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Everything posted by ozgirl06

  1. I'm headed to Bilbao in the next couple of weeks and would like some dining recommendations. I'll be travelling with my parents who are not terribly adventuresome eaters (although getting moreso ;-)). There are some food restrictions that need to be heeded due to religious reasons - particularly no pork and no shellfish. I know that this is Spain I'm going to and these two ingredients are staples - even by asking for "vegetarian", you're not guaranteed a pork-free dish. :-) Does anyone know of any cheap or moderately priced restaurants that might offer good spanish/basque cooking and have dishes that would meet the eating restrictions? Much Thanks!
  2. went for dinner on friday night and for the first time was not blown away by the food. Had a delicious Sidecar and the pasta with lamb meatballs. The dish was tasty enough, but the pool of grease at the bottom of the bowl was disappointing. I had hoped for more tomato rather than grease in the sauce. Next time I'm going back to my standbys of cheeseburger, hotdog, or chicken. Can't wait to try lunch on a Saturday.
  3. The pastry case has about 8-10 different dessert items. They are all visually stunning and from I tried, tasty as well. There are individual single serving items as well as whole cakes. My impression is that you can buy the pastries to go if you so choose. Other than a sacher torte, I was surprised to see a lack of traditional Austro/German desserts. There wasn't anything poppyseed, apricot, or black forest related. What is there is a wide variety of desserts ranging from a towering triple chocolate mousse to an opera cake to a pear tart. Both chocolate lovers and non-chocolate fans should be able to find a dessert that appeals to them. There isn't any additional "plating" of the pastries at service. This isn't an issue - the pastries are gorgeous all on their own and don't need any additional flair.
  4. Coffee was good. The "Kaiser Melange", strong brewed coffee topped with whipped cream was particularly good. The regular brewed coffee was also good - it's dark and strong but without that burnt Starbucks aftertaste. (Even the decaf was drinkable.) One other musing - even though the cafe likens itself to a Vienna coffeehouse, the waitstaff know nothing about Germany/Austria or German. Best stick to the English descriptions in the menu and not the German names given to the dishes.
  5. Checked out the new (open as of last Tuesday) Leopold's Kafe & Konditerei this past weekend - twice. I wasn't really quite sure what to expect - other than the fact that in last week's Tom Sietsema's online chat he mentioned this place as somewhere to go for a cup of coffee and dessert. Leopold's does serve quite a variety of cakes/pastries along with ice creams (not made on site) and some really good coffee (dark & strong), but they also offer breakfast, salads, sides, and entrees along with a small wine list. There were some serious service issues on both visits - kinks that will hopefully be worked out as time goes by. I was forgiving of these service issues because 1) they've only been open for less than a week and 2) the space/location is fabulous! Located down a set of stairs off of M St., the cafe is on a lovely little courtyard with a fountain in the center, away from the noise and people of G'town. Although there is not (yet?) a sign up saying "Leopolds", the inside decor is modern and there are tables set out in the courtyard for dining. With weather like this past weekend, the more time spent outside the better. Food: First visit - coffees and lemon meringue tart ($6) and cheesecake with chocolate and berries ($8). The lemon meringue tart was very lemony and tart enough, although the pastry crust was a bit too hard and sugary. The cheesecake was also good, not very sweet (which I prefer), with a chewy, cakey chocolate/raspberry base and strawberries to garnish. Second visit - Lunch: Tried to order breakfast, but was told we couldn't since it was past noon (even though we had been sitting there since before noon, but no one had come to take our food orders). We both ordered the kase spaetzle (quark spaetzle, with emmanthaler cheese and walnuts, & fried onions - $13). It was yummy. The spaetzle were crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. Combined with the melted cheese and the crunch of the walnuts, it was the German equivalent of mac & cheese. mmm, mmm, good. Service issues: 1) there is not a host/hostess at the stand in the entry. Given that it looks like a cafe, patrons are unsure as to wait to be seated or just seat themselves. 2) Serious understaffing and suspect staff inexperience - Friday night, 6-8 tables filled and the staff said that they were "slammed". 3) Long waits between receiving menus, ordering food, receiving food, payment process. On my second visit, we weren't complaining about the SLOW service as it was so nice outside, but our waiter was trying to improve things nonetheless. He offered us a free dessert for the lack of availability of breakfast food, and later a refill of my friend's riesling to make up for slowness of service. We turned down the wine offer, but appreciated the attempt to make up for poor service. All in all, will go back for food, coffee, and dessert - even with the iffy service, though I really hope it improves. Sorry for such a long post.
  6. I had my first dining experience at 2 Amys last Saturday night and it lived up to the positive reviews that had been posted here. My friend and I went in with a zen mode - realizing all too well that when we arrived at 7:20pm, we'd be waiting for a table for a while. It was about an hour's wait, but that wasn't enough to deter us. Even the bar area was packed with other waiting patrons who didn't want to stand outside in the cold. So, we headed across the street to the Zebra lounge for a beer. We sat along the wall at the high tables in the bar area -- a great location in a cramped space - no bumping into or being bumped by passers by. We asked our server if the place was always this crowded. She replied not usually, but 2 Amys had just been mentioned in a USAToday article as one of the top 13 pizza places in the USA. We started with the roasted olives - or as I described it, " heaven in a gratin dish" -- moved on to escarole salad with egg and then pizza with buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and basil. The salad was not overly dressed nor the eggs overcooked and the pizza "did not suck". The crust seemed saltier than other crusts I've eaten - but I really enjoyed it. Here some of the USAToday article: "13 piemakers 'transcend' all others In his new book Pizza: A Slice of Heaven (Universe; $24.95), Ed Levine writes about pizza from every part of the country and abroad, drawing upon recommendations from other food writers and his own sampling of more than 1,000 slices. After a year's research, he identified 13 pizzerias in the USA that he says make " a transcendent pizza that could cause grown men and women to moan with pleasure in public without embarrassment." And from that list he crowns six "Keepers of the Flame" who have "mastered Neapolitan and Neapolitan-American pizza-making traditions and techniques, and in some cases improved upon them." His choices for a superior pie : Keepers of the Flame * Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix; 602-258-8300. * Una Pizza Napoletana, New York; 212-477-9950. * Di Fara Pizza, Brooklyn, N.Y.; 718-258-1367. * Nick's Pizza, three New York locations, including Manhattan; 212-987-5700. * Sally's Apizza, New Haven, Conn.; 203-624-5271. * Totonno's Pizzeria Napolitano, four New York locations, including Brooklyn, 718-372-8606. The rest * Frank Pepe's Pizzeria Napoletana, New Haven, Conn.; 203-865-5762. * The Spot, New Haven, Conn.; 203-865-7602. * Al Forno, Providence, R.I.; 401-273-9760. * Franny's, Brooklyn, N.Y.; 718-230-0221. * Regina Margherita, Pittsburgh; 412-761-1077. * King Umberto's, Elmont, N.Y.; 516-352-8391. * 2 Amys, Washington, D.C.; 202-885-5700. "
  7. Thanks everyone for their insights! I've taken the advice to hire a personal chef. There seems to be a lot of room for flexibility in the days to be delivered and I can do this for an extended period of time (more than 1 day's worth of food). Also there is flexibility for food ingredients and types of food. The fact that dishes come as/can be frozen and reheated seems ideal for a family that doesn't want to devote a lot of time in the kitchen. I'll report back on the success of the personal chef. thanks again.
  8. Thanks Mark! As you mentioned, I too doubted that the nicer restaurants would do takeout/delivery. I'm still looking into his wife's favourite ethnic places that will deliver. In the meantime, I think I'm falling back on sending a mess of food from Chicken Out rotisserie. It's simple food that can feed a whole bunch of people. Plus they can provide chicken soup and desserts. :-) I'm still open to other ethnic restaurant suggestions for delivery in the 22201 area - for meals to be sent next week.
  9. I need to summon ideas from the egulletteers. I have a friend whose wife is ill. He and his wife normally dine out every night for dinner, but sadly, due to her condition cooking at home or going out aren't options. I would love to find a restaurant who could deliver a great meal/meal(s) for them - give them one less thing to worry about. They live in Arlington, Va. My friend has mentioned that he and his wife have their usual stomping places in Arlington, but enjoyed mixing it up by going to new places in DC and MD each Friday night. I seem to recall him saying that he and his wife really enjoy Rays the Steaks and many of the other ethnic restaurants in the Arlington area. Does anyone know of restaurants that can provide meals, as opposed to just a gift certificate? I've looked at Takeout Taxi, but the offerings seemed lacking. Much thanks! debbie
  10. ozgirl06


    Liberte has a bunch of great flavours. Strawberry is my favorite, followed closely by lemon. The lemon is tart and lemony without tasting like sour milk. I tried the Hazelnut a while ago, it was good but weird. I just couldn't wrap my head around the taste of hazelnuts but with the texture of yogurt. ← I too am a fan of the Liberte brand yoghurt. I fell in love with it upon discovering the 8% milk fat version, but really wished there was a lower fat version I could consume on a more regular basis. (I couldn't quite justify those 14g of fat each morning). Then, lo and behold, my Whole Foods began carrying the "6 grains" variety with only 1.5% milk fat. The flavours are pretty good and I love the little bits of grain mixed into the yoghurt. It's a nice texture change. I'm intrigued by the plum and walnut flavour -- will have to be on the look out. As for other brands - I like the Yobaby brand. Full milk, with the cream on top. (there's something decadent about stirring the cream in.) Banana and pears flavours are particularly good.
  11. A friend and I ate dinner in the bar area of Palena last night. We didn't have any complaints. Although I have dined twice in the back room of Palena, this was the first time as a "cafe menu" customer. Everything about the food was really good and comforting. We started with the proseco-pomegranite cocktails - a much needed drink at the end of a hectic day and moved onto the food. The burger and hot dog were simplistic foods without a simplistic taste, and a plate of fried potatoes and lemon slices - well, what's not to like? I was disappointed that the kraut that accompanied the hotdog was sweet and not sour, spiked with lots of vinegar. But, that's the chef's choice and i still liked the taste - just not my preference. We didn't have any service problems, although the front of the restaurant did seem a bit understaffed with waiters and hostesses multitasking a lot.
  12. I just finished reading this on the Washington Post website. It seems that Papaya King is interested in expanding its purvue and wants to go nationwide. Locations include both DC & Baltimore areas. Papaya King in NYC is quite the experience and a destination for hot dog lovers. I wonder if it will work here in DC. I'm sure a lot will depend on location, location, location, but do you think that people in DC will actively seek out a good hotdog (beyond Palena, that is.)? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/artic...9-2004Nov7.html
  13. ozgirl06


    Daniel- Looks great! Natillas were just mentioned in this month's Saveur magazine. I tried their recipe - it turned out really well (even in a lower fat version). Their recipe calls for Cointreau and no coconut.
  14. i second the recommendations for the curry laksa and ginger salad. i also really enjoy some of their sushi... spicy crunchy tuna rolls and the veggie tempura rolls. if one has a hankering for dessert (assuming dining in), their ice creams are great! The green tea flavour is particularly good. There is almost a chocolate undertone to it. Sounds strange, I know... but try it. It is good. Someone once told me that Spices makes its own ice cream, though I don't know if this is (still?) true or not. Spices tends to be my "don't know where to go, but don't want to leave the neighbourhood" stand-by. It's casual with relatively consistent and good food.
  15. The much awaited recap: In a word - perfect. Neither my date nor I could have asked for a more lovely evening. Upon arrival, I spotted Chef Wabeck chatting with someone outside, I decided not to interrupt the conversation, and we went inside. The restaurant was as everyone had described it, casual yet elegant and intimate. We didn’t arrive in time to lounge at the bar prior to our reservation time and were seated at a table by the windows at the front, which were wide open due to lovely weather Saturday evening. We were really tempted by the mojito martinis that Jenny had recommended (and we still are – can we “happy hour” and/or follow-up visit for dinner?), but before we could order we were surprised by glasses of bubbly. (Thank you Chef Wabeck!!!!) Then there was the food. Oh so good! I knew that so many Egulleteers can’t be wrong! First – the olive bread alone made a big impression on my date. He loved it – all of those olives! For starters we began with the tomato salad with balsamic vinaigrette and the pork and cabbage spring rolls. The tomatoes still tasted like they were fresh off the vine and I felt as if I’d gotten my last bite of summertime. My date really enjoyed the spring rolls. He liked the texture of the pork and cabbage. It was unexpected – in a good way. We then moved on to the chicken and the halibut with grits, okra, and tomato. I hadn’t had okra since I was in high school in Atlanta. I know that I liked okra, but this was so much better than that slightly sogged breaded okra they served in the high school cafeteria. This okra was cooked such that it still retained crispness and had no slime effect whatsoever. The accompanying grits still had a slight texture to them, but were still creamy and buttery and real comfort food. The fish was also expertly done. I know that my date was pleasantly surprised that chicken could be so flavourful. He said it was the highlight of the meal. Moving onto dessert- the puff pastry with cardamom cream topped brulleed grapefruit was recommended, so we went with that and the brandy (cognac?) soaked prunes with vanilla ice cream. Both were simple desserts but with much flavour. I particularly enjoyed the brulleed grapefruit. Each element of the dessert was great and together the combination of textures and flavours blended nicely together, but the grapefruit element alone was enough to make me happy. I have become a devotee to Firefly and spent much of the rest of the weekend praising the restaurant for it’s lovely atmosphere, gracious service, and excellent food. Thank you to everyone at Firefly for perfectly lovely dining experience!
  16. bubbly and chocolate - perhaps we'll start with one and end with the other. i'll will be sure to give details on the evening later - details on the food, that is.
  17. I just wanted to post a quick message to say thank you for everyone's input. I decided on Firefly for tomorrow night. I'm really excited and very much looking forward to a great dining experience.
  18. doggirl- any idea how many people are coming over for break fast? i often host break fast for friends and others as my place is right across the street from the shul. My standard offerings include: bagels and a variety of shmears plus the usual fixings (tomato, onion, etc.) a blintz casserole and/or kugel (sometimes sweet other times savoury) fruit salad veggies with hummus OJ - and lots of it. sometimes I'll serve brownies or cookies I always have leftovers no matter how many I cook for (Jewish mother syndrome I suspect). I think I always overestimate exactly how hungry my guests will be. For me at least, my eyes are always bigger than my stomach at the end of the day. I find that to be true for many other people as well. Good luck with hosting and an easy fast to you as well.
  19. Is this Israeli style or Greek style falafel? (more parsley in Greek style) If anyone has been to the falafel counter at Max's deli in Wheaton and to Amsterdam - how do they compare? I love the falafel at Max's deli and all of the choices of fixins to go on top. Many pickled items. Yum. Good to know there is good falafel closer to my neighbourhood though.
  20. Ah, the BdC... a well-lknown fave among this group. (I have been a long time lurker on this board.) Sadly, each time I walk past the restaurant and check the menu there is little/no options for me. Much pork and shellfish... heaven for most, just not for me. (i know, i know, call me crazy.) thanks for recommendation and the lighthearted humour. Any other ideas, anyone for places along the lines of the BdC, but that might offer a fish (the scaly kind) dish?
  21. EGulleteers, I've come to the experts for help. I have a potentially hot date coming up a week from Saturday and it's my job to pick the locale. I would like to come up with a couple of options in terms of price ranges. I had Restaurant Eve in mind for the higher end of the price scale and haven't really come up with a lower end option. (Lower end price range defined as Spices/Zaytinya equivalent). I have some restrictions though... I don't eat meat or shellfish (dairy and fish are ok) and my date would rather not do Italian cuisine. Some of our favourite restaurants include: Zaytinya, Palena, Spices, Jaleo, and DC Coast. We'd love to try someplace new. Ideally, I would love to try Minibar, but I fear that it is cost prohibitive and with such short notice wouldn't be able to land a reservation. Can anyone recommend suggestions for a fun atmosphere (a la Zaytinya), with food options that could meet both of our restrictions that would fall into either a "cheap-ish eats" or a moderately priced place category? Oh yeah, geographic locations - DC and N. Va please. Thanks everyone!!
  22. One last highlight from Beckta... I was telling my friends of this place and showing them the menu on the Beckta website. While touring around the website, I noticed that I could submit comments to the restaurant. So, I sent a raving review of my experience there. At the bottom of the screen you have the option of requesting a response from the restaurant or not. I didn't feel the need to receive one, so I clicked "no". I got one anyway 2 days later, thanking me for my comments. I don't do this sort of thing often so I don't know if an unrequested comment back from the restaurant is the norm, but I was impressed nonetheless. A nice touch from a great place.
  23. I dined at Beckta last week, but only getting to the review now. The dining expericence in one word --"fabulous"! There were 5 of us in our party and the hostess seated us in a separate room corded off with a curtain. It was the perfect environment to have a business lunch - spacious enough not to feel cramped, but intimate enough to talk business without your neighbours eavesdropping on your conversation. The service was exceptional. Our waiter was consciencious, informative, and attentive without being intrusive. He was the perfect balance of being around when you needed him (even before you realized you did) and gone when you didn't. Finally, the food. First, let me say that after a number of disappointing meals, I really needed a good dining experience. Beckta provided one and more. It was a real highlight during my month-long stay in Ottawa. Many of us started with the "local teenage lettuces". A very nice starter salad with spiced pecans, shaved parmesan, and a honey vinaigrette. I thought the name was funny, but the salad was good nonetheless. For our entrees, I had the Saikyo Miso Salmon - Salmon with Baby Bok Choy, Green Onions, Somen Noodles and a Shiitake Mushroom Broth. The salmon was cooked perfectly. It was just opaque in colour and moist, yet not raw in any way. The "baby bok choy" was more like "grown-up bok choy" and less "baby". It was still yummy, but it was a little difficult to cut delicately or discretely. It was a little awkward in a business company setting as it became slightly similar to trying to eat spaghetti cleanly during a business interview lunch. Just about everyone else ordered the scallops (Digby Scallops with Arugula, Brussel Sprouts, Caper Berries and Toasted Mustard Seed-Butter Sauce). Everyone raved about the scallops. Our waiter said that this was the most popular item on the menu. My boss ordered the hanger steak. He said that he thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm afraid I can't comment on the wine list or quality of desserts as no one really drank any wine and lunch ran too late for desserts. However, I was really tempted to order the "How Do Ya Like Them Apples?" dessert. ("How do you like them Apples" (Warm Royal Gala Pave, Granny Smith Gelato, Apple Chips, Apple Jam, Apple Crisp and Mascarpone & Granola Parfait)). I am a big fan of fruit based desserts and this one sounded amazing - apples four ways... mmm, mmm, mmm. Besides, I thought the name was terribly clever. Beckta - get a reservation immediately! Run, do not walk. As Martha Stewart would say... "it's a good thing".
  24. Just found out I'm eating lunch at Beckta tomorrow. I'm very excited after all of the good things that have been said about it on this board. It will be a working lunch so I can't guarantee an assessment on a wide variety of foods and/or wines. After a disappointing meal at Empire Grill (panko crusted Tilapia with seasonal veggies) which was lukewarm and soggy by the time it was served to the table, I had a thoroughly enjoyable lunch at the Black Tomato. It was just a salad (warm pecan crusted chevre with herbed pita toasts, sauteed wild mushrooms, and baby greens) - but it was a lovely balance of ingredients, fresh, and just right for lunch. The other 5 members of my party all equally enjoyed their dishes. Once again, I am grateful that egullet exists. Unlike my previous meals at restaurants in Ottawa, several of which have been less than stellar or even good, I was able to choose the dining destination this afternoon. It was good just a people on the board had suggested. Hooray for my fellow egulleteers!
  25. Thanks to Jinmyo and Larry for the food/restaurant recommendations! A brief update on my dining experiences while here in Ottawa. Dinner at Social. It was actually a n ice evening and my dining companions and I contemplated sitting outside in the courtyard. However, the wind was picking up and we feared that our food might fly away so we choose for indoors which wasn't nearly as pleasing. The food - well, I was underwhelmed. I ordered a tortine (sp?) of lentils which the waitress claimed tasted amazing - even if it was vegan. (yes, that raised a red flag, but i somehow ordered it anyway...) The tortine was fine for what it was, but I suspected much more could have done with it - seasoning? interesting vegetables? make it non-vegan and use a dairy product? The accompanying vegetables were undescript and I can't recall what they were. I did try a bit of a friend's sea bass which was cooked nicely. If it hadn't been accompanied by a lobster salad (which I can't eat), that would have been a better dish to order. Brunch at the Ritz (at the Market) - nice. Decent food with a very nicely paced waitservice. The waitstaff was attentive and always made sure that I had enough coffee but pretty much left my friend and I to sit and schmooze and enjoy the morning. Smoked meat sandwich from Nate's... It was good, but I don't have anything to judge it against other than a pastrami/corned beef sandwich from 2nd Ave. Deli in NYC. The sandwich from Nate's was not that kind of sandwich. Is what I had the "standard" smoked meat sandwich? Lunch at Blue Cactus - your average Southwestern/Mexican fare. 3 Tarts Bakery- taking Larry's advice, I found my way out Wellington St. I ordered some cookies, buttertarts (though they had run out of ones with raisins... darn.) and a lemon tart. The cookies were all made with plenty of butter - it was an underlying taste in each of the gingersnaps, oatmeal/raisin, and mocha chocolate chip cookies -- in a good way. The mocha chocolate chip were particularly good with a nicely balanced mocha flavour. The buttertarts, were nice and light and rich - although not runny enough to need a plate when eating them. Still, certainly the best I've tried in Ottawa. I hope to make it to Beckta and the Black Tomato before I leave Ottawa. Also, I have warned my friends of Kinki. At first they all seem shocked at the caution to stay away, but then each one seems to recall either themselves or someone else not feeling so great after a meal there. hmmm..... Thanks again to everyone's recommendations!
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