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hey_brookie

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  1. Had a very disappointing experience at Hanks about 2 weeks ago. We were so excited to try it, so we did the call ahead, arrived a half an hour later expecting to wait--it was a Friday night. No worries, just had a drink at the bar. It had been raining off and on all day and the patio was closed when we arrived. During a brief respite from the rain, we stood outside with our drinks catching up with our friends. The hostess was very apologetic about the wait, but we were cool. Apparently the manager decided re-open the patio and within minutes, we were seated outside. Again, everything was fine. We proceeded to order appetizers, many sides and entrees. Just as our apps came out, though, a serious thunderstorm with serious lightning came up on the horizon. We ate our appetizers, wondering if they were planning to move us inside when the storm hit, or what. The storm was moving pretty quickly, and there was no way we weren't going to get rained on. All at once, out came all the food--it was clear they were trying to hurry it so we got it before the storm hit. They made a good effort, but it started pouring about 5 mins after our plates were delivered. And I mean pouring. No worries, I guess it happens. We picked up our plates and headed for cover. It was also clear that there was no way we were going to get a table in the even remotely near future and the staff was totally overwhelmed. Having been in that position before as both a server and manager, I was a little sympathetic. The friends we were with lived about 3 blocks away, so we asked the kitchen to box up what we had ordered (2 lobster rolls, and 2 oyster sandwiches but please replace the soggy ones we're handing back to you, a bunch of sides). Doing them a favor by being one less table that had to be re-seated, right? The total bill, including drinks we ordered but never received was something around $150. We thought about asking to at least get the drinks we ordered but never got removed from the bill, but I'm telling you, the place was crazed, and out poor waitress with a section that could no longer hold customers was frantic. So we just paid and waited for our boxed up food. It took a little while, which we assumed was because they were making us new food because our food had been caught in the rain, so we were fine. Finally, it comes out and it seems like it's a little less than we ordered, so we wrestle through the crowed to confirm with our waitress that everything is in the bag. She says it's all there and that the sides were placed in smaller boxes inside the bigger ones, so we're all set. We leave, walk to my friend's apartment in the pouring rain, open our food only to find the following: 2 soggy lobster rolls (the same ones that had been in the rain with us) 1 soggy fried oyster roll (we had ordered 2) 2 portions of wet fries No sides at all Nothing was really even edible At this point, I was really annoyed. $150 for this? You have to be kidding me. I call the restaurant, am put on the phone with the GM who is super nice and swears they will make it up to us (though, I would rather just get my money back for the stuff I paid for but never received), but would I please call him back on Monday to remind him and he will work something out for us. He took my name, address and phone number and said he would make sure not to lose our business. Ok. They should be calling me, but whatever. Call back on Monday (2 weeks ago), left a message, called again on Wednesday, left another message, never heard back. Now, I've managed a restaurant before. And I understand that weather is unpredictable, but at the place I worked, we would never have opened the patio on a busy and rainy day without going online and checking the weather radar--an easy way to avoid situations like this one. This storm came up so quickly and lasted for about 2 hours-- there was no way it wouldn’t have been visible on the weather channel radar. I'm delayed in posting this because I understand that off-nights happen and one thing going wrong in a restaurant can cause many other things to go wrong, and I wanted to give them time to make good on their promise to at least refund my credit card for what we never received. This was a time to win repeats, not lose them. Would it have been so hard to make us fresh sandwiches, or at least confirm that everything that was in the order made it to the bag? Nothing was comped, which is fine because we ordered everything, but for a table like us, that was volunteering to get out of their hair, would it have killed them to give us a free drink? Or at the very least make sure we received all the ones we paid for? They had a great opportunity to fix this, and they never did. If this place cares so little about my business, I don't need to give it to them. I won't be going back. And I will be telling people about my experience and ecourage them to go instead to places that care about their customers.
  2. Thanks all! Great ideas...keep 'em coming and I'll be sure and report back!
  3. Good ideas, thanks! For the bacon-wrapped dates, can I bake them? Do I fry them? Also, will the pork tenderloin be good at room temperature?
  4. Hello all- I was hoping you might be able to help me out of this one. My best friend from college is coming to visit me this weekend--she is moving here, so I thought it might be nice to have some people over for cocktails and food so that she has a chance to get to know some of my friends in advance. I've told people to come hungry, though my small one bedroom apartment isn't really conducive to a sit-down multi-course meal, so we'll be going for more of a very heavy hors d'ouvres table accompanied by lots of wine type of thing. My best friend and I love to cook, and we're pretty adventurous, so we thought we'd take an inventory of my fridge (which I supplemented last night with a trip to the shop), and try our hands at a market-basket type of thing, with an Italian theme. Hearty foods that people can put on a small plate and eat standing up is what I have in mind. I figure if anyone would have any great ideas, it would be you guys. Have at it, if you like! So, here's what we got: Proteins A bunch of very thin slices of very tasty proscuitto Thinly sliced home-made pepperoni from my neighbor A pork tenderloin Lots of shrimp Bacon! Veg/fruits Baby portabellas Broccoli Butternut squash (already peeled and diced, but still raw) Dates! Thousands of them, also from my neighbor 2 large sweet Vidalia onions Shallots cherry tomatoes Frozen peaches left over from the summer Thousands of Yukon gold potatoes A couple of sweet potatoes Breads Lavash breads (I thought for roll-up type sandwiches) Phylo dough Italian herbed pizza dough from Trader Joe's (I know! My boyfriend bought it) Will buy crusty bread the day of Sauces I make and keep stocked Pesto Vodka marinara (just need to add the cream and reheat) Bruscetta? (uncooked, finely chopped tomatoes, onions, eggplant, oregano basil and lots of garlic with lots of good olive oil) Uber-reduced beef stock and red wine Cheeses Mascarpone Fresh mozzarella in salted water from the farmer's market Chevre Smoked Gouda Fresh ricotta from the farmer's market Other Home-made artichoke and mushroom and ricotta ravioli (again, from the neighbor) Just about every type of pasta shape What would you serve? N.B.- We love to cook because we love to eat, and have both been told we're good at it, but we are by no means as good as most of you. Given a mission, though, I think we can deliver. My tiny kitchen is stocked with all the basics, including fresh and dried spices, butter, flour and oils and vinegars. I'm not opposed to buying a couple of things at the last minute.
  5. Or, Dino and Palena are just two short little iddy-bitty metro stops away
  6. Whatever. Goldenticket, I'm with you. You shouldn't have to apologize for eating at a chain. Chains are only chains because the first one was well-liked and it made money. If breadline got high-profile investors and opened up new locations (maybe even closer to where you work), are you then not allowed to support them any more? Or are you allowed, because you knew them back when? Silliness. Buying from local business is great. It's always fresher, of better quality and it's a unique experience. There are times, however, when budget constraints, location, or time issues make a Chipotle burrito(gasp!) just the thing to eat for the next two meals. Or, maybe the $ 8 soup and salad bar at Ruby Tuesdays would hit the spot. There are days when I can't drop $10-15 for a meal, I'm between work and class, and spending more on dinner than I would on the groceries to make it is out of the question (usually brought on by my fondness for the good stuff in the first place). Another good thing a bout a lot of chains (Chipotle) is that because they have a lot of money, they can afford benefits for part-time workers who probably would be more hard-pressed to find them at a local joint with less cash-flow. I have no problem supporting this practice. Bottom line, if you don't want to eat in chains, then don't. But you should be more charitable to others and recognize that people do for a variety of reasons, and shouldn't have to turn in their foodie card for admitting it.
  7. Oh my god, you guys weren't lying...it was awesome. So awesome, in fact, that I feel the need to report back for the first time. Sis and I shared everything, since neither of us wanted to miss out. We started with the bread soup and the Mezzawhatever--both were phenomenal, but the bread soup was really exceptional. Nice and hearty, wonderful sausage flavor throughout, spectacular. 2nd course I had the parpardelle with goat, which was savory but flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg. Totally fall. My sister had the spinach gnocchi, which were ridiculously rich and light all at the same time. Mains were spit-roasted pork for my sister, which was smokey and tender and paired well with rich and creamy polenta and tender Brussels sprouts. I could eat this every night. I had the guinea hen, stuffed with figs. this was delightfully sweet and savory at once with hints of ham? in the fig stuffing. We were sad to report to our server (sorry! forgot her name, but she was awesome) that we didn't have any room for dessert, she nodded and walked away. But then she returned with an order of fluffy and warm! Greek-style doughnuts with honey and creamy chocolate mascarpone for dipping. She said we couldn't leave without dessert My sister and I knew we couldn't say no, looked at one another and said 'but sir, it's just a wafer-thin mint', and ate it all. And we were glad glad glad we did, especially since we didn't explode. Thank you for the tip! Komi is the perfect balance of comfort and elegance. I can not wait to go back.
  8. Thanks all for your input. As it stands, a last-minute benefactor has stepped in (daddy) and we've decided on City Zen on Friday. SO looking forward to it, but will definitely try some of your recs in the meantime.
  9. My tragically hip sister's birthday is on Monday and she has requested I make reservations somewhere where she might see a celebrity while enjoying some good eats and wearing her favorite cocktail dress. Figured you guys would know. Any suggestions?
  10. Going to Spezie tonight with b/f and his parents. His parents love Italian food but are picky eaters & I selected the restaurant--I'm a little frightened. What is not to be missed? Is a pasta course enough for an entree? Thanks!
  11. Does anyone know the name of the Sauvignon Blanc from Chile they have by the glass? Had some the other night & it was perfect for a hot afternoon. Would love to get some for birthday dinner this weekend. Friday was my first time, and Corduroy lived up to every ounce of praise I have heard about it. Not that I doubted it would. I actually had the baby chicken (they were out of the scallops), which I would recommend to everyone. It was the most flavorful chicken I have ever tasted. The lobster salad with tomatoes was also awesome, I have been craving more ever since.
  12. What are you supposed to order from Mr. Chen's organic in Woodley Park? I have heard nothing but great things about this place. We FINALLY ordered from there the other night and were just, well, whelmed. I feel like I'm missing something. BF had string beans with pork, which was supposed to be spicy. Not only was it not spicy, but it was really sparse on both pork and flavor. I had beef teriyaki. While the dry spices on the beef were really great (kind of aromatic), the veggies it came with were overcooked and flavorless. With health-conscious options and organic meats and veggies, I want to like this place, I really do. Has anyone been there? Can you recommend something that is great? Many thanks!
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