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Simul Parikh

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  1. Went to Compere Lapin this weekend, and honestly, I do not get the fuss about it. It was good, but not as good as others in town, and certainly not on the level of some of the great places we have in DC currently. The space is nice, warehouse/loft-like with exposed brick, etc. Looks more like West Loop Chicago then NOLA. We got there at 9.15p straight from the airport, basically. The cocktail menu is pretty fun. She got the Andromeda (Pisco, green chile vodka, grapefruit, lime, rose, egg white) and I just got a local beer. The biscuits and butter are fantastic, I liked the honey butter and she liked the bacon butter. For starters, we got the fried crispy pig ears, and the arancini balls. These were really tasty, especially the arancini. Our small plates were the marinated shrimp with jalapeno jus and the tuna tartare. The Noble Garden cocktail went really well with the shrimp, and that was probably our favorite dish of the night. The tuna was good, too. We split the curried goat with sweet potato gnocchi were our main. This was easily the most boring dish of the night. Felt phoned in. I can throw some goat into the ol' Instapot and make a curry that was as good. Not trying to be a hater, but it's just talked about so much. The gnocchi was chewy and it felt kind of funny in the dish - it had the texture of those korean rice cakes (the tube shaped ones). We didn't try dessert. All in all, super fun, a few more people and we could have tried more things. The earlier dishes were interesting and refined, and the entree was 'eh'. Also tried Pascals Manale for the first time, and that was fun, but I think her veal gambero (breaded and pan fried) wasn't as tender as she hoped. I enjoyed my soft shell crab. BBQ shrimp po-boy at Liuzza's On The Track was as good as I remember, and their gumbo is really solid. Got crawfish from Cajun in mid-city and brought it to a friend's house. They were awesome - the Vietnamese really know what they're doing with crawfish. Final meal was breakfast at Vyoone's. Way too expensive, not very good. My frittata was lame. Anyway, always good to be back in NOLA. Cat's Meow was a blast, the wild life preserve in Folsom was interesting (who knew you could see giraffes in LA?), and overall super fun trip.
  2. People are just so late, now. I hate that policy, but I'm an on time person and then friends are late and we can't get seated. It's hard for the restaurant. It must have been really annoying to see someone else get seated despite the policy. But, it also sucks for the restaurant to have tables not fully seated for long periods of time. People should really work on being on time! (Doctors, too!)
  3. The ribs don't hold up next day in microwave (all we have at work). Probably oven for best results. Dumplings weren't happy after nuking, either.
  4. Considering a new opportunity and met with a major center in the Valley and had a few pretty good meals. Always felts that Phoenix was sort of a food desert ... ha ha ha... but, opinion has changed a bit. First dinner was at a casino, The Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale. We got a good amount of share plates, including foie gras, cheese board, and lamb empanadas. All were quite tasty. Had a few pale ales, and the other docs got some cocktails that they seemed to like. Two of us got the Elk Loin, I had it medium rare, the other one was cooked medium. Medium rare was very close to rare, and it was good, but I usually wouldn't eat it that red (but the South American at the table tried both, and said the medium rare was better). Someone else got the skirt steak and really enjoyed it. And someone else got the snow crab, and I had a bite of that - really good. We got some nondescript deserts. I didn't see the bill, but it was very expensive. Overall, it was what you would expect at a high end resort in Scottsdale, and I had a nice time. I can see taking people out there for the ambiance and the view. The next day, had happy hour with friends at OHSO Brewery, a local chain that has maybe 4 locations and one in the airport, as well. I'm not sure it was the pipes, or the heat, or the beer quality, but it was pretty lousy. The thing is, the locals love OHSO. I tried to hold my tongue, but man ... so bad. Drinks are generally pretty cheap in the Valley, if you're not at a resort, and happy hours are very cheap (think $7 craft pitchers). We had a snack there, and it was fine. Then, me and the lady separated and went to Old Town Scottsdale. Did a wine tasting at a storefront of a local Arizona winery (yeah, I was thinking the same thing). It wasn't bad! They were reds that had very fruit forward noses, but were super dry and light. Must be the dry heat (I think the single most common thing you hear in this city is, 'But, it's a dry heat' .. I don't care, 107 feels hot A F ... second most common is "But the winters are so nice"). Then, went over to the canal front to Olive and Ivy. Oh man, so many silver foxes and young, plastic gals - like exactly what you'd expect in Old Town Scottsdale. They had an okay beer list, and I'm still on wedding diet so had a decent chopped salad of some sort. Lady is still holding slim and looking great, so she enjoyed a veal ravioli, based on a recommendation from the silver fox sitting next to us. She enjoyed. I was jealous. After hiking Pinnacle Peak and going on the obligatory community tour (man, you get a lot of house there ... and the views!), had a very late lunch at Barrio Queen, Nuevo Mexican with a few locations in the valley. Super cool inside. Had 'Day of The Dead' which is really hard to find, and that made me happy. Salsa that came with the chips was really good, smoky. Asked for a spicy sauce and was given a habanero salsa that had no flavor, only heat - was good mixed together. We got elote. This was a disaster. How do you F up elote? It was grilled fine, but there was barely a touch of cotija and no cream and a bit of ancho chile powder. Was presuming the tacos were going to be crap, too, but they salvaged the meal. My chorizo + pollo was excellent, tortilla solid, too. Lady's was huevo con chorizo, and it was BOMB. Final meal was at Sumo-Maya, a Latin-Asian fusion. a la Sushi Samba. The meal was good, but I think more interesting is this was just a microcosm of the Scottsdale dining scene - beautiful ambiance, amazing outdoor space, beautiful people, and a great energy. From what I remember from before, the food sort of becomes secondary, but this meal wasn't bad. The mixed ceviche was really good, the fusion sushi rolls were okay to lame, the cocktails were actually really well done. I had a Oaxaca Old Fashioned with mezcal. Delish! The kimchi fried rice was not as good as mine, but still good. The spicy crab noodles were fantastic and funkier than you'd expect at a place like this. I didn't partake in the fried fish tacos because of above noted abdominal girth, but I think my bestie and his wife liked it. We got dessert and for a change, it was good and well thought out - black sesame ice cream and chocolate grenache sort of thing. And 3 different flavors of mochis, the best versions that I've had (I didn't try it in Japan, so my reference is not calibrated). I think there is more than just tacos, Pho-Mex (I'm making that up, but it's not quite Tex-Mex) and steak houses here, now. It's not Portland, or Chicago, or Austin or DC, but it's pretty good, and fairly good value if you're not eating at a resort.
  5. Yah, almost never drive from Fri to Sun. With all the commuting, it's a nice break to be driven around. I agree - would love to be car free. Maybe one day...
  6. That's what we did!! Thank you... ribs are phenomenal. Dumplings solid, but a little doughy. Filling was great (in case you're wondering, rubric for dumplings - taste/texture of skin, taste of filling, and aesthetics). I'm not sure why I got the spicy wontons with all the bad reviews, because they weren't great. Noodle soup with hand made noodles were awesome. Snow pea shoots were awesome. Cold spicy pork shoulder was awesome (though, it did not taste like shoulder to me). This place is a winner! And let me tell you about customer service ... I am sure this is not a place that is crushing it like Zaytinya, but she noted we just had a few of the spicy wontons. We didn't say a word about it, and every time she came by we told her everything was delicious (which it all really was). When we got the bill, she had taken it off the menu. "Why?" "You didn't like it, I take it off bill." Perceptive and proactive. We made up for it with the tip. This place is fantastic. I want to try a few more things, but if we are in the area, I'd love to get those ribs. I hope they taste okay today at lunch.
  7. Landing at Dulles and have to go to Tyson’s to buy wedding bands (GD you, wedding-industrial complex). Anywhere near Dulles or Tyson’s or between that id typically not get to go to that you’d recommend this afternoon? Asian always preferred --- Dumpling Queen (weezy)
  8. The article doesn’t say what it’s going from. Is it going from 0 to 5%?? The second law of economics: if you want people to do less of something, tax it. The continued death of Alexandria ...
  9. It's really interesting how this is being promoted. - The ROC's main argument says that this is for the tipped wage workers, but tipped wage workers are overwhelmingly against I77. Sounds kind of paternalistic to tell people what they should be in favor of or against. - The policy advocates say that they problem is that certain races and certain types of people are disadvantaged by the current system. But, if this was the case, for/against should be proportionate to race. - If tipped waged workers make significantly more than $15/hour (minimum), and then their wages are raised to $15, a service charge is added, but if people still tip, then aren't those same disadvantaged workers still going to make less money? Doesn't seem to fix the problem. - If the real, actual goal is to raise the wages of the back of the house, I don't see how this does that unless 1) A service charge is added 2) No tips are allowed 3) These charges are completely pooled and distributed in some sort of pre-determined way (%age per person, or based on hours worked, or seniority? What is fair?) - Some states of allowed tips to be pooled and distributed to reduce the disparity between FOH and BOH. Maybe this is a better idea? - Why is this the one service industry where tipping makes up for the fact that the business owners don't have a strong model in place? This here is complete nonsense - "Some question why no tipping works in most of Europe. “What you experience in other countries is order-taking,” Chaisson says. “The U.S. is revered as the best service in the world. I would strongly argue that is a direct result of our tipped system.” Hollinger and others say there are far fewer servers and bartenders working at one time in European restaurants and generally, they’re hawking food and drink instead of experiences. “I view servers as a professional class of commissioned sales people,” Greenbaum says. She reasons that servers at IHOP shouldn’t make the same amount as upscale restaurant workers. “They don’t take home wine books to study. They don’t know where their products are from.” Operators fear that this class of professional tipped workers would potentially flee D.C. or exit the industry if they’re staring down job cuts, reduced shifts, and closures on top of what they perceive to be capped earning potential." - No tipping works just fine in the rest of the world because of living wages, strong welfare states, and the fact that tipping is not traditional. It is laughable to say that the service isn't as good in Europe. Absolutely laughable. I lived in Denmark for a year. I've traveled the world. No tips in India and Thailand, yet incredibly friendly and helpful service. Limited tipping on the continent, and the service is just fine. This is the one bullshit argument that rivals the complete bullshit argument that "America has the best healthcare in the world, so any changes is going to ruin American Medicine". That just isn't true, b/c the premise isn't true - American doesn't have the best healthcare in the world. Similarly, American customer service is not significantly better than service in most of the world. So, this isn't a good argument at all. - We've just decided that a hot 22 year old with no training that serves at a mid range restaurant deserves $40-60k a year. - That podcast revealed something quite interesting - all 3 women said that the current model allows tipped wage workers to have a living wage AND get to pursue other passions - music, art, writing. That is CRAZY. Customers have to subsidize their passions? I've never heard of another non-professional person say that is expected as a part of your job. Nuts. I have no dog in the fight. I think it will be interesting how it shakes out and curious to see economic analyses of the 7 states that already have 'one wage'.
  10. Great listen! The Initiative 77 was clearly more current/pressing, but I would have also have liked to hear a lot more in being a female head of kitchen, which they started on but didn't get to go into detail. EDIT: As noted below - head of kitchen is the wrong phrase - I meant women opening/managing the restaurants and being in leadership roles.
  11. I really, really want to like this place. It's gorgeous, has a great patio, kind bartenders, good service, close to me, but alas ... Sat at bar to get happy hour deals. It was so nice out, but the Lady is very rigid when it comes to 'deals' and thus we took advantage of that. $5 house wines, so I got the PG and she got the Cab. She didn't love hers (but funny girl, she got another, "I don't care if I didn't love it, it's $5"), I thought mine was refreshing. We ordered the pork cheeks on polenta (also $5) and oyster on the half shell ($1 a piece at the bar at HH). These were pretty good, they had 3 varieties, small to big, briny to mild. For $1/each, better than the offerings at Copperwood Tavern (tiny and bland) and comparable to Hank's Old Town. Trying to drop a little weight, so all I got was a wedge. She got the Steak Frites with a Hanger, subbed the Frites for mashed (not really Steak Frites, any more then, is it?). The wedge was just blasted with dressing, like a Jackson Pollock. Soaked, to the point the lettuce wasn't crisp. Crappy diced supermarket tomatoes and very little tang of blue cheese (probably grocery store crumbles). Her steak looked awesome. She had never had Hangar, and said it wasn't that tender, except for the middle portion. I don't eat steak, so I don't know how it should be. They upcharged us on the Frites substitution without telling us ($4!!), I didn't say anything, because the guy was nice. I wish this place was better. I'll keep coming back for oysters at happy hour, though.
  12. So, yah $550 - $200 (Airline fees) - $200 (Uber) = $150 I'm at airport and traveling at least 1 roundtrip a month, but maybe 2-4 times some months - so, that means you get free internet on many flights, b/c the card gives you Boingo access. So, estimate that at about $10 / month, so that's about $30 left. If you use the card and get 5x on airline tickets, one-two flights a month is $500, x 12 = $6000 x 5 = 30,000 points. Easily get your value there. Then, use CSR for dining and other travel. Lounge access - WAY Better for Amex Platinum. Centurion + Delta (only if flying Delta) + Priority Pass and some other off shoot lounge program. Centurion lounges are usually quite nice. Rental car status - this is something that I can never take advantage of. If you rent from Kayak or Hotwire, you CANNOT use your status. But, the prices from the third party tend to always be lower. So, this doesn't help me. Gold status at SPG, Hilton, and I think now Marriott - free breakfasts, late checkout, internet, etc. - these are nice touches. We are more AirBnb people so hardly ever take advantage of these perks, but can be nice. Concierge service on CSR hasn't been helpful, so I don't see that as a benefit. If you spend enough, it's a good Premium card to have. CSR + AMEX Platinum is a nice combination. Oh, Turkish Lounge at Dulles is really great - good food, too. But ... got too popular (see my post on the devaluing of points and programs) and now they even close to P.P. members at various times of the day (never used to happen).
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