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  1. Last week
  2. Much has happened since my last entry. Crimson developed struvite stones in his bladder and there was inappropriate everything, often on treasured objects. He had also ate something that stuffed his colon up. This was in April. Off to the hospital, and he had to get opened up and the stones scooped out of his little bladder. I am so glad I have insurance on my 2 oranges. He had the runs recently, and the vets are too backed up for personal visits, so they were kind enough to tell me he has an inflammation from his issues (he has to eat special food now to increase the acidity of his urine). So they gave me Metronidazole caps. After a couple of days, he has learned to detect it and I can put it in his mouth and he'll leave the room and drop it on the floor while laughing at me. Pill pockets? He'll eat around the pill and leave it on the floor and say "Thanks for the snack!". I will emply the Pill Popper now, as he can also pick the pill out of his wet food, and he can also tell if I've slit open the capsule and mixed the powder in. "Hey, there's something in here! I'm not eating this!" They have amazing senses. Aengus is doing well.
  3. you are right, of course. I got the Belles mixed up... By the way, Mirabelle is deceased, I believe
  4. Visited EMP for the first time since the shift to plant-based food last evening. Service remains impeccable, with a few new faces and many of the pre-Covid team still holding down the fort. I have not seen this elsewhere so I'll post current menu details below. Wines are from the standard pairing ($175pp). To provide some context, I'm not personally vegan, but I can be perfectly happy with a meal that does not feature meat and dairy. Overall I felt that the restaurant did a commendable job of preparing dishes that would not make a person miss the animal products... perhaps to a fault? There appeared to be a concerted effort to add salt and umami to dishes where one wouldn't expect, with the end result being a meal that was begging for some brightness. For example, I'm not sure how a course featuring cucumber and melon would feel heavy, but this one did. Ironically some of the naturally "meatier" courses were favored because they didn't overcompensate. To be fair, I had similar feedback after a recent experience to Longoven in Richmond, so perhaps my palate is more salt-averse than many. I also found it odd that the restaurant didn't highlight some plant-based extravagances given that duck, foie gras, and caviar are no longer served. For the price point, I would've appreciated a little shaved truffle here and there. Criticisms aside, this was an interesting meal, albeit less enjoyable than previous menus. I don't regret going, but doubt I would again with the current format. Menu from 9/16/21 Tomato tea with lemon verbena, yellow tomato dosa, salad with garlic and sancho (Bruno Dangin, Prestige de Narces, Cremant de Bourgogne, France 2018). This was one of the highlights - very simple but delicious. Celtuce in variations with rice (Tatomer, Meeresboden, Gruner Veltliner, Santa Barbara County 2018) Featured celtuce (similar to celery) sliced longer than a matchstick served in a seaweed broth. Tasty, but difficult to eat with the utensils provided. Tonburi with corn, ginger, crumpets (Girolamo Russo, Nerina, Etna Bianco, Sicily, 2019) Was the table favorite of the night and definitely intended to be the caviar replacement. Cucumber with melon and smoked daikon (Royal Tokaji, Vineyard Selection, Tokaj Hungary, 2017) My wife adores cucumber but didn't adore this dish. Monotone in texture and flavor Summer Squash with lemongrass and marinated tofu (Domane du Pelican, Ouille, Arboise, Jura France, 2019) The least successful course of the evening Sweet Pepper with swiss chard (Ca'n Verdura, Supernova, Mantonegro, Binissalem-Mallorca, 2019) A play on a popper, a deep fried pepper that came with four condiments to try. Was fantastic, but difficult to eat. I'm going to search for this wine as soon as I'm done typing this - blockbuster. Eggplant with tomato and coriander (Tronquoy-Lalande, Saint Estephe, Bordeaux France, 2008) This was beautifully presented and delicious but completely blew out the bordeaux. pictured below Beet with horseradish and herbs (Alain Graillot, Crozes-Hermitage, 2015) Had gone through three days of preparation in several different styles - looked like a wrapped filet, tasted like... a beet (albeit a very good beet). Melon smoked and fresh with yogurt. Blueberry with elderflowers (G.D. Vajra, Moscato d'Asti, Piemonte 2020) More of a custard Sesame chocolate pretzel. The bottle of brandy at the end has been replaced by vermouth served in little artsy glasses with a reference to the artist. The brandy was missed, as was the whimsy of some of the previous desserts (name that milk was a favorite)
  5. Traettino Family squabble over the future of Positano, which opened it doors in 1977 and may be closed forever (Credit--Bethesda Beat). I had not been here in years, but have fond memories of prom dinners, family gatherings, etc.
  6. Portuguese shellfish rice, with fresh clams from Whole Foods, and a frozen seafood mixture (scallops, shrimp and calamari) from Trader Joe’s. I was really surprised at the quality of the Trader Joe’s frozen product - The seafood tasted fresh, the calamari were tender, and everything held together beautifully. Since I had out the mini processor to buzz up a shallot for the salad dressing, I also threw in a bunch of celery leaves to my basic lemon and olive oil dressing. Very nice addition and great for a simple green salad.
  7. Q: Which pitcher has the most career wins without a Cy Young Award? A: Cy Young
  8. While not as amazing as what Tatis achieved, I found this tidbit out today: Frank Robinson hit grand slams in back-to-back innings with the exact same players on-base both times (Blair on 1st, Buford on 2nd, McNally on 3rd).
  9. La Bise is the successor to the long-running Oval Room near the White House. It is part of the Knightsbridge restaurant group owned and managed by Ashok Bajaj. The kitchen is headed by chef Tyler Stout, who has had stints in Boston’s Troquet, as well as in DC’s Macon Larder. The restaurant dubs itself as offering modern French cuisine. We sat in the right back room and the decoration with giant Paris photos made us feel as if we were almost in the French capital. The service was impeccable like in the late Oval Room. We had a good sample of appetizers and two main courses (recommended by our competent and friendly waitress). Appetizers. A cold fresh pea soup felt in the mouth like a velvety green purée, not too sweet not too savory, just right. The foie gras with verjus (“vinegar” from un-ripened grapes), hazelnut, brioche and more was delicious. The butter-poached Maine lobster was accompanied by glazed potato, celery, preserved lemon and sauce Americaine, providing a counterpoint of starchy, tangy and peppery-sweet flavors to the shellfish. Main courses. · The duck plate was a combination of duck breast and duck leg confit, the latter presented in a “cannellone” with some foie gras added (a riff on the cannelloni a la Rossini, we guess). We thoroughly enjoyed this multifaceted dish, a kind of pasta plus “secondo” course all in one. · The sea bass paired a fantastic crunchy skin outside with a moist white flesh which transported our palate to foodie heaven. The side of zucchini and mini yellow pumpkins was also very tasty and grilled to perfection. To crown it all, we chose to share the Valrhona chocolate dessert with powdery olive oil on the side and vanilla ice cream. So sinfully delicious--we can still taste it in our mouths. It is surprising that the Knightsbridge restaurant group, which includes such great establishments as the two Rasikas and Mirabelle has not been awarded any Michelin stars so far. Perhaps la Bise is Ashok Bajaj’s latest attempt to obtain the coveted Michelin star.
  10. A few summers back we saw Christo's Masuba in London. 7500+ painted and stacked barrels. It was very interesting and impressive.
  11. Tonight was chicken salad with fennel and dates. Was really tasty, but a bit odd. Will do it again. Also, got a South Mountain delivery last night, so ice cream for dessert. I had "birthday cake" and it was BLUE but quite tasty. The boy and the friend who is staying with us at the moment had "snappy pumpkin." I do not like pumpkin. They said it was quite good.
  12. I've been on an Ina Garten kick lately, and last night made her take on Roast Chicken. I consider myself an above average home cook and try a lot of different things, but this was unanimously declared at dinner to be the best main dish I've ever made. Prep was easy, chicken was moist and tender, vegetables were fantastic. Dessert was Eric Ripert's Baked Candied Apples with some vanilla ice cream. Served with a Jadot Puilly-Fuisse and a Mersault. Just a marvelous meal.
  13. If you like eggnog, try Puerto Rico’s version, coquito.
  14. This is a problem I ran into with corporate places. I worked at a place that had "partnerships" with Gallo, Terlato and Kobrand. This obligated us to give their products 1/3 of the list. This leaves out the small, family owned wineries that I prefer to utilize. Gallo and Constellation dominate the supermarket category. Ever wonder why you see La Marca Prosecco everywhere? Gallo. Kim Crawford? Constellation.
  15. Tonight we had Chicken Tinga (from the crock pot) Also, salad. The tinga was very tasty. It involved corn! Sadly, I have run out of dessert.
  16. We bookended our time in Key West with short stays in Miami. Here are a few spots we sampled: 27 – Wonderful meal and experience. Stubborn Seed – For me this is the best restaurant I’ve been to in Miami, and consistently so. This time was no exception. Everything was excellent, as was the service after a bit of a hiccup at the beginning when we had to wait a long time for our table to become available. A thing I don’t normally consider, but which was an issue with my father, is that this place is quite loud. Yardbird – A real crowd pleaser. Living in Oregon my parents don’t get southern food often at all, and this got the job done. NIU Kitchen – My wife and I ate here our first night in Miami and it was great. We’re not normally downtown, but I would happily return. Puerto Sagua – My folks had never had Cuban food before, and this spot was a good introduction for them. Bazaar – We had lunch here, outside. The menu is substantially smaller than it used to be, likely due to COVID. Taquiza – I remain a huge fan of this place. And the new location has more indoor seating, which came in handy when a rainstorm popped up. Great tacos, great beer selection. Lost Boy – We grabbed cocktails here before our dinner at NIU Kitchen. Cocktails were very good, although I doubt you’ll have the same experience we did as the bar was packed with Chileans watching soccer.
  17. Back in the early part of the summer when I was convinced that this whole COVID thing was behind us, we went to Miami and Key West with my parents, who are currently trying to visit all the National Parks (they have about 14 to go). While thanks to tropical storm Elsa we were not able to make it to Dry Tortugas, we did have a nice time. Elsa also messed up our dining plans rather substantially as well, as many places closed on one or both of Monday and Tuesday nights. Here are a few restaurants we visited: Blue Heaven – This place remains wonderful. We had another great meal here. Bagatelle and Grand Café – I’m lumping these two together as they’re very similar restaurants. Perfectly fine, but nothing special. I wouldn’t actively advise against eating at either one, but at the same time I wouldn’t recommend either. Both are overpriced for what they are. Alonzo’s Oyster Bar – We chose this spot because it was one of a small number of spots that was actually open on Tuesday after Elsa swept through, and it was great. We got a seafood tower, which was wonderful, and I had some great steamer clams in butter and garlic. Sitting on the water topped off the whole experience. Eaton Street Seafood Market – My favorite lunch spot in Key West on this trip. I had awesome shrimp tacos, and some great conch salad. First Flight Island Restaurant – This is the original headquarters of Pan Am airlines, and it has a nice vibe. The food was good. I wouldn’t make a point of going here, but it’s close to a lot of stuff, and I’d happily return. Keys Fisheries – We stopped here on our drive from Key West to Miami. This place is known for their lobster reuben, which my wife ordered. I had fish tacos and conch chowder, and both were very good. Key Largo Conch House – We stopped here on our drive down. Very good conch fritters, and fish tacos. Would happily return. A few other establishments we visited: Papa’s Pilar Rum Distillery – Very nice distillery tour. Rum Bar – I love this place. Incredible rum selection, and very knowledgeable bartender.
  18. I've now been to Portland twice this summer. The downtown feels like a ghost town right now, but I wouldn't say any more so than other cities I've been to recently. Some of my favorite restaurants (Imperial, Little Bird, Andina, Red Star, Pok Pok) have closed permanently, and it can be really hard to find restaurants that are open depending on what day of the week you're looking, and what neighborhood you're looking in. Last week I had a wonderful meal at Mediterranean Exploration Company, followed by outstanding cocktails at Teardrop Lounge in the Pearl District. And last month we had exceptional drinks at the Scotch Lodge followed by a great dinner at Normandie, both new spots for me. I'd happy return to either.
  19. We'll be traveling to Puerto Rico in November, over Thanksgiving. I've been twice before, but all told for no more than 36 hours. We'll be splitting our time between San Juan and Rincon. Any hotel or food recommendations from anyone who has been recently?
  20. We ate at Moon Rabbit in like May or June and had a wonderful meal. The only negative is that the wine list is terrible, and overpriced. As in, with the exception of Krug, you could purchase every single wine on their list at a Safeway. This is a problem that Kith and Kin also had, so is likely related to the InterContinental. But I really hope they can fix this. Apparently corkage is $30, and I'll be taking advantage of this next time I eat there.
  21. Before the pandemic, they used to have Kibbee Naya on the menu at Zaytinya, but they have a reduced menu nowadays. I always ordered it even though I think it was better way back when Mike Isabella was running the kitchen there.
  22. Strongly recommend letting someone behind the counter guide you through a tasting. Yes, you want to feel good about something you're paying $25+ /lb for. Chances are you will, and your palette and exposure to cheeses of the world will get a good workout in the process.
  23. For anyone in Paris or fans of Christo and Jeanne-Claude. L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, a temporary artwork for Paris, will be on view for 16 days from Saturday, September 18 to Sunday, October 3, 2021. The Arc de Triomphe will be wrapped in 25,000 square meters of recyclable polypropylene fabric in silvery blue, and with 3,000 meters of red rope.
  24. Theirs was not always the best in the area, but it was good enough (for someone with the eponymous screen name). The Lebanese cuisine in this area is credible, compared to most metropolitan areas not named New York, Los Angeles, or Detroit/Dearborn. Our selection of Mama Ayesha's, Lebanese Taverna, Me Jana, Mediterranean Bakery, Mediterranean Gourmet Market, Albi's in the Navy Yard, among a few others, is an abundance of goodness.
  25. This restaurant which was open since 1985 (assuming it should have also been on the longest open restaurants list) is now closed per the announcement on their website. Not sure if it was the pandemic that caused it, but I am sure it contributed. The main menu here was always pretty solid. I know they used to get a bunch of Korean tour groups through for meals while visiting DC, the loss of that business probably hurt. Their other locations are two stalls at the nearby Lotte Market: Aery and Ichiban Mikoshi Sushi. Neither have the same quality as the original.
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