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Pool Boy

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About Pool Boy

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    DC Crüdite
  • Birthday 08/01/1967

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    tjaehnigen

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    Laurel, MD

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  1. Went yesterday for our first foray to Annabelle. Lucked out with parking just a stone's throw from the front door. A good start. The bar is right up front and center. Arriving at 8pm made for a bit of a jam near the doors with people arriving and departing, but it all worked. We were shown to our table in the left/back area that I think they call the gallery room. Very nice space with comfortable banquettes and chairs. Spacing between tables was adequate. There are enough nooks, crannies ad the like to break up the potential for being too loud - something I really appreciate. Pretty room. I really like the lighting in that room. Oh and the bar area is really beautiful. I think it might get pretty cramped in there if all of the seats are taken, but I am sure it'll all work out. Looking forward to getting a Frankburger in the future at the bar (especially now that Dino's Grotto is closed, sniff). We settled in, chose some cocktails (Penicillin and Sazerac - looking forward to more options here in the future), and perused the wine list and menu. I noted the wine list on line and the one we chose from were slightly different - we ordered a magnificent 2017 Turley 'Frederiks Vineyard' Zinfandel - amazing bottle. I was hoping to see some choices from the Veneto (Valpolicella, Amarone) but the current list does not have any - maybe in the future. Anyway, the menu was still a more limited selection, with no consommé available sadly (another reason to go back!), but we did not lack for choices that would please us. We decided to go for 3 courses plus a shared dessert. We were not disappointed. The bread basket - the croissant-like rolls were delicious and buttery - butter was served (not needed) but I guilded the lily anyway. Underneath were very delicious rolls with a top encrusted with flavor augmenting salt and other goodies. Braised celery waldorf salad with smoked trout. The bite I got of this was very delicious. The braising of the celery is something I would never have thought to do. Transforming components in a way to make them different but at their core true to themselves is a skill I wished I had and am very appreciative to get to experience. Really tasty. Gnocchi with rogue river smoky blue cheese, pears, hazelnuts. Yet another variation I've now had over many years - pillows of perfection with a nice range of textures and flavors to keep it interesting. Caesar-esque salad with pickled mackerel. I got a bit of this and enjoyed it. The choice of pickled mackerel was an inspired choice! MMM. Lettuce wedge with peekytoe crab, potatoes, artichokes and lardons. It all worked really well together. The sauce underpinning it all was the star of the show here. My only desire would be to have a bit more of the crab, potato and artichoke. It was all in balance - I just wanted more of it. Tasty. Aged duck breast with quince, pistachios and braised endive. I only got a bite of this but the aging of the duck made the texture almost like beef - wild.A very good dish, where the quince really brought it all together. The piece de resistance - The Chicken. I only rarely ordered the various incarnations of chicken from Frank Ruta's past gigs - not because they were not good, but I was always distracted by all of the other goodies on the menus. But this is what I was really feeling from the menu options available. I knew I'd made a good choice when the 4-top next to, two of the people got this dish. A triumph of a dish it was just perfection. When all was said and done, there was nothing left on my plate but bones (sans even cartilage mmm). So moist and juicy. So flavorful. Perfect skin. Lots of interesting 'warm spices - I would swear there was something like cardamom in there, but basically just magic on a plate. Goat Cheese Cake, Caramelized Buckwheat Puff Pastry, Huckleberry-Balsamic Sorbet, Spicy Urfa Honey - Wow. This dish looks (well just the cake) a lot like the kasekuchen my mother would make. But what we had here was so, so, so much better. The cake is so light and yet full of flavor all its own. Augmented by the honey, the pastry and especially the huckleberry balsamic sorbet, this was a great way to finish the meal. Not overly sweet, not savory really, just a threading the needle kind of finish of arguably a perfect dessert. We had some tick, full decaf coffee to go with (really pretty cup service, too). There were some minor issues with pacing and service that I easily overlooked given we showed up just a week after opening. The restaurant was certainly busy. The hum of the room was nice but not too loud. The service was attentive, generally, and also enjoyed the wine service. We're looking forward to connecting with the staff more, on future visits. It was great to finally have some Frank food after an almost two year gap for us. We're looking forward to the menu expanding in the future and eager for more. I can't wait for Spring and Summer. [EDIT - one thing my wife reminded me that was a meaningful annoyance was that, some of the plates used for service, sitting on top of the rather slick table surfaces, meant that when you tried to cut something, the plate had a tendency to spin. Not sure of the best way to solve that problem, but a bit of a distraction for sure when you are trying to eat and enjoy.]
  2. We've ordered stuff from Whole Foods/Amazon now a few times and it's been easy, great, and free delivery for orders I think $35+. Since then, my wife has discovered Instacart for other stores outside of Whole Foods and have had decent success with that, too. And in all cases, we basically do not order proteins or produce because we are toopicky to let someone else pick that stuff. But I have to admit we've purchased more from Whole Foods/Amazon since their implementation of free delivery than we have in the last several years purely due to this feature (free delivery).
  3. Thanks for this - I have been meaning to get up there and check it out as well.
  4. We opted to not take photos since it was Christmas Eve. But my wife started with the Trevisana salad (always great), while I had a soup special. She moved on to a pasta with a lot of seafood in it (it might have been squid ink pasta) - which was great. I believe I had a risotto special they had on the menu for that night which was simple but so full of flavor - amazing. My wife then had a skate wing special (there was a lot of seafood on the a la carte menu & specials because of their special feast of the seven fishes which we did not order). I ended up with an octopus dish which I think is on their regular menu where the accoutrements not only augmented the very well prepared octopus, but in some cases outshone the octopus. So good.
  5. Mango's has good central american food - better as dine in than carryout. They are local and great hosts. Definitely hit up Amber Spice, very much recommended. Grace Garden up in Odenton recently sold when the owner retired - I loved it so, but cannot recommend or non-recommend the new place - no idea. Thai at Laurel is pretty solid, worth a look. Been mostly for carry out instead of dine in. See what you think. The kabob place is one of a few -have not tried that one to be honest but looks busy whenever I drive by. I assume you know about Yia Yia's in Beltsville.
  6. I work in Ballston. I was a happy sometimes consumer of salads fro Sweetleaf, a short two and a half or so blocks from my office. A nice reason for a stroll. In good or even half good weather. Then, Sweetgreen entered and offred free delivery to a common area in our building by noon. All you have to do is remember to order before 11. It's been my go to because of the convenience alone. The other day, I forgot to gt my order in on time. I wanted salad. I walked to Sweetleaf. And then I was reminded about how much more I prefer sweetleaf. Customization is more in your face and in person, but they toss the salad for you and their stuff seems fresher to me if only slightly. I walked back to my office with a bigger and more delicious salad and devoured it. It hit the spot. Sweetgreen will unfortunately win more than not because of delivery, but when I gotstahaveit, I will get me sweetleaf. You?
  7. We went again for Thanksgiving once more and had a delicious, relaxing and satisfying meal and experience. We'll be back.
  8. My wife and I went again for Christmas Eve dinner and very much enjoyed ourselves. Delicious everything and so damn civilized. We'll be back. But, well you know, Annabelle beckons.
  9. We were there just after Christmas and had a nice lunch. It is good to note that they DO take reservations of parties as long as they can take up one of their circular 8-top tables. Good to know for the future.
  10. My wife and I fell in love with Disoom, a rather sall chain of restaurants in London a couple of years ago. I got her their cookbook for Christmas and the other night we made a dish out of the book - Minced chicken and chicken livers fried until crispy and topped with potato salli and a fried egg and Mumbai pav on the side. It was great. But it would have been impossible without a fory to Indian Big Bazaar in Laurel - they have so much great stuff there. If you are hunting for things to make various Indian dishes, this is a good resource. https://www.facebook.com/bigbazaarusa/
  11. We went here prior to seeing a screening of the movie Amadeus, accompanied by a live orchestra and choral singers (it was great!) We started with the octopus and also braised lamb meatballs dish - both were very good - but rather large portions for appetizers. I'd order both again in the future. One interesting sidenote was that, when we asked for a cocktail list the server responded that 'they were between seasons' so we could just ask for anything we wanted and they could make it. Odd - I like ordering from a curated list. And honestly, if I asked for the things I wanted and know well, they probably would not and I'd end up going to the bar with my phone for the recipe to show them and just didn't want the hassle. Only minor nit of the night. For mains. my wife had the grilled hanger steak while I had the chicken - both were very good, but the chicken was the clearly better dish. It is rare to have such a perfectly prepared chicken dish while dining out. It was something I will remember for sure. I would order it again. We had some good wine as well. The dessert we shared was interesting a yogurty/custardy thing that was a nice way to finish without something overly sweet, Nice.
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