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About bnacpa

  • Birthday 12/29/1972

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    Washington Redskins<br />Fine Dining<br />Seeing the World<br />Accounting/Finance
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  1. If anyone is in the Glendale area and looking for an incredible cheap eat, go to Elena's Greek Armenian Cuisine. This place has amazing chicken and lamb kabobs as well as really good fallafel and very good (for a restaurant) meat grape leaves. They roll them tight like lebanese/middle eastern style, but have a garlic sauce that is a bit more reminiscent of the egg sauce that greeks put on dolmades. Other places I have found that are very good have been Carousel for middle eastern food in Glendale, Porto's Cuban bakery for both pastries as well as cuban pork sandwiches. There is an amazing Italian restaurant in Eagle Rock called Casa Bianca that is cash only and has been family run since the mid 1950's. I have not been to the high end restaurants such as AOC or even Joe's yet, but I aim too if my budget improves:) Does anyone have any suggestions for the Burbank, Glendale, North Hollywood areas of LA?
  2. I spent last weekend in San Diego. Based on the reviews and recommendations in this thread by JParrot and Pete, my family tried Kiyo's Japanese Restaurant and the Sushi was wonderful. We enjoyed the salmon, fatty tuna, halibut, and shrimp tempura rolls. Other places highly recommended are The Afghanistan Kyber Pass in Hillcrest, Hodad's burgers in Ocean Beach, and the Bar-b-que house for sandwiches in Ocean Beach.
  3. We took our friends out to dinner there as a last meal before they move to Indiana. We had the foie gras, sausage biscuits, deep fried crab cakes and the shrimp for appetizers. I was not a big fan of the foie gras as it was missing something - but I can't put my finger on it yet. The shrimp were huge and cripsy and the lemon/citris sauce was a great touch. The deep fried crab cakes were very good and seeing that the crab fritters were not on the menu Saturday, this was a good substitute. The sausage biscuits were great. Some at the table didn't care for the gravy as they thought it was too spicey, but I liked it a lot and didn't really notice any true kick. There was a little bite to it, but I am not a fan of spicey food and this did not bother me in the least. Two of us had the crab bisque and my wife had the cold carrot soup. The bisque was a bit on the salty side for what I am used to at Ray's in Arlington or other versions ... but as this restaurant is relatively new and still working things out, I imagine it was just that version that night. There were still nice chunks of crab in the bisque and it was very good (aside from the salt). The cold carrot soup was just as good as we had sampled at the preview dinner. This is a heck of a soup and if I didn't love crab so much, this would be a no brainer staple for me to order. I am glad my wife likes it so that I can still get a taste or 2! For mains our friends both had filets. I had the NY Strip and my wife had the veal. That veal is amazing! I had it at the tasting and really liked it. The only time I have had steak in the past month or so was at Corduroy last Monday, so I ordered the NY strip. It was as expected, one of the best steaks, if not the best steak I can get in DC. The mushroom was exquisite with the bone marrow sauce. At the Don Rockwell preview for Ray's Classics he had the mushroom but it was cooked for a mass party of serving at an equal time, and Michael had mentioned that night that the preparation was not what he would be doing for ordinary small tables. He was spot on ... this mushroom was memorable! For sides we had the corn pudding the spinach souffle and the potatoes augratin. The spuds were wonderful as the cheese was sharp and noticeable (not always the case with this dish at other restaurants). I didn't have any of the spinach so I can't speak to it, but the corn pudding was interesting. I had never had it before and I expected it to be sweet, but it was more of a substitute for mashed potatoes without the butter and definitely not overly sweet. I liked it once I could adjust for my expectations vs. the actual item. For desert it was cheesecake for the wife, milk and cookies for me and one of our friends and the 4th had the chocolate trifle. Deserts were very good all around. The milk and cookies were interesting as the carbonated chocolate and regular sweet milk didn't quite wow me as much as others. The dark cookies were wonderful. The highlight of the evening, aside from seeing our friends for the last time in a while, was having Michael stop by the table several times and he was wearing a full blown suit. I didn't recognize him at first because I would have expected an hawaiian shirt and shorts. The restaurant was very busy and the table behind us decided to give him a lot of grief because he is not serving coke/diet coke at this restaurant. I am a huge soda drinker and this didn't even bother me in the least ... and if it had, this is the sort of thing that would be an afterthought as you talk about the meal on your way home, but not something that I would give the owner of a restaurant an impolite ear full over. To each their own I guess, but Michael handled it very well considering he has been putting in 18 hr days. The total check for 4 people (with dinner graciously comped) was still extremely reasonable. We didn't have wine on this outing as we were with our baby and our friends don't drink, but even with wine, this would not have broken the bank and we were completely stuffed with left overs to take home.
  4. My wife and I joined a friend last night at Corduroy. Rissa was very friendly and Ferhat went out of his way to wash off a soothie that our 8 month old had dropped on the floor. Had the Corn Soup, Steak, and Hazelnut kitkat bars. Wonderful meal. My wife had the Beet salad, steak, and peach tart. Our friend had the corn soup, scallops, and the blueberry tart. Everything was excellent and made our 2nd venture out to this restaurant well worth the trip from suburbia into the city. This was the 2nd best steak I have had at a restaurant in the DC area (best still goes to Mr. Landrum), but it was very surprising. The scallops looked amazing. I liked the parsnip soup (from our 1st visit) better than the corn, but the corn was still excellent.
  5. First of all, JPW ... great post! Second ... Pete you need to read the fine print ... ribs require a reservation on Open Table for parties of 12 or more "Do you know who I am" type people who will require no less than 2 hrs of service.
  6. Saturday night my wife and I dined at Corduroy for the first time. The free valet service definitely makes it convenient for a DC restaurant. The atmosphere is exactly how most on this thread have described ... very quiet. Thank you to Rissa and Ferhat for taking such good care of us! Rissa met us at the entrance and was very delightful. She came by several times to our table and was extremely friendly. Ferhat was our server and did a wonderful job explaining all the dishes and the ingredients behind them. We had the 6 course tasting menu. When we sat down there was sparkling white wine wating for us as a starter. A very nice touch. With our amuse and 1st 2 courses we had a half bottle of Sancerre, Bernard Reverdy 04 which paired up quite nicely. First we had an amuse of parsnip soup w/ tarrogon cream. This soup was amazing. I can't put my finger on the different flavors but the soup was delicious. Against better grace I found myself removing the doughy center of the bread to sop up the remainder in the cup. It was the only thing holding me back from licking it clean. My poor wife, she can't take me out anywhere! The first official course was the seared scallop over garlic mashed potato and chardonnay sauce. This was really wonderful. The scallop had no sand or grit in it. My wife can't stand scallops and she was raving about this dish. The second course was the crispy soft shell crabs with wilted greens and verjus. This was also very delicious. Unfortunately, I had just been to Komi on Friday night and I favor their presentation of the crab a little better ... the shell seemed softer and the crab more flavorful. With that said, the greens complimented the crab without taking away from the flavor and it was a delicious course. The next course was the peppered rare Ahi tuna with sushi rice and hijiki. This was great. The Ahi was just as fresh as the Ahi we had in Hawaii. The sushi rice and hijiki complimented the tuna perfectly. Very flavorful and just enough sear to add flavor to each bite but not take away from the wonderful taste of the fish in its most basic form. Next, we had the Ballotine of Free-Range Chicken with Foie Gras Sauce. This was truly interesting. This dish was really delicious and we could appreciate all the different flavors and the immense softness of the chicken .... fork melted right through it. I am not the biggest fan of chicken compared with other meats unless you are deep frying ... so I was not as impressed with this compared with the tuna or the scallops. And as good as this was, especially with the foie gras sauce, the last main course was my favorite ... the lamb with goat cheese ravioli. The lamb was perfectly cooked and not gamey at all. It was warm red verging on pink around the edges and plenty of juice, but no blood. I have to thank heavens whenever someone serves us lamb because I love lamb (my favorite red meat) while my wife is not a huge fan. She has ordered it when highly suggested by wait staff at certain restaurants, but I think she had a bad experience years ago and hasn't quite gotten over it yet. The good news ... more for me! The goat cheese ravioli was good but seemed out of place with this wonderful lamb. My wife disagrees as the ravioli was the highlight for her. Our 6th course was the desert ... chocolate souffle with chocolate ice cream on top (Baked Chocolate Sabayon) for me and a strawberry tart for my wife. We had desert wine with each. Ferhat did a great deal of shaving the table clean from all my bread crumbs several times and re-folding my wife's napkin as she excused herself from the table. He was very knowledgeable about the food. The only knock I would give is that there seemed to be a long pregnant pause between courses that seemed to linger a little longer than we would have expected. This may be due to the food being cooked to order and freshly prepared, but we had to wonder if it was more due to the fact that the tasting menu is a requested item, not something normally adverstised and as a result the rhythm may just be a little off since it is not the norm. We didn't care for the red that was suggested for our meal, the Chambolle-Musigny, Domaine Magnien Michel, Les Fremieres. This was a bit too young for our tastes and although it seemed to become a little more drinkable as it breathed, we felt that a white for the last 3 primary courses before desert would have been better. The red worked more for the lamb, but not nearly as well for the tuna, chicken, and the residual crab flavor in our mouths when first introduced. Despite the red wine, the other wines were well suited to our tastes and the food was wonderful. This is a wonderful place for a quiet intimate dinner with wonderful food. It is sad that on a Saturday night the restaurant was not 100% packed with food and wine so good... but it is also great to know that you can get a great meal on a Saturday night with no wait unlike all the chains that are engulfing suburbia.
  7. My beautiful bride and I had the greatest of pleasures Friday night ... dining at Komi. I must admit that we were anticipating a much different experience than we received. I, personally, was filled with doubts about the descriptions that many have posted here. I was humbled. Simply, we were blown away. Kate was our server and Anna visited us often with fine pairings of wine. I will have to post our wine pairings later as I have temporarily misplaced the list ... Anna was kind enough to write it down. We arrived a bit early and they had no problems seating us early. We were quickly given a starter sparkling wine that was very fruity and a bit on the sweet side. It was a great spirit lifter after having spent the afternoon trying to get into the city through holiday traffic. They had the soft shell crab that Nadya summed up in her May 9th posting, and I have to agree that the soft shell crab is the best I have had. We were at Corduroy on Saturday night and had the softshell as part of the tasting menu and it was great, but didn't quite match the intensity of the flavor or the softness of the crab underneath the deep fried breading. The first course also included sliced meat (almost like gourmet chipped beef) with housemade relish; the dates with marscapone cheese, olive oil and sea salt; olives; crustini's w/ truffled beet tsatsiki and taramasalata; stuffed squash blossom w/ marinated celery and red grapes; and the housemade crackers ... smoked paprika, asiago cheese, and sesame. The only other thing I can remember (there were a lot of items in the first course) was a goat cheese ball with anchovie in the middle and crispy breading outside (not sure what it truly was ... but it was sprinkled around the edges). This came with cucumbers that were finely diced but each piece was powerful and blended wonderfully with the anchovie and cheese. We had the same sparkling wine that we started with throughout the first course (I think we finished a bottle between the two of us). Next came the pasta course. Anna brought out an acidic white wine for my wife and a greek red wine that was very earthy. The white worked well with my wife's ravioli with ricotta and almonds, but we agreed that the greek red paired better with my papadelle w/ goat ragu and cinnamon. Both were extremely good. Then we received a very pleasant surprise ... an extra course of pasta. I would like to think that Anna or Kate brought us out a second round because we truly had problems deciding which pasta to get at the beginning of the night because it all looked good and because we were clearly loving the food and the experience all evening. Unfortunately, I think it had more to do with my wife's response to Anna regarding how we were enjoying ourselves and the meal thus far ... and my wife's response can't be repeated here ... but I am still having a hard time believing that my wife said such a thing in public. I'll just say that it was all good! So our glasses were filled with a different white and red. This time my wife had a much less acidic white to pair with her pesto pasta. She loved this pasta just as much as her ravioli and had a hard time figuring out which she liked more. The wine seemed very subtle at first, but after tasting the pasta, then became very acidic. It was a weird experience but a good one. I was paired with an oaky red that paired well with my pasta. I forget the name of the pasta but it had lamb and was in a red sauce. We couldn't believe that there was still more food coming ... 3 more courses! At this point my memory is a bit fuzzy on the wines. My wife had the stuffed Guinea Hen w/ apricots, hen of wood mushrooms, and fiddlehead ferns. It was the last one they had in stock for the evening so my wife grabbed it up. I had the speck wrapped tuna over farro. My wife's hen was wonderful but I have truly never had tuna taste or prepared the way this was. I have had seared ahi numerous times. I had a wonderful seared ahi on Saturday and Corduroy ... highly recommeded, and at many restaurants in Hawaii when we were there in early May. This Tuna was not rare or just seared ... it was cooked through, but it was soft like rare Ahi and the fork just pierced straight into it like a hot knife in butter. The fish wasn't flaky or falling apart like tuna in a can or a tuna steak. The speck wrapped around the tuna in such a way that it acted like skin on the meat ... that intimate, rather than a meat wrapped around another that you would normally picture attached by a tooth pick. The flavor combination was out of this world. We were given 5 cheeses to sample during the cheese course and by now I was merrily drunk and my memory is a complete disservice from a name standpoint. There was a very rich blue cheese. Two gooey stinky cheeses that were very smooth texture and sharp flavors. The first was on a spoon and the milder of the two was sliced like brie. The last two cheeses were goat cheeses. My favorite was the goat cheese that had the mold on the top and bottom to cut off and tasted very mild like syrian cheese but was brittle like fetta. Finally the desert course ... I had a hard time deciding and bless Kate and Anna's heart for putting up with such high maintenance customers. We were just having such a great time. My wife was set with the recommendation of the Strawberry & phyllo combination. I just couldn't seem to decide between the chocolate donuts or the baklava ice cream. They brought us all three. We split the chocolate donuts which were wonderful. The baklava ice cream was really pistachio ice cream and three phyllo wafers that were coated in the rose water syrup with sprinkled pistachios on top. So I scooped some ice cream onto the disk and at it like cheese on crackers ... and yes, it tastes just like baklava ... just cold and a little sticky instead of warm and a lot of sticky. Finally, they brought us cinnamon and spice lolipops with the check. This was a magnificent meal and the wines were good. Don Rocks had given me a recommendation of Kir-Yanni Xinomavro Red, but I didn't see it on the Menu so we went with the pairings. Wines can make a meal extraordinary or ruin the experience depending on how well or poorly matched they are. Anna and the staff at Komi did a great job for us. The service was tremendous as well ... water glasses refilled often, and before you are hitting bottom of the glass. Wine glasses refilled as appropriate. Every time my wife had to excuse herself, her old napkin was removed from the table and a new one was situated in front of her. The other great thing about Komi was the vibe and atmosphere. The intangible factor. It wasn't so loud that you couldn't have a conversation with those at the table, but there was a lot of energy and background noise from everyone in the place having a great time. There was no pretentiousness or stuffiness to be found. The people there, especially Anna, truly look like they love what they are doing. They treat you like old friends treat you when they have you over the house and are trying out some new concoctions. Here is a sample here, a taste there, and oh ... more wine! Part of the reason why the service is so good is that they pool the tips, so everyone stops by with water, or plates of food, of just a smile. Everyone was working in unison off the same page. Most people say that the best first date is a date that you don't want to end and that leaves you yearning to see that person again. This is what Komi felt like. Don Rocks said it best in his October posting when he compared the feeling you get as your meal is winding down at Komi with the saddness you feel when reading a great book as it is coming to an end.
  8. I would agree that they were the best for the chain bagels except for H&H. H&H isn't quite the same because they are usually located in independent delis and sandwich shops where they ship the dough to the location and the locals bake it. So some locations may not be consistent. This is versus the chains that actually have their own consistent storefront franchise.
  9. After reading all of the gushing reviews and Nadya's soft porn I am taking the Mrs. to Komi tonight. Since Sabastian is no longer there, are there specific bottles or by the glass wines I should have or should I go with the wine pairings? Also, how do I choose a pasta or a main when everything that is described sounds so wonderful ... these are the kinds of tough decisions I wish I had more often.
  10. I stopped by there on my way to work this morning to give them a try. I like that they put spread on both halves of the bagel and that they don't have any of that nasty corn meal on the bottom like Einstein Bagels. Unfortunately, these bagels are not in the same league as my favorite in the DC area ... Bethesda Bagel (formerly whatsabagel) on Bethesda Avenue. These guys have been serving out bagels with long lines for a while now. You go in and it is an organized chaos as there are more servers behind the counter than the counter is wide ... so you have to wait to be called and track your server through the maddness. They get everyone out pretty quickly and their bagels are the perfect blend of good size, crusty outside and chewy inside. I remember back in 1995 when I was out of college and Brugers bagels were coming into the area everywhere (to be replaced by Einstein ...yuk). Brugers put in a location about 4 doors down from Bethesda Bagel and when I would go out there on the weekends you would see a long line out of Bethesda Bagel and not a soul in Brugers. Needless to say, Brugers moved out pretty quickly.
  11. I know the book has been around for 6 years or so, but I recently read Kitchen Confidential while I was on my trip to Hawaii and it was a great read. Out of curiosity, does anyone know who he is referring to as Bigfoot? Also, has anyone here actually tasted Anthony Bourdain's food? Does he suck per his own self assessment or is he just being self depricating?
  12. My dad used to take me there when I was growing up and the crust was buttery and the cheese ample. I stopped in about a year ago and the sauce was thin with clumps of tomato and not enough cheese to balance the pizza. The crust did not have the same flavor I had remembered as a kid. Maybe my taste buds have changed, but I was pretty disappointed when I had returned. Many of my friends from the area have also remarked that the restaurant is a shadow of its former self.
  13. I have been to the Reston one several times and always get the same thing ... a modified chicken trio where I will have the chicken w/ goat cheese described above, a piece of chicken grilled with olive oil and some garlic, and a piece of chicken marsala. The bread is ok. I like this better than Macaroni Grill, I refuse to touch olive garden (that tells you where this ranks vs. them), and San Vito in Ashburn is pure junk (better than olive garden, but not when the check comes considering what they charge for that stuff). This is as good as Maggianos, but doesn't offer the family style belly buster meal for parties of 4+.
  14. I believe it is supposed to be a lot of seafood .... if Michael Landrum and Michael Hartzer can do with seafood what Michael Landrum has done with steak and crab bisque .... oh my ... don't get me started. I still have to focus at work to earn my living!
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