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Battle of Cape Bon

Battle of Cape Bon (74/123)

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  1. I got it at Barrel Thief in Richmond, however I've been able to find the Foretal Moulin-a-Vent before at Arrowine in Arlington, so may be worth a call over there assuming its closer. Upon drinking more of it on Thursday, the Foretal was MUCH preferred to the Manoir Du Carra. If Arrow doesn't have it, BT may ship, but their site looks out of date so suggest calling.
  2. Was a bit hesitant to post about Nouveau in this thread since Moulin-a-Vent produces some of my favorite wines, but hey its the third Thursday of November, so may as well be the one day a year I pop open a bottle from the southern reaches of this under-valued region. Tried two today, the first being Domaine Manoir Du Carra. Very typical - light, fruity, straightforward BN. The second is Domaine Foretal, which has a little more complexity and takes a slightly more serious approach. Both are chilling and half a glass of each will be had later before tabling this and popping the Rottiers, but it will be a festive happy hour.
  3. Chez Max is not hip, not trendy, not the latest big thing. It's not in Scott's Addition or Church Hill. It's a quiet little neighborhood restaurant tucked next to a strip mall in Tuckahoe/Far West End. But everything about our experiences here has been a half step better than it needs to be for a lovely little French restaurant serving classic French dishes. Cocktails are cold and crisp and service is always friendly. Foie Gras ($18) on crostini with blackberries, pear and vanilla syrup is my go-to with a glass of Sauternes. Duck A L'Orange ($28) is well cooked with bright sauce work, and Dover Sole ($45) meuniere, fileted tableside, is a nice splurge. The Key Lime pie is homemade and not cloyingly sweet like too many version. Wine markups are reasonable, with many in the 1.5-2x retail arena. Like everything else, selections are classy, if not too inventive. My one complaint - dishes are heavy. While this fits with the theme, a nice ratatouille wouldn't be too far afield... But definitely worth a stop for any Francophiles in the area.
  4. Bon Appetit's Cast Iron Skillet Pizza - perfect for those of us who want something more than the freezer section but aren't quite so hard core as getting pizza stones and proofing dough. I threw on some peppers, onions, pepperoni as well, though fair warning, you have to be ready with the toppings as the crust goes from bubbly to burnt fairly quickly. Will take a few tries to get the crust ratio down, but all-in-all, a great pizza!
  5. Pasta alla Vecchia Bettola - basically your standard vodka sauce but the tomato components are roasted for 90 minutes in the oven so it develops great, concentrated flavors. Standard parmesan chicken cutlets and greens dressed with lemon vinaigrette. Different meal - Winter Minestrone with a classic grilled cheese. Hearty without being heavy.
  6. Got out the Foreman (a grill pan would work, too), grilled thin discs of eggplant, zucchini, summer squash and tomato. Stack on a ciabatta that had some balsamic vinaigrette and then topped with a slice of mozzarella. Squish down in the Foreman for a few minutes - absolutely delicious.
  7. Last night was Samin Nosrat's recipe for Buttermilk Roast Chicken from Salt Fat Acid Heat. It was a perfectly serviceable roast chicken, but given that I usually plan my meals about 4 hours in advance and this requires a 24 hour brine, I didn't think the juice was worth the squeeze. Also made her "Persianish" Saffron Rice - the Tahdig came out wonderfully, but honestly the whole dish was incredibly bland. Served with a salad of butterhead lettuce, beets, blood orange sections, walnuts and feta with an orange dijon vinaigrette and a 2018 Guigal Condrieu.
  8. Some favorites from central Virginia... Basic Necessities (Nellysford) is charming in all the right ways, with fantastic country French dining, but also a wonderful, if modest, wine collection - focused mostly on France (but not exclusively). Kay used to be a wine writer in France and knows her stuff. I've come to realize that a single wine store can't be all things to all people, and this is where I go for French wine. For high end, I gravitate toward J. Emerson in Richmond. Their "cellar" room stocks a varied selection of wines - some common, some harder to find - none cheap, but all delicious! The main inventory is also expansive, and I am frequently able to find types of wines here that I can't elsewhere. Second Bottle in Richmond is a boutique shop on Church Hill that knows its clientele and is stocked with really interesting but fairly inexpensive selections. But what gets me to drive across town is their selection of Spanish wines - from Txakolina to Tempranillo, they have become my go-to for Spain and also the occasional orange wine.
  9. The Roast Delicata Squash recipe from Eric Ripert's 'Vegetable Simple' cookbook may be one of my all time favorite recipes. Take two of the squash, half one, seed and roast. Slice the other into 4 2" discs, seed and roast. Puree the halves with a little butter, then serve inside the hollow discs with crostini and fried sage on the side. Absolutely delicious. So I really didn't need more food, but made another recent favorite, Ina Garten's Salmon Cakes. Salmon cakes aren't normally my jam, and as so often happens with Ina's recipes, about half way through I thought, this isn't going to work. But it always does, and it is always fantastic. Also great as leftovers the next day for lunch - pop those guys into the toaster oven with a slider bun, add a little tartar sauce, lettuce and tomato - boom.
  10. "Beets aren’t very good at pretending to be meat, but their ability to taste like beets is unrivaled." Pretty much sums up his review. Thanks for posting
  11. The Game Changers is a popular documentary on Netflix right now highlighting the value of eating a plant-based diet. I find it a little less dogmatic than many works on the topic, supporting more of a focus on plant-based foods without requiring a complete conversion. Their website has a fair number of free recipes, and last night we tried BBQ Chickpea and Carrot Sliders. 4 hours in the crock pot, served on Martin's slider rolls, topped with coleslaw and a pickle - delicious and very filling. (note I made with Baby Ray's store-bought bbq sauce, not the sauce recipe on the site)
  12. Monday was a Vegetable Lasagna and salad. The lasagna was great, but I'm not sure how one would cook zucchini and spinach in a baking dish for an hour and NOT have it swimming in liquid. I salted the zucchini and sweat it out, rang out the spinach, etc. That being said, it was still delicious. Served with salad. Last night was Vegetarian Enchiladas from Delish. Tasty and delicious, though in the future I'll be more careful with my choice of enchilada sauce - I used Frontera which was a salt bomb. Side of roasted pepper salad that was good but would have been better if served at room temperature rather than cold.
  13. Visited EMP for the first time since the shift to plant-based food last evening. Service remains impeccable, with a few new faces and many of the pre-Covid team still holding down the fort. I have not seen this elsewhere so I'll post current menu details below. Wines are from the standard pairing ($175pp). To provide some context, I'm not personally vegan, but I can be perfectly happy with a meal that does not feature meat and dairy. Overall I felt that the restaurant did a commendable job of preparing dishes that would not make a person miss the animal products... perhaps to a fault? There appeared to be a concerted effort to add salt and umami to dishes where one wouldn't expect, with the end result being a meal that was begging for some brightness. For example, I'm not sure how a course featuring cucumber and melon would feel heavy, but this one did. Ironically some of the naturally "meatier" courses were favored because they didn't overcompensate. To be fair, I had similar feedback after a recent experience to Longoven in Richmond, so perhaps my palate is more salt-averse than many. I also found it odd that the restaurant didn't highlight some plant-based extravagances given that duck, foie gras, and caviar are no longer served. For the price point, I would've appreciated a little shaved truffle here and there. Criticisms aside, this was an interesting meal, albeit less enjoyable than previous menus. I don't regret going, but doubt I would again with the current format. Menu from 9/16/21 Tomato tea with lemon verbena, yellow tomato dosa, salad with garlic and sancho (Bruno Dangin, Prestige de Narces, Cremant de Bourgogne, France 2018). This was one of the highlights - very simple but delicious. Celtuce in variations with rice (Tatomer, Meeresboden, Gruner Veltliner, Santa Barbara County 2018) Featured celtuce (similar to celery) sliced longer than a matchstick served in a seaweed broth. Tasty, but difficult to eat with the utensils provided. Tonburi with corn, ginger, crumpets (Girolamo Russo, Nerina, Etna Bianco, Sicily, 2019) Was the table favorite of the night and definitely intended to be the caviar replacement. Cucumber with melon and smoked daikon (Royal Tokaji, Vineyard Selection, Tokaj Hungary, 2017) My wife adores cucumber but didn't adore this dish. Monotone in texture and flavor Summer Squash with lemongrass and marinated tofu (Domane du Pelican, Ouille, Arboise, Jura France, 2019) The least successful course of the evening Sweet Pepper with swiss chard (Ca'n Verdura, Supernova, Mantonegro, Binissalem-Mallorca, 2019) A play on a popper, a deep fried pepper that came with four condiments to try. Was fantastic, but difficult to eat. I'm going to search for this wine as soon as I'm done typing this - blockbuster. Eggplant with tomato and coriander (Tronquoy-Lalande, Saint Estephe, Bordeaux France, 2008) This was beautifully presented and delicious but completely blew out the bordeaux. pictured below Beet with horseradish and herbs (Alain Graillot, Crozes-Hermitage, 2015) Had gone through three days of preparation in several different styles - looked like a wrapped filet, tasted like... a beet (albeit a very good beet). Melon smoked and fresh with yogurt. Blueberry with elderflowers (G.D. Vajra, Moscato d'Asti, Piemonte 2020) More of a custard Sesame chocolate pretzel. The bottle of brandy at the end has been replaced by vermouth served in little artsy glasses with a reference to the artist. The brandy was missed, as was the whimsy of some of the previous desserts (name that milk was a favorite)
  14. I've been on an Ina Garten kick lately, and last night made her take on Roast Chicken. I consider myself an above average home cook and try a lot of different things, but this was unanimously declared at dinner to be the best main dish I've ever made. Prep was easy, chicken was moist and tender, vegetables were fantastic. Dessert was Eric Ripert's Baked Candied Apples with some vanilla ice cream. Served with a Jadot Puilly-Fuisse and a Mersault. Just a marvelous meal.
  15. Last night was Ina Garten's Company Pot Roast. This was flat out delicious, even with me forgetting a few of the ingredients. I typically do pot roast in the crock pot but more often than not it ends up dry - this was moist and tender with a flavorful sauce. I did boil some potatoes to add at the end, and served with some broccolini. Paired well with a Orin Swift Mercury Head (at 16.1%, this is a delicious blend that, in my opinion, is flattened by being too boozy) and a Phelps Insignia (more complex).
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