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About astrid

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  1. I think it's outstanding for a fast food sandwich. It's like an In-n-Out burger, none of the components are fancy, but all the elements balance themselves out well.
  2. We ate well...and too much. The two trip gems were Jacqueline and Berlu. Jacqueline is a lovely seafood place with a very lightly applied Steve Zissou theme. Good (fresh, well shucked) dollar oysters during happy hour (limited to 1 dozen per person). Good drinks, good vibe and service, really really good seafood at a good price with nice preps, and large-ish menu. It's so good that we went there twice in 2 days, even though we had tasting menus booked on both days (Roe and Berlu). Berlu is a fantastic experience and great value right now. Each of the 8 courses was at least as good as the best dishes at Willows Inn (which I admittedly was very disappointed with, especially at the current price point). The closest East Coast comparable I can think of is Laurel in Philly, though the presentation is more Nordic. It reminds me a lot of my 2 favorite Parisien restaurants, Sola and Restaurant David Toutain. Though there is a lot more chef participation since they cook and prep in front of us and talks to us about the food. Go, it's good. Other places we mostly really enjoyed too, from my most to least favorite. Maurice - I really really like it here. It's a beautifully lit casual space and feels just perfect. The food is also very good though not technically as good as some of the places below. Ataula - we were considering staying away because why pinxto outside of Basque country, but the dishes here turned out really nice, nicer and more crisply executed than most pinxto encountered around Donostia. Roe - still perfectly executed and we like the new space it's in. Only nit was wish for 1-2 more courses of shellfish rather than fin fish. We're not cooked fin fish people but we still really liked the 3 cooked fin fish courses we got. This place is solidly wonderful. Olympia Oyster Bar - the oyster selection was a bit misleading, the website made it look like they have over a dozen varieties, but they actually only have 6. But they were pristine, albeit weirdly not slurpable because the bottom abductor muscle is not cut. The other dishes we ordered were very good too. Gumba - okay, we tried 3 bites each of 2 pastas and they were quite good. The portion was generous and no wait for us on Thursday night. They're definitely much better than the surprisingly mediocre Il Corvo pastas, but I wouldn't say it's life changing pasta as opposed to very solid and well prepared pasta that tasted good and filled you up. Little Bird - the menu is a bit truncated for my taste. But everything we ordered was pretty darn good. Just not clearly superior as the establishments above. Eem - the BBQ fried rice (where's the smoke and bark?) and the Serious Eats touted pina coladas (sour and mild?) were busts, totally different flavor profile from what I'd look for in each. The spicy chicken and lamb mussaman curry, on the other hand, were really really good. Overall, I wouldn't wait in a long line here and remember enjoying Pok Pok much more. Hai Yat Belmont - I actually didn't love the spicy chicken here, though I thought the mushroom curry we ordered was delicious. Eem's chicken (and Bantam 46 in Bellingham, from the same overall trip) were better in my estimation.
  3. We ate well and expensively during a shortish SoCal stay for a family function. Sushi Nekosan - this is where the cat titans from Isle of Dogs dine, if they're okay with being seen at a hole-in-a-wall place. The fish (and A5 Waygu) here is impeccable and beautifully presented and well worth the (not cheap but not expensive) price. If this is an indication of the level of SoCal sushi then sign me up now for a return trip! Fishing with Dynamite - Also impeccably fresh and beautifully presented. The hot dishes are great. The raw bar is exceptional. It's a bit pricy but a wonderful way to end our SoCal stay and trudge our way to LAX (due to ongoing construction. It's less than 20 minutes to from our LAX rental car return and then it literally took 1 hour to travel the 2 miles between the rental car return and our terminal. Whist-n-Ladle in La Jolla - we went for brunch and it was perfectly fine. Decent service, well prepped food, not too expensive, and nice atmosphere. My only regret is eating here before we happened upon Sushi Nekosan.
  4. In Bellingham, we had very nice meals at Hokkai ramen and sushi. Their ramen is comparable to the top tier DC options. Really delicious takoyaki and pretty good sashimi and karaage. Bantam 46 had very very good crusty crispy fried chicken, great service, and very nice bar program. We stopped by Taylor Shellfish for bivalves and I learned to shuck oysters. The drive there is lovely and the guys at the store are great. The view is very PNW in a very good way. Oysters were very fresh and tasty, but no discount buying from the source. We went on an overcast Tuesday and it's relatively quiet. They told us that it's gets pretty mobbed on weekends, mostly from weekenders from Seattle.
  5. Finistere in Port Townsend is likely to be your best restaurant option on the Olympic Peninsula. It's not better than very very good modern American restaurants elsewhere, but it does everything well, it's not expensive, and it's a very pleasant place to sit down for a meal. Return trip to Willows Inn was technically fine but a definite let down. Fewer courses, courses of just random minimally-prepped veggies displacing the magical proteins that used to come out of their smoke house (still magical but far fewer in number), and a substantial uptick in prices. The current trend of serving barely adorned fruit and veg at high end restaurants is getting really tedious. Look, if I want a good local peach or eat some roasted winter squash, I can shop at the local farmers market and prep it to my liking. If I am paying $300 a head (after mandatory gratuity and tax) for a tasting menu or $25 for a small appetizer, I want magic that I can't make on my own, not long winded explanations about this super special artisanal landrace roasted squash that somehow tastes just like an inferior delicata squash that could be bought for a buck anywhere in the fall. Of course, we suspected we would be disappointed but was hoping to recapture the magic.
  6. That BBC shengjianbao recipe looks sketchy. I suspect this one is closer to the real thing. https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2015/04/sheng-jian-bao-pan-fried-pork-soup-dumplings-recipe.html
  7. Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything is good for covering the basics. It's unfussy and recipes have few ingredients, so it's easy for a new cook to follow. If he is scientifically minded, Kenji Lopez Alt's book and Cook's Illustrated Cookbook are good at explaining why in a rigorous way.
  8. I meant that persimmons in general are not fast to fruit as peaches or plums. The Just Fruits trees are big, so it might be a year faster to fruit. I think Silver Spring is safely zone 7. My experience was from something of an urban heat island part of SS, but I successfully fruited pomegranates, so I think it's fair to say 7B or 8A for parts of SS (also parts of DC, Arlington, and Alexandria) Not warm enough for true semitropical plants, but hospitable for pomegranates, figs, and hardy gardenias. But this is in the ground with good placement. Anything in a pot of your deck should preferably be hardy to zone 5 or colder to get through a winter here. It might be possible with a large pot and some sort of sheltered wintering position, and it's helpful that persimmons are grafted on hardier American persimmon rootstock, but still an iffy proposition.
  9. The non astringent varieties are marginal in most of DMV, though might be fine in warmer spots in or near DC, you can probably grow them where you live as that's practically zone 8A. The astringent Asian varieties will be fine anywhere in DMV. There are also some American and American x Asiatic persimmons with smaller fruits and greater hardiness. Edible Landscaping will have region appropriate varieties for sale. Just Fruits and Exotics are price but have big health plants. They're pest free plants, though not particularly precocious, maybe 3-5 years to bear.
  10. The Farewell has pretty standard Mandarin (unlike big productions with lots of non-Mainlander stars). It's a good movie too. Flavorful Origins on Netflix is pretty good, though the narrator definitely speaks a southern inflected Mandarin. The news and variety show presenters will speak the most standard Beijing Mandarin. I Ithink my parents have iTalkBB for TV. I don't enjoy the current programming. I would recommend just buying DVDs of well rated shows and movies (though region can be a problem if you don't have a multiregion DVD player), but be aware that Hong Kong or Taiwan programs won't have quite standard Mandarin.
  11. Bob's Shanghai 66 has pretty good soup dumplings. Weichuan brand pork flavored soup dumplings are pretty good.
  12. We hit a couple spots on our latest trip to Detroit. Tried Loui's and Buddy's for Detroit style pizza. Both were good but Loui's was clearly better because it was a more substantial and better crafted pie. Glad I tried Detroit style but I do prefer thinner crust pizzas. The Farm Grill in Southfield was an excellent Lebanese diner. Just ones lady cooking everything behind the counter, but service was still quick and friendly. The food was delicious and perfectly prepared, and surprisingly big portions ( so the reverse of that old joke complaint about a bad eatery). Arkin's Sweet BBQ Pit in Southfield was also wonderful (though the chicken was slightly less wonderful than everything else) and huge portions.
  13. That's unfortunate. I thought her article was unfocused and poorly written. There is plenty of awareness for people editorializing their lives on social media, but it has nothing to do with concept of uncanny valley.
  14. Infants are not that bad, or at least forgiveable. It's the seat kicking brats and their worthless parents who are just impossible.
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