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About StarStraf

  • Rank
  • Birthday 08/13/1964

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  • Gender
  • Interests
    Board Games, Tiki Drinks
  • Location
    Alexandria, VA

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  1. StarStraf

    DR Summer picnic -7/29/18 Noon to 5ish

    we are now going to be 3 as Pooch's mom will be joining us as she is visiting for her birthday weekend.
  2. StarStraf

    Anthony Bourdain (1956-2018) Dies at Age 61

    Depression sucks, I feel for his daughter and her upcoming feelings of blame and guilt - been there it sucks.
  3. StarStraf

    Podcasts - What Are Your Favorites?

    Food podcasts: The Feed podcast with Rick Bayless & Steve Dolinsky Drink Podcasts: Bartender Journey by Brian Weber; Modern BarCart with Eric Kozlik Other: Productivity Alchemy by Kevin Sonney
  4. This started when a bartender referred to us as 'regulars' and I countered as 'frequent but not regular' and then saw an article about how regulars get better service and has lead to a multi thread conversation so though I would open up the discussion here. What makes a customer a regular? I always though this was completely based on frequency - when I worked a diner the guys that sat in the same booth every Friday night and ordered the same thing were regulars. But I realized I might not have the same definition as others so I started asking and some of the things I have heard are: the customer knows the staffs name, you know they will return again, you notice when they have not been there for a while and wonder about them, they make your shift better. How do you know you are considered a regular? They call you by name, they remember something about your last visit / conversation ('How was the trip to New Orleans'), they suggest an off menu item to you or a 'we are testing this out and want your opinion' Is there anything you can do to increase your perception as a regular? Be polite, Tip well, remember peoples names (if we like a waiter we will put their name in the contacts list on our phone so can remember to ask for them next time),
  5. I went to the tasting in Crystal city - Got a full size G&T from the Ford's Gin guy and talked bitters and Gin and Tonics with him for a bit - will stop by Thursday for my Barr hill tasting!
  6. We tried out Nocturne Friday night - the basement bar at the DC Sugar Shack (Disclaimer we are semi-regulars at Captain Gregory's the secret bar at the Alexandria Sugar Shack). We had Nocturne described to us as the experimental cocktail sister bar to Captain Gregory's, I would call it the hipster cousin. I felt I was to old to be there. The music was loud enough to discourage chatting with the bartender, the menu was lightly printed dark type on dark color blocks so I had to get my phone's flash light out each time I wanted to order. The drinks were good but I only had one i would consider amazing (Rabbit Season which was duck fat, apple brandy, apertivo, and orange shrub) Pooch did better and had two of his four be very good. Tried to engage the bartenders a few times: I asked about some of the chemistry / kitchen stuff they had behind the bar - got quick answers and that was it, asked a few times for details on drinks but not much response. Most of the drinks were pre-setup so they only had to do one or two steps to server - which let them do quick turnover but took away some of the interesting part of sitting at the bar for us and since this is set up so 13 of the 17 seats are along the bar I would think they would want to encourage interaction. The drinks that did have steps were made below the bar level so you were not able to see much of what they were doing. Overall I think I had my exceptions to high. If what you want is your first step into interesting cocktails with flavor combinations you aren't ever going to get at an 'and' bar then this is a fairly easy price point first foray into this, if what you want is interactive conversation of cocktails and information then we suggest going to Captain Gregory's.
  7. StarStraf

    Monterey/Carmel/Big Sur, CA

    Thanks for these listings - we are going in June!
  8. Had a friend in town staying in Herndon that wanted Indian food so found this on the Virginia list and went there - quite pleased - Huge menu selection, attentive servers, good food. Thanks!
  9. StarStraf

    Southwest Louisiana

    Just got back from our first anniversary party in New orleans The main event was dinner for 8 at Commanders Palace - it lived up to the expectations. Everything from service, to drinks, to food, to dessert was all wonderful. Glad I took the effort to make the reservations three months in advance. The surprise food find was Luke which we found wandering near our hotel. AMAZING duck and crisp rice. second best meal of the trip. The disappointment was The Court of Two Sisters brunch - Pooch says it was better 5 years ago on his last visit - service was spotty, food was hit or miss Zydaco's over in Gretna was our crawfish location (The local haunt of our friends that live there) which was great food and friendly service My Travel info spreadsheet
  10. StarStraf

    DR Summer picnic -7/29/18 Noon to 5ish

    Pooch and I will be there!
  11. Restaurant Eve had been on our to try list for years but just never made it there, but got in for restaurant week last night and have to say we were not impressed - nothing was 'wow' the fish was cooked inconsistently within the piece, service was okay but some glaring errors (by the time my cream for my coffee arrived my coffee had started to cool down; the table next to us got their appetizers twice and both before they got their drinks which they ordered first, and then got the wrong entree) Cocktails were good but not noteworthy first course: Deviled eggs (nicely done) and fish mousse (a bit thick but tasty) second course: Rockfish (upcharge) (parts overdone, parts underdone) and Cod with shellfish nage - Quite good except one part which was underecooked Sides (Not included so extra) Creamed leeks (Best thing all night) and Pomme Frites with garlic aioli (Yum) Dessert: Amano chocolate cake (nothing special) and lemon pavlova (YUM - great texture) Coffee (Very small cup, cream took a while to get to table, no refils) I know Restaurant Week Menus are not the best, but I should get a teasing and want to come back to enjoy the full or tasting menu - we were not impressed, especially not at the price point
  12. Columbia Firehouse had fallen out of our rotation, food and service started lacking, but a few weeks ago a chef we got to be friends with at Magnolias (Brian Rowe) let me know he was there now and making some changes so we checked it out tonight. One of the things we always enjoyed was their respect for classic cocktails - our drinks were good but not great, still needs some work there. Onion rings as a starter - nice and fluffy how I like them, though hubby prefers more crunchy. I had the Steak Frite - nicely done with well seasoned fries and yummy bérnaise sauce. Hubby had the ribs - potato salad was spot on! The cole slaw had great texture but was a bit bland in taste and he liked the ribs (though not smokehouse quality). Dessert was the cookie skillet which was to crumbly. I'm given to understand menu changes tomorrow and Brian is still working thru changes. It is back in our rotation and I'm looking forward to seeing how things improve. Overall neighborhood gem with comfort food and cocktails.
  13. We first drank from Zac at Rogue 24. Then the Palms above Magnolias, then convivial
  14. StarStraf

    Communal Tables Have Got to Go

    I always thought that sitting at the bar and ordering there was the sign you wanted to be social.