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We enjoyed an exceptional evening at Métier last week. From start to finish, everyone we encountered was wonderfully hospitable, and the service was flawless. Celia greeted us in the lounge--she is wonderfully charming. Michael Chesser, the Captain and Sommelier, was engaging and informative, and led our service.

For my budget, it's a special occasion restaurant, and even though it was very expensive, it was money well spent. 

The dining room is relatively small, but spacious. The kitchen is visible, but we couldn't hear any sounds. 

If I had one quibble, it would be that three desserts was one too much for me. (Signs of age, I suppose)

Instead of providing my own descriptions, I'll include a photo the menu notes. The restaurant was quite accommodating, and changed a couple of dishes to better suit my wife's preferences. For the wine aficionados and experts here, I'd be interested to get your thoughts on the wines used for pairings. I enjoyed each pairing immensely.

Toro with hummus and lavash crackers served in the lounge, accompanied by a burnt cinnamon cocktail. 


Seared Bluefin Toro


Puree of Savoy Cabbage soup with Rye Bread and Cured Foie Gras Crostini


Crispy Skin Filet of Virginia Black Bass


Scallops. (They prepared this instead of lobster for my wife)


Confit of Maine Lobster. 


Pan Roasted Martin Farms Beef


Poached Pineapple Upside Down Cake. (My favorite dessert)


Métier Candy Bar


Dessert number three. I honesty forgot the description, but it's a play on cinnamon rolls, accompanied by a hot buttered rum drink.


Our view of the kitchen. Eric was visible throughout most of the evening, but the table was occupied and I didn't want to intrude on diners' privacy by taking a picture while they were present. 


Menu


Menu notes


Menu notes


Wine pairings
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At around 9 pm, I'm expecting an angry call from my ex-wife asking why our daughter can't get to sleep.

You have some idea where I'm going with this.

My 9 year-old and I dropped by Starbucks for a refreshing beverage after a salty 5 Guys burger. Looking through the cooler, she spots a Starbucks Strawberry Lemonade Refresher. Being the diligent father I am, I read the can looking for any possible caffeine. Nope, product looks clean, right?


It's a sparkling juice blend. Or maybe it's lemonade! Could be a flavored juice blend drink, I suppose. Anyway, it's made with coconut water and real fruit juice!

I turn the can to make doubly sure!


Ok, now it's a sparkling strawberry lemonade. I'm confused, but still no caffeine. 

I triple check! Look at that whopping 25% fruit juice. That's good, right?


"Ok sweetie, drink up!"

I get home and just as I'm about to throw it in the recycling bin...


WTF Starbucks?
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Backyard Barbecue is closed as of this week.  Bad news.  They were great neighbors.  But their location will be taken over by the owners of Alexandria's Smoking Kow.  Good news! 

Place will be dark for a while  during the transition. (Meanwhile, get your ribs at Peking Pavilion next door.)
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The Big Hunt was an early player in the DC craft scene.  Dave Coleman was the GM and Beer Director at The Big Hunt and then went on to found 3 Stars Brewing.  The references I can find online is that Coleman was beer director at The Big Hunt in 2006, if not earlier.  My guess is his efforts predate Birreria Paradiso, probably by a couple of years. 

The Reef opened in 2001/02.  When it closed in 2013, most media reports noted that it was one of DC's first bars to focus on craft beers.  The First DC bar to have Chimay and Allagash White on tap (according to the Post) 

RFD opened in 2005(?), which of course had the same owners at the Brickskeller, and the same problems with keeping beers in stock.

Rustico also opened in 2006, with 250 bottles and 30 taps. 

Granville Moore's helped jump start things on H Street, NE in 2007 with a Belgium beer focus.

Brasserie Beck opened in 2007 (was originally slated to open in 2006)

ChurchKey was delayed and finally opened in 2009.

Meridan Pint opened in 2010.

I'm sure there are other notable additions.  Such as The Saloon on U Street, which opened in 2000.  There was a previous Georgetown location, but I'm not familiar with its history nor beer selection.
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We had a really great meal here Saturday with friends.  The standouts were the mushrooms served in the form of linguini a la cacio e pepe, the incredibly savory chicken and snail lasagna, and my salmon, which was somehow super crispy on the skin, but basically raw below it.  It came with cabbage and roe of some sort in a dill/cream/fishy sauce.  Outstanding. 
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Opened a location at 513 23rd St in Crystal City on Feb 11 (via their Facebook page).
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I recently did 2 food tours in Venice.

The first was an evening tour upon my arrival - Venice Food Tour: Cicchetti and Wine, $153 by Urban Adventures.  We were supposed to hit 5 venues but one was closed.  So we only did 4, Do Mori, Do Spade, Sepa, and some other place.  I was still hungry afterwards - definitely not worth the money.

The second was a mid-morning tour on my last full day in Venice - Rialto Market Food and Wine Lunchtime Tour of Venice, $103 by Raphael Tours.  We ventured from Rialto all the way to Castello, we had sweets, meats and cheese, chichetti of fried seafood, risotto, pasta with squid ink, and finished with Tiramisu.  This is a much better tour.

For dinner, I ate at Boccadoro, Carampane, Bistrot de Venise and il Ridotto.  A word on il Ridotto - I didn't book it in advance.  When I tried to book it online while in Venice, I found out their website doesn't allow solo booking so I had my hotel call and I got a reservation that way.  Turns out the restaurant was mostly empty that night.  I went a la carte and had (1) black spaghetti with sea-urchins, candied peppers, kale, (2) cuttlefish, mushroom and black lentils, and (3) guinea hen, radicchio, buckwheat and pomegranate , €40 per dish.  The only dish that I didn't enjoy was the cuttlefish but the other dishes didn't blow my mind.

 
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The staff has turned over since I was involved with FFM, but looking at their website- the correct person to contact is Nony Dutton (Director of Markets and Programs) Nony@freshfarm.org
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Trade deadline is Monday the 25th, and the Caps put Devante Smith-Pelly on waivers to free up cap space.  No one claimed him (he's not had a good year) and so we keep him in the org and move him down to Hershey.  In the meantime, we picked up Hagelin for some draft picks from the LA Kings, where he has not had a good year, but they play a different system and he doesn't seem to have found his groove there.  He's a speedy player, good experience, and should be a good fit for the 3rd or 4th line, plus has 2 Stanley Cups from his tenure with the Penguins.  Looks like a good trade on paper at least.  

My guess is that Burakovsky is still on the trading block as well.  He's got talent but can't seem to reach break-out velocity with this team.  Rumors are swirling but nothing has solidified yet.
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Flowergeddon!!!! Hopefully it does not return when the flowers do this season:

LA Times reporting

Ungated article from Frommer's on the upcoming anticipated superbloom

I adore the idea of the wildflower hotline    (760-767-4684)
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Seylou is one of the most important food service operations in the DC area.

I've been on this board since its inception, and before that eGullet, and before that Chowhound, and almost everything that has been discussed in those 18+ years about what may be "lacking" in DC, or whether or not DC is truly a world-class food city, is represented in Seylou. It's success and future depends on DR.com and other like minded and passionate people to support it, either monetarily or on social media. 

Seylou literally checks all the boxes: local, organic, sustainable, free-standing, independent, world-class quality, unique, community, I could go on and on. The owners, Jonathan Bethony and Jessica Azeez, work tirelessly and uncompromisingly to put out some of the best breads and pastries in the world. Yes, I said world.

Jonathan, who ran the Washington State Bread Lab and started the bread program at Blue Hill for Dan Barber (started as in did everything from selecting the specific wheat, growing, harvest, mill, bake) is doing the same out of Seylou. Nothing here is inexpensive, but it is all reasonably priced. A loaf of bread made from freshly harvested grains from a local Amish farm, milled in full the day of baking, does not come cheaply. But that $11 loaf of pain au levain will last two weeks and is massive, not to mention delicious. So certainly price point is a barrier to entry for most, and Seylou knows this. If you are on SNAP, the discount for bread at Seylou is 50%. 

Another challenge is the physical appearance of the breads and pastries, specifically the color. Everything is brown to dark brown. It looks burned beyond all hope. The croissants appear as if a single bite will cause the pastry to crumble into dust. There is no "golden" colored anything. The color comes from the whole grains and oils from the entire wheat kernel. That deep brown croissant that looks dry is "OMG this is the best crossant I have ever tasted" as my lovely wife stated oafter her first bite. Cut one in half and it is extraordinary in its lightness, with hundred of airy pockets in between buttery (Trickling Springs) rich dough. Just amazing.

You can say the same about the cookies, bialy's, financiers, foccacia, etc. The District is incredibly lucky to have Seylou, and it is a bakery worth a special trip into DC, just as Metier or Komi are. Go. Buy a loaf of bread or as much as you can afford. This place should be a landmark in DC for years to come.*

*Climbs down from soapbox.
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The Sfoglinnys.

Grover and I went last weekend. We walked over and entered from the Duke Street side.  This is a very long, somewhat narrow entrance that is used as a Gallery to highlight art.  From cursory glance, mostly portraiture.  There is a private dining room on the left as you go towards the Hostess stand.  Entering from the Duke Street side you get to tour the whole restaurant.  Very nice room but somewhat confusing from that entry point.  From memory, the food:

Appetizer

Me: Fois Gras terrine - Interesting but layers of Foir Gras and, I believe duck confit.  The accompanying baguette slices were more like soft bread with no crusty crunch. Again interesting.  Wrapped with leek which added color but a not of flavor, red wine gelee and pickled veggies.

Grover: Onion soup.  The standard that sets the tone for the rest of the meal. Nice presentation, salty soup. If you could overlook the overly-generous use of salt, the broth was nice.  Doesn't rise to the level of the Onion soup at Del Ray Cafe, but (minus excess salt), acceptable.

Mains

Me: Wagyu beef  Ordered "rare towards medium rare" and delivered as ordered.  Good pink to red center and well cooked. That's the good part.  The not-good part was the "sauce" which had a tendency to overpower the taste of the beef. Accompanied by an interesting stack of shredded cabbage and mushroom on a pastry circle. 

Grover: Pan roasted Monkfish.  Bone-in Monkfish was very well done (no, not overcooked, prepared very well).  I didn't manage a taste but Grover did a commendable job of demolishing it.  Accompanied by a similar stack of veggies on the above described pastry circle.  Mostly ignored but the carrots that topped it were interesting.

Dessert

Grover had the Lemon cake(?).  This was a number of cubes of lemon cake and a scoop of lemon sorbet.  Actually quite good.

General observations:  The staff is a mix of new-to-dining and seasoned servers.  At times it felt as if we were at a soft opening.  Used utensils and glassware were removed promptly but the pacing was somewhat erratic. I'm not sure I'd call this a bistro, the menu reads more new American rather than French bistro. Incidentally, the host/manager spoke impeccable French (possibly the most authentic French item in the house) . 

We both had a glass of Prosecco and I had appropriate wine for the terrine (a Sauterne) and beef (a California red).  The bill before tip was $170. Will we go back?  Certainly.  One visit does not make a reliable opinion, it's only a fleeting impression.  I would like to see Bistro Sancerre succeed because I personally see the promise of some good things coming. Not quite there yet, but (I hope) just over the horizon. 
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Although this isn't exactly food related - it might affect your food carrying plans. Most of us were braced for the Nationals to follow the football and soccer stadiums' example and ban all bags except transparent, plastic ones. This season may be the half-step in that direction with backpacks being banned (exceptions with permission: diaper bags & ADA/medical equipment). Announcement here / Detailed policy here
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The sriracha lime spicy green beans were gone for a while, but are (at least temporarily) back at out Habit (Camarillo location).  Since they are not being promoted on the company's main website this time, I think/hope that they will occasionally show up without the fanfare from the first time.  Worth trying if it sounds at all interesting to you!! My husband just had two orders of them last time we were there instead of ordering any of the burgers.

BTW, at least around here, they have food trucks that can be rented to cater for special occasions.  Our friends had the Habit truck serve at their wedding!!! <swoon>
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San Luis Obispo

Novo Restaurant & Lounge is a wonderful place for brunch. I can't speak to any other time, but we really enjoyed our meal there.  The menu is a California-American with a few fusion (pan-Asian, Mexican) accents here and there.  The food doesn't sound particularly exciting, and it's not exactly reinventing the wheel (in fact, the fusion accents feel a bit dated), but what we had was fresh, pretty, well-prepared, and served by warm and friendly people. What takes the experience up several notches, however, is the setting. The inside is nice, upscale bar-ish, but back patio overlooks the creek from high up, is surrounded by trees and is far away from the street.  The patio also has ample umbrellas, heaters, and lights as appropriate.  There were families below, walking by and playing in the creek, and we were sitting in the fresh air on a warm, sunny deck, with a morning cocktail in hand. It was one of the more relaxing meals of my life (haha, sure it helped that I was sans kids for the first time in forever, but still...).  We had both the savory and sweet crepes, and they were both hearty portions with very tasty fillings (and it didn't feel at all repetitive that I had crepes twice! I don't recall the specific fillings but the change weekly anyway), and a salmon? I think? Benedict. I recall the overall experience quite fondly and would definitely go back (even with my kids!).
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On a recent trip to Charleston, in addition to breakfast at the Vicious Biscuit, I had a wonderful meal at a restaurant I had never heard of, the Coda del Pesce.  The restaurant in not actually in Charleston, but on the Isle of Palms, about a half hour drive from the city.  It was well worth the drive.  There is a nice view of the ocean from most of the tables in the restaurant.

They began by serving us some Italian bread with an olive oil and basil dip.  For the first course we shared  the “Local Flounder ‘Braciole.’”  It was delicious.  For my second course I had “Heritage Bone In Pork Chop.”  (In spite of this description in the menu there was no bone in the serving I received.)  It was excellent.  They have a good selection of wines to go with the meals—mostly Italian, as one would expect.  We had a bottle of J. Hofstätter 2016 Gewürztraminer which was very nice.

I was with a group of three and all of us were extremely happy with our meal.  If you are in the Charleston area, and have time to drive to the Isle of Palms, you should not miss having a meal at the Coda del Pesce.
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I was about to write up a post but I realized I got the exact same order as Rovers ^ and had mostly the same opinion of everything.  I'd note that I thought the beef tartare with the oyster sauce was great but if you got too much of the black garlic sauce in a bite it overwhelmed everything else.  

The only difference was we got a burger to split after the amazing duck - we were starving going into dinner and both have big appetites so this was somehow feasible fullness wise.  This was the best burger I've had in a while - the beef patty is made from trimmings from the aged dairy cow ribeye used in their large format steak course so it had a ton of flavor on it's own, and it was really well balanced with the quality cheddar, miso brined pickles and whatever the special sauce was (was a little tipsy at this point).  The duck would be my most recommended item but I enjoyed everything I tasted minus the mushrooms which weren't bad but underwhelming.  Will add my Instagram post pictures once I have that ready.
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Ponce de Leon Market Food Hall is new, new, new, but set in an old building that provides the automatic atmosphere. But what I had there was generally great. I was too late for lunch and too early for dinner at Root Baking (story of my life, I suppose), but had heard such good things that I grabbed one of their afternoon snacks; in this case the Labneh with GREAT olive oil, mint, and some nicely neutral wheat crackers. A perfect afternoon snack, if I had eaten lunch it would have been plenty. This place feels like an old grange hall, replete with the wooden folding chairs--if said grange hall was in the middle of San Francisco (or Atlanta, I guess).

Downstairs I sat down at Ton Ton Ramen (after wandering around indecisively with so many interesting choices) and had a nice tonkatsu ramen and a few yakitori (Japanese sausage and pork belly; both were just okay). This was good--the broth was creamy and filling.

I ended my adventure at Five Daughters bakery, with a nice selection of cupcakes and croissant donuts (one of which is sitting in my hotel room for later-night consumption.

I don't know how the local Atlantans feel about this place, very newly developed, but I enjoyed the food and would happily return. 
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Had dinner at Northside 10 last night.  Happy Hour runs from 4-7pm I believe.  Last night was .80 wings and half priced burgers, I believe.  And they also took a little off glasses of wine and etc.  I had a glass of wine, and the steak salad.  The steak came out medium rare, which is delightful for steak salad, I never get steak cooked right on that, it had dressing on the side, blue cheese and onion straws.  I could have gone with a few more veggies in the salad, they probably would have put some in on request, but I think I like more veggies than the average person eating out.  With the mist/rain parking was much appreciated.  Service at the bar was attentive, but I was also there to meet up with someone, and wasn't obtrusive.  Solid, I will be back.  I still haven't gone with Hubby.
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Tom and Ray’s, originally opened in 1960, has re-opened in Damascus after a 3 year hiatus.  

New location, same folks:

"Tom & Ray's Family Restaurant Reopens in Damascus" by Sam Merrill on mymcmedia.org
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My wife and I enjoyed ourselves at Reverie last night.  Its a funny little space - but I liked the quirkiness of the location and the informality of the place in general.  I also would say that you can get the entire menu sitting at their bar which was relatively empty at about 8pm last night (we had reservations - and sat looking into the kitchen which was fun).

We ordered:

- Scallop crudo - this was a very good dish - though the "sauce" could overwhelm the scallop if you weren't careful in terms of loading up a spoon / fork.  Refreshing and light.

- Beef Tartare - I really like beef tartare and this rendition, while not mind blowing, was solid.  The oyster sauce was interesting as were the black garlic chips.

- Mushroom - pictured in the post above, its a beautifully constructed dish and the mushrooms were really tasty - that said, I feel like 26 dollars was a bit excessive for what you get on this front.  Additionally, I think "yolk fudge" isn't totally the way I'd frame that component of the dish.  While delicious - I thought it a bit of a curious classification.

- Duck - Order this.  I thought it one of the better renditions of duck that I've ever enjoyed.  Its also a LOT of duck - my wife and I were pretty stuffed after making our way through it.  

- Bay Ice Cream - for whatever reason, I seem to like Bay leaf in cream components (I've enjoyed Bay whipped cream as well) - who knew.  This was fine - but I probably didn't need more food at this point since I was relatively stuffed.

We paired the meal with a really nice "winter" rose that was balanced with the food we ordered and rang up for about 60 bucks.  I had a glass of a nice italian orange wine at the bar (which had some nice funk to it) - and their by the glass list ranged from 14-20 a glass which seems to be the norm these days.  

All in all - I'd recommend going here.  Reservations were easy to come by, the staff was gracious (though our waiter seemed to be on the greener side?  There was a pretty long gap from when we received menus and when he returned to get us drinks - but serve was fine from there on out) and as I said above - I liked the refined food in a casual setting vibe.
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I went a few nights ago hoping that Joe's improved since my last visit. It hasn't.

Entrees came out 30 seconds after the appetizers. I hate that.

The Mapo Tofu was a greasy mess and the flavors just didn't have that Szechuan peppercorn zing that it had in Joe's heyday. Dan Dan Noodles were overcooked to the point where they fell apart when I tried lifting them with chopsticks. The beef in the Pad Thai (I know, I know, but my 9 year old wanted it) tasted and smelled gamey. Even the freakin' tea put me off.

Joe's Noodle House could challenge and reward my taste buds in the past and I'd often push beyond my comfort zone for a taste of intestine, kidneys, and blood. That stuff is still on the menu, but I can't possibly order it. I don't trust that kitchen anymore. 

The italics gotta go!
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Carry out from Raouche yesterday was very good. If this place served alcohol, it would be in my regular rotation. But nonetheless, this is quite good food.

We enjoyed the Tuesday okra special -- a stew of okra, beef, tomato, garlic, cumin, coriander -- plus the Raouche platter, plus the chicken kabseh, plus the hummus special and tabbouli. All were quite good, even after travel time from Merrifield to Springfield. The Raouche platter is a skewer of lamb kabob, a skewer of chicken kabob, and a skewer of kafta, over a bed of rice, with grilled onion and tomato. Their rice is delicious, a nice pilaf cooked with cardamom and cumin.

Their concept of the daily special is a good one. One of mama's special dishes, prepared each day. Tuesday is the okra stew, which was excellent. On Wednesday there is stuffed grape leaves (warak enab) and stuffed squash, and on Saturdays there is stuffed cabbage (malfouf). Markers are on my calendar for these days.

Where does it rank in Kibbee Nayee's notional Middle Eastern rankings in the DC area? Well, I still have Me Jana at no. 1, and Lebanese Taverna (tie between the original location in Arlington and the Tysons Galleria outpost) at no. 2, but it might be in my top 5. It compares favorably with Mediterranean Gourmet Market in Franconia.
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Hi Kibbee Nayee.

We turned off our lights at West Springfield on Jan. 12, 2019. Thank you and everyone who helped Monty's serve our wonderful community for the past seven years. Our decision to close was not taken lightly but the business was no longer sustainable (for personal as well as professional reasons). We are working on Phase II and will keep you posted with our progress.

Once again, thank you, Don Rockwell, and the greater Springfield/Burke community and friends who supported us even before we officially opened in 2012.We will miss you greatly.

Khash, Donna, Chef Marco, and the Monty's Ambassadors.  
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