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About KeithA

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    Cleveland Park, DC
  1. So far this summer we have continued over multiple trips to mostly go with our usual spots - OC Kabob, Blue Fish (very good sushi), the Hobbit, Thrasher's, Kohr Brothers, Ropewalk (which has a playground for kids), Candy Kitchen, and many trips to Dumser's Dairyland (I managed to go to 5 different locations - yes I'm an addict and they are all good). We also tried out a new place, Our Harvest, which is owned by the same people as Liquid Asset. It is in Fenwick and was happening. Big bar/lounge area where you could get a full meal and very long waits for tables. Food was a mix of small plates and very large sharing plate. Overall it was ok - some dishes were better than others - definitely ask them how big a particular dish is - some small plates were a few bites whereas others were very filling. Regarding how long waits are at places - it depends on when you go and where you go. After Labor Day, it is much quieter and many places close too. Also, if you go for an earlier dinner around 5pm (which usually is ideal with little kids) then waits aren't usually to bad. Most places do not take reservations but you can call in advance and see how long the current wait is.
  2. I had the immense pleasure of eating dinner on Tuesday night at the R&S Cafe. Very friendly service and not surprisingly not too busy on a Tuesday evening (I'm sure weekend brunch must be packed). Started with a very nice Lower East Side gin cocktail and a bowl of mushroom barley soup that comes with their shishel rye. I was especially excited to try this and some of their other breads after reading about how they've brought back some older Jewish-style breads for the cafe. Soup was good but not great and bread was good but again not great. What was AMAZING and really induced a foodgasm was the herring plate. This is why you go here. Yes they likely have very good smoked salmon but so do a number of other places. Very few places anywhere in the US have homemade delicious herring. The herring plate is a big portion of a whole pickled herring filet (excellent and goes great plain or with the 3 sauces), my favorite the matjes sweet herring - you get about 1/2 a fillet (IMHO if a sushi restaurant served pieces of this as part of an omakase menu - people would flip - it is just that good), another 1/2 filet of very salty schmaltz herring (a bit too salty for my taste but you can mellow it with the pickled onions and cream sauce), and 2 rollmops (German style stronger brine, small pickled herring fillets rolled out pickled sweet onions) - they were good too but a bit hard to eat. The fish was great quality and it comes with several slices of good pumpernickel and 3 cups of cream sauce, curry sauce, and mustard sauce (the latter was my fave but I'm a sucker for mustard). I managed to save room in my chazer belly for the second foodgasm - Halva ice cream with salted caramel drizzle and sesame seeds with halva crumbles. Wow this was really really good - sweet but not too sweet and super creamy. If you like Halva or even caramel flavors, I'd recommend it. Definitely recommend you go and likewise enjoy herring heaven (with the side of ice cream).
  3. New favorite OC pizza place is Mioene's Pizza. Family run with 2 OC locations. I've only ever been to 67th street location (last year and a few days ago). http://mionesoc.com/ No delivery but very good pizza by the slice or whole pie. Also Stromboli, stuffed pizza and for the carb-lovers pizza stuffed with pasta. We like the garlicy Tomato Basil - like a margherita. This is NY style thin crust mostly but the stuffed pizzas are halfway to deep dish. I recently had the veggie stuffed pizza which was rather cheesy but good. Warning that when we went and ordered a calzone and whole pie there was a 30-40 minute wait at dinner time because they were slammed with orders on a rainy day. So we went for slices that were ready within 10 minutes. Also, went back to OC Kabob in Gold Coast Mall and it was still good - tender chicken kabobs. This is our go to lunch place and staffed by very friendly servers (I'm a regular though - they know me by name after going multiple times each summer for close to a decade). Also managed to find time to eat Fisher's Popcorn, Candy Kitchen chocolate fudge, and Dumser's dairyland. All three continue to be great. I'd even rank Fisher as the best caramel corn and Dumser's as the best ice cream against anybody. For other suggestions, check my older posts - Blue Fish and Matt's Fish camp (see above 9/2015). I'll try to provide some new reviews if I try anything else on what will likely be several more trips this summer.
  4. About 2 weeks ago, went to 2 Amys for lunch. Very nice Calabrese pizza, and Margherita was good as always and finally got the kids to enjoy a cheese pizza there (they are bigger fans of NY style by way of Vace). Always good suppli and salt cod croquettes. They really have a way with their fryer there.
  5. Cheesecake

    How was it? Back in December, I got a cheesecake to go from Carnegie when I was in NY before it closed and it wasn't very good.
  6. Peking Duck

    You can still get this as the best of both worlds - Spices in Cleveland Park - is owned by the same people who ran Yanyu and they carve it in the main dining room (often to the side of the room and not tableside - more utiliatarian, less show), present it on portioned pancakes with slices of meat and skins, but you add your own sauce, and you can ask if you want the carcass to gnaw on and take home for soup. When Yanyu closed years ago, they added the Big Duck and a few others items to the Spices menu. I've always been a big fan of the Big Duck.
  7. I haven't been in a few months, but I live close by and have gone about 1-2 times every month or 2 for the past decade - it is still the same deliciousness. And I too am a big fan of the crostini - especially the eggplant caponata/anchovie one. Reminds me to it is soon time for a return visit. Only change in these times is the added upstairs space and new waiter uniforms.
  8. Went here for the first time today for lunch to try out the work of aspiring chef students. Really nice experience - very nice quiet dining room, nice service, and rather good food at a great price. Menu is limited to only a few choices of entrees and apps and desserts but a decent variety. The only knock was a bit of longer wait than usual between courses (we indulged and had 3 courses - only $30 after tax and tip). Definitely not a destination place, but if you work or live nearby in Rosslyn, check it out. "Culinaire Restaurant" on artinstitutes.edu
  9. Nashville, TN

    Last week I was in downtown Nashville for the first time for 2 days - loved the music scene and had a chance to sample some good eats too: 1. Husk - high end farm to table foodie mecca with James Beard winning/nominated? chef. It was a big group meal with mostly hits and few dishes that fell flat. Overall very good quality ingredients and creative dishes. The menu changes regularly but highlights - the plate of southern vegetables which is actually 5 mid-size vegetarian dishes that were excellent, good fish dishes, great cocktails. Dessert was weaker and skip the hot water cornbread which was meh. Worth a trip and only a short walk from the downtown area. 2. Martin's BBQ - downtown location, really good meats in a bright airy newly opened spot. Line was out the door for dinner on weeknights but it moves fast and it is counter service. Tasty chicken wings and good but a bit too fatty brisket. Slaw and hush puppies were good too. My companions thought the pulled pork was the best. They have a variety of BBQ sauces and all were pretty good but none outstanding. The meats only needed a bit so still good. 3. Pucket's Grocery - I went for breakfast and had a good brisket filled small biscuit. Brisket was so so but the biscuit and regular BBQ were great. I bought a bottle to take home. The spicy BBQ sauce was also good. A friend and I each bought a bottle to bring home (it was the best sauce of the 3 BBQ places' sauces I tried). Also very good were the sweet potato pancakes that look like normal pancakes but are stuffed with small chunks of sweet potato. Less interesting were the scrambled eggs and turkey sausage I also had. My friend liked her bacon and gouda grits. Depending on your perspective it is good/bad that when you leave you smell like BBQ since the smoker is right in the main dining area (it wasn't noticeable while in the place but when I left I realized the smell clung to my clothes). This place is also dirt cheap but still a sit down restaurant with waiters. 4. Jack's BBQ - this is on South Broadway, the strip with all of the honky tonk bars. I ordered poorly and got a smoked turkey sandwich. I should have gotten a different meat but I was distracted while ordering. It was fine but smoked turkey BBQ is pretty bland. Better were the sauces - mustard and white sauces were good on the sandwich. Super friendly service. No frills place too. 5. Goo Goo candy/dessert shop - off South Broadway across from the Johnny Cash museum, a store dedicated to this Nashville candy - the goo goo cluster candy bar. You can also get various decadent pies and other desserts here. I sampled all 3 standard varieties of the candy bar - I really liked the original (marshmallow nougat, caramel, peanuts covered in milk chocolate) and the peanut butter (same but peanut butter instead of marshmallow) but didn't care for the supreme (original but pecans instead of peanuts). Worth a stop for your sugar fix. But if you don't want the dessert specials, you can buy these candy bars all over the city and in the airport. I should have bought a big pack at the shop to bring home. 6. Savannah candy shop - also on South Broadway, huge store with many varieties of good looking gelato, homemade chocolates and all kinds of candies. However the free sample of their signature praline was meh. I think gelato may have been a better choice. I didn't get a chance to go, but I heard lots of good things from locals about breakfast at Biscuit Love in the Gulch area next to downtown.
  10. Anyone been to this place more recently? I'm thinking of taking a large group from work there for dinner - thoughts?
  11. I'm shocked no one has started a topic on Preserve. This place easily is one of the best in the area, and I include DC metro. After having their chef's 5 course tasting menu there last weekend, it is no surprise that they are included in the Washingtonian list of best restaurants. It is in a great location right on Main Street directly across from Chick and Ruth Deli. We had a large group and a fabulous meal with great service. The place is rather small only 40 or so seats in total including a bunch of bar seating. There is an open kitchen right in the back of the long narrow dining room. It is a husband (chef) and wife (FOH manager) team. We started with a round of cocktails - my gin-based one was great accompaniment to the first snack course. $65 for 5 courses (not including drinks/taxes, etc.) was a steal as each course was really 3-4 items with sides. First, we had the Chicken Caesar Skins which was very inventive and delicious. You make your own sandwich of small strips of fried chicken skin, mini romaine lettuce leaves, and spread a bit of Caesar dressing on it (I think I'm forgetting one component too). Also in the first course was their potted, soft goat cheese with warm slices of bread. This was one of the few items that was only good, not great. Most were great. The cheese is topped with oil and possibly some pickled vegetables. ALSO for the first course was a great variety of different quick pickled vegetables - radish, carrots, and 3 more I can't remember. Each one had been brined in a different way - some sweeter, some spicier. I'm a pickle lover and maker and these were superb. Second course was individual bowls of pan-seared scallops with a bit of sausage in a fennel broth and family style plate of head on shrimp with butternut squash salad with a lime-serrano vinaigrette. I don't eat shellfish so I didn't try this course but everyone loved it. Third course was three family style dishes: 1) glazed porcini trumpet pasta with roasted mushrooms, preserved lemons, capers and parmesan - great for mushroom lovers and rich, 2) cheese and potato pierogis with caramelized onions and sour cream - very well made but a bit bland compared to the other bolder flavored dishes, and 3) crispy kale with cumin yogurt, sweet pepper jelly and red onion. This last one is their twist on Rasika's crispy spinach (or Bombay Club's crispy kale) with more mid-atlantic/PA dutch flavorings. The kale was awesome and like Rasika worth a trip. Fourth course was a bucket of delicately fried catfish, with various sides - creamy mashed potatos, Brussel sprout and carrot slaw, bread and butter tomato pickles, cornbread with honey butter and 4 different sauces - regular remoulade, spicier remoulade, and a green and red hot sauce (all house made). The fish and hot sauces were very nice, the pickles were excellent and the cornbread also really decadent with the honey butter. Mashed potatoes were good, but nothing special. Fifth course was dessert - individual portions of Tandy cake and shoo-fly mousse pie. The tandy cake is dense yellow cake with a rich chocolate/peanut butter icing. It was only ok. The shoo-fly was better with sweet but not cloying mousse on top of a thin crust. We also had them pair a white wine with the first 2 courses and red for the second two. I didn't catch the names but they were good and paired nicely. I highly recommend going to Preserve if you are near or passing through Annapolis. Despite the overwhelming amount of food described above, they are mostly an a la carte menu and have a nice mix of vegetarian and meat/seafood items. If nothing else, go for the pickled items and crispy kale.
  12. Lately, I've used the caviar delivery service a couple of times to get DGS matzo ball soup and sandwiches. Last weekend, the pastrami on rye was perfect. Their meats really are my favorite - moist, the right amount of fattiness, and the thick cut gives you all of that meat deliciousness. Plus they have great rye bread. Soup arrived pretty warm too. Kudos.
  13. So I feeling pretty happy that I got to try Smoked & Stacked for a late breakfast this morning, but now I'm pissed I didn't read the forum here first and ask for a pickle. I guess they don't give them with the breakfast sandwiches, but as a pickler I always want to enjoy a good one. Oh well, next time. I had the New Yorker sandwich which was rather good - the pastrami was good, but not spectacular, also hidden somewhat under the runny egg and pepper jelly - a good combo nonetheless. I think the milk bread was a decent bread option to make this sandwich less messy, but it was not really my thing for pastrami or even an egg sandwich. Toasted rye or even an English muffin would probably be better for breakfast and I don't think I'd like milk bread for a pastrami with mustard. My verdict is that it is pretty good but only if you are nearby. The staff was super friendly to me and the few other customers. Also, I will say as I lingered in the restaurant that the pastrami smells were great.
  14. Stopped by Shouk today for lunch and I was wowed once again. This is great fast casual food. Today I went with my favorites the Shouk salad and a cardamom chocolate chip cookie. I've had both before and they are great. I especially like the salad as it is vegetarian, filling, and a really well thought out combination of different textures and flavors. The salad has diced fresh tomatos, cucumbers, thin strips of peppadew peppers?, olives, kale? and baby lettuce along with roasted chopped cauliflower and eggplant and is topped with pita croutons and pistachios for crunch. As you can see, there is a lot going on in this salad. I still need to try the other two salads but imagine they are also very good. The cookie - oh the cookie - it is divine if you like cardamom. It is a simple, rich fresh baked chocolate cookie but with the added kick of cardamom. Too make sure it was really good, I did a taste test against a Buttercream Bakeshop chocolate chunk cookie just because :-) The Bakeshop cookie was very good, but the Shouk cookie won hands down. The salad also came with a very nice whole wheat half pita. In the past, I've enjoyed the polenta fries (a bit odd but good) and some of the pita sandwiches.
  15. I'm a little behind on my reviews but I went here for the second time a few months ago and then for the third time about a month ago. Both times I really enjoyed almost everything. I'm still really enjoying their cocktails and most of the food. One new dish I tried was the chicken kabob which was excellent - especially the bed of fragrant rice it came on. I think all of the kabobs come with this rice (menu isn't so clear on this) making these more substantial dishes than some others. I've really enjoyed the vegetarian pao - great bread and stew like veggies that are good with only a bit of heat. The chicken kathi roll was only ok - it is a bit oily as others have said above. The naan also is only so so - the other carbs on the menu are better. I also had the Bindaas fruit salad on both visits and really like its vibrant sweetness that is cut a bit by the spiced crunchy chickpeas. Definitely a nice contrast to the other richer, savory dishes on the menu. I also really liked the fish wrapped in the banana leaf - well cooked and tasty. My wife's favorite and one of mine is the corn uttapam - one of the best items on the menu. I also really enjoyed the masala spiced popcorn which has a real fiery kick but is seasoned well so you still taste the other Indian spices.