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Everything posted by EllenH

  1. I work in Georgetown so ventured to Cilantro for lunch, once, about 8 months ago. I have absolutely no recollection of what I ate, so at least it wasn't horrible! But I do remember that 1) the dining room was EMPTY except for my group, 2) I was unpleasantly surprised by the size of the check based on the food I'd put in my mouth, and 3) that if you ask for bottled water the waiter will bring you that amazingly expensive Norwegian stuff (Voss?). Talk about sticker shock! However the atmosphere was pleasant so that's something, right? I did think to myself as I was leaving the place, "well, never eating here again". Um, have fun?
  2. Sorry to hear that since August tends to bring low hotel prices and good dinner specials. Absolutely - I am going with my husband to a convention in N.O. in August -- found $83/night at the International House (!), mentioned earlier on this thread. Since I lived there for 8 years, I know what to expect & plan to spend my time slowly ambling, pausing often for iced cafe au lait, and picking up the pace when the sun goes down Edited to add: Also, not going in "summer" doesn't guarantee milder temperatures. Last time I was down, it was the end of October & got into the 90's every day. Granted, this is a bit abnormal, but you should be prepared for heat any time of year. Anyway, you'll be having so much fun you won't even notice
  3. Wow, talk about a blast from the past! I grew up in Newark DE and this is where my family would get all their booze. It's called "State Line" because it sits just this side of the state border with Delaware -- I'm not sure if Delaware's liquor laws are more restrictive than Maryland, but this is definitely the most popular place in the area to go. It is a VERY easy stop off I-95; get off at the Newark/Elkton exit (I think it's exit 109?) & follow the ramp for Newark. This will put you on Elkton Rd heading north, State Line is a couple stoplights up on the right. On a good day you can be there 90 minutes after leaving DC. I guess I will have to stop by on my next visit to my parents I didn't realize it was so "prestigious" (best in Philly and all that, whaddya know)
  4. I like Adega too, but mainly because I LOVE their Turkey Reuben! I think the selection has been low every time I'm in there; I've gotten some tasty stuff but usually it's kindof a crapshoot as to what they'll actually have on the shelf.
  5. Well, there's the Royal Mile in Wheaton. I know, not technically in DC but it's a nifty place & not a chain. There's a thread on here somewhere for it.
  6. Just got back from an early Valentine's dinner at Ten Penh. This was the 3rd time we've eaten there in the past year & I'm wondering if it's going a little....downhill? I dunno, but this was definitely the least exciting meal of the three. The atmosphere is as kitchy-Hong Kong-kool as ever, but I'm getting a little tired of sitting at that banquette next to the kitchen entrance. Those benches must have been designed with the larger/taller diner in mind, 'cause for a medium height thin woman they are aggravatingly uncomfortable! Way too much height between the banquette seat and the tabletop. The addition of a pillow requested halfway through the meal helped, but I still don't like to feel like a kid at the grown-ups table when I'm out on a date with my husband. For dinner, we had: Thai Chicken Coconut Mushroom Soup A very standard prepartion of a very standard...well, standard. Nice balance of lemongrass tartness with coconut sweetness, and the presentation is fun, inside a hollowed out coconut husk. Peking Style Duck Rolls in Moo-Shoo Wrappers w/ Hoisin This was one of those dishes I remember being wowed at in the past that didn't seem 100% on this time. The flavor was nice but the hoisin completely dominated the duck when I dipped the roll in it. Also the duck was a bit chewy and the mooshoo wrappers were very leathery which made them hard to cut through. Salmon with...a lot of stuff on top (the online menu is not up-to-date) on a bed of Shrimp Rissotto Good salmon that got overpowered with WAY too many condiments and a heavy hand with the sugar. There was some bright green sauce, something that seemed like crystallized shredded tangy something (citrus? lemongrass?), and then some shredded red strips. All of this on a bed of shrimp rissotto in a pool of hot pink sauce. I was surprised at how sweet this dish was, and by the time I finished felt like I'd already eaten dessert! Special - Sake Marinated MahiMahi on Oyster Mushrooms with Beets My husband got the special; this had the opposite "problem" of my salmon -- everything besides the fish was really yummy, but the fish itself was a little dry & bland, especially surprising considering it was marinated. Trio of Creme Brulee - Lemongrass, Coffee, Ginger Vanilla This, thankfully, was just as amazing as remembered. Pineapple Upsidedown Cake with Vanilla IceCream Also fabulous, clearly the desserts are still up to par. Service was polite and timely throughout. The meal above, plus 2 glasses wine and coffee, was about $120 including tax & tip. You know, one thing I constantly struggle with when deciding where to eat is weighing the chance to try a NEW restaurant that I've been hearing good things about, against indulging again in an old favorite that I feel confident will "deliver" on my expectations. Tonight was fun as a special occassion, but I'm left feeling a bit disappointed that a place I thought was a no-brainer failed to live up to previous experiences.
  7. Start with the hummus & finish with the Turkish Coffee Chocolate Cake In between order whatever looks good! Don't order everything you want at once. Pace yourself. Try the exotic cocktails. Have fun!
  8. How about TenPenh? Walking distance of the hotel, good seafood, and a nice lively atmosphere. Might be pushing it budget-wise but you could look up a menu online & see...
  9. Chocolate!? Two, three, four and five ways. ← Yum - memories My mom is from just outside Cincinnati, and I remember trips to Skyline when we'd go to visit her family. Coincidentally, I just made my family's Cinci chili recipe for a Super Bowl party! We've doctored the spices a little & use steak cubes but it's still the same animal, handed down from my grandmother. There is nothing better than a big bowl of CC on top of spaghetti with some shredded cheese The chocolate confusion might be because it's a little sweeter than Texas/southern chili. Mine uses sugar, also allspice and cumin (among other things).
  10. What a great thread! Not really the one to read while eating lunch tho.... Anyway, my most recent strange meal was New Year's Eve at a buddy's house. His girlfriend is Japanese, and she has cooked us some AWESOME food in the past -- always Japanese food though. This time, she decided to do some "american" stuff, all snack food. Laid out on the table, it was beautiful. The strange part was the way everything tasted -- she had gotten the "look" right but nothing had the right flavor! Guacamole Bright, almost radioactive green. Turned out to be nothing but onions coated in a very thin layer of smooshed avocado. No other discernible seasoning. Salsa Actually worse than Pace from a jar. She told me at one point that she had added three times the salt the recipe called for! Egg Salad (?) Hardboiled eggs, chopped. Diced onion. Milk. Ranch salad dressing from a bottle. I had a lot of chips and beer that night. Now, in order to remove some of the guilt I feel for posting the above, I submit the worst dinner I've prepared for guests: Decided to serve a group of 6 people individual fish packets (you know, where the fish is wrapped in foil with liquid, seasoning, chopped veggies etc). Baked all of them at the same time; unfortunately, once we all started eating, it quickly became clear that my oven doesn't bake evenly! Ended up microwaving 2 of the plates of unintentional sushi I had served my guests. Total embarassment.
  11. I finally tried Cafe Atlantico tonight for dinner! And man, was it good The space is pretty nifty -- there are three levels of dining, all open to each other vertically. We were seated in the nosebleeds at the top, however next time around I would likely request the middle tier, where you have a view both above & below you. Also our table was right next to the hallway to the restrooms, and the bright flourescent lighting kinda detracted from the atmosphere Our server was fantastic; Michelle (I have my credit card receipt in front of me) was friendly, knowledgeable, and always appeared at just the right moment. Finally of course the FOOD -- ahhhhh...... Conch Fritters - so divine. A beautiful rectangular glass plate held a precise row of 4 golden fritters paired with 4 little translucent dumpling purses filled with avocado. Fritter eaten alone - warm, crispy, meaty rich seafood morsels with liquid centers. Dumpling eaten alone - delicate smooth avocado. Fritter + Dumpling = embarassing moans of ecstasy, causing heads at other tables to turn Special Salad - honeydew, microgreens, citrus, salmon roe. This was husband's choice and I'm not sure what made him order it....not his type of dish AT ALL. He ate most of it except the roe. I tasted it, found the flavor combination to be a little bizarre. Far outclassed by my fritters. This was the only off-note of the meal (and "off" only in that we aren't salmon roe folks). Seared Salmon on Cauliflower/Quinoa "Cous Cous" - big chunk of beautiful pink fish. Rare on the inside -- flavor was perfect. When I first starting eating this, I thought "well this is a little bland - like spa food" but the more I ate the better it tasted. Cauliflower and quinoa provided a really good nutty-flavored base, plus had caramelized onions hiding in it; salmon was topped with...diced pomegranate? can't remember. Also more wonderful avocado on the side to give every bite an extra richness. Grilled Portabello w/ cheese & beets - hubby's choice. He is a mushroom freak & cleaned his plate. I had a bite & was pretty impressed; usually I'm not much on fungi that are as large as my face, but this was tasty. Gooey strings of melted cheese made it really decadent; beets were a nice & unexpected addition (especially after all the goat-cheese salads I've seen them on lately!). Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Flan, Banana Foam, Banana-Lime Salad - as good as it sounds. The fraternal twin to Turkish Coffee Chocolate Cake at Zaytinya. Rich chocolate cake cylinder w/ molten center is the same, but accessorized differently. Fabulous! Drinks - mohito (husband) and a glass of Chilean Shyraz (me). Sorry can't remember the name of the wine but it's the only chilean shyraz by the glass on there. Both just dandy. $100, including tax & tip, pretty good deal! More than we usually spend at Jose's other two in the neighborhood (Jaleo, Zaytinya) but obviously a restaurant on the next "tier" (or whatever you want to call it) above those. I wouldn't hesitate to steer anybody in Cafe Atlantico's direction.
  12. During my "starving student year" in Scotland, I discovered that a common British delicacy was the "Chip Buttie" [sp?] -- a pile of french fries (JUST french fries) on a roll. Add brown sauce for that extra gourmet touch. The Pittsburgh version with steak & cheese plus the fries sounds much yummier
  13. wow, you used a good single malt in that concoction?? And back to the Dr. Pepper theme, I remember one drink at my fave college bar -- a hefty mug of beer (the cheaper the better) with a shot, I think of bourbon, lit on fire & dropped in. Object was to down the entire mug at one gulp. Called a Flaming Dr. Pepper, somebody apparently thought that's what it tastes like? Tried it once, decided I prefered my beer and bourbon to mix in my stomach, not out of it
  14. In the same vein as MarketStEl.....drive 90 minutes up I-95 to Newark Delaware. Go to Cappriotti's on Main Street. Order Italian sub. Also do yourself a favor & get a Capastrami (pastrami, capacola, coleslaw, russian dressing, cheese) and a Bobby (turkey, stuffing, cranberry, mayo).
  15. Tried to go to Jackie's On a Whim on Tuesday, couldn't even get a seat at the bar ! (on a Tuesday!) Watched Amazing Race instead. Tonight is Christmas with the in-laws, and tomorrow is the slow crawl up 95 to Delaware to visit Mom & Pop EllenH for the weekend. Happy Holidays, everyone!
  16. I bet you're right! I grew up in DE & still visit my parents regularly up there. Sometimes I post about DE restaurants on this forum (most recently my visit to Deep Blue in early November), but I think the Delaware crowd (especially northern DE) identifies with Philly much more than DC -- go Eagles!!
  17. Hmmm, so only the metro city limits count for dining around here? Guess that's why 2 of the most recent restaurants that Sietsema reviewed were in Silver Spring MD (Mandalay & Jackie's)
  18. Just went to the Royal Mile for the 1st time, what a pleasant place to be on a wintry December evening! The place was full so we had a chance to sit at the bar for a few minutes. Very friendly bartender; beer selection is okay, scotch selection is great! We were seated in front of the fireplace and proceeded to stuff ourselves with comfort food -- I had the Beef & Guinness Pie (tender beef & potato chunks, really thick flavorful broth topped with a big square of puffy pastry) and shared the very nice, and very HUGE, pear/apple/goat cheese salad with Mr. EllenH. He had one of the specials, an individual oven dish (what are those called?) of pork & apple stew. Veggie side was really fresh steamed asparagus. Couldn't resist dessert, Chocolate Truffle Layer Cake...didn't taste quite as stellar as the name, was a bit dry. But the Craganmore I had along with it made up for that! The atmosphere was just what you'd want from a place called the Royal Mile Pub Tartan scarves hung on the wall, crackling fireplace, friendly service, and warm yummy food. We'll be back.
  19. Just picked up a bottle of Bowmore 12yr. and Balvenie 12yr. Double Wood at Potomac Wine & Spirits on M St & ...30th? I think? Anyway, small selection but decent -- yesterday they had a bunch of Glens, Lagavullin, Talisker, Laphroig, Tobermory, Tomintoul, Craganmore, Highland Park and probably a couple others I'm forgetting, plus the ones I got.
  20. I definitely agree, I'm used to getting everything "medium-spicy" here so I missed that zip last night. However the flavors were amazing as always! My favorite of the dishes I've not tried before was the tofu; the bitter-melon was the only thing I put in my mouth that I'd rather not have It was nice to meet folks & put faces with names, and a big thank-you to Malawry for her organizational prowess!
  21. I was at the Brick last night with a bunch of library students who were bitching about the organization of the beer menu What was really annoying was that this is the time of year for seasonal stuff, and yet about 75% of the SEASONAL that we tried to order was out! I mean, is it really that hard to buy one month's worth of beer?? I was happy though, as I got to sip a lovely Belhaven St. Andrew's with my forgettable fish-n-chips.
  22. I took an out-of-town friend to Zaytinya Saturday night for dinner, as I think it is one of the most fun/hip places to eat & drink without breaking the bank, plus the beautiful space always provokes a "wow" response from a first timer. The food was great as usual; highlights for me included wild mushrooms with walnut sauce and a divinely rich lamb shank...other plates were tasty but those 2 stood out this visit. Turkish coffee chocolate cake is always amazing! But, like smayman, the service was the rough spot...our server was fairly attentive during the meal despite getting stuck with the huge middle table (one big party celebrating a birthday); but when it came time to get the check we sat, and sat, and sat, and sat............... I don't think this problem is unique to Zaytinya though, as it seems like the post-eating, pre-paying portion of dinner is the SLOWEST in many DC restaurants. Maybe the idea is to give people time to relax after eating, but I'd much rather have a timely check delivered with a comment to take as long as I'd like or some such.
  23. My initial comment about heat levels wasn't an effort to get everything to be mild...I'm more in favor of an even split - some mild, some medium, some hot. With 6 entrees, that'd be two each; so this doesn't get TOO complicated I'd say go with 2 of Al_Dente's requests for the hots....maybe the shrimp & noodles medium and the other 2 mild?
  24. Hey guys, not to be a complete wimp or anything, but could I request an even distribution between "medium" heat and "spicy/extra spicy"? I like some zip to my food but don't want to be crying "oh no!" after taking a bite of the PaZun OhnNoh Hin [oh no, "ohnNoh", heh-heh......sorry]
  25. I'm in for 2 with Mr. Ellen - yum!!!!
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