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Found 24 results

  1. http://www.scottsrestaurants.com 927 F Street NW Opened mid-November. I love the concept but it's certainly one that's had a bunch of failures in the past around here. Commonwealth from Jamie Leeds came and went. And British feel with Scotch club and eyes on rapid expansion didn't work out too well for Againn. Inside Penn Quarter’s Cozy Newcomer, Scotts Restaurant and Bar (Eater DC, Nov 14, 2018; Tierney Plumb) A British invasion in Washington, with meat trolleys, Scotch eggs and more (Washington Post, Dec 7, 2018; Tom Sietsema, First Bite)
  2. Andy Hayler's Numerous Reviews - Note that Bonhams is closing on Dec 21.
  3. 314 W. 11th Street (Greenwich Street) New York, NY 10014 Phone (212) 620-0393 Web: http://thespottedpig.com/ Menu: http://thespottedpig.com/food.php For my last meal on a (too) brief trip to New York, I went to The Spotted Pig in the West Village. It was my first time at April Bloomfield's much-hyped Gastropub (an overused term that actually applies here), and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I started with a Spotted Pig Bitter ($10) from one of their two beer engines, an excellent rendition of the style. Next I went with a Smoked Trout Salad with Creme Fresh and Pickled Onions ($16), an arguala salad with chunks of good, lightly-smoked fish that seemed too heavily dressed at first, but the dressing had such a balance an brightness it worked. I paired a La Formica Soave ($13) with it that was a nice match. For my main I had the special of the day, Pork Cheek Faggots (I swear that's how it was written on the board) with English Peas and Mustard, which were kind-of like football shaped sausages, kind-of like meatballs, and kind of like braised shortrib (except, obviously, cheek), and, though a bit over-salted, delicious. Despite the salt, I get them again without a second thought. I ordered a Domaine Jessiaume Pinot Noir with it that was also a good paring. All-in-all, for $90, it was not a bargain, but a nice meal in a place I'm eager to return to. Particularly for the burger, served with shoestring fries ($20), which many in the dining room ordered and which looks incredible.
  4. Tried out the newish Duke's Grocery today for lunch over in Dupont on 17th street. First a few odd things: 1) it is not much of a grocery - they have a few baskets of produce for sale, but it is really a restaurant, 2) its menu consists solely of sandwiches, a few sides and a bar menu - but for now they do not offer carry out sandwiches (concerns about too long of a wait when they have a tiny open kitchen and basically one (maybe 2 sometimes cooks), 3) it looks like it'd be a place for counter service, but they have bartenders and waiter?/food runners so it is unclear whether tipping is expected. I sat at the bar where you order on the ground floor when you enter - but they have an upstairs with tables and some other ledges and stools around on the first floor too. Overall, I think they are still trying to figure out what their concept really is. Nevertheless, the bar is nice and 2 young bartenders were very friendly and nice explaining the menu and chatting. Now onto the food. So the price/value is great here. All of the amply portioned sandwiches are just under $10 with tax included and despite my gluttony of finishing my whole Brick Lane Salt Beef monster, it easily could be shared by 2 people. The other couple of sandwiches I saw come out were equally well-made, fresh in the kitchen using mostly homemade ingredients in small batches and likewise large. The sandwiches come on a variety of breads from Lyon Bakery including rye, ciabatta, etc. I've never been to the UK nor had Salt Beef but it was described as less salty corned beef. It had thick cut soft white bread that was good and then piled high large chunks of tender beef (not melt in your mouth, but soft). The sandwich is slathered with sinus-cleansing Colman Mustard (think horseradish or chinese spicy mustard without the heat) and house made dill pickles with bit of onion laced within. I said next time I'd get the sandwich with less mustard and more of the good pickles. The sandwich was good and definitely well made with quality ingredients - but I think the mustard overwhelmed the somewhat lightly seasoned meat. Probably go back and get something else or maybe the salt beef on rye with sauerkraut and dilled mustard (Ruby on Rye). Besides these 2 options there are several pork ones, a chicken salad, and a vegetarian aubergine/eggplant sandwich - but check/call before you go if you want something particular as most of the menu changes according to the staff.
  5. I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to history outside of China, U.S.A. and Europe. For example, I knew nothing about how India and Pakistan came about, and how much pain and suffering came with the birth of these nations. I probably would've never have known but for The Viceroy's House, which is not a documentary, but a historical fiction wrapped around a love story. All I can say is it poignantly portrays the difficulty with dividing a subcontinent and its people between two countries. Sadly, it's another case of the same people divided by religion. I give it two thumbs up (not for accuracy but human interest). It's available on Neflix for streaming. Not too long, and well paced. My eyes were glued to the screen when I'm not refilling my wine or peeing.
  6. Decided to give The Dandelion Pub's brunch a try largely based on location and the inability to get a reservation at Starr sister restaurant Parc. Dandelion is housed in what seems to be an old Philadelphia home and was delightfully cozy on a chilly fall morning with a fire burning in the fireplace. It was actually a little difficult to identify the restaurant from the street because there wasn't a prominent sign. I was glad I'd kept the street address in my phone. Two of us went with traditional breakfast fare enjoying the 2 inch high, fluffy Brioche french toast and Eggs Benedict. I was pleasantly surprised to receive two poached eggs over perfect English muffins, rather than just one that it seems many restaurants think constitute a full entree. The other half the group went with more traditional pub menu of fish and chips and Shepherd's pie. Both were given high marks and really hit the spot on a morning that felt like fall had definitely arrived. The bloody mary's were just as spicy as requested and the service unrushed. The house has several small dining areas and fusty English vibe. The bar area has a couple of spectacular mounted boar's heads if you're into that sort of thing. A good solid choice of standard brunch food....but nicely matched with pub classics.
  7. From the owners of The Queens Kickshaw comes their new venture, WASSAiL - a cider bar and restaurant, located on Orchard St., on the lower east side of Manhattan. The Queens Kickshaw has been known, since its opening, as one of the best places to get your cider on. Trouble is, it's in Astoria, not exactly an easy schlep from Manhattan. So, I was extremely excited when I read that the owners had taken a space, right here in my neighborhood. It opened this week. And to say I'm happy would be an understatement. We visited Tuesday night, their public opening, and were wowed - at any one time, they'll have between 80 - 100 ciders available, from all over the globe. There will be about a dozen available on draught, and a bunch more available by the glass. We only tasted 7 or 8, so we've got a ways to go. And of course, I blogged about it as well. Hail WASSAiL
  8. The 1988 British film, "Madame Sousatzka," is one of "those" movies that's a personal favorite, but also one which you tend not to recommend to others, since it's so esoteric and focused - you just don't think that most people will enjoy it. I'd seen John Schlesinger's film revolving around an eccentric piano teacher (Shirley MacLaine in a uniquely quirky performance as Irina Soustazka), and her current young piano prodigy, Manek Sen (played excellently, and (just as importantly) with pretty convincing piano, by 16-year-old Navin Chowdhry). Anyway, I'd seen Madame Sousatzka at least twice in the past - once when it was released, at least one additional time on video, and then over-and-over again with some of my favorite clips on YouTube. However, a couple weeks ago on Amazon Prime, I rented it again, and began noticing scenes that I simply did not remember. At first, I thought the passage of time had dimmed my memory, but this continued to occur, and then it became obvious that in the past, enormous portions of the film had been edited out - perhaps almost as much as thirty minutes. I had always felt like this was a charming film, full of brilliant moments, but also with wasted potential throughout; now, I know why I thought this: It's because, for whatever reason, editors had gutted enough scenes to leave the versions that I saw nearly incoherent at times. Now, for the first time ever, I feel like I've actually experienced Madame Sousatzka as Schlesinger intended for me to see it - the difference between this experience, and past experiences, was remarkable enough so that I can't think of another film that had been so thoroughly stripped of its vitality and essence. I now realize that what I'd previously thought as simply foibles in the story, was actually tragedy in the editing room - this film had been denuded of what makes it great, and *now* I can finally say, after nearly thirty years, that Madame Sousatzka is a great film. The more you know about classical music, especially the standard concert piano repertoire, the better. Chowdhry isn't actually playing the pieces, but his fingers are hitting the notes, even in the most difficult pieces, so he was clearly a high-level amateur pianist that had studied the instrument for years. He was also utterly charismatic, charming, and the oldest of old souls, considering he played a sixteen-year-old. If you've ever watched Madame Sousatzka, and feel as I felt (that it was a "fun, cute movie with lots of holes"), please do yourself a favor and watch it on Amazon Prime. I remember during this Charlie Rose interview, David Lynch's outrageously terrible flop, "Dune" (which I contend is one of the worst movies I've ever seen), is revealed by Wallace to have been completely butchered by editors, to the point of rendering it incoherent. Although not as bad as "Dune," what the editors did to "Madame Sousatzka" is surely in the same vein - they very nearly killed the movie. (Full disclosure: I think Frank Herbert's "Dune," beloved by many science-fiction fans, is one of the most interminable, arduous books I've ever read - it took me over six months to read, and I hated myself for finishing it.) I won't spoil the plot for you, but this is not action-packed, and is very much of a cerebral film (with a couple of very hair-raising moments). Please give Madame Sousatzka another chance - it's a wonderful film, and I never even knew it. It's remarkable that I can't find *anything* on the internet about it ever having been butchered (or restored). One last thing: There are numerous supporting roles (close to a half-dozen) that are all superb - this is a very, very strong cast. Yes, even Twiggy.
  9. Is anyone else watching this? They did a season opening double show last night. It's charming, and I love the technical section of it. I can't understand about a third of what's said by the various bakers due to accents, but love it nonetheless. I'm less of a baker than a cook, myself, and enjoy watching the trials and triumphs of the contestants.
  10. Watching "Girl in the Headlines," a 1963 British whodunit, drives home the point that the vast majority of films in this forum are in, or nearly in, the elite category. There are *so many* middling, or just plain bad, movies out there, that whenever I see one, it stands out like a sore thumb - such is the case with "Girl in the Headlines." This film is 94 minutes of tedium, followed by a payoff that leaves the viewer feeling cheated - although it is "classic" in that it represents what so many early-1960s British mystery films are, it is nothing more than an average film, and the viewer has to be in a really good mood just to rate it average. As to *why* I watched this? It's because Season 1, Episode 1 of "The Saint" - "The Talented Husband" - is *so* damned good, that I thought I'd give director Michael Truman a go on the big screen, and this is about the only film I could find by him. In fact, this film is so hard to find that I had to get "a subscription within a subscription," signing up for Fandor as a supplement to my Amazon Prime subscription. After one free week, Fandor kicks in month-to-month at $3.99, and it may well be worth it, because all of its films are free, and it specializes in obscure, foreign films that you just cannot find on typical subscription services - I seriously doubt you'll find "Girl in the Headlines" in many other places. Even with my expensive Amazon Prime subscription, I seem to end up paying $3.99 for most films I watch, so Fandor could turn out to be a bargain in the long-term. Oh, you wanted a review of the movie? Okay, here it is: A slain model, a detective, red herrings, numerous suspects, and a twist ending that's just not worth the investment. There's your film. It's not terrible, but it's not good either, and I cannot recommend it when there is just so much else out there worth watching. Given how unbelievably good "The Talented Husband" is, I don't fault Michael Truman for this film; it's more that he had almost nothing to work with - I would instead be skeptical about the producer, screenwriters, the story itself, or a combination of the three - there's nothing about the actual direction that seems so bad; in fact, it has a very nice feel to it - it's just kind of boring. The acting, especially that of the two detectives on the case, is quite good. This film is also out there under the name, "The Model Girl Murder Case."
  11. "The Dam Busters" (1955) is most likely a film you've never before heard of, but if you don't know the story it tells, it is a film almost as compelling as one which accurately recalls the Normandy Invasions, or more contemporary to us, "The Imitation Game." The Dam Busters is very British, and seems as though it makes every attempt to reenact the incredible bombing of three German dams without embellishment - there are, I suppose, some dramatic additions and certainly some suppositions made, but they're kept to a bare minimum, and the film is executed with a stark, minimalist style that - at least for the first half - can even come off as being a bit dry. But the story itself is so important that everyone should know about it, and the only better way to learn about it would be to read a non-fiction book (and that would be *really* dry). The final 45 minutes of this film is action-packed, but not gratuitously - it's just a reenactment of an amazing mission carried out in WWII by the British, and the cinematographic effects of the actual mission are flat-out *great*. This film is an absolute must for anyone falling into one of these categories: 1) People with an interest in WWII 2) Historians 3) Fans of documentaries, even though this isn't a documentary (in fact, I suppose it couldn't really be called "non-fiction," but it's as close as you can come to that, while still being a movie made to entertain audiences (as opposed to pure education)). While I can't blanket-recommend the movie to everyone, because it is indeed dry in the first half, as they're working out the details of the mission, recruiting the troops, selling the plan to the bureaucrats, etc., for those in one of the above-three categories, I can recommend it without reservation. However, there is an unfortunate warning I must issue which will take up a disproportionate amount of this post, and there's no easy way to say it, so I'm just going to say it: There is a shocking (by our time's standards) use of the "N" word - not used in any type of directly derogatory way, but used in a remarkably casual fashion: It's the name of a black lab, a dog that today, we could easily name "Blackie" or "Midnight." And, as a result of this dog's unfortunate name, it's also a "code word" in the mission (which is mentioned only once in the film). It's shocking watching people use this word with no more reaction or emotion than saying "Fido" or "Rover" - it stands out like a sore thumb, but in the film's defense, it just does not appear to be meant as anything insulting - I know of some French sayings that incorporate a similar word that have been around for hundreds of years, and are still used today without any thought or malice by the person speaking them, although a general awareness is certainly coming over French (and almost certainly British) society. If this offends you - and I don't think it should, because it's not meant to - then stay away from The Dam Busters. It's such a minor part of the movie, but I'd be negligent if I didn't mention it - more disturbing to me is the fact that I do not remember one, single person of color in the entire film. I hate this characteristic in old films, but there's no point in boycotting them, because that will achieve nothing - my personal philosophy about 20th-century racism is to acknowledge, to mourn, to atone if you can, and to never go back there again. I must stress: This is but one example of millions, and is no more racist than society was in general, so if you boycott this, it would be consistent to boycott almost everything in the world before a certain era. Oh! I completely forgot about what might be the most interesting thing to today's audiences: Star Wars paid direct homage to this film in the final attack scene of the Death Star, when the Jedi fighters fly into the seam of the Death Star before shooting. This is not supposition on my part; it's a stated fact - my guess is that George Lucas remembered the actual attack - and "The Dam Busters" very well when he made Star Wars. That alone is reason enough to watch the film, and it's not a subtle reference; it's a screamingly obvious tribute.
  12. Blackthorne Inn (about 2 miles west of Upperville on Rt 50) is a great place. Larger bar/pub than the Hunters Head but still quaint. Irish Nachos.....
  13. "A Brit would say that we’re “Bang On” – excellent, just right." This quote comes from the 2003 annual report of the Canadian company that owns Elephant and Castle pubs, one of which looks like it's about ready to open at Pennsylvania and 12th, NW, in the old TGI Fridays space. (If it hasn't already. I walked by about 2 weeks ago and it looked close.) "We completed a strategic review of the brand in early 2003 and used this to design and implement a series of brand enhancements, ranging from the look of the menu to the staff uniforms. We are proud to offer timeless pub comfort – but timeless certainly doesn’t mean static – and we must continue to be ‘Bang On,’ relevant to an increasingly sophisticated and demanding guest base." I wonder if their servers will need to wear "flair?" Red phone boxes and photos of the queen do not make a great pub. And I'd sooner be tied to a maple tree and molested with moose antlers if I thought this place would serve ANYTHING close to a cask conditioned ale LIKE THEY DO IN AUTHENTIC BRITISH PUBS! "We will continue to evolve the brand to not only retain our current guest base, but to attract new guests. We need to remain “Bang On”, fresh and competitive. It will be our goal to maintain and build upon our status as the premier authentic British pub concept in North America." So they're going to be like Sine and Bennigans...only British! It's bad enough that Americans have to Disney-fy everything and send it all over the world. Now the Canadians are doing it? Actually, it serves us right to get it sent right back at us. /rant
  14. I'm shocked that I haven't heard about or seen this place yet, as I walk by the area quite frequently and hadn't seen much activity. It appears that they have worked fast, as the lighting and tables were already out on the floor yesterday with a beehive of activity inside working to get the place ready. For a gastropub the inside looks very appealling, a huge clean looking space that should be very popular with the legions of office drones that work in the near area. The website doesn't give a whole lot of detail and I'd be interested to hear who is involved in this project that is close to home and looks like it will probably be open sooner than a certain bar on 14th Street that I've been waiting and hoping will be my local for the last year and a half.....
  15. "Gordon Ramsay Opening A Restaurant In Atlantic City, But Hasn't A.C. Suffered Enough?" by Jason Sheehan on phillymag.com The frog-mouthed chef is opening a 250-seat restaurant serving "British pub food with a bit of Jersey spin," whatever that means. Here's the website. Oh, and the "English punk-inspired uniforms" were designed by Allison Leach - I just thought you'd like to know that. No future for you. We mean it, man.
  16. A friend recently brought this beautiful film to my attention, and boy, am I glad he did. It is the story of 76-year-old Margaret Ross, a poor, frail, lonely old woman who struggles to survive and wrestles with delusions. British actress Edith Evans plays Ross, and was a Best Actress Academy Award nominee for the role (she lost to Katharine Hepburn in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner). I think the Academy got it wrong that year. Evans' portrayal of Ross is understatedly poignant and heartbreaking. I was captivated by her performance. She made me feel Ross' pangs of loneliness. I could see the character's strength despite her fragility. I understood that a proud, intelligent woman still existed behind her sometimes confused and clouded eyes. Her no-good criminal son and leach of a husband reappear in her life, and briefly affect the course of events, but in the end, Mrs. Ross is simply a forgotten elderly woman, struggling to survive. Evans' Oscar-worthy performance makes Margaret Ross an admirable person. Despite her pitiable circumstances, she lives her life with dignity and grace. She is a beautiful, old soul, and I am glad to have spent a couple of hours in her company.
  17. This place opened over the summer in the former Town Hall space. Anyone been? Going there tonight with a large group, including two small children.
  18. The Codmother is open in the old Cafe Nema space on U Street between 13th and 14th. They are serving fish and chips, plus only two other entrees, and a few sides. Here's a copy of their menu.
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