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PollyG

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Everything posted by PollyG

  1. I enjoyed the dry fried cauliflower, the lotus root pork "sandwich" (which we received instead of the HK pork belly and lotus root dish we'd ordered), and the suanla rice noodles. The scallion bubble pancake is the same as at Chang's other restaurants, and my spouse said that his black bone chicken soup was too much of a challenge to eat to be an item he'd order again, though it was tasty. The chicken was on the bone and in a pretty small bowl. He happily eats other soups that have meat on the bone.
  2. Check the Indian frozen vegetable section at your local pan-Asian food store to find fairly small slices. We've added them to soups.
  3. While they obviously had to do something to avoid having all the RTC spaces become defacto free Metro spaces, BP blew this. First 2 hours free on weekdays in addition to the current free evenings and weekends seems like a pretty obvious fix--and don't require people to use the app if they won't be in the space for more than 2 hours. Or make it 3 hours and cover matinees at Bow-Tie. No one is going to be able to use Metro for commuting in only 3 hours.
  4. Alas, the Herndon operation is closed with a realtor's "for rent" sign in front.
  5. I ordered online this afternoon and discovered two things: 1)You can get pad thai made with fried pork belly as the meat (not mentioned in-shop anywhere but a choice when ordering online) and 2) I asked for the pad thai to be "not too sweet" in my order and it was definitely less sweet. TbT's pad thai isn't too extreme in its normal sweetness, but I sure like it better when it isn't sweet.
  6. H-Mart in Fairfax. The potential for evil is palpable.
  7. No carts, but we go over to Bob's Shanghai on occasion for soup dumplings. We also really enjoy the marinated wood ear mushroom appetizer and the pan-fried pork dumplings. Staff hustle to get the tables turned over and there will likely be a wait unless you arrive on the early side.
  8. My baby shower was held there, not long after they moved from Bailey's Crossroads. My baby is now in his freshman year of college! It was sad to see it decline over time.
  9. Since I'm all too familiar with contractors who don't call back, here's another option for you. We use Absolute Electric, 571/244-4268. They put a new circuit into our house to alleviate an overloaded one and added ceiling cans to our bedroom.
  10. Thanks. My husband contacted both recommended contractors and. . .crickets. We got one hit out of 5 contractors we contacted, but they look like gems and have done work in the neighborhood.
  11. We are planning a kitchen remodel. The cabinets are covered and will be custom built in Pennsylvania by a shop specializing in this sort of thing. They would like to work with a local contractor for removal of existing cabinets and appliances, some minor electrical work (mostly moving lights and changing where a few appliances are) and possibly very minor plumbing. The biggest concern is any Fairfax County permits. Any suggestions?
  12. To answer my own question--yes, the note in the Open Table reservation worked. Michael reached out to me via email and we now have a legit reservation for 8 people.
  13. Has anyone figured out how to contact them directly to make a reservation? I'm trying to do a reservation for 8 people for next Friday night but I am stuck in a loop: Open Table says that 8 exceeds the size that can be booked at Ray's via Open Table, contact the restaurant directly. The web page says to make reservations. . . via Open Table and doesn't list a phone #. The phone # I can get via Yelp and web searches goes straight to an "here are our hours" message with no option for human contact. I'm in Herndon, so I'd really like to avoid driving there to make a reservation in person. It's the spouse's 60th birthday and that's where he wants to go. (So far, we've made 2 reservations for 4 people via Open Table with notes to the restaurant about what we actually want.)
  14. A week ago, we snagged a table on the night before Boralia closed for its annual 2 week hiatus. We opted for the $60pp (Canadian) Carte Blanche, which consists mostly of on-menu items with a few off-menu ones at the discretion of the chefs. After identifying food allergies for the staff, the fun began. Everything was delicious and the place is a screaming bargain. Parking in the neighborhood is a bit of a challenge, though. We started with on-menu deviled Chinese tea eggs, likely the only dish we had that I could replicate easily at home. Then we moved on to a crudo of arctic char, also an on-menu item. Our first off-menu item was cod cheeks fried in an algae-tinted batter, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, served over a saffron aoli. Next came one of their signature dishes, mussels smoked with pine needles. This is served in a smoke-filled globe which the waitstaff removes with a dramatic swirl. This was followed by a vegetable dish, dumplings filled with squash over a tender and sweet fresh creamed corn. Whelk was next on the menu. The meat was removed, skewered, and served back in the shell over a slaw of shredded root vegetables. Our meat dishes were a pepper-crusted seared bison having a 3-way relationship with parsnips (funnel cake, roasted strips, and parsnip puree) and duck breast accompanied by a seeded corn bread and chantrelles. Dessert was the weakest of the dishes, a chocolate and marscapone ganache embellished with tart fruit puree. (It was still delicious!)
  15. The current administration is taking actions that are having and will continue to have a severe impact on the restaurant scene in the US. Salvadorans, Nicaraguans, and Hondurans legally in the US for decades have lost their protected status and will be sent packing soon. Guest worker programs have been curtailed, leaving Maryland without enough crab pickers and 55% of California farmers short of workers. But the members of the administration are happy to dine out at establishments staffed by the very people they are trying to eject. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen amply demonstrated that yesterday in her particularly tone-deaf decision to eat at a Mexican restaurant. I believe the DC restaurant community could do a service by providing recognition to the contribution of immigrants in nearly every restaurant in the region. What would happen if our politicians, political appointees and career civil servants received a small card with each meal stating something along the lines of "this meal was prepared by immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal, Mexico, and Guatemala. Termination of the Temporary Protected Status program for workers from El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua will cause a restaurant labor shortage in the coming years?" In order to avoid ICE harassment, the card would likely need to include a statement that the restaurant uses E-Verify to confirm that all workers are entitled to work in the US. At a minimum, such cards would make it hard for our Administration to ignore the fact that they benefit from the contributions of immigrants everywhere they go.
  16. We traveled in 2016 with a pair of 16 year-olds. A few thoughts about sushi in Tokyo: If you go to the Tsukiji fish market area, be prepared for a European experience with hawkers trying to lure you into their stalls for sushi. It's okay, but you may get the crappy cuts that seem to be reserved for foreigners. Still a must-do and there are plenty of good items, just make sure you eat where you want to eat and not at one of the nondescript interior stalls. In Ginza, we found what was supposed to be the ONE rotating sushi bar in all of Ginza, Numazuko Sushi Bar. (https://www.numazuko-bar.com/) It's on the 4th or 5th floor of a building on one of the main drags and we had two outstanding meals there. We were the only non-Japanese but there was English on the menu and there are plenty of apps to help you with fish names anyhow. Everything was fresh and with the rotating bar, there is no chance that you are going to get served the apprentice's cuts. One night the server was a little slow to ask us about alcohol and the 2 adults rolled out stuffed, without booze, for $30. We stayed at a Ryokan in Kyoto on one splurge night and they set us up with an insanely good kaiseki restaurant; the kids had shabu shabu with local Ome beef (think Kobe but in the Kyoto locale, it is supposed to be even more marbled than Kobe) while we grazed our way through course after course of little gems consisting of Ome beef or impeccably fresh fish, often with interesting accompaniments. The advice we'd gotten was to wait for Kyoto or Osaka to go all out on a meal; the value is better there. If I was going to Japan without the younger one we took with us, definitely Ryokan experience that was more romantic than what we did. A higher end sushi than we did and at least a couple more fine dining experiences.
  17. PollyG

    Passover

    We continue to use the at-the-time revolutionary Haggadah published by the Central Conference of American Rabbis in the 70's. (https://www.amazon.com/Passover-Haggadah-New-Union-Haggadah/dp/B000WG2H8A/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1522935306&sr=8-5&keywords=haggadah+central+conference) It has gone through multiple revisions, ridding itself of more and more sexist language with each edition. I'm not sure exactly how long the service is, but it is beautifully timed so that my garlic crusted leg of lamb is finished about the time we serve the matzoh ball soup. Our non-Jewish friends find it easy to follow. Of particular relevance is a list of modern plagues which precedes the traditional 10 plagues. The section reads: Each drop of wine we pour is hope and prayer that people will cast out the plagues that threaten everyone everywhere they are found, beginning in our own hearts: The making of war, the teaching of hate and violence, despoliation of the earth, perversion of justice and government, fomenting of vice and crime, neglect of human needs, oppression of nations and peoples, corruption of culture, subjugation of science, learning and human discourse, the erosion of freedoms. Of course, the 11th plague is the horrible desserts of Passover, so to bring us back onto a food topic: The chocolate chip cookie recipe on Trader Joe's almond flour bag makes a pretty decent cookie. It isn't pretty, but taste-wise it beats the pants off most other Passover cookies, including commercial ones. The Queen Mother's Cake (Maida Heatter's meticulously detailed recipe) is made kosher for Passover by a substitution of matzo meal for breadcrumbs. They are just used to dust the springform pan for this almond-chocolate torte, so they have very little impact on flavor. This is the "I can't believe it's pesadik" cake I used to bring into my heavily Jewish workplace. The almond-walnut cookies by Joan Nathan that the NYTimes featured this year were definitely Not Worth The Effort. We found a use for sweet kosher wine! I poached pears in it with cinnamon and orange juice, then reduced 5 cups of liquid into about half a cup to make a syrup to pour over the pears.
  18. Thanks. Our WF in Reston was a bust, but the Dulles Wegmans had nice horseradish.
  19. NoVA members--have you found decent horseradish root this year? My local (Herndon/Sterling area) Giant and Asian market had sad horseradish that was either entirely desiccated or both limp and moldy. MoM's and TJ's didn't have it at all. 4 grocery stores in 1 day is enough for me so if you've seen nice horseradish, please speak up!
  20. Look at the Swissgear line. I have a Thinkpad that measures 14.8 x 9.8x 1.1 inches. It's a beast of a machine but the way I work requires the biggest screen I can get so I can have multiple documents displaying side by side but still readable. It fits in my Swissgear and I once managed to shove 2 of them in there. In addition, the Swissgear line offers TSA-friendly bags that can be zipped open to go through security without removing the laptop. There are zipped side pouches that can stow an umbrella and water bottle. The downside? A huge number of road warriors have them, so you will almost certainly want to customize the outside of yours with a distinctive tag so you can grab it quickly from the lineup of them at the back of the room when you attend a meeting. Mine sports a Yoda lego mini-fig. Locally, Microcenter has a huge selection of computer bags if you want to inspect them in person.
  21. Depending upon the crowd: Erotic Baker Cookbook I just checked my bookshelf and I still have the copy I bought on remainder in graduate school. It is available for loan.
  22. For those seeking visually attractive fermentation jars, check your local Home Goods. Post X-mas, the one in Ashburn had Mortier Pilon kits at less than half retail price. These are attractive glass jars with a ceramic weight and plastic surroundings, including an air lock. The glass is not thermal shock proof so you don't want to use boiling water to sanitize. Currently working on a batch of pickled daikon after my napa kimchi worked out well. I have developed a crustacean allergy so making my own kimchi is now the safest way for me to be sure my kimchi is free of the tasty salted shrimp that are in so many commercial versions.
  23. We swear by it too. When your hands are in the dough, you notice the difference. KA has a beautiful silky feel.
  24. For warm weather events, my HOA in the Herndon area has a large field with a paved sports court that we use for our various social events, but no water, power, or potties. Port-o-potties can be rented. The upside is that it is private property which means that alcohol is NOT a problem. I can provide a reasonable amount of water for handwashing, etc. One of the neighbors who borders the field might well let us run a power line in exchange for delicious food. Does anyone else have an HOA that might have better facilities available?
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