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Spiral Stairs

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About Spiral Stairs

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    ventworm
  • Birthday 04/17/1972

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    The bad part of Capitol Hill

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  1. My wife and I ate here for the first time on Friday and enjoyed it very much. Most enjoyable: There were loads of empty tables a little before 8PM, when we showed up. (Hope that's not a bad sign for the future. On the upside, it was significantly more full by the time we left.) My wife proclaimed the nutty goat flatbread "one of the best things [she's] ever had." (Also, by far the best word in the history of the whole world is hyperbole.)
  2. For at least a couple months, a sign in Union Station (in the non-photogenic gate area, next to the Hertz counter) has announced the coming of Yogen Fruz as well.
  3. To be clear, ol_iron said that the "distant southwestern" corner of VA is as far away as Boston, not that this restaurant is. By my rough Google Maps calculation, the trip from DC to the far southwestern corner of VA is, indeed, about 20 miles longer than the trip to Boston. Carry on... ETA: Johnb made same point faster. Curses!
  4. Good god, sign me up. When I was living in New York, one of my favorite items, available at many neighborhood pizza places, was the less-fancy-pants-named "rice ball." They're hard to come by outside NYC.It's 9 blocks from my office to Taylor. Rain, rain, go away...
  5. Spiral Stairs

    Dining in Ward 7

    Ah, Denny's. In high school, I was vice-president of the Denny's Eating Club. We convened once a week at our local Denny's. Until, that is, the Shake Incident. You see, the Denny's menu (at the time, at least) expressly promised that, upon ordering a milkshake, the customer would receive not only a milkshake in a glass, but also some additional "left over" milkshake in the metal cup in which the shake was prepared. This was pictured on the menu and promised in words. Over the DEC's many meetings, countless milkshakes were ordered without issue, each of which was accompanied by left over milkshake. Then, during one of our weekly meetings, the waiter came over with only the glass. We said, "Excuse me, but we seem to be missing our promised 'left over' shake." The waiter said, "You get that only if there is some left over." We said, "But your menu says otherwise!" He shrugged and left. We left too, and the Denny's Eating Club thereafter conducted its weekly meetings at Applebee's. Never been to the one on Benning Road.
  6. Spiral Stairs

    Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream

    According to some online neighborhood scuttlebutt, Montmartre will be expanding into this now-vacant space.
  7. So a place called Acqua al Due is coming to a space across 7th Street from Eastern Market formerly occupied by two clothing stores. (Just up the block from Montmartre.) (Here is a blurb.) Has anyone eaten at this place, the original of which is in Florence and an outpost of which is in San Diego? I can't imagine this is bad news, given that neither Dottie's nor A&A Athletic had attracted my disposable income while they occupied the space. But how good is the news?
  8. Spiral Stairs

    Berkeley Springs, WV

    We had unusually good barbecue at Earth Dog Cafe last weekend. It is on Route 522, just south of Berkeley Springs State Park (where the springs are). The meats are smoked right outside the front door, and my brisket was quite good. The sides were good too. My wife raved about the baked beans, to such an extent that I didn't get any. Our friend claimed that the burger was good in a thick, lettuce-and-tomato, serviceable way. We did take-out, and it took quite a while to get out the door. But that also gave us a chance to hang out in the very pleasant, friendly interior. We'll be back.
  9. Mark me down as another very excited Hill resident. I can't imagine this will be anything less than extraordinarily successful. And Matchbox is so well-known and loved that perhaps other newcomers can ride its coattails. There is definitely still a lot of Barracks Row storefrontage that is ... less than optimally utilized. (Plus, the takeout news is very welcome, especially for this parent of a feisty two year-old.)
  10. I ate at the one in Palo Alto some time ago. It had a sleek and hip but friendly vibe. I can't remember the details of the burger, except that the sauce I chose for it -- I think it was the peppercorn steak sauce, but am not sure -- was impossibly watery. It rendered the burger somewhat difficult to eat until I figured I just had to use it as a dipping sauce. I do recall liking the burger generally. (I believe I took it medium.) (Note, however, that I don't often run across a burger I don't like.)
  11. After extensive experimentation, we simply decided to stop trying to find good Chinese food on the Hill. We channel our urges into Vietnamese (Pacific Cafe) or Thai (Old Siam).
  12. Scotch Egg: Yes, please. As my two-year old would say, "More! More! More!" Fried Mac & Cheese on a Stick: Five (or so) little triangles of solid, deep-fried M&C on a skewer. Good, as all fried cheese must be, but the mac & cheese itself was disappointingly blah. Steak on a Stake: For an overcooked hunk of meat, tasty. Saved by a healthy dash of pepper. Fried pickles: My fave. Fried in spear form (as opposed to slice form). Cheese bread: Good, but not much different from something I would slide out of a Pepperidge Farm sleeve and slip into my own oven. Frozen chocolate-covered banana: Just about what it sounds like. Pretty good taste-bang for the health-buck, but I do regret not having the cheesecake on a stick. We got in and out on Saturday with no problem at all. Arrived at about 10:15 (shortly after it opened), cruised into a spot. Left at about 1:30, drove straight out. The back-up headed in was astonishing. Moral of the story: Get in early, get out early.
  13. Spiral Stairs

    Washington Post Food Section

    I, for one, would interpret "no cellphone use" to mean "no talking on cellphones." I understand the rationale behind such a rule -- people talking on cellphones tend to speak loudly and it can be distracting to others. However, I can't see any rationale for prohibiting people from typing on a Blackberry or phone. I consider myself a pretty courteous person and if I had been given those rules, I would not feel prohibited from typing an e-mail or text message.
  14. Spiral Stairs

    Washington Post Food Section

    Fascinating subject. I'll preface my thoughts by noting that I am not a journalist and know nothing beyond what common sense tells me about journalistic ethics. Even assuming a contract was formed after he received the slip of paper and decided to stay (which is pretty questionable), is it a canon of jurisdictional ethics that a journalist should not breach a contract? I would think not, and that instead the question is whether he breached any journalistic canon by disclosing facts that he learned while in the establishment. That seems unlikely to me. Further, so far as the column reveals, he didn't interview anyone. To the extent he received any request for confidentiality at all, it was from the establishment itself. As a matter of journalistic ethics, can an institution (rather than a person) be a "source" whose confidentiality can be protected? Change the circumstances a little: Imagine that Jason Wilson is a political affairs reporter, and that he is invited to a private political event. Once inside the door, someone hands him a slip of a paper that says "Thou shall not write about this." Yet he stays and hears a politician openly propose to invade Iran. Surely the reporter would not be prohibited from reporting this news because someone handed him a piece of paper. Indeed, some people might be seriously offended if he did NOT report it because he thought he was bound by that piece of paper. The fact that the stakes are lower in a column on alcohol doesn't change the fundamental circumstances. (It's a totally separate and unrelated question whether he acted imprudently in publishing this information, because he might jeopardize future access to sources. Beat reporters have to make judgments like that all the time, but they are exactly that: judgments, not ethical rules.)
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