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  2. Exactly, I got hotels in Bali at the Intercontinental for $30 more per night than the base Hotels.com rate, but we got a free upgrade to a huge room, free wifi, free breakfast which was more than $30 per night and we would have wanted the breakfast and wi-fi. We booked our rooms in China at the Marriot at cheaper than expedia rate through Amex. This wasn't always the case, so just wanted to point it out to anyone who hasn't been paying attention who is Amex Plat.
  3. I'll go a step further, and say that the most-recent restaurant meal I can remember that was this inedible was a delivery order from the indescribably bad Kahinoor Dhaba in the summer of 2017. To steal a phrase from my (very French) mother-in-law, when a server asked how her meal was at some gloppy, corporate Tex-Mex chain out near Sterling: "Zees food eez for zee peegs."
  4. Yep, the AMEX FHR benefit for Platinum cardholders, if you like staying at nice hotels, can be super-useful. Sometimes there are stay 2 or 3 nights, get one free offers. And many hotels throw in $100 in food/beverage, spa, or general use credit when you book through AMEX FHR. Plus you get free breakfast for two (obviously more valuable at some properties than others), early check-in at noon if available, at least a one-category room upgrade if available, and guaranteed late checkout. Their rates are often a bit higher than booking through the aggregators or hotels directly, but these ancillary benefits in the aggregate often more than make up for the rate difference.
  5. At the old location, which was in the small basement of DGS Deli, Little Sesame served 5 or 6 different bowls of hummus with pre-selected toppings, mostly vegetarian, usually fairly seasonal, with usually one or two grilled meat options, with fresh baked pita. They also had a couple of salads. It was a pretty small space so the menu was limited. Their hummus was pretty solid, the pita decent, and the veg options usually quite good (although they stopped serving my preferred crispy potato topping). I would imagine in a larger space they will have more menu options. It was one of my go to places, and now only two blocks from office (gulp).
  6. I agree with the sentiment -- to a certain point. Part of me is "meh" about hustling. There's a time and place for it in every sport (i.e., high-leverage situations). And I suppose having a team culture of hustling vs. loafing could be valuable if it means trying harder during practice. But when the score is lopsided and/or the stakes are lower, hustling can be counter-productive if it materially increases the chances of injury. Pro athletes, especially the ones that get paid a lot, are usually much more valuable healthy and playing than hurt/disabled. Not many traditionalists believe this, but staying healthy and managing your body are as much a skill IMO as hand-eye coordination, power, or superior footwork. Lionel Messi is apparently legendary in his energy conservation skills. LeBron is aware of this issue too. Like it or not, Father Time is undefeated and older athletes have to pick their spots for when to turn their higher gears on and off. It's easy for young minor leaguers to go all out 100 percent of the time, because their bodies heal more quickly and hustling often helps mask other deficiencies (i.e., if their on-field production was better, they wouldn't be stuck in the minors). So yeah, the fake hustle of running out pop-ups or come-backers to the pitcher in a blow-out does nothing for me.
  7. I wanted to mention that I have found that the Amex travel booking for hotels and flights has gotten much more reasonable in cost. It used to be that booking travel (when not using points solely) was more expensive through Amex, but nowadays they are often matching or beating the prices on the aggregates. I have been using it a lot more frequently to book hotel rooms than I used to which is nice with some of the upgrades you get.
  8. My first Peter Chang experience was a huge disappointment. We had a sampling of signature dishes last week at the Arlington location, and all were poorly seasoned and extremely greasy. The worst offender—the cilantro fish rolls—oozed grease with each bite. They were inedible. Also oily and bland were the dry-fried eggplant and the bamboo flounder fish. The Dan Dan noodles were less greasy but lacking any real flavor aside from “heat.” The best dish, for me, was the scallion bubble pancake, but it was scant on scallions and oily on the bottom as well.
  9. Passed by the storefront and thought it looked like a very interesting concept. I was curious about the menu so tried to see it. While they have their "story" "philosophy" and pretty pictures on the website, no menu! I've complained about various restaurant websites before and this one is annoying too...it keeps moving and yet the info I see is not to be found.
  10. Today
  11. The following particular question and response from Boswell is not about the Frederick Keys but is about the pleasures of Minor League Baseball. I agree it does catch many of the pleasures in watching the games. No it isn't major league baseball. Not close. OTOH, if you have in your mind or memory the essence of the game, players at this level are quite excellent. They play hard, they hustle, you can watch the game up close, and it is very relaxed, let alone the favorable concession prices. Very nice discussion imho:
  12. They do, but it costs (if I recall) $75 each. I don't think I've made it beyond February without getting the $300 rebate back, and I don't travel all *that* much. Even without the incredible 100K signing bonus (or whatever it was), I doubt I'll ever switch away from this card. I've also had really good luck transferring Chase miles to Frequent Flyer / Stayer program miles - you need to "plug in" each one of your programs on chase.com, but then it takes about 15 seconds to transfer miles, and they're recorded instantly (invariably, if you shop around, you'll get a better deal than 1.5 x Miles by transferring). Priority Pass has proven to be pretty worthless to me - something of a "once a year" thing. You never need to worry about rental car insurance again (which is often true, but it's certainly true here).
  13. Currently the access to lounge is the cardholder +2 guests. As Don posted below, authorized user is $75 but gets own Priority Pass card - hey, you can have another kid!
  14. ktmoomau

    Baking

    Oh man, for someone who doesn't like to waste and doesn't feel like packing food stuff, my empty the cupboards philosophy has kicked in hard. I needed some hot dog and hamburger buns, but didn't feel like buying them and had bread flour and yeast, so I made them. I didn't love the recipe I used, if someone has one they really like, please post. I then also made coconut, pecan, oatmeal cookies that to me could be a tad bit sweeter, but they aren't bad (next time I would add a little more brown sugar). And I made waffles, which is sort of baking? They turned out well. I like the mini waffle machine I bought as the waffles come out the perfect size that if you don't eat them all, they are like eggo size and you can freeze them or refridgerate and pop in the toaster.
  15. Thank you both! I'm going to think more about Chase Sapphire Reserve. I don't think I'd get a ton of use out of the Southwest Companion Pass, which seems to be the ultimate goal of the Southwest card. Does the CSR allow authorized users? My husband is an authorized user on both my current cards, which I'd probably keep because I've had them a long time and they don't have annual fees, but I'd rather him be able to charge on the CSR. If I were to get Priority Pass lounge access with the CSR and I was traveling with my husband and/or daughter, would only I as the cardholder be allowed into the lounge, or would all three of us be allowed in?
  16. The Instagram photo that they posted this weekend of all the wine that had to be tossed was really sad to see. We'll definitely make it a point to go back often once they re-open.
  17. Wow, apparently I really like Vola's and/or it is right next to my office before it moved up the street. Met up with some friends who had a babysitter at Hi-Tide lounge right before the deluge started in Old Town. Man that spot if great people watching during a flash rain storm. Watching people try to get across the flooded street, the cars roll through, people taking cover, the dogs, it was hilarious. I had a strawberry daquiri and was pretending it was a nicer day than it was. I like the music selection they play in here, it reminds me of yacht rock. We then moved over to the restaurant. I had fish and chips- it wasn't bad, but it wasn't my favorite version of the dish and they have stronger menu items. I really wanted shrimp but we have so much shrimp at home because I purchased a big bag at RD. My bestie's fried chicken looked really good, I should have stolen a piece and hubby had to po-boy which I like. Anyway, I think you have better fish and chip options, but there is other stuff here worth eating and on either a nice day when you can sit on the dock, or a flash flood when you can watch people try to cross King St, great.
  18. We will miss Pie-tanza being so close. Friday night I wasn't feeling like cooking. I realized I needed to thaw some key ingredients for some dishes I wanted to make, or buy or bake some bread for some things. So I messaged Hubby to pick me up and not pull into the garage. I kind of wanted pizza or pasta or burgers, so we went to Pie-tanza. We got a beer and the girl next to me had a really good looking calzone, so I got a calzone with artichoke, zucchini, roasted red pepper, olives and pepperoni. I ate more of this bohemoth than I would like to admit, it was delicious- I think the bread on the calzone was just really good, not out of this world, but I think they make pretty good dough, and this had a nice rise/char to it. Hubby got a big plate of spaghetti and meatballs and was perfectly happy. If you go after 7:45 ish it really calms down as a lot of families and kiddos are heading out. Anyway, go the gym and you won't feel so guilty eating your way through the calzone, or just take part home, I did the former.
  19. Dizengoff has expanded in recent years, most conveniently IMO to the Whole Foods by the Franklin Institute and Art Museum. There's a food hall-style set-up on the main level that also includes Federal Donuts and Goldie. Plus underground parking is free for 90 minutes and there are spots for charging electric vehicles. Most importantly, shakshuka is available on Saturdays too -- only Sundays at the downtown location -- and was enjoyably spicy when we ordered it the other day.
  20. Hubby and I went on Saturday for lunch and were really impressed with the food. We definitely will be back to try other things on the menu. Service was very nice, but a little slow as there was just one waiter, but he was very, very nice and was handling it well! The iced tea was very good, not your normal liptons, and I really enjoyed it. We started with hummus, which I thought was a very good hummus, very smooth. I liked the bread with it, it had a nice pillowy rise to it, I have a hard time getting my flatbreads to have this type of rise, would love to learn how they make this! Hubby had the bakhtiari which he loved, and already ate the leftover of it before I could steal them! I had a bite and I really liked the seasoning in it. I had the Gheymeh Bademjan, which on a day in which it rained- the whole entire day- this was just perfect. I thought it had nice texture to it, with a lot of flavor. I took some of this home too. The entrees are definitely two meals for Hubby and I. We would love to take our parents here, I think they would like this place. Next time I might try a special or something more different, but we loved these dishes. One gentle suggestion- you should think about playing light music at lunch- it seemed pretty busy, but we could here the rhythmic sound of the AC, and the phone was a little loud, but some light music would have covered that up, and just added a bit to the experience. You all might normally do this and may have just forgotten as it did get busy very quickly once we walked in the door.
  21. CSR wins for me because of the 3x miles on travel and dining and redemption via Chase website is at 150%. Let's say you spent $3,333 dining out. That would give you 10,000 miles. Normally 10,000 is good for redeeming $100, but on Chase, it's good for $150. The prices on the Chase website are the same as elsewhere. The Priority Pass lounges also save me quite a bit on money at the airport (I fly out of Dulles mostly, and take several trips to Orlando and Las Vegas a year).
  22. The Southwest card seems fine enough, though I wouldn't necessarily view the CSR as that much pricier. It's true that the annual fee is $450, but you basically get two-thirds of it back in the form of a $300 travel credit (that can be used for airfare, parking, public transportation, car rental, and so forth). And in the ordinary course of spending, these travel expenses (plus all restaurant dining!) generate 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar. Most travel bloggers view UR points as worth somewhere between 1.5 and 2 cents per point when redeemed properly, so that means an effective 5 or 6 percent rebate on all your travel/restaurant spend. You do get about half of the Southwest annual fee back in the form of a travel credit, though the card is new and we have no idea in practice yet what qualifies for reimbursement. The best reason to get this card now is that, in theory, you can earn about 80K in Southwest points towards the 110K needed in 2018 to qualify for Companion Pass in 2019, which is super-valuable if you travel a lot on Southwest. But if you're only flying a couple of times per year, it's not worth tying yourself down to one airline. And the chances for bonused spend, unlike with the CSR, are much narrower with an airline-specific card. The CSR is also better IMO because UR points are a very flexible currency -- they can either be redeemed directly for travel spend or transferred to miles/points with a wide variety of airlines. Southwest points have a fairly fixed value and can't be leveraged as effectively.
  23. ktmoomau

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

    Adding another potential new member to the group, and adding cannoli to the sheet.
  24. I made the risotto above without the mushrooms as Hubby isn't a mushroom person. I used Charleston Gold Rice as I was trying to use it up. I thought it turned out pretty good. I will try next with the arborio rice I need to use up. Tonight I am making a chickpea curry. This week I am going to make homemade baked beans.
  25. Some of the dishes I like include: Some of the noodle soup dishes I haven't tried the pickled one. From the specials I like the two casseroles, with favoring the shrimp one. They are both good, and I think the shrimp one was applauded by someone else upthread. I generally always like triple delight. Their's is good, not remarkably special. I'm also favorably disposed to their crispy beef. For some reason I've never had the Peking duck. I tend to order chicken rather than other proteins. I like the chicken with asparagus, with garlic, and the eggplant one. I order the chicken with eggplant a lot. Large pieces of eggplant. Obviously though it all depends on taste. It could well be I'm either not that discerning on takeout or the orders for takeout come out fresher when you pick them up. I wouldn't know. It is a rare day in hell when I get an order delivered. I have this "thing" about picking up food. (call me old fashioned or cheap). When I walked in the other day the guy (I think one of the owners sons) and I started chatting. I didn't recognize him but he had taken our bartending class a couple of months ago (I guess he was preparing for their new bar). He knew I ordered the shrimp casserole dish. Imagine that!!! For a local Chinese takeout I favor it. OTOH I wouldn't travel miles to go there. I'd go to Rockville for far better and more special Chinese or Falls Church
  26. The pizza here never disappoints, really reliably spot on. The service is always pleasant, despite often long lines of hangry customers, and I have never had a problem getting a seat by the time a delicious pizza with wonderful fresh ingredients is ready to be savored. To top it off, I left my cell phone on the seat once, and a server tracked me down outside to return it.
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