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twj410

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  1. According to the Washington Business Journal (and verified on G-B's website), Penn Quarter, Navy Yard, and Rockville locations have been closed locally. Many others closed nationally, too. Only location in the immediate area is in Tyson’s Corner Center, and it is the best brewpub in that mall (at least, it’s the only brewpub I remember in the mall).
  2. I just left Felix a little while ago. I came to town for work, and had time to kill before flying back home on Delta in the morning (LAX to DCA non-stop! I suspect that’s the longest flight from DCA and would love to be proven wrong). Anyway, this place is really great. Thank you for the suggestion. I had a classic Negroni, an order of the pizza bianca, the rigatoni all’amatriciana, and a glass of white wine. I sat at the bar, since it was just me and I didn’t have reservations. I had a great meal. The Negroni was made with the Cocchi’s sweet vermouth (vermouth di Torino). It was very good. The wine was by the glass and very good - I can’t recall the name, but I know I picked it and would have no one but me to blame if I hated it. I really enjoyed some of the pizza bianca during my meal and more once I got back to my hotel. The flavor is unbelievable. I like oregano, but I don’t know that I have ever tasted oregano that tastes like this did. The sea salt and olive oil are also great. I enjoyed the rigatoni, as well, but the pizza was out of this world. This place, however, may be . . . Huh . . . Expensive? For a cocktail, pizza, wine, pasta, tax and tip, I spent $91. I’m not necessarily complaining, but I didn’t see prices on their online menus. Is $26 a lot for a plate of amatriciana? Maybe? Is if for what many places would call a half serving? I think so? The service was, however, amazing. The head bartender did not waste a movement, was exceptionally hospitable, and was exceptionally polite. I could not believe how efficient she was with tea service, coffee service, the bar, the service bar, and — even — serving dinners to fools like me at that bar. So, if money were no object and price not a factor, I would love this place. But, once you consider that the restaurant sorta makes it hard for its potential customers to assess its cost compared with its value, you leave feeling like: “O.K. great food, that I enjoyed, but did I just spend time $91 on four things?” I’m writing this before my expense report has been rejected, because I do think the place was great. But if someone says “No” to my reimbursement, and that means it was “my” money I spent: yikes. The value proposition feels WAAAAY off for a simple, but delicious, Italian trattoria (in my humble opinion). TL; DR: I might have gotten more utility eating at the LAX In N Out burger nine times than eating at Felix once. YMMV.
  3. I was in Chicago this weekend and want to thank the commenters on this thread. My wife and I had the chance to meet up with some out of town friends for a weekend in the Second City. I hadn't been there in several years and have forgotten how nice the city and its inhabitants are. We arrived Thursday morning and went for a snack at Bonci in the West Loop area west of, well, the Loop. If you're not familiar, it's a pizzeria that got its start in Rome and now has two locations in Chicago with plans to expand elsewhere in the U.S. The pizza there are sold al taglio (by the piece). Bonci has a tremendous variety of pizza topping options. The dough is airy and the toppings delicious. My wife and I split small slices of the cacio e pepe, the potato and mozzarella, and the potato and 'nduja sausage. Very enjoyable "snack". After our snack, we followed @treznor's recommendation for Cruz Blanca. I had three beers (by the half glass) and two tacos. I chose the pork belly al pastor taco and the lamb taco. Both were delicious. The lamb had an Arabic seasoning, making it more like a small gyro than a taco, but still very good. The al pastor was excellent. The red lager and hazy IPAs were good, but not special. The coconut and chocolate stout, however, was very, very good. We had late (for us) dinner reservations at The Girl & the Goat. Our reservation was for 8:15pm, but it was almost 8:45pm before the restaurant sat our party. The wait felt longer than its 30 minutes, because the bar area was packed and the entire place was loud, very loud. At the server's recommendation, we ordered 9 "small plates" for the four of us to split. This seemed like a good idea when the server described the restaurant and the food. This was not a great idea, however. The server also suggested ordering everything up front, and the restaurant would deliver the plates. Most of the dishes presented were only big enough for two people to share. The server sent us "two goat empanadas complements of the server" immediately after we split the two goat empanadas that we ordered. Weird, but the empanadas were good enough to split again. The vegetables (sauteed green beans, roasted shishito peppers, and grilled broccoli) were good, but we wanted more broccoli for four diners. The scallop dish was two scallops. These were not big scallops, so splitting each felt really tacky and barely provided an opportunity to taste the food. We had lamb skewers that were unremarkable, as were the crispy beef short ribs. The confit goat belly was over-the-top rich. It was a tasty dish, with lobster, crab, and a lot of butter, but this was one dish we were glad to split. The pork shank was good. Upon reflection, it would have been better to order two orders of fewer dishes, especially the scallops, lamb skewers, and broccoli. If you're only with one person, the dishes are a great size. Splitting with four, however, is tough. Service was good once we sat down. There were good wine options. And their house beer was tasty. The overall atmosphere, however, is dark and loud. Too loud, maybe? After dinner we went to Jeni's across the street for ice cream. On Friday, we enjoyed an architectural boat tour from Ogden Slip (I can't remember the name, but our concierge recommended it). Then we went to Small Cheval on Wells in the Old Town neighborhood. Seating was mostly outside, but the weather was decent. During the winter or rains, this would probably not be a good location. Ordered the house-style cheeseburger with two patties, cheese, onions, and a Dijon mayonnaise sauce. Also ordered the fries. I have not been to Au Cheval to compare, but Small Cheval served an excellent burger. Service was friendly and reasonably fast. The patties are neither pub-style thick patties nor smash burger thin patties. Instead, the patties are similar to a fast food patty, but juicy and well seasoned. The rolls were fresh and very good. The toppings added to, and did not detract from, the burger. The fries were also good: fresh, crispy, and thin. It someone told me this was an homage to McDonalds, I would believe it. But so, so, so much better. For Friday's dinner, we ate at Band of Bohemia. I saw @ad.mich's comment, but could not resist the "first Michelin Starred Brewpub". We skipped the tasting menu, which at $75 seemed reasonably priced. Instead, to start, we shared the eggplant naan, salt cured carrot, walleye crudo, and chilled Spanish octopus. The eggplant naan was a fried eggplant with peppers in naan. It was very good. The salt cured carrot is hard to describe, but was excellent in an interesting way. The carrot had a caramelized miso glaze and was covered in cashews, on the plate as an accompaniment there were little orange slices, lentils, and several other components. The net effect of which, to me, tasted like Fruity Pebbles (but in a good, interesting way). Totally unique starter. The octopus was good. After cooking the octopus, they sliced it and served it like carpaccio in very thin slices around the plate. The Walleye Crudo, however, was the overwhelming favorite. The fish was seasoned well and held up against the gochujang and sesame. Very good. For my entree, I had a duck leg roulade. It was excellent, but I did have entree envy when I saw my wife's butter poached halibut. The brewery makes excellent, delicate, but balanced beers. I had three of the five (I think?) available that evening. The Jasmine Rice is a very lightly flavored beer with minimal hops. The Nobel Raven Ale had a more pronounced maltiness, but was still an easy drinking beer that didn't overwhelm the food. Finally, I had their pale ale called Plaid Camel. As expected this had more hops, but was still balanced with a stronger malt base than either of the other beers. My wife shared a few bites of her beautiful, Instaworthy baked Alaska dessert with me. It was very good. The ice cream was supposedly sea buckthorn flavored, but tasted similar to oranges to me. Our friend ordered the flourless chocolate cake, which she enjoyed, but the piece -- though beautiful -- was tiny. After the serenity of Band of Bohemia, we had reservations at Three Dots and a Dash. This is a Tiki bar in River North operated by the Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group. This place is wild! The crowd was mostly younger folks gathering in larger groups to order drinks and post Instagram photos. Our cocktails were very good, but potent -- especially after a few beers. We stayed for about an hour. The service was O.K., and the ambiance very campy. One table celebrated some big event with a three foot long pirate ship punch bowl while we were there. Two "pirates" came out with the ship to music and a faux thunderstorm. Very fun! Order carefully, and sip slowly, however, as this is in the basement and you will need to walk up stairs at the end of the night. Departing the Tiki bar, we saw a donut shop, Firecakes. In the morning, we returned, and I had a very good churro donut. The Hotel Chicago was a decent hotel (part of the Marrriott Autograph Collection), with an excellent location in River North on the block with Marina City (the famous corncob parking garage buildings), for what it's worth.
  4. I’m very sad to see Ray’s close, as I’ve long considered Ray’s my favorite restaurant in Arlington. It’s rare that any restaurant can be so consistently good for 17 years. I don’t ever remember having a bad or unsatisfying meal there. I know of few restaurants (at any price) I could say that about. What makes this closure personally more poignant, however, is the lack of “substitutes” - especially in Arlington. I wish the restaurant’s team best wishes and good luck moving forward. .
  5. I am quite disappointed by this closure. I can’t say I thought all of my meals from Taylor were enjoyable, but I can say that I enjoyed knowing that Taylor (and not jimmy johns or subway or Jersey Mike’s) was a “local” shop. I am sorry to their employees.
  6. We went up to Lancaster a couple weeks ago for the obligatory trip to Dutch Wonderland. The park is great fun for little kids (after age 6 or so, it may not be as exciting as other parks, however). A decent sized park with a variety of rides to entertain and thrill the kids. Food was nothing special there. Since we got into Lancaster the evening before, we did dine on the patio at Luca. We very much enjoyed our meal there. One kid had pizza, which was good and large enough to fill up a three year old's stomach. The other had pasta and enjoyed that. My wife and I split an order of their squash blossoms, which were very good with a part goat cheese filling. We also split orders of their little gem salad (a Caesar style salad) and a delicious local peach and prosciutto dish with chilis. For our entrees, I had a pasta dish with ricotta stuffed ravioli. My wife had a very tasty gnocchi with local corn, prosciutto, peppers, and black truffle. Service was great, despite being on the patio. Although we ate early, the restaurant and patio got busier as the night went on. I would recommend this place if you're in the area and looking for a good, comfortable dinner with very good food.
  7. We went to Florence for a day trip in May 2018. Unfortunately did not have a dinner there, but did stop for very, very good sandwiches at SandwiChic near the Accademia Gallery. Although the place had a little bit of a hipster vibe, the service was friendly and the food excellent. Fairly large sandwiches (panini) on a terrific bread contained locally sourced meats (salami and prosciutto were both excellent), good cheeses, and what appeared to be housemade spreads. The small shop is located at Via San Gallo 3 in Florence. The shop is small, so eating in can be crowded. We also found tasty gelato at Perche No? on Via dei Tavolini between the Ponte Vecchio and Duomo. The staff was super friendly and very helpful navigating our daughter’s peanut and tree nut allergies. We stayed at a farmhouse we booked through AirBNB in the hills above Figline Valdarno. Amazing place.
  8. It will be interesting to see whether another restaurant opens in that space. With Ballston Quarter opening up soon, there will be even more competition for diners in Ballston.
  9. Have to go to RTC for work meetings, dinner, etc. It's the app that made the parking such a pain. Maybe in time once people have the app and have used the stupid app, people will become more comfortable with paying to park? That said, it still seems expensive and the restaurant's validation policy (at least at M&S) is underwhelming.
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