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Everything posted by astrid

  1. We were really impressed by Bar Crenn from a visit a year ago. It's a la cart but the portions are small (kind of like Bar Mini but fancier), might have the tasting menu but maybe not really vibe that I think you're going for.
  2. For once, we strayed from the tried and true Littler and ate at Sushi Mon, Mothers and Sons, and So-Ca. Mothers and Sons is the standout. It's toe to toe with Inferno Pizzeria's pasta tasting for my best pasta-centric meal of 2019. The antipastas and desserts were also outstanding. It would hold its own against any fine dining establishment in DC.Sushi Mon is pretty good, worth seeking out if you're in the area and craving sushi. It's just below elevated sushi that show the signs of a master at work. Everything was well prepared and fresh, the prices were good for the portions and selection, and it's a very pleasant if slightly generic establishment. Maybe we'd like it even better if we hadn't gotten spoilt by some pretty masterful SoCal sushi a month ago.Brunch at So-Ca was a good choice. We enjoy brunch but don't like the sugar, egg, and bread heavy brunch classics. So-Ca delivered by giving brunch classics Latin fusion twists, making them feel lighter, more flavorful, and more savory. We had pleasant service in another very pleasant if slightly generic space.
  3. And now we have also been to ZZQ. We were driving south on I-95 and bet on getting quick enough service to reach our destination on time. There was no line on Friday at around 1:45. The service was friendly and efficient. We ordered pork ribs, brisket (mix of fatty and lean), hab sausage, hot guts, pulled pork, pastrami, small buttermilk potato salad, small jalapeno mac and cheese, 2 pickled jalapeno, and banana pudding. The order also came with a health stash of pickles and pickled onions.Overall we're really impressed. All the meats were moist, perfectly textured, and deeply flavorful. The least of the batch is probably the pastrami, which was a little saltier and tougher than I'd like it (yeah, I know it's pastrami). I think I still like my dry rubbed ribs better but the ZZQ pork ribs were delicious and perfectly cooked. The rest were all amongst or are the best of their kind I've ever had. The pickles and provided sauces went really well with the meats.Of the sides/desserts, we liked the potato salad the best. The mac and cheese and banana pudding were good specimens for their kind, but we felt they were not worth sacrificing the space that could be otherwise allocated to more meat.
  4. I generally think that people saying boorish things are just boors and not usually monsters. However, hitting on waitrons is really icky. They depends on your tip to live, so it's essentially an employer/employee relationship. Unwanted (or even wanted) sexualized remarks play out the same dynamics as a boss making that type of remark to their employee.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Bob's Shanghai 66 has pretty good soup dumplings. Weichuan brand pork flavored soup dumplings are pretty good.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Infants are not that bad, or at least forgiveable. It's the seat kicking brats and their worthless parents who are just impossible.
  19. If you prefer less tangy, I recommend making it from scratch and refrigerate the batch immediately without room temp fermentation period. You can adjust heat level by adding cayenne powder. I follow Maangchi's recipe and it takes maybe 60 minutes of active prep time.
  20. La Formagerie is my top choice for Old Town, meals there always delighted me. I find it a better value than Hank's or Vermillion, I know that's not saying much.
  21. Swiss chard or Malabar spinach might fill that gap. They typically can manage to continue harvest through the summer and I had chard survive to bloom next spring. It might be possible to keep a very heat tolerant lettuce such as Jericho going if you water it very well to minimize stress. If you're willing to go with something more unusual, amaranth greens or huazontle do well over with heat and were trouble free for me. In case you're looking to stock up on seeds, Renee's Garden Seeds is doing end of season 50 % discounts on most of their seeds right now. They are a good company and I've been quite happy with their seeds and selection. Another option is succession planting some dill, basil, or cilantro seed. They will grow quickly and be ready in 45 to 60 days. The Thai basil might have gotten stunted by cold weather, dryness, or being root bound. Basil grows really easily in warm weather, so I would just plant more seeds or start some new plants with the basil from your next Thai or Vietnamese veggie platter ( just stick in water until it roots).
  22. We always end up in Cuban Burger in Harrisonburg on that route. Get extra green sauce!
  23. That San Pellegrino 50 best list is even more bunk than Michelin 2 and 3 stars? At this point, I've had enough meh or worse meals (Akelarre is literally my worst restaurant meal in 2015) at Michelin 2 and 3 stars to think that expecting greatness in one is not a good game plan. If it makes you feel any better, we ate at 4 of the 5 Viennese 2-stars. Only Konstantin Filippou was worthy. Cosme in NYC is also just fine and about 300% overpriced.
  24. I find sticky toffee pudding to be fairly easy and very impressing.
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