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turbogrrl

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About turbogrrl

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    dining, drinking, and thinking about (but never actually implementing) cooking.
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    Adams Morgan
  1. A pre-tax service fee is not subject to tipping regulations, and *can* be distributed to the kitchen staff. This is partly why alinea/next went to the service fee model. I suspect that is likely influencing Komi as well. I suppose it may also result in slightly higher tips; my suspicion is that it would be slightly lower net but guaranteed and stable and therefor better for all involved.
  2. The Aji tataki has been on the specials menu most of the times I have been in recently; I know this because I can't resist ordering it each time I go. I suspect you could always call and ask before going? or just go to seki multiple times
  3. Japan

    it's totally challenging without electronic devices, but fine as long as you have google maps! we rented a SIM (had it sent to the hotel, as I recall, because you can't just buy a temporary SIM like in hong kong); did not try wifi. And while my experience was likely tempered by when we went-- it was a couple months after fukushima, and tourists/americans were in short supply-- everyone seemed perfectly happy to cope with non-japanese speakers. We'd point, or pantomime, or try google translate, or they'd dig up a busboy that had a smattering of english, and somehow it all always worked out deliciously. And oh, god, the department stores. Apparently the way to get me into a department store is to put 20,000 sf of food on the ground floor. I mean, I don't usually leave the ground floor, but still.
  4. Dumplings

    my elusive holy grail are the sheng jian bao. So if anyone knows where excellent pan-fried soup dumplings can be found, I am ALL ATTENTION. As for the other good eats-- I suspect my spouse will thank me if we don't eat all dumplings all the time the next time...
  5. aha! Clearly we should all coordinate a big NYC run sometime. We ended up walking by Tim Ho Wan last weekend and I was like-- oooh, now that's a name I recognize! But we were completely out of room for additional food this past trip, so no chance to investigate. Thanks for doing the hard work
  6. What can I say? I love dumplings. We went up to NYC for four days of dumplings and dumplings and general walking around. We had some excellent dumplings and some tragic ones. On the excellent side: Sheng jian bao: So far, I have not found any in the states better than the ones at 456 Shanghai at 69 Mott Street. The reality is that sheng jian bao are best from a standalone shop that is making 50 of these at once, and as far as I can tell I'm only going to get that in shanghai. but in the meantime... I can make it to 456 in nyc when I have a craving. Xiao long bao: for convenience and reliability, Shanghai Cafe at 100 Mott is pretty much my gold standard. Cash only. We did find a better xiao long bao... but it was a big trek. You have to balance your craving against the effort. Diverse Dim Sum, in the New York Food Court in Flushing, has much better XLB. But they only have disposable plastic spoons and forks. So if you trek out to Flushing, I'd advise bringing your own spoon and chopsticks and chili in oil (for the wonton below). Wonton in chili oil: White Bear, 135-02 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing. (the shop entrance is actually around the corner on Prince St.) Cash only. Three tables. There is a long menu but you want the #6. The wonton are pillowy and subtle. The chili is flavour, not heat-- if you go in expecting spicy, you will be disappointed. Although, there is usually some spicy chili on one of the tables, if you must. Or bring your own. We started and ended our Flushing trip here. Delicious. Pan-fried pork and vegetable dumpling: Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles, 1 Doyers St. Cash-only. The dumpling were fabulous. So were the pan-fried knife peeled noodles, as were the hand-pulled noodles. No air conditioning, tiny, cramped, delicious. (Not a Dumpling): Roast pork sesame pancake sandwich, Milk tea boba: Vanessas Dumpling House, 118 Eldridge. They also had tasty pan-fried pork dumplings and wonton in chili oil, but while very good they were not as excellent as the examples above. ---- Calories I ate so you do not have to: Nan Xiang XLB in Flushing. Maybe it was a bad day. If so, it was a bad day for everything we ordered here. the XLB were inedible (meat was... stale.) The scallion pancake was fried well but I think may have started life as cardboard. And the sheng jian bao were essentially just taiwanese bao that had been soaked in oil and given a very little pan fry at the wrong heat. no soup, too doughy and oily. edible- but no reason to actually eat them. Lao jia, or old street dimsum in queens crossing mall, flushing. The sheng jian bao were utterly tragic. They had been sitting under a heat lamp, they hadn't been fried enough, and the meat was not good. The guo tie otoh had just come off the stove and were pretty good, but not sure why you would otherwise find yourself in queens crossing mall. --- The New York Food Court and the New World Mall were both hopping shanghai-style food court malls, with tons of great smells. If I hadn't been on a dumpling mission, I know I would have found a lot more to inhale. There are also a couple of cute asian bakeries around town. I can definitely make the case for taking the 7 train out to flushing, starting at white bear, and then just eating your way through those two food courts before stumbling home.. possibly with a final stop at white bear before you go. Also the bathrooms at New World are some of the best public bathrooms I've been in. --- other note: Yes, we went to Joe's on our previous trip. Huge tourist trap, long waits, and the XLB were... fine? I like 100 mott better, and it's cheaper, and much less crazy. Joe's did have the best scallion pancake I'd had in years, though, so I might try to figure out how to just get one to go? Maybe.
  7. It had been a year or two, but we interrupted our four-day dumpling extravaganza last weekend for some Spotted Pig. Where, of course, we immediately ordered the gnudi. (dumplings! ahahah.) We also ordered and inhaled the Devils on Horseback as well as Deviled Eggs. We valiantly held onto the gnudi bowl and defended it against all service staff until my rillettes and toasted bread showed up... and our server volunteered to get us more toasted bread, for which I could have kissed her. and then the burrata and squash showed up, along with Nick's sage shoestring fries. We rounded it all out with homemade ice cream and a couple cocktails. It's less crowded than it used to be (although, NYC on a fairly empty holiday weekend is perhaps not the best metric), but, the food and the drinks and the service were excellent as always.
  8. Love Russ & Daughters, especially if we are staying in the LES. "No, grandad, we'll bring breakfast. And lunch."
  9. I've been to the Cosmos as a guest a few times, and yes, was the youngest woman in the dining room by 20 years... and I am pretty sure that my MIL was the next-youngest woman in the dining room, also by a good 20 years. The food has improved in recent years, but it's more about ambiance, service, and formality than food. One thing to note is that Harvard Club members (and possible some other clubs as well) get some level of reciprocity privileges, which can help skew the average age a bit lower on occasion.
  10. oh, yes. basically, every lunch dish is 25-30-- sandwich, salad, or entree. I suspect the ham is applied to get to the needed price point, not the other way around. I am no purist, but would have been happier with a smidge less ham and a smidge more butter and here is the crepe, because why not?
  11. went today. it's lovely, but too expensive for me to make a habit of going there. But I've been craving a real Jambon Beurre for years now, and so despite all of the other things I might have ordered (the burger looks deliciously decadent), I went with my craving. Even though it was $26. It definitely hit the spot. Dessert was the yuzu sesame mille crepe— more cream and caramel than yuzu, alas. tasty but my tastebuds had been primed for yuzu! I suspect, however, I may be doomed whenever they open for breakfast (maybe May?), because I'll walk by it nearly every day, and I am sucker for pastries. The space is gorgeous, and all of the staff are super nice and attentive.
  12. I spent all day feeling terrible and craving soup, so when N came home we wandered over to 18th to try out Ben Tre, which apparently opened in August. I've been craving canh chua for weeks now, and I already knew that Pho 14's version doesn't really do it for me. But, man, did I score tonight! The soup hit all the high notes- sweet, sour, spicy- with yummy bits of pineapple and lots of tomato. There were little puffy bits of pork belly in there, too, and okra and pepper flakes. It was amazing and perfect. The shrimp toast appears to be shrimp paste, on toast, and then the whole thing appears to be battered and then deep fried. 3 pieces to an order. It is both good, and a little horrifying. N had a spicy beef soup which was also really tasty, but not what I wanted. Which was fine, because I was blissfully happy with my own soup. Now that I have found this place, I may be here at least once a week, it's a 5 minute walk from home.
  13. Currently in the middle of a soft open, the official opening date is October 6. Everyone is very friendly, but there is a definite nightclub vibe going on, enhanced by the hostess attire. So far I have observed conservative menu choices and huge portions, and expense account pricing.
  14. last night tonight. I can't cope with crowds, so went and said my goodbye's last night. I wish things had turned out differently.
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