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About seanvtaylor

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  • Birthday 08/12/1970

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    Rockville, MD

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  1. I like barbecue, but for me the best BBQ I've ever had was an order of the lamb ribs at Jack Stack in Kansas City. They were definitely bbq lamb ribs, and not grilled, but at the same time not as bbq'ed as some of the other cuts. (I went back again and thought I should try the crown rib. It was good, but I should have ordered more lamb ribs...)
  2. Perhaps an off-night, but I was underwhelmed by dinner at San, for which I had high hopes. There were a few nice dishes, but nothing really spectacular. A 5-course tasting menu, with a two-course add-on, made for a long night. Perhaps the problem lies in the concept--all courses, save the bread course, were designed to be served only in bowls, and to only be consumed with a spoon. Even writing that seems somewhat goofy. The service, on the other hand, was practically flawless, a great combination of professionalism and friendliness. It made me want to like dinner more than I ultimately did. Our server also made some very nice recommendations for wines, which helped to make what could have been a much more disappointing night not quite so.
  3. A second visit to Toshiro confirmed to me how interesting it is. Again, a 7-course tasting menu with some of the same ingredients as I had in November--duck was again a prominent player, as were scallops, Jerusalem artichokes, and carrots--but new preparations and a wealth of interesting flavors and combinations. Starting the evening off with a bergamot/champagne aperitif was bold and for some at my table a bit too much, but we quickly slid into the amuse bouche--4 of those, I think--before jumping into the full menu. As before, the wine pairings were challenging and transformed by the dishes that they were served with. I hope to come back again sometime later this year; out of all of the places in Brussels that I've been fortunate to dine at, I think that this has now been established as my absolute favorite.
  4. Dinner at Toucan Brasserie was very good. I shared a seafood tower of clams, mussels, oysters, crevettes, crevettes-grises, and some other shelled treats. Beautifully prepared; I think (but am not positive) that the mussels were raw, or exceedingly lightly steamed; the texture was unique and not entirely to my taste, but interesting nonetheless. I continued the theme with the chipirones (octopus) in a Spanish sauce with pea shoots. Perfectly prepared. Service was deliberate but friendly. This place is definitely worth a visit; in the beautiful Ixelles neighborhood. Lunch at Be Bo Bun was good--nothing really special, I guess, but well-prepared Vietnamese food. The Bun bowl was very filling, and a good deal at around 12 Euros.
  5. Louisville I didn't have a hot brown, but having experienced it before I didn't mind skipping it on this short trip. Dinner at Buck's was a bit of a happy trip back in time; the dining room is well-cared for, but feels like a bit of an artifact from the early 1990s. Dinner was very good, though; a wedge salad not over-dressed, a duroc pork chop that was perfectly prepared, and grits and Brussels sprouts that made sure you knew you were in the south (at least sort-of). Dinner at 610 Magnolia was splendid; we were in their private dinner space across the street from the main restaurant, and had a great experience. The small bites were amazing--pimiento cheese and crackers were solid, but a crispy mushroom surprising and delicious, and the foie gras BLT was completely addictive. The parsnip soup with chili oil was bold and worthwhile; the duck breast was very good--perhaps partially cured?--and served with (more) (and even better) Brussels sprouts. a bourbon-banana cake took it over the top, so I didn't finish it, but would have if I could have. I had dinner at 610 Magnolia 8-10 years ago, and was extremely impressed; at the time, it seemed like the type of place that was operating at the top of its game. I'm even more impressed now, that after so many years it has maintained its quality. I know that the chef has a few places in Louisville, and in DC, and of course anybody who follows restaurants would be worried about dilution of attention leading to the first restaurant losing its way. Not the case here, based on my visits.
  6. Breakfast here was delicious: a ham and cheese biscuit was plenty, but I couldn't resist also having a glazed donut. spongy, sweet goodness. The coffee is good, too. This place was humming today, and efficient, delicious operation. I would happily go here everyday; if only I could...
  7. We had a delightful brunch here. We arrived about 15 minutes early for our reservation but were promptly seated; it was early for them as well, with just a few parties in the restaurant. The service was really great; knowledgable, excited to discuss dishes, and not afraid to make recommendations. At the end of our meal, they reminded us of the revenue sharing model to indicate that no tipping was necessary. We started with the pastry basket--a chocolate croissant, a croissant, an olive oil muffin, and a toffee pastry. All were fantastic, and would have held their own in almost any bakery in the city. My "cotechino" was a pork sausage/fried egg on a nice biscuit. The name could have been misleading, but the server was quick to explain the dish when I ordered it. My wife had soft scrambled eggs with cured roe (uovo e bottarga), and it was a beautifully prepared, fish-flavored egg dish that we both loved. My son had the ricotta pancakes--two large, fluffy, fried/baked discs--perhaps a bit sugary, in my view, but he very much enjoyed them. We will happily return--this place is off to a great start.
  8. A late brunch on New Year's Eve here was really great. My fried eggs and Brussels sprouts was utterly delicious, a very filling but perfect portion of roasted (but not blackened) Brussels sprouts underneath two creamy eggs and a really nice, mildly spicy sauce. My wife's French dip poutine was also really great, perhaps served with too many fries. My son's double cheeseburger was very conventional, but good. Fries were perfectly cooked. This was our first visit, and we were extremely impressed--so much so that we are going back again this weekend.
  9. Insider knowledge--I was taken here by a few locals who really like this particular place.
  10. Seoul/Incheon (ICN) has a sandwich shop in the International Terminal (2) that is great. Grant sandwich serves what are essentially egg salad sandwiches on thick toasty bread further filled with a second interesting component--spicy chicken, spicy shrimp, etc. Chi Mac Hunter is a Korean Fried Chicken place serving up just fine fried chicken and mediocre fries. I didn't get a chance to try their spicy chicken, but it looked good.
  11. Very short stay in Hanoi yielded one very good meal at Chå Cá Anh Vū (120 Giång Võ). Chå Cá is the turmeric fish with herbs and vegetables, and apparently is found all over Hanoi. This was really nice, with bright flavors and fast and friendly service. I'm not sure when I'll be back in Hanoi, though I hope to be again at some point, so that I can explore more renditions of this dish.
  12. I wholeheartedly agree with all three. When they close, they will be sorely, sorely missed by many. 8 years is a long run, and I could understand how exhausting that was and the need they have for a break. Here's to hoping that they take some time, find a new location (maybe one only 5 minutes from my house!), and come back with more Neapolitan-style pizzas.
  13. We had a late dinner at Fernand Obb in the Saint-Gilles neighborhood of Brussels. This is a small space that looks something like a cross between a classic US delicatessen and a classic US diner. There aren't too many tables--maybe 10-15 2-tops--plus some bar stools. I was very impressed--the shrimp croquettes, apparently now considered the best in Brussels, lived up to their billing--perfectly fried and creamy and shrimp-y on the inside. I was hungry, and ordered two--they were substantial but delicious. I also tried the Porc/Veal sausage hamburger, served with pickles and a mayonnaise, I think, on a crusty roll, and would have had another if I hadn't ordered the croquettes--it was really delicious. We also sampled the gaufrites--a dauphinois potato that was formed and fried like a waffle. It was good, served with a sriracha mayonnaise (perhaps?) but less exciting for me than the burger and croquettes. I paired all of this with two beers that couldn't be more disparate in style, but both old favorites: the sour Duchess du Bourgogne, and the creamy, lightly hoppy La Chouffe. Service was extremely friendly and fast, and I will absolutely go back the next time I am in Brussels; with so many great restaurants right now in this city, I can't think of higher praise.
  14. So, Izakaya has apparently closed, unfortunately. I had dinner at Toshiro last night, and was very impressed. We had the seven course tasting menu, and the flavors were extremely bold--in some cases almost (but not quite) overpowering. What impressed me most were the wine pairings; several of the wines were just a bit 'off-kilter' when tasted in isolation of the food, but were tremendously well-paired. This restaurant has only been open about 6 months, and is firing on all cylinders at the moment; definitely worth the visit.
  15. We've enjoyed the loaves that we've had from Seylou, but are less enthusiastic about the pastries (including a few cannele that looked great on the outside, but were completely unbaked inside). Eccentric is a great word to describe the breads; with a nice butter they are splendid, in my opinion.
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