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Everything posted by PollyG

  1. A&J (Annandale, though the Rockville location tends to be remarkably consistent) does a fried chicken and rice dish (or fried chicken and noodle soup) that is dark meat chicken, lightly breaded and then sliced after frying. It is juicy and delicious. And I do love the HKP dish Don described, which has the added bonus of being "breaded" in corn starch and accessible to those who have to be gluten-free.
  2. It depends on what you are craving. I'd check their web site and see if it is a turn-on for you. They have a funky reservation policy, requiring a spend of $30/per person, but will give you a gift certificate for the shortage should you manage to not spend $30. I am not sure if they are open for lunch, which would probably rule it out for your upcoming trip. Try the lotus root chips. They were ethereal at my first visit, a bit on the oily side on my second. If you are looking for serene surroundings, skip it. It is a small place that is tightly packed.
  3. If your SO is willing to have VERY limited options, yes. If your SO eats seafood, I believe there are some soups that would work and their excellent haemul pajan (seafood and scallion pancake) would work. In addition, you could ask for a vegetarian bibim bap, essentially veggies and pickled veggies over rice, either in a steel bowl (cold) or dosolt, in a sizzling hot stone bowl. But you should call in advance. In general, Korean menus offer very few vegan options. Tofu-based soups generally have some seafood in them. Banchan are mostly vegetarian, so they would be able to enjoy those. Annangol's menu is more limited than that of many of our area Korean restaurants but I have yet to see one that has a vegetarian section.
  4. We actually have a small cache of the groupons for them. Groupons scare me because they are often a sign of a floundering business, but the Korean BBQ joints seem to use them, and Living Social, quite heavily. They probably make it up in the alcohol bill when the groups of young people come in; our soju consumption is rather modest in comparison. BTW, they have a picture menu for the Korean-dish-name impaired.
  5. They also now have a location in the Chantilly area, on 50 just South of the intersection with 28. We've eaten there 3 times in the past 4 months, with consistently good results. 14015 Lee Jackson Memorial Hwy, same location that IL Mee occupied for many years. There was an intervening Korean buffet place so crappy that we have forgotten its name. Annangol has NOT kept the buffet. They have been cooking the meat most of the way in the kitchen for us, then bringing it to the table for a final sear. I have not been observant enough to notice whether the Korean diners at other tables are receiving different treatment. However, they brought a very generous portion of onions to our tabletop grill which seared into carmelized deliciousness before our partially cooked spicy pork belly was added.
  6. Are you redoing the overhead lighting, too? If so, I adore my LED can lighting. These replaced our incandescent can lighting and the lighting is more even, they do not heat the kitchen up, and I have not replaced a light bulb in the kitchen since installing them several years ago. In theory, it will be another 15+ years before I need to replace a light bulb in the kitchen.
  7. Wegman's is welcome, whether located within the City or far beyond Alexandria's borders, as it appears to be. I'm surprised that there are not lawsuits brought against realtors/sellers for using "Alexandria" for locations far outside the City. When I went to register our cars in Alexandria, the City actually had someone going down the line to confirm that everyone really resided in the City. About 1/3 of the people in line did not, and some of them were quite indignant when they were told they did not actually live in Alexandria. The Post Office is to blame for much of this, but claiming something south of 495 is in Alexandria is BS. In addition to the historic cachet of "Alexandria," the City provides outstanding city services. Fairfax County doesn't even come close, other than having superior public schools. Of course, I'm in a similar situation now, living in Herndon's zip code but outside Herndon's limits. I just tell people I live in Fairfax County, near Herndon.
  8. My 15 year-old breakfasted with me at Russ & Daughter's Cafe yesterday morning and it is now her favorite restaurant. She enjoyed the sable and bagel platter, which arrived with all ingredients separate so she could tailor it to her satisfaction. The capers could have used a quick rinse to take some of the brine off them, but otherwise she was delighted and they did manage to provide ripe tomato slices, in February. I had the potato latkes with the untraditional option of salmon roe and creme fraiche. They were small latkes with some scallion in them, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. My daughter's insanely overpriced ($7!) malted egg cream was expertly prepared and she got a kick out of the hollow steel spoon/straw combo. We had the pickle platter; the half-sours and the pickled fennel were my favorites. It took quite a bit of control to save half of that platter to take home to the spouse I'd left behind in Virginia. The interior of the Cafe is immaculately clean and we were just charmed all around. I am quite sure that we will be back on our future trips to NYC.
  9. Happily, Alicia is back. Her web site is at www.sublimecanine.weebly.com and facebook is facebook.com/sublimecanineva. That's my black standard poodle prancing around in the December 30 video on her facebook page.
  10. Our rule with dishwashers is now that if it is no longer cleaning the dishes and there are no obviousl problems resolvable via the manual, we replace the damned thing. Our prior Kenmore diswasher is the last Kenmore appliance we will ever buy. It had a design flaw which caused the gasket protecting the electronics to leak within a year, killing it in mid-November before Thanksgiving. The Sears service people took over 8 weeks and 4 visits to fix it. . .that's right, we were without a working dishwasher for Thanksgiving, Hannukah, and several other major entertainment events. We were not amused. At that point, we decided that if it broke again, out it was going. It did, and the Bosch replacement is working fine. We're not crazy about the lower rack design on the Bosch, but we can work with it.
  11. Quick, someone notify the DHS! We have either an alien or a dangerous subversive in our midst! (Actually, one of my dear childhood friends did not like it either. It may have been a texture thing for him; he was a bit picky as a kid though nowhere near the extreme that some of my kid's friends have reached. ) And to put this back on topic: I made the most ridulously easy ice cream over the holidays. We chucked most of a quart of Homestead Dairy's egg nog into our churn--it brought me back to the days when the milk delivery company would provide ice cream mix on special order, only this was much, much better.
  12. In general, Neuhaus has very good quality chocolates. I would be a bit concerned about freshness; the best of their chocolates are not meant for a long shelf life.
  13. The halibut crudo I had at Hog Island Oyster Co in the Ferry Building in November was the single best thing I ate in 2014. They often have it as a special, but the preparation varies; that day it was marinated in passionfruit juice. The preparation I had in December was good, but not quite the mind-blowing excelence of November's lunch. The whole family (ages 15 to 76) enjoyed dinner at Hog Island in December. Kiraku, a tiny izakaya in Berkeley, is turning out extremely tasty dishes and will stay in my rotation when work brings me out there.
  14. Gluten-free people, take note: If you bring your own GF soy sauce, HKP is able to make most of its dishes GF for you. We took over about half the restaurant for my birthday a few months ago and one of our friends genuinely has Celiac and must eat GF; even the small amount of wheat in soy sauce has become a problem of late. I did some consultation in advance and found out that most of the "breaded" dishes at HKP use corn starch and not wheat flour. There are a few exceptions and a call in advance would be smart, but my friend was able to eat almost everything we had pre-ordered for the gang. All of their sauces are made on the spot and not pre-made, so it was easy for them to use our GF soy.
  15. We did a Feast of the Seven Knishes for friends and neighbors on the weekend between Christmas and New Year's, 2012. The two fillings I made for the first time for that event and really enjoyed were a kim chi and mashed potato filling and the duxelles filling. I included a small amount of mashed potato in the duxelles filling to make the knishes easier to eat--I don't like having my filling jumping out of my knishes. I also liked the spanikopita filling in theory, but I think I blew the seasoning on it and it should have been a bit more tasty. I use a modified version of my grandfather's recipe for the dough (his called for margarine, I use butter), which makes one of the most delightfully workable doughs I've ever experienced. 1 lb butter 4 cups flour 3/4 cup water 1/4 cup white vinegar 1 egg Cut butter into flour (or use the Cusinart's dough blade to make unspeakably fast work of this) Put butter/flour mix into a bowl, add egg and stir gently. Add vinegar and water and combine all ingredients together. Turn onto a well-floured board and roll together to get a well formed ball. Roll out thickly, fold four ways and roll out again, leaving it fairly thick. Repeat 4-5 times, roll into a ball, wrap tightly and refrigerate until stiff and well chilled (Grandpa suggested overnight, but I find 2-3 hours works okay). Tightly wrapped, this will hold for weeks. Roll out thin (I can see the marks on my pastry board through the dough) and fill. Grandpa suggested 15 minutes in a 450 degree oven, and painting the outsides with yolk prior to cooking to give them an eye-appealing glaze.
  16. We have a Waring flipper. It works marvelously well with the Fanny Farmer Cookbook's yeast-raised waffles, though I add vanilla and some extra sugar to the batter on the day of cooking. Do not expect the flipper to be a lifetime purchase -- the home models tend to have cheap plastic that can get deformed and break over time. It is possible that where we store it has something to do with the short lives of ours (there is a cast iron griddle in the same cabinet and family members may be responsible for shoving things around in there roughly) but we are on # 2 in 12 years and #2 has one piece of plastic broken but still works fine.
  17. When I was in college, our food service occasionally served Swedish Meatballs. At the time, there was an Alpo can illustration that looked like a dead ringer for that entree. But we never tasted it. Really bad carnitas, perhaps?
  18. Strawberries dipped in chocolate are super easy if you decide that you don't really need to temper chocolate that will be eaten the next day. I did them for my nephew's bris in my hotel room using a microwave and the minifridge. I brought the chocolate (Trader Joes dark bars) and wax paper with me, as well as some white chocolate melting tabs and squeeze bottles from Michaels for decoration. These are easy enough that you can melt the chocolate and recruit other people to wash/dry/dip the strawberries. You can also dust them with sprinkles if you prefer.
  19. Before someone pulls this topic to the side of the road and makes us all walk home: As a prior victim of pine-nut mouth syndrome who now makes pesto with macadamias, I recently discovered this 2011 blog describing someone's thesis project which targets one particular species as the culprit. http://pinenutsyndrome.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/pine-nut-syndrome-thesis-completed-overview/ A handy visual guide to the various species is included at http://pinenutsyndrome.wordpress.com/pine-nut-species/ . As with all such links, just because you read something on the internet does not make it true, but it does appear to have been well thought-out research. If this is correct, your Pinus sibirica sample should be safe.
  20. Kiraku in Berkeley did a great job of fortifying me before 3 days of dull conference food. www.kirakuberkeley.com I met up with a college buddy and one of her good friends at this tiny Berkeley izakaya last week. Reservations include an "honor" type commitment to consume at least $30 of food and booze per person. Do not be frightened off by the "Japanese Tapas" description on the menu and front awning. I would have thought folks in Berkeley knew what an izakaya is, but perhaps not. We were blown away by a couple of the dishes -- everything else was good to excellent, but not transporting. The fried lotus root chips with celery salt were so light and crunchy we ended up ordering a second bowl. This was the favorite of our not-so-familiar-with-Japanese dining companion. The chips were potato chip thin and practically grease-free. The takowasibi was a first for me. This is raw, not cooked, octopus marinated with a touch of wasabi. I had a second, not quite so good version of this at another restaurant later in the week. I could have this over rice for breakfast several days a week. We had a smoked carrot (or possibly an unusually large gobu root) pickle which was an interesting mix of smoke, crunch, and vinegar. The albacore yuzu ceviche was almost delicate with the citrus notes. They have a huge sake menu and one of the staff is happy to consult with you and suggest either a sake to your taste or a sochu he thinks will work for you. Things I regret not trying: Fried garlic with miso. I was going to spend the next 3 days in tight quarters at an all-hands meeting and I decided to be kind to my colleagues. I'll be back. With drinks and tip, I think we still kept it to under $120 for the 3 of us. Seating can be a little tight, but not as tight as Inn at Little Washington.
  21. Alicia has left the region. Not quite sure how to break this to my dogs, because they adore her. Polly Goldman
  22. Not even close for me, but I do like the current trend in self-serve with the toppings bars, which can be a welcome relief from oversized portion-mania. Red Mango is the best incarnation of this we've encountered to date. I like the fresh fruit toppings and their fro-yo is very good. OTOH, my daughter and I have been known to position ourselves where we can see the weight indicator as other people overfill their cups and walk out with over a pound of fro-yo and toppings at the local Crunchy Sweet Frog. It's frightening.
  23. This past February, I used the Help Needed forum to seek a recommendation for a landscaper who could help us address a shady, muddy back yard with a solution that did not require chemicals or cutting of the deciduous forest that covers the rest of the yard. We recognized that a lush grass lawn was probably not achievable without intense maintenance and chemical assistance, neither of which we wanted. Nancy Christmas, the spouse of DR member Dr. Xmus was recommended, and after reviewing her site at NativeScapes, I contacted her. She spent a generous amount of time with me and my spouse, took lots of photos of the yard, and suggested a plan that would fit our needs and be very low maintenance after the first year. Nancy does not do the installation work herself, so she has no incentive to suggest expensive alternatives vs cheap ones. We received not only the plan, but also information about each of the suggested plants and information about more plants that we might want to add over time. We ended up going with Merrifield Garden Center to execute the work. The foreman was extremely complimentary about Nancy's plan for our yard (which speaks volumes, considering Merrifield has their own designers), and the work was mostly completed a few weeks ago. We have a few more plants to add in the Spring. Already, the dogs are loving the mud-free yard (our sparse ground cover was removed and replaced with topsoil and mulch) and my daughter is looking forward to placing a fire pit in what used to be a thicket of extremely sour, low-yielding wild blackberries. Nancy's plan cost us a ridiculously low sum. She should be charging more for her knowledge and time! Paula Goldman
  24. Also American Jewish World Service http://ajws.org Donations will be directed to local groups in the Philippines who are already on the ground and know the communities. AJWS is a strong proponent of purchasing supplies close to the disaster area, both to reduce shipping costs and to avoid disrupting the area's economy with a flood of free goods which unintentionally hurts local businesses. The specific donation page is at https://secure.ajws.org/site/Donation2?df_id=6421&6421.donation=form1&__utma=233384270.688582353.1384047850.1384047850.1384228286.2&__utmb=233384270.7.10.1384228286&__utmc=233384270&__utmx=-&__utmz=233384270.1384047850.1.1.utmcsr=%28direct%29|utmccn=%28direct%29|utmcmd=%28none%29&__utmv=-&__utmk=58441321
  25. ARA in Annandale has it on the menu. ARA is a very busy noisy nightclub in the evenings -- I know someone who tells me she always sees police cruisers there at night, but extremely quiet at lunchtime.
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