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Everything posted by Nadya

  1. A deep wistful sign from someone who has been confined to vile Chilean swill for the last few weeks. Will work for a nice glass of pinot.
  2. JoeH, no offense meant to you or anyone else. When I wrote "you", of course, what I meant was "If ONE has time to write a lengthy post, ONE has time to read through 11 pages." It was not directed at you specifically. Please chalk it off my command of English that's not up to the native level yet (being a stranger in this country and all.) I regret hurting any feelings. Content-wise, I stand by what was said.
  3. I find CH laid out in a way that I would describe as "incredibly amateurish and incompetent." To compare it to eG is simply unkind to the designers of CH and I would object to them even being mentioned in the same list of online resources. It takes forever for a page to load. You have to go back who knows how many pages that you have to look through, increasing your optometric bills in the future, no doubt, to locate something even remotely relevant. The list goes on and on. I used to read CH before I found eG. I don't read CH anymore because it causes me too much aggravation and a bout of carpal syndrome. I would argue that having 11 pages on the same restaurant is a benefit. Don't like reading through 11 pages? Tough cookies to you. What's with this obsession with instant gratification? If you have time to write a lengthy post, you have time to read through 11 pages. If you want to bring up being rushed from a table at a particular restaurant, guess what? You can start a topic on being rushed from tableS at restaurantS and comment to your heart's delight. Besides, if you are unfamiliar with the restaurant, it gives you very nice background. I've never eaten at Firefly, but I can easily name three dishes they have on the menu, courtesy of the extralong thread. But then again, I like to read
  4. Funny you should mention it....here in the Caribbean provinces, Brazilian quisine is just that: stuffing yourself with lotsa meat. You get your condiments, and then a strapping fellow makes rounds of the place with dripping skewers of beef, pork, chicken, and just cuts you a piece of whatever you point at. Oddly enough, the place is called La Churrascaria or suchlike. Takes casual dining to a whole new level. But you know what? I'll take this over fish stupid chips and club stupid sandwich at a hotel stupid restaurant any day. Off to gnaw some protein ,
  5. "There are other groups that provide a sense of community to chefs in the area: There's an informal one known as the Family that meets on Saturday nights, and is smaller and younger than this chefs' club. Some of that group's members also belong to the chefs' club. " Ay, mamita linda...I blush.
  6. Don't be dissin' ESL. It's definitely a classier way to while away an evening with progressive music and beautiful people where hearing each other is still a possibilty. A plus is that you actually need to know where it is to get there, so it's low on the clueless. Cover of $10 (or $0 if you are a girl) kicks in around 10 pm.
  7. Komi is becoming an answer to so many things. Want a romantic evening where fabulous food and wine make you swoon in delight? Go to Komi. Want to catch up with a girlfriend with dinner and drinks being a quiet compliment to the conversation? Go to Komi. Want to break a non-foodie friend into what good food is REALLY like? Go to Komi. Want to experience a meal that honestly makes you wish your stomach was twice as big so that you can enjoy dish no. 7 as much as dish no. 1? Komi is the answer. Last Friday, yet again, Sebastian and Johnny kicked arse. The dining room was packed and booming, and it's great to see a place so deserving of being busy actually being busy. Amuse of mushroom capuccino soup just enough to tease and prepare for the goodies to come. Smooth texture, very slight taste of yoghurt. Homemade box o'crackers that is a delight in itself. Particularly like the fennel, slightly sweet ones and can easily imagine making a meal out of them for the carb-unconsious. Salmon pastrami with grainy mustard (?) on triangles of homemade crackers. First piece wolfed down, second piece treasured and admired. Marinated yellowtail with capers, fingerling potato chips and smooth dip (creamy with a hint of chickpeas?) Adorable presentation that makes the whole thing workable. Beautiful slivers of fish and unexpected combinations of flavors that are right for each other. Now for actual appetizers (and you thought that was above? wrong, wrong, wrong.) Crispy fried sardines with spinach spiked with pine seeds and raisins (I think.) Did I detect curry in the sardine batter? Oysters with creme fraiche and smidge of caviar, best presentation in town that involves a block of ice and a snow white napkin, and very satisfying slurping. Mains: Ribeye steak for my friend, day boat scallops for me. (This is the time when I began to wish for doubled capacity of stomach.) I was only able to enjoy the steak by looking because there is no way I could even try that AND do justice to my scallops. It looked beautiful, pink juicy slices...mmm. My scallops were one of these dishes where you love the main and the garnish equally. They came on a bed of quinoa, dates and something green (chard?) fashioned into a narrow rectangular strip on which beautiful plump scallops were set. Loved the sweetness of quinoa against the scallops, loved the texture, loved the taste. Desserts by this time were an exercise in pure gluttony, but right now, staring at my Campbell's can of soup for lunch, I think of them very longingly. Apple crisp with blue cheese ice cream and caramelized banana sliced on homemade graham crackers. (Komi now has a pastry chef, Robert Underwood.) Loved the kick of blue cheese on apple crisp, what a delightful twist on a traditional combo. In my mind, Komi has firmly become a showcase for quiet, sophisticated, non-flashy QUALITY in everything it does - food, service, ingredients, presentation, and decor. Nothing here is designed to floor you in the first second, but as you settle into your dinner experience, you can't help but notice this unrelenting attention to every detail on and off your plate that translates into a first-rate experience. (In figure skating, there is a term "polish" applied to skaters who not simply do their elements, but carry them through in every detail: stretched legs, pointed toes, arched spines and immaculate carriage...as in, "she is a very polished skater." These skaters make it look easy but their concentration does not flag for one moment. Very hard to do and quite effective. Well, Komi is a very polished restaurant. ) I can't say enough about how great the food is from start to finish, from sourcing of ingredients to unexpected combos of flavors and just overall respect of good taste. My ardent hope is that a place with so much goodness in it continues to prosper happily ever after.
  8. The bar at Bis last night was moderately full and getting a seat was definitely not out of the realm of possibility. I suppose tonight would be no different, because last night was really a warm-up act for V-day. Showing up early (like 5.30 to 6.30) would definitely maximize your chances. Latish would work too (9 pm onwards.)
  9. I've always been fond of High Noon catering. Also, Red Sage has a catering arm that delivers pretty good stuff.
  10. Two things: 1. I do believe lamb meatball calzone may have been hiding but only briefly, as I distinctly recall filching a few bites from the plate of my unsuspecting friend no more than a month ago. (When the snow has fallen.) Man, were they a source of juicy goodness. 2. What do you do to your baby to keep him quiet throughout your meal? (If it's legal, of course.) This is not the first time you mention it, so if there is a patent method in play here, there's big bucks to be made by sharing it, at a reasonable price, with scream-averse parents worldwide.
  11. I trust the meat in the burger was Wagyu (Kobe) beef. Did you avail yourself of a 1/2 priced bot of vino? ← It was. I did. See edited post above..
  12. Another wonderfully satisfying dinner at Mendocino. Take this from a genuine, formerly hamburger-hatin' Rude Euro - I say onto all of y'all red-blooded Americans that Mendocino's version with oregon truffles, smoked fontina (I think) and sweet pickled onions on toasted brioche can be legitimately branded a weapon of mass conversion for my kind. The way all the ingredients come together in your mouth in a juicy, satisfying, flavorful mass, is just a joy and delight. If anyone told me five years ago that I would willingly pay $22 for a burger, I would have called the cops...but not anymore. Black bean and bacon soup did not disappoint, either. Finished up with the beatiful cranberry cobbler with cinnamon ice cream and went home very happy and tipsy - but forgot the important part about the half-price wine Sundays! We had a gorgeous Stuhlmuller Vineyards 2000 Cab sauvignon that was light, fragrant and incredibly tasty (what a childish way to describe wine, but "tasty" popped immediately in my mind when I took a swig, and I'm not holding it back.) I can't wait to be back.
  13. We hit Vidalia last Saturday for a tasting menu to use a gift certificate that management magnanimously bestows on us every Christmas. It's good for either Vidalia or Bis, and seeing as I can eat at Bis anytime I want at employee prices, I usually pick Vidalia. I haven't been in a while and was anxious to check out the new chef, R. J. Cooper. Amuse guele: an espresso-sized butternut squash soup teaser with a hint of curry. Very smooth and not overly creamy, which is a big deal for me. And so I begin. Heirloom Beet and Seafood Terrine with frisee, hazelnuts, truffled goat's cheese and blood orange emulsion. A very clean and streamlined dish that is easy to appreciate. The goat's cheese in particular was rish and melty. Paired with Gruner Veltliner, Hiedler, Austria '03. Dry Vermouth and Oyster Soup with saffron, smoked bacon, fried oysters, crisp celery and pink peppercorn dust. Once again, my dislike of cream-based stuff disappeared when faced with this artful preparation. Really strong flavor of saffron, paper-thin slice o'bacon that you can peer through, crispy sprig of celery and two hefty but delicately crumbed oysters on the bottom. Really enjoyable. Paired with Garganega/Chardonnay, Anselmi San Vincenzo, Italy '03. Next came the star of the evening to which all other dishes must bow. Heirloom Peppercorn Crusted Swordfish with a ragout of beluga lentils, red wine braised beef short ribs, aromatic vegetables and black trumpet mushroom consomme. All ingredients work together beautifully to deliver a kick-ass taste and smell. Who would have though to combine short ribs and swordfish in one recipe? A nicely grilled juicy piece of swordfish rests on a bed of lentils mixed with fork-tender braised tendrils of ribs, and the entire business was surrounded by a generous splash of a perfectly clear consomme with tiny flakes of trumpets. I oohed and aahed until it was gone. This was a major delight, and I would gladly order it off the regular menu. Paired with St. Laurent, Sattle, Austria '03. Satiation was setting in when the next dish came. Wisconsin Grain-Fed Prime Beef Delmonico with peruvian sweet onion compote, watercress, heirloom carrots, bone marrow croquettes and bitter chocolate-red wine glace. I wish I was hungrier to better appreciate this hearty, studly dish. I really enjoyed the thick onion compote that almost a creamy consistency and were it not for the rules that govern behavior of young ladies in fine restaurants, that glace would have been licked clean from my plate. Apart from a nicely prepared beef, the delight of this dish for me came from bone marrow croquettes. So airy, delicate, sweet-flavored and viscous in your mouth once you penetrate an impossibly thin layer of crumbs. I would gladly order a basket of this for my regular meal. It's protein, no?? Paired with Cab Sauvignon, Provenance, Napa Valley'02. Warm Granny Smith Apple Turnover with cinnamon stick ice cream and cider reduction. Just a really good, well-done take on the old classic. Paired with Baumard, Coteau De Layon, Chenin Blanc Loire '03. I was glad to see that the new chef is settling in so well and delivers beautiful and well-composed plates that are a delight to the stomach and the nose. Do go and check him out. Don't forget to confer with sommelier and manager Mike Navarrez, who stopped by our table frequently to deliver amusing tidbits, witty conversation and dead-on wine comments. This man knows his grapes. Thanks to RJ, Mike and the waitress (Reina? this must be misspelled) for a wonderful evening. P.S. Cannot believe that forgot to mention their bread basket!!!! Oh, the cornbread and focaccia, so creamy, so rich, so crumbly. One is in serious danger on filling up on these (come with butter and sweet onion marmalade) before the real ammo arrives. And it's not like I don't know what's coming, but time and again I keep falling into the focaccia trap. If these babies were replenished during the meal, I would seriously consider filching them and bringing them home in my purse.
  14. Chocolate sabayon...wow...is it possible to salivate with your mouth full o'coffee?
  15. I can hear the world's tiniest violin playing in the background... And it's a chatter deprived of hot chocolate crying bitter tears as he stumbles out of Ray's. Love the subtle "get a clue" response from Tom. Love it love it.
  16. Upstairs at Red Sage? They also have a catering/carryout counter. Half plates o'pasta at Tosca?
  17. I've never had to tell someone that they have to leave after X minutes - house policy. However, my fabulous GM has a trick that he employs on these very rare occasions when the guests really kind of have to leave. In other words, "they be slow." He, an immaculately groomed, tailored and dignified-looking gentleman in his forties, would slowly stroll past the table, and while he is still in their view, but not directly in front of them, would take a look at his watch. The look is impeccably timed to be neither a fleeting glance nor a eye-popping stare. It is a kind of look that you would give someone you are flirting with across the room...three seconds too long and then avert gaze with a smile, looking down. Disclaimer: Does not work if guests at said table are completely loaded. It tends to work with those who are still somewhat conscious and alert. Otherwise, waiters have a few tricks to make the lingerers feel like they ought to get going. Bring the check. Collect the check. Clear everything that can be cleared from the table. And from then on, it's a waiting (no pun intended) game of who would come to their senses sooner.
  18. I've never actually seen either of them together or apart. So I'm still not sure I believe either exists. But I do get a lot out of their insights into DC dining. Although one is a little more twisted than the other - or maybe just one of them has a better editor. ← Ah, but how do you know that there's two? There is a reason they are never seen together, you know. Maybe Rocks IS Sietsema?
  19. Well, seeing as caviar is a food staple in the land of Chaikovsky and Baryshnikov, innit, perhaps checking out The Russian Gourmet in McLean and Rockville may be an option. I've never been to either so would not know the prices, etc.
  20. A quickie report on Mendocino Grill for dinner last night. We arrived literally one minute before they stop seating and I really appreciated that they didn't give us a hard time. Almost all menu items were available for RW selections with a couple of upcharges on both appetizer and entree list. Olive fritters with goat cheese stuffing and boar sausage for appetizers. Fritters were an interesting dish; I wouldn't order it again but I am glad I had it and satisfied my curiosity. The combination of green olive, stuffing and lemony aioli sauce was a bit too salty for my taste; quite tasty but just a tad too much salt. I don't know if there's a way to avoid that based on the ingredients involved, perhaps that's how it's supposed to taste. Or maybe I need to smoke more before getting this, they say it makes you taste less salt. The boar sausage, on the other hand, was outstanding, gamy, rich and glorious, and the aroma had me almost in tears. Bouillabaisse-type fish stew (with a wild assortment of seafood ingredients from which scallops were curiously but most conveniently missing as one of us was allergic to them) and gnocchi with sundried tomatoes and squash for entrees. Both were the sort of great, flavorful, down-home good, happy-to-pay-regular-price, rich dishes that give you comfort on a chilly night, make you wipe the plate with bread, and believe that life generally is quite wonderful. Coffee flan and banana upside-down cake for dessert. Too full to be giddy with delight, but certainly quite serviceable dishes. Real winner: half-price wine program on Sunday nights that even a wine ignoramus like myself can appreciate. And now that my stupid rink canceled the Sunday night session, I am very ready to make Mendocino my Sunday night hangout. Finally, a worthy alternative to two hours of skating. A great meal with very generous RW selections, wonderful service (friendly and knowledgeable) and tasty wine. Everybody wins.
  21. I would recommend always making your reservations by calling the restaurant (not during service hours, of course.) If you had to do it via OpenTable, calling to confirm is a great idea. They do get lost occasionally - not very often at all, but it's been known to happen. Just please don't call during dinner or lunch service. Call around 3 or 4 pm.
  22. Gastro, this may be the root of the OT problem (based on our own experience): OpenTable client-end programs installed at the terminals at every participating restaurant are programmed to accommodate a finite number of parties of finite size, i.e. X no. of parties of 5, X no. of deuces and so on. So once they are booked, the restaurant system will show no more available slots. However, it happens often that people who make reservations override the system and force more bookings into that list because they think they can swing it, or because they don't know what they are doing, or because they want to accommodate a regular customer, or for any other given reason. So now the system shows more entries that it has been originally programmed to contain. THEN, in the event of any cancellations (and usually there are at least a few), the system will show available slots, when the restaurant is in fact fully booked numbers-wise, because the canceled bookings that should not have been there in the first place are now empty. These empty slots are released to the OpenTable server and therefore to any online bookings. This was probably why you managed to snag a res. To counter that, we have been manually blocking any cancellations we receive so that no open slots show up in OpenTable and no additional online bookings can be made. The fact that the restaurant promised to honor your res despite being fully booked means that they were probably not immediately on top of blocking slots that become available due to cancellations. Hopefully someone there is doing it right now.
  23. I'd lend you mine but eight of twelve months are stuck together. ← I never knew you swing that way, lovechunks :)
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