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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. seanvtaylor


    Mumbai I spent a few days at meetings up in the Northern suburbs, right by the airport, in Andheri East. The pan-Indian cooking at the hotel (The Leela) was fine but unremarkable. But the last night I was there we wanted to venture downtown. We tried to get a reservation at Bombay Canteen, which had great reviews, but couldn't get a table. We called over to Masque and were able to get a reservation as they opened at 7:30. We didn't know much about it, but our luck was tremendous, as it was a remarkable meal. I've never been to Noma, but have had some great dining evenings, and this was really one of the best meals of my life. The chef comes from Jammu and Kashmir, and the tasting menu was sourced from his experiences there, and the garden/farm that the restaurant has in Pune and from which they source some of their produce. There were 13-14 spectacular courses, and among the highlights: --the chef's take on paani puri, filled with a charred corn/onion/tomato relish --barramunci ceviche with masala, chili oil, lime juice, and coriander --a rice pudding with chicken tashli, served with amaranth leaves and a sous vide egg yolk I found a reasonably close description of our dinner after I got back to my hotel room, head still spinning by what we'd experienced. I also then looked at the restaurant's website and found out what kind of pedigree the executive chef (who was in the kitchen and served a number of the courses to us) has (i.e., Noma, French Laundry, Le Bernardin, Alinea, among others). Through that lens, with that additional information, the night made perfect sense. It was a soulful, thoughtful, and beautifully executed menu, in a perfect setting, with gracious, friendly service. I wish that I could say that I'll be back, but who knows? It might be some time, if ever, that I'll have the chance. But if you get a chance--please try!
  2. Malmaison was an interesting space, unfortunately under-utilized in the last few years. I think that a beerhall would work very well there.
  3. Malmaison closed sometime this fall, and the space has been turned into a Berlin-style beer hall called Berliner. I ride past it most weeknights, and it looks like it is open or close to opening. Looks interesting: https://www.washingtonian.com/2018/11/06/a-modern-german-beer-hall-will-open-in-georgetown-for-vegans-and-sausage-lovers-alike/
  4. seanvtaylor

    Charleston, SC

    We had dinner twice at Edmund's Oast, with two different groups. We've been at Edmund's Oast almost annually since they've opened, and it remains worth the visit. The draft menu is very large--lots of taps--but also some nice bottles. The cocktail menu is small, but the spirit list is large. Food is still very solid--the menu has a slightly Asian bent to it, such as the salt chicken served on rice surrounded by green curry, or the pork belly with chilies. There is some lowcountry influence as well, such as the benne seed beignets. I don't think that one could compare this restaurant to the best, most exciting of what the Charleston food scene has to offer. But it's a fun evening, with plenty of interesting things on the menu and a kick-butt cheeseburger that would almost certainly please any eater, including those that are less adventurous. Edmund's Oast now also has a brewery, and we saw some of their beers at others stops in the Charleston/Kiawah Island corridor.
  5. We were looking for something non-BBQ on our drive north from Charleston, and made a stop at Oscar's Restaurant in Roanoke Rapids, NC. It's a few miles off of I-95, so a definite detour, but as a traditional southern diner it is generally worth it (particularly in comparison to fast food and fast casual chains on that route). The bowl of Brunswick stew was a gargantuan portion, and was satisfying comfort food. The fried chicken was good, but perhaps I should have looked more closely at the specials menu; one of Saturday's was a fried chicken livers dinner, and clearly the thigh and drumstick were fried in the same oil as the chicken livers, based on flavor. This wasn't horrible, if you like chicken livers (which I do), but it certainly didn't provide the clean fried chicken flavor I'd expected. The cornbread was great, as were the hush puppies. Dessert was a piece of carrot cake and a piece of chocolate cake (because why not follow up lots of fried food with big slices of cake from a diner?). As we ate it was abundantly clear that this place is an important resource for the local community--a number of people stopped in to get their dinner, or to pick up cartons of the Brunswick stew, maybe for the next day. Excluding us everybody there were regulars. Service was fine, nothing special. I walked away thinking that we must have stood out as clearly not from around those parts, but the cashier treated our son to a blow-pop on the way out the door--a nice touch that made his dinner and thus ours.
  6. Late lunch here was very enjoyable, though I was less impressed with the pizza than I thought I would be. The Pane bianco was otherworldly--almost like a crispy olive oil French toast, four perfectly toasted thick slices served piping hot. And only $4. The rucola/funghi/piave salad was a tower of fresh arugula layered with the mushrooms and cheese, with a nicely balanced lemon dressing. Really perfect. The meatball/mozzarella di bufala/chilies pizza was good--the crust was really beautifully crispy and chewy, as advertised. The sauce was a bit too much, and maybe the entire pizza a bit too much. Having been at 2 Amys last week before coming to Mozza, both are really outstanding but we are so lucky to have 2 Amys back in business. A nicely curated beer list was satisfactory. I'd come back here anytime--the pizza menu is interesting and extensive--but next time I'd be very tempted to just put in a few orders of that bread--it really was that good.
  7. Picking dim sum from the weekend menu here today was a good choice. The duck dumplings (or whatever they would be called; they were like a ground duck dumpling wrapped and then fried in a pink rice flour) were interesting, as were the shrimp rolls. The congee was very good, perhaps saltier than I expected, but a nice complement with the fried buns. Off of the regular menu the pork wrap with long horn peppers is a favorite, and was as good as always. We hadn't been to Bob's in a year, perhaps, and it was nice to see that it is as good as always.
  8. Having been fortunate enough to spend some time in Ireland a few times over the last few years, I have an appreciation for the fact that the pubs there can often have a more international menu, and not just have Shepherd's pie, fish and chips, bangers and mash. In that spirit: absolutely nothing wrong with our dinner here last night. The faux scotch egg was a good start, and my cajun pasta was flavorful and just fine. My wife's shepherd's pie came with a gorgeous side salad. The star of the evening, though, was my son's macaroni and cheese, a really generous bowl of cheesy goodness that my wife and me had a difficult time not over-sampling. A few good pours of Guinness made the night.
  9. Couldn't agree more; I was there in August, after not being there for almost a year, and it has maintained its high standards. Some years ago, before they renovated the dining room, my wife and I were at a two top and I had a view of the long table at the back, which had a large painting on the back wall above it. Suddenly we heard a large thud and the painting had dropped off of the wall. Without missing a beat, most of the wait staff rushed to the back, swiftly appraised the (lack of) injury, and got the table quickly cleaned up. It was impressive to see what a highly professional staff can do when called upon.
  10. seanvtaylor


    Dinner at Mei Fu Jia Yan was a nicely choreographed evening, with a multiple course (8? 9?) menu written out on a fan. The courses were small, precise and pleasing--nothing sticks out as a particular standout, with the fast tempo of the service leading to an overall impression--a good one. This restaurant is nicely tucked away in the middle of a hutong, and features photos and costumes of the opera singer who lived in the house and received many guests there.
  11. The sisig-rito on their menu is a gut-busting exercise in indulgence; sisig as a burrito filling makes complete sense (I could easily also envision it on top of nachos, on in a New England hot dog bun).
  12. seanvtaylor


    Dinner at Little Yunnan (No.28 Huangchenggen North Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100010, China) with a big group, sitting around a bunch of tables put together, gave us the chance to try about 20 different dishes here. The person sitting next to me is from Beijing, and was impressed with the freshness of the ingredients and the 'true' Yunnan character of the food. Too many highlights for me to list, and I wouldn't have any idea what the names of the dishes were, but I would especially recommend the prawns with peanuts and tea, a nicely crispy (due to the shells, of course) dish with a complex seasoning blend that becomes slightly addictive. The wild mushrooms with chilies were also delicious and (I was told) a Yunnan specialty. Dinner at Made in China in the Grand Hyatt Beijing was fine--it was unquestionably a greatest hits, with some interesting twists. The ma po tofu had venison tendon added, for instance. The honey-glazed prawns were very nice. My Chinese colleagues had mixed views on the peking duck and the kung pao chicken, with some thinking that they were very good and others a bit less impressed. The service was friendly and generous, and we sat right across from the 'wok' room and next to the dumpling-making operation, so it was a good show.
  13. seanvtaylor


    We spent about 5 days in Omaha for business and friends, and found lots of worthwhile options, listed in (our) order of visiting: -dinner at Twisted Fork in the Old Market district: This is a crowd-pleasing kind of place, with (okay) strong cocktails, a small but enjoyable local beer list, and midwestern portions of 'cowboy' comfort food. My country-fried steak was exactly what I wanted that night, accompanied by mashed potatoes. Nothing here will set the world on fire, but on a cool night this brightly lit, kitschy restaurant feels welcoming and homey. -breakfast at Culprit cafe: The coffee was big--a regular size coffee was more than I could handle, and I drink a lot of coffee. But it was well-brewed and flavorful. My egg white sandwich on blue corn bread was delicious, as was the szechan peppercorn/peach glazed donut I couldn't resist. There was a lot of other stuff there that I would have been happy to sample. -dinner at Le Bouillon: we had a private event here. This is a big restaurant, with lots of smaller spaces, and an interesting layout. The food was French, served family-style, and well-prepared. This restaurant could sit in Georgetown, or Brussels, or Singapore and would do fine. Very solid. -dinner at The Drover: this is one of the signature steakhouses of Omaha, as I understand it, and it lived up to its reputation. It was dark and lounge-y inside, the service was professional and swift, and the whiskey steaks (soaked for 20 minutes in a mixture of whiskey and soy sauce) were good. The 20-minute soak imparts a much more soy sauce than whiskey flavor, and maybe the sugar caramelizes a bit on the grill. The bone-in ribeye was 14 oz. of perfectly cooked medium rare--but how could it not be? Side dishes were fine; I had a chicken noodle soup instead of "Omaha's oldest salad bar", and was also impressed. Everything here was prepared with care and experience, and I would not hesitate to go back. -breakfast at BOB donuts: the dramatic difference in cost of living between Omaha and DC was on full display here, as my $4 chicken and biscuit was about $10 DC dollars worth of food. The donuts were also good, similar in feeling to Texas Donuts in Centerville, or Astro in the District. Service was friendly. The sister restaurant, a brunch spot call Early Bird, I think, was beautifully designed and also looked really interesting.