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Ralph Wiggum

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Everything posted by Ralph Wiggum

  1. Sorry if this is a redundant request, as I know there are a few threads about restaurant recommendations in San Diego, but I am geographically impaired. I will be in San Diego for a few days starting 9/23 and am staying at the Hilton Resort on East Mission Bay Drive. Are there any good eats nearby within walking distance? I have a car as well, so I am willing to travel. I am looking for any recommendations, ranging from cheap eats to $$$$ restaurants...all cuisines accepted.
  2. Mrs. Wiggum and I went to Willard's Real Pit BBQ in Chantilly on Friday night. Highlights included the NC pulled pork. As others have noted, it doesn't have a ton of vinegar, but it was nice to be able to get a true taste of the pork itself, which was very moist. Their baked beans are fantastic as well. The cornbread was a bit dry, though, and the smoked sausage was nothing special. Since we only live 10 minutes away, we will be back...often. Portions are absolutely enormous! We each had enough leftovers to make 2 full pulled pork sandwiches.
  3. I dined at the Crystal City Jaleo location on Tuesday night. We started with the Marinated fried shark, which was probably the best dish of the night. The shark was crisp on the outside, but tender and juicy once you bit into it. Jaleo displayed another great touch with fried foods with the Traditional fritters of dates and bacon. This was also a favorite, as the flavors all balanced each other very well. I could have eaten a ton of them. We also had the Scallops in Romesco sauce. The scallops tasted fresh and slightly sweet, and were cooked perfectly. The Grilled quail with honey alioli and rosemary sauce was tasty enough, but it is very tough to split a tiny quail between three people. The Grilled beef sirloin with ‘piquillo’ pepper confit would make any carnivore very happy. We also had the Skewer of grilled chorizo on garlic-mashed potatoes, which look like little cocktail weiners but taste nothing like them. The only dish that was a "miss" was the Spanish Mackeral. The sauce was nice and spicy, but the fish was very oily. Service was fine except when it came to our after-dinner drinks. A tip for wait staff: If I order a red wine, and you bring me a white wine, don’t insist that you brought me the correct wine . Our waiter disappeared for 10 minutes and finally came back with the correct wine. Despite this “glitch”, the meal was very enjoyable and I would definitely return.
  4. Tuesday night my wife and I celebrated our anniversary with a spectacular meal in the tasting room at Restaurant Eve. Everything was fantastic from start to finish. Some of the highlights were… Corn Nut Crusted Maine Diver’s Scallop with Corn Tamale – A perfectly seared scallop encrusted in house-made corn nuts (!). “A Wolf in Lamb’s Clothing” – This dish consisted of a piece of Wolffish set atop a lamb-filled ravioli. My wife reluctantly shared this dish with me. Gnocchi with Oven Dried Tomatoes and Spring Arugula – this may have been the star of the night. As our waitress said, “who would have guessed that an Irishman can make such darn-good gnocchi”. The tomatoes and arugula did not overpower the gnocchi; instead, it served as a light sauce to showcase the gnocchi. Hats off to Chef Cathal for this dish. Four Styles of Artichokes – My wife was surprised at how much she enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the different preparations, but they were darn good (I know that is not much help). Cheese Course – Eve has a very nice selection of cheeses, many of which come from Cheesetique in Alexandria. We each got to choose 3 different cheeses. The absolute best was the Epoisse De Bourgogne, which the menu describe as “Herby, Stinky and Fruity”. Who knew something that smells like feet could taste so good! This cheese was runny, gooey, and stinky, but absolutely delicious. Oh yeah, the Apricot Baked Alaska and the Chocolate Souffle were terrific, but repeated heavy-handed wine pourings prevents me from remembering specifics. We chose the wine pairings with our meal and Todd certainly did not disappoint. The standout wines included the Robert Sinsky Cabernet Franc, as well as the Domaine Du Mas Blanc, which paired remarkably well with the Chocolate Souffle. Thanks again to Chef Cathal, Todd Thrasher, and the rest of the staff for such a remarkable evening.
  5. What hype? ← According to the Food Network, Georgia Brown's is one of DC's "Power Houses". http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/ck_gc_wash...3880947,00.html Then again, the Food Network lists La Madeleine as a one of DC's best "Cheap Eats".
  6. Enjoyed another great meal at Firefly on Friday night. I started with the Chilled Tomato Soup with Marinated Mozzarella, which was a refreshing dish on a hot, summer day. The Braised Lamb Shoulder with Tomato Bread Pudding is as good as everybody has been saying. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the Tomato Bread Pudding, which had a terrific texture. My wife had the Pork Scallopine, which she thought was terrific (she wouldn't let me try any of it, not that I let her try the Lamb Shoulder ). My Aunt, who was in town from Atlanta for a conference, fell in love with the restaurant and could not stop raving about the Grilled King Salmon. The only miss for the night would be the Espresso Poundcake, which was light on the espresso. It had a nice texture, but was lacking in flavor for our taste. Otherwise, the dinner was excellent, and my Aunt is looking for any excuse she can to get back to Firefly before her conference is over.
  7. There are times in life when your expectations are so high that you cannot help being disappointed. Saturday night at Corduroy was an exception to this. Our dinner was fantastic, and a huge thank you goes to eGullet’s own Fero Style for taking such great care of us, which included paring wines with our dishes. My plan had been to order the Mozzarella Porcupine and the Lamb Sirloin with Goat Cheese Ravioli. However, we were also informed that they could do a tasting menu as well. With those words, my plans were tossed, and we chose to order the 5 course tasting menu. Our 5 courses consisted of the following: 1. Oysters – the 3 oysters were good, but difficult to slurp out of the shell. I am not a big oyster person, so this was the least impressive dish for me. 2. Lobster Salad – a wonderful salad consisting of chilled chunks of lobster served with baby arugula drizzled with basil oil. 3. Sorrell Soup – This soup was spectacular, and was served cold and contained the same basil oil as was used in the Lobster Salad. This was one of the highlights of our meal. 4. Red Snapper Bisque – I don’t like red snapper, and I also have not had a good bisque in a restaurant for a couple of years. Yet, this soup was full of flavor and one that I would order again. 5. Scallop – served with garlic mashed potatoes and morel mushrooms. I ate this with some initial trepidation, as we were informed that the chef gets his scallops from New Jersey. Since I grew up in New Jersey, I had visions of ingesting scallops freshly harvested from the Hudson River. However, this was probably my favorite dish, as the scallop was seared perfectly and had such a fresh, clean taste. 6. Beef Cheeks – prepared osso bucco style and served with tarbais beans. Each bite melted in my mouth. Fabulous. 7. Wagyu Steak – At this point we were expecting to have dessert. However, we were told that they had an additional entrée for us. Twist my arm; I guess I will eat the steak. The Wagyu was such a flavorful steak. My wife was stuffed so I was a good husband and helped clean her plate. 8. Dessert – consisted of the chocolate tart and a strawberry tart. I don’t remember much at this point (food coma had kicked in) but neither plate had anything left on them when we were done. As good as the chocolate tart is, that strawberry tart was outrageously good. At $55 per person, this is one of the best “bargains” in town, especially since our 5 courses turned into 8 courses. Chef Tom Power stopped by to talk with us on our way out. He told me that he is originally from New Jersey, and after swapping Jersey Geography stories, he told us that the scallops come from southern New Jersey. I cannot recommend the tasting menu enough, as it gave us a great opportunity to sample several items on the menu, which included many items that I would not normally order. Thanks again to the staff at Corduroy for a wonderful experience.
  8. Speaking of, I ate there a few years ago, and sitting at the table next to me was Governor Mark Warner, who had only been in office for about three weeks.
  9. I'm headed to Corduroy for the first time on Saturday night. Besides the spring rolls, what's not to miss? Any wine suggestions that shouldn't be missed?
  10. Has anybody been to Picasso lately? I'm heading to LV in two weeks and I was fortunate to get reservations at Picasso for our one "splurge" meal. Does anybody have any recent experiences to share?
  11. Have you ever tasted a really bad wine and thought to yourself “nothing could be worse than this.” That is what I thought until I went through my mother’s wine “collection” yesterday. By “collection” I mean wines that people have given a non-drinker over the years. While I was visiting my family last weekend, she asked me to clear out the bad stuff from her collection. Boy, did I not realize what I got myself into. The highlights of the collection included a 1986 Jordan Chardonnay, whose cork was covered in mold, and a 1992 White Zinfandel (!), whose cork disintegrated in my hand. The smells emanating from these two bottles would have woken the dead. However, the one wine that I did sample was a 1994 Chardonnay that tasted like a combination of vinegar, Windex, and feet. Two cups of coffee and three breath mints later, I finally got the taste out of my mouth. I did grab 3 bottles from her collection that could either wind up being really good, or really awful (I’m guessing the latter, but this has become my version of Russian Roulette). Anyway, I figured the group here on eGullet would appreciate this.
  12. Nope - but I'd be interested to hear more. ← I used to work across the street from Taste of Saigon and regularly ordered the Black Pepper Chicken for lunch. I first heard about the Black Pepper Chicken from a friend who described it as "better than sex." It's not THAT good, but is still worth ordering.
  13. My wife and I braved "Valentine's Day Amateur Night" on Monday and had an All-Star meal at Firefly. We got to the restaurant about 30 minutes before our reservation and expected to wait in the bar area for a table. However, they were able to seat us right away. The restaurant offered a special Valentine's Day menu. However, between the menu on the website as well as this eGullet thread, we had pretty much decided what we wanted, so we stuck with the regular menu. My wife had the Crisp Oyster with Chipotle Tarter Sauce, which was good, but it was difficult to taste the oysters. I had the legendary Spring Rolls, which were terrific. Delicately fried with not a speck of grease, they got better with each bite. Oh, and that pork filling. Wow, was that good. Both appetizers were washed down with a couple of glasses of bubbly from Domaine Carneros. My wife's entree was the Grilled Mahi Mahi, which she really enjoyed. I ordered the Lamb Minute Steak, which I figured would be a good way to try the Mac & Cheese . The Mac & Cheese was good but that lamb rocked! I've never had lamb that was so flavorful, and it reminded me of the flat iron steak at RTS. This is the must-have dish at Firefly, and will certainly keep me coming back. Since there wasn't enough food already , we got an order of the Truffled Parmesan Frites, which were just as good as I have heard. Desserts did not disappoint either. I had the Bittersweet Chocolate Panna Cotta with Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies while my wife had the Red Wine Poached Pear accompanied by a glass of St. Suprey Moscato. Service throughout the evening was pleasant, courteous, and helpful. We left the restaurant extremely full and satisfied.
  14. Did anybody go to the grand opening of the Fairfax Wegman's on Sunday? I'm wondering if it was as much of a madhouse as the opening of the Sterling location.
  15. It is opening February 13. See link below: http://www.wegmans.com/news/flash/fairfaxG...home&dt=fairfax
  16. I've been to both the Arlington and Reston locations. Go for the cheese course, skip the main course, and go for the dessert fondue. Both your wallet and your stomach will thank you.
  17. Boulevard Woodgrill is probably your best bet. I haven't been there in over a year, but I remember having a tasty meatloaf there. It is also a very short walk from Iota. http://www.boulevardwoodgrill.com/
  18. My wife and I ate at Citronelle for the first time last week. I had high expectations for the restaurant and was not disappointed. Even the cheese straws that they serve in the bar were terrific and a sign of great things to come. We were fortunate enough to be seated at a table with a "birds-eye" view of the kitchen. Request this table when making a reservation! It was a terrific "dinner theatre" experience to watch the kitchen in action. Also, do not bother reading the wine list. We put our wine selections in Mark's hands and they were phenomenal. It was great to finally meet and chat with the legendary Mark Slater, who took great care of us the entire night. My wife's appetizer was the Tuna Napoleon Nicoise, which was (almost) too pretty to eat. She had the Squab with apple risotto for her entree. She enjoyed both tremendously. I ordered the Wild Mushroom Tart as my appetizer, which contained the meatiest mushrooms that I have ever eaten. I had the Venison with black cherry sauce as my entree. This was a delicious dish. The venison was great on its own. However, when combined with the black cherry sauce, it suddenly tasted like pepperoni (in a good way). It was really strange, but terrific nonetheless. The desserts were fantastic. I had the Chocolate Three Ways, which included the famous "Adult Kit Kat Bar". My wife had the Chocolate Flakes, which was a cereal bowl containing shards of chocolate with minty "milk" poured over it. Also in the bowl were essentially cocoa puffs on steroids; cocoa puffs cereal coated in additional chocolate. It was not what my wife was expecting when she ordered it, but she thought it was pretty good. Oh yeah, we also ordered the cheese course, which was terrific. I can't remember any of the cheeses, but I did enjoy them all. Thanks again to Mark for taking great care of us!
  19. I recently put together a lunch for about 20 people over at San Vito Italian Restaurant in Herndon. While we didn't have a private room, the food was really good. If you do a search on this board, you should see a couple of posts about the restaurant. Close to the hotel (but not within walking distance) is Euro Bistro in Herndon. They have a fairly eclectic menu that should be broad enough to satisfy a crowd. Within walking distance of the hotel is a Bertucci's restaurant. They might have a private room (if that is what you are looking for). I know you said that Asian food might be out, but next door to the hotel is Matsutake, which has several hibachi tables in the back of the restaurant, which could be fun for a large group.
  20. With praise like this, it is hard for me not to be excited about my first trip to Citronelle, which will be later this month! Is the "Kit Kat" bar on the menu?
  21. But how are their miniburgers? Actually, I have eaten at the Fair Lakes location a few times, mostly out of convenience. The burgers are ok - not bad, but not spectacular.
  22. NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  23. I am now cleaning the coffee off my computer screen after reading that one.
  24. I had the best steak of my life on Saturday night at RTS. The Flat Iron steak is f@ing brilliant! My wife had the hangar steak, which was just as good. At less than $20 each, which includes creamed spinach and mashed potatoes, it is one of the best deals in the area. The key lime pie was terrific as well. The only slight negative was that service was a bit absent-minded. Our wine did not come until well-after we got our appetizers, and it took a long time for our waiter to bring our check (probably about 15 minutes after he said he would bring it). He did put a full order of the spinach and potatoes in with my wife's leftovers, which was a nice touch. But those steaks! I want more! I need to get back there soon.....mmm.....steak.....
  25. Michael, My wife and I were in your restaurant Saturday night and loved the Flat Iron and Hangar steaks. Without giving away too many of your trade secrets, do you have any tips/advice for those that want to cook a steak at home? I've had some good success, however, my steaks taste like puppy chow compared to what we had at RTS Saturday night.
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