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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. We had a nice dinner at Dorona, a 'modern' steakhouse in a rather non-descript strip mall, one of a thousand that covers a good part of the territory in and around Naples, FL. The wine list was not long, but the reserve list had some nice bottles that were worthwhile, including a Jordan Cabernet. We ordered some appetizers for the table, and the highlight was a grilled octopus, beautifully presented and very worthwhile. The fried calamari was, well, calamari. I had a NY Strip, served with potatoes, if I remember. It was good--nothing spectactular--and served with a pepper sauce on the side. The other showstopper entree that another in my party had was a pork milanese, a gargantuan portion of nicely prepared thin pork cutlet on top of a nice arugula salad. The chocolate cake, described by the server as being 'very chocolate-y' and housemade, was not very chocolate-y at all. Service was friendly and professional enough.
  2. We enjoyed our dinner here--it was definitely "American with Southern accents", in my view, and not "Southern with Nordic accents". But still well done. The duck confit risotto was absolutely delicious, a rich and creamy dish that was extremely comforting. We also had a beef short rib with grits that was fantastic. I would happily go back here regularly, if given the opportunity.
  3. We had the duck and were very much blown away by it. Our whole meal was impressive--the rugbrod perhaps a less showy dish but nonetheless so flavorful and with great mouthfeel. The mushrooms dish was really well put together, and we loved it. But the duck was splendid--the fennel pollen seasoning adding a perfect compliment to a roasted duck that I would eat monthly if I could (and I guess I could); it's almost too rich and decadent to think about eating it more regularly.
  4. I had a business dinner at the Top of the Hub about 6/7 years ago, and the dining was unremarkable (as was the view, unfortunately, on a hazy night). In fact, and unfortunately, I'd completely forgotten about it until I saw your post!
  5. Growing up in rural NW Pennsylvania didn't provide a large number of fine-dining options, but when I was very young--maybe 6 or 7--I stayed with my aunt and uncle in Pittsburgh and they took me for lunch at the Top of the Triangle, at the top of the US Steel Building. It was the first restaurant with white tablecloths, waiters wearing ties, and of course an incredible view--it fit the definition of ultra-luxe in 1970s Pittsburgh, I think. I had a barbecue ham sandwich, and distinctly remember the sweet onion slices on the sandwich and the nicely sliced slivers of ham. It was several years before I visited another restaurant like that.
  6. 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.
  7. Dinner at Foro Romano (on the Rue Joseph II, not so far from the Courtyard by Marriott) isn't groundbreaking, but this restaurant has a short but worthwhile menu of first and pasta courses, and then one or two entrees and a 'classics' dessert menu. We skipped the first courses and all went for pastas--all were very good to great. My strascinati with eggplant and cherry tomatoes was a classic preparation, while one of my dining companions had a cheese ravioli that was beautiful and then covered--really covered--in black truffles. The other two pastas were similarly great--one served in a parmesan crisp bowl, the other a perfect pappardelle. These were filling and we went straight to espresso to end the night. Service was traditionally Italian, so we had lots of time to relax and talk, and enjoy the nero d'avola. I don't know for certain if they make all of the pastas in the kitchen--they might, or alternatively they just source great, great dried pastas (which isn't so hard to do in Brussels). I've now had dinner at Izakaya (Chasseurs de Vleurtgat, I think, not too far from Place Louise) several times, and have never been disappointed. It's smoky inside, from the grill, and it fills up fast (reservations are almost always necessary). The fish is extremely fresh, and everything that comes off of the grill is beautifully prepared. The sake collection is nice--I heard last night that they buy most of it from Tagawa , a market just a few doors down.
  8. Dinner last night at BaoGo was fine. This place calls itself an Asian fusion burger place, and does a pretty good job of it. The burger itself was good, as were the Xi'an spicy fries. I wanted the bao bun to be a bit less dry, and more like the somewhat squishy, moister bao buns that I'm familiar with, but oddly it wasn't too far away from a brioche bun. Paired with a nice La Chouffe, it was a good meal. This is right down in the middle of tourist central, just off of the Grand Place, and while it isn't the most adventurous menu, it's a nice evening alternative to the myriad moules et frites places that are down there, if you don't want to venture out to some of the more interesting places in Ixelles and are looking for a fairly inexpensive meal. After I walked over the grab a Brussels waffle, and it was the perfect cap to the night.
  9. 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!
  10. 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/
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
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