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KeithA

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  1. If you are in DC, compare to Chicken and Whiskey on 14th st. They are my current favorite Peruvian chicken. Not to say C&J isn't good too.
  2. KeithA

    Bialys

    Big bagel eater with limited bialys experience here but I will echo the praise for Goldberg's bialys above in the thread. I went to the North Bethesda/Rockville location hidden in the shopping center off Nicholson Road that has Moti's kosher grocery (used to be Katz's for decades). Bialy wa big, soft in center, chewy on outside with a nice bit of chopped spiced onions on top. I ate it plain and enjoyed. Also if you want to stop up on Israeli ingredients and of course kosher food - Moti's has a nice selection - so you can make all those great Zahav and Ottolenghi recipes that I'm working my way through.
  3. KeithA

    Christmas Meal - What Are You Doing?

    That sounds great. We had chinese food from Sichuan Pavillion.
  4. KeithA

    Hummus

    I like #11 and I forgot tip #12, do NOT peel the skins from the chickpeas. Normally with over cooked fresh chickpeas it is impossible and it is not too tough with canned but completely unnecessary. Some recipes say removal of the skins results in a silkier hummus but it is barely noticeable, if at all and gets very time consuming.
  5. I had a very nice large meal with friends a couple of weekends ago at Supra. I'd recommend going with a group as this is a great place to sample lots of different things and most are served in smaller portions that are good for sharing. We started with cocktails that were all riffs on classics but with Georgian spirits or wine - very nice. Then, we had the supra tasting board of cold mezze which is a really great way to get a broad selection: 3 kinds of cheeses (I liked the smoky gouda-like one and the creamier one, but watch out for the extra salty one), several vegetable spreads (highlights were the all vegetable one (possibly grilled original but consistency of baba ganouj, the beet-walnut), and I really liked the small eggplant rollups with walnut spread inside. If you are a fan of walnuts, apparently Georgian cuisine is the way to go they put them in 4 out of 5 dishes and use them for flavor, thickening, etc. The hot mezze were really good - the one bite cheese croquettes were delicious, the duck breast was cooked perfectly and you got a choice of a savory dip or chopped peaches, the grilled salmon was excellent and paired well with the creamy walnut tomato sauce. The only merely ok hot mezze was the potatos - they were good but basically just roasted potatoes. We then had the cheese and potato dumplings as described above - very rich and good but don't let the menu description fool you - they are not at all soup dumpllings - more like hearty perogis with a thicker dumpling skin. I was less impressed with the khachapuri with egg and butter. It may be that it was overly rich and somewhat one note in flavor compared to the preceding courses. I thought the boat bread underneath was very good and fresh but the filling was only so so. They have several varieties on the menu and I think I would have chosen a different one next time. We had a bottle of one of the amber wines (note the wine list is 100% georgian wines I believe) that was described as effervescent and it was fruity and a bit bubbly which I liked a lot and thought paired well with the food. We were stuffed but still indulged in their panna cotta (ok but nothing too special) and their walnut cake which is a huge slice of rich but light cake that we really liked. Overall a really nice experience with somewhat different flavors.
  6. KeithA

    Hummus

    Soaking the chickpeas with baking soda simply makes a creamier hummus and a bit lighter but if you add a lot of tahini and process longer you are a good chunk of the way there with canned chickpeas. As for the bread or other dipper - use whatever you like. Challah is good but already a richer bread with eggs so you can get away with a more mild hummus. The big pita - challah difference is the texture. It is easy to spread on hummus on challah like a sandwich spread but you can’t rip off and piece and dip it into the hummus as with pita. Naan or other flatbread work great too and pita is essentially pretty plain and so the hummus can shine on its own. But white bread with good hummus is better than nothing. Although I’ve been known to simply hummus with a spoon too. If you want to really see all the ways to eat hummus check out the family dinner scene from Don’t Mess with Zohan. Hilarious, ridiculous and very hummus-centric.
  7. KeithA

    Bagels

    I like Timber bagels, and Bethesda bagels. Bullfrog are good too. I haven't been to Call Your Mother yet and in the past Georgetown Bagelry was good but its been a few years. I also grew up on and really liked Bagel City in Rockville but its been a few years and they have some awful yelp reviews now so it may be hit or miss. I do like the smaller size bagels at Bagel City. Baked by Yael bagels across from the zoo are ok but my wife is not a fan and the flavors are limited. Breadfurst bagels are overcooked often and are not soft on the inside as a bagel should be. I once tried Pumpernickel bagels in Chevy Chase DC and thought they were awful. I recently got some plain bagels for the kids at Firehook and I don't know why but they were sourdough with a distinct sourness which of course turned off the kiddos.
  8. Went for lunch last week, the laghman handmade noodles are still where it's at. Chewy, tasty and I think the toppings for them have gotten even better. I had the royal version which is beef with peppers and other veg, very tasty. My friend had the vegetarian version which has nice slices of tofu and he really enjoyed it. The vegetarian fried spring rolls are pretty standard - fried wrappers with cabbage and a bit of other vegetable served with an ok sauce - you can skip these. I was happy to see that the lamb kebab now comes with a rather decent portion of meaty lamb chunks dusted heavily with cumin. I always liked these kebabs but they used to be about 1/3 of the size making for a tasty but small appetizer - now you could share 1 kebab for a small app for 2 or as more of a side dish for one. Still same $3.50 per kebab on the big sword like skewers. I think I saw they now have chicken kebabs too. Worth circling back here to try again if its been a while.
  9. Went for lunch twice in the past two weeks. Both times had the Etna 2.0 which is really good. I always liked when they had special pizzas with fried eggplant slices and now happy to have a regular pizza on the menu - it is good and smoky from the oven and the smoked mozzarella. The old Etna's eggplant was kind of hidden in the sauce and not so great - the new version is much better. My companions' pizzas were good too. The only thing that was a shame was the salt cod croquettes which were overly salty on one visit. We get this dish 75% of the time and always love it. I like the new addition of the lemon aioli instead of only the fresh lemon slice for variety (still better with fresh squeezed lemon IMHO), but the salt just killed the dish. I'm not sure if they didn't rinse the salt cod enough or what. Hopefully they'll get back to their usual stride next time.
  10. KeithA

    What Are Your Kids Eating Tonight?

    Tonight - pasta with margarine and salt, steamed broccoli and whole foods fish sticks. At least they eat fish in some form. For the umpteeth time will try to entice them with our salmon dish - I mean it is yummy and pink (my girls like pink), but I'm not that hopeful. Lately my older one 10 is constantly asking and even day dreaming about dessert - which she gets almost daily. We walked past an ice cream shop yesterday, which got her started listing all of the treats she would love to eat: ice cream, cookies, brownies, cake, many varieties of candy, etc. A literal 5 minutes later, she turns and says so what is it going to be?
  11. Had such a delightful time at Katz last Sunday morning. Going on a Sunday at 930am has several advantages. It is not crowded, the owner was hosting his grandkids and family to an elaborate deli spread in the back (yes breakfast like pancakes but also hot dogs), and it is never not a good time for their pastrami. The pastrami half sandwich was ample and so delicious. Their rye bread is only ok (I miss the double baked from DGS) but that meat, oh that meat. It is perfectly cooked - nice chew, but delicate, not falling apart, sliced in front of you to not too thick and not too thin, with great bark and so much flavor. The matzo ball soup was good - soup was pretty good packed with carrots and a nice huge soft matzo ball. The pickles were hit and miss. The sours were good but not great and the half sours were awful - salty cucumbers, I wouldn't even call them pickles. (now I'm biased against half-sours but these were not good). The potato knish's filling was rather good - lots of good sweet onion flavor but not too sweet but the dough was almost non-existent. It was super thin and basically a shell to hold the filling in one place. Kids loved the good bagels and cream cheese and the super friendly bagel guy to made them chocolate milk taking time to mix it all by hand. The countermen were also super friendly. We got some black and white cookies to go which were rather good.
  12. KeithA

    Hummus

    I thought I posted something similar elsewhere on the site. Maybe Don can find it. Here is my hummus making advice after making a lot over many years and eating it in the Mideast and all over the place in the US. The difference between store bought and home made is the freshness and creaminess and the ability to adjust it to your taste. First tip - start with canned chickpeas except for special occasions. The difference in final product between canned and soaking dried chickpeas is minor. I find you can get a more delicate, airier hummus with soaked chickpeas but it turns a 15 minute food processor recipe into a multi-day affair with soaking overnight and long cooking. Second tip - fancy tahini is hard to detect once you mix it together with everything else. I tend to use cheaper Israeli/mideast or even Greek brands I can find in my grocery store. (I don't use Joyva). I have also tried Soom and didn't notice much difference. If you were making a more straight tehini sauce or dressing, maybe you'd notice the difference more. Third tip - figure out how aggressive you want the added flavors to be (such as garlic, lemon juice, or other non-dried spices added for flavoring). If you want it strong, then simply toss those ingredients in the food processor along with chickpeas and tahini for quick and tasty hummus. If you want more subtle flavoring, then roast the garlic or infuse the flavors into the tahini before adding to the food processor with the chickpeas. Again, Zahav recipe has a neat trick to blend garlic with lemon juice and let it sit and then press the garlic through a sieve into the tahini and mix before adding to the chickpeas. This of course is much more time consuming but does have a nice effect. Fourth tip - figure out your preference for chickpea to tahini (or other ingredients) ratio. Some recipes are chickpea heavy which often leads to a thicker/denser more neutral tasting hummus vs. other recipes call for a lot more tahini which is a bit smoother and of course much stronger sesame flavor. Fifth tip - taste it before you remove from the food processor and adjust it to your taste. Most recipes call for using a certain number of lemons but each lemon has a different amount of juice or sometimes garlic is stronger, etc. Sixth tip - start with a recipe that likely suits your personal preference. Zahav is heavy on tahini and subtle flavoring. I like it. This recipe I've used for years from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs is more chickpea heavy and strong on the garlic: http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/IsraelExperience/Lifestyle/Pages/HUMMUS -Chick-pea Dip-.aspx (when you only use the 3 TB of tahini. Michael Solomonov's need cookbook as a quick recipe for hummus I haven't tried yet, but anything by him is worth trying. Seventh tip -process it longer than you think needed - it will help you get the smoothness you want. (or if you are cooking the chickpeas, follow the Zahav advice and overcook them). Eighth tip - hummus is forgiving and if you plan to top it with dried spices like paprika, herbs like parsley, a swirl of olive oil, or strong vegetables like olives or even roasted meats - don't worry too much about having the perfect subtle, fancy hummus as these add-ons will likely overpower the base hummus. Save all of the above fancier ingredients and time consuming steps for when you plan to eat the hummus straight or with only a bit of an add on (I do like a swirl of extra olive oil). Ninth tip - get some good pita bread (or make your own) to enjoy your hummus more. I haven't been able to find much great stuff in grocery stores - but I'll go with the Mideast bakery brand which is decent. I like Yafa Grille and Shouk's pita (which is the more pillowy type). I'm less a fan of the thin lebanese pita you find at Lebanese Taverna and others place (note I like LT generally and the bread is good but not my preferred style). Tenth tip - I've seen some videos online and even a recipe or two that says to make hummus in a mortar and pestle or a bowl, but unless you like arm workouts and chunky hummus, stick to the food processor. For store bought hummus, I like sabra but there are a bunch of niche brands that I haven't tried and may be better. there is a lot of funky, non-chickpea hummus available in stores. Like fake meats, know that it will not be the same, but if that is what you like, enjoy.
  13. They finally decided to add Falafel and so I guess the chickpea was too similar and it is gone. I haven't tried the falafel yet but it sounds good. I think the owners were a bit too much in their own heads about doing something different that they avoid falafel till now - but it is the most popular middle eastern/israeli vegan pita sandwich.
  14. Stopped by the Partisan yesterday for the first time for a quick lunch. I had the pastrami sub which was good and large. It is a sub roll with pretty mild thousand island dressing, with a bit of red cabbage and a bunch of chopped chunks of pastrami (I skipped the cheese). It was good and the pastrami was well made but I could have used a bit more additional flavors from the condiments to balance out the pastrami. The pastrami itself was a mix of a bit of fattier pieces and lean - which I liked but when I grabbed a bite or too of the lean it didn't have much flavor.
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