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About genericeric

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    Ashburn, VA

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  1. I realize that I'm in the minority in thinking that these moves can improve the beer landscape. I was at Devil's Backbone Outpost in Lexington recently and had a very nice cocoa beer and barley wine. Revolutionary? No. Innovative? Maybe. But I had a nice meal and a few good beers in a facility that was providing jobs and rewarding brewing quality. It was owned by Budweiser. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dogfish long ago passed the threshold of being a small brewer, with 175,000 keg production. Sam Adams is also a behemoth. Both make some good beers, though I personally find both flagship brews to be middling. But its hard to argue that neither has earned their place in craft brewing for advancing the industry. So we can celebrate an industry to martyr brewers (an admittedly desirable land for martyrdom) who produce a quality product but realize low financial gains. Or we can celebrate an industry that rewards innovation and success in niche categories, mixed with financially successful, mass-market product lines, to raise all ships. (this post written while drinking a Dogfish Dragons and YumYums in Collaboration with Flaming Lips - a "Pale Ale brewed with dragonfruit and yumberry, passion fruit, pear and black carrot juices" - Bud Light it is not)
  2. I had the soft shell sandwich at Ebbitt yesterday and the crab was surprisingly large with a light, crisp cornmeal batter - one of the better soft shell's I've had in awhile. We may be getting to the point where the size is getting more reasonable - others I saw were similar size.
  3. The artist renderings are depressing - the space is being turned into Just Another Hotel Restaurant. Is it Barrel and Bushel from the Tysons Hilton? Fire and Sage at the Marriott? That space has not been kind to recent restaurants, maybe they should be throwing in the towel, but in doing so they're removing a lot of the character from the Hotel Washington. Downstairs is a great space, but has an accessibility problem from within the hotel. I'm sure the craft beer/pizza concept will appeal to the tourist masses during the summer, but its always going to be a tough fit until access is easier for guests.
  4. 5-star resorts are in a tough spot. A more accurate designation would be 'Anything more than 4 stars' as you're measured against a wide range of competition. There are also so many factors that go into a resort property versus a standard hotel. Room, dining, activities, grounds, etc. The resort largely places itself on the spectrum with its cost - in The Salamander's case, basic rooms start at around $500 per night. This property has beautiful common areas, competent service, and comfortable guest rooms. Does it compete with similarly-priced properties? Eh. I assume many leisure guests go to The Salamander for a getaway. My wife and I went for that reason - a short trip, for the purposes of not leaving the property during our stay. Unfortunately, the property's flagship restaurant is closed on Monday and Tuesday for dinner. While reviews online suggest we didn't miss much, it was likely still more enjoyable than eating at the bar (its marketed as a wine bar, but that's a stretch). The rooms themselves (the basic king room) are comfortable but nothing to write home about. Small things like being at a resort in wine country, with wine in the mini bar, but no corkscrew or appropriate glasses. Don't get me wrong. It's a nice place to lay your head down at night. But at the price point, small missteps become harder to ignore, as does the lack of the main dining room two nights a week.
  5. I'm admittedly a creature of habit. Each time I'm in New York, I tend to hit a few places from my list of "regulars" - though I try to squeeze in one or two new ones when I'm there. So it's with that context that I say that I've been to La Pecora Bianca in NoMad the last 4 times I've been to the city. LPB isn't the best italian restaurant in New York. And it isn't the best restaurant in NoMad (which, in my opinion, is the NoMad Restaurant inside the NoMad Hotel). But it fills a gap left by the closing of Craftbar (which wasn't technically in NoMad but close enough). It is a restaurant that serves good food that isn't super high priced where we can meet friends for dinner without a reservation 4 weeks in advance. It's always the place chosen on the dreaded text message chain the day before when someone asks "where should we meet for dinner." From the appetizers, I recommend Whipped Ricotta with truffle honey and country toast ($14) and the Meatballs ($14). Roasted Cauliflower with raisins, pine nuts and mascarpone ($15) is also good, but I'm not a big cauliflower person in general. From the pasta menu, Gramigna with house made sausage, broccolini and pepper flakes ($24) is a favorite, as is the Tagliatelle with bolognese ($24). And the Tiramisu for two ($15) is worth the caloric splurge. Fair warning, they are strict about the wine pours, which can change the glass vs. bottle mathematics.
  6. Popped in for a quick appetizer and a drink on Monday evening - I will say that this was a more challenging solo bar seat than Rose's Luxury (with a one hour difference in arrival times). The bar staff was friendly and eager to make an off menu cocktail (sweet/spicy with mezcal) - the resulting drink was too sweet, but to be fair I did ask for an on-the-fly custom drink. The Kampachi Crudo with hearts of palm and grilled asian pear (16$) was fantastic - light and refreshing without being dainty. The menu didn't mention the accompanying cucumber (?), which I was grateful for, otherwise I may not have ordered. I drove home from New York on Monday shortly before going to the restaurant, and I do believe they have successfully out-Brooklyn'd Brooklyn. Not necessarily a bad thing, just need to be in that mood.
  7. Walked in as a solo diner at 8pm Monday night and was seated at the bar upstairs immediately. Was fully when I arrived, but by 8:45 there were only 2 other people. Had what I would consider to be my first 'miss' here, which was an off menu special of gnocchi topped with quite a bit of shaved black truffle. The gnocchi were not rolled but were flat discs, so it ate largely like a plate of mashed potatoes topped with truffles. Ok, so maybe not a 'miss' because who WOULDN'T like a plate of mashed potatoes topped with truffle, but it came across somewhat flat. Oysters here are fantastic unless you're a real purist (the chamomile-honey granita can overwhelm nuanced flavors), and I'll hold judgement on the sopresini since it ended up being take out.
  8. Visited last night as part of a corporate private party. I'm sure there are a number of spaces/configurations for private events - we were seated in the front room upstairs, which was very comfortable for 15 or so guests. Service was fantastic as always and the food was a unanimous hit - some dishes I hadn't seen on the menu before (though I hadn't visited in some time). I wasn't part of the planning process so unsure what options or prices were available. The two wines for the evening were a Sancerre that carried us through the first 2/3 of the menu, followed by a french red but I didn't catch the specific type - that being said, the full bar and wine list were available. A quick rundown from memory as there was no printed menu: Foie Gras amuse Coconut ice cream with caviar Oysters with cream and spicy granita English Muffin with clotted cream and orange marmalade. This was the highlight for me - yes, the bread course. Lychee Salad Squash blossom rangoon. This was the low for me (but was still pretty good). It was salty and fried, but beyond that I wouldn't have been able to tell you it was a squash blossom or contained crab Honey fried chicken Rigatoni alla vodka with calamari - just a fantastic pasta dish Linguini with shrimp and garlic Wedge salad Tomahawk steak (picture below) - impressive presentation. Came with roasted garlic, also separate pans of roasted mushrooms and potato straws. The steak was fantastic - the mushrooms were very balsamic and cold - seemed better suited to a salad than a steak accompaniment, particularly the temperature Cinnamon toast crunch ice cream topped with crushed cereal ("palate cleanser") Chocolate pecan pie topped with chocolate mouse and vanilla ice cream They honestly could've stopped after the chicken and everyone would've been satisfied, but the servers were good sports about making to-go boxes. Also noted that one member of the group had a severe shellfish allergy that the restaurant handled very well.
  9. I assume One Loudoun is next, which would be more interesting assuming they meet the state law criteria.
  10. According to TheBurn.com, Bar Ahso is coming to the new Chefscape Food Hall/Incubator/Commercial Kitchen/Event space at the Village at Leesburg. I really want Ahso to be successful, and want Bar Ahso to be as well, which is significantly closer to where I live. That being said, this development seems to be a tough place to thrive in, and this mixed concept doesn't inspire too much confidence.
  11. I believe the restaurant that is geographically closest to Dulles without actually being on airport grounds is the Cracker Barrel just off 28, and if you are aiming for brunch, you could do a lot worse.
  12. Was devastated in early August when we came here and found they had closed Le Verdure, the vegetarian-themed restaurant. Ok, devastated may be dramatic, let's go with deeply disappointed. While they were under construction on its replacement, the wife and I had a delightful meal at Manzo - splitting a cheese plate and a fabulous sweet corn ravioli. Popped in yesterday and the new Il Pastaio has opened. This may now be the largest counter space in Eataly - significantly larger than Le Verdure. The opening menu has 12ish pasta bowls. I had the Casarecce with tomato, almond, basil, pecorino romano (15$). While not really what I was expecting (was more of a tomato sauce and less fresh tomatoes), it was a solid dish of pasta. But that's all it was - no bread, no grated cheese, etc. I got the sense that this counter may have just opened this week, so may take some time to iron out the kinks. All-in-all, I enjoyed Manzo more - a more complete, composed dish. Side note - $7 for a Peroni in Manhattan isn't bad. I had a second, doubting I could find another at that price nearby.
  13. These were fine, definitely not in the 'really good' category.
  14. I would go back for the biscuits. After we sat down at the bar and the biscuits came, I was relieved that they were so shamelessly an attempt at Red Lobster's biscuits, but much improved. Lighter, softer, but nailed the taste exactly. And that is the last nice thing to say about the food at this restaurant. Well, the conch fritters were fine. The hush puppies seem to have changed since Tom S.'s initial review and were straightforward, dense balls of fried cornmeal, dusted in too much old bay, served with honey butter that tasted like they ran out of honey. It was the first of several dishes that tasted of murky salt, and not much more. The Shrimp and Grits followed suit, with a brown sauce that tasted only of salt, and grits so loose they dissolved into the dark goo. Sweet Tea chicken brought two pieces of fried chicken (menu and plate didn't match) over a brownish puree of what I later learned were peas. No brightness whatsoever from the peas, the chicken was rubbery underneath the over-salted skin. I have a feeling this is a place that could be decent if you know what to order and stick to it. Raw seafood, some of the fried options. The bartender took my plate of chicken away with only two bites missing, and asked sadly "I trust everything was ok?" while looking down. It was - we had a fun and lucky night at the casino without a toddler. It just would have been better if we'd eaten somewhere else. --- Conch Fritters (DonRocks)
  15. While I've never seen Wildfire "busy" in the dining room, they seem to do a decent happy hour with local office workers. It may be a little more approachable than the Palm or Capital Grille. I just go in on a monthly basis when I'm next door at the Grooming Lounge (and I don't seem to be alone there).
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