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Found 122 results

  1. Please define mid afternoon? Rustic Canyon Wine Bar is superb and one of the hottest restaurants in L. A. right now (#6 in Jonathan Gold's top 100 L. A. restaurants) but it does not open until 5:00PM. Ten minutes from LAX in Santa Monica-we went a month ago and loved it. On par wtih Red Hen or Rose's; extremely creative. Superb wine list heavy on Central Coast wines. If the time works it would be my first choice of any. Press reports on Rustic Canyon including LA Times and New York Times:
  2. Chef Spike Gjerde has opened his long awaited farm-to-table restaurant in Clipper Mill. The wife and I went there last night and were shocked at the full dining room, given the restaurant's out-of-the-way location. No matter though, we had made reservations and were seated promptly in the loft overlooking the dining room. The renovation to the building is stunning. The exposed brick walls and recycled old-growth lumber that were used are dramatically illuminated, looking both elegant and cozy at the same time. A wood burning oven is the center piece of the open kitchen, and most of the food on the menu seems to be cooked in it. We ordered: Oysters (raw and roasted) Chicken liver parfait Hamburger Autumn vegetables Everything was very good: the food, the service, and the space. We'll be back soon. Woodberry Kitchen
  3. Last week, I went to the Rye Street Tavern, NoHo Hospitality Group's latest foray into Baltimore. It was on a Sunday evening, so we naturally gravitated towards their "Southern Fried Sundays" - a fried chicken dinner, served family style. Keep reading, because I'm going to tell you a little secret about ordering this meal that wouldn't be at all obvious to a first-time diner. and it will make the difference between you "liking it," and "loving it." The cocktails were somewhat expensive, but were well-made and delicious: And a little loaf of cornbread comes out just before everything else arrives: Then, the family-style dinner: Everything about this meal screamed "Repeat!" - everything, that is, except the price: We paid $70 for those two little assemblages of food that you see just above (plus the cornbread). "Geez," I said, "$70, and we got *four* pieces of chicken!" I mean, it was great and everything, but as you can see, there are three starch-heavy items: the cornbread, the biscuits, and the potatoes, and we both paced our dinners so that we finished everything at the same time. We were mildly full, and yes, the richness of the cooking made everything satisfying, but come on! I wanted more chicken, darn it! So, just as we were winding down, our server came up to us, and said, "Would you all care for some more chicken, or side dishes?" "Wat?" Okay, so ... spending my money so you don't have to ... we asked for some more chicken, potatoes, and collards (made with delicious bacon, btw), and got a healthy second portion; the rub is that we had *no idea* it was coming, so we filled up on starch, when we would have really preferred a better balance with another piece of chicken. Remember: Those second portions are coming your way, but not a word was said about them until we had almost finished the meal - if you take *that* into consideration, and use it to your advantage, then $35 is a very fair price for this meal. Also, the restaurant gave us two spice muffins "to have with breakfast the next morning," which is always a nice touch. To Rye Street's full credit, they offered to box up the second helping which we couldn't finish - we felt sheepish about this, since boxing up all-you-can-eat meals is something of a shady practice, but they would hear nothing of it. Keep in mind: I don't know if this is all-you-can-eat; I suspect you get two helpings, and *maybe* a third helping if you really do a number on everything, but I wouldn't count on that. Still, in no way did they seem like they were trying to skimp on things, so this was merely a lack of knowledge on our part - learn from our mistake! Go here on a Sunday night, get this exact same thing, and *remember* that it's essentially all-you-can-eat - I can't guarantee we'd have gotten a third helping, but who knows? There's no need to stuff yourself with carbs, merely so you don't leave hungry. Furthermore, the restaurant, and the grounds it's on (it shares acreage with a distillery) is beautiful - there's even a battleship in the background! And that is damned good fried chicken!
  4. Strolling through town on the way to Jaleo last night I came across this place called Proof. The text on the papered-up windows stated that it is a wine-centric restaurant. Anyone have any information on this place?
  5. Give me your favorite gin cocktail recipe. Something interesting and delicious that lets the gin shine through. TIA! --- The Gin and Tonic Project (dcs)
  6. I recently had a chance to visit Bottega Louie, a bright, cavernous space in The Brockman Building on South Grand that is both a gourmet market and restaurant. The large open floor and high ceilings plan gives the place a certain vibrancy, with an accompanying noise level that you might expect from such a large room. I took a seat at the 10 stool bar in the front closer to the market and quite enjoyed the Cioppino, which also cost $30. It was a full bowl of succulent seafood, that contained perhaps the most plump mussels I have ever been served. Truly satisfying.
  7. Cathal Armstrong's new restaurant Kaliwa is opening possibly tomorrow at the Wharf (751 Wharf St, SW, DC) (via Laura Hayes' tweet). More info about the restaurant at Washington City Paper: "Kaliwa Brings Food with Full Funk and Fire to the Wharf when it Opens Next Week" by Laura Hayes on washingtoncitypaper.com
  8. "I like to watch" - perhaps one of the most memorable lines ever uttered by Peter Sellers. I agree that the Columbia Room deserves some investigation. Derek's running a "Shaking vs Stirring" session on Wed 3/24. Drinks include Dry Martini, Gimlet, Ramos Gin Fizz, Sazerac and Golden Gin Fizz.. This has a great deal of appeal to me (as long as I work doesn't take me out of town). Anyone else interested?
  9. Last night, before I went to see John Sayles read at Atomic Books, I dropped into The Corner on the Avenue in Hampden for dinner. It's the former site of the 36th st Diner, just south of The Wine Source. The chef, Bernard Dehaene used to be a Mannequin Pis in Olney. The menu looked pretty impressive- continental with a Belgian influence- mussels, steak frites, waffles for dessert, escargots. Their specials sounded intriguing as well- kangaroo tenderloin, dover sole. I ordered 2 starters- housemade boudin noir and soft shell crab on top of fiddleheads. The blood sausage was creamy & delicious. The softshell was beautifully pan fried, no batter. For my main course, I had the veal orloff- it was cooked with the bone and topped generously with beschamel and mushrooms. The meat was very well prepared. My only complaints- they are cash only (not that bad), and the corkage fee- I brought in a beer and was charged $4 for it. Also they charge you $1 for a takeaway box. 850 West 36th Street Baltimore, MD 21211 (443)869.5075 UPDATE- pics are here
  10. I'm starting a dedicated topic about Zaytinya because it doesn't appear to have one. It's on my mind right now, mostly because a friend is going there tonight and her pronunciation cracked me up. I have zero idea of I myself pronounce it right (Zay-TEE-nyah), however I am completely certain that she wasn't even close. The number of variations I see on the spelling of the name also astounds me. My most recent visit was two weeks ago for lunch. I find lunch to be a pleasant time to visit the place - less crowded, particularly in the bar area. That said, when my friend and I arrived and asked about a table for two, we received blank stares from the two hostesses (in spite of it being after 1 pm, and there being quite a few vacant two-tops scattered here and there). We took matters into our own hands and sat in the bar. Service was prompt (until it was check time) and the food was very, very tasty. Although...as I am sitting here typing, I realize that our carrot fritters never did arrive. Hmm. We had the stewed lamb with eggplant puree, asparagus, chicken with orzo and tomato sauce, and hummus. My new-to-town friend, originally from Wales by way of NYC, was suitably impressed, particularly when the bill amounted to about $30 with tip.
  11. Ladies and gentlemen, your number 1 cocktail bar in Baltimore. The original establishment from Lane Harlan - who also owns Clavel Mezcaleria - WC Harlan is a cocktail joint that really does do a far better job at the speakeasy vibe than most places that would actively market themselves as speakeasies. The focus here is on amari, with an extensive menu of familiar and rare bitter spirits, and stuff that I'm amazed they procured. I need to plan a visit so I can take advantage of the amaro-tasting options. Seats can be hard to come by during peak days and times (weekend evenings primarily) owing to the fact that a lot of people go here to grab drinks while they wait for the call from Clavel. Nearly all cocktails are great, with the occasional miss (fiancee recently got something that was effectively borscht in a glass). Harlan's is non-descript but arguably one of the earliest forces in the rapidly accelerating development of Remington.
  12. Met up with some friends on Friday night to try Smokehouse Live in Leesburg. No better way I can think of to describe this place than suburban Hill Country - same system, same basic theme, very similar menus. The good - The bar area here is bright and very open with friendly service, a limited bar menu and good happy hour prices. Nice selection of bourbons, some cocktails during happy hour for $5 and a tap selection that goes beyond the Shiner limitations of HC downtown. But then... The rest - Hill Country (normally I would say so many comparisons to HC would be unfair, but they don't seem to even be trying to hide the imitation, so...) somehow manages to pull off sticking a room full of bench tables together and have it not seem totally cold and impersonal. Smokehouse Live can't say the same - plywood walls, disjointed floor plan and an oddly cramped 'market' ordering area made me miss some cheap and tacky kitsch and finished hardwood. But hey, you're here for the barbeque, right? The pulled pork was ok - not awesome, but not bad - wished it had more bbq flavor. I will admit - I order lean brisket - and am used to this being a bit more on the dry side than the 'wet' orders, but this was so dry it was crumbling apart. The beef shoulder (crod) is just a hard cut to work with - even after trimming visible tough areas I still had trouble chewing (not sure this is as much the restaurants fault as just a tough cut). Texas Chainsaw sauce was ok, though could have used more heat for being the 'spicy' version; eastern carolina was a little close to being straight vinegar for me. Please, for the love of God, if you only read one sentence in this write up, read this one: A 16oz portion of collard greens will cost you $14.25. Just to make sure we didn't miss anyone there - A 16oz portion of greens will cost you $14.25. Now to be fair, your little order card does list the price for each side in tiny little numbers inside the bubbles. Generally being a person who is not so concerned with price that I thought a side order of collard greens for two people might break me, I didn't really pay attention - after all, its a side of greens and some turkey that was left over from the day before. I would love to see their food cost for this. Or for the $14.25 portion of macaroni and cheese. Or for the $14.25 portion of lima beans and corn. But moving on... It was our server's first day, or at least appeared to be, so I hold her completely blameless but when you are half way through your meal and still do not have someone take your drink order, AND when you have flagged down three different staff members begging for drinks and then a manager, AND when you give you drink order to all three of these staff members never to see said drinks, it gets old. I'll still never understand why, when the new server finally appeared, she made an Arnold Palmer using Mountain Dew, but at this point I was beyond questioning. Bottom line - would totally go back for happy hour at the bar and listen to some music, but the dinner experience was approaching 'one-and-done' levels of not good. P.s. didn't want to start a new topic for a restaurant so far out that wasn't good, but please feel free to move as needed
  13. After a soft opening on Sunday afternoon for friends and neighbors The Red Hen officially opened last night. Menu is not on the website yet, but Washingtonian has a scan. We were hoping to walk down right around 5:00, but never made it out the door; it was apparently packed (as expected given the neighborhood excitement for this place). Early Comments I've read so far are very good on the food, so-so on the value (although no cocktail is over $10, so hooray?). Portions size comes up most, but there are lots of small plates. We're very much excited to try it out. Has anyone been yet?
  14. So I did not see this (Voltaggio Brothers Steakhouse) listing and figured it may help those when planning a visit to the area. Reservations here non-existent two weeks out so we did the next best thing and got there about 4:45 (they open at 5 PM), and scored a table in the bar area. If you are OK eating in a "lounge" type environment it is fine; chairs are cushy and tables are low. The wait staff was attentive, but not overbearing and knowledgeable. My only gripe was it took about 30 minutes to get our drinks (mixed and wine, so nothing complicated) when we got there, but after that the food from salad and apps to dinner was timed properly without issue. Caesar Salad (interesting twist with the anchovy hushpuppies) Beefsteak Tomato Heart Salad Oysters Rockefeller - Since they were green the presentation was inspiring, but flavor was excellent) Parker House Rolls and Cheddar Biscuits - if you remember the Parker House rolls from CitiZen, they are not that good, but good in their own right. Filets - Wagyu beef was very flavorful. Scalloped Potatos We did not have dessert as we were catching a show and ran short on time. I would go back, when we have more time - plan on spending ~$100/person with a drink.
  15. We dined at All Set for the first time a few weeks ago. I must confess that I am Friends with the Owner and Chef as well as one of the bartenders. Right at 5 pm on a Saturday, we had the Chick Peas Fries and some Oysters and Clams to start. The fries were good fresh tasting and accompanied by two dipping sauces. The oysters were Wellfleets and they were expertly served. Chef sent me a few others to try but I forget their name. Clams were ultra fresh tasting as well. The point here is the presentation. It doesn't get much better IMO. Care was taken with this. Well thought out and executed. We ordered the Salmon (Norway) and Short Ribs. Both were great. The Short Ribs were classic comfort and the Salmon was perfectly cooked. I really enjoyed the lentils with the salmon ( I was not sure I would). The point so far is that you can tell that they care about what they're putting out! Dessert: I forget exactly what it was. One lighter one with Olive oil vanilla ice cream? and one chocolate peanut butter slice of decadence. I believe the recipes for dessert were crafted by the former pastry chef at Volt. Bottom Line is that we were served fresh food with care in a beautiful and inventive setting. They are a young restaurant and an independent one as well. I would definitely recommend ALL SET to anyone. Even the kids menu is well thought out. Please pardon my lack of detail. Ooh! The bar serves up some fun drinks. I had a Perfect Storm and with dessert a "Grape Drink" the latter of which was my favorite of the two for its inventiveness.
  16. No, Wet City is not a strip joint. It is, rather, Baltimore's best beer bar. Don't @ me bro. Featuring a frequently rotating list of craft beer kegs on tap---as well a list of kegs that are on deck (!)---it is apparent that the owners of Wet City are beer nerds with deep knowledge and want to make sure you share in that passion. Though Wet City primarily features domestic craft brews, a variety of import craft beers make the list as well. The kitchen is no weak link here either. Often seasonal fare, the kitchen demonstrates thoughtfulness and care in its dishes, which run from the Nashville Hot Chicken to pork rinds to deviled eggs. The spare is bright and airy, which is appreciated given that a lot of beer bars revel in dankness (e.g., the late Brickskeller in DC). White cinderblock walls, wood floors, and light-colored wood table and seating choices set in a minimally decorated space, save for some plant life tastefully arranged throughout. The open space works well so the bar feels bigger than it actually is. Many times, I've been surprised that the place isn't more packed, but I'm happy that it isn't.
  17. Cristina and I ducked out of a business cocktail thing early and took advantage of the fact that we had a sitter, and stopped into the relatively new Star Fish on Heights Blvd for a drink and snacks. The chilled seafood tower did not disappoint. Drinks menu is extensive, and will reward multiple return trips to make my way through the various martinis, gin & tonics, and sparkling wines. The "Saltwater" G&T, with star anise and "ocean water tincture" was delicious...a hint of brine, but nothing crazy.
  18. Since opening five years ago, Chris Shepherd's Underbelly has been a self-appointed beacon for the evolution of Houston food. The menu has a half-page thesis on why Houston is the most interesting culinary city in the country, there are dozens of celebratory links to *other* Houston restaurants on their main webpage, and Bun B is quoted on the wine list. From afar I've found the chest-beating a little too much, but I can appreciate a chef who wants to represent his city -- especially in a time where many owners are happy to replicate restaurants from other cities. And being such a vocal proponent certainly helped Shepherd win the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest. But hey, what about the food? Head-on Gulf shrimp with buttermilk dill panna cotta, pickled beans ($24). Plump and sweet, this was a great showing for Gulf seafood. The panna cotta was a nice compliment. Hand-torn cornbread pieces and pickled beans were both sort of throwaways. Seared soft-shell with eggplant curry ($24). Shepherd recently made a big PR announcement about getting away from beef and pork, which meant a larger focus on seafood. Soft-shells are among my personal favorite foods, and this was a very good one. The eggplant curry was nicely done with a touch of heat; Shepherd is a fan of moderate-to-significant spice (if you're not, be aware, as it permeates the entire menu). Vinegar pie with salt brittle ($9). Previous savory dishes were not coursed (nor labeled as appetizers or entrees; guess by price) so I was rather full after two. Still curious enough to try this dessert, which I believe has been on the menu since 2012. It's not scary at all; more key lime in flavor than sour or acidic. Overall, a quality showing by Shepherd and his team. I didn't fall in love with Underbelly, but it's worth visiting for anyone who appreciates loud flavors with global influences -- basically the "Houston creole" cuisine that the restaurants trumpets.
  19. Rounding out the top 3 current cocktail spots in Baltimore is Sugarvale in Mt. Vernon, from the owners of Dooby's. Rather than focus on a particular spirit or theme, Sugarvale's cocktail menu takes a light-to-dark approach in terms of the strength and flavor profiles of its drinks. So there is a menu of classic cocktails, as well as menus devoted to lighter sipping drinks and spirit-heavy concoctions. Though it's been a minute since I've dropped in, memory recalls consistency over multiple visits. The space is seemingly built out of a basement apartment, and does a good job of maintaining the cozy vibe. Good menu of bar snacks, including some Korean-inspired ones due to the Dooby's connection. You could easily do the Charles St. sweep on one evening starting at Brewers Art, getting dinner at the Helmand, and wrapping up at Sugarvale.
  20. Barking Mad Cafe has a solid coffee program. They use Counter Culture beans and can draw a serious espresso. Their cappuccinos and lattes are also good, although I have had a few cappuccinos that were wetter than I prefer. They have drip coffee, but no pour over. The standout, though, is their cold brew. During the summer, they had two offerings, both on nitro taps. It's so smooth it's like drinking Guinness coffee. The coffee served at Barking Mad Cafe would be noteworthy anywhere in the DC area. IMHO, it's extraordinary in Gaithersburg, which has nothing comparable within a reasonable distance.
  21. Tried Amor y Amargo last night (Friday). Yes, it's very small, and I'm glad I was there early when it wasn't crowded. It's a narrow space with only about 6, 7? (not sure exactly how many) seats at the bar plus standing room. I got there soon after it opened at 5pm, and I thought I was too early, but by 5:20pm, the bar seats were all taken and a couple of people were standing. I enjoyed the Diamonds and Guns (going by the menu online: Atsby Armadillo Cake vermouth, chartreuse, genever, white rum, celery bitters). Boozy but balanced so you weren't overwhelmed. Based on the menu, the cocktails seem to be pretty strong in alcohol so I only had one cocktail (pacing myself because I was going to Booker and Dax and Pouring Ribbons next
  22. On a trip to NYC with my family that was filled with great eats at casual restaurants, the duck lunch at the Ssam Bar was the clear winner. The rotissiere duck over rice with chive pancake, the duck wings, the duck duck noodles, and of course the obligatory steamed pork buns were all amazing.
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