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  1. how Tom S. could give Opera two stars is beyond me. The food was pretty bad as I remember and we were quite limited as the table next to us steered us away from the pasta dishes. Best U street meal has been at Coppies Organic.
  2. What are you supposed to order from Mr. Chen's organic in Woodley Park? I have heard nothing but great things about this place. We FINALLY ordered from there the other night and were just, well, whelmed. I feel like I'm missing something. BF had string beans with pork, which was supposed to be spicy. Not only was it not spicy, but it was really sparse on both pork and flavor. I had beef teriyaki. While the dry spices on the beef were really great (kind of aromatic), the veggies it came with were overcooked and flavorless. With health-conscious options and organic meats and veggies, I want to like this place, I really do. Has anyone been there? Can you recommend something that is great? Many thanks!
  3. Not a farmer's market obviously, but Whole Paycheck (Foods) has had purple baby artichokes. I've seen them at a couple of locations-- P St, and the one down in Annandale.
  4. For those that are reading this thread, Chez Panisse (the restaurant) is almost as difficult a reservation as the French Laundry. It is not an afterthought but a very real destination that many people on the West Coast and elsewhere build trips around. Quite literally this is Mecca for many who care about the emergence of America and the ascension of a serious cuisine from a country that was once thought of as having good fried chicken and decent charcoal grilled steak. For all that I may have raved about Danko (and the bar if you go at the last minute and arrive BEFORE THEY OPEN!) Chez Panisse is the Holy Grail of American restaurants. It is to America as Troisgros and Robuchon are to France and Santimaria and Adria are to Spain. In the late '70's and early '80's Alice Waters' place was a temple that born again foodies from Vermont to Georgia to New Mexico crossed a country to visit. When they returned to their hometowns America was never the same. What we eat today has much to do with what was started then. And there.
  5. I understand that the folks at the McLean Organic Butcher get all their meat from local sources...we've still not made it out there, but I've spoken with them on the phone a couple of times.
  6. I was hoping to try the brunch menu at ABC Kitchen, but got confused about the time/date info on the website. Despite arriving just a few minutes after the noon opening time, we were told all of their tables were 'committed'. Fortunately, there was space at the rear bar, which was bright and relatively quiet and looks into the ABC Home store. The $28 3-course prix fixe was a steal, given the quality of the ingredients and the care and attention that were apparent in each dish. We shared each course, so I sampled the following 6 dishes: Cauliflower soup - topped with rye croutons and a few red chili slices. Very good flavor, though it could have stood to be thinned a bit. Roasted beets with homemade yogurt - a beautiful dish made with pretty, colorful beets. A neighbor at the bar commented that she thought it was strawberries and cream - which it did look like. The taste was all fresh beet and thick tangy yogurt - lovely and refreshing. Braised hake with cabbage, chilies, and seaweed - this was one of the most perfectly prepared fish dishes I've had in a long time. The savoy cabbage and seaweed paired nicely with the meatiness of the hake. Duck yolk and ricotta raviolo on ...* ragu - An impressive presentation - a single saucer-sized raviolo with a runny duck yolk topping the ricotta filling. (*damned if I can remember what the meat was, but it was delicious) Cranberry upside down cake - moist and tangy, with poached cranberries and orange creme fraiche on the side. A gorgeous fall/winter dessert. Sundae - salted caramel ice cream, candied peanuts and popcorn, chocolate sauce....what more can I say. Decadence in a bowl. Service was good, attentive but not too formal. Just fine for the bar. Kudos to the young man who handled a complainer unhappy with not getting a table "they should know who people are..." Definitely near the top of my list of best meals of 2011. (I still want to go back for the buttermilk pancakes with berries and lemon curd at brunch. )
  7. Scenes from this weekend: Enchiladas con mole de pollo - sauce of chiles, chocolate, nuts, shredded chicken, tortillas, onion and queso fresco. Tacos de carnitas - two tacos of braised pork, orange, bay leaf, milk, cinnamon, beer, jalapeño, onion, cilantro and tomatillo salsa. Nopalito 306 Broderick Street (Oak Street) http://www.nopalitosf.com/
  8. A delayed note. I had some lunch brought in from Chix and was fairly impressed. I had the chix chicken which is seasoned with a secret blend of spices (so says the menu). I found it flavorful and tender. I only ate the dark meat, but my work partner had the breast and say they were juicy. The meat was seasoned well. I had black beans and rice on the side. They were decent, not wowed off my feet , but decent. I would recommned stopping in and supporting them. The food is good and the mission better. http://www.chixdc.com
  9. I have a kind offer from my future mother-in-law for dinner anywhere in DC for my birthday. She keeps pushing for Nora, but I haven't heard much buzz about it recently. I was hoping to finally get to Kaz or Sushi-Ko, but perhaps I'd be missing out by not trying one of her favorites. I may also be missing out on the political points I'd score by letting her have her way. Has anyone been recently? How was it?
  10. I have always loved this wine, and right now they have stacks of it at the Pentagon City Whole Foods for $16.99 a bottle. Two unusual things about the bottle itself: it's a 1 Liter bottle (most bottles are .750 ml, or 3/4 as much), and more interestingly, it has a "pop top" that you open like a bottle of Heineken - it's not twist-off, but a bottle opener does the trick. I think both of these qualities drive home exactly what this wine is: a wine to quaff like water. It's dirt cheap (Pentagon City Whole Foods cannot possibly have low prices, and I suspect the producer sells this ex-cellar for about $5 a liter - I don't know this, but it's certainly less than $10. This is not a wine to cellar and mature; it's a wine to guzzle, and if you don't finish it, you can stick the top right back on and save it for the next night. It has real Grüner Veltliner character, with no oak that I can detect - it's a fairly "dilute" wine, so oak would be positively overwhelming. This Hofer is organic, and is made in a sleepy little hamlet just a few miles north of Vienna (it's pretty amazing how Vienna, a big, powerful city, can taper off into serenity just a few miles to the north). It's impossible to cherish this wine as something sacred (because it's not), and it's impossible not to like this wine as something joyful (because it is) - it's like a really fun session beer that you don't feel guilty about splurging on because it's a few dollars. Having a "house wine" is a quaint, but rare concept in this day and age, but if you were to have one, this wouldn't be a bad place to start. Yes, I'm friends with Terry Theise, but I haven't spoken with him in months, and he has no idea I'm writing this. I know this wine very well from previous vintages, and have never not liked it. Think: pitchers of Budweiser, except good.
  11. I *never* buy non-organic produce. I have organic produce readily available, so why wouldn't I buy it? Today, I went to Whole Foods, and bought some grapefruit, and the only ones they had were conventional - I'm not completely militant about buying organic, so I bought a few to have on hand ... at a buck a pop. I just had one, and it was *terrible*. Not only was the moisture lacking, but it had a foreign bitterness to it that I can't explain away as being citric acid. I had about 25% of it, and hurled the rest in the garbage can, seething. Okay, now, my palate is pretty finely tuned (it's obvious to me when they change the formula for the coating on Advil, for example), but I'm pretty sure the vast majority of people would think this grapefruit was just plain lousy. So, maybe I just had a crummy grapefruit. Or, is it possible that I'm tasting chemicals? I hypothesize that water-filled fruits are the most disgusting of all to buy non-organic, since all that liquid is probably loaded with chemicals. I'm not sure how they measure concentrations (maybe parts-per-million?), but I am sure this grapefruit tasted like hell, and it wasn't rotten or moldy. Not for one second do I think that you can spray chemicals on trees and vines, and *not* have them penetrate succulent fruits - the water inside comes from *somewhere*, and that somewhere has almost certainly had contact with pesticides. There's a saying in the wine world: "It's hard to be organic when your neighbor isn't," so I'm not completely naive when it comes to this - there's most likely a continuum of chemical concentration, as opposed to an on/off switch. Any thoughts about this? Surely this has been written about many times before, but there's a lot of junk when I try to Google it.
  12. Went to the Naked Lunch restaurant on Saturday, in the bottom floor of the new Mom's Organic Market in Courthouse (on Lee Highway). Enjoyed my lunch thoroughly. They don't seem to have a separate website (though they're a separate restaurant that I think only operates in MOM's - there's one in Rockville and Merrifield, maybe others). I can't find their menu online, so I'll try to remember to take a picture of the takeout menu I brought home. Some of the items are described in the yelp reviews. It's a tiny, tiny place - one two-top table, four barstools (with backs and padded, yay) at a little counter, and that's it. Good for take-out, if it's too full to eat in. Service (ordering at the counter) was a little slow, though it could be because they don't have their routine down yet. Service was also very friendly and accommodating. Everything was vegetarian, and I believe they can make most or all of the dishes vegan. Mostly it's fast-casual steamed or roasted veggies, on top of grains, with tasty sauces. They have set items (I was looking at the Lin Bowl and the Moler Bowl, but ended up with roasted cauliflower steak over spinach, brown rice, mushrooms, and a couple other things I think, with a zingy chimmichurri sauce/dressing). They'll substitute anything, it seems like, or just add things (I had asked about another dish that included sweet potato, and when I ended up with the cauliflower, she asked if I would like sweet potato on it too - yes please). And you can create your own combo if you prefer that to the bowls on the menu. Mine was very tasty and filling. I asked for light dressing, and she gave me extra on the side because she said she'd gone very light - I appreciated that. Delicious dressing, and it complemented the veggies very very well. My husband had the Sushi Bowl, which included tofu, rice, avocado, and some other things, and a gingery sauce that I liked very much (I'd order that dish another time if I wanted a change from the cauliflower). They have lots of fresh juices (all the combos had vegetables, which I'm not a fan of in juice form, so I didn't try them, but I wouldn't be surprised if I could get it without), kombuchas, bottled drinks in the refrigerated section, and a black bean burger as well as the various bowls. I'll definitely go back.
  13. Can anyone explain how honey can be certified as "organic"? How does the producer know the types of plants the bees visited?
  14. While I am far from being a vegan, or a vegetarian, you didn't mention Great Sage. I've been there several times and found it to be enjoyable. If you buy into the concept, plant-based organic food, it can be quite tasty. Definitely do vegan food better than most places that specialize in such. It is our go to when a couple of my militant vegan relatives visit.
  15. Arg, forgot to get definite answer about cherries this afternoon. I'll check with my usual source of when things will appear at market this evening. New Morning Farm's market at the Sheridan School (36th & Alton) had their first Tuesday market of the summer today They had the regular suspects, beautiful sweet peas, asparagus, lettuce, strawberries. The exciting find du jour was heirloom tomatoes! The also had regular hot house ones but as far as I am concerned between the strawberries and heirlooms summer has arrived. Fresh strawberries on a Tuesday may just get me through this week.
  16. When I was a student at UMCP, we would sometimes walk a little up Rt 1 to Jerry's pizza, which as I recall was next to a tire shop. Now that section of Rt 1 in College Park alternates between seedy old liquor stores and shiny new high-rise buildings with retail on street level. NuVegan is located in one of these newer buildings, immediately adjacent to campus, and entertainingly direct neighbor to a burger joint. This is the second store in a mini-chain, with sister location Woodlands Vegan Bistro on Georgia Ave in Columbia Heights. The menu has a short list of entrees (always available), a long list of cold sides (always available), and a short list of hot sides (rotating availability), plus a few sandwiches. There are also smoothies with four different bases (almond, soy, hemp, or rice milk). Many of the entrees are vegan versions of non-vegan dishes, such as mac 'n cheese, lasagne, burgers, fish sandwish, and fried chicken. I am neither vegan nor vegetarian, and I am not inclined to eat fake cheese items, at least not where cheese is a central ingredient (lasagne, mac n cheese, grilled cheese). However I do sometimes enjoy fake meats, so I chose the "chick'n" tenders and a side of "mushroom medley". The chick'n was actually pretty well done, not completely identical to real chicken, but the texture was pretty close and the flavor was even closer. It would have been nice if the chick'n tenders were served with a side of some kind of sauce, but oh well. I think this would be a good choice for a non-meat-eater who might be jonesing for some fried chicken. The mushroom medley however was really subpar. It was described as a cold dish of "buttons and portobellos infused with a light oil dressing". Instead, it was at least 60% bell peppers swimming in an oily lake of what seemed like some kind of salad dressing (Italian maybe?). Any flavors were completely overpowered by the dressing, it was way too oily, and ugh, bell peppers. My vegetarian companion ordered bbq tofu with a side of broccoli. This was giant pieces of tofu again swimming in a thick lake of bbq sauce (I didn't try it, but it looked similar to Kraft bbq sauce) and large florets of plain steamed broccoli. NuVegan has counter service with odd seating. The tables in the center of the restaurant are high, round, and on the small side. Each table is surrounded by built-in tiny stools. Perhaps the uncomfortable seating is meant to deter college students from loitering for hours. Anyway, I think the main strength is in some of the meat replacement items. Non-dairy shakes/smoothies (did not try) can also be good for those with dairy issues. However, this place isn't going to end up in my regular semi-local rotation, unless eating with others who have serious dietary restrictions. Their website says: "Our Mission..... Become the motivating force that sparks a movement towards global awareness by redefining the perception of vegan cuisine.", but I'd rather they focused on good tasting food.
  17. Hi all, I'm Kathryn Pasternak and I live in Falls Church, VA. This is my first post, and let me apologize in advance for it being long -- but please read on!!! My first jobs working in the USA (I'm from Canada) were in fine restaurants in NYC -- Gotham Bar and Grill, Cafe des Artistes, The China Grill, Gordon's, Cafe L'Express. For anyone who knew NYC in the 1980s, you might recognize the names. I have the Gotham and Gordon's to thank (a short lived (sadly) but very very fine N. Italian restaurant in the village) for schooling me in food and wine. But alas, I didn't stay in restaurants -- I was a struggling filmmaker at the time, eager to dig into that work fulltime. But my partner's restaurant management and consulting work took us to LA -- he opened Noa Noa in Beverly Hills with Kenji Seki (of China Grill fame in NYC). I found National Geographic there. Nat Geo moved me from LA to the DC area in 1994 where I continued working for them in documentary television until 2007. Since then, I've been on my own running my small production company, Pasternak Media LLC. Phew... writing that old restaurant history was a bizarre trip down memory lane for me. Now... my shameless but important promotion: my first independent feature documentary is having its WORLD PREMIERE tomorrow, March 20, 7 PM at American University's Forman Theater (2nd Fl. McKinley building) as part of the 23rd Annual DC Environmental Film Festival. The film is called DOEVILLE, and it is the story of Virginia's last deer farmer, Gail Rose, during two pivotal years when the fate of her small farm was decided. Gail is a master gardener by trade. She was one of the first organic certifiers in Virginia. She met and married Alex Rose, a retired gentleman deer farmer in the Shenandoah valley -- we're talking "fallow deer" being raised for venison. Only a few years into their partnership, she found herself -- sadly -- making a deathbed promise to him to do everything she could to "keep their beloved deer farm going" after he passed. The film tells the story of her struggle to keep that promise. It's a feel good film -- people laugh and cry (and in all the right places.) Gail's an extraordinary character and I'm willing to bet that someone in this community knows her. Here is a link to the official DCEFF listing for the film. I'm also attaching my own screening flyer for you. There will be a discussion following the screening with Slow Food DC co-chairwoman, Shelu Patel, the editor of DOEVILLE, Connie Rinehart, me, and Gail Rose, who is driving all the way in from the Shenandoah tomorrow morning after feeding her chickens. Screening is free of charge and seating is first come first serve. Arrive by 6:30 to get a seat. Best option for parking is under the SIS building off of Nebraska. Free after 5 PM. I hope to see some of you there! Please introduce yourselves to me if you hear of the screening on this website! Thanks and I look forward to contributing to the community. I'm known to write impassioned pleas on my facebook page for people to buy their meat from Joel Salatin's farm, or to participate in a CSA or go to a farmer's market and meet the farmer producing their food. Now I have a place to share those thoughts!
  18. That was fast. This was just announced on the Mt. P listserv. Could be interesting if done right. A new restaurant, called Goodall's Bistro, will be opening in Mt Pleasant. This eatery will take over the commercial spaces currently known as Tonic and Last Exit, at 3155 Mt Pleasant Street. Tonic and Last Exit will be closing in early June, giving way to this new venture in organic, locally sourced cuisine. We are hoping to open later this summer, with an estimated opening date in late August, or early September. Will Warren, who is the founder of Goodall's Bistro, has lived in Mt Pleasant for the last eight years, in a historic row house on Kilbourne Place. Having resided in the area for so long, he craved the kind of place where he could bring friends that had their own dietary interests, whether they be carnivores looking for a healthier meal, or a vegetarian / vegan that needed more than one option on a menu, or someone with a food sensitivity like gluten intolerance. Will wanted to create that *one* place where people could convene for a joint meal, and no one would feel like they had to sacrifice their own food preferences for an evening with their social group. With so many of Will's friends working at some of the most respected fine dining establishments in the city, and with several friends having even started their own restaurants, he became inspired to learn from the best, to create something wonderful in his own back yard. Knowing that so many of his neighbors in Mt Pleasant congregate at the Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings, he observed just how much this community appreciates locally sourced, ethically raised food products. From there, he started to connect the dots, that his own interest in healthier food preparation, coupled with the bustling Farmer's Market, and Each Peach Market's recent opening, to deliver many of these same food items on a permanent basis "“ Mt Pleasant was ready for his organic bistro concept. For the last fifteen years, Will has been a Small Business Consultant for entrepreneurs from many industries, including Real Estate, Home Improvement Contractors, and Media Firms. Prior to his move to DC, he managed a Cafe in New England, and started his own Catering Company. This new restaurant marries Will's love of incredible food, wine, and craft cocktails, with his deep interest in architecture and design. He has compiled a top team of both business and culinary advisers from some of the best restaurants in Washington's metro area. Chef Dave Duffy, formerly of Great Sage, and Dannielle Sharkey, formerly of the Tabard Inn and Girard's, are acting as culinary advisers to the menu. Nick Pimental, one of the Founders, and the Designer for Room 11, (amongst other restaurants, such as Petworth Citizen) is working closely with Will on the interior design for the new space. They are excited about the opportunity to give each of the three dining rooms their own personalities, and are hoping to have a preview of one of the spaces by early July. Goodall's Bistro will feature a seasonally rotating menu of the freshest foods from locally sourced organic farms, and free range ranches in the Mid-Atlantic region. We will serve dinner seven days a week from 5-10pm, and brunch on Saturday's and Sunday's from 10-3pm, with the option of expanding our services down the line. Our drink menu will highlight organic spirits as frequently as possible, craft microbrew beers from our region, and a phenomenal wine list recommended by the top Wine Director in the city. While emphasizing a healthy approach to food, we would be remiss if we forgot to include scrumptious desserts in our mix. Despite having a slightly more refined menu, Goodall's promises to still celebrate the gregarious, family-friendly nature of this wonderful neighborhood. For more information, feel free to contact us at: Will Warren Founder Goodall's Bistro Goodallsbistro@gmail.com
  19. I am so thankful to whoever turned me onto the My Organic Market chain as an alternative to Whole Foods. The first time I tried it was sometime this winter when I went to the Arlington WF in search of apples but all I found were soft bruised things for $2 a pound. My stop at MOM's (near Cheesetique) turned up wonderful organic apples in great shape, at about $1.29 a pound. It's certainly not the gourmet food experience that WF is, but if you're looking to buy a week's worth of organic produce for under $30 and Trickling Springs milk in a gallon jug, this is the place to go.
  20. Had dinner at Farmicia this past weekend and had an enjoyable meal. Highlights for me were the Tuscan Grain Salad (organic spelt, chopped garden vegetables, lemon-basil vinaigrette, arugula) and the Crispy Fried Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail (atop a trio of fries, bloody mary dipping sauce). My entree of Boneless Pork Chop Dijon (grilled, honey glazed turnips, broccoli, cider-sage sauce) was good, but the meat was slightly overcooked and therefore a bit dry, but the sauce helped. It did have a nice bit of char from the grill that went well with the sweetness of the turnips.
  21. For me, the trifecta is interesting food, good service and fair pricing. Add in some scenery for bonus points. The Orchard in the middle of downtown Frederick hit the trifecta and then some. The Orchard is Vegetarian and Vegan friendly while offering a pretty wide selection of fish, shrip and chicken dishes. What's neat is that they aren't really tied to a particular food genre like Italian, rather they build their menu generally around fresh vegetables, then around the preparation type. So for instance, you have a few main groups, including Entrees, Salads, Stir-Fries, Sandwiches and Pita Melts. Within the Stir-Fry group you have Indonesian, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, etc. The onion ring appetizer was nicely done with thin rings and light batter. It suffered from being not enough for my hungry group of 5. The Monkfish over quinoa special had some spiciness to it and was excellent. We tried 2 Stir-Frys: The Polynesian was blessedly NOT that jarringly sweet; it allowed the vegies to shine through. The Indonesian was very good, maybe I could have added some more of the lime to my taste. My daughter got a chicken dish over brown rice that was also excellent. In all the dishes, the veggies were cooked but not to death. There are times when I understand that lightly cooked vegetables are the ideal; ones with snap. Other times, like here, I like a balance - our brains evolved in part so (and because) we can cook things - and The Orchard does. Service was spot-on, as good as I would expect at the very best restaurants. Nothing missed and an enhancement to the experience. The prices were very nice. We had an 1 app, 2 wines, 3 sodas, 4 meals, 1 soup, 1 salad, 1 kids meal - all for $20 a head pre-tip. Given the level of service and overall food quality, this was a very nice surprise. As for scenery, the inside of the place is just sort of average. The entrance is right in the middle of downdown, across from the tasting room and near Volt. On a late afternoon like we had Saturday, it makes for a really nice walk and downtown experience. The Orchard has been around for 25 years (how did I miss this place until now?!?!) and it shows. They really know their stuff and I look forward to returning.
  22. I've been gone a bit from DC, but I noticed at least one new street vendor-type downtown, the 'On The Fly' electric vehicle near 8th and G Sts., I believe. Photos Has the program to bring in new vendors with different offerings that people really want worked out? I remember they surveyed the public, then they issued some new permits. But I only saw this one vendor. Are there more?
  23. I've been hearing about this insanely expensive, insanely good, juice-smoothie bar next to Equinox gym in Bethesda, but didn't get around to trying it until this morning. Jake Parrott recently told me, about New York Avenue Beach Bar, "It's not about lowering your expectations; it's about changing them." I haven't yet been to New York Avenue Beach Bar, but I cannot imagine there is much overlap in clientele. In fact, I cannot imagine two more polar opposite houses of beverage. And when you see the prices at Purée, you'll change your expectations right quick, too. I walked in today and was hit by an overwhelming whiff of freshly cut wheatgrass - it was everywhere. Pints of juice *start* at $9, and go up from there when you add supplements. Dare I say that for a splurge, it's worth it? This is the change of expectations I was talking about. A pint of coconut water was $9, and with tax plus tip was $12.71! But. It came in a remarkable screwtop glass container (which I suspect you can reuse there), and, if you've only had Vita Coco or Zico, was almost unrecognizable as the same product. *This* is what I envision fresh, unpasteurized, coconut juice tasting like - straight from the coconut and chilled. It was so sweet, and so good, that I almost couldn't believe it. So what is worth more: a $10 16-ounce hand-crafted smoothie here, or a $10 8-ounce frozen margarita from the swirling machine at New York Avenue Beach Bar? No question in my mind. As Terry Theise says, "I like truffles and I like tortilla chips, but I’m not confused about which flavor is more beautiful." Price aside, I cannot imagine anyone in the world not liking this place. If I had unlimited wealth, I would spend $50 a day here for the rest of my life.
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