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genericeric

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  1. 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)
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. I'm continuing to work my way through Eric Ripert's Vegetable Simple - last night was Sauteed Broccolini with Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes and Potato Rosti (along with my addition - grilled filet mignon). Dessert was pineapple with a spiced rum glaze and vanilla bean ice cream. All prep was done in <30 min (the pineapple had to bake for an additional 30) and was delicious, though a plastic spatula didn't survive the caramel process... Penfolds Shiraz would have been better with a ribeye but was fine with the filet. And just because, Chateau d'Yquem was delicious with the pineapple (but would also have been delicious with anything else).
  5. I recently picked up a copy of Eric Ripert's Vegetable Simple from Amazon for around $24. This isn't really the type of book I normally purchase - I tend to go for more general cooking, and vegetable cooking doesn't blow my skirt up. But I'm at the end of my creativity on the topic as the amount I cook at home has risen dramatically, so I thought I'd check it out. Overall the recipes are all approachable, with straightforward instructions and ingredients that I can typically find at the Whole Foods, if occasionally on Amazon. I've purchased "celebrity chef" books before (Eleven Madison Park) and found the recipes almost undecipherable for the home cook. I consider myself a slightly above average home cook, and recipe complexity ranges from simple to right at my skill level. It's safe to say that most of the dishes are in the "simple done right" (hence the title) category, but so far I've really enjoyed everything - particularly the ratatouille. Will be trying the spinach gratin this evening with a nice filet.
  6. The dining scene in Short Pump is not good. A lot of sub-optimal chains - I find myself eating Cheesecake Factory more often than I'd like to admit because they have something for everyone and that poorly-named Skinnylicious menu. West End Provisions can be good, but it can also be an expensive disappointment. In my opinion, Yaya's Cookbook is the diamond in the rough. Pan asian may be the best description, but this place doesn't claim to be authentic to any cuisine - Peter Chang's is across the street for those seeking that. But Yaya's is a heck of a lot more fun with great cocktails, good atmosphere (think more party than serene) and satisfying food. I usually get the Miss Me Mexico (Mezcal, Smoky honey-pineapple 3 spiced, limes, Hell fire bitter, Ground nutmeg, $10) but the drink menu is almost as long as the food menu. The Surf and Turf roll (Shrimp tempura, crab stick, pickle, onion inside and top with torched fillet mignon garlic butter sauce, scallion and tobiko, $19) will make any sushi purist cringe, but is delicious nonetheless. The curry bowls, fried rice and noodle dishes we've tried have all been above average for Thai takeout in the area. Side note - Yaya's often closes for Carry Out on Friday and Saturday nights to avoid their kitchen from becoming overwhelmed.
  7. When I made the reservation for Longoven last week I didn't realize the restaurant would be on the front page of the Times Dispatch a few days in a row for being the first in the area to require proof of vaccination to dine, which seemed to cause quite the dust up. We ate lunch at a restaurant that didn't require, ate dinner at a restaurant that did - both were fine meals. The price at Longoven is currently $110 for 6 true courses, plus a 'snack' and a petit fours/candy final. I've found tasting menus in late summer can run into tomato overload, which Longoven avoided. Dishes were seasonal while being varied and inventive. Highlights were the Shrimp, Avocado, Daikon, Bell Pepper (shrimp, avocado, tomato, daikon radish, fermented bell pepper sauce) and my wife's Grilled Leek course, which she subbed in from the vegetarian menu so I don't have the full details. Low point was Maitake, Egg, Miso, Furikake (marinated and grilled maitake mushroom, egg yolk, furikake, miso, yuzu). All dishes currently have asian accents - being our first visit, unsure if this is the norm or just the chef's preference this season. My biggest feedback was that each dish was a little too salty, and after 6 courses I was on salt overload. Wine pairings were $85, and while they were interesting and well-chosen, the pours were small to the point of not having enough wine to pair with each course, and seemed out of balance compared to the price of the menu (and bigger pours may have smoothed some of the rougher edges of the menu). Service was excellent, and the menu does require a 22% service charge. Avoiding more specific dish critiques, overall we enjoyed our meal. Clocking in at 90 minutes and $110, this is an approachable tasting menu, though I would forego the pairings and just order by the glass/bottle if a future seasonal menu was attractive.
  8. I would second Ahso. Honestly the tough dining scene in the area has gotten tougher lately - the few hidden (or not so hidden) gems we loved have either closed or changed ownership. Opa! recently sold and, while I want the new owners to be successful, my latest experiences suggest it has lost a step or two. Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg is reliable if you want something similar to Clyde's but a little bit better. Ford's Fish Shack is also a good choice. Greek Unique has an interesting menu in the fast/casual department, and Passion Fin is still reliably good sushi. Sense of Thai in One Loudoun is also solid for some quirky fusion dishes. Roots 657 in Lucketts is a good casual cafe/take out option - barbeque, burgers, soups, though I was saddened to see they've replaced their excellent black bean burger with an Impossible Burger. And I'll say it - the kebab place in the food court at Dulles Town Center (yes, the food court) cooks to order and is really good. Fair warning - haven't visited since Covid, unsure of status.
  9. Chef Daniel Humm has announced that EMP will reopen in June... as a vegan restaurant. It will be interested to see if they pull this off - the menu was never super heavy on meat, but no doubt the duck was their signature dish. I'm most interested to see what the price point will be when reservations reopen next Monday, May 10th. Without the caviar, lobster and duck, will it still be north of $300 per person?
  10. I understand the need that the 'professional shoppers' are filling during this time, but as more people get used to the services I doubt levels will return to pre-pandemic levels once things begin to normalize. With that in mind, large grocery retailers desperately need to figure out a better way to balance individual customers vs these professional shoppers. I've tried going at 6am and 9pm, weekdays, weekends. I'm sure there are a large number of kind, caring, patient professional shoppers, but... when you are financially incentivized to shop as quickly as possible, the predicted outcome occurs too often. Many are pushy, aggressive, don't yield, spend an inordinate amount of time trying to find an item when they don't know the location, don't practice social distancing, and are bagging in the middle of a busy aisle, blocking traffic. Wegmans is the extreme, and I now find myself going to less desirable stores or making multiple stops to avoid. I'm not sure the answer - dedicated hours, all in-store staff, specific training, but its starting to drive my spending decisions, and I'm likely not alone. Again, not maligning the service itself, just hoping it can be better managed...
  11. Throwing a hail mary here... Has anyone seen ham loaf mix for purchase within 60 miles of DC? Plans changed at the last minute and I'm trying to avoid spending $70 to overnight 10lb of ham loaf from PA if I can avoid it...
  12. This looks fantastic, but... a $48, 8" quiche? I feel like I'm missing something here
  13. Did you remove the onions before making the sauce? Some comments on the recipe indicate a step may have been missed in the online version
  14. JBag57 may be referring to the hours, which are... sporadic at best. To be a business in a resort community that is closed on Saturdays is certainly odd. I've also found the store occasionally closed on days with posted open hours. And they're often out of food. I do wish they'd be successful because there's a need for their store on the mountain.
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