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  1. I very much enjoy the reuben at the Potomac Village Deli. Marbeled wheat and rye bread with a hefty stack of corned-beef and pastrami, russian dressing, and kraut. Om. There's also the Pica Deli in Arlington, which gets its fabulous bread from Uptown Bakery. For my money, I think it's consistently the best bread around.
  2. I've been living in DC for just over 4 years, and I've been going to the Brickskeller regularly, though less so in the last year for the simple reason that the menu of beers has gone from an impressive periodical-sized list of brews, to a small pamphlet of 8 or so pages. As recent at three years ago, you could go to the Brick and expect to and find the best beers from throughout the country. They regularly carried superlative (but hard to get here) beers such as Deschutes in the Northwest, Schell's from the Midwest, and Smuttynose from the Northeast. You could also expect to find a great international selection, including seasonals such as Aass Christmas Bock (one of my favorites). Crucially, if the beer was on the list, it was probably in stock. These days, the selection has dwindled, listed beers are regularly out of stock, and the focus is clearly on the Belgium beers--not that that's a bad thing, but there's plenty of places in this city to get Belgium beer. There is NOWHERE to find excellent brews from right here in America--where, in my mind, some seriously creative brewing is going on. The owners of the Brick have interests in RFD, and it seems they have shifted their attention to that project. Which is a shame, because space at the Brickskeller is so much more drink-beer-at-able. I'll admit that the Brick (in conjunction with RFD) has done a fantastic job promoting our "local" hometown brewing heroes over at Dogfish head (always available in several styles), but there are other exceptional beers that deserve recognition. One beer that has been leaving the shelves like crazy in the past couple years is Bell's from Kalamazoo Michigan. For a short time, even Brickskeller carried some Bell's brew, they even invited Larry Bell to host a tasting (oh my god it was amazing), and over at RFD there is sometimes a tap of Bells, and if you go to the men's room, there's even a quote by Larry himself, painted beautifully on the wall. Now, go to Brickskeller today and ask if they have one bottle of Bells. Nope. They don't. I just checked. Well, ok, that's Bells. But that's a beer the Brick has given a lot of life to in the past, but doesn't anymore. There's plenty of others that have fallen off the list, and I'm skeptical they will return. For my money, if I want decent bottled beer, I visit Chevy Chase liquors for good but not great (but best in the area) selection of brew. Then I loop around the beltway to the German Gourmet in Falls Church for some truly incredible bratwurst and kraut. Then I invite over some from friends for a night of commiserating about the poor, poor state of affairs over at the Brickskeller.
  3. I'm a big fan of the pho place on Rt. 50 and Annandale road, in the strip mall next to the wierd cowboy-looking grocery store. The place is usually empty (or nearly empty) but it's very good. Besides their superlative pho (except for the beef ball, which is much better elsewhere), there's some good apps (I recommend the chicken rolls), some noodle dishes (fried and other), and some other soups (including a great seafood soup with a fried shrimp-pancake on top). There's also some seriously good bubble drinks--my personal favorite is avacado: it's big enough that two or three people ordering soup could split it. Prices are cheap. One drawback is that it has the absolute worst atmosphere (even for pho standards), and the waitstaff is somewhat surly. And, since the place is so dead, the servers have little else to do but sit at a table in the back and stare at you. Sometimes, the staff will bring in their kids and watch them play hand held video games. But, even then, these drawbacks are charming in its own way.
  4. I went to Delhi Club a couple days ago. I thought the space was very nicely colored, brightly lit, and it had a good feeling to it. My two friends and I ordered several items: For apps, we had samosas and cutlets. The samosas were standard. The cutlet was very tasty--not too oily, and served very hot. The sauces with it were decent. (as a comparison -- sorry to make one--the sauces at Amma's have a much more dynamic flavor). For entrees, we had lamb saag, curried lamb in yoghurt, and some chick pea dish. The lamb could have been atad more tender, but the saag was perfect. A wonderful combination of spices, spinach and ghee. Loved it. The chick pea dish was fine, but because of my fanatical devotion to Ravi's chickpeas, I am not a good judge in this area. On the side, we had garlic naan, and plain naan. These are not dry like at many other Indian places. They are slightly oily, cut into fours, and served in a basket. They are not crispy, and absorb sauces very well. The staff was very attentive to our table. My impression overall is that the food is good and served beautifully -- though some of the dishes could have been spiced more. We were too full to try a dessert, but I am certain to return and try them. If they suck, I'm not too worried. Lazy Sundae is just around the corner for ice cream. Though, I didn't notice, but if there is carrot halwa to be had, I'm all for it.
  5. I haven't been to China Star, but I'm wondering how it compares to A & J's on Little River Turnpike and Markham in Annandale?
  6. Interestingly, the cicada-sex is initiated by the males' calling, using what I've heard described as the Heavy Metal Method: The males form concentrated groups and produce as much noise as possible together in order to attract female cicadas. The next time you hear the annoying oscillating sound overlaid with a high frequency hum, think Iron Maiden.
  7. I tried the cicada cocktail last night at Afterwords. I'm told the cicadas were boiled with sugar first (sans eyes, wings, and legs), then dipped in chocolate, impaled with a cocktail spear, and then refrigerated. The cicada garnish is paired with Jack, amaretto, and cream. As for how the bug tasted, I was in disagreement with a friend about it. She said it tasted like burnt popcorn, and I thought it was more musty--sort of like how grandma's sofa smells. I didn't notice the stickiness that the Post article mentioned, but the refrigeration made it rather hard. What I did notice, however, was that the taste lingered for quite a while. Even after a giant slice at Albertos, I could still taste the sofa. I like to forget about the fact that I ate a critter that has been licking sap for the past 17 years. The cicada probably just emerged from its casing and was thinking about how much cicada-sex is was going to have for the next month when it was snatched and dipped in chocolate.
  8. I can second the soft shell crab, which I had there last week. Slightly sweet but lovely. The jalapeno tuna is also an oddity at a sushi joint, but I like it. I really apprecate the innovation here (though, it's not like they're serving chedder and summer sausage sushi).
  9. I've had decent oysters at Seacatch in Georgetown (perhaps the only decent thing I've had there). They have several varities, and the last time I was there, the ones from Maine were strong and delicious. Besides the oysters, the bulbous crackers (served warm) are incredible. It's been a few weeks since I've been there, and since it's approaching a month without an "r", I'd be hesitant to get any oysters from the Bay. On an aside, for incredible fried oysters, I head to the aqua hut at the fish market. With a fat slice of the caramel cake, and plenty of vinegar, I'm totally happy.
  10. Anyone been to Michael’s on Columbia Pike across the street from Rappahannock coffee? It’s a shack at the Giant parking lot and it has hamburgers and such. I haven’t been, only driven by on occasion, and was wondering if it’s a dive with good greasy grub, or a dive to be ignored.
  11. bx23$qa

    Buffalo Iron

    Thanks for the tip!
  12. bx23$qa

    Buffalo Iron

    This being more or less the season of bock beer festivals, does anybody know where to find a beer poker, like that one used here: http://www.globaltony.com/loggerhead/asb.shtml. I once saw Julia Child using a buffalo iron to keep pasta water hot, and it looked like it might be very useful to poke beer, but I've been unsuccessful in finding one. Regarding the poker at the Schell's fest, people I've called at the brewery have no clue how it was obtained. As it is, I've been using big fat iron screws from the Home Despot, but it doesn't keep the heat like the pokers! Any suggestions?
  13. You won't be disappointed with the sushi at Makoto, up MacAurther Blvd across from the Safeway. The fish is exceptionally fresh, and the serving sizes are respectably small. The rice itself is of very good quality. In contast, at Cafe Asia, I always think the rice tastes "deflated," if that makes any sense. At Makoto, you can order the sushi as you like, or, as I prefer, you can get it as part of their tasting menu, which, for $45, you are served a 10 course meal (don't worry, it's not that filling!), including a sushi and sashimi course. The last time I was there (which was last June), it was so good that I committed the menu of the tasting to memory. Here's what I had in the order it was served: 1. Gilled teriyaki scallop, and cool asparagus with creamy mustard 2. Giant clam, chicken with ginger and green onion, and Japanese mountain vegetable 3. Sashimi: Tuna, flounder 4. Soft-shell crab fried in crushed rice cracker 5. Cabbage roll with tofu skin, shitake mushroom and whitefish in broth. 6. Lacquered box with steamed shrimp and shitake, beef in sesame sauce, eel salad, and Japanese mountain vegetable 7. Sushi: Spanish Mackerel, scallop, yellowfin 8. Seared beef in brown sauce 9. Soba noodles 10. Grape sherbet Of these, the most memorable courses were (4), the mackerel in (7), asparagus in (1), chicken and ginger in (2), and (10). Otherwise, for just sushi, I'm reminded that there's a very good Japanese supermarket in Bethesda where I occasionally get fatty tuna and other gifts from the sea to make sushi at home. It's called Daruma, and if making sushi at home isn't an option, I believe they have a bar, or at least a counter.
  14. The boneless chicken is very dry at Ravi, indeed, but the bone in chicken is very moist. You could eat it without dentures if needed, the meat is that tender. I haven't been to Bukhara or Bazaar. For some reason, every time I walk past Bazaar, there's no one there, which leads me to wonder. You shouldn't have mentioned the buffet at Bukhara. One afternoon at Mehak in Falls Church confirmed that my voluntary consumption of Indian--especially the milk balls--far exceeds normal intake.
  15. I'm curious why you (foodgeek) don't like Ravi. The chick peas alone are worth a visit. On occasion, I've gone for lunch and returned for dinner in one day--just for those chick peas. Re: the naan, I like it because it's chewy and thick on the outside and crispy in the middle. Friends of mine disagree with me on this point, and think the naan at Deli Dahrba is better because it's crispy all over. Other than the bread and the peas, I'm a fan of the chicken on the bone (the boneless is no good) and, more recently, the lamb chop. I've been to Food Factory twice, and both times I've been satisfied. But, the chick peas there are inferior to those of Ravi. Considering that Food Factory is a closer lunch choice, do you have some recs on what to get at FF?
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