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wrash

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About wrash

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    grouper
  • Birthday 03/02/1948

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    wayne@rash.org
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  • Gender
    Male
  • Interests
    Cooking, good food, barbecue, travel, photography, aviation, diving, hiking and writing.
  • Location
    Clifton, Virginia

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  1. My wife and I went back to Trummers on Main for my birthday last week. We'd been back since the new chef, Jon Cropf, had arrived for the new version of Sunday dinner, but this time it was on a week night for the regular menu. They were offering a tile fish entree, which I hadn't seen before at Trummers, and a number of other entrees that I think had been offered for a month or so. The tile fish was the best example of that item I've had anywhere, which is saying something. My wife had the pork loin, which was very well put together. We had an Austrian pinot noir. The baked oyster appetizer is good enough that I was willing to try oysters that weren't raw. Overall it was an excellent dinner. I think the new chef is finding his footing, Trummers is worth a visit. In January I took my family to Trummers for their Sunday dinner. The new version of that meal is based on an entree that's shared family-style along with sides, etc. Normally, there's one shared entree per table, but we had enough people that they provided two, one of each entree that was available. Some of my family members would have preferred to have the regular menu so they could get choices they preferred. Wayne Rash
  2. Maybe that explains why I keep running across Dunkin Donuts in odd places when I travel in Europe. I found one just outside of the Hannover, Germany, train station when I was there on assignment in March. It seemed pretty crowded, so apparently Germans like their donuts. On the other hand, the other hundred or so food vendors in the train station don't sell donuts, so maybe they just want something different from beer and sausage, although I can't figure out why. WR
  3. Has anyone been to the new Trummer's Coffee and Wine Bar yet? It's a spin-off of Trummers on Main in Clifton located in Gainesville, VA. Apparently it opened late last week, but so far I can't find a menu. Anybody been there yet? WR
  4. I'm eating there in a couple of days with some not-to-be-named folks from that government housing unit over on 16th street. Any suggestions as to what I should think about ordering? This isn't on my dime. Thanks.
  5. Trummers is now open for lunch on Friday and Saturday. The menu includes a reuben sandwich with house-made corned beef, house-made everything else except the rye bread. There's also their Farmers Burger, their house-made beer sausage and a falafel burger. The menu includes several snacks and appetizers, as well as some main plates from the dinner menu. I've had lunch on Friday a couple of times and had the reuben and the chicken-fried oysters as well as the vidalia onion chips and the fries. The botted beer selection is fairly small but well chosen. This is my new favorite place to have all those PR people go when they insist on taking me to lunch. It's close and I know it'll be great. Now, of they would only open on more days of the week for lunch. Here's a link to the lunch menu: Trummers Lunch Mar2015.pdf
  6. It's probably just as well you went there. Trummers only started opening for lunch at the beginning of March, 2015. And even now lunch is only served at Trummers on Friday and Saturday.
  7. I guess someone has to be the first, so here goes. We went to Le Mediterranean Bistro in Fairfax with five people, three of whom have traveled extensively in France. One of those who had not traveled is only a little over 2 years old, the other is my son-in-law, and we're working on him. It was my daughter's birthday, and we added to the challenge of bringing a child to a nice French restaurant (we called to make sure it was OK) with my daughter's allergy to cows milk. Partly because the food is prepared to order, and partly because of the cuisine from the South of France, this was less of a problem than you might expect. The lamb tagine doesn't have milk or butter anyway, the beet salad uses goat cheese. For dessert the chef invented a blackberry savion. The restaurant is reminiscent of places I've eaten along the Côe d'Azur, especially at a couple of places on that street beneath the castle in Cannes. The dining room is inviting if not extravagent, the staff welcomes you with enthusiam. The menu is typically Mediterranean French, which is nice. There are a few dishes that are Moroccan, and several that have Moroccan influences. I had a wonderful foie mousse served with toast and cornichons. My scallops were perfectly prepared, which is unusual since most places overcook them. Other fish dishes at our table were examples of a deep knowledge of Mediterranean seafood preparation. The portions aren't huge, again typical of places along the Côe d'Azur where I've eaten. The entree prices are in the low to mid-20s. The wine list is small but well chosen and suprisingly well priced. One thing that got my attention is the $14.00 prix fixe lunch, which I haven't yet tried, but plan to try soon. Parking is a public lot across the street. This is French regional cooking at its best. As much as I like a good bistro in Paris, I also love the food outside of Paris, and that's the cuisine you'll find here. Wayne Rash
  8. Originally we were going to have our anniversary dinner in Paris, but alas more surgery as a result of that tractor-trailer back in 2010 meant no airplane flights fo me. So I dropped a note to Victoria Trummer and asked if we could go there for dinner instead of going to Paris. When we arrived at the restaurant, there was a tiny sparkly Eiffel Tower waiting on our table so that it might feel a little like dinner on the Seine. But I don't think they serve braised short ribs like that in Paris. They were prepared using sous vide, and were wonderfully tender and tasty. Everything else was likewise superb. The martini wasn't as cold as it wasn the previous time, but then on our previous visit Stefan Trummer came to the table with a bottle of Russian Standard vodka and a dewer of liquid nitrogen, explaining that he was going to make my martini so cold that I'd stop complaining. He did. This is the first and only time I've had a vodka martini, with olive, frozen into a martini-glass shaped cone. Stefan laughed while he was doing this, clearly delighted to pull one over on me. Once it thawed out, the martini was just fine. This time, Stefan was away and another bartender made the drinks. Very nice, but without that sort of flair that only Stefan can deliver. If possible, the dinner has improved above its previous high level. Just be careful - you might actually get what you're asking for. Wayne Rash
  9. Trattoria Villagio has been open for a couple of weeks in downtown Clifton. It's on Main St. across the tracks and across the street from Trummers on Main. I went to the soft opening and found mostly good food surrounded by chaos. It was even more disorganized that most soft openings. The dishes were mostly successful, but the Calamarato Pasta needed work. It arrived cold with the pasta underdone (we're talking pre-al dente here), so they tried again, and the second try was the same. Reverted to the safer Spaghetti Carbanata, which was very good. The pasta was clearly house made, the sauce quite good. The wine list is well chosen and reasonably priced, the drinks are well made. They claim that this was designed to look like an Italian rail station. I've been in a lot of railway stations in Italy, but this version is far too clean and orderly to really look like one. This is just as well since I don't think I'd like to eat in the main station in Gaeta, for example. If you find yourself in Clifton, it's worth a stop. There's also an attached market that has nice Italian groceries, but only in a limited supply. The market also sells carry out pizza. I plan to go back. Wayne Rash
  10. We went to Absolute Barbecue in Manassas for dinner tonight. This is the real deal. The whole hog pulled pork is cooked for 24 hours, the brisket for 17. There's not a lot of smoke flavor, but the pork is perfectly cooked, very moist and tender. There's a pit for the ribs, and they are exactly right. They're not the fall-off-bone tender that indicates being boiled first. Instead these ribs still have substance and texture, but the meat comes easily from the bone. I also tried some brisket, which is less smokey than Black's in Lockhart, and the rub is a little more salty, but the meat is very juicy and full of flavor. This place has the right decor for a barbecue place. Plain tables, metal chairs and live music sometimes. They make the sides in the kitchen, and the fried okra is as good as grandma's. the beer selection is small but well chosen. This is real barbecue. The place is a little hard to find, but trust your GPS. I'll be back for another visit very soon. Yum. Wayne Rash
  11. Here's an update on Heart in Hand in Clifton. The decline continued. Eventually the management made a feeble attempt to turn it into a bar, noted mostly for its malaise. It wasn't interesting enough to get the local writers to hang out there, which means it was pretty bad. Also, the AC didn't work. Eventually it slid quietly out of sight. I don't think anybody noticed the day it closed. Heart in Hand was briefly replaced by a place called Weston's, which didn't have an ABC license, but did have an obnoxious person on the phone who enjoyed trashing his neighbors more than telling callers about his restaurant. It closed almost before it was fully open. Now an Italian place seems to be making an attempt. It's at least applying for an ABC license. But at last check it hadn't actually opened. So right now your best bets in Clifton are the Main Street Pub, formerly the Clifton General Store which is OK for lunch and is more of a bar at dinner. Then there's Peterson's which is an ice cream place that sells hot dogs and barbecue when it's open. The hours are at the owner's whim. Finally, there's Trummer's on Main, which remains excellent. They've upped the ante with a nice bar menu that's reasonably priced. If you're in Clifton, go there. --- [The following posts have been split into separate threads: Trattoria Villagio (wrash)]
  12. I notice that there haven't been a lot of posts here regarding Taste of Morocco lately. I went last night to take my wife out for her birthday dinner. I ended up wishing I'd gone to Wendy's. I've been going to Taste of Morocco from time to time for years. Initially, it reminded me of dinners I've had in Tangier years ago when I spent some time in the Kingdom, and I enjoyed the familiar rich flavors and spices that danced on your tongue. The Bisteeya - we shared a small one for our appetizer - was once a delight of puff pastry and richness. Now the puff pastry remains, but the seafood version tastes more like they used canned tuna- you know the white tuna that has no flavor at all. I had the lamb tagine with almonds and raisins for my main course. My wife had the chicken couscous. My lamb tagine was a braised lamb shank with some raisins and slivered almonds tossed in, but not stewed with the lamb. The dish was completely devoid of any unseasoning. Not only was there no salt or pepper, there was no evidence of cadamom, cumin, cinnamon, timeric or cloves or any of the other spices that make Moroccan food so memorable. It did, however, have vast quantities of fat - so much that by the time I trimmed the shank, there was more fat than meat. By the time I removed the bone, there was very little left that was edible. The chicken couscous consisted of a couple of chunks of boneless skinless chicken breast, one random and detached chicken bone, some carrots, potatoes, onion and squash over couscous. Like the tagine, it was completely unseasoned. My wife picked at her plate, but ate little. We took the remainder home where I simmered it over low heat and added the spices required to make it into a proper Moroccan dish. I reheated the very dry couscous with some chicken stock left over from when I made chicken stew a few days ago. I used the rest of the chicken stock to simmer the chicken and veg. The only saving grace is the warm bread served with oil cured olives which brought back some memories of North Africa. Once this was a wonderful place. Now it's sunk so far that I have no plans to go back. It's sad. I used to love this place. Note that there's been a Groupon out for Taste of Morocco. It's not worth buying. If you have one, get the chicken bisteeya. Wayne Rash
  13. Staunton We had dinner on a very busy Friday evening at Aioli in Staunton. This is a tapas and Mediterrian cuisine place in old town. Most of our party of five had tapas. I had marinated olives with herbs and feta, grilled diver sea scallops and Marquez lamb sausage. Others had hummus, grilled crimini mushrooms, truffle risotto and several other items, but memory fails. I knew the chef had promise when the scallops arrived perfectly cooked. They were not the rubbery overcooked shellfish you see so often, but were fresh and velvety inside - exactly the way they should be cooked. The lamb sausage was made in-house and had the French - Morroccan favors that I loved in Tangier. The chef, Said Rhafiri, is originally from Morocco, and it shows. The chef uses fresh local ingredients and treats them with great respect. This is a fine place to eat and the tapas are well crafted with perfect execution. Wayne Rash
  14. I've been delinquent about posting here. New EIC gig keeps me swamped. We ate at Trummers for my birthday, and the next day I left for Europe. The meal was flawless, the food superb. They've started carrying Russian Standard vodka for my martinis. This is partly because I asked, and partly because I'd been complaining about having to import my own every time I went to Russia. The fact that they would carry this just because I asked is very cool. Fortunately the martinis were also very very cool, or more accurately, downright cold. This is as it should be. I'd have provided a more detailed description of the dinner but my food sense was muddled by a catastrphe that was so horrifying that it almost defies description. But I'll try. My favorite sausage vendor in Germany was replaced by (God, give me strength to say this). My favorite sausage vendor, the place that had the stand in the Hannover train station where they sold their own house-made sausages and sold the local beer was closed and replaced by a Burger King. There, I've said it. I'm still trying to erase my food memories from that part of March. I was supposed to go back, but all I can think of is that Burger King sign, so I cancelled the trip. Sigh. Wayne Rash
  15. So tonight I went back to the Springfield location of BGR The Burger Joint after receiving needed intelligence that you have to tell the order taker that you really, REALLY want your burger cooked medium. They'll ask yo twice if your really, really mean it. You have to assure them that you really, really do. So we did. And they did. And, mindful of Don's doubts, I checked the time. this time it was 12 minutes before the buzzer thingie went off. They do warn you that it will take 15 minutes, so I considered that this was a good sign. And indeed it was. When I got back to the table with our orders, both my wife's burger and mine were cooked exactly medium. The difference was remarkable. The burger tasted like it should have, the meat was sufficiently juicy that I got it all over one of my good shirts. I could taste the flavor of the beef, the nice char from the grill. And the cheese was melted this time. "This is as good as the hamburgers I make," I remarked to my wife. "Almost as good," she said. Ah, love, ain't it grand. Anyway, the burger was totally different from the sad, gray overcooked thing of yesterday. It was a joy. This is the way a hamburger should be, and I'm delighted. Too bad I don't have another Groupon, but that's OK. I'm happy to pay full price for a burger this good. A word of warning about the sides. The onion rings, which we had again tonight because my wife is addicted to onion rings, are in her words, "huMONgus." you only get 7 rings, but that's plenty. I ordered the sweet potato fries. I think this is the first time I've ever had sweet potato fries done in the Belgian twice-cooked method, and they were really nice. The surface was crisp while the interior was well cooked and almost creamy. This is the way fries should be. The warning is that they give you enough fries to feed you and your 11 other friends who came with you. Didn't come with a dozen people? Well, then you'll probably run out of space before you run out of fries. But you'll enjoy every bite of them while you overeat and consume enough beta carotene to turn yourself orange for a week. Yup, these burgers were the good ol' sloppy burgers that you always want and can never get, and this time they were cooked exactly right. Maybe they should post instructions for getting the right doneness on the menu? But it sure was good. I can see why everyone loves this place, but you DO have to know the secret. Wayne Rash
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