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“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.” –Come on, ya’ll, every one of you knows who said this 🙂 “Tell me who you hire, and I will tell you who you are.” -KMango Just a quick shout out, and a bit of head shaking, to Amy Brandwein. Stuck in CityCenter for almost three months, I practically lived at Piccolina. I darted in for morning coffee, grabbed late afternoon snacks, and took out several evening dinners. You name it, I inhaled it. Which is where the head shaking comes in. I probably negated a lot of cold weather workouts via my jaunts into the blissfully aromatic, fire-warmed cafe. Without exception, the ingredient quality and immense satisfaction of each dish delivered. Of special note were command performances of eggplant Parmesan, lamb sausage scacce, and turmeric roasted carrots with yogurt. Deliciousness can be found at many DC haunts. However, the staff here appear to love what they do, enjoy each other, deeply care for their customers, and demonstrate immense pride in their products. I wound up chatting with several employees on random occasions, various mornings and evenings. They all spoke favorably of hard work, reflecting their ethic. Their eyes lit up when describing the day’s offerings. A few times while I awaited my order, Amy walked in to check on stock or pick up an item for Centrolina. Each time, the staff treated her with genuine warmth and admiration. She returned it, joking around or expressing gratitude. As I have observed elsewhere, once “the boss” leaves the room, that marks the arrival of rolled eyes or negative comments. But each time she left, deep smiles remained, everyone seemed elevated and boosted from the exchange. Amy has created an achievement beyond measure. She has connected great people with great food and is hiring for fit. Despite the stresses of a fast-paced, top-quality culinary production, she creates a respectful, meaningful and fun place to work. She demonstrates character, values, and integrity in action. Brava, Amy, Brava. And please, please keep me away from those chocolate crackle cookies.
For me and my dear aged mother, the main casualty of Friday night's storm was the cancellation of today's matinee performance of Don Giovanni at the Barns at Wolf Trap (well, actually, my mother's house in Fairfax was without electricity from 10:30 pm Friday to 4:00 pm Saturday; I suffered no such tribulation in the Kalorama Triangle). We had planned to have lunch before the opera at Plaka Grill in Vienna, which is right on the way. When we learned of the cancellation, we decided to have the lunch as planned. Plaka Grill is in a dreary little strip mall on Lawyers' Road just off Maple Ave, next door to a Papa John's. It's quite a bare-bones sort of place. You place your order at the counter, and they give you a little stand with a number on it to put on your formica-top table so they'll know where to deliver your food. You fetch your own plastic forks and knives and paper napkins. But the service is friendly, cheerful, and efficient, and the food is delicious and inexpensive. We split an appetizer of dolmadakia, which was five grape-leaf rolls with a filling of lamb, beef, and rice, drizzled with a lemony sauce, served hot. They were actually very hot, and tasty beyond my expectation. Then we had "Chicago Gyros", which resemble every gyro you've ever had, but taken to a higher level. The pita wrapper was chewy but tender, the pressed meat stuff was tender, moist, and flavorful. The gyros were rounded out with lettuce, tomato, and tzatziki, and I'd have to say that these were the best gyros I've ever encountered. The one order of dolmades, two gyros, and two bottles of Bass ale came to just over $29. No wonder this place is popular. I wouldn't go a very long way out of my way to eat here, but gosh, what a good lunch I had at such a trivial cost.
"Uovo is a Fast-Pasta Concept that Actually Works, Jonathan Gold Admits" by Jonathan Gold on latimes.com
Anybody have information about the new management team and renovations underway at Kenny's? Additional context from a Craigslist ad: "KENNYS SMOKE HOUSE is currently under new ownership is undergoing complete renovations including menu changes to better serve our community with authenticate quality BBQ and smoked meats. We are planning to relaunch an entirely new experience and look before July 4th with redesigned interior\exterior, menu enhancements, beer garden and craft beers. Must be able to start mid June."