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Showing content with the highest reputation since 12/16/2018 in all areas

  1. 12 points
    Headed to Fiola Mare for an early dinner last Saturday, pre-company holiday party. The restaurant was packed, the music was loud, and the atmosphere was hectic. We checked in for our reservation a bit early and were offered a seat at the bar. As we ordered drinks, I perused the wine list. Ruinously priced, many, if not most, bottles at 4x retail or auction. Few bottles of red wine under $100 (unless you like Dolcetto or Lagrein) - nothing from France under $100 - including a cru Beaujolais for $125?! Glanced at the bordeaux list only to see the 2000 Ducru-Beaucalliou pushing $900! I don't begrudge a business their markups, but damn. After a cocktail we chose an '07 barbaresco from Taliano for $130 that didn't seem like highway robbery. Once seated, we ordered two appetizers - first, the Hamachi Sashimi, with marinated eggplant, basil, and olive oil. This was an excellent dish, albeit a bit olive oil heavy. The basil and eggplant added to the hamachi, punching up the flavor but not distracting. Next up were two orders of risotto with white truffles - shaved tableside. The truffles were in great condition, and the captain shaved a generous portion over the two dishes. Great pairing with the barbaresco. We really enjoyed this course, though I'd love pretty much anything with truffles. For mains we had Ora King Salmon, with a mushroom ragout, ditalini pasta and winter truffle and a Bucatini with Red King Prawns, Uni and piment d'espalette. Both mains were excellent - the bucatini was probably the more "interesting" combination of the two, and was really more suited to a white wine, but we did that ourselves. The Salmon paired very well with the barbaresco, but perhaps better with a half bottle of Altesino Brunello that we ordered as well. While we enjoyed both dishses, all fell into the realm of very good, not great. The salmon needed a bit of salt, and the bucatini would have benefited from a bit of acid. Overall, service struggled to keep up with the kitchen. Granted, the place was filled, but we experienced waits to be seated, to receive our cocktails, wine, second half bottle of wine, etc etc. Service was perfunctory, but pleasant enough. The waits were nothing egregious, but enough to be noticed as glasses were empty. I came away thinking a few things - I'm not sure if the goal for Fiola Mare is a Michelin Star but our meal and service in no way merited one, the wine pricing is ruinous, bordering on predatory, and I bet they will do super in Miami.
  2. 8 points
    The centerpiece of Christmas Eve this year was a chestnut bisque (from this Geoffrey Zakarian recipe). It came out extremely well, but I really should have bought frozen chestnuts, as the recipe indicates, rather than roasting and peeling my own. That was a lot of extra time and frustration I didn't need. The addition of the pumpkin pie spice in this is essential. I even bought a new jar of it, and it paid off. This was really good. I also picked up a new and decent quality bottle of sherry for the recipe. The rest of the meal was an herb and garlic baked Camembert from Smitten Kitchen Every Day; crudites; an assortment of breads and crackers (sourdough baguette, pumpernickel, whole wheat pita, Carr's rosemary crackers, and Triscuits); cold cuts (Virginia baked ham, mortadella, and Genoa salami); regular and spicy Cava hummus; various olives, pickles, and mustards. It was way too much food, but it was fun to graze and everything left can be used in future meals. Christmas lunch was more of the bisque, plus grilled cheese (leftover Camembert plus Parmesan, pear, and leftover ham.) Christmas dinner was a simple and delicious celery and Marcona almond salad I've made before (from Fine Cooking) to start. For the main course I made a sous vide boneless leg of lamb (rubbed with Maille whole grain mustard, black and red pepper, and olive oil, stuffed with thyme, rosemary, and nicoise olives). Steamed green beans with evoo and toasted pine nuts and sage scalloped potatoes rounded out the meal. That makes two dishes over the holiday I added to the menu after seeing Food Network's "The Kitchen" on what seemed like endless repeat. The potatoes were incredible but super rich. I will not be making them again for another year, because OMG...2 cups of heavy cream. They were GOOD. The sage and garlic infused cream made the flavor amazing, plus the salt and cayenne between the layers added a spark I don't usually associate with scalloped potatoes, and the heat cut through the richness. The only downside (other than our cholesterol levels) is that the 1 lb. amount given for potatoes in the recipe is too low. I used two medium potatoes (1 1/4 lbs.) sliced thin and couldn't even get three full layers. I should have added the third potato I had. This is the first time I can recall not parboiling potatoes for this kind of dish and having them cook through perfectly. Both nights I planned to make ice cream sandwiches with the homemade toll house cookies I made (my only holiday baking this year) but they went by the wayside since we had plenty of food already. Maybe this weekend.
  3. 7 points
    In appreciation for my favorite dish in this area. Their Chengdu Kung Pao Chicken continues to be the best version I’ve ever had. I stopped in for lunch today. They have a Kung Pao Chicken lunch special with rice and an egg roll. I asked if I could have the special with the Chengdu Kung Pao Chicken. They said no. I didn’t even care. The real “special” is the Chengdu version and this confirmed it. I’m always here with groups and order multiple dishes, so it was great to just focus on one outstanding dish. Outside of the traditional chicken, peanuts, and peppers, they also include sliced ginger and garlic. These take it to the next level. I’m usually a stickler for using chopsticks, but I was wearing a tie so I used a fork for safety. This also made the dish better as I could get all the flavors at once rather than one at a time. These folks take my favorite Chinese dish and make it my favorite-ist.
  4. 6 points
    As mentioned in a separate post, a number of new restaurants/food outlets recently opened in Tyson's Galleria. My daughter and I were out doing some Christmas shopping, and we decided to check out Sen Khao. I haven't been to Thip Khao, but I frequented Bangkok Golden a few years ago, which is the restaurant that introduced me to Lao cuisine. The menu is somewhat "compact", and featured two starters, a salad, two sticky rice dishes, and three noodle soups. You have your choice of proteins for the salad dish as well as the soups. We opted for Curry Puffs ($5) and two of the soups. The curry puffs may have been the best I've ever had. The dough was thin, light, and perfectly cooked, while the filling consisted of nicely seasoned pieces of potato. An order consists of two curry puffs with accompaniments. I chose the Khao Piak Sen ($14), which is a type of chicken soup featuring rice noodles, pulled chicken, garlic chili oil, herbs and greens, and some crispy rice. While it was slightly spicy, chili paste and raw chiles are available for those who like it hotter. This soup was a winner. Clean favors, nicely seasoned, and freshly prepared. (Note: The menu states the noodles are udon-style, and while I'm not a noodles expert, I think rice noodles were used.) My daughter opted for Mee Kathi with tofu, which is a coconut curry rice noodle based soup flavored with egg, peanuts, cabbage, and banana blossom. She declared her soup to be outstanding as well. The service was extremely quick, and the staff was very friendly and helpful as well. If I worked in the Galleria or lived nearby, Sen Khao would be on my short list. We strolled to check out the other food outlets, and picked up an eggnog ice cream cone ($4) at Ice Cream Jubilee. The eggnog ice cream was fantastic. Creamy, rich, and with a hint of rum. They offer several interesting flavor combinations (Thai Iced Tea, etc.) Looking forward to a return visit there, as well.
  5. 5 points
    Finally made it for "brunch" yesterday. The way to think about this is not as a very pricey brunch (albeit way cheaper than hotel brunches and the likes of Fiola Mare), but as an early, bargain Sunday supper. A couple of the items are vaguely reminiscent of brunch food (e.g., the ricotta "pancake" pictured above), but in truth it's simply three excellent, delicious Jon Sybert dishes for less than you'd pay at dinner! (I had the pork belly and tagliatelle, both fantastic, and a nice semolina custard.) It's also really nice to be at TuG during the day, in the light--quiet, peaceful, and, as always, as welcoming as any place in DC this side of 2 Amys. Disclosure: My son works there occasionally.
  6. 5 points
    Thought people might be interested to hear about Chef Guo, a new restaurant featuring Chef Guo Wenjun's take on Chinese banquets. This is probably the closest the DC area has had to Chinese fine dining, and I'm interested to see how it fares. The chef serves a selection of two tasting menus, the Banquet of Eternal Bliss Hot Pot ($68 lunch, $98 dinner), and the Banquet of Peace and Prosperity ($158 dinner only), both of which feature 10+ courses in the style of imperial cuisine. Scroll through the website to see the full menus, pictures of the dishes, and a press release detailing the overall concept. So far there hasn't been much buzz about this place outside of the Chinese community, but some friends who have gone reported it to be luxurious, visually and conceptually unique, and a lot of (too much?) food, mostly very good to excellent. There seems to be a mix of traditional cuisine and modern/Western techniques. If I understand correctly, the dinner they attended was a special event combining dishes from both menus, with all of the guests at a shared table and Chef Guo himself coming out between each course to explain the concept behind the dish (in Chinese); it's not clear to me how different the experience will be once the restaurant gets settled in, but from their website it seems like they are definitely interested in catering to non-Chinese clientele as well.
  7. 5 points
    Wow. What a run 701 had. Great, under the radar spot. Had always had solid meals there - and 701 was a trailblazer in that neighborhood.
  8. 5 points
    Tim Carman had Vinh Kee at #9 on his list of top 10 bargain joints in the burbs. I had their dim sum when they first started but it wasn't anything special so I was skeptical. But a few weeks ago we went and validated the actual goodness of their dim sum. This is the best dim sum joint in NoVa to my knowledge, in terms of quality and variety. The star was the XO turnip cake. The turnip cake was cut into cubes, deep fried, and then topped with minced meat in XO sauce. It came out really hot...so wait awhile for it to cool down. It was a substantial portion...we ate some before snapping the photo.
  9. 5 points
    I had a superlative dinner here this week. We ate upstairs in the formal dining room. The noise level was low making it easy to converse. There was the obligatory TV pundit sighting, marking this as one of the power spots in town. I'll confess that was dining with the GM, Michael Sternberg, but watching other tables in the room, I could see that everyone else seemed to be as well taken care as we were. We began with raw bar- mussels, oysters and clams. Outstanding. Next, warm lobster salad could not have been better. It was lightly dressed and perfectly poached. Rare has an extensive dry aging program and all the steaks seem to have between 21 to 45 and more days of age. I chose the rib cap steak (the only steak on the menu not dry aged because of the texture of the meat) with Molly Sauce (hollandaise with mushroom duxelles folded in) that may have been the best steak I've eaten in many years. Michaael brought some 40+ year old Cote Roties which were interesting and good accompaniments to the steaks. At that age, the wines shed their weight and show off an interesting delicacy. I only made it half way through my steak as all the cuts are generous. It was still delicious the next day with scrambled eggs. I finished with chocolate pot de crème, which I could also not finish. The service was genial, very well informed and attentive. I really like this place.
  10. 5 points
    Pictures I took from the innaugural brunch service at TuG on 12/2 (thank you window lighting). Really enjoyed the meal and at only $40 a person for 3 courses a pretty damn good deal all things considered to try the awesome cooking here. I managed to get NYE reservations here which I'm extremely excited for.
  11. 4 points
    Happy New Year everyone! All my love and best wishes for a wonderful year ahead, Rocks "The Perfect NewYear's Resolution for 2019 Was Written 154 Years Ago" on washingtpost.com PS - My 2019 New Year's Resolution is to reduce my use of disposable plastic by 50%, which I honestly believe I can do just by thinking a bit. Anyone want to join me?
  12. 4 points
    Thanks to all for the recommendations. I ended up doing a pre-game brunch at Rye Street Tavern, with a taste of the AC's Famous Fried Chicken (Classic Southern Style) and a Dockside Royale cocktail. Winner-winner chicken dinner? Well, yes! I don't make a habit of eating fried chicken, but if I did this would be my go-to place. Note that the all-you-can eat chicken applies only to Sunday dinner. It is suggested to call ahead because sometimes they run out of birds. The property is beautiful inside and outside - transporting. Post-game meal went to Hersh's for a Miles Davis pizza pie with a side of Malfadine duck bolognese and a spot-on Boulevardier. Everything was excellent and the cost was very reasonable. Hersch's is a great neighborhood place - sadly not my neighborhood. The on the corner ambiance was not in a silent way, but young, loud and boisterous. The polar opposite of the tranquil brunch at Rye Street. And the Ravens defeated the Browns in a must-win game to get in the playoffs for the first time since 2014. All-in-all a perfect Baltimore day.
  13. 4 points
    No one has ever paid me to eat anywhere although I occasionally attend media previews or events where meals are comped. When I write about those on my blog I acknowledge that fact. I paid for my meal at Julii. Because I know the chef- as I interviewed him for Jewish Food Experience- I provided him with some feedback on what I liked and didn't like. I plan to go back next weekend and will try the lamb. Again, I will be paying for that meal. I agree that prices are high here- but I think are comparable to City Perch. For a less expensive meal at Pike and Rose, I just ate at Nada and found the prices quite reasonable and the food is good.
  14. 4 points
    Last night I made manicotti for the first and last time. That pasta is the devil and I understand why they were still available when all the big shells were gone!! Trying to stuff a slippery pasta slug with ever tinier spoons is rather horrifying and messy. They tasted rich and cozy, especially when served with roasted asparagus and sausages cooked with peppers and eggplant, so at least the effort was worthwhile. Tonight we had leftovers from yesterday, plus a few more sausages. We like sausages.
  15. 4 points
    I was impressed by a recent lunch at Iron Gate. Friday at 1pm the bar area was empty, and the carriage house was maybe half full, and that was mainly due to a large party of about 14 people having a company holiday luncheon. We were given a table by the fireplace, which was very comfortable on a cold day. KOHLRABI TZATZIKI garlic chips, vegetable crudites, fennel seed crackers $11. Basically just a plate of raw vegetables and the tzatziki. The crackers were solid. But unless you are looking to eat some raw vegetables, probably not worth ordering, especially at $11. ROASTED MUSHROOM ARANCINI grayson cheese, thyme, black garlic aioli $7. A trio of golf ball sized arancini, perfectly fried and delicious. SESAME CRUSTED FETA sesame, vin cotto, earth + eats honey $8. Really excellent, wonderful soft feta, some earthiness from the sesame and sweetness of the honey. Highly recommend. CRISPY RUSSET POTATOES yogurt sauce, lemon zest, house seasoning $7. Also seriously good. A nice sized portion of super crusty potatoes, sitting on a pool of yogurt. CACIOCAVALLO STUFFED MEATBALLS shell beans, charred cipollini, salsa verde $16. Another winning dish. Good play between the richness of the meatballs stuffed with cheese and the charred onions and salsa verde. Perhaps a bit pricey at $16, but a very nice dish. WINTER VEGETABLE CAESAR pickled egg, white anchovy, crispy parmesan crackers $14. Fairly solid. The salad itself wasn't that standout, but I always love white anchovies. CRISPY BLUE CATFISH oil cured olive, pistachio, chili, winter fennel salad $18. I would have preferred to have received a larger portion of catfish, especially for $18, but it was well coated and fried. DAILY FOCACCIA local grapes, kalamata olives, sage (gift from the chef). A very nice square of focaccia topped with the sweetness of roasted grapes and saltiness of the olives. On a chilly winter day, Iron Gate is a lovely place to spend a couple of hours catching up with friends over a long boozy lunch.
  16. 3 points
    We're having soup to beat the Sick for the next few days. A brothy chicken soup and lentil soup as well. If they're not enough to do the job, I have a big butternut squash that will be roasted and pureed into more soup. Die germs, die!
  17. 3 points
    Tim Carman's article yesterday described Gen Lee's reaction to their signature eggplant dish appearing on the menu of Andrew Zimmern's new Minnesota restaurant. The article notes Mr. Zimmern did not ask permission to add it. Zimmern got a demo in July 2013 when he visited Chang's Richmond location (the first page of this thread includes a link to Zimmern’s Vine of the visit, but it highlights a fish dish). I wonder: did Zimmern disclose to Chef Chang he envisioned opening a chain of restaurants? At the time, Chef Chang could have seen this kitchen visit as an informal nod to a journalist/T.V. personality, not sharing a recipe for future commercial use. Sure, it was 5 years ago, but ouch. Who knows, their expansion plans might geographically overlap. Chang's restaurants' quality have varied depending on who was in the kitchen and some here have had disappointing meals. What if Chef Chang was even farther removed from the plate? When I first read yesterday's article I thought of Tom Power's "Chocolate Hazelnut Bars" heartfelt homage to Michel Richard and their time working together. Mr. Zimmern's offering was not this.
  18. 3 points
    Have a good time in London, my home town. The restaurant scene in London is probably best in its diversity, with a wide variety of ethnic cuisines. You have limited time but a few ideas follow. Best fine dining experience: Ledbury or Hedone or The Ritz (but jacket and tie for that one) or Gordon Ramsay. Best Italian: Beck at Browns. Best Indian: Indian Accent. Best Chinese: Hakkasan for "posh" Chinese, Royal China Queensway for a more down to earth experience. Best pizza (at least near your hotel) is 50 Kalo di Ciro Salva. Best Spanish: Cambio de Tercio. Best pub food: Harwood Arms, which specializes in game, some of it shot personally by the owner. Enjoy your trip. Details of all these places with reviews and photos are on www.andyhayler.com --- Harwood Arms (zgast)
  19. 3 points
    For some reason I’m not that excited about food and drink alternatives at Nats Park (or other venues) but I have enjoyed the whiskey line up at Declaration near Nats Park off the Metro nearby. Among the alternatives are shots of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon aged 10, 15 or 20, and their primo 23 year aged bourbon: the last of which is priced at $300/ shot. (There are other quality whiskeys across the board not that expensive) (no I haven’t splurged on any of the Pappy Van Winkle’s while stopping off there). I was by there again to see someone the other day and realized the restaurant had no mention here. Imaginative pizzas a variety of apps plus some sandwiches are all solid and the overall whiskey lineup is strong. During the warm weather they have an indoor/outdoor bar that is fun. It’s worth a visit while at Navy Yard and certainly for Nats games
  20. 3 points
    If you are anything like me, if one has a question, I want to be able to provide answers. So what is a naturally curious human to do? I do what I do best, I dig in and do my homework. I reached out directly to Steve Gaudio, founder of District Equities, to find out more about who & what was going to fill the 3rd floor of Tysons Galleria. The firm offers both landlord as well as tenant representation. Steve gave me a little bit of the background on Urbanspace. It happens to be a 33 year old company which has its roots in London operating public markets, as well as offices in New York. The CEO of Urbanspace, based in NYC, has run food halls for several years with solid success . ( sorry, not sorry but Mimi Sheraton take on food halls is short sided). The vacancy created by the loss of Isabella Eatery presented an immediate opportunity to Urbanspace , who was selected by the Landlord Brookfield based on their historical success of operating food halls. So the name isn’t representative of the space itself, but rather being a product of the company. Being that I spent my early adolescence growing up in Mclean, I personally thought the name of the foodhall was a peculiar fit. Mclean is the last place on the planet I would describe as being urban, but that’s about to change and I’m here for it. Most of the stalls will reflect a plot of Best of the District, with occasional pop-ups of proven concepts from outside the Beltway. ( Lady M crepes & cake ) A Grand opening will be held later in January once finalization of liquor licenses have been completed. By all means do not wait until January to head over to the 3rd floor of Tysons Galleria, go now. Free High-speed Wifi is available so this means this space will serve as a perfect vessel for freelancers to work while eating all the things. From what I can tell by my lurking online, the space looks absolutely sumptuous , and will serve as great space to bring friends & family. I plan on POPin’ in during the grand opening, and will have the opportunity to sit down with Steve and learn more about what District Equities has in store for the DMV! Stay tune... curious kit kat reporting, kat
  21. 3 points
    Hi, I'm Tony, a long time lurker. For work related reasons that no longer apply, felt it best not to post here previously. I enjoy good food, but am not a "foodie". Couldn't cook to save my life. Fire Marshall banned me from kitchen. I obsess on non food matters. My username is taken from a 1950's comedy sketch by Spike Milligan, creator of The Goon Show, the radio precursor to Monty Python.
  22. 3 points
    Beef stew with tomatoes, carrots, turnip, pearl onions, and rosemary Rosemary focaccia from the freezer, toasted and brushed with garlic rosemary butter
  23. 2 points
    Made this gingerbread bundt from King Arthur Flour. I added some candied ginger to the batter but other than that, followed all the instructions. Really liked the way it turned out, will be making this recipe again (with the added chopped candied ginger).
  24. 2 points
    I hate to keep starting new topics for you, but each of these players deserves their own thread, and you can always snap back to the previous thread by clicking on the little curved arrow at the top-right of the quoted post, at the far-right of the light-grey line - you can keep snapping back until the beginning of time (or the original thread, whichever comes last). Pujols is certainly one of the greatest players in history, and may just have the greatest resume of any active player. I wouldn't worry about his declining batting average (George Brett's lifetime average dropped to .305). One other note: If anyone is concerned that I'm noting his Dominican heritage in the title and tags: That's meant to be a gesture of respect and honor - we could have an entire thread on great baseball players from the Dominican Republic (starting, perhaps, with whom Pete Rose called the greatest pitcher he ever faced, Juan Marichal, who also deserves his own thread). I should add: If Pujols hits 15 home runs in 2019, then he'll be #5 on the all-time list, behind Bonds, Aaron, Ruth, and Mays.
  25. 2 points