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  1. Anyone been yet? I know they are only open for lunch so far, but the initial buzz seems quite good. I was never in doubt of course, but I think this could be something really special. We have ressies for the middle of next month for dinner, so I will be sure to report back but just curious to see if anyone has been there yet. Also....thoughts on parking? Mirabelle
  2. This place has gotten a few mentions - most recently in this weekend's first edition of the Wall Street Journal's Weekend rag. Slated to open in November, it's supposed to bring Portuguese-influenced Indian food from the Goa region, as well as coconut and curry leaf dishes from Kerala and almond and pistachio infused cuisines from the Mogul region. 633 D St. NW. Any other buzz?
  3. Can't believe you people didn't got going on Palena yet. The cafe menu continues to grow and amaze as always. From the latest, bisque with mussels, touch of rice and spinach flan; stuffed Pennsylvania lamb with piquillo bread sauce; and hen gallantine sexed up with pistachios and foie gras have blown my mind. The menu is so familiar and well-loved by now that ordering became a struggle, although not entirely un-looked-forward to. Should I have something new? Or should I get the best burger in NW? Of course, last night I figured had to have my burger fix before taking off for two weeks of caviar therapy. I said it first...Jeff is very dreamy and extremely dexterous with beverages of all sorts.
  4. Had to start a thread on the wonderful world of Komi! ------------------------------------------------------------------ A group of us went out for the tasting menu last night along with the wine pairing. While things started off a little slowly for some of the hungrier in the group it finished (many hours later) with a bang! Sebastian was a wonderful host, introducing each wine course with a description of the wine and why he chose it. He made some interesting and delicious choices, like a sweet moscato with the carpaccio of tuna and a hefeweizen with the charcuterie plate. I think Sebastain said we went through 7 bottles of wine, but we were certainly not counting! Highlights for me included the crackers that so many have talked about. The marinated fluke, an amuse, that was a refreshing bite served on a spoon. The housemade charcuterie (who knew head cheese could taste so good!). This came with a fennel flavored housemade mustard that was a wonderful combination. The milk poached veal tenderloin, which was served with a piece of their homemade pancetta that was absolutely amazing (Jacques Gastreaux was actaully moved when he tried it). Clearly Chef Monis is having a great time in the kitchen and it shows in his work. Here is the full menu: BARRON POINT OYSTER caviar, Greek yogurt, pomegranate vinegar MARINATED FLUKE capers, lemon, first pressed Petrinas olive oil DIVER SCALLOP fennel, olive, dates PASTRAMI OF WILD KING SALMON pinenut, red wine mustard, quail egg CELERY ROOT & MARCONA ALMOND SOUP 25 year balsamic CARPACCIO OF BLUEFIN TUNA & FOIE GRAS chive, sea salt, quince citronette HOUSEMADE CHARCUTERIE porchetta, salumi, headcheese, pate, housemade mustard SPECK WRAPPED WHITE TUNA farro, sweet-sour squash, truffled beet tzatziki CHIAN CHESTNUT PASTA braised lamb's tongue, teleggio MILK POACHED VEAL TENDERLOIN housemade pancetta, brussel sprout, apple, vincotto SELECTION OF CHEESE a selection of 10 cheeses that I wish I wrote down. FLIGHT OF DESSERTS skewer of pineapple and puff pastry, donut with chocolate marscapone cream, and devils food cake with ancho (?) chile cream COOKIES & CONFECTIONS lemon coriander, passion fruit gelee, amaretti, corn bread cookie with pomegranate cream LOLLIPOP ice tea and lemon
  5. Since opening five years ago, Chris Shepherd's Underbelly has been a self-appointed beacon for the evolution of Houston food. The menu has a half-page thesis on why Houston is the most interesting culinary city in the country, there are dozens of celebratory links to *other* Houston restaurants on their main webpage, and Bun B is quoted on the wine list. From afar I've found the chest-beating a little too much, but I can appreciate a chef who wants to represent his city -- especially in a time where many owners are happy to replicate restaurants from other cities. And being such a vocal proponent certainly helped Shepherd win the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest. But hey, what about the food? Head-on Gulf shrimp with buttermilk dill panna cotta, pickled beans ($24). Plump and sweet, this was a great showing for Gulf seafood. The panna cotta was a nice compliment. Hand-torn cornbread pieces and pickled beans were both sort of throwaways. Seared soft-shell with eggplant curry ($24). Shepherd recently made a big PR announcement about getting away from beef and pork, which meant a larger focus on seafood. Soft-shells are among my personal favorite foods, and this was a very good one. The eggplant curry was nicely done with a touch of heat; Shepherd is a fan of moderate-to-significant spice (if you're not, be aware, as it permeates the entire menu). Vinegar pie with salt brittle ($9). Previous savory dishes were not coursed (nor labeled as appetizers or entrees; guess by price) so I was rather full after two. Still curious enough to try this dessert, which I believe has been on the menu since 2012. It's not scary at all; more key lime in flavor than sour or acidic. Overall, a quality showing by Shepherd and his team. I didn't fall in love with Underbelly, but it's worth visiting for anyone who appreciates loud flavors with global influences -- basically the "Houston creole" cuisine that the restaurants trumpets.
  6. Zahav (reservations are imperative - it's also a two-minute walk from Amada if you want to sample both) and John's Roast Pork (open M-F 6:45 AM - 3:00 PM only).
  7. A'ight kids, put yer reading caps on Friday was our 7th wedding anniversary. That means its been 7 years since some generous friends took us to a meal at the Inn at Little Washington as a wedding present. Our gustatory urges had been slowly awakening over the previous year, driven in part by our release from the penury of graduate school into gainful employment, and we had wined and dined ourselves at Obelisk, Cashions and DC Coast to name but a few. Fine restaurants all. But "The Inn" was the big kahuna. Remember that in DC in 1998, there was no Maestro, no Laboratorio, no CityZen, no Eve, a reminder of how spoiled we are for fine dining options now (I think Citronelle was there but for some inexplicable reason we have yet to dine there). The passage of time, the loss of brain cells and a couple of years of sleep deprivation have taken their toll, and memories of the meal are hazy, but we remember literally being *blown away* by the whole experience. The setting, the service, and most importantly the food were all superlative - we had never experienced anything like it - I remember a sublime molten Valrhona chocolate cake before it had become a tired cliche. Two years later we returned, flush with the proceeds of a Harry Potter arbitrage scheme on eBay, and left wondering whether The Inn had changed or had we changed. Were our expectations too high after our first visit? Had we become more discerning as diners? Or was The Inn standing in place, content to serve a menu eerily similar to two years beforehand to those willing (and there were still many of them) to make the two hour trek from metropolitan DC, or even further afield? Some of the dishes were very good, but lacked the wow factor of our previous visit, and the service seemed a little detached and rote. As we left, the prevailing sense was that for $120+ per person BEFORE wine, tax or tip was it just wasn't good enough. Based on the comments on several other food sites it seemed as if we were not alone in this opinion. Time passed and we concentrated our fine dining adventures closer to DC, enjoying spectacular meals at Maestro, Laboratorio, and Eve, or overseas (Arzak, McNean Bistro). Last Christmas, my sister, remembering our raves from our first visit generously gave us a gift certificate for The Inn. While grateful for the gift, we honestly were not that jazzed about going back to The Inn and sat on the gift cert for a while (and in the "We do it because we can" category, shame on The Inn for voiding gift certs after ONE year). We finally decided to go in late-September and turn it into an anniversary celebration both for us, and my parents who would be visiting. My mother has a garlic allergy which can make dining out a difficult process so I mentioned it as I made reservations, and was assured it would not be a problem. Then the day of the meal, our babysitting fell through and I called The Inn to find out if it would be ok to add a 4-year old to our reservation. Again, they said it was not a problem (to be honest I was surprised at this, as an ultra high-end restauranteur, adding a 4 year old into a dining room full of boomers spending $200+ per person seems to have lots of downside). We arrived just in time for our 6.30 reservation and were shown to a circular table overlooking the courtyard (the same table as our first time there, maybe a coincidence, maybe not). Our amuse bouche arrived quickly, with about 8 for the non-garlic allergites (is that a word?) on one place and 3 or 4 on a separate plate for my mother which I thought was a nice touch. The amuse bouche included a mini-BLT (still on the menu after all these years) a red wine risotto filled ball, parmesan crisps, a rabbit turnover, a mini-ham sandwich and one or two others which I have forgotten. In general the amuse were good but not earth shattering. In ordering for the rest of our meal, our waiter took scrupulous care in accommodating the garlic allergy, to the extend of tweaking the making and presentation of dishes to ensure there would be no garlic but that my mother could still order just about whatever she wanted. I was very impressed. After the amuse came a complimentary cup of chilled watermelon soup with a hint of tequila. The soup was excellent - creamy, yet light, tasting of summer, and with the tequila giving its just the slightest kick. They even brought a cup of the soup (minus the tequila!) for our daughter, which she loved. For the first course proper, me and my mother had Prawns and Charred Onions with Mango Mint Salsa, while my wife and dad had Maryland Crabcakes Sandwiched between Fried Green Tomatoes with Silver Queen Corn Salsa. In general both dishes were excellent, but I think the prawns shaded it. Three large, succulent prawns paired nicely with the sweetness of the charred onion and the salsa. In another nice touch, they brought our daughter some macaroni (penne pasta to be precise) and cheese between our first and second courses so we could concentrate on feeding her and still be able to eat ourselves. This was seriously tasty and I'm guessing they used several different cheeses in its preparation. For the second course, I had A Marriage of Hot and Cold Foie Gras with Homemad Quince Preserves, my mom had a Morel Dusted Diver Scallop on a Cauliflower Puree, my wife had A Fricassee of Maine Lobster with Potato Gnocchi and Curried Walnuts, and my dad had A Warm Salad of Stone Church Farms Seared Duck Breast with Baby Arugula, Pine Nuts and Parmesan. In general, I adore foie gras and ordered this dish mainly for the seared foie with aged balsamic and it did not disappoint, but was pleasantly surprised at the "Cold" part of the dish, which was a delicious pate served with a small piece of toasted bread. For our main course, myself and my dad Medallions of Rabbit Loin Wrapped in House Cured Pancetta Surrounding a Lilliputian (!!) Rabbit Rib Roast Resting on a Pillow of Pea Puree, my mom had Prime Angus Tenderloin of Beef on Silver Queen Corn Saute with Wilted Baby Spinach, and my wife had Sesame-Crusted Chilean Sea Bass with Silver Queen Corn Succotash. I don't think I'd really eaten rabbit before and it was excellent. The pancetta added a good deal of flavor and it was surprisingly tender. The sea bass was also good, and the corn succotash was very flavorful. For dessert I had cheese, my wife had a trio of chocolate desserts (Black Forest Mousee Bombe, Chocolate Creme Brulee, and Bitter Chocolate Souffle), my father had the "Seven Deadly Sins", and my mother had a trio of peach desserts (Peach Melba, Peach-Champagne Sorbet and Peach Cobbler). In general I thought the desserts were good but not outstanding, although I think I was more in the mood for savory than sweet that night. Our daughter had a scoop of mint ice cream (that was as good as 2 Amy's and that's saying something) with chocolate ribbons. At The Inn, the cheese is served from the back of "Faira", a wheeled cow that must be (somewhat arkwardly) manouevered around the dining room - its cute, kind-of, but let me tell you when you're a 4-year old nearing the end of a 3 hour meal and its an hour after your normal bedtime, it's the coolest thing in the world! I had a nice back and forth with the cheese guy (earning a "you know your cheese" by the end of it all), and ended up picking a Montenbro, a crumbly blue from the Asturias region of Spain, a wonderfully ripe Tallegio, an even more wonderfully ripe Epoisses, a pungent cheese from Switzerland whose name escapes me and an award-winning American cheese that, much to my chagrin, I had never heard of. Now we were really starting to wind down, and Reinhardt Lynch came by and asked if we wanted the doors opening out onto the courtyard to be opened. Again, a great idea for a rapidly tiring 4-year old, and while we enjoyed coffee, tea and cookies, we took turns peering into the courtyards coy-filled ponds with her - several other tables were enjoying their desserts outside. After dinner, we had a quick tour of the kitchen and observed those willing to pony up the addition $300 ($450 on weekends) for the chef's table, exchanged pleasantries with Chef O'Connell (always easy when you have a cute kid), and made our way into the night air for the drive back to DC. Total bill for 4 people, a nice but inexpensive bottle Pinot, and a "kids meal" plus tax and tip was $775. The regular menu is $128 per person, our wine was $60, and our daughters meal was $28 (note that the tasting menu is $168 and the tasting menu with wine pairings is $243!!). We tipped 20% on the total bill including tax because the service was exemplary. Neil is a true professional, always there when we needed him, sensitive to the particular demands of our table, friendly, and good with our daughter. So, was it worth it? I would have to say yes. Its not the kind of place where you should go all the time, and it may not even be the place where you go for groundbreaking cuisine, but for a special occasion, the combination of ambience, service and food is hard to beat. I think they deserve credit for regaining their focus and maintaining a general level of excellence as they enter their 28th year in business. A final note on our superstar daughter. Yes, she's used to being taken out to restaurants, but she excelled herself this time around. By the end of the night, complete strangers were coming up to talk to her, clearly awed but her ability not to ruin their evenings! A final, FINAL note on the one teeny-tiny sour note for the evening. A young female member of staff loudly chastised my wife for reading one of Patrick O'Connells cookbooks that had apparently been already purchased by someone else but left on a table in the common area directly outside the kitchen. Honey, she wasn't trying to steal it, she didn't know it belonged to someone else, and your tone was not appreciated.
  8. Congratulations to Chef Corey Lee for winning the 2017 James Beard Award for Best Chef - West.
  9. I have a couple of questions. What's the difference between lunch and dinner other than the price? What's the difference between the 4 course and tasting menu (how many courses are served with the tasting menu)? lunch vs. dinner. 4 courses vs. tasting. They are closed on July 4th.
  10. [posted on eGullet 2003-2004] The minibar at Café Atlantico is an amazing experience that anyone serious about food must try once (you folks may wish to get your reservations in now because this is going to be the biggest thing in DC since the Monument). No matter what I say here, you owe it to yourself to go - this is something to experience, to learn from and to make up your own mind about. Yes, some 34 tastes or thereabouts, beginning with a Binaca spray-can full of mojito, and ending with a spoonful of Listerine sorbet 90 minutes later. In between, you'll find rapid-fire courses full of all the audacity and verve that you could possibly imagine. Some work, some don't, and all are thought-provoking and whimsical. There is no sense in breaking down each of these because the depth of each individual item is not the important thing here: the courses come at you too fast for reflection, for scrutiny, for analysis. This meal is a roller coaster, a surfboard riding the waves of flavor, texture and temperature without the time allowed to peak under the water to see what's happening. It's tres macro in that the big picture is what you should walk away with, not minute details of each 90-second course. This was a challenge for me because I like to think about what I'm eating, but this is the cuisine of first impact and slapdash analysis. Only at the end should you think back and reflect. The actual dishes - and I suspect I'll take heat for saying this - are not important. Nor is the concept behind each individual dish important. The important thing here is the concept behind the meal as a whole. Not having been to El Bulli, I have never experienced anything like this before. Once you've done it, you won't want to do it again, at least not for a long while, but everyone needs to do it once. There are 270 million people in the United States, and it will take a good long time to fit each of them into this little six-seat minibar, so Café Atlantico should prepare themselves to be deluged. You have to feel a twinge of pity for any first-time visitor to London that doesn't see the Tower of London, if not for the crown jewels and the contrived whimsy of the Beefeater tour guides, then for the sheer amazement of being there, and it's the same way with anyone serious about food: they simply have to have a meal at the minibar at Café Atlantico. But just as a London tourist wouldn't feel any need to return there (only a masochist would return a second time), I doubt I'll be back to the minibar anytime soon. It doesn't really matter what they're going to do with the harvest this autumn - I already know what the meal is going to be, and at this point, it's just a matter of filling in the proper details with the proper ingredients. And I don't feel the need to find out what strange ingredient will be combined with my squash this fall. Regarding the wines with this meal, the restaurant desperately needs to turn towards Germany for Kabinett-level Riesling (hey guys, Terry Theise does live in this area, y'know!), and also for some lightweight red Bourgognes. Having four bottles open at once would highlight the little tasting game, say a Sauvignon Blanc, an Austrian Gruner Veltliner (preferably with some age), a Pinot Noir from Burgundy and a Riesling from Germany. Absent that, there are so many tastes, combinations, temperatures being hurled at you that you're probably best off drinking still bottled water at room temperature and just riding with the food. So, did I like it? Well, that depends what 'it' is. I loved the dining experience in its entirety, I loved the novelty, I loved the back-and-forth between server-and-diner, I loved the sheer innovation and I loved that I was early in catching this destination meal that is going to be wildly popular, and there's no way it won't be (repeat: reserve now!). Almost every dish brought forth a 'wow, this is really interesting' from me, but not-so-many dishes warmed my soul, or made me want to have them again. I was on my toes the entire meal, but it was a rare moment in the meal when I'd say to myself, 'Man I've just GOT to have another one of those!' Again, I stress that it's the meal itself - not the components - that is the important and radical thing (unless you consider foie gras wrapped in cotton candy important and radical. Well, okay, it may be radical, but it's certainly not important). But did I like it? Put it this way: now that I know what it entails, I would look back two days ago and say to myself, 'yes, this is the one place you need to experience, more than any other place in the Washington area.' Now that I've had it, it would not be in my top 50 for visiting a second time (though I'm Jonesin' to try the weekend brunch). So, you should consider this posting to be a plug for the minibar at Café Atlantico. I urge you, gentle reader, to go, go with an open mind, and by all means make your own decisions which could easily be quite different than mine are. We're in uncharted territory with this place, and it cannot be "ranked" with the other restaurants in the city. Oh and Steve Klc: your mango dessert was indeed brilliant - I felt like fireworks were going off inside my head. Given my advanced sagesse as a result of this experience, you may now call me PopRocks. Cheers, Rocks. P.S. I can honestly say this was the first 34-course meal I've ever had that was followed by two Wendy's spicy chicken filet sandwiches on the way home. (Seriously.)
  11. I searched for a thread on Johnny's but could only find a few comments here and there. Most comments saying how it's gone downhill, not as good as it used to be, etc. Since I've never been, I have nothing to compare it to previously. First attempt at a late lunch, we were turned away from Firefly, so we walked up the street to look at our options, and lo and behold, Johnny's was still serving after 2:30pm. Service was very friendly and unobtrusive, and our meals were fabulous! I ordered the soft shell crab with Old Bay Buerre Blanc sauce atop a corn (souffle?) something, and co-worker had the shallot, beer-battered fish and chips. First off, the bread was just so-so, and the butter was rock-hard cold. I can live with that, since the soft shell was divine. The Old Bay was subtle, and just gave the sauce a "melt-in the mouth" type of experience. The sauce also had fresh basil, which added a nice complexity to the mix. The corn, which I can't recall what they called it, was incredible. I'll try my best to relay...imagine sweet corn just shucked off the cob, still with a bit of a crunch, held together by something that did not in anyway interfere or hide the flavors. It would also have "melted in the mouth," had it not been for the slight crunch of the corn, with sweet juices in every bite. The complement of the sweet corn with the tanginess of the Old Bay was perfect. When I ordered, the menu said "crabs" (plural) so I was a little afraid that I'd have to leave some on the plate...but the crabs were small, so it was a perfect size for me to eat and not be completely stuffed. My co-worker hadn't ever ordered fish and chips before, since he did not like fish in his youth, but thought the perfect time to try it would be here, since he loves shallots and loves beer! He was not disappointed, and said the fish was incredible. I snagged a taste of the very tempting chips---they were crisp and hot, and if I hadn't been savoring my own meal, would have tried to snag a few more! Dessert was shared; an apple crisp topped with fresh cream. It was not "sweet" as most apple dishes tend to be...nice tart apples, no overwhelming flavor of cinnamon. In fact, both of us though we could detect a savory flavor, such as basil? But we asked the waitress and she said maybe it was the type of apples used. She said it was simply apples and cinnamon. Sorry to be so long in the tooth, but FWIW, Johnny's Half Shell is a nice spot, nothing too fancy. In some ways it's good to compare a place to what it was before, but in other ways, those same comments may prevent new customers from giving the place a go. And from my first trip there, I will definitely return.
  12. Chef RJ Cooper will open his first independent project, Rogue 24, in the Mount Vernon Square neighborhood of Washington, DC. Projecting a winter, 2011 opening, Rogue 24 will be located in Blagden Alley at 1234 9th St., NW. Executive chef/ owner RJ Cooper, a seasoned veteran chef and James Beard Award winner, is thrilled to bring this landmark restaurant to the developing neighborhood of Mount Vernon Square in Northwest Washington, DC. The 2,600 square- foot restaurant will be tucked away in one of the vacant buildings in Blagden Alley, currently a trendy alley that houses experimental art exhibits. Blagden Alley, located directly west of the Washington, DC Convention Center, is in engaging new epicenter of revitalization. The project leadership of Norman Jamal of Douglas Development has lead a wave of recent development, from multi-million dollar condominiums to established art galleries, as well as a burgeoning social scene of coffee houses, bars and restaurants. This recent rehabilitation makes the neighborhood an excellent locale for the first fine dining restaurant in Blagden Alley. "The space is a perfect fit for the intimate, yet edgy experience of Rogue 24," says Cooper of the Blagden Alley location. "I look forward to joining the current and future independent retailers, artists and residents alike in developing this section of Mount Vernon Square as a distinct destination neighborhood." Celebrating Cooper's stylized urban fine-dining cuisine, Rogue 24 will exclusively offer an interactive 24-course tasting menu. Guests will be served a progression of small dishes that excite the senses, tantalize the palate, and awaken curiosity. The multi-course meal will offer a place at the table where guests can dig deep into a culinary team's philosophy: exploring their suppliers, cooking techniques and sources of inspiration. Rogue 24 will provide an effortless space for the diner to enjoy the imagination of Cooper's menu. The avant-garde beverage program will house a beverage director that will serve as both sommelier and mixologist and will prepare all beverages at a tableside cart, providing innovative pairings that will stimulate the entire experience. 8 beverage (a combination of wine, cocktails and beer) pairings will be offered throughout the 24- course meal. "It is my vision that Rogue 24 will provide an emotional experience. That is what creates memorable meals"”more than the food, the wine, and the service, the overall culture of the restaurant must evoke emotions in its guests." Working alongside Cooper, Harper McClure will serve as chef de cuisine. McClure hails from Atlanta's renowned Bacchanalia restaurant and previously worked with Cooper at Vidalia as his sous chef for nearly five years. The two chefs look forward to reuniting for this groundbreaking new project. ### Situated in the center of the 52-seat dining room, the state-of-the-art kitchen will showcase Cooper's creativity and desire to interact with guests. This architectural design will allow every guest to have an individual chef's table experience. Cooper has enlisted architects Brian Miller of edit and Lauren Winter of Winter Architecture, the famed duo behind Washington, DC's most creative and functional spaces including The Gibson, U Street Music Hall and Dickson Wine Bar, to execute this vision. Rogue 24 will be open for one dinner seating Tuesday-Thursday two dinner seatings Friday and Saturday evenings. The fixed menu price is $130, $140 for non-alcoholic beverage pairings and $170 for alcoholic beverage pairings. About Chef RJ Cooper and The Kid Can Cook, LLC Chef RJ Cooper's Rogue 24 will be the first of several restaurants as part of his and wife Judy Cooper's umbrella restaurant group, The Kid Can Cook, LLC. Rogue 24 will be followed by a variety of projects, including a more casual concept, Pigtails, to open in Washington, DC. Cooper is a seasoned veteran chef who has worked at some of the most prestigious restaurants in the nation, and has served as an integral part of the development in Washington, DC's fine-dining culture. Notable accolades include the prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic in 2007, as well as recognition from starchefs.com, as the 2006 Rising Star Chef. Cooper also works with the national non-profit organization Share Our Strength®, as a longtime advocate in the fight against childhood hunger. Cooper is the Chair of Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation's® National Culinary Council, is the founder of Share Our Strength's Chefs on Bikes program and in 2008 was recognized with Share Our Strength's Leadership Award for Chef of the Year. Chef Cooper also serves on the Advisory Board of the startup, DC-based non-profit organization Chefs as Parents that is working to transform DC-public school nutrition programs.
  13. Just got back from an expense account lunch at Vidalia...and I wasn't picking up the check! I like what they have done to the place, modern and sophisticated...and the food was damn good! Started with the Grillades and Grits - braised veal cheeks with creamy grits, tasso ham, green onions, tomatoes and capers...the veal cheek was lovely and went well with the creamy grits, the capers gave a nice sharp counterpoint Then went with the St. Mary's County Pork Tenderloin with pork belly, hog jowl bacon, savoy cabbage roll, braised greens, carolina gold rice, corned smithfield ham and old overholt rye pork jus...2 knobs of tenderloin wrapped in bacon, the tenderloin was perfectly pink inside...a nice cube of pork belly...the greens, rice and ham were wrapped in the cabbage roll...a very nice dish dessert went with the lemon chess pie...very lemony and very sweet...but after veal cheeks, bacon wrapped tenderloin and pork belly...perhaps a bit too much decadence! Vidalia is not cheap...but I was suitably impressed! Now I need a nap
  14. Mr. Monavano and I went to Amada, an authentic Spanish tapas restaurant, last week. Amada is located in Old City, and features 3 seating areas; a large bar and high table area, restaurant table seating, and a few seats looking into the kitchen. We sampled about 10 dishes ( I can not remember one) and the red sangria. The sangria had small diced pears and apples with a cinnamon stick to swirl in the aroma. Our dishes included: Complimentary flat crisps to scoop up a tuna, caper and balsamic dip. Charcuteria mixto - I'm not a connoisseur of serrano ham, but it was delicious and freshly sliced to order and paper thin Tortilla Espanola - This came with a saffron aoili, presented in a mortar and pestle. More saffron was sprinkled on top to be ground in. Fun. The "tortilla" was more like a big potato pancake with onions. It was fantastic. It's filling, so consider that. Almejas con chorizo - Tiny clams and chorizo in a broth just begging to be sopped up with the bread. Albondigas - soft bite size lamb meatballs and fresh peas in a creamy manchego cheese ? sauce Flat bread with manchego cheese - this was good, but we ordered it without knowing we'd be getting gratis crips with tuna dip. Probably redundant. Kobe beef carpaccio - This was a special. Seared kobe slice thin and fanned out. Topped with truffle emulsion and garnished with candied carmelized onions. This was melt in your mouth good. The emulsion lent an earthy tone to the dish. Even though it was Kobe beef, it was only priced a few dollars over the regular menu items. Arroz con leche - warm creamy rice pudding with current compote. Served in an old fashioned glass, this was totall comfort, not your mom's rice pudding! (at least mine, sorry ma) Almond crips - complimentary after the meal. I will not make the mistake of being in Philly and NOT eating here again. It will be interesting to go to Jaleo now to compare and contrast. eta: all this for $85 before tip. Our server (Stephanie) and runners were very hospitable and kept the meal going at a perfect pace for us.
  15. Having heard of Prune through its chef's popular cookbook (Blood, Bones and Butter), I hadn't tried it before coming here on a cold, rainy Sunday for brunch this weekend. Brunch is a hard time to judge a restaurant - I'm sure the staff would rather be elsewhere and often many of the customers would rather be at home in their beds (particularly with the aforementioned weather), but the 30 minute wait outside suggested that enough people thought this was worthwhile. Sitting at the bar, the bartender was amiable and efficient and could make an excellent Southwestern Bloody Mary ($12) - one of 8ish bloody mary options on their beverage menu. Its always odd to see bars in New York line up customer orders for a half hour, just waiting to deliver our needed libations at 12:01pm due to an antiquated blue law. I ordered what was the finest Huevos Rancheros I've yet eaten - two eggs baked into the tomato/chili sauce with a light topping of white cheese, served with black beans and a little avocado ($15). +1 received what appeared to be a technically perfect omelet with cheese and bacon, though it seemed to lack a certain penache, and the +2 ordered an omelet with fried orders that looked, and I was told was, delicious. The Monte Cristo's coming out of the kitchen made me wish I'd had my cardiologist on call so I could have ordered one... All in all, a very pleasant meal that made me want to return for dinner. One note - this place is small. Small to the extent that I found my 6'3" frame grew to be uncomfortable relatively quickly. Maybe this helps turn the tables at a popular spot faster, but definitely not a location I wanted to linger after brunch. (We paid in cash as our local +2 suggested they may not take credit cards - probably worth confirming if you're planning a visit...)
  16. The Restaurant Issue of Bon Appetit (Top 5 dining cities issue) was mentioned in another thread. Also in that issue was an article about Vetri. It sounded pretty amazing. The chef there beat out four of our own DC chefs for a James Beard Award (Best Chef-Mid--Atlantic). They made it out to possibly be the best Italian restaurant in the U.S. http://www.vetriristorante.com/ So, has anybody been? Is it worth a two-hour drive? Do tell!
  17. This is worth its own thread strictly for historical purposes (and there's your retirement trip, Joe: an oval (egg-shaped ) road trip across America and back, trying each-and-every America's Classics winner. I'll bet nobody has ever done it, and it could easily be done in a summer (I count 84). You'd need to fly to catch the Alaska and Hawaii winners, but other than that, I'd be happy to write you a travel route that would minimize driving (I knew that M.S. in Computer Science would come in handy one day. ). These places tend to be somewhat unhealthy, so you'd really need to exercise daily, and eliminate pretty much all eating except for these restaurants plus healthy snacks. Hell, when Matt goes off to college, *I* might do it. What a journal this would make! And what a cool, thorough way to get to know the U.S.A.)
  18. I had lunch solo at the bar recently at Gotham Bar and Grill. I enjoyed the food, but more than that, I was incredibly impressed by the service. What sticks in my mind is that the bartender was just so nice, yet formal, in the manner in which he checked in during the meal and asked the usual routine questions. The service was also excellent otherwise. For example, someone served me a roll promptly, and once I finished it, the bartender asked if I'd like another piece. None of my usual craning to try to locate and accost the bread server. My food was delicious. I started with the yellowfin tuna tartar (menu description: Japanese cucumber, shiso leaf and sweet miso asian ginger vinaigrette). The mound of tuna included chopped scallion mixed in and was speared with 3 pieces of toasted bread. I had the miso marinated black cod for my main dish (menu description: bok choy, shiitake mushrooms and sticky rice, soy lemongrass ginger sauce). The dish had 2 pieces of black cod, and the rice was seasoned. The bar had boards bridging the gap between the bar and the railing to make it easier to dine (see picture).
  19. This Tribeca eatery is a great value for a good meal. They have outdoor seating weather permitting, and are dog friendly to at least small dogs. My husband sheepishly after this meal looked at me and admitted it may have been the best meal of our trip, and certainly the best value. The sheepish look was because we had two nights before been at Le Bernadin. We checked in with the very nice hostess, we were a few minutes early and our table wasn't quite ready yet. She offered me the bar and I laughed told her I better go wait with the hubby and pup and she was very nice and said don't worry I will find you when your table is ready. Sure enough a few minutes later she did. Our waitress was very nice, while we just wanted a few cocktails, we overheard her extensive conversation with the table next to us regarding wine selection, she brought them out a couple different things to try, including what she recommended when they were a bit unsure. I had the Mare Mosso with bourbon, zacapa rum, ginger beer, apple cider and fennel honey. It was really refreshing, not overly sweet and nice on a evening after a long walk wearing out the dog. I am not sure what Hubby had. I started with the Arugula Insalata. A generous bowl of peppery fresh greens with asiago, lightly dressed. It had mission figs and some speck, but not too much, which was good as I mainly wanted greens. It was so good, Hubby actually stole a decent portion of it, which never happens. It was really a simple dish, but really just hit the spot. Hubby had the duck meatballs with dried cherry mostarda. Those were also good, nicely flavored with a juicy texture, a little rich, but good. For entrees I had skate with squash, fried green tomato and agrumato. I thought this dish was also really fresh. The skate was nicely cooked with a good touch of acidity. The tomatoes weren't overly breaded, had a nice flavor and not at all mealy or overly dense. The vegetables were at that perfect, cooked, still a little crisp stage. It was a really nicely composed dish. I love the flavors a little tangy, lemon, but with nice texture. Hubby had the paparadelle. I didn't try any since I had really good paparadelle at Eataly previously, but he loved this place, so it must have been good. For dessert I had the peach crostada with goat's milk gelato, basil syrup and it had a little bit of brittle of some sort. I really like the tanginess of the gelato with the sweetness of the crostada and the basil syrup really rounded it out so it wasnt' overly sweet, but a really nice composition of flavor and texture. Hubby had the lemon tart and thought it was really good, as well. We both liked that the dessert wasn't too decomposed or messed with, just simple flavors, with really impeccable execution. This whole meal made me want to come back.
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