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About stickmoon

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  • Birthday May 14

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  1. Same here. I was fortunate to live in DC during those years and loved going to Proof. Also loved that you could go there and have a great night without breaking the bank. Next month we will be visiting DC for a few days and there are plenty of new places to try, but we will in all likelihood still drop by Proof for a glass of wine and a cheese and charcuterie board.
  2. We enjoyed the food in Istanbul. Most of the restaurants we walked by cooked Turkish staples (grilled meat, vegetarian mezzes and salads, Ottoman era casseroles) that all have basically the same menus although slightly different preparations and quality. Of this genre, Gulhane Kebab House was our favorite. We had two relatively upscale meals, lunch at Nar Lokanta and dinner at Lokanta Maya. Nar Lokanta had a very nice mezze and dessert buffet for the great bargain of 28 Turkish Lira (about $14). The food was good. I enjoyed the experience at Lokanta Maya, and I agree with the person above that it could fit right in on 14th St, but I did not love the food. Surprising, because the chef was trained at the French Culinary Institute in NYC and Eleven Madison Park. My fried anchovies were fresh and lightly breaded and well fried, but the portion was way too large. A bowl with dozens of these fried fishes came out, much more appropriate for sharing (wish I had known). I ate as many as I could and felt bad about sending half the batch to waste. My lamb shank with polenta I had for dinner there could have used some sauce, it was dry. The polenta was an unfamiliar texture, dry and stiff. I don't remember what we had for dessert. After a week there, a few things about the restaurants in general started to annoy me. One was the solicitation. You can't stop at a menu outside a restaurant without "My friend, my friend, come in! Oh nice couple, table for two" etc. I know it's like this in many tourist destinations, but it was more intense here. Also the music in most of the restaurants in the main tourist areas are either cover songs of American standards (Billy Joel, Sinatra, etc) or 1990s era love song with women singing their hearts out (Toni Braxton, Whitney, Celine Dion). It was sort of funny at first, but I would much prefer that the restaurant owners played the music that they like rather than cater to tourists with romantic American ballads. I also was puzzled that although most restaurants do serve alcohol, they only serve Turkish wine and beer. If they are going to serve alcohol, and especially in the tourist centers, they should import some of the good stuff. However, US restaurants could learn a thing or two about bread service by going to Istanbul. Warm flat breads with spicy tomato chutneys or yogurts were an always welcome start to our meals. We also enjoyed the street food carts - the simit, roasted chestnuts, a hot drink that tasted remarkably like rice pudding, fresh pomegranate juice. Also loved the Turkish coffee and tea and desserts.
  3. El Xampanyet is about 100 footsteps or so away from The Picasso Museum in the Gothic Quarter and it's the restaurant we're still talking about since we got home. Opened in 1929, no website, no Facebook page, no written menu. It's a tiny place that by 8pm is spilling into the street with people drinking Cava out front. Just a crazy fun and memorable meal here with remarkably good food. Standing at the bar packed like sardines, dish after dish was offered to us, and each seemed better than the next. Little plates of jamon, tortilla, anchovies, olives, stuffed peppadews, squid over veggies, potato with peppers and chorizo; and the coup de grace, a spiced Lomo Iberico sausage a la plancha on one half of the plate, with some thin, long green and slightly hot peppers, also grilled, on the other side of the plate, topped with an herby olive oil. All of our food with four glasses of Cava (or maybe it was six, I forgot), came to 48 Euros. Really, go to this place.
  4. We hosted a party for about 35 people last Friday and had it catered by SUNdeVICH. I emailed back and forth with Ali, who I think is the owner, and we ironed out the sandwiches and salads we wanted, and agreed that I would pick up the order between 5 and 5:30pm. We walked in at 5:10pm, and none of the food was prepared at all. The woman who was running the register was mortified and I showed her the series of emails I exchanged with Ali. She printed out the email with our order and told us she would jump on the line and they could have everything ready in 15-20 minutes. I must commend her and the cooks because they did an awesome job getting everything together quickly. They made us four platters of sandwiches, a big salad and dressing, in just about 15 minutes. We made it to our party in time and with our food. When we got to SUNdeVICH, I wrote a panicky email to Ali saying that we were there and nothing was prepared. Later that night, he replied, explaining that he had told the kitchen but not the cashier, that he had been called away from the shop mid-day and that he took "full responsibility if we threw off your timing. We did say 5 - 530 and I just assumed it was flexible. Again, I apologize if we made things harder than they should have been." The sandwiches, by the way, were terrific. We ordered the Cairo, the Capri, the Havana, and the Paris (no egg). All of them were so good, the bread is high quality and the combination of ingredients in each sandwich were in the right proportions - everyone enjoyed them. I want to thank the cooks and the woman running the front of the house because all of them pitched in to get our order ready as fast as they could. They did a terrific job pulling it together for us.
  5. Just want to thank Chef Ziebold and his team for a spectacular dinner last Wednesday night. It was our final meal together as an unmarried couple and we treated ourselves to the tasting menu. The congratulatory card signed by the staff was a particularly nice touch. Seated in view of the kitchen, the precision and attention to detail we observed among every single staff member was impressive. The food was even more impressive. A most wonderful way to celebrate our marriage.
  6. When people write "nom nom nom" to indicate they are about to enjoy a dish they just took a photo of before posting it to Facebook. Gives me the willies.
  7. We visited Chicago a few weeks ago and had a very enjoyable meal at Girl and the Goat. I made reservations about 10 weeks in advance (incredible how far in advance this restaurant is booked up) but then we walked in a few minutes early and about ten minutes later two seats opened up at the bar and we ate dinner there. The restaurant felt convivial and fun - everybody seemed to be having a good time. The texture of the Chickpea Fritters were incredibly creamy with a crispy outside. We loved them, but they were on top of a coldish veggie salad of tomato, eggplant, and mozzarella that didn't quite work for me, at least, not at the same time as the fritters. The Potato and Green Garlic Wontons were a simple foil for the complex, bright tamarind broth they were dunked in...I loved this dish. The Wood Grilled Broccoli with Rogue Smokey Bleu Cheese worked very well. I also had the Pig Face, it came with a sunny-side egg on top and it was creamy and rich, less exotic than it sounds, oddly enough. The portions of the dishes, most of them are meant for sharing, are bigger than I expected. Four or five dishes will be plenty for most couples. Speaking of pig, we stopped into The Purple Pig, which was jam-packed at 5pm on a Sunday evening. The front-of-house staff seemed a little bit overwhelmed, which surprised me for such a well-known place right on Michigan Ave. They don't take reservations so expect to wait, and there is very little room around the bar to do so. The highlight dish was a salad of roasted heirloom carrots with avocado, fennel-toasted quinoa, sunflower seeds and a citrus dressing. I know this place is known for cheese and charcuterie but we were most impressed by this salad. Had a somewhat disappointing dinner in the hipstery Wicker Park neighborhood. Went to Trenchermen, which is on a bunch of the "Best New Restaurant in Chicago" lists I had looked up. The space looks very cool, sort of steampunk, but if you're a party of two beware that the two-top tables are a little bit too close together. We ended up having conversations with all our table-neighbors, it's that close. The highlight was a Kale Salad with pickled veggies, that was atop a quinoa bread. Didn't taste the edamame in the edamame dressing, but the dressing had quite an acidic bite that I enjoyed. For an entree I got the Aged Duck Breast, which was served two ways. It was half a breast, seared and sliced, and then the other half was used in a chicory sausage. The sausage part was so very flavorful and rich, but the seared breast had way too much unrendered fat and the skin was flabby. The dessert of Bourbon-glazed Donuts with Vanilla-malt Ice Cream was, like the rest of this restaurant, hit-and-miss, as I thought the donut was pretty heavy but the ice cream was really delicious. Stopped into a The Wormhole, a cafe in Wicker Park. The theme of this place is a kind of 1980s goofy science fiction type of film (think Weird Science or Back to the Future)...of course it was filled with bearded men hunched over mac computers, crazy me I actually like that atmosphere! It's worth checking out for an afternoon pick-me-up...plus they serve cereal all day
  8. I have procured some whole wheat "red" pastry flour that has been harvested and milled locally (to where I now reside, Columbia, Missouri). It was harvested in July 2011 and milled in October 2011. First, does anyone know if it will likely be any different from a major brand whole wheat pastry flour? Second, does anyone have a suggestion for what a baking/pastry novice like me can do with it to showcase the ingredient?
  9. After seeing this thread I checked to see what's at the very back of this forum and got such a kick out of the subject lines. One of my favorites: "Mantis, Tapas Lounge in Adams Morgan - Exterminated." Ahhh, Rocks you're clever.
  10. I haven't seen TORO mentioned on this board...it's a tapas style restaurant in the South End. Open on Mondays. I was there for the first time a few months ago and the food was terrific. A group of 5 of us ordered maybe 15 dishes (and we got a few special treats from the kitchen), and the kitchen did a great job of spacing and ordering the dishes so that items like marinated white anchovies ($7) and tortilla espanola ($5) came out early and the rich dishes like the memorable pork belly ($13) and smoked duck drumettes ($8) came out towards the end. I do not usually like tapas restaurants, but this place is an exception. Worth checking out. It's small and they do not accept reservations. Get there early.
  11. Thanks all for the tips. I followed these instructions exactly as written and the chicken was terrific - really the best roasted chicken I've ever made. Spatchcocking(!) and carving was easy with kitchen shears. The legs were nice and crispy brown, but the breast meat was also much more moist than my typical roast bird. I'll be using this recipe again, that's for sure. I attached a picture...not as beautiful as monavano's food porn pics, but it'll have to do! In reply to Zora: I've tried using baking soda and salt in making chicken wings before to great effect...the skin got crispy almost like they were fried.
  12. I'm roasting a small chicken tonight for dinner...I like to eat the legs and wings and save the breast meat for chicken salad...but when I roast chicken, the skin on the breast gets crispy but the skin on the legs and wings is more flabby. I've tried elevating the chicken on sliced onions with some decent results, but that runs counter to the theory behind Keller's simple roast chicken that dry, high heat produces a crispy skin. What's the best way to get the skin on the legs/wings crispy? Spatchcock? Starting it breast-side down?
  13. I can freeze coconut milk, right? I never use a whole can at one time...
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