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About lekkerwijn

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  • Birthday April 25

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  1. Pineapple and Pearls was very new when we moved away from DC in early 2016. Despite the accolades to motivate us and regular trips back to the area for both work and pleasure since then, we had our first meal there over the weekend. For obvious reasons when we are back in town we usually hit up our nostalgic favorites but we were able to get relatively last minute 9:30 pm seats at the bar. We found the most memorable aspect of the meal to be how unsatisfying it was. I don't think it lived up to the hype. It would be entirely fair to @ me because we were seated at the bar and that isn't the same thing. But I am someone who believes the bar experience and quality should be as good than the dining even with a slightly different or truncated menu. A bar menu should make you want to go back for the full dining room experience. This is especially true of you are still paying high end tasting menu prices. I left the dinner thinking the food was a lot of overwrought gimmick not backed up with flavor. To be clear nothing was bad or offensive. The technical execution was there. I just didn't love the meal.
  2. We had lunch in the newly remodeled EMP a couple weeks ago. It was our third visit in four years; we have now been for dinner, lunch and dinner in the bar. As it is in the neighborhood, we have also popped in for their uber-excellent cocktails on special occasions. The food and service was impeccable, but for intangible reasons that I can't fully articulate it wasn't quite as enjoyable as our past meals. At this point our firm recommendation is to go for the bar menu rather than the full tasting menu. The price point to quality ratio is much stronger and while the experience isn't quite the same as the dining room, it is still very enjoyable and a bit more relaxed. Note to those who might consider this option. You can book (and thus prepay) the bar menu in advance. BUT they keep seats available for walk-ins and the bar is now open for lunch. The bar was basically empty when we were there. So, if you show up at 11:45 when they open you are highly likely to get a seat/s. Similarly we were told after 9 pm it opens up as well, particularly on a week night.
  3. Possibly because we live across the street, Cosme is a place we go fairly regularly. It is definitely not the best value for the price point if you go for dinner. BUT brunch prices are much more reasonable with a similar menu. I also strongly recommend their cocktails. Another option would be to visit their sister restaurant Atla. To be honest, I prefer Atla which has an all day menu, tons of outdoor seating and a more relaxed atmosphere. The menu is stylistically similar but much less expensive.
  4. lekkerwijn


    I'm currently in Amsterdam for business meetings, but in the name of controlling travel costs flew in 24 hours early, sacrificing some personal time for a day of "workcation". Been eating very well... Rijks - The weather was stunning (70 and sunny) and we were able to sit outside. They have a price fixe option €47 for four courses which was a perfect way to experience their menu paired with their excellent cocktails it was a fantastic lunch. The first course was a green gazpacho with crudite, avocado and burrata that was a pretty huge portion for a lunch tasting menu. Second course was steamed chicken with a light curry sauce. Cheese course was an ice cream made of Gorgonzola paired with different preparations of cherries. The dessert course was made with coconut, basil seeds and mango. Guts & Glory - They don't publish a menu and offer five, six or seven course menus. They're currently celebrating their third anniversary with a "best of" their various chapters or menu themes since they opened. The meal started with an amuse including more green gazpacho, first course was ceviche, second was asparagus, third fish in a saffron sauce, fourth ramen, fifth lamb, a pre-dessert made with eggplant and chocolate, and the dessert was a play on lemon meringue pie. Each course was very different but all were excellent. Scandinavian Embassy - Its a tiny coffeeshop that serves an excellent all day breakfast menu. Their beans come from various Scandinavian roasters including Koffee Kollective. I was with a colleague and we shared a large pour over that was very delicately extracted - almost tea like. For breakfast we shared their graved lox with poached egg and lots of lovely vegetables and the mushroom pancake. Both items were STUNNING. Sprudge wrote that this could be the first Michelin starred coffee shop and I can completely see what they're saying. The coffee reminded of what we had at Fuglen in Tokyo the food was as good or better than what we had at coffee shops in Sydney or Melbourne. Van Wonderen Stroopwafels - They make them fresh in front of you with different interesting toppings. A warm, fresh stroopwafel is a divine thing.
  5. lekkerwijn


    We just got back from our annual trip to Tokyo. If you are something of a omakase neophyte but want to try without going somewhere that is intimidating, unfriendly to foreigners or prohibitively expensive my strong recommendation would be lunch at Sushi Iwa Ginza. $80 per person, approachable and will make attempts at English.
  6. lekkerwijn

    Suggestions for a Long, Hamiltonian Weekend in NYC

    Midtown is a tourist-hell dead zone, especially on weekends. My suggestion is to focus on points south where there is more interesting stuff happening from a dining and city wandering perspective. Some other recommendations: Gloria (https://www.gloria-nyc.com/) W. 53rd btwn 9th and 10th is one of our favorite places right now. It is the tiny, quiet neighborhood gem that you dream of in Manhattan. The food is excellent and they have a well-curated natural focused wine-list. The menu and wine list is comfortably priced. Simon & the Whale or Studio in the Freehand Hotel E. 23rd & Lex --> super trendy right now. Studio does all-day dining and excellent brunch. Atla W. 3rd & Lafayette --> Another all-day dining spot. If you go at early brunch on a weekend or breakfast on a weekday there is no challenge getting a table , though they do also take reservations. I live and work in Nomad and agree with the Nomad hotel recommendation. I'm not a fan of Pecora Bianca, personally. The Quality Eats that just opened in the neighborhood is very good and has a really approachable menu and cool ambiance. Vini e Fritti, Marta, and Cafe Marcchio are also right near by and very on trend. Other cool places worth considering: Nur, Union Square Cafe (a classic), Wildair, Contra, Atoboy, Prune, Olmsted (Brooklyn)
  7. lekkerwijn


    Our most recent trip to Israel was in June. I agree with the recommendation to spend Shabbat in Tel Aviv unless of course you want to have a traditional shomer shabbat experience in Jerusalem, which if you have family to spend time with is very relaxing. Hotels We stayed at the Mamilla hotel in June 2017 and January 2014 trips to Israel and very much recommend it. The rooms are relatively large and modern as are the bathrooms. Hotels in Tel Aviv you have two options - big corporate or small boutique. There is nothing in between. I personally NEED to be near the beach. We stayed at a cute place right near the Carmel Market called the Hotel Nordoy. It is new and very cute/chic. Restaurants The food in Israel is actually really excellent. More traif delicacies are available in Tel Aviv than Jerusalem. @the.hungry.tourist on Instagram is Israel-based and his social content is a font of helpful ideas of where to eat and food tourism. On our most recent trip to Israel we had a family wedding in Jerusalem and didn't get a chance to eat more than some street falafel and a quick visit to Machaneh Yehudah. However, we spent a few days on our own in Tel Aviv and can recommend: Miznon, OCD TLV (its very trendy but it was good), al-Ashi in Yafo (probably our favorite meal of the trip), Hummus Abu Hassan (I hope you like raw onion), Claro, and Mashya. Definitely try both green and red shakshukas at breakfast and watermelon and Bulgarian cheese on the beach. If you want a good private tour guide, DM me and I'll provide you with a name. I really do recommend having someone take you around. Not for safety, just for context.
  8. We ate at Le Grill with friends shortly after the restaurant opened. The food was both well executed and yet utterly unremarkable at the same time. It was exactly what you would expect from a well-run corporate chain. It was a Saturday night and the room was buzzing but not noisy. My feeling was that the menu and experience at Le Grill is designed to please a more conservative palate and/or the business diner looking to be in but not actually experience a hip NYC neighborhood. Two points additional that might further help to provide additional context to the dining experience there. 1- I think we were the only people eating there that night who lived within walking distance. I doubt that the majority of the diners spent any time that day or any day in the Meatpacking neighborhood or Chelsea. If they lived in Manhattan they lived north of 34th street (our friends live on the UWS). But most likely they lived outside of New York City. 2- The sommelier said we were the first table to express a preference for either grower Champagne or natural wines. Both products he personally prefers but doesn't think will sell well in that venue and thus there was a limited selection. But we did enjoy his suggestions. For a serious diner coming to visit New York on even a semi-regular basis, it would not be on my "must try" list. I really have nothing negative to say about the food or the experience, but I don't see us making any effort to return. Frankly it isn't the kind of restaurant in any city that would get us excited, but we didn't pick it either.
  9. lekkerwijn


    IMHO... The best bagels in NYC right now are a cross between Montreal and classic New York. Like Montreal they're smaller with a bigger, defined hole. But like New York they're boiled and a bit bready. The best of this style are found at Sadelle's and Blackseed. For a more traditional New York bagel, I like Russ and Daughters or the mini (only the minis) at Ess-a-Bagel. Eater posted a map of their top bagels a couple weeks ago: https://ny.eater.com/maps/best-bagels-nyc However, I fear this line of questioning fails to also consider that the quality of the bagel one must be complemented by the appetizing offer - smoked fish, cream cheese and other delicacies. Bagels do not exist in a vacuum. In this case Sadelle's continues to remain a top choice as does Russ and Daughters. Zucker's similarly does appetizing very well.
  10. Realizing I haven't posted in over 2 years since we moved from DC to NYC. Not sure what made me decide to sign in tonight... I think I've missed this. We've been to both Le Bernardin and Batard recently. They are very different restaurants and I think the answer to your question totally depends on what you are looking for. Batard is going to be a much more relaxed meal from the food to the atmosphere. I like the format of the menu at Batard and the flexibility it offers to create your own adventure. If you are going on a Monday night, Batard has free corkage. We usually go there on a Monday night for that reason, though their wine list is exceptional and well curated.
  11. We move to New York on Tuesday and our "last meals" in DC tour plans have had to change with the storm. Having BreadFurst literally in our backyard is something we will miss. I was there at 8:30 am to stock up before the storm. Good thing I was there early because they were already running out of loaves of bread and there was a line almost to the front door. As always, it was worth the wait. I managed to snag a couple warm-from-the-oven baguettes, pain au chocolate, monkey bread, chocolate layer cake and English muffins.
  12. I'd describe this as a lesson in how not to do crisis PR when you have a food safety problem and have made people sick. So much so, that I'm going to save it and use it as a training tool with my team. This is also why if you have a nationwide outbreak from your restaurant and the CDC is involved and you don't continue to use your publicist who does lifestyle PR and hire an agency experienced in crisis and litigation communications who won't put you in a situation like Mr. Galy was put in with Carman. This interview should never have happened. He should have called me and my team.
  13. At high end restaurants like the Riggsby FOH staff often do really well so they can afford to eat there. Restaurateur Jeff Black, owner of BlackSalt and Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, among other places, says members of his wait staff earn between $85,000 and $150,000 annually. "My waiters make more money than" D.C. Council members, Black said. "They don't need a raise."
  14. lekkerwijn


    We spent Thanksgiving in Peru. Our original plan was 4-5 days of eating and relaxing in Lima. But then my family invited themselves along and we ended up also going to Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, which was awesome. We had some really great tour guides and drivers. Happy to provide recommendations including for a fruit tasting, market tour and cooking class. Lima- Hotel B - This the "hot" boutique hotel in Lima right now. Reasonable by U.S. prices but really expensive for Lima. That said, we loved it. Huge room, modern luxurious bathroom. Breakfast and high tea were included and delicious. My mind has been forever changed about the power of properly prepared quinoa with fried eggs for breakfast. They are also famous for their Pisco Sours, in their bar. We tried several and really enjoyed them. Also, they always have sparkling wine chilling at their check in desk. We were quite happy to partake often. La Mar Cebicheria - From the owners of Astrid&Gaston. We arrived around 2 pm on Wednesday and the place was hopping. We were quoted a 30 minute wait for a table but then were quickly offered seats at the bar. We had an amazing meal. Started with a couple cocktails- including a Leche de Tigre Pisco Sour (complete with chunks of fish) recommended by a friend who works at the James Beard Foundation that I really enjoyed the first few sips of and then just ate the fish. Other fruity cocktails were excellent. We left a little tipsy. The menu is expansive and a little overwhelming given my mediocre high school Spanish skills. Luckily the waiter was helpful and ordered for us. Starting with the ceviche sampler- three different styles of ceviche each delicious with a range of types of fish and seafood. But the hot dishes were by far our favorites of the meal. Squid and octopus a la plancha with corn and potatoes was so incredibly savory and the seafood perfectly cooked. It was heaven. We also got the langostine special- six huge langostines coated in a butter, garlic and parsley. We were stuffed at that point but really wanted to order more food. Astrid&Gaston - We did the full ten course tasting menu. Their accolades are well deserved and the Casa Moreyra is beautiful. The wine list was not particularly interesting and the sommelier seemed genuinely shocked when we said we wanted only Latin American wines. But what he picked we really enjoyed ad it complemented the food nicely. The menu was very tuber heavy, including one that was so starchy and coarse it was hard to eat. This is traditional for Peru but given the season it would have been nice to see some green. The pacing of the meal was brisk but not too fast. Pardo's Chicken - Classic, Peruvian roast chicken. Pardo's is a casual chain that caters to families and it is CHEAP. Our meal for four people came to under $25. The chicken is fantastic. We got a whole chicken that was incredibly flavorful and moist. Also ordered fries, plantains a lo pobre, an Argentine chorizo and beef anticuchos. Fries really stood out as did the plantains. Central - San Pellegrino Worlds 50 Best has them currently at #4 in the world. We've been in the past year or so to #'s 1- Celler de Can Rocas, 3- Noma, 5- Eleven Madison Park and 7-Dinner as well as 6-Mugaritz but that was in 2009 and we hated it. Is Central on par with the other five? Honestly, I'm not sure. If you are just evaluating based on service, definitely not. Wine list, also definitely not. We got the wine pairing and it nicely complemented the food but for a restaurant that is all about South American and local Peruvian products the pairings were at least half European. The food is visually beautiful and as a point of comparison more like Noma and Mugaritz than Can Rocas, EMP or Dinner. Some of the menu items- notably the octopus dish were incredibly delicious and others were kind of weird, like the bread which smelled like marijuana. The meal is about 16 courses and by the end we were all pretty stuffed so our ability to enjoy the last couple proteins was limited despite how well prepared and thoughtfully developed. We were in Peru with our "non-foodie" family who were intrigued by the meal but also not overwhelmed by it or too challenged by the ingredients to enjoy the experience. Maido - Also a top restaurant in Latin America and ranked No. 44 globally, No. 5 in Lat Am, making it top 3 in Lima. We did the full Nikkei tasting menu for our last meal in Lima. Honestly, it was our favorite "big meal" of the trip but that could be a factor how much we generally enjoy Asian style food. We thought there would be more sushi, but it ended up only being one of the 17 courses. This was also the only meal on the trip where we were served cuy. Standout courses included a giant Amazonian river snail, sweet bread sushi and the ceviches. We also ordered several cocktails that were really delicious and refreshing. It was a long but very fun meal. Overall, high end dining in Lima is a really good value for the money. Our meals at Central and Astrid&Gaston with alcohol were both under $200 per person. Maido around $125. Sacred Valley- As noted by others, the food there is really nothing to write home about. We stayed at the Tambo Del Inka resort, which was lovely. We had breakfast there and ordered room service one night. All the food we had was very good and well prepared. We ended up eating the lunch buffet at Machu Picchu as opposed to bringing a box lunch or eating at the snack bar. By Peruvian standards, at $40 per person it is massively overpriced. But considering the schlep, altitude and crowding, it was nice to sit down to a meal and relax a little bit. They were carving pork loin and turkey breast, there were lots of salads and other local specialties on the buffet. The restaurant was really clean and the food was clearly freshly prepared. It was as close to a "Thanksgiving" meal as we had on the trip and honestly, the turkey breast was really good- they know how to roast meat in that country. One thing to note- there seems to be some controversy over the safety of eating fresh fruits and vegetables in Peru given the fact that the tap water isn't drinkable by US standards. Lots of higher end places and restaurants that cater to tourists have signs up saying they wash their produce in filtered water. We ate fresh produce at the resorts and high end restaurants. It would be hard not to eat fruit in Peru- they have access to incredible product and it is all too pretty not to eat. As always, photos are up on Instagram.
  15. Dinner last night at Convivial. We purposefully didn't order a ton of food, but really enjoyed everything we ate. Started with the latkes, which were delicious and are basically canapes served three bites to an order. Next we had the pickled rockfish. Beautiful presentation and the flavors were all spot on. Pickled fish isn't my favorite, but I really liked this version. For an entree we had the fried chicken coq au vin - this is destined to be a DC classic. It is just so good. With it we had the vadouvan squash and that was awesome as well. At this point, batting 1000 we got two desserts. The warm sticky toffee pudding and the celebration cake. Sticky toffee pudding is a great version of what it is, but it is very sweet. The celebration cake is easily enough for two (with or without the sparkler) and the unfinished half was enjoyed for breakfast this morning with a cappuccino. We got a same day reservation and when we got there at 9:30 it was about 3/4 full. Food and service were both awesome and we see this place as only getting better with time.