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  1. Surprised there hasn't been discussion of Batali's extravagant new venture - Eataly. I'm going to be in NYC next week and it'll be hard not to give this place a visit. This is so over the top but the success of the one in Venice makes one think this could actually work.
  2. For your next challenge, you need to plunge into the raw bar at the Old Ebbitt. Half price from 3-5 and 11-1.
  3. Locavino, from the management team behind Adega Wine Cellars in Downtown Silver Spring, will be opening in former Adega space: https://www.sourceofthespring.com/business/adega-wine-veterans-take-over-space-will-open-new-cafe/
  4. From the sounds of things, it seems that Little Sesame is a separate entity getting its start in DGS's lower-level, with a common co-owner in Nick Wiseman. Thus, it will also get its own thread. Congratulations to the whole team, Nick, Robin, and everyone else - please stay active here and let us know when you expand beyond lunch, get a beer and wine license, open another location, etc. All these pop-ups and restaurants within restaurant are parallel to recent college graduates living with mom and dad for a couple of years because they can't afford to pay rent (heck, I did it for a year - I think it's a great idea, and it can even bring the family closer together).
  5. How about Equinox? Who has been there and what were your thoughts? I have searched this forum and haven't seen mention of it.
  6. Prince of Petworth on the receiving end of another game of telephone regarding rumors on Joe's Stone Crab coming to DC. (The typo in the title of that post and the subsequent comments are comedy gold). If true this is pretty awesome. We've resorted to next day FedEx of a few dozen claws when we get the hankering when stone crabs are in season. With shipping it ends up being about what you would pay at retail, but any time I've found them in this market they have been less than fresh. If there was a place I could plop down at the bar and get a half dozen or do when the urge hits ... sweet.
  7. Better late than never. M.E. Swings is a true DC area coffee pioneer, having been founded here in 1916. Long roasting downtown and a major presence through the roaring 20s and WWII, the company has a wonderfully rich history and commitment to our region. In 2006, the last generation of the founding family relinquished control and sold to a non-family buyer. Today, the company roasts in Alexandria and operates a single retail shop just east of the World Bank across from the Old Executive Office Building. I tend to think of Swings with respect for its history but, sadly, not with a lot of enthusiasm for its product. Very important to fess up that I have not visited the downtown shop but will very soon. So why a dour view of the product? I've had Swings coffee many times in restaurants and, at least a few times, in homes where they'd bought the beans. Based on those experiences, I can say that the flavors weren't vibrant, rich or especially complex and that I didn't so much enjoy them. This was a consistent view. While true that home and restaurant brewed coffee can suffer from all kinds of equipment and technique issues, I think I've had it enough in situations where I had good visibility to the brew method, bean freshness and equipment used with still the same impression. We know a few more things about Swings that support a view that the company has fallen behind a booming coffee scene increasingly dominated by great independent shops focused on new approaches, freshness and the highest quality single origin beans. First, Swings simply doesn't have the focus that the great independents here do. They have a healthy wholesale business not just with restaurants but also with grocery stores ranging from Safeway to Whole Foods. Large batch commercial roasting though they do use Probats in Alexandria which tend to be fine roasting machines. Second, their known practices aren't quite up to modern standards. They routinely sell beans that were roasted months (as many as 6) before; just not a timeline for great coffee as discussed on many other threads. They also tend to emphasize blends. Blends can be fine or even wonderful but an emphasis on those at the expense of single origin beans often illustrates a roaster not emphasizing freshness and the highest quality arabica beans. Finally, I know a couple of local restaurants (which shall remain unnamed) that have switched or are in the process of switching from Swings because they feel the coffee isn't helping them with their customers. It doesn't get a lot of raves or positive feedback. Again, true that restaurants muck up coffee all the time but the better coffee roasters work with their restaurant partners to ensure that doesn't happen. This is why you can get a very good or excellent cup at places like Eve, Society Fair, NRG's restaurants (Birch & Barley, Evening Star, Buzz), R24 or Woodberry Kitchen. As a coffee hound, I'd love to see one of the old line locals really up their game. This applies to three roasters primarily: Swings, Quartermaine and Mayorga. But I fear these companies long ago decided that quantity was the path to success versus the harder slog to ensure great quality. I will visit the shop--they may be using fresher beans there than available elsewhere; I'm not sure. But based on what I have experienced so far and know, Swings isn't close to the same level of the fast growing number of super local retailers and roasters we've written about in many other threads.
  8. “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.
  9. I feel like I am on a mission to find really good, fast, and tasty lunch places while working downtown near Metro Center for this month. Today's find was based on a recent post for quick lunch ideas near Metro Center (see post #12 for original suggestion), specifically, a recommendation for Mayur Kabab House. Having driven past there numerous times, but not brave enough to go in until today, I was quite pleased with the results. For lunch, the best option is their Lunch Buffet for $8.00 (tax included). The buffet, which can be dine-in or carry out (I chose the latter) includes four vegetable dishes, chicken curry (bone-in), chicken kabab (also bone-in) and rice and baked naan. The portions were HUGE, to the extent that I now have dinner too. The vegetable dishes for today were: daal, paneer with peas, an eggplant dish, and a cauliflower dish. The eggplant was very soft and flavorful and the chicken kabob and curry chicken both very moist and not dried out from the burners. Would definitely go back.
  10. Tapas are also very good at Taberna del Alabardero. I was there a few nights ago again. The tapas still stand strong, although they aren't much better than Jaleo's and cost slightly more per plate (unless you get there for half price tapas between 3 and 5 p.m. weekdays, I think). The wine by the glass and the sangria were outstanding values (and not many over $10 a glass).
  11. I can't find an existing thread. If there is one, please merge. I did not go here, but my wife did, for lunch. Here's what she said 'And I had an absolutely AMAZEBALLS lunch today. AMAZEBALLS. Did you see the picture I texted you? It was horribly expensive for lunch though. But daaaaaamn!' You have to understand, she's in publications and just doesn't talk like this. Apparently, it was a really good lunch.
  12. I'm amazed that there's still no thread for Fig & Olive, a week after opening! Well, time to correct that. I can report that their second public evening, June 26, was a huge success--in contrast to Space-X's Falcon 9 launch that morning. My wife made a reservation for us a few weeks in advance. Good thing, because our excellent bartender, Carlos, informed us that they had 500 reservations on opening night the day prior, and the place was nearly full at 6:30pm despite some of the most torrential rains I've seen in a while. For a few more days they open a 4pm daily, but soon they'll be open for lunch--I think starting July 6. Background: You can read about the restaurant group's concept on it's website, but in short it's "Mediterranean cuisine" and features, fresh, seasonal ingredients and olive oil cooking. The menu has dishes inspired by Spain, Italy, Greece, and so on. They make a point that they don't use butter in the kitchen (except for a puffed pastry dessert). They focus on fresh ingredients and slowing things down. To that end, there's a liberal array of pillows and comfy chairs and couches set up for dining on the first floor, in addition to the main bar. They also pointed out power strips under the bar, saying it's to encourage getting some work done (likely not during happy hour!). There's a patio dining area, which is on the Palmer Way and is shielded from main streets by the City Center buildings. On the second floor is a more traditional dining setup, with pillows and a second bar. The decor reminds me of upscale Pottery Barn, but not in a bad way. There's also a private dining room, where Ashton Carter and wife (and security) enjoyed an early dinner before we spotted them on the way out. Bar: The bar service is fantastic. Crostini! Ok, couldn't write any more without saying it. There about 10 crostini options, available in 3 or 6-piece orders. They are hands down the best crostini I've ever had anywhere. I would eat 3 or 6 of every one I tasted. We spit 6, asking for chef's choice (as long as we got the Burrata). Each one comes on a toasted piece focaccia about 3x1.5" and nearly .25" thick. You can cut most in half to share. One of the most interesting was "heirloom carrot, shaved thinly, with spicy charmoula and tapenade. Amazing. So was the Burrata, Prosciutto, Pata Negra, Shrimp & Avocado, and others. Carlos told us the staff had been training for about 2 months, and he was familiar with all the menu items which we asked about. I enjoyed a seasonal cocktail which started with muddled celery & arugula, added lemon juice, rum and fresh pepper. Very refreshing. My wife enjoyed Champagne. They have four beers on tap, one of which is Port City Optimal Wit. Kudos to Bill Butcher for landing that. Dinner: When we sat for dinner we had attentive, competent, knowledgeable service. The "spring" menu is great, front and back. I had the Paella del Mar (looks smallish, but filling and delish), others had Chilean Sea Bass (marinated w/ lemon thyme, carrot, asparagus, celery root purée, roasted potato, charmoula mascarpone harissa olive oil emulsion) and Truffle Risotto. The Sea Bass was probably the best. The presentation of Rosemary Lamb Chops is notable. They arrive sliced on a plate under glass, which is then removed to great fanfare, allowing the aromas and some steam to escape. Focaccia bread is served with dinner, accompanied by three olive oils: a Spanish, an Italian, and a Greek-style (which is actually from California), all available for purchase. Wines: You can review the list here. By the glass feature mostly European wines with a few from CA. Oddly, the upstairs bar was adorned with quite a few bottles of Dom Pérignon. A DP Rosé (2003) is available for $625. Desert: I can only remark on the Caramelized Apple Tart; it was very good but merits no more discussion. My only complaint was that the coffee (normalé) was marginally warm. A refill was so tepid I asked for fresh, which was soon brewed. Still not as hot as I'd expect but ok. Espresso-drinks are prepared in the largest Nespresso machine I've ever seen, by the upstairs bar. I would normally scoff at this, but I recently read coffee uber-brain James Hoffman's piece on how specialty coffee can no longer just scoff at Nespresso. So it was interesting to see that kind of equipment in a place like Fig & Olive. Final notes: All in all, this is a different experience from most DC dining. We had a great time and plan to return soon. My main concern now is getting a reservation. When I need to write at some point in the future, I look forward to hangin' at the bar writing with a Manhattan, rather than a latte in a coffee house. Another interesting note on atmosphere: a DJ begins spinning tunes in the lounge about 8pm. Very tasteful and cool vibe. The music doesn't intrude into the upstairs.
  13. So...based on this review it sound like Oval Room is deserving of its own thread. Anybody besides Waitman and Mrs. B been since Chef Secich took the helm?
  14. Anyone been yet? I know they are only open for lunch so far, but the initial buzz seems quite good. I was never in doubt of course, but I think this could be something really special. We have ressies for the middle of next month for dinner, so I will be sure to report back but just curious to see if anyone has been there yet. Also....thoughts on parking? Mirabelle
  15. i searched and to no avail, much to my chagrinning consternation. or perhaps my grasp of operating machinery lacks something, a certain finesse, predictedly ending in, how the french say, a certain cul de sac. enough of this tomfoolery. if for no other reason, go to tosca and order the tomato marmelade tart with ricotta basil gelato and basil syrup. the disc of pastry, baked to a golden hue recalling the skin tones of the snug decaying descendents of aristocrats who play their life away beneath the long dead still mediterreanean sun in nice and monaco, crackles at the slightest pressure, as your fork oozes through the tranquil carmine pond of tomato marmelade, marmelade whose very flavor completely obfuscates the taste buds: it is sweet, yes, but not sugar sweet, but still not raw sliced tomate sweet and anything but acidic; the verdant quenelle of gelato haunts with ricotta's fresh whey-ness yet tempers the aggressive and volatile source of this faintly sweet soft emerald gem, the basil. it is like no dessert and yet, it is the apotheosis of simple desserts: seasonal fruit tart, with an appropiate accoutrementing creaminess. ive not had my fix this year and this changes. this changes tonight. you owe it to yourself to have this dessert. really you do.
  16. I'd be interested to hear more about Kinkead's from those of you who have visited recently. Of course, it's a Washington institution and therefore hardly obscure, but it's one of those places one seldom reads about on this site or elsewhere. I've had oysters, drinks, and entrees at the bar recently. Everything was good--especially the oysters--but I remember being wowed by this kitchen's cuisine in the past; now the menu as a whole seems a bit tired. Is it just me?
  17. Location and Rates for Tonight (Note: DC Grand Hyatt tacks on a ridiculous $22.99 daily "destination fee") - Website If you're coming into DC to stay, or looking for a staycation, you could do a lot worse than the Grand Hyatt, located on H Street NW between 10th and 11th Streets. This weekend, I found a room for $107 (yes, $107, but it was actually $129.99 with the destination fee) for Saturday and Sunday nights. Upon checking in, I gave the receptionist $10, and said, "Because you have to work during such a nice day." I wasn't expecting it, but he upgraded us from a Queen to a King, overlooking the atrium, and having one of very few balconies (although the balconies are for decoration only: You cannot open the sliding-glass doors to access them, understandably - you can see what few there are in the final photo). The Grand Hyatt is a really nice, centrally located hotel to explore downtown DC, and it merits 4 stars; it also merits a lawsuit to eliminate their "destination fees." Jul 11, 2019 - "Washington, DC Is Suing To Stop a Ridiculous Hotel Pricing Practice" by Josh Barro on nymag.com Room 849: --- Pro-Tips: * If you need alcohol, forget the hotel. Walk the 1 1/2 blocks to the Mercato at Centrolina in Palmer Alley, and buy a bottle of wine. * The best lunch, by far, within walking distance is the amazing Piccolina (also part of Centrolina, across the street from it in Palmer Alley). * Don't waste your money on Momofuku or Cure Bar & Bistro - head to Centrolina or Piccolina for a truly special culinary experience. * The Ford's Theater Museum is easy walking distance, has no mandatory admission, and is a better museum than you might think.
  18. I decided to finally try out Kaz Sushi Bistro (1915 I Street NW). More to the point, this was the first Wednesday I could make it there to get the Maki and Nigiri lunch combo, after learning of it's existance. The combo consisted of a spicy tuna roll, a California roll, and a piece each of maguro, sake, and ebi nigiri. Right from the start, I knew I was on to something good: the little cup of soy sauce was taped to the top to prevent spillage in transit, there were two packets of those little M&M-like mints, and the gari was clearly home-made. Trivial touches, yes, but they're obviously thinking this lunch-special thing through. I like that. It bodes well. On to the main event, the sushi itself was visually very nice, and clearly carefully made. The tuna in particular was the most beautiful shade of deep red. I can say very easily that this was the best sushi I can recall having, in the U.S. and in Japan (Granted, I never went for a hard-core Edomae dinner, but there you go). Incredible. Even the California roll was good. Even the soy sauce was good. They are absolutely not trying to cut corners with the lunch special, and if they are, the stuff right at the bar must be positively mind-blowing. I don't mind saying I was having a pretty insane day at work to this point, but after this lunch, everything seemed good and right with the world.
  19. Tonight was exactly two weeks to the day (according to the delightful hostess who seated us) since Bibiana's opening. If this is a restaurant that's still ironing out early kinks though, it really doesn't show it. Service was clicking, the food was--with two minor quibbles--excellent, and in general Bibiana feels like a place that's aiming high. Service deserves a call out...the meal was well paced, and there was always someone around when we needed something. At one point we stopped another waiter on his way back to the kitchen, who graciously and knowledgeably walked us through the wine list. Two different managers came over to ask about our meal. Overall I really got a sense of genuine, shared enthusiasm for the new venture. Highlights of our dinner included a wonderful little plate of saffron arancini, a creamy, earthy risotto encased in a perfect little crunchy shell. Great stuff. A squid ink spaghetti with blue crab was wonderful, each component intensely flavorful on its own but even better in combination. My entree of whole grilled branzino, filleted tableside and served with a lemon and dill sauce spooned on top, was fresh and well cooked and would really have been a winner if it had been served skin side up to preserve the skin's crispiness. That was minor quibble #1. When I mentioned this to one of the managers who had come over to ask how things were, they apologized and brought over a glass of wine on the house. Completely unnecessary, and I really don't think I gave the impression I was unhappy, but a nice touch. Earlier in the meal I was a bit unnerved by how quickly the grilled sardines came out of the kitchen...sure enough they were warm, but hardly seemed like they'd been grilled - no char, no crispy skin. Not sure what went on there...too bad, too, since they were really very tasty little fish. That was minor quibble #2. Desserts were delicious. Overall we were really pleased with our first meal here, and I wouldn't be surprised at all, just given the energy and enthusiasm of the place, if it gets even better over time.
  20. Signage is up for Del Frisco's Grill, taking over the old Les Halles space on Pennsylvania Avenue. Looks to be a more casual off shoot of Dallas-based Del Frisco's steakhouse. Steaks, cocktails, burgers, sandwiches, seafood, big salads, flatbreads, and yes truffled mac and cheese....you know the drill. But I suppose, realistically, only something corporate and chainy can afford that space.
  21. There is no thread on BLT Prime, the BLT branch in the Trump Hotel.....and I'm not going to start one, as I for one haven't and won't be eating there. Nevertheless a grad of our school, who has been bartending there since 2017 stopped by for placement. They have 12 bartending shifts available. (that is a lot). Our grad told us he is working the busy evening shift hours on Friday and Saturday nights and a few more. He said he is making great money. (Didn't say how much--but I suspect his "great" would be a lot of high earning bartender's "GREAT". They need staff. Not surprising. They are busy. Not surprising.
  22. I didn't see a thread on this restaurant. https://teddyandthebullybar.com/ This is a sister restaurant to Lincoln. I can't for the life of me remember what this was before, was it a Jos A Banks??? We went for the bottomless brunch for a friend's birthday. I generally dislike bottomless brunches as (1) too much food, (2) not very good food and (3) not enough vegetable choices. It was better than many bottomless brunches I have been drug through for some occasion or another. I will say the menu is a bit misleading as it says all dishes are included in the bottomless brunch, but actually bacon and sausage are still a la carte (why??? I have no idea.). We had bloody marys and mimosas. The Good: biscuits, benedict was good, croquettes, kale salad, char sui chicken, chicken and waffle, collard pizza. Fine, not good or bad: pimento slider, pork belly hash, deviled eggs, beet toast (could have been good if it had more beats, white beans pureed and spread), watermelon salad. Bad: scrambled eggs with summer vegetables- the only vegetable was corn, and this just tasted odd, I assumed it would be like squash and zucchini, corn is a starch not a vegetable, biscuits and gravy- had a sweet taste to them, fish tacos- really fishy, peach pancakes- just pancakes topped with too much butter and a peach puree with a few peaches not well composed and could have used syrup but there was no where to put this, peach cobbler- not a cobbler pound cake with the same peaches and peach puree. Service was very nice. They also had am omlette and waffle station that I didn't eat from, but things looked fine from those stations. If I had to do a bottomless brunch, this isn't a bad one. But it also just isn't my thing.
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