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Found 14 results

  1. I don't see a thread for Lena's Wood-Fired Pizzas & Tap at 401 E Braddock Rd, near Braddock Metro Station. Friends and family opening was this weekend, and soft opening reported for today. This is said to be a partnership between management of The Majestic/Virtue and the Yates family. The space looks great. Large bar. Extensive outdoor patio with fire pit and gas heaters.
  2. “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.
  3. Stopped by 7th Hill Pizza (next to Montmartre) a couple of hours ago. I walked in to look around, and they're giving away slices of pizza. I thought the pizza was pretty good (nice brick oven). Apparently they're still lacking an inspection before they can open for business fully. I'll be back when they are.
  4. Kokkari Estiatorio is the San Francisco Greek equivalent of Komi in DC. It is high-end Greek, and it is superb. I was on a search for char-grilled octopus in San Francisco, and after some research, I headed to Jackson St., and scored a seat at the bar. The place was packed and fully booked, so I was lucky to get that seat. I ordered a double of the char-grilled octopus, so I ended up with two delicious tentacles, drizzled with olive oil. It was tender, with the mouthfeel you come expect with a properly executed octopus dish. Thumbs up on this dish.
  5. Mia's Pizzas, 4926 Cordell Avenue, Bethesda, is next to Nam's and across the street and a few doors down from Passage to India. It's set back from the sidewalk so it can be hard to see while driving by, especially if you're trying not to slow down too much and annoy the cars behind you. Their website doesn't have much on it yet. Tom's Weekly Dish mentioned that the owner previously worked at Pizzeria Paradiso. The menu has appetizers (including deviled eggs, little mac and cheese, olives, mini calzones, garlic knots), salads, two sandwiches, a few dinner entrees (salmon, chicken, vegetarian), wood oven pizzas (set combinations or create your own), desserts, and specials. I started with the three mini calzones, which I liked. The menu said they were ricotta (& basil?), salami & olive, and caramelized onion & gouda, but I received two salami & olive, one caramelized onion, and no ricotta. That was fine so I didn't ask about it. They came with a side of fresh tasting tomato sauce. The salami & olive calzone was small and round with a thin shell that was thicker along the edges, and it was filled with thick, small strips of salami, kalamata olive bits, and cheese. The caramelized onion calzone was flatter, half moon shaped and kinda looked collapsed like the cheese had oozed out and taken over. The set pizza combinations included more traditional and a few nontraditional toppings like bbq chicken. I chose the combination of sausage, pepperoni and mushrooms. My pizza was fairly big, the size of a plate, and had a thin interior crust and a crispy on the outside, chewy, but then soft on the inside, outer crust. I enjoyed my pizza. I thought the outer crust had a nice texture and a slight smokey flavor, but maybe a tad bland. The toppings were of good quality, and I especially liked the pepperoni. I had a bite of my friend's dessert"”a really good vanilla cupcake with strawberry frosting. Tom mentions the cupcakes are house-baked, and this one had that homey look with a modest amount of frosting. The cake was moist and not too sweet, and the frosting also was not too sweet with a fresh strawberry flavor and loose, creamy consistency. Service was very friendly. While I wouldn't make a special trip from Clarendon, I'd go back when I'm in the area.
  6. New York press and food fiends have been raving about Pasquale Jones, a tiny restaurant in NoLita serving pizza and other goods from a wood burning oven. Not wanting to deal with the crowds or a wait, we headed there for lunch on Sunday. Despite suggestions from my cousins to get the clam pizza, @MichaelBDC and I decided to split an order of radicchio salad, a margherita pizza, and a half bottle of red wine. @MichaelBDC and I love a well thought out and dressed salad and the radicchio salad was great and a nice start to the meal. The pizza was...fine. Given everything I had read and heard about the pizza at Pasquale Jones, I was really expecting something transformative or at least a pizza that made me rethink all other pizzas but I was disappointed. The ingredients were very good and high quality but the execution was lacking. I generally don't mind or even notice less than perfect pizza, but was surprised to find a noticeably soupy middle. At $21, I wanted a do over but we forged on. The wine was a dry red, likely a chianti, that was definitely overpriced. But then again, we were in Manhattan. Sadly, this meal was a disappointment, our sole lackluster food excursion during our long weekend in NYC. If I lived in lower Manhattan, I would be willing to give Pasquale Jones another chance, especially to try some of the pastas and entrees at dinner. However, since my trips to NYC are annual or semi-annual at most, I would much rather return to old favorites and explore some new-to-me places.N
  7. This might be stretching it a bit, but Laurienzo is sort-of technically in Clarksburg. It's physically located up in Hyattstown but they have a Clarksburg address. Anyway, I have not yet been to this location yet, but this is a second location for the Mt.Airy restaurant. As far as I know this is a locally run place, so probably worth checking out.
  8. We had a delicious supper at Uptown in the K-mart plaza yesterday! This place is very unique and different for a pizza place which has a fancy ordering computer where you touch the screen to select what you want and what quantity or type. No "sit down style" waitress/waiter service when we were there. You order and they bring the food to your table and you get your own utensils, papergoods and drinks. We just wanted a quick supper We shared the New Yorker Pizza Medium (and took some home) I ordered Lobster Ravioli, hubby spaghetti and meatballs and we both ordered cannoli's for dessert. The pizza was very tasty and made almost to "bronx or NY perfection" and the cannolis were the best I've had since 1978 with an exception being a small place on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx in a real "Italian bakery". The food overall was not disappointing considering it is in a strip mall and more of a help yourself restaurant... and it was very empty but nice and clean and had alot of black and white photo's scattered throughout. It is very unique and definitely worth the trip. I've heard that if they were in DC they would be on par with 2 Amys. The lowdown information: Uptown Brick Oven Pizza 470 Elden St Herndon, VA 20170 (703) 230-0005 www.uptownbrickpizza.com Bring an appetite
  9. Highs and Lows. Highs - Charcuterie plate - Prosciutto, Mortadella, Capicola, and Salami. A moretti rosso and a glass of lacryma. Great company. Lows - The pizzas. Quattro Stagioni and Quattro Formaggi. To say that I thought they sucked ventworm nut would be an insult to ventworms and their nuts. Right now I'm eating sunflower seeds and the dough was saltier than they are. Consistency was about that of a piece of cardboard. No char whatsoever. Think the oven was not nearly hot enough. The quattro formaggi had more than its desired allotment of parmesan which made it even saltier. Severe disappointment. My rec would be to avoid the pizzas all together. Edit to add - And please train the busboys better. One of my companions nearly got a mouthful of elbow as the busboy reached clear across the table to refill a water glass.
  10. Couldn't find a thread for Cafe 8 so...here goes. Cafe 8 occupies the old Ellington's on Eighth and they have done a great job of redoing the space, creating 3 seperate but interlocking dining areas...a place that you hope will survive, because it's friendly, reasonably priced and, well, as we all know, Capitol Hill can always use better dining options. Unfortunately, my small sampling last night was mediocre at best. First the highlight: The red lentil soup was darn tasty on a chilly and rainy night, hearty with a little kick of pepper. Served luke warm, but still good to the last spoon. Middlelights: We went with a sampler of 3 mezze, hummus (dull, needed more life, lemon, garlic, tahini something!), spinach and feta puree thing (again, dull, lacked salt), baba ganoush was the best of the three with a nice smoky flavor. Lowlights: The bread/pita...they serve fluffy style pita and our first batch was either stale or it was reheated in the microwave because after a couple minutes it had that hard around the edges quality you get when you reheat bread products in the microwave. Our second batch was hot and soft. I'm not going to give up on the place and would like to sample more of the menu...with some tweaking of the seasoning all three meze would have received a rave review...but the seasoning sucked.
  11. Perla 24 Minetta Lane New York, NY 10014 212-933-1824 http://perlanyc.com/ Perla is a small, chef-driven Italian bistro with great food and stellar cocktails. My superior bartender, Brad, told me that he and the chef worked together at Eataly before the chef opened this place. Dinner started with a Tombstone Sunday Nights cocktail ($13), which combines cinnamon-infused buffalo trace bourbon with Amaro Montenegro Bonal Gentiane, chile soy maple syrup, and house-made pepperoni bitters. Spicy, yet subtle, it's a very nice riff on a Manhattan. For my first course, I had the Vitello Tonnoto ($16), thick, pink slices of veal in a nice tuna sauce, with crispy capers and Tokyo turnips. It was slightly salty, but otherwise good. I paired it with a nice glass of Yves Cuilleron, 'Les Vignes D'A Cote' Viognier, 2011 ($16.5). Though it all looked good, I skipped the pasta course and went straight for the Guinea hen ($28), one of the best chicken dishes I've ever had. It was done as crispy-skinned rillettes and came with English peas, trumpet mushrooms, and a silky foie gras sugo. (I want to have this dish for Thanksgiving.) With it, I tried a glass of the Lange Nebbiolo, Roagna, 2005 ($16.5). I was too full for dessert, but the 4 choices and selection of cheeses looked like either would provide a nice end to the meal. Maybe I'll save room next time . . .
  12. No doubt about it, there was a wonderful surprise today when Matt and I had a late lunch at Villa Bella, in the same shopping center as Wal-Mart (hence, Old Cairo, etc.) - it's tucked off a bit, so you have to look for it. Lunch hour had wound down. Matt had eaten there once before, and he mentioned they had a "sort-of" wood-burning overn. Indeed, they did: there was a cylindrical hole in the middle with burning logs, around it, as if that were a donut hole, was a spinning metal cooking torus. Behind that, but only in one location, was a gas flame, heating up any portion of the torus that slowly spun into its path. This is an extremely complex system, but it IS wood-burning, supplemented by gas - I saw the smoke flowing over the pizzas spinning around on the torus. We got a pretty good pizza, but not before we got some good bread. A little mini-loaf of sourdough-based (warm from the oven), and three pieces of focaccia (also warm), served with a dipping mix of green oil, with 3-4 other ingredients sitting in the bottom of the dipping bowl: garlic, maybe parsley, etc. The important thing was that it was bland by itself, so I took the liberty of salt-shakes, pepper-shakes, and parmesan-shakes, and it woke up and came to life, like a good olive-oil pesto. All of a sudden, that bread was rocking in that sauce. The pizza arrived: a Large, 19-Inch Pizza Villa Bella ($19.50), and oh what a topping combination it was: tomato sauce, mozzarella, crumbled sausage, and proscuitto. The end crust was decent and only barely worth eating alone (which is more than you can say for most crusts) - it could have used some more fermentation time. Nevertheless, this pizza surpassed our expectations of Villa Bella by a long shot. it was a good neighborhood pizza which Matt will finish for breakfast tomorrow, while I'll polish off the bread with some homemade preserves I purchased at a farmers' market a couple weeks ago. I'm not urging you to go here; merely saying that if you do, I don't think you'll be disappointed. Cheers, Rocks
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