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Everything posted by Sthitch

  1. Gary Leff's blog A View from the Wing always has some great insight into the how American's domestic product is swirling the bowl. The best bits come from employee meetings that have been leaked to him. Nothing surprises me about anything that American does. Last year they gave my wife's confirmed first class seat to a non-rev splitting us up for the flight. I wrote the customer support a note while still on the tarmac and we both ended up getting 25k miles for our trouble - far more than we earned on the DCA-BOS flight.
  2. I am making the same transfer the last week in June. If I were looking for food in T4 I would probably go to Blue Smoke. Last year I had a pretty good steak at the Palm in T2.
  3. That was until today. The food wasn't bad it just was not worth drive across Arlington for. The fried chicken with chilies is scarcely the same dish as it used to be. It is now marinated and then fried and unlike the previous version it is not dusted with the salt and ground Szechuan peppercorns. As it cooled it became sweet. It was made even worse by the slapdash way the meat was cut up. The best dish of lunch was the duck pancake which tasted strangely Italian. My wife sent me a text asking me where I went to lunch and the back and forth was: Me: Peter Chang's Her: The place in Shirlington? Me: No that is Charlie Chang's Her: the place in Tyson's where we went for your nephew's birthday? Me: No, that is P.F. Chang's
  4. I just stumbled across this post so it is not really a timely reply. I do not believe that by reading the ingredients you can tell the quality of this or any product. Sure you might steer away from products that have ingredients that sound scary to you though just because they have a chemically name such as sodium phosphate or one that causes you to scratch your head for its meaning such as carageenan does not mean that they are either bad or undesirable. Actually if I see sodium phosphate or "naturally derived citric acid" I know exactly what I am getting as opposed to some of the ingredients that you believe to be "okay." Why is that? Well here are the questions that I have about each of the other ingredients (aside from granulated garlic as others have already made a case for it). Vine-ripened fresh tomatoes - you can throw away the "vine-ripened" nonsense as it really does not mean anything. Go to the grocery store and you will find clusters of tomatoes that were snipped off the plant while still green and allowed to ripen on the detached vine that is now 2000+ miles from its original roots. Also ripened leaves lots of room for interpretation. How you judge ripeness of a tomato depends on what it is that you are looking for; is it color, flavor, sweetness, texture, or something else. Also what kind of tomato has been used? Is it a determinate hybrid that has been developed to produce maximum pulp or an indeterminate heirloom that has evolved to produce a complex, almost meaty flavor but far less pulp or something in between? How were the tomatoes grown? Were they field grown or hydroponic? The answer to each one of these questions will tell you whether "vine-ripened fresh tomato" is an okay product or not. Blend of extra virgin and pure olive oil - we know that the majority of this ingredient is extra virgin olive oil, but not how much of a majority, I would suspect that it much closer to 50/50 than anything else, but even if it were 100% extra virgin olive oil does not make it an OK product. As I am sure has been mentioned on this site there is quite a bit of fraud in the imported EVOO market. No I am not saying that the producer is committing fraud but could be buying EVOO that the FDA might consider economically motivated adulterated (EMA). No way of knowing when reading the label. Even if the oil was not EMA that does not mean that it is a quality product, there are plenty of cheap crappy extra virgin olive oils on the market. To complicate things even more is the pure olive oil. Here is how the FDA defines olive oil for the purposes of ingredient labeling: Pure would fall into the highlighted section, so basically they are saying that it is olive oil that has had its flavors removed. Still sure this is an "OK" product? Sunflower oil - why? I suspect to increase the body of the sauce without having to pay for even more olive oil. Salt - it is far enough down the list to not raise any concerns for me. Oregano - I can't tell by just seeing the word oregano the quality of the product used. In the case of oregano being fresh is not necessarily superior to dried the primary oils that give it its flavors are not very volatile but the longer they dried leaves sit around the less flavor they have. Also not all varieties of oregano are equal in flavor or intensity. So they very well could be using an oregano that tastes more like cardboard than anything else. Black pepper - I have never added more black pepper to a tomato sauce than granulated garlic so I suspect that this is to help make the sauce taste as though it has a higher percentage of extra virgin olive oil than it does. Generally speaking the impact of an ingredient to the finished product is proportional to the placement on the ingredient list. I highly doubt that granulated garlic or naturally derived citric acid plays any role in the level of quality of the product. It is most likely to be of low quality because they use low quality tomatoes.
  5. There is actually an excellent Alain Ducasse restaurant in CDG, but you have to have access to the La Première lounge to enjoy it. Air France occasionally offers great deals on their La Première (first class) connecting through CDG and it is really an experience worth having - even if just for the Jaguar transfers between the plane and the lounge.
  6. This echos my experience at Matsui last November. The pacing of the meal was fantastic and I was never served more than 2 pieces at a time. Here is the chawanmushi: and shrimp heads My favorite dish of the evening was the sweetest scallop that I have ever tasted
  7. Singapore has a dizzying amount of dining options. Thankfully there is Burpple. It is like Instagram meets yelp (though thankfully no ratings are given). If you are planning a trip I highly recommend downloading the App. On the topic of Apps, if you are planning on using Uber while there you are out of luck. Uber sold all of its Southeast Asian operations to Grab.
  8. Salt. Way too much salt. I also had a Racky (their version of a Ricky) which was quite disappointing. The drink suffered from an absence of acid* and was overwhelmed by the taste of elder flowers. *Because they only use local ingredients they have shunned the use of citrus, a concept I could appreciate if the wine list were not made up primarily of bottles from Europe.
  9. Tonight I made an asparagus and ramp risotto. Cooked green asparagus in chicken stock until soft, added the greens of the ramps for a quick blanch (it brought back the brightness that the cooked asparagus lost). Put the whole thing into the vitamix and puréed until smooth. I used the white part of the ramp in place of shallot. Added the purée near the end of cooking the rice then instead of butter I used Époisses de Bourgogne. Topped with sautéed tips. The ramps really stood up to the asparagus.
  10. To get it for Marriott you have to link your SPG and Marriot/Ritz Carlton accounts. The Delta lounge access was one of the selling points for me. I am finding myself flying to JFK so that I can take advance of some of the great flight deals airlines offer out of there. Since those are seperate tickets I can’t use their alliance connection to get into one of the lounges at DCA. Choosing to fly Delta over American gives me the lounge access so it helped sell the card to me and incentives me to choose Delta over American even if American is slightly cheaper.
  11. The rice was bland, dry, and there was way too much of it. It ruined the the experience of eating such exquisite fish.
  12. SLT is generally overpriced but they have some great sales. My favorite at the 25% discount offers. The discounts have brand exclusions and last February the disclaimer said: The following brands have chosen not to participate in this promotion: Bob Kramer by Zwilling, Breville, Coravin, Demeyere, Emile Henry, Global, Instant Pot, Joule by ChefSteps, Jura, Kalamazoo, KitchenAid Pro Line, Le Creuset, Mauviel, Miyabi, Riedel, Scanpan, Shun, Staub, Technivorm, Thermapen, Vitamix, Wolf Gourmet, Wüsthof and Zwilling J.A. Henckels. No problem, I wanted a new food processor and Cuisinart is not on that list. Not seeing PolyScience listed I decided to press my luck and order a chamber vacuum sealer. They didn't process my purchase for several days but finally it shipped. The following week another offer came out this time it said the brand list ended with "brand exclusions subject to change." I love my chamber vacuum sealer and that I got it for $250 off makes it even better.
  13. The fried Coq au Vin is no longer on the menu. The chicken dish is the Poulet Rouge for two. It is one of if not the best roasted chickens that I have ever eaten. Except for the drums it is deboned and pressed with something heavy while cooking. This produces a skin with an incredible crispy and crunchy texture. The tarragon vinegar sauce rounds the dish out nicely.
  14. It is like we had two different meals, which is strange because we were sitting at the same table. Seasoning and acid were both significant issues at Sabata. Almost every dish would have benefitted from a bit more salt. It was conspicuously absent in the Labne and roasted peppers. A squeeze of lemon would have turned the halumi from a disappointing dish to something worth returning for. Acid was probably the idea of charred lemons that were included, but instead of acid it brought an acrid flavor. The kofte also would have benefitted with a squeeze of lemon or even better would have been a side of properly seasoned labne. The sardines to have the opposite problem, there was so much acid on them that they burned my tongue. The highlight of the meal was the succulent meat on the hummus (our waitress said it was lamb, but it very well could have been goat). I didn’t mind the tahini forward flavor of the hummus, but there was no discernable chickpea flavor and again it would have been better with just a touch of salt. The pita was flavorful, but the rye flour made it too dense without bringing any rye flavor. The chicken livers were hit or miss. The first one that I tried was overcooked to the point of being chalky, the second one was perfectly cooked. The pomegranate molasses sauce was fine, but rather forgettable. Unless I hear that things have improved I cannot see myself going back.
  15. I grew up less than a half a mile from there and I have never heard anyone refer to that area as Olney. Silo Inn was generally considered the start of Olney. Another way to look at it is that most kids from Olney go to Sherwood (some to Magruder) all of the kids in that area in question go to Rockville.
  16. While the location is not within the City of Rockville it is still considered Rockville. Olney is almost 3 miles north.
  17. Friday night my wife and I walked to Shirlington to have dinner. We went without any place in particular in mind and the smell coming out of Aroma seemed appetizing. We had not been in 7 years and I doubt that we will ever go again. I cannot remember the last time I had such a horribly meal. We were seated and handed menus, then we waited and waited. Saw another couple seated who promptly had drinks served, and we waited. Finally after 20 minutes our waitress took our order. Then we waited some more. We were about to leave when our appetizer arrived but not our drinks. I had to flag down the manager to get our waitress to come back out. She apologized profusely, and comped our appetizer - it was the same dreadful vegetable sampler that Don had and I think they still use the same oil, and we barely touched anything. The barely touched appetizer sat on our table for another 25 minutes before the manager came over and asked us if we wanted our entrees now. We said yes and waited another 20 minutes. The tandoori shrimp were cooked to the point of being hard rubber balls. We each had one bite and when the waitress finally came by I told her that they were way overcooked. She took it back to show the chef and still charged us for them. The butter chicken had a great tasting sauce, but the chicken was so dry that an airline would be embarrassed to serve it. The Saag Paneer was the only dish that we finished; I am sure that if you could cook all the moisture out of paneer they would have figured out how. Bombay Curry Company cannot open soon enough.
  18. I have been reading great things about Monkey 47 gin, but so far I have had no luck spotting this primate in my normal hunting range and really do not want to have to order it from The Whiskey Exchange - I always get a bit carried away when I order from them, plus the shipping from the UK is brutal.
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