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Joe H

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Everything posted by Joe H

  1. I must add an addendum: look closely at the photograph of the open kitchen above in reedm’s expressive post. Enlarge it. All of the woodwork was done by hand by the owners. From the ten inch beams to the carving-this is a hand built two hundred year old exquisitely restored Inn in the Alps. Note the soft lighting and candles throughout the photos. Character, romance and quiet comfort. I know of no other restaurant in America like this. It is an extraordinary escape for this side of the Atlantic. And worth the journey on the other side.
  2. This is the most difficult reservation in America and worth the effort. We have been twice since they opened (including two weeks ago) and have two more upcoming reservations-one night next month and one in January of next year. This is my favorite restaurant in the U.S. in part because of the extraordinary ambience, incredible presentation of John and Diane and having now sampled 15+ dishes the honest belief that the overall experience rivals The Inn which is only five miles away. But we prefer Three Blacksmiths. On the website you will see instructions for how to make your on line reservation. Generally they open up 205 days in advance and after you log in at exactly 10:00 AM you will have two, perhaps three minutes to reserve. At 10:02 or 10:03 the 16 seats will be gone. Sixteen seats three nights a week. Occasionally they may add an additional two or four seats but the reservations assume 16. Again, it is worth the effort and extraordinary wait.
  3. Joe H

    Chinois on Main

    A return visit to Chinois on Main (my 14th visit over the past 12 years) continued to confirm my belief that this is an outstanding restaurant. Still, as part of heavy travel I've visited a number of better restaurants over the past month including Eve, Palena, Vidalia, Central, The Inn at Easton, Culpeper's Foti's, Philly's Amada, Hoboken's Cucharamama, Portland, Maine's Fore Street and Santa Clara's Parcel 104 among others. As I've noted elsewhere D. C.'s best (and I include Maestro, Citronelle and CityZen) in this statement are the equal of any in America. We are fortunate to have this level of excellence here. This is my 1000th post for whatever that means.
  4. Joe H

    Rustic Canyon

    Please define mid afternoon? Rustic Canyon Wine Bar is superb and one of the hottest restaurants in L. A. right now (#6 in Jonathan Gold's top 100 L. A. restaurants) but it does not open until 5:00PM. Ten minutes from LAX in Santa Monica-we went a month ago and loved it. On par wtih Red Hen or Rose's; extremely creative. Superb wine list heavy on Central Coast wines. If the time works it would be my first choice of any. Press reports on Rustic Canyon including LA Times and New York Times:
  5. Joe H

    Water Grill

    Water Grill is the best seafood restaurant in all of Southern CA. Serious. And, it's in downtown L. A. a couple of blocks from the Bonaventure. Unfortunately, it's not cheap. Probably comparable to Kinkead's in price.
  6. Joe H

    Osteria Mozza

    Osteria Mozza: has anyone been? Willing to make a reservation for one (!) I was just told that I should not have a problem having dinner at the food bar on a Friday night in two weeks. I was/am shocked especially considering that I've made reservations for Chinois' food bar for 15+ years and, many times, been told there were no seats available. Is this a reflection on the restaurant? Is the economy in Southern CA that bad? I thought Osteria Mozza was among L. A.'s hardest reservations. I'm going but I'm still almost shocked that I may be able to have dinner there.
  7. https://www.restonnow.com/2017/02/09/boston-properties-impact-of-town-center-paid-parking-far-less-than-claimed/ above is a post with Boston Properties response.
  8. This is different. Bethesda involves meters and perhaps a credit card. If Reston had done this, probably this thread wouldn't exist. They have an "app" which involves a number of steps to use along with several minutes each time it is used. At Reston Town Center you need a smartphone.to park on the street (although not in a garage where you can use a kiosk although not every garage has one). As I noted above there are "terms and conditions" which you have to agree to if you use it. There are also other complications such as $3.00 an hour to park on the street including Saturday while a garage is $2.00 an hour and Saturdays are free. Please read the "terms and conditions." They are breathtaking. There may be more than 1,000 posts on Reston Town Center's Facebook page with virtually every one negative. https://www.facebook.com/RestonTownCenter/?fref=hovercard There are no meters, no gates, no tickets. Nothing traditional. This is parking for the 22nd Century. Except we're in the 21st.
  9. Boston Properties' representative said late last week that 70,000 people have downloaded the app. I wonder if all 70,000 read the following in the next to the last paragraph of the "Terms and Conditions": https://www.restontowncenter.com/parking/parking-terms-conditions/ "By using the Platform, you agree that the statutes and laws of the United States and the State of North Carolina without regard to conflicts of laws principles, will apply to all matters relating to use of the Platform and the Services, and you agree that any litigation shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the state or federal courts in Wake County, North Carolina, USA." It actually says that the "laws of....North Carolina....will apply..." So...how many people parking at Reston Town Center know that if there is a legal problem, by using the app they have agreed to resolve it legally in North Carolina? And, for all those reading this, have any of you ever parked anywhere that you would have to agree to "Terms and Conditions" like these before you could park? The "Terms and Conditions" are 13 pages long when printed. A meeting of merchants this afternoon: http://patch.com/virginia/reston/reston-town-center-merchants-organize-against-paid-parking
  10. This is a huge issue locally and will probably go national: Boston Properties (BXP) is a publicly traded company which reported after 4:00 on Tuesday and had their conference call on Weds. morning. There was no mention of any problems at Town Center. There are also 1,600 or so apartments and condos at Town Center who must be having similar problems. The result of both is that this afternoon @3:00PM (when street parking was $3.00 an hour and a complicated app to pay it) there were, perhaps, 35-40 people around the skating rink. I would guess that a similar day a year ago would have had well over 100, perhaps 200. Bottom line to everyhting is that Clarity, Red's Table, One Loudoun and Tysons are among the beneficiaries of Boston Properties decision.
  11. One of the advantages of Early Mountain is that they also carry wine from a number of other wineries. On a stop a year or so ago there was Friends and Family which is RDV's third label (and well worth the $35 or so dollars it costs) along with Ankida Ridge pinot noir. Ankida Ridge is especially interesting since the winery is only open to the public for five hours on Saturday afternoons (one day a month in January and February), It is also an experience to visit- both the setting and also the trip there. This is one of those handful of wineries (Stone Mountain, Moss Vineyards also) that are truly interesting once you turn off of the main road (i.e. one lane gravel road on steep mountainside). They are considered by some to have a legitimately good pinot noir. And, all three (Ankida Ridge, Stone Mountain and Moss) are well worth the sometimes heartstopping adventure of getting there.
  12. We just returned from our annual January O. C. visit (New Year's Eve four out of the last six years). Sello's in West Ocean City is now O. C.'s best Italian restaurant-it would do justice to the best in Little Italy and I am serious in saying this. It's also enormously popular with locals and is full on most weeknights-even in the middle of January. Liquid Assets and Hooked continue with their similar popularity and excellence. We also included the Henlopen Oyster House in Rehoboth which I believe is so good that we build our trip around when it is open. Both Ocean City and Rehoboth are interesting in early January: there are a handful of restaurants which have loyal, long standing followings. Coincidentally, they are among the best of all whether open seasonally or year round. I should also mention the Narrows on Kent Island which we always stop at on our way home. I believe it continues as Maryland's best overall seafood restaurant. In fact it is interesting to be able to eat at Black Salt, Henlopen and the Narrows several days apart. The Narrows sits on an inlet of the Chesapeake Bay (Maryland's best cream of crab soup, best crab cakes) while Henlopen is in a factory like room with brick walls, a 20' pressed tin ceiling and Comcast's Blues channel piped in-great character especially in the evening. Phenominal oyster stew along with fried oysters where there is art in the frying and homemade mayonnaise in the tartar sauce. Black Salt now has a back room to challenge for the best seafood dining experience in the D. C. area. Incredible New England clam chowder. I believe that Jeff Black continues as D. C.'s Maestro for seafood. Having said all of this I understand that Rappahannock River Oyster Company has an all season, outside oyster and seafood bar which may challenge anything in America. I am told it is not only legendary but worth sitting in chairs, at tables with portable heaters and the more snow falls around you the better. The name is Merrior and it is in Topping, VA. For several friends of ours they insist it has achieved legend status. We will find out soon.
  13. Forgive me but I will make the serious and respectful argument that any tasting that is free is not the wine that you would judge a Virginia winery by. Linden's '13 Hardscrabble Red is perhaps the best young red that Jim Law has made. It's $50.00 a bottle but you can also buy it by the glass. '14 Delaplane Williams Gap and Petit Manseng are outstanding. Williams Gap is $50 or so but you can also buy it by the glass. (the view out the floor to ceiling plate glass windows of the mountain side tasting room is breathtaking.) Glen Manor's '13 and '14 Hodder Hill, Petit Manseng, Petit Verdot (one of the best PV's anywhere) -all are well worth the price. Their cabernet franc may also be Virginia's best. In warmer months it is like an Austrian mountainside that the tables in the rear overlook. Hangliders from near Skyline Drive float down the hillside which has vines climbing to 1,500 feet or more of elevation. A number of Virginia wineries are making seriously good wine these days. Perhaps, appropriately, it is more expensive. FWIW earlier vintages of all of the reds above are delicious right now. '10 was a landmark vintage and is drinking beauitfully. I'd add RDV Lost Mountain, Muse Clio, Barboursville Octagon and King Family's best red (forgot it's name) to the above. There are also several new Virginia wineries which have beautiful settings: Stone Tower near Leesburg and Blue Valley in Delaplane which is literally next to Barrel Oak and far superior with a gorgeous top of a mountain setting. Early Mountain (now four or five years old) also has a beautiful setting off of route 29 between Culpeper and Charlottesville and further south of C'Ville is the excellent Pippen Hill which is really a "winery themed" restaurant. Maryland also an excellent new winery, Big Cork (open several years) which along with Black Ankle may be the state's best. --- Early Mountain Vineyards (dracisk)
  14. Dooky Chase had serious fried chicken in the '80's but this is like Kansas City's "Chicken Betty" who Calvin Trillin made famous in an early '90's New Yorker piece. She cooked at auto auctions sometime in the '80's and was legendary for her skillet fried chicken. I read about her on, I believe, Roadfood and tried to track her down at this auction on an '80's trip. She wasn't there that day but everyone I talked to told me how good her chicken was. Sorely disappointed I reluctantly went to the original Stroud's which was my first visit there. I knew Stroud's was suppose to be good but it was Chicken Betty whose legend I was chasing. Stroud's (original was closed many years ago) was incredible. I forgot all about Chicken Betty. In fact the original Stroud's became something of a semi annual pilgramage for me until they closed their original in the early 2000's. I never did find Chicken Betty but for me Stroud's and another place called Boots and Coates became the stuff of dreams. And that converted chicken coop and its 50+ year 0ld crusty skillet just west of Wichita. Buster Holmes in New Orleans was sort of like this: on a visit in '80 or '81 I fell in love with it. Plus the place had a lot of character. But overtime I found other places to visit in NOLA substituting stops at Buster Holmes for stops at the line which backed up for a block on Chartres street for K Paul's in its first few years of operation.
  15. I actually thought about this last night at Clarity, too. After two hours or so the wine bottle directly in front of me was almost empty. The glass of water poured when I sat down was still full.
  16. One more comment: I like to swish wine in the glass. Perhaps because I quit smoking 28 years ago I need something to occasionally do with my hand (i.e. lifting a cigarette to my lips). Last night sitting at Clarity I noticed that from time to time I would touch the stem of the glass and lightly swirl the wine inside. This was not a conscious effort to help the wine open; rather, it was an act similar to "taking a drag." It is easier to do this in a larger glass. I almost always ask for the largest available glass regardless of what its shape is intended for. Again I note the the Schott Zweisel Tritan (dishwasher safe with a frame that allows it to hang) Diva Burgundy glass is supurb. I have used them for perhaps 15 years or more. I do not use these for white or a dessert wine but for red they are perfect.
  17. I'm sorry but "any glass will (not) do in a pinch." I could not disagree more passionately with this statement. There was a time when I traveled and I would bring a bottle of wine or two. Now, I pack a glass before I even think about the wine. For red this is my "everyday" wineglass and excepting Reidel Sommeliers @ $100 a glass this is the equal of any. Also, it is not just "the shape." It is also the thickness of the crystal which influences the texture and perception. Then, we can have the discussion of what to decant it in and for how long and at what temperature. Of course there is also bottle variation of the particular wine which might render all of this obsolete... Then, I should also mention barrel variation at the winery... And last, having two bottles of wine from the same barrel. One is hand carried on an airplane to the U. S. (when we could do this onboard) and another spent several weeks at sea as part of a large container. Difference was night and day. Point is that some wine, truly, is a once in a lifetime experience that cannot be duplicated. And sipped in a thin fishbowl on a skinny stem.
  18. Before I retired I spent decades literally driving around the U. S. for business; some trips were 4-5,000 miles or more and would take two weeks. I used to reward myself for the many nights away from home by eating certain food on successive nights. One year I did bbq, another frozen custard, another pizza, etc. One year I focused on fried chicken sourcing a lot of places from Roadfood and from local magazines which had "best of" lists. I don't remember the order but one year, in one week, I had Nashville's Prince's, Stroud's in Kansas City, the Brookville Hotel in Kansas, a converted chicken coop (serious) just west of Wichita whose name I can't remember,Sleep Hollow in Oklahoma City and two or three more places whose names escape me too but had legendary (or such) reputations (Oklahoma City, Dallas and Little Rock). After a week of fried chicken I was sick of it. I remember at the time thinking that the best fried chicken was that which was freshly made. Grease made a difference, too. Popeye's was better on days when the grease was freshly changed. An especially crusty and aged cast iron skillet made a difference, too. The chicken coop west of Wichita fried in cast iron skillets and one of these was suppose to be more than fifty years old and had never seen soap. I went there four or five times and I swear that the chicken was better on some nights than others. I also used to believe that Fluffo was better than Crisco. FWIW when my mom passed away I inherited her black cast iron skillet. This dates to sometime literally in the early 20th century from a relative of her's (and me). It has never seen soap and has a crust. Once she and I cooked pork chops in her skillet and one that I had which was several years old. There was no comparison. Of course she didn't use Fluffo but that's another story.
  19. Totally agree but I would be very surprised if you could get a reservation at a prime time on Saturday with such short notice. This board rarely mentions L'auberge but it continues as an extremely popular restaurant. For someone older (as I) this is an enormously comfortable restaurant with a great deal of character. I really would try to get in. They will love it. Alternatively, in D. C. I would go to Marcel's.
  20. That's a different dining experience than the one pictured with a white tablecloth table and candlelight. The drumstick was literally an outdoor barbeque (labelled Octoberfest) at the farm-not the CD $300 (per person + tip and BYOB) that is the indoor two night a week for twelve experience. The photographs can be misleading since they represent several different experiences at the farm. While this is 19 years old and dates to 1997 it is R. W. Apple writing about Michael Stadtländer and Eiginsinn Farm. I am guessing that because he is now 69 years old he has really scaled back the number of diners and the nights he serves. This is an excellent description of the experience from one of the best food writers I have ever read. 11/12/97 - "The Chef Who Got Away" by R.W. Apple, Jr. on nytimes.com There is a 60 minute documentary entitled "The Singhamton Project," where Michael Stadtlander and a French artist "designed and planted a total of seven edible gardens. Chef Stadtländer then installed a kitchen at each of these gardens and created dishes to match the artistic concept of each garden. From August 10 until August 26, 3:00pm till approximately 7:00pm daily, lucky attendees were treated to a gastronomic feast as they strolled from garden to garden, tasting the bounty of this art over seven courses." Included in the above link are two trailers and several photographs of the experience they created.
  21. The value of Trip Adviser for this are the photographs. There is also a literal mountain of wine bottles somewhere on the property. Apparently for almost twenty years the chef has assembled thousands of them as a kind of artistic expression. This leads to my curiosity of what wine do you bring to one of the best restaurants in the world when it is BYOB? This is not a place for Kirkland brand or Charles Shaw. I look forward to taking a few minutes to study "bottle mountain." It will be interesting to see what wine others have brought over the years. For myself I'm taking a 2006 Leonetti Reserve and a 2013 Linden Chardonnay (have to include a VA wine in this).
  22. Eigensinn Farm on Trip Advisor We're going for our twenty year anniversary in July. We have been extremely fortunate to secure a reservation for it-I've wanted to go for a long time. It's actually a "bucket list" experience for me of anywhere on earth. Interestingly, it is BYOB. I must also note the photo linked above of the candle lit dining room which has extraordinary character. I believe it is open two nights a week with a total of 24 covers weekly.
  23. Has anyone been to Eigensinn Farm, two hours north of Toronto? Rated as high as the fourth best restaurant in the world, $300 CD per person (food only) and books six month in advance for the dinner in a farm house by candlelight. Everything is grown onsite or sourced nearby. Twelve people total.
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