Our table of lawyers joked after the fact that maybe we should have commandeered the iPad and seen if our LSAT logic game skills could have worked it out. The bar area inside was too narrow and crowded to comfortably stand inside in an attempt to have a drink. While multiple people thanked us for our patience, no one offered to get us drinks while we waited and nothing was taken off the bill in apology, and it never really felt like they were proactively solving the problem. Rather, it felt like they realized they didn't have a table for us despite our reservation, so we were stuck waiting for one to free up. (It's frustrating to feel like the staff's reaction to the situation was an apologetic shrug.) The space itself -- two stories with a giant hearth as the focal point -- is very cozy and cool, and I love the smoke smell that permeates the place (although less so when something obviously burned at one point). (And I wouldn't wear a coat or clothes that you don't want to smell like you've been hanging out near a campfire.) It appears that no one communicated to our (very nice) waitress that we'd been waiting for so long; when we sat down, one friend immediately tried to order hummus and baba ghanoush after a snap glance at the menu only to be told (politely) that the restaurant preferred to take our entire order at one time. When we pointed out that we had been waiting forty minutes to be seated and were starving, she apologized and said she'd put it in right away. Not a huge deal, but the awkward interaction didn't help our moods and could have been avoided. (Even better would have been a preemptive acknowledgement of our wait and query whether we wanted something right away.) Bottom line: everyone was very friendly, and these are the sorts of kinks that I expect time will help them work out. But they should think about how they'll deal with frustrated diners in the future, because there will definitely be times when a table lingers and the restaurant will be in the same boat. Oh, and I'll bet any amount of money that when Sietsema reviews it, he will complain mightily about how loud the music is; not a problem I usually notice, but it did impede conversation here. But once our hanger subsided thanks to hoovering the flatbread and dips, we very much enjoyed our dinner. We'll be happy to return.
  4. 5 points
  5. 5 points
    Other than flying coach and the hopelessly arcane process of signing up for aenemic health insurance, there are few indignities worse than working for a restaurant in the US, small independent or multi-Michelin outlet. Restaurant work is fetishized with very little reward and that is baffling. Across the Atlantic, the value -even reverence- of quality of life persists. While looking for a place to eat in Strasbourg (FR): Further north, Geranium will be closed for Christmas vacation from the 23rd of December through the 9th of January. If only time off from work was more ingrained in the greedy ethos of Capitalism.
  6. 5 points
    I should have posted this long before. Given the current political climate, I know there are people who are no longer comfortable at their family gatherings. Might people with extra space/food be interested in getting matched up with members with similar political and food leanings? Some of the most stress free holiday meals I've attended were potlucks with friends. We can probably squeeze 2 in for Thanksgiving, but since we're Jewish, we're happy to host for an alternative Xmas day dinner if people are interested. Ours is a non-smoking, meat-eating cat-free home, with extremely liberal politics. We don't care what your religion is as long as you're tolerant, love good food, and don't reek of perfume or patchouli (makes me sneeze like crazy). All normal food allergens are present. I have a crustacean allergy but people can bring food with them, just label it please. Standard poodles present, dog hair tumbleweeds are not. We will try really hard to work with your pronouns; our chowpup is transgender (and how'd he get to be 18 already?).
  7. 5 points
    My *God* !!! I had a sweets craving just now, and knew full well that I had nothing in the house. But then I remembered the single scoop of Jeni's Brown Butter Almond Brittle ice cream that I had accidentally stored in my (very cold) refrigerator. In addition, I had a half-pint of Whole Foods pomegranate seeds, given to me by a friend who left town and didn't want them to go bad. I poured the pomegranate seeds in a bowl, and then the liquefied ice cream atop them, and had a dessert that I would have paid $15 for at Kinship. Damn this was good, and I didn't think I had a thing in the house! Better than 95% of restaurant desserts for sure. And the wine? A 1997 Coulée de Serrant, which made it into a downright special occasion. *Easily* a one-star Michelin dessert, out of nowhere. Honest-to-goodness, the only thing left in my refrigerator right now is a smoke detector (which wouldn't shut up), wrapped in a package containing my will. Yes, you read that correctly - I had to find something to insulate the smoke detector in, and didn't bother to take the will out of the case. If anything happens to me in the next few days, you know where to look.
  8. 5 points
    Went last night to ChiKo in Barracks. I had been interested in going, but just don't get to that area as much these days. It's "Chipotle-esque" inside, industrial look, done quite well. There isn't a whole lot of seating, you get in line, take a number and then hope a table opens up. There were 3 of us, so we went to town ordering. It's small plates-ish, but some of the items could definitely make a good size for lunch. It's not Chipotle as in customizable - you order items that are being continuously made fresh in the open kitchen. - Double fried chicken wings - spicy soy glazed - expertly fried, just a bit sweet for me, compared to BC, but these come right of the fryer and perfect crunch - Pork and kim chi poststicker - really tasty, with a nice dipping sauce - Kimchi stew - with pork belly, subtle, not very hard core on the kim chi, but well done - Smashed salmon - with squash and korean red chili paste ... very good - Wagshal's chopp'd brisket - this came most highly recommended by the staff member, but it was not the most loved - I didn't try it, since I don't eat the beef, there's a soft egg and you mix it in. - Cumin lamb stir fry - with wheat noodles... this was one of my favorite dishes I've had in DC in a long time, really well prepped, noodles had good chew (not sure if made in house), spicy but not terribly so, braised tender lamb, pretty much everyone's favorite - Chiko "shrimp and grits" - another WOW dish! Congee and garlic-sauced shrimp, so tasty. I think maybe I liked this better than the lamb. - Wok blistered Chinese broccoli - greens, a palate cleanser, done differently than at Chinese restaurants - it has thicker stems $125 for 3 of us, including one adult beverage each. Not really "fast-casual" - it takes a bit of time to get your food, as it is made to order, and it's not exactly cheap to get full for dinner (what we had was a good amount, we finished almost all of it and were comfortably full). But, high quality. I really like it - I would go back for that lamb stir fry. The ingredients are all really good compared to most Asian places, I think that's why everything just tasted "brighter". And, as someone else on Yelp said, it's not really Chinese - Korean fusion - it's Chinese and Korean dishes, all on the same menu. It's pronounced - "Chi" with a long I sound .. duh - "Chinese Korean". Got corrected when we said chee-ko.
  9. 5 points
    To Robert Power, beloved father of Mary Ann, aka DIShGo. Mary Ann was flying down to visit him tomorrow for Thanksgiving - she, and especially her sister Jane who lived nearby, were loving, devoted daughters who always looked after him. He also has a large, extended family. Mr. Power didn't care much for films, but when I asked what his favorite movies were, Mary Ann told me he really liked Gene Autry, though his favorite film was "It's a Wonderful Life." Mr. Power also represented our country in World War II as a member of the United States Army. Perhaps more than anything else, he would want to be remembered as "the husband of Margaret Power," the great love of his life, whom he will soon be joining in Marion, IL. As I type this, we're drinking a 1927 Madeira in honor of Mr. Power's birth year.
  10. 4 points
  11. 4 points
    Hey saxdrop! I believe that would have been me It's my favorite versatile meal that can go from appetizer, breakfast, lunch..pretty much whatever you want. (My latest creation was using up some leftover chicken chorizo and cheese inside of the bolani for a "quesadilla" Man it was good!
  12. 4 points
    Returned from a trip to Japan and Kyoto last week. We were there for the fall leaves and it was peak season in the temple grounds with perfect Japanese maples changing color. Our nice meal for the trip was lunch at Shoraian - Tofu Restaurant http://www.syouraian.jp/ 京都府京都市右京区嵯峨亀ノ尾町官有地内 Sagakemonoocho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan based on the recommendations from a poster over on the InsideFlyer.com forums. Its located in a park area in Arashiyama facing the river. I believe you can access it from the Arashiyama bamboo forest but we accessed it via the river. Its in a park and you need to walk in. Our guest house made reservations for us, that was the start of November for the last week of November and we were told it was the last reservation available for the three days we had open. We were VERY happy to have the reservation because the entire Kyoto area was very crowed because of leaf season. It was a set meal with multiple courses. You pick one of three courses and we both went with the most expensive option that included wagyu beef. Our check totaled $118 with the two meals and one extra glass of plum wine (the set menu also include one small glass of house plum wine). Its called a Tofu restaurant but there are still many non tofu items. Overall the menu is hard to describe other than its traditional Japanese food of numerous types, about seven or so courses and overall it was a great experience which I highly recommend. The best dish was the wonderful Tofu Gratin with Namafu, which had both cheese and a soya based product, it was a wonderful creamy dish. Rather than trying to do my own full write-up, which I'd do poorly, I'd suggest reading this blog post which also rates good the Tofu Gratin with Namafu: http://www.tinyurbankitchen.com/shoraian-syourian-tofu-restaurant-kyoto/ Update, I forgot to mention the Shoraian meal was similar to a meal we had a temple in Koyasan - minus the meat, but it was miles better! I was very happy we already had the Shoraian meal when we had a vegetarian temple meal where all the dishes were about 45* and completely uninspiring as we ate it in our very cold room with the heater blowing. I don't recommend a temple stay when its cold because the temples are open to the elements and the rooms with rice paper walls will be freezing, as will the walks to the bathrooms... Luckily that was the one place we had the Japanese baths so we were able to warm ourselves up prior to going to bed. At some point the heaters did an ok job and got the rooms relatively comfortable. The river photo is on the walk to the restaurant. The trees were ideal and then there is a simple temple shot from the gardens.
  13. 4 points
    Superlative dinner here on Sunday night. Total of 5 of us--to a person, all of us felt that this was the best restaurant meal we had in the DMV in 2017. I went in expecting a decent dinner and was really happily surprised at how good a meal we had. The drinks were excellent as well, all with interesting bar pieces made the drink more enjoyable. Drinks: BRESCA FRENCH 75: honey gin- clarified citrus- bee nectar- champagne syrup: This tasted great, not too boozy with nice acidity SIRÉNE: vodka-oyster shell- dry vermouth-manzanilla-verjus- olives: While I could not detect any seafood taste--this was a good dirty martini with good olives and an interesting fish shaped glass BEE'S KNEES: bee's wax gin- truffle honey- citrus: The only bust from the drinks section POLLINATION: vodka- bee nectar- gentian- citrus- chamomile cordial. This was well balanced, sweet but not overly so STAN THE FISH: jasmine mezcal- grapefruit- elderflower- soda. Tasty mezcal drink, not too smoky Food: OCTOPUS: harissa- hummus- tabouleh- yogurt- black lime: This would have been a star on any other table--combo of black lime and harissa was a nice sour spicy combo NANTUCKET SCALLOP CRUDO: yuzu- asian pear- ponzu- charred scallion. Excellent crudo---the charred scallion has this nice flavor that is not overpowering elevating the ponzu SEA URCHIN LINGUINI: truffle – chili – yeast butter – porcini: We enjoyed this but the uni gets lost. This was really good buttered pasta CHESTNUT AGNOLOTTI: rabbit – sunchoke – pear – mustard seeds: This was my favorite dish. Acidity from the pickled mustard seeds, sweetness from the pear and the sunchoke, and buttery chestnut. My favorite pasta dish this year OIL POACHED HALIBUT: vadouvan & mussel chowder - squash - parsley- kaffir lime. This was really good but came at the end when we were stuffed and could not do it full justice. Halibut was perfectly cooked and the vadouvan gave it a gentl "curry" flavor HONEY LACQUERED DUCK; duck fat brioche with apple butter- duck egg- red cabbage- spaetzel- comte- sausage of duck and fennel- fall truffles- coriander & lavender honey. This was portioned to share and we demolished it. Every thing about it was delicious. Well salted duck breast with expertly rendered skin, great tasting sausage, and the spaetzle were delicious. The brioche was fried which was a little too rich but no one complained. Will definitely be back soon
  14. 4 points
    I have definitely enjoyed Potbelly from time to time, but I attribute that mostly to their peppers. I think putting those on anything would make me enjoy it.
  15. 4 points
    Had dinner at the Merrifield location last night and had the harissa mint roasted cauliflower and balsamic glazed winter veggies. Also shared an order of their other roasted cauliflower dish that has almonds and pomegranite seeds and goat cheese. Both were very tasty dishes, well executed with a nice roasty flavor and very bright and pleasing to the eye. Service was good, attentive but not intrusive. I really like their revamped menu and the care they take with their vegetable-centric dishes.
  16. 3 points
    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.
  17. 3 points
    Last night I entertained my cousin and his girlfriend, and she is Chinese. I know she likes shrimp and I assumed she likes rice, so I made shrimp étouffée. I think she liked it more than my Texas-raised American cousin! It was spicy, but not hot. Reminded me why I don't cook like this more often, because making a good roux is truly a labor of love!!!! Gives me even more respect for my mother who cooked like that all the time.
  18. 3 points
    Y'all are missing out on some artery clogs. The wonderful Bloomin' Onion has about 2K calories and the sauce is another 200 per serving...I 'm assuming that's a tablespoon. And IHOP sucks. It's where my kids trick me into going when our house looses power or water at breakfast time. It just sucks.
  19. 3 points
    Fall Polenta: butternut squash, mushrooms, greens, toasted pecans
  20. 3 points
    Had dinner there. Much of the menu are dishes available at other Chang restaurants, and then there're the Chinese-style American food. We started with half a Peking duck for $35. The crepes were thin yet resilient. The condiments included the normal plum and a slightly hot sauce. The toppings included scallions and cucumbers. Most importantly, the duck was tasty. I think they may be the best Peking duck in the DC area, but China Wok charges $35 for a whole duck. The other 2 apps we had were crispy pork belly (also available at other Chang joints) and cumin shrimp with okra. Should've realized that the seasoning on the shrimp wouild be the same as the crispy pork belly - but the shrimp was very good - very crispy exterior and yet tender (kinda like that other cumin dish, dried fried eggplant). The shrimp would've been great in a po-boy sandwich. The 2 entrees were snow pea tips (excellent) and some bizarre noodle dish - Fermented Bean Paste Beef Tenderloin w/ Rice Noodle - this is not really Chinese food, the beef was cut too thick and too big to eat with chopsticks, and it was cooked to medium rare. The dish came with some chopped carrots and asparagus that looked steamed, and the whole thing was served on top of chow fun and you have to mix it up yourself. I would never order this again and even if it was free, I wouldn't eat it.
  21. 3 points
    B and I are headed to a cookie party later tonight. These are our contributions: Meyer lemon-ricotta bars with a Meyer lemon shortbread crust Cream cheese cookies
  22. 3 points
    That is a very terrific suggestion. On a cold evening today it was ideal.
  23. 3 points
    So, that was quite an experience! Firstly, the cost is not inclusive of tax/service, so it ends up being 6500B a person (~$180/person) without drinks, so it's expensive by Western standards. We ate on our last night in BKK. The restaurant is in a very cool old house in the Lumphini Park area. The feeling is more like "old school" British service with many people assisting you every step of the way. We had a table upstairs for the first seating at about 6pm. The menu is 25 emojis, and it's "small bites", molecular gastronomy, with cute presentations from the servers - you have various people bringing you courses - from the captain, to waiters, to the chef (not Gaggan, he doesn't work on Sundays). I've never had this type of food before, so it was a lot of fun - the spheres, foams, gels, etc. It's not "Indian" in the way Rasika still has completely Indian roots. It borrows from Indian cooking / spices, but it's it's own thing, and there are definitely some Thai influences. Without going into each specific dish (there are far too many and I don't think it's that valuable), but the ones I really enjoyed - "chili bon bons" - a take on pani puri, a chaat masala yogurt "explosion", a deconstructed green curry served on dehydrated chicken skin, shrimp foam in shrimp shell as a sort of "tom yum" (yeah, doesn't make much sense, but it's pretty amazing), baingan bartha "biscuits", idli foam, banana / chicken liver mousse, Indian fatty tuna sushi, pork vindaloo croquettes. They have an "audio/visual" dish, fun desserts, lamb "chorizo" with a tamarind fruit roll-up to eat it with, fish with indian green chili (similar to something served at Rasika but they use chicken as protein) made in banana leaf served flaming on the table, deep fried taro "charcoal", lobster taco made with a soft dosa shell. We had a blast, since neither of us had this type of an experience. One of the better experiential meals, like Komi or something like that. Was it the best in Asia? Well, with the number of Michelin starred restaurants in Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, I would find this claim to be at best dubious and at worst, laughable at worst (not saying the Michelin star in itself means something, just saying there amazing fine dining experiences all over Asia). It's possibly not the best Asian fine dining in Bangkok (I didn't go to nahm or any of the nicer Thai places in town). The other thing, even though I'm not even a novice with wine, I recognized some of their options and the markup was incredible. Stick to cocktails and beers (they had a great New Zealand Double IPA that I've never even heard of) There are also service glitches. It's one of the most innovative takes on Indian food I've ever seen, very fun for the guests, and with extremely enthusiastic servers (think Rose's Luxury staff dressed much more formally). Service glitches - there was an issue with cocktails and our table and others - they took far too long to make and didn't come til the 3rd or 4th course. We just stopped eating until the drink finally came. Water glasses can stay empty and need gentle nudging to remind them to fill them back up. We spend $500 total, and it was well worth it, in my opinion. If you're going to be in Bangkok and aren't traveling on a budget, you should go, because of it's uniqueness and innovative nature, and because it really is tasty and refined. After many, many roadside curries, fiery som tam, rice porridges (we will miss these dearly), and so much meat on a stick, this was the perfect way to end the trip. I'd also suggest a quick stop at Muse Hotel's rooftop bar before or after (opens at 5.30p, so perfect for one cocktail before dinner) - it's just 5 minutes away. Enjoy the food pornographs!
  24. 3 points
    Most of those folks are not aware that virtually every other modern country has paid sick days, multiple weeks of paid vacation and paid maternity leave. Americans have been bred to work long hours for little reward and time off is stigmatized. Kudos to Aaron Silverman's model of treating his staff with fundamental financial dignity despite it's effeminate and socialist "sharing is caring" brushstrokes.
  25. 3 points
    Hana Market has them, so do most Korean supermarkets. I found them in my local Wegmans. Look for them in the frozen foods displays, next to Japanese dumplings and mentaiko.
  26. 3 points
    I'm going to preface my comments about Gary Danko with this: my flight to SF out of IAD was cancelled and the rebooked flight out of DCA was delayed FOUR hours. By the time I was in the hotel it was 4 am for body clock. I slept a good 5 hours and then was up and working for the next 10 hours. Good times. So I wasn't at my best! It was a very good meal. Was it the best meal I've ever had? No. It did not match Citrus in L.A. in 1996 or Citronelle in 2004, 2006, 2006 or 2009. Or Eleven Madison Park on Election Night 2008. Or the Church in Stratford in the 2000s. Is it the best thing I've had this decade? Probably but I don't get out much anymore... I started with an amuse buche of parsnip soup. I had the Brandy French 75 to drink. Next up was the poached egg carbanara, which was the winner of the evening. Perfect and just the right size. The scallops with the butternut fondue was done nicely but it was not special at all. The ousseline pork with salsify, Brussels sprouts and other tiny chopped vegetables was all good--I'm a sucker for anything with salsify in it. It was probably a slightly larger pork portion than needed. The souffle was a tad underdone but that was my fault--I managed to lightly tap my water glass against the plate and it shattered. They redid it but the timing was a bit off. That was my only disappointment of the evening. I'm glad I made the effort to go. I would have regretted not going and nothing near my hotel appealed to me in the least. But it wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be.
  27. 3 points
    I will volunteer as Tribute to chair this year's DR. Picnic for 2018. Sorry for the triple posting back to back.
  28. 3 points
    Indian Thanksgiving for two went well. So well we had time for a pre-dinner trip to see the Vermeer & co. exhibit at the National Gallery. (Photo exhibit — Posing for the Camera — was also good). Watching veggie college kid’s two Thanksgiving feasts (food service-provided and DIY residential college version) from afar, I realized that one nice thing about my Indianized version is it doesn’t feel like there’s a sides vs mains distinction and, therefore, there’s no missing middle for vegetarians (and thus no obligation for the cook to produce a rival veggie centerpiece). Win-win. Looking forward to doing a bigger version next year in Chicago (with a co-conspirator and in a great area to shop for ingredients). But probably still can’t get my head around Indian desserts. Hey, my pumpkin pie has cardamom.... Big surprise was my husband’s wild enthusiasm for the cranberry chutney. Usually he’s insistent on the Ocean Spray version where you can see the rings from the can. NOTHING ELSE WILL DO! (As in “May I bring my own can to a friends house?”) Not this year!
  29. 3 points
    Happy Thanksgiving 2017 to you and yours, everyone, however you choose to celebrate the day!
  30. 3 points
    Reading through this thread, I see that no one's written about Newfoundland. With apologies to Douglas Adams, Newfoundland is big. Really big... I went there solo for a few days last August and only saw a tiny portion of the place. Flew into St. John's, picked up a rental car, then spent nearly fours hours driving (at highway speeds) to the far end of the Bonavista Peninsula. If you look at these two places on a map, you'll get a sense of how big Newfoundland is. Honestly there isn't much to do in the area other than take in the beautiful scenery. It's a great destination for an introvert, especially if you enjoy hiking and wildlife and landscape photography. It's not a great place for food, but I did manage to find a few gems. I stayed in a small town called Elliston, at Meem's, one of a shockingly large number of bed and breakfasts. The owners were friendly but not intrusive, and the room perfect for a solo traveler: small but clean and comfy, with wifi and a good solid breakfast. Around the corner there is a tiny but beautiful and interesting museum, the John C. Crosbie Sealers Interpretation Centre. Newfoundland history is about sealing, and the people here have deep roots and don't forget their stories; on a rainy day I spent half an hour listening to a middle-age woman and teenage boy talk about the tragedies that befell their community, the loss of ships and swilers (local lingo for sealers) in terrible storms, the collapse of the economy as industries failed, and so on. I discovered that many Newfoundlanders have a subtle but distinct accent, sort of a Canadian Scots-Irish patois that was pleasant to listen to. Down near the harbor there is also a sobering memorial to lost sealers. Also two large gift shops and a post office. When I went to the latter to inquire about shipping some things home, the chatty (bored?) clerk warned me not to even try with any seal products: importation to the US is banned and anything sent through post will be confiscated. As I was wanting to send books, this wasn't a problem, but good to know, as there are a lot of seal-fur items for sale in the area. The coastal scenery is spectacular and there are plenty of trails for easy to moderate hiking, including the somewhat famous Skerwink near Port Rexton and the Klondike that runs from Elliston to Spillar's Cove. There's also one along the coast to the Bonavista lighthouse. As for food... well... I can't say there's anything outstanding in there area. Nanny's Root Cellar Kitchen was serviceable, at best. I ate there the first night because I was exhausted and it was in walking distance. But it does remind me that over towards Maberly there are some interesting interpretive displays around some old root cellars that anyone interested in traditional foodways might enjoy. Food trivia: Elliston is the Root Cellar Capital of the World. Which gives you a clue about what kinds of food the people eat (traditionally). Root veg and cod. It's a hard place to make a life, and not suited to agriculture. Also, Newfoundland is the home of the scrunchion. So there you go. Anyway, more about restaurants. Over in Bonavista, Neil's Yard was disappointing, too, but Mifflin's Tea Room served good breakfasts and lunches, and Boreal Diner was a real treat. I ate there the next three nights, convinced that it served the best food on the whole peninsula. Eclectic menu, but everything I tried was tasty and well-prepared. Also, the coffee was great. Not "major metropolitan area third wave" great, but close. Various sources suggested that the best food is at Bonavista Social Club, a half-hour drive away in Amherst Cove. My innkeeper suggested going there for lunch, as it's tiny and impossible to get into at dinner. I'm glad I took her advice, as it was almost impossible to get into at lunch on a Wednesday. The pizza was decent, not anything extraordinary for those of us who dine at Inferno/2Amys/Pupatella, etc., but I had a wonderful dessert that featured lingonberries. Which in Newfoundland are called partridgeberries, and show up just about everywhere. One afternoon, just for fun, I paid for a tour through Tuckamore Discoveries, a one-man outfit whose owner knows everything about the ecology (geology, botany, zoology) of the area. I had him all to myself, which was awesome even though we didn't see many puffins, because we talked native plants and wildflowers the whole time; I think he was happy to have a semi-knowledgable client who was more interested in plants than birds. There is so much else to see on the island. I barely scratched the surface. It needs a full two weeks to see everything. One piece of advice: if you're flying in and renting a car, arrange your rental well in advance. I made arrangements on short notice, and my plans ended up being entirely based on the availability of a car. There aren't many around, and it's an island a long way away from any other car rental places, so they are in short supply and demand is high. Seriously, car rental rather than flight schedules or room availability will be your limiting reagent. Plan accordingly.
  31. 3 points
    A selection of food impressions from our trip, not necessarily in chronological order. During our stay, NZ$1 ~= US$0.70. And my apologies in advance to any New Zealanders for the gross generalizations I'm about to make. The fact that their monetary unit is also called the dollar leads many Americans to experience a misleading amount of price shell-shock. Remember that you have to apply an exchange rate, and that all taxes are included, and generally so is service (i.e. your server makes a living wage). Most of the card payment terminals don't even offer you a tipping option. My general observation was that prices at the market for in-season produce and meats were very reasonable if not downright inexpensive; prepared and packaged foods and beverages were quite expensive, especially individual bottles of soda; ordinary meals were slightly expensive (on par with major metro area prices in the US); fine dining was often a bargain. At most places, portions are generally quite large...what much of the world might consider American-sized. A lot more food is cooked to order than I would have expected. Be prepared to wait a while. Entrées are such in the French sense, and meant to be followed by your mains. But don't be surprised if you don't have much room left. Bacon. As you might expect, the default is a rasher of bacon, British-style. Streaky bacon is also available. But bacon is generally just barely cooked, and limp...rashers are little more than warmed through, like a slice of ham. You'll probably want to ask for your bacon "crispy" at a minimum. If you actually want crispy bacon, consider asking it to be extra crispy. Many other foods hail from other corners of the former British Empire but have gone off on their own evolutionary path. Fish and chips are everywhere, but the batter is tempura-influenced, and of course the fish are southern hemisphere substitutes. Popular ones include several soft-skinned shark species. Sausage rolls use a finely minced meat with what seems like quite a bit of filler, and little sage. On the other hand, small meat or fish pies are ubiquitous, and usually good (and held in extremely hot warming displays). There is a lot more biltong than jerky around. Condiments tend to be sweet, especially ketchup. Restaurant websites are often unusable. Although most places have one, nobody seems to know what to do with the Web. Consequently, online menus are often not updated, and hours of operation are completely unreliable. YMMV. Oysters. Ummm...more about this later. North Island (north to south) Mangonui Everyone said to stop at the Mangonui Fish Shop (adjacent to the town pier) for fish and chips. They were right. One of the two best fish and chips shops of our trip. Lemonfish was less than NZ$7 per piece; add NZ$3.50 for a scoop of chips. Ahipara North Drift Cafe, owned by an expat Texan, turns out a great breakfast in this small beach town, including some outstanding Eggs Benedicts (though on toast, not on muffins), and good homemade granola. Kerikeri Citrus-growing country. Worth a stop at nearly any stand, but look for the signboards by estate driveways for citrus grown on the property. The funny thing is that most of the Asian citrus varieties all look like oranges: grapefruit the size of oranges, lemons as round as small oranges, limes nearly as pale as the lemons. But the intensity of flavor will spoil you for nearly anything grown in Florida or California; even the navel varieties are richly orangey. They don't seem to have giant processing plants all over the place like in Florida, so the double-edged sword is that it's only available in-season, but then supply so far outstrips demand that it's absurdly inexpensive. In October (early spring in NZ), we paid NZ$7 for a large bag of excellent tangelos; everywhere people were giving away grapefruit. Also picked up some ridiculously good Hass-type avocadoes at one of the orchard markets whose staff seemed to be entirely Thai. The generically named Food At Wharepuke turns out good Thai fusion dishes in a gorgeous wooded setting. Service is rather leisurely, though. Paihia Decent but not stellar seafood at Alfresco's Restaurant and Bar. Auckland The city is home to a series of night markets which combine a food court scene with the usual flea market vendors. We went to Thursday night market in Henderson (West Auckland) which is conducted in the parking structure beneath K-Mart. Lots of different ethnic foods to choose from, but I headed straight to one of the two vendors of Pasifika cuisine for some Tongan/Samoan specialties and my first taste of NZ lamb in its own country. Lu Sipi ($10) combined lamb, coconut cream, and shredded taro leaves, all braised together in a whole taro leaf purse wrapped in aluminum. Ulu (breadfruit steamed with coconut cream) completed this rich calorie bomb. Also in West Auckland, Criollo Chocolates makes excellent sweets and baked goods. Both pastry chefs have been successful in international pastry team competitions; a link to their bios is here. Paeroa We didn't actually eat here, but it was on our route so we posed for a selfie with the giant Lemon And Paeroa bottle in town. L&P is NZ's de facto national soft drink, and sort of occupies the niche that Irn-Bru does for Scotland. We are new fans. Hamilton Mavis Made To Order is the café branch of a farmer's market-driven local restaurant group. After overindulging on meat pies for several days, it was just what the doctor ordered. Plenty of fresh green things, made well, conveniently located in Hamilton's central business district. My only quibble might be that their risotto balls would be even better if they undercooked the rice a smidge before frying. If you wander across downtown to the Riff Raff Statue, you can get a passable NYC-style slice at Sal's Authentic New York Pizza (locations across NZ). The kids staffing the counter might not know much about pizza and the red pepper flakes might be way too weak, but it passes the fold test and the flavor is right. They import all of the pizza ingredients from the US, except for the water...go figure. Rotorua Just north, in the town of Ngongotaha, we probably set a personal record for least $ per pound of food on this trip at Ngongotaha Ocean Seafoods, a local fry-basket joint whose sandwich board proclaimed "fresh fat oysters!" And so they were, but the NZ$15 fisherman's basket came with a veritable mountain of chips, not to mention a generous quantity of residual grease. It hit the spot, though. In Rotorua proper, there's a night market held on Thursdays, which spans not quite two blocks of downtown. We chose the burger stand for a pretty good venison burger (FWIW, the recently introduced venison burger at Arby's owes its existence to the growing red deer ranching industry of NZ's South Island), in part because the line for the all-kinds-of-steamed-dumplings stand was long. Noteworthy although we didn't stay for any: the local Māori also use geothermal features to cook in, so there are a number of hangi available in the area which are prepared in natural ovens instead of in fire pits. Napier In the Art Deco Capital of the Southern Hemisphere, we found Bistronomy to be so good that we ended up eating there three times: for lunch, then for afternoon happy hour and dinner the next day. The food is modern, inventive, and often surprising, including a brilliant expression of vanilla roasted kumara (the traditional Polynesian sweet potato) with sweet and sour tamarillo, walnuts, and goat cheese. I couldn't make sense of whatever concept they might have been reaching for with some of the more precious presentations (the long cantilevered stainless utensil jutting out of driftwood, holding my black pudding ball comes to mind) but the six-course prix fixe (NZ$75, +NZ$45 for matched wines) was an absolute bargain. There was also a nine course option (NZ$100). Relaxed dress. We also took in a superb meal at Pacifica which, despite its self-description as "relaxed fine dining", felt very much like a place worth dressing up for. The 5-course degustation menus are available with a choice of 'seafood' or 'mixed', at the ridiculous bargain price of NZ$50 (NZ$100 with wine pairings). These are several-perfect-bite portions, so the total experience left us just sated. I thought the preliminary fry bread was a bit of a misstep since it was a heavy way to commence the meal and guaranteed to leave you with messy fingers, but that quickly gave way to course after course of really good work. The menu is constantly changing, but my particular standout courses would have to include the "fresh pasta, chicken puree, parmesan foam", and "truffle sweetbreads, pork brawn, cauliflower & chicken liver pate". But really, we loved it all. Reservations required. Wellington NZ's capital and second most populous city has a bustling restaurant scene, particularly in the central Te Aro neighborhood. The food at Ortega Fish Shack was excellent, with intense flavors and rather formal place settings in an otherwise pub atmosphere, but even more impressive was their wine list, which was very accessibly laid out and apparently very sensibly chosen. We had tasted a number of mediocre yet crowd pleasing white wines elsewhere in NZ by this point, but the somm brought out a surprisingly good match for gubeen's shellfish in a 2016 Neudorf "Rosie's Block" Chardonnay (Nelson, South Island; number 58 under the "voluptuous whites" section of their current list), a more minerally Chablis-esque expression despite the wine list description of its toasty citrus notes. The 2015 Quartz Reef GV was a similarly successful pairing with her main of Blue Moki with white bean puree, asparagus, ricotta, rosemary & orange dressing. We booked two seats for the chef's bar (kitchen table) tasting menu (5 courses, NZ$85, NZ$135 with wine pairings) at Field & Green, which describes itself as "European soul food". On a Wednesday night, it was a treat to have chef/co-owner Laura Greenfield (formerly of London, and the long time head chef at Sotheby's Cafe) and her sous largely to ourselves in the kitchen while the rest of the patrons took dinner in the dining room. Another very good meal; my standout was the salad of pork belly, pickled rhubarb & fennel, green peppercorn vinaigrette. But absolutely, absolutely remember to save room for the ice cream and sorbet list, which had 13 housemade flavors while we were there. Our tasting menu included four scoops each, so we managed to cover a pretty good range.
  32. 3 points
    Lots of rice left in the bowl from a recent dinner at Bob's, so I got it to go along with an order of Taiwanese sausage, and a few nights later made fried rice with it, adding egg, peas, garlic, hot peppers, a kick-ass soy sauce some friends gave us, and sesame oil. Is fried rice déclassé? I don't care. It was delicious.
  33. 3 points
    So I found a way to get a decently passable Double Double Animal Style at this place: Order a double steakburger, ~california style~, and nix the sliced onions, instead substituting in grilled onions for no charge. (Optionally) Add mustard (asking to have it on the bottom so it doesn't co-mingle directly with the spread). Enjoy a passable facsimile that doesn't require a flight to Dallas or the West Coast. Nixing the mustard altogether and simply relying on the intense saltiness of the patties themselves works, too. That's advisable if they're busy.
  34. 2 points
    A friend of mine re posted this list of predictions. A fair amount of it has to do with automobiles:
  35. 2 points
    ha ha. Dare I say it but I'm something of a Neanderthal. But when I saw the Perfect Pita squeeze top bottle for their hummus the word "cute" came to mind. "Cute" That is repugnant to my Neanderthal nature, but it looked so nice I purchased one. They are available at their stores and certain markets. It pours out like a plastic mustard container. I've now used it on grilled hot dogs and burgers. I'll try it on other things. I eat a lot of hummus on pita. It pours out well on the bread. Okay. I sort of love it. We haven't dated yet. I haven't introduced the hummus squeeze bottle to my family yet. But we have a "thing". It works.
  36. 2 points
    I enjoyed the calamari served at Sfoglina ($16). Good sized portion, meaty body parts, served grilled with a romesco sauce.
  37. 2 points
    And to piggyback on this, at the moment Kith/Kin is the best place to get a drink on the Wharf before dinner. I think the faux English and faux Irish bars are nothing particularly interesting, and every time I've popped in they've been slammed. My one attempt to go to Del Mar just for drinks they wouldn't let more people into the bar than they had seats (which is admirable in its own way). We've had great luck getting drinks there, and the bartenders are solid.
  38. 2 points
  39. 2 points
    In defense of Louisiana, the entire shell is only left on when the shrimp are boiled. Everything else is tailless...Jambalaya, Gumbo, Shrimp Creole, Shrimp Etoufee, Shrimp and Grits...oh my, I am getting hungry. What bugs me is when there's a tail and sauce. There's no way to detail the shrimp without getting sauce under nails. That knife idea sounds good, but I am not sure I can pull it off. (pun intended)
  40. 2 points
    Here is my back of the envelope value calculator for eating out. If I go out, I assume I will spend $50 for food, 2 drinks, tax and tip for me. If it meets 5/10 quality (let's just use Del Ray Pizza as a reference 5, because I eat there a lot), then it's just meeting threshold for value. If it costs less, it's a good value. If it's more, then it's not a good value. For each point above 5, I'll spend exponentially more, i.e. - 6/10 - $60, 7 - 80, 8 - $120, 9 - $160, 10 - $240. If the meal costs more than that number it's not a good value. If it costs less than that, it is providing excess value. If the quality is less than 4/10, then it doesn't matter the price - I left my house, went somewhere, and had a shitty meal, so I paid $50 for 2 beers - so it's always poor value.
  41. 2 points
    One of the single best bangs for your buck around. This place is so, so good. One of my favorite things about it is that you can drive there at say, 11:00 on a Friday night and not see any sign of human life within several miles of the place, and yet . . . it's packed. Seems as if the entire Pakistani community in the DMV converges on the place at that time. And it's obvious that everyone's really happy to be there. As they should be.
  42. 2 points
    They all order their American menu sauces from the same wholesalers, in 5 gallon buckets.
  43. 2 points
    Red Robin would have never been on my radar if it weren't for my hamburger-obsessed kid. For what it is, they do a good job (though the fries suck). However, my seven-year-old never orders off the kid's menu. She wants the full-size "grownup" burgers. I'm convinced that the majority of Chinese restaurants are actually part of a secret national chain. How else can they get the Americanized food to taste exactly the same in each restaurant?
  44. 2 points
    In the past, I have usually mentioned the dietary restrictions during the reservation. Then upon arrival, the server has always confirmed the restrictions and if they need clarification, they ask.
  45. 2 points
    Brunch for three for November 26, 2017: yogurt biscuits with cheddar cheese and chives scrambled eggs with caramelized onion Warren pears poached in Malbec, with crème fraîche
  46. 2 points
  47. 2 points
    Slow-roasted cherry tomato crostini with cow's milk ricotta cheese and salsa verde Beet greens crostini with anchovy, onion and raisins Castelvetrano and Kalamata olive crostini with sheep's milk ricotta cheese, Meyer lemon and pine nuts I had forgotten to get the pistachios yesterday; oh well
  48. 2 points
    I hit this place the other night for the first time after wanting to go for a while and I'm surprised that there isn't more positive chatter. Grandma Zucchini Bread - said before, this is a great dish. One of the few things that I have had that could work as an appetizer or potentially a dessert. Hamachi Crudo - simple dish with bright fresh accoutrements, I could eat dishes like this 4 times a week all year and never get sick of them Beef Tartare - a little odd in the way that they recommend for you to mash the onions, tater tots, and tartare all together and eat it, but it works. Chicken Mapo - maybe the best dish of the night, great numbing combined with the squash made this a perfect dish for a cold, windy night Sweetbreads - perfectly cooked, bursting with flavor, these things made my wife a sweetbread convert Gnocchi Bokki - the only dish that didn't shine, I thought there was a flavor mismatch here and the gnocchi were overcooked. Not bad, but the only dish I wouldn't order again on our next visit. Unfortunately, the service did not live up to the food, the hostess appeared to be overwhelmed when we came in the restaurant and wound up seating us about 15 minutes after our reservation time despite our table being open for the majority of the time that we sat at the bar. She was a dream compared to our waiter, however, who appeared to either hate being in the food service industry, was having a really bad day, or just hated the look of my face (he wouldn't be the first). He couldn't have said more than 15 words to us all night and was terribly surly, not giving us a chance to taste the wine before pouring full glasses for both of us, not giving any real recommendations on food when asked ("....everything is good...."), and generally not being very helpful. It was almost comical how cold he was, it kind of felt like something that you'd see in a Woody Allen movie, not a trendy small plates restaurant in DC. All in all, none of that was offputting enough for us not to already be thinking about our next visit.
  49. 2 points
    I didn't find a thread for this spot. Met up for a drink and a bite here at the bar last Wednesday evening. The place has an industrial/warehouse-y decor and it was busy but not crowded when we were there. Because of the association with Red Apron, it's a meat-focused menu with craft cocktails. We both got the "I Don't Even Know Myself," a tasty frothy bourbon lemonade type drink served in a stemmed martini glass, and split some beef fat fries with aoili which were nicely crispy and flavorful, Roman gnocchi with mushroom ragu (my favorite -- more of a custardy polenta cake prep than a traditional potato gnocchi) and the pork meatball, which was a good, competently made meatball. The bartenders were friendly and efficient and knew the menu well. I also had a glass of an interesting Greek white wine recommended by the bartender which I enjoyed. They also offer a sort of build your own charcuterie platter where you check off choices as on a sushi list. We didn't try that but it looked interesting.
  50. 2 points
    I, as well, attended several rally in the alleys in the late 80's. Back then D.C. Had a wild bar scene. Loved it.
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