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  1. Green Almond Pantry is currently open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch service from 11:30AM to 3:00PM and until 7:00PM for take-away of Market and Dinner Specials. Counter seating is limited to approximately 8 seats. Lunch Specials are also available for take-away between 11:30AM to 3:00PM. Here is the article in the Washingtonian: Shaw Now Has a Lovely Vegetable-Centric Mediterranean Market and Restaurant: Former Etto head chef Cagla Onal debuts Green Almond Pantry I recommend following Green Almond Pantry on instagram for the latest updates. Below is the daily menu from a visit on December 1, 2018:
  2. I've driven past Bawadi (formerly Samedi Sweets Cafe) many, many times in the past, but have never been in, so I thought it was high time I scoped out the scene. When I opened the door, I was greeted by an automated recording triggered by the door opening. Presumably this was a one-sentence greeting, but I was joking to myself that it was really saying, "If you don't understand this, then turn around and get the hell out of here!" I walked straight to the sweets counter, but couldn't help noticing the somewhat meager lunch buffet. However, I peeked inside the food warmers, and a lot of the things looked really good - there were, for example some plain grilled meats to go along with traditional stews - perhaps a dozen things in all. I asked the lady behind the sweets counter, and she said the weekday price is $9.95, and from what I saw, that was definitely a bargain. I ordered two things to go: a Kanafeh and a Nammoura, and although I don't know the price, the total came out to something like $7.78 - I just gave the lady $9.00. She thoughtfully packed the sugar syrup for the Nammoura in a separate tin, and I didn't even put it on until the next day (Nammoura is the Lebanese name for this extremely common Middle-Eastern treat, and I'm not sure I've ever had a bad one - especially when it's doused in orange-blossom or rosewater syrup). Unfortunately, the Kanafeh (the one that looks like it has shredded carrots on top which is actually shredded, toasted wheat), is a cheese-based dessert, and the cheese at the bottom of mine was not the freshest. While not completely over-the-hill, it was not as "new" as I would prefer, and after eating half of the dessert, I flipped it over, took a whiff, and decided not to finish - it wasn't *bad*, mind you; but I'd had my fill, and I've had this dessert many times when it was just compelling; this just wasn't worth the considerable calories given that it wasn't outstanding. On my way out, I opened the door, and got a different greeting, one which I imagined to be something like, "And stay out, white boy!" I smiled, got into my car, and drove down Route 7.
  3. Located in the Worldgate Shopping Centre, just of the Dulles Toll Road and Elden Street - Anatolian BIstro, is tucked away on the upper level close to Starbucks and Panera. Open for lunch and dinner, their menu from start to finish features authentic Turkish and Mediterranean treats. The best part is they serve Doner Kabob daily, made fresh, and when it is out, they do not have anymore that day. Interior is simple and quaint, with applicable music playing in the background. The service was excellent and quick. Their Doner Kabob is served over rice with a roasted pepper, tomato and yogurt sauce on the side. Their baklava was light and fluffy - a perfect treat at the end of a meal. Having only been her once, I will be back - if you are looking for something not typically found in this area, give it a shot.
  4. When you work in the business day in and day out, often we lose sight of simple pleasures in eating out. The wife and I, she being 7 months pregnant and I, use to working on Saturday nights, were thrilled to have a saturday night to go out and eat. Thanks DP! So we decided to visit Regine Palladin over at Pesce, my wifes former employer. Simple decor done well, small room that does get tight, but hey, as long as everyone takes a shower before, I don't mind. The best way to describe what Pesce is all about is....food from the sea. No turf in this restaurant. Cut to the chase on the review, here we go. Wife started with the Smoked Trout Salad. Good. Trout wasn't overpowering in taste, thus allowing the pears to add some sweetenss to the greens. Minus Gorgonzola dressing, a no-no while pregnant, and she was very satisfied with the App. She then ordered whole roasted flounder with maple-glazed root veggies. Again, simple dish, great flavors, and not deep fried as many do when serving whole fish. I started with Squash Soup. Well done, huge bowl, maybe a bit too big actually, all in all, great flavors. Not overly earthy, just the right amount of sweetness and spice for balance. Then I had the brandade. I love Brandade. Since my days working for Mr Buben I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Brandade done well. This dish was spot on. Just the right amount of Garlic and Salt Cod as not to overpower with a fishy taste. Lastly, Sea Scallops with a Mushroom Risotto. Good. Extremly rich,maybe that is why I had to take half home with me. All in all, a great meal that hopefully will not be the last time out before TBD arrives. If you get the chance to visit, give Regine a hug for continuing to produce simple dishes with overdoing.
  5. The Requin pop-up is opening on Dec. 11 at the former Gypsy Soul location in the Mosaic District before it opens in its permanent location.
  6. I hadn't seen my husband (or eaten a decent meal) in a week, so we decided to try something new for Friday's date night. We headed over to NoPa with high expectations, having all of our wonderful experiences at Rasika in mind - clearly, we knew that the food would be different, but I think we figured the "bones" would be very similar. I wasn't completely disappointed, but in my mind, NoPa still has some tweaking to do. We sat at the bar, which is pretty small, but we found two seats relatively quickly. Service at first was attentive-bordering-on-clingy - we barely had time to look at the cocktail menu before he wanted us to order. I started with a very good "brasserita," which was spicy and tangy and really tasty. Jason had a gin and tonic of some sort, but I'll let him post separately about what he thought. I also ordered a strawberry-basil-vodka cocktail that usually comes with soda in it, but the bartender was happy to leave the soda out (indicating that it wouldn't make a difference overall), and it was very fresh. I probably should have ordered it with dessert. We got a bread basket early in the going, which had decent "regular" bread and some delicious rosemary pull-apart rolls. The butter served with the bread was the proper temperature (yay), but it was unsalted (boo). For our first round of apps, we tried the twice-fried chicken and the smoked salmon croquettes. The chicken, for $10, was a drumstick and two thighs of delicious, perfectly fried chicken that was crispy (and NOT greasy) on the outside and moist and juicy on the inside. All it needed was a little salt, and it would have been among the best I've ever had. The homemade ketchup served with it was quite good, though. I thought it was a great value. The croquettes were technically well done, but they had more of a dill flavor than a smoked salmon flavor, which thrilled my husband and disappointed me. Second round, we ordered the olive oil poached octopus and the duck confit. The octopus was tender and cooked nicely, but it had way too much olive flavor going on, and I am not a fan of olives, so it was definitely not something I went back to over and over. On the other hand, the duck confit was amazing - crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and PERFECTLY seasoned. There was also a sour cherry mustard sauce that went perfectly with the meat (when we weren't just sucking the meat directly off the bone like animals). Fantastic. Jason had some beers and I had a glass of sauvignon blanc (neither were anything to write home about - didn't think their selection, at least draft/by the glass, was particularly exciting), and we noticed that service had definitely taken a turn for the slow. Empty plates would sit in front of us for much longer, and other than the occasional, "Everything good?" there really wasn't much engagement. I already knew, from research, that I was interested in dessert. We ended up trying the fried strawberry pies and the maple pecan sticky bun. YUM to both. They each came with ice cream, but Jason will have to tell you about those - I was definitely only in it for the pastries. The strawberry pies were filled with fresh strawberry filling that was naturally sweet, so it was great that the pastry itself was more neutral and you didn't get that super sugary donut-esque cavity-inducing thing where the dish as a whole is just too sweet for more than a few bites. It was nicely balanced, and I would like to make some myself. The sticky bun was just decadent. Soft on the inside, though, and gooey and sticky and divine on the outside, with a few candied pecans sprinked on top for good measure. It would be the perfect breakfast pastry, if it wouldn't give you an epic sugar crash about an hour after you ate it. It made me think of my grandpa, who could never say no to a big ol' pecan sticky bun - he really would have liked this one, and I smiled while I was eating it because it allowed me to go back down memory lane and think of all the sticky buns we shared while he was alive. So, 4 apps, 2 desserts, 2 cocktails and a glass of wine for me, and then I think 1 cocktail, 2 beers, and a glass of port for Jason, and the total before tip was $139. I gave the overall experience a B-/B. Dessert was a real surprise highlight for me. With a few service and seasoning tweaks, this could be a great repeat place for us (ya know, not every week, at those prices, but for more special occasions). Has anyone else been? I'm sure Jason will pipe in shortly.
  7. Has anyone been? I have a reservation for Friday, and I can't find anything on DR.com about this place. I would be very grateful for feedback from anyone who have information. And dear mods, if there is a topic already, feel free to move this post and delete the duplicate. Cheers.
  8. Gnocco offers a small menu of seasonal Spanish and Italian-inspired small plates, a few house-made pastas, and one or two larger entrees. Everything we had was very good. Grilled Spanish Octopus was a standout, a few pieces of charred meaty octopus leg served with garlic puree, salsa verde, and roasted potatoes that soaked up the juices beautifully. Pastas are available in half-portions (and actually half-priced), though I would have happily finished a full plate of the chicken liver agnolotti or ricotta cavatelli with braised pork cheek. The restaurant is small and cozy, mostly full on the Wednesday night we went. This is a great neighborhood spot to enjoy some delicious and beautifully constructed small dishes at a reasonable price.
  9. I've been pretty pleased with the pizzas at Cafesano, Marie's replacement. Another place that made a huge step up in terms of atmosphere.
  10. Northern Virginia magazine reported that Cassatt's owner Art Hauptman opened the market portion of Bistro 360 on Oct. 17 in Cafe Assorti's former location. Although Northern Virginia magazine states that "Hauptman hopes to have the restaurant and wine bar of Bistro 360 open late next week," the Bistro 360 website says that the Bistro360 Eatery will open on Nov. 3 and the wine bar and market are now open.
  11. I am staying at the Pickwick Hotel in San Francisco, which is a combination boutique and dive. But for convenience sake, one of its restaurants is Soma, and I've been there about 3-4 times this week. When busy, Soma tops 90 decibels. But it's food is surprisingly good. The menu trends Mediterranean, with hints of NoCal here and there. I have had the carpaccio at happy hour, and it's $7 price tag is the steal of San Francisco. It's ridiculously good for that price. The chicken kabob comes with remarkably good fresh vegetables and a perfect mold of jasmine rice. The New York strip is so perfect to look at -- appears formed from chopped meat -- but comes out of the kitchen a perfect medium rare to rare, juicy and delicious. Pizza is perfect San Francisco pizza -- nice puffy crust with fresh and abundant toppings. Meatballs are a hit, and almost every table orders them. Combination lamb and beef burger is the best burger within 5 blocks of the Moscone Center. I'm not saying this is fine dining as far as the San Francisco dining scene is concerned. But this is my last night in San Francisco on this trip, and I can Uber anywhere, but I'm going downstairs to Soma.
  12. I drove by this shopping center yesterday, and saw signage for Delia's, which will be opening soon. (They're hiring, so if you're looking for work, they have an email address on the sign which I didn't notice - if you blow this picture up, you might be able to see it.) Dec 18, 2017 - "Mediterranean Restaurant Delia's To Replace Tazza Kitchen in Arlington Ridge Shopping Center" by Chris Teale on arlnow.com
  13. Website https://www.alhambradc.com/ I saw this place on Open Table. Seems expensive and swanky.
  14. (The Google couldn't find an individual thread about this place, just a couple of posts in Dining In Bethesda) I've only been to Bistro LaZeez for lunch, and found the food pretty good, with a couple of exceptions. The chicken sandwiches can be a little dry, so ask for extra sauce. Their felafel sandwich is my favorite: cruchy felafel with plenty of tahini, and lots of delicious slices of pickled turnip. Mazzas have been tasty, but IMO the hummus is better at Lebanese Taverna so get the Baba Ghanouj instead. Lentil soup was disappointing, consisting of just a few lentils floating in a thin, sour broth. Grilled chicken is very tasty. It's a cute little place, service is pleasant, and the owner is very nice.
  15. I do know @EricTollar continues to work on opening the restaurant at 400 H. Don't have many details besides something like 12 taps, plans for craft cocktails and a menu as stated above. I believe they are "close" to opening. I also think Mr. Tollar above has a pretty good craft cocktail background.
  16. I had dinner at Matisse earlier this week and was pleasantly surprised. This was a business dinner and the host chose the place; after a few rounds of anxious research here and elsewhere on the web, my expectations were not high, but the evening was quite nice. We were at the chef's table/wine room, which is a sort of open corner (2 sides lined with wine racks) off the kitchen. Caveats - this was a six-course fixed-menu large-group meal, with dedicated servers and such, so I don't think it's necessarily representative of a regular dinner experience there and I have no idea what anything cost. Also, I think there must be another kitchen farther back or something, because I didn't see much action -- if your idea of a chef's table is to watch flashing knives and flames, you won't see much of that here. That said, the food was thoughtful, creative and for the most part meticulously prepared. Matisse's web page calls it French-Mediterranean, but I'd say it's just French - we're talking cream and butter here, not olive oil and basil. Take an extra Lipitor and enjoy yourself. Standouts included the cocktail snacks (perfect little crab cakes the size of bay scallops, just slightly crunchy and spicy), a demitasse of creamy/spicy pumpkin-coconut soup (a flavor pairing new to me that I thought came off brilliantly), a cheese plate (hooray!), and squab with foie gras in a cabernet reduction. (A couple of quibbles about that one: with such a small amount of squab, I was puzzled as to why I got a nearly-meatless length of bone with mine -- not even enough to gnaw off; I didn't find that the chestnuts added much to my experience; and the wine paired with it, a white Bordeaux if memory serves, was startlingly sweet and I didn't find it worked for me.) Portions were small but satisfying; with six courses, I was grateful they weren't larger. Wines paired with the menu were generally delightful, and a Stemmler Pinot Noir was a big hit. (I was making big plans till I looked it up on Total Wines the next morning and found out it retails for $30/bottle!)
  17. Baytna means "our home" in Arabic. I stumbled upon this little lunch counter while picking up a barbecue order at Mission BBQ in the same plaza. I noticed the pictures on the front of Baytna Mediterranean Kitchen and it conjured up the recent thread on hand-pressed shawarma. And they claim their chicken shawarma is "famous" but I haven't tried it yet. They serve no alcohol, but I intend to check it out in the near future...
  18. They have a new spinoff location in Bethesda that is doing the Chipotle model, Cava Mezze Grill. Pita, rice bowl, salad, mini flatbread pitas (to top like tacos) - you get a shmear of a spread and then protein (chicken/beef/lamb/sausage/falafel). Seems like another Chipotle-meets-(insert country) - like Merzi in downtown DC, but with arguably more potential. I'm definitely curious as I think their spreads are pretty good, but I'm not go-to-Bethesda-for-a-fast-casual-lunch curious. Anyone been?
  19. Mar 3, 2017 - "At Kismet, Your Culinary Destiny May Come in the Form of Rabbit Kebabs" by Jonathan Gold on latimes.com
  20. 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.
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