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New Foodie

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  • Birthday 02/20/1981

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  1. That's funny you say that, because that's been my reaction to Cava Grill the couple times I've tried it (whereas I never had that problem with Roti). But I think with both it depends mightily on what you choose during your assembly line process!
  2. As I was reading the descriptions above and thinking back to my experience the other night, I was thinking something similar! But put me in the camp of those that loved the dish (I also love General Tso's so take that for what it's worth!) I went with two friends to celebrate the holiday, and overall we really enjoyed the evening. My friend that made the reservation received a confirmation call from Justin, and they discovered they were from the same town in Kansas (he recognized her area code), so he came over to chat when we arrived. We aren't typically cocktail gals (we go right to the wine!) but he sold us on their program, so we ordered a ride (in their fancy nitrogen chilled glasses). My French 75 was by no means adventurous, but it was really good. The three of us then split 5 dishes and 1 dessert (plus a bottle of wine later). I want to say we ended up around $80 or so per person all in for 6 plates, 1 wine, and 3 cocktails. My best advice is to go in with a mindset to share. They're not exactly small plates but not exactly entrees. I would not have been satisfied with any one of these as my main course, but was glad to try some of all of them Duck Egg Beignet - as with DPop's descirption above, this was recommended to us by the waiter, but we were a little underwhelmed (perhaps due to expetations). Not a bad dish by any means, but overshadowed by the others. Turkey leg confit (endives, pecan, ranch) - I don't think this has been mentioned above, but we loved this dish. Is is presented as a salad (all mixed up together) and it was delicious. I don't know what seasoning is on the turkey outside of the listed ingredients (something curry maybe?), but it might've been my favorite flavor of the evening. Squash vadouvan (olive cake, pistachio, mustard greens, coconut) - I was skeptical since I generally dislike olives, but this was another recommended dish, and as I should have expected, we all liked it. All the flavors and textures married nicely. Scallop boudin blanc (snow pea, sauerkraut, sea bean, trout caviar) - I can totally appreciate this dish for what it is, even as I say it's not my cup of tea. Very interesting and unique, good flavor, but I'm not a huge fan of the texture. Fried chicken "coq au vin" - I don't really have more to contribute than what has been stated above, but two thumbs up from me and I'd recommend. Also thought it was a fairly generous portion. "s'mores" - you never know what to expect when an item is in quotation marks on a menu (and we did ask the waiter in advance what we were in for), but this was pretty awesome. Another definitely recommend. Rich chocolate cake topped with chocolate ice cream and graham cracker crumbles in a bowl, topped with a thin layer of marshmallow that has been toasted on top. The graham gives a nice textural contrast and everything just works so well together.
  3. Anyone have any more specific recommendations or things to avoid at Chaplin? Heading there tomorrow night with some friends for drinks and dinner. Debating between ramen options...
  4. I haven't been to the one in Alexandria, so if this needs to be moved elsewhere, so be it - this comment is about the newer shop in Richmond on Huguenot Road (but I'm pretty sure the donuts are similar at all locations, so may still be relevant). Over Fourth of July weekend, we stopped by this RVA location twice and got 1/2 dozen both times to split and share with family. So we got to try a lot of options. All were good, with some standing out above the rest. This is my attempt at ranking them based on my opinion and some input from others: -Salted Caramel - we got this on both trips because we liked it so much the first time. Glazed yeast donut with a thick and chewy salted caramel topping -Cinnamon sugar - yeast donut with granulated cinnamon and sugar (not powdered). Simple, but really good -Blueberry cake - I typically prefer yeast donuts over cake, but this version was excellent. Dense, but very moist with good blueberry flavor -Maple bacon - we got this one twice as well, and even though I don't love maple, I can agree it is a good donut -Cinnamon roll - large and in charge and very tasty -Samoa - like the cookie, it had caramel glaze, chocolate drizzle, and toasted coconut - yum -White icing glazed - still good, but only really ranked lower because it wasn't as interesting and different as some of the others -Chocolate glazed - similar to the above comment, and I happened to like the white slightly better than the chocolate -Butterfinger - I love Butterfingers, but this was a little too "desserty" for me. I think I prefer donuts separate from my candy. It is a really interesting operation, as mentioned above. The lack of labels forces some interaction with staff, and on our two trips they were happy to list out the options for us and explain what was on display. Also interesting that they change throughout the day, so if you miss out, tough luck. I get the impression there are a few standards that are almost always there (maple bacon being one).
  5. I still have liked ShopHouse the times I've gone (maybe once every other month or so) *shrug* Generally go with rice noodles, pork and chicken meatballs, half green beans/half eggplant, green curry, papaya slaw, pickled vegetables, herb salad, and crispy garlic. It hasn't let me down so far! I didn't even know they had peanut sauce, and honestly, that sounds more likely to clash with the other toppings than either of the curries. I haven't tried it though. I do agree that they should have some suggested combinations on the menu though (I know Roti has something similar where they have at least one plate, salad, and wrap they recommend).
  6. I didn't fully post it above, but I'll re-post what I sent into Sietsema's chat yesterday that also references your frustrations (with which I agree): Respectfully disagree on Mango Tree I have to respectfully disagree with your glowing praise for Mango Tree. The actual restaurant space is lovely, but that didn't really make up for our extremely overpriced food and memorable (in the wrong way) service. Our server was a bit over-enthusiastic and overly friendly from the start, and when he asked if he could go over the menu, he literally went through every single menu item and said something about it. So we asked for clarification and if he had anything he'd particularly recommend, and he basically said it was all good. Very helpful. He also gave us the line about the spice being toned down for American palates (so it sounds like that's a tagline they're using repeatedly, which is a bit off putting). He mentioned at one point that the dishes were fine for individual servings or that things could be shared, but we ended up each ordering our own entree and a couple of shared apps. When the last person ordered, she made a comment about us not sharing entrees like he suggested, and he said, "I know. You're women. You never listen to any suggestions!" Maybe not the most appropriate thing to say to a group of mid-30s professional women. The final annoyance of the evening was his overpouring of our wine. I think I had had a sip, or two at the most, when he was immediately back at my shoulder pouring more into my glass and to the others at the table. And for one of our friends who had requested just a small amount, he topped off her glass, which she did not want, when she was chatting and not paying attention. Not surprisingly, our bottle was quickly empty. The food was fine. Between us we had the two mushroom curries, the chicken curry, the duck, and one of the beef dishes, and we shared the duck spring rolls and a side of pad thai as appetizers (no one was tempted by the market price on the lobster pad thai last night at $49!? Which was nearly double the next highest priced dish). I don't think anyone disliked their food, but there were many comments that we all thought we could have had equally good Thai food at a number of area places for less than half the price. We also compared it to Rasika where we have gladly paid a little more for innovative and delicious Indian food that we couldn't get somewhere else, but nothing at Mango Tree stood out in the same way to us as worth the rather large price tag.
  7. I'll save everyone the trouble and the trip. Don't bother. Went last night with 4 other girlfriends and came away offended and annoyed by the waiter and feeling like we could've gotten an equal meal for less than half the price at any number of area Thai restaurants. Oh, and despite what the online menu says, the lobster pad thai is listed in the restaurant at "market price" and last night it was $49
  8. Has anyone tried Mango Tree yet? The WaPo review was pretty good, but Yelp seems to be mixed. I'm trying it tonight with some girlfriends and was looking for ordering guidance. Looks to be quite expensive for Thai, but supposed to be great decor.
  9. I still enjoy Chipotle, but I have to admit I haven't had an actual burrito from there in years. I don't claim to be a health nut or really watch my calories too often, but when I realized I could save like 250-300 calories just by getting a bowl instead of the monstrous tortilla, I switched to only getting salads or bowls. This also allows me to mix up the ingredients to get some of each in every bite (or much closer to a good ratio than within the burrito when stuff is segregated). I also rarely get sour cream, or only get a small amount. Perhaps this prevents some of the issues Don mentioned above. Barbacoa is also my go to, and find it's always juicy and tender. We don't go that often, but enjoy it when we do. And like that we can get a kid's cheese or chicken quesadilla for relatively cheap without having to buy into a whole kid's "meal" when we don't need a drink, chips, cookie, etc.
  10. Me again! So, recently BP has instituted some daily specials/deals. I'm not sure if this was always in the cards or is a sign they weren't doing enough business and are trying to drum something up. Late night HH, kids eat free, 1/2 price wine, neighborhood night, etc. As a mom to a toddler, I love an option to get the $8 kids meal for free on Tuesdays! And some of the other deals are appealing as well. In terms of food, we're still fans. I won't detail everything we had on this trip, but I ordered the Pozole this time as I suggested I might above, and I REALLY liked it. I don't know that it is authentic anything, but it tasted good! It comes out as a soup with the pork or tempeh on top, and a side dish of avocado, cabbage, chiles, and lime alongside to add as you see fit. Thick, spicy (even without adding the extra chilies), and very filling. POZOLE "MEXICAN PHO" - (V) (GF) Hominy & Tomatillo Soup, Avocado, Cabbage, Chiles Served With Smoked Tempeh "“ 13 / With Coriander Pork "“ 13 On the other hand, the yucca was a miss. Way too tough and dry. FRIED YUCCA - (V)(GF) Chimchurri, Citrus Aioli -6
  11. New Foodie

    Asheville, NC

    Had a great long (and cold) weekend in Asheville. Certainly recommend a visit (or two) to the Biltmore (the Downton Abbey costume exhibit they have now is pretty cool), but lots of good eating to be had. If anyone is looking for something different than a downtown hotel, I highly recommend our B&B - Applewood Manor in Historic Montford. If it had been nicer out we certainly could've walked downtown easily (about a mile/20 min). With the cold we ended up either driving (pretty cheap parking in the garages) or taking an Uber (for $6-7), so it worked fine for us. Nice room, excellent 3 course breakfasts, and social hour every evening with wine, cheese, etc included. Our first dinner we went to Nine Mile since we'd read good things and it was the closest place to us (in Historic Montford). We had to wait maybe 30 min or so for a table (place is small and was packed). It was ok, but neither of us were particularly wowed, and ended up taking home two huge portions of pasta that we didn't even end up eating. Green curry hummus was good, as were the salad dressings (jalapeno lime cilantro), but entrees were just ok (Raggy Road and Negril Nights). Saturday instead of lunch we did the Eating Asheville High Roller food tour. This was a lot of fun, great food and drinks, and I think a pretty good value for everything we got. -Battery Park Book Exchange - Really cool dog-friendly used bookstore/champagne bar -Zambra - eclectic tapas restaurant (more fusiony than strictly spanish) -Strada - Italian with family meal options on Sunday and Monday. Apparently a good brunch as well. -Sovereign Remedies - unique cocktails and local sourcing for a small menu -Bomba - tiny coffee, breakfast, and lunch spot on one of the busiest corners in town. Our guide claimed it as his favorite breakfast. -Seven Sows - creative Southern cuisine -Nightbell - inventive American small plates from James Beard award winning chef/owner of Curate. Delicious bites on the tour, and then we went back for dinner later that night. Highly recommend. Of the food tour places (noting we only had a food plate and drink at each), I think our favorite was Nightbell, followed by Bomba, but all of them were really very good and I'd go back to any for a full meal. We did brunch at Tupelo Honey South (which is a few miles south of downtown, but a) takes reservations and has plentiful parking). It was definitely good, filling, indulgent, Southern comfort food, but I was a bit hungover, so didn't fully appreciate it. Fresh, complimentary biscuits with blueberry jam were stellar. My sandwich had fried green tomatoes, bacon, ham, havarti, pimento cheese, and caramelized onions. Ridiculous. We had lunch at Chai Pani and this might've been our favorite meal of the trip. Super unique, delicious, and pretty cheap. I HIGHLY recommend this. We had Bhel Puri, Samosa Chaat, Bombay Chili Cheese Fries, and the special chaat of the day. You can order 1/2 portions of most of the chaats, which lets you try even more things. I would love to have some place like this in DC. I love traditional Indian food, but this was just a cool place. Dinner at Limones had been highly recommended by friends and on TripAdvisor. It was definitely really good. We had the lobster nachos, pork tenderloin al pastor, and beef and shrimp burrito. The pork was ridiculously tender and flavorful (and apparently we got the last portion of the night before it was sold out). Churros with Mexican hot chocolate and caramel for dessert. Lots and lots of eating. Not quite enough walking to make up for it.
  12. New Foodie

    Asheville, NC

    Thanks, all. Curate was totally booked (from a month+ out), and although we may be able to do a bar seat there, we decided to do reservations at Limones. Also found out you can make reservations at Tupelo Honey's South Asheville location, so I think we may go in that direction and avoid having to wait for brunch.
  13. I think I went to the original Busboys once or twice long long ago, but hadn't been back to any of the newer outposts in years. Now that there is a new location in Brookland, we went to check it out a couple weeks ago with some friends. First impressions are that I like the space (which is not dissimilar from other locations I think). It's big and open and has a good amount of space. One pretty big disappointment was that they ran out of highchairs (we arrived at 5pm) and couldn't provide one for us the whole time we were there. There weren't that many little kids when I looked around the dining room, so I was surprised they seemed to have so few highchairs. For a neighborhood like Brookland that has been starved for places for families to eat out, the other newer restaurants have seemed more accommodating. Our server was also kind of slow getting around to us, and our food took a bit to come out. However, all that said, we ended up really liking the food we had. The menu is enormous though, so I'm not sure if we just happened to hit on some good things or if everything is good. Egyptian Foole Dip ($7 warm fava bean dip served with tomatoes, scallions, jalapeí±os, olive oil and toasted pita) - we liked this as a nice alternative to hummus, and it's served warm. The pita tasted fresh as well. Despite the mention of jalapenos it wasn't too spicy. In fact, our daughter was literally eating it out of the bowl with a spoon at one point. Grilled Chicken Panini ($11 with chipotle mayo, caramelized onions, pepper jack, lettuce and tomato on ciabatta)- with choice of "¢ house-made kettle chips "¢ seasonal fresh fruit "¢ side house salad "¢ fries "¢ sweet potato fries "¢ - I liked this a lot, and the sandwich was enormous. Good level of spice and good chicken. The sweet potato fries were fresh, hot, and crispy (another winner with the kiddo). Orzo Pasta ($14 with sweet potato, asparagus, shallots, shiitake, red pepper and kale, tossed in a tomato olive oil sauce) - yet another thing our daughter liked (can you tell why this place won us over?), and my +1 and I liked it as well. Nothing too fancy, but good flavor and lots of vegetables mixed in. Not that we're usually looking for weekday breakfasts, but I like that this is an option. Hopefully there's a need for work from home folks in the neighborhood to have a place to go (we don't have a coffee shop yet until Filter/Bike Rack opens).
  14. So despite this being the closest new restaurant to my house, and also being HIGHLY anticipated by us and others, I'm just not super in love with it yet. I like the space. I love that they're kid friendly. I love that I can walk 2.5 blocks there. And the service has been pretty good on my visits. I will caveat my post also by saying some of our neighbors think it's the best of the new places to open and probably go once a week. Crispy Brussels ($4 Sprouts Chips, Sea Salt, Lemon, Dill Cream Sauce) - I liked these more on the first visit. The sauce is still excellent, but the "chips" seemed greasier and less crispy Pretzel Bites ($5 White Truffle Oil, Sea Salt, Whole Grain Mustard) - were these fried? They were pretzel pieces that were awfully crispy. Ok, but maybe not worth ordering again. Southwest Pork Chop ($18 Local Bone-In Pork Rack, Green Beans, Cumin Spiced Sweet Potatoes, Bourbon Cream Sauce) - This was the biggest disappointment I think. Overcooked and dry chop that didn't have as much flavor as I expected from a "southwest" moniker. Potatoes and green beans were good. Spaghetti & Meatballs ($16 Grandma's Sunday Sauce, Hand Cut Pasta, Sicilian Meatballs) - This was tasty with nicely flavored meatballs and fresh pasta. Our 20 month old liked it as well. Seasonal Fruit Cobbler ($8 Fresh-Baked Pie Crust, Seasonal Moorenko's Ice Cream) - probably our favorite item of the meal. Apple cobbler this night with "campfire vanilla" ice cream (little bit smoky). Ended the meal on a good note! Hot cobbler, cold ice cream. Yum.
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