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  1. At my request, Susan, the pastry chef at BlackSalt, prepared a fruit tart for me to serve at a dinner party - she listened to my request for something fruit/nut based and not too sweet so I could pair it with a dessert wine. She made a gorgeous and absolutely delicious fresh apricot/pistachio tart (substituting pistachio for almond in the frangiapane) that had my dinner guests, all critical eaters, swooning. Sietsema's characterizations of the desserts at BlackSalt seem totally inconsistent with my experience. IMHO, that tart bettered by a significant degree anything available for purchase from any of the usual suspects.
  2. Tabard Inn has private spaces that will hold that sized crowd and the food is great, plus they have a terrific wine list. But you won't get out for less than $60 at the least. Here's a link - you can check out the menus, etc. Great funky place with a parlor with a fireplace and great desserts too. http://www.tabardinn.com/
  3. Don't forget the Tabard Inn, a lovely place (with couches and a fireplace in the parlor for lounging before or after the meal) with a great, fairly priced wine list, just off Dupont Circle on N St between 17th and 18th - here's a link to the website - www.tabardinn.com
  4. I live near Palena and dine there about once a month - a great restaurant it could be but for one thing - the terrible wine list! I do not get that at all. Fortunately, I have an cellar full of aged wine at home and the restaurant permits me to carry wine in for a reasonable corkage fee, but I do not understand why that restaurant does not attempt to have a better list. I am certain DonRocks, Mark Slater, and a number of other "friends of the house" would be happy to help - indeed, I understand that some have offered. Now mind you - I am not asking for Mark's wine list - but there are about 50 restaurants in this town with much better lists but next to none with better food. Ok, I have finished venting. I want to add that the porcini/reggiano, etc., salad that is on the menu now incorporated many of the flavors of my recent trip to the Piemonte (including white truffle) - and yet was superior to most of the food I consumed there. And don't miss the jerusalem artichoke soup with mushroom froth and crispy sweetbreads.
  5. "In corkage-friendly restaurants, it certainly behooves a customer to not abuse the privilege. Do *not* bring in a bottle of Reunite or a box of Turning Leaf. Do *not* bring in a wine that is on the restaurant's wine list or that closely resembles something that it offers. Do offer the sommelier or owner a taste. Do consider the service provided in opening your wine and bringing the appropriate glasses when tipping, especially if there is no corkage fee charged or the fee is minimal." Yes. I carry in to several restaurants in DC - I always take older wine (10-15 year old stuff at least), I always offer tastes to the pourer and the chef, and I always tip as if I'd bought some wine - i.e., I assume a reasonable bar bill in calculating the tip. The restaurants where I regularly carry in seem to be pleased with this behavior. By the way, add the Tabard Inn to your BYOB list - although they have an excellent list there that is very fairly priced, they are friendly about corkage. Not sure about the fee (somehow I never have to pay it!) - I think $15 but don't hold me to it.
  6. ok, I have to ask this question about Max's - the only time I tried it, every flavor tasted like butter! It was if the ice cream had been overchurned. It was very noticeable and everybody in my group commented on it. Was that an aberration or does it always taste like that? Tried Cold Stone Creamery in Cleveland Park last week. Not impressed - too much fuss, and the basic ice cream wasn't that good (this is one of those places where they mix stuff into your ice cream). Am I the only person that misses Swenson's peanut butter ice cream with fudge ripple through it?
  7. Ah, Fio's, site of many memorable meals - they made an amazing pasta dish - linguine with squid, onions, olives, capers, wine, garlic - fabulous. Friends had their "rehearsal dinner" there and carried in cases of 1975 Pol Roger rose - that was a great evening.
  8. maureen

    Summer Whites

    Check out the 2002 Pinon Vouvray "Cuvee Tradition" - absolutely stunning chenin - to use a highly technical word (see above) - it is "yummy." And about $12.
  9. If you shop the Georgetown Whole Foods when Christopher (a woman) is there, and she knows you are a foodie because you've taken the time to speak with her about what's showing well and what you want, she'll pull special things out for you from the back, where she hides the good stuff from the hoi polloi. In the very, very early days of Sutton Place, when it was New Mexico Ave. only, the cheese department was killer. They used to get a rectangular log of something called, I think, Belle Epoque that when ripe sloshed around inside the rind and was amazing. Things started going downhill when they started cutting into the log before it was ripe - when I protested I was told, well, customers complained about it being runny - when I suggested they suggest to those customers that they should purchase something else I was met with a shrug. That was the end.
  10. after you walk around the tidal basin, walk north on 17th to Pennsylvania Ave., cross to the other side and go west towards 18th - right before you hit 18th is the Breadline. This is where you want to go for lunch Mon-Fri (unless you are on a no carb diet) - great bread baked on site (he's doing the bread for Per Se too), unbelievable sandwiches (grilled veggies with tapenade, tuna with olives and preserved lemons, and falafel some of my favorites), and amazing little desserts - imagine an "oreo" that is a pair of great chocolate cookies sandwiching a marscapone center! skip maine avenue - ugh!
  11. Amernick's is a treasure in Cleveland Park - Ann makes a butter/shortbread type cookie that she has a special name for (I am blanking at the moment) that is sort of large (for her) that is amazing. And don't get me started on her oatmeal cookies - these are the oatmeal cookies of your dreams - crisp on the outside, soft inside, chewy, with just the right mix of dried fruit to give sparkle without making the cookie too sweet. If I had one request of Ann, it would be that she make a cinnamon roll that doesn't have the sweet edge of the schnecken (which properly does have that sweetness) for those of us who prefer a less sweet cinnamon treat. Ok, a second request - that she offer for sale her unbelievably fabulous fruit tarts with almond paste instead of making us beg her to make us one on special order (which may never happen again, unfortunately). Perhaps when pears are in season in the fall, she'll offer them for a couple of weeks after announcing in advance that she will so that people can get their orders in and she can make enough to make it cost-effective for her shop (HINT HINT). Washington, DC is far behind NY in the number of artisanal food purveyors available to us and we must all be sure to support those few struggling to make a living providing us with the best. Go to Amernicks and spend money (but not today - she's closed on Sunday).
  12. By the way, for those who are interested, I just noticed that Macarthur's has increased the amount of web page space it is giving German wine, including a link to Terry Thiese's catolog. The web site is www.bassins.com - check it out for Rick DeLauder's excellent explanation of the basics of German wine.
  13. Mark, I am not surprised by that information - I spend a decent amount of time in each store and the traffic at CW is significantly higher than at Macarthurs (although I suspect Mac's has more phone orders). My point was simply that the breadth of German wine offerings is greater at Mac's and indeed the total number of different $20+ (or whatever figure you want to use to suggest an age-worthy wine) wines is signficantly greater at Macarthur's (in response to Joe's question). But both are excellent stores with slightly different strengths.
  14. Joe, in my experience, Calvert Woodley tends to have on the shelf a representative bottle of almost every thing they have for sale; Macarthur's displays about 25% of the different wines they have for sale. Very little is hidden downstairs at Calvert Woodley except for additional stock of what is on display. And I don't think Calvert Woodley has off-site storage (although it has considerable storage below the store); Macarthur's has a full (temperature controlled) warehouse in addition to the voluminous amounts of wine in the back and upstairs. There is simply no comparison between the two stores in terms of number of different $20+ wines owned by each. Frankly, I think the manager of Macarthur's wished that weren't so! And Macarthur's bought much more heavily in both the 2001 and 2002 German vintages than Calvert Woodley - believe me, I shop both and know what each has and has had to offer. Now, you may be right as to whether C/W's total sales volume is greater - I haven't a clue - but C/W sells volumes of under $20 wine and that is simply not a market that Macarthur's has ever tried to compete in. But once you go beyond the "best-sellers" that Calvert Woodley advertises every week (in order to compete with Total Beverages), I don't think they exceed Macarthurs. Nonetheless, I agree with you that both are excellent stores - they each have their strengths. And perhaps now that Allen Murphy is back at C/W, the German selection will get more emphasis, as he was the moving force behind that store's prior push on German wine and he did the same for Macarthur's when he was there (although Rick DeLauder is continuing with the German wine program Allen got going at Macarthurs).
  15. For those that might be interested, here's the current wine list at the Tabard Inn: http://www.tabardinn.com/rest_menu_wines.htm
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