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Everything posted by PollyG

  1. How about a detailed rundown of tonight's dishes, then? Just looking at the list of attendees, we have a ton of people familiar with the chef's dishes and only a bad case of illiteracy to overcome. We easily have 1/5 of the menu already reviewed on the board, too. As to ordering strategies without your masterful guidance, if everyone brings a copy of the menu with them and pre-selects 2-3 dishes they feel they absolutely must try, we can probably manage to take advantage of the overlap and make sure everyone gets some of their preferences. Then we can send all the tripe people to the same table. (Wait a second! That's my family!) Alternatively, we can do duplicate/triplicate orders so each table gets the same selection. Or we can just armwrestle.
  2. If 17. Hot and Numbing Dried Beef (ma la niu rou gan), $5.95 is the dish I remember from Temptasian, it is not to be missed. Think beef jerky with szechuan peppercorn and coriander. Our family also votes for Entree 19, the pickled vegetable tripe, which sounds like a wonderful winter dish.
  3. If the husband and wife lung slices are savory rather than spicy, you'd probably collect. She's not a fan of the hot stuff, but has a huge advantage over some adults in that she is pretty short on cultural prejudices about what is edible. Still, I know that some people have had dreadful experiences with kids, so if there is a general "no kids welcome" consensus in this group, I'm not going to inflict her on you.
  4. PollyG


    Maida Heatter's Queen Mother's Cakeis a similarly rich chocolate torte. The original recipe calls for dusting the spring-form with flour, but you can substitute matzoh cake flour for that. Other than the dusting, it is free of all grains and uses ground almonds. Beyond that, remember it is the feast of unleavened bread, and unless you are strictly orthodox following a tradition that says that anything that "looks like" a forbidden item (kitniyot) is also forbidden, there are many interpretations suggesting that only the 5 biblical grains (wheat, rye, oats, spelt and barley) are forbidden (chametz). That leaves you with quinoa, buckwheat, wild rice, corn, and rice, for starters. We've started including a big bowl of kasha at seders.
  5. Please put me down +2 --- or let me know if the restaurant savvy 6 year-old won't be welcome. More than a few people on the list have shared meals with her and I trust them to speak up and tell us all if she's been a nightmare.
  6. Where was everyone today? We arrived just around noon and were surprised to not see any familiar faces. The hostess spotted our printout of Pandahugga's translation and handed us their own copy of same, along with the Chinese version. The waiter used the Chinese version to translate our numbering into dish names. We had: 54, the puffy scallion pancakes. These are more akin to a fried Indian bread than the usual scallion pancake, but we ordered them for the considerable amusement and enjoyment of the 6 year-old. The kid at a neighboring table, somewhere in the 4-6 year-old age range, was also enjoying hers. These come 3 to a plate, but are big enough that 2 people could share. 47 Pearl Tofu Balls. Who knew you could make tofu into gefilte fish? Honestly, the tofu and onion mixture inside reminded me of a certain Passover tradition, but in a good way. The spouse declared that they wouldn't possibly travel well and finished them--and I pretty much never see him get enthusiastic about tofu. 11. Immortal old duck pot. This is served bubbling atop a can of sterno. The rich broth is chock-full of bamboo shoots and duck chunks on the bone. The 6 year-old loved the bamboo shoots; the duck meat itself is a bit tired and has clearly given the best of itself to the broth. There are small red dried fruits of some sort floating in the broth, which are both sweet and a bit gritty. 16. Pork in Garlic Mud. Either we lost something in the ordering, or the naming was too poetic. This is pork belly slices (think uncured bacon meat) in a chili oil, covered with slivers of scallion. I'm pretty sure I've had that dish at Joe's. Yummy. 1. Smoked Sesame Chicken. We ordered this because the smoked chicken slices at A&J are one of the 6 year-old's favorite foods, anywhere. She enjoyed these but wasn't as enthusiastic. The smoked flavor was pretty subtle, and I'm not convinced that the sesame oil added much other than calories. A&J's is better in my opinion. We ordered 12, Sichuan Pickles, but they did not arrive, nor were they on the bill. Considering how stuffed we were, we didn't fuss over it. I'm not quite sure how we managed to avoid any cumin or sichuan peppercorns, but somehow we did. We're already planning another trip for next weekend, but with another family. A lot of the dishes were sized so that they would have shared nicely among 4 adults. The dining room to the left of the entrance was filled with a private party. The main dining room was not more than 1/4 full by the time we left. We were the only table of round-eyes with the Chinese menu; most of the tables in our section were filled by Chinese families, all of whom were using the Chinese menu.
  7. The Grand Mart in Sterling has a top shelf featuring every cut of tripe, plus what I believe constitutes all the parts for an "assemble your own pig at home" kit. Regarding the lamb testicles, were they packaged in odd numbers, as they always were in our supermarkets in Kentucky, where they were labeled as "lamb fries?" Recipes that make men cross their legs and wince. Lamb liver is a treat, easily as good as or better than calves liver. I used to get it at the farmer's market in Madison WI from the organic lamb people. Where is this place?
  8. Finding the food people at a new workplace can be one of the hardest parts of a job switch. It's taken 5 years, but I almost have a few of them ready to go out for Korean with me. How about Neisha Thai? It's in Tysons Corner Mall (accessible from the outside only) and has brightly colored fruit drinks and a very credible pineapple fried rice served in a pineapple for the children, err, co-workers. The appetizers in particular are presented in more of a high fashion style than in most places. You can get the caffeine addicts buzzed on Thai iced coffee, and rock the worlds of the iced tea crowd with the ginger iced tea. For you: the hoi obb and the yum eggplant appetizer (smokey sweet tender eggplant, fairly hot marinade). That's plenty for lunch.
  9. The Grand Mart on Route 7 in Sterling has had frozen marrow bones at every visit. I don't remember the price, but I believe they were reasonable.
  10. Many of the area's Vietnamese restaurants serve them as part of the lotus root salad, a shrimp and vegetable dish that is worth ordering even when it comes without the shrimp chip garnish. Huong Viet in the Eden Center serves it with the chips. I've found that the brand of shrimp chip matters very much. The Sa Giang brand marked premium quality is a lot better than the other brands and is the only one I will buy now. They also make crab chips and a variety of the shrimp chip that has some pepper in it. The large Vietnamese grocery in the Eden Center has all varieties. While the flavor is better if you fry in oil, shrimp chips do pretty well in the microwave. Watch them because they burn easily. My microwave does the trick in about 45 seconds.
  11. The Whole Foods in Reston's Spectrum Center has stopped carrying coffee beans in bulk and has only prepackaged beans. There's no way of knowing how long those prepackaged beans have been on the shelf, and at $12.99 for 12 ounces, I'm not going to be sourcing my decaf Sumatran from them any more. At that sort of price, I can have Peet's ship them straight to me the day they're roasted.
  12. These are the same "it's all about me, so gimme for free" people who expect to be comped entire meals for any misfire in their dining experience. Most restaurants operate on a thin margin and need to balance their pride in providing a flawless experience with the sad knowledge that there are grifters who will do nearly anything to score a free meal or entree. If you're over the age of 12, you shouldn't expect a restaurant to fuss over your birthday. If you're under the age of 12, your parents might arrange (and pay for) some bit of fuss. I spent my last birthday with some dining pals and my family in Palena's bar sampling as many dishes as possible. Quite unbidden, my daughter blurted to the hostess that it was my birthday. She was 5 (we took the early shift at Palena) and I suppose it was exciting to her. I did receive a small plate of cookies, which were much appreciated. But I certainly didn't expect anything at all, nor would I have thought to mention it to the staff.
  13. Virginia charges sales tax on interstate shipments of everything. This started about 8-10 years ago. We fine, upstanding citizens of Virginia are supposed to fill out a special form listing each item we had shipped to us from another state upon which sales tax was not assessed. If we pay sales tax for the shipping state, Virginia doesn't assess its own tax; it merely wants to make sure that we pay tax upon the goods to one state or another. If I remember right, the original excuse used to foist this burden upon us was the prevalence of purchases of furniture from North Carolina. In this day and age of internet shopping, I cannot begin to state the level of annoyance this requirement causes me each year. Fortunately, most internet retailers do charge Virginia sales tax for shipments into the Commonweath now.
  14. You need to separate it into two steaks. Looking at your photos, what you want to do is cut along the center bit of gristle that is parallel to the long side of the meat. You will remove this, yielding two steaks of approximately equal size. Then you can trim the fat off if you wish. I've done that with a couple of hanging tenders from the Grand Mart in Sterling. At $2.39 a pound, we're very impressed.
  15. It may not have been. We had a mango drink problem at Neisha Thai in Tysons once--the mango was pureed alright, but so was some of the pit! Mmm, crunchy chunks in my straw. Lots of 'em.
  16. Perhaps not terroir , but I believe you could use a lab to create a fair approximation of terrier in your bottle of wine.
  17. Mmmm. Yes, the world certainly needs more wine with all the variance and flavor of mass produced American Pilsner. In theory, it might work very well to "improve" mass produced jug wine, but it turns the vinter's art into production chemical engineering, which is very much what happens at the mega-breweries. And does your average jug wine drinker actually want subtle flavors in their plonk?
  18. Sees chocolate, latte, and vanilla lollipops will at least coat your throat. There's a Sees cart in the Galleria at Tysons for the holiday shopping season. And while it is a hot beverage, the Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat tea (Whole Foods and any other health food store) is very soothing. If you like licorice, you'll like the taste. The active ingredient is slippery elm bark. I found some slippery elm lozenges a few years ago (at Whole Foods, I think) but they were vile. A carafe of hot sake may also do the trick, but your workplace may frown upon it.
  19. I've made biscottii, some of them dipped half-way in chocolate. I put them into a nice jar. Maida Heatter's Brand New Book of Great Cookies is the source of my recipes. Two of my friends have native Italian mothers; in both cases their mothers expressed (not in my presence) disbelief that a non-Italian could have made the cookies. The Epicurious rosemary shortbread cookie recipe has been another holiday hit.
  20. You could have made a gushing remark about the wonderful healthy immune system Henry was developing by sucking on items that had been handled by dozens of people. If she had no consideration for other shoppers, perhaps she might have had some for little Henry. This is one reason I'm a big fan of the new shopping car/carts that some of the bigger chains use. Some kids outgrow the shopping cart basket earlier than they (or their parents) grow any common sense.
  21. Rolled prosciutto might work, but I think a scallion, shredded on the end, would make a more convincing ventworm.
  22. A&J's are among the best. The 5 year-old loves the passionfruit, while the adults waver between passionfruit, coffee, and milk tea. They manage to keep their bubbles at the right level of chewiness, and they don't use the dreaded powdered base. The worst we've had was at Dragon Star in the Eden Center. The 5 year-old got through only about an inch of hers. It was a powered base and grossly sweet. Song que is also excellent.
  23. An even cheaper fridge is available at Sierra Trading. What a shame, you missed the promotional campaign that Office Depot had for teachers last year--we got something like this for free with a $50 OD order. My daughter's cheap plastic bento sets come from Super-H, which has a small selection of the Zorushi-type bento spectaculars. She has rice balls, home-grown cherry tomatoes, watermelon, and carrots today.
  24. I found one nugget from the article just plain depressing: I understand that in some cases, chains and fast food are better options than the locally owned greasy spoon on the corner. But three-quarters of all restaurant visits? Who are these people, and what are they doing in my country?
  25. And we must not forget the Octodog! There are also many devices intended to cut Japanese sausages into clever shapes for bento boxes, but I am oddly reluctant to perform a search on "shape sausage" from work.
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