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Everything posted by Nadya

  1. I actually think Tom has a fair degree of diversity in his recommendations, not only in DC proper for 20008 zipcode snobs like me, but for larger Washington area as well. I also don't see how recommending a place equals promoting it, unless an untoward amount of gushing is involved. He has to recommend SOME place, no?
  2. Ooh, that was good. On a Chinese topic, my friend and I have a tradition of a Christmas brunch at my place, and two years ago I was driving frantically across town and the only places that were open were little Vietnamese- and Korean-run corner stores. Never was I so happy to see one open. On a related subject, Bis, I think, will be open on the 25th. Last year we closed early - around 8 pm. I should find out shortly.
  3. I've always been impartial to the Town and Country bar in Mayflower. Not a big fan of hotel bars per se, but they are across the street from where I used to work, and along with Filene's, delivered many rounds of stress relief from mean bosses. Nice bartender, old club-style padded leather chairs, and nut mix do not suck.
  4. The reason that the restaurant people are, as you say, falling down to defend BdC is not that the red carpet is being rolled out the second one of us walks in; if anything, the male members of that dysfunctional group get an extra helping of profanity on their hanger steaks. And coming from behind the host stand, let me tell you that you never get superspecial service by announcing yourself as a big wig. If you have to introduce yourself, you are probably not that special anyway. It's just that BdC had, personally, been good to me on many occasions. Not by way of fabulous food, not by way of precious service, but by way of providing a comfortable, pressure-free environment. Such as letting me sit at the bar on Sunday night with a friend long after closing time as Michel and Co. tipped out and started their poker game - just because we didn't feel like wrapping the conversation just yet. Such as letting me yell Russian jokes to a waitress across the room. Such as providing a place where I can let loose and get silly outside of the rules that govern behavior of young ladies in public places, and feel completely comfortable doing it. This is why I, personally, feel the urge to support the joint. And getting serviceable food after 11 pm doesn't hurt, either. Fero, I'm sorry you had a bad experience, I am not negating what you said at all. Give them another chance, maybe?
  5. You don't have to be a late-shift restaurant insider to have an itch that BdC scratches so well. This is my method of enjoying it (one of the many): Go practice ice-skating for two hours on a cold hard ice. Fall, get up, fall, get up, get frustrated. Drive back to the city cursing yourself and the day you decided to pick up this ridiculous, money-draining hobby. Walk your sore, chilly, bruised, desperate bum through BdC's door at, like, half hour before midnight. Get a warm plate of foie gras with potatoes and apples. Get a glass of riesling or two. Feel loads better, warmer, and more hopeful that next time, you'll do much better. Go home and sleep like a baby. Where else can I get this?
  6. Like every place on the face of the universe, BdC has its good sides and its bad sides. The main reason I love it and keep coming back (apart from it being two blocks away from Chez Nadya = ability to stumble home in the most unseemly condition) is an utter lack of pretense. Are there places with better food, better service, better ambience in the same zipcode? Absolutely. But you know, BdC does not pretend to be a culinary mecca, nor a temple of Michelin-correct service, and even less so a showcase of Adamstein & Demetriu's best practices. When I walk into BdC by myself or with my peeps (and this was the case even before I knew who Michel was), I know exactly what I am going to get. I don't expect anything other than a bistro experience, bistro food or a bistro ambience. And that works just fine for me in Washington, where pretense and artifice is often the name of the game. But then again, I enjoy a round of healthy, rowdy banter with the waitstaff. People who don't may have a lesser time.
  7. With all the sissy-poo variations on the burger theme, it's only a matter of time before someone serves a Hamburger, Deconstructed. It will be served on a fancy oblong or flat square plate and consist of artfully placed piles. The chef will insist that piles are located at least two inches away from each other at any direction. Piles will consist of the following: 1. Two halves of brioche buns leaned or stacked against each other in manner of cross-thatch roof. 2. Matchstick or julienned pickles (of course, organic, picked by virgins, pickled by an ancient Tribe of Picklers, bottled in Murano, Italy using Venetian glass blowers). 3. A carefully measured and weighted octagon (or star) shaped beef patty featuring cleverly spaced miniscule holes so that juices will surface with an aesthetically pleasing pattern and timing. Don't ask how it is done. Done is out. 4. A trail of mustard, ketchup or zippy aoil weaving around said piles in geometrically perfect squares, triangles and circles. Requests for additional toppings (morels, camembert, foie gras, glue essence) will be met with icy glares from staff and hysterical screams from the kitchen, and constitute grounds for automatic ejection of customers from the establishment.
  8. No substitutions, I imagine? What if I want an entire jar of my autographed Grey Poupon instead of nondescript ke-chump? Will I be mocked out of the house and placed on the nongrata list?
  9. Now, if only someone 'fessed up on where one may find real, true-blue pirogi in Washington for a nostalgic Russian soul who doesn't want to bother herself with whipping up dough and watching over it as if it were an unruly baby. And I want the real down-home, mommy-comfort good thing, not a gentrified pussyfooting flaky-finger-food bite-size nonsense that The Russia House peddles under the real name. The bastards...
  10. One of the greatest things about these spring rolls is that they're so damn tight. If the filling squirts out in the hand of an excited eater, he can just put it right back in and keep on eatin'. They seem more cigar or taquito like in rollmanship. Tight. ← Dammit, girl, I KNEW the spring roll discussion will get out of hand. But I do agree, loosey-goosey spring rolls are an abomination...when you keep on biting and biting, and all you can taste is fried-cardboard-like shell with a few tendrils of sloppily fried cabbage. Not the Power missiles - these are tight and bursting with juicy goodness.
  11. Here I am, sitting here on a Friday after T'giving, NOT hungover, NOT bloated, in the office!!! What is wrong with this picture, I beg of you? But having a wonderful time explaining to the locals that "Thanksgiving...es grande holiday de estomago for Norteamericanos por mucho eating. Thanksgiving, yea man. " But miss Syrah very much. Also dark chocolate.
  12. And I am thinking of going next door to the Indian fast food place, getting some chicken stew with potatoes and green beans, two million bottles of water...and THEN going swimming and getting some sun. Ain't life grand.
  13. As I happen to be slumming it in the hinterlands of the Caribbean, working own arse off, I will be thank(less) and definitely giving less. Probably eating something boiled within an inch of its life, as believe me, eating anything that hasn't met boiling water here just like having a good smear of malaria on your toast = gustatory wasteland. Have a drumstick for me. Loud sob. Egulleteers are starving down there. When I come back....look out, calories. I SHALL have the last word.
  14. Last night, Corduroy. As I type this in my less-than-perfectly alert state, the feeling that lingers is comfort, warmth and happiness that can only be found when your palate is indulged with good food, your heart with good company of friends, and your bottom with a comfortable bar stool. Started off with spring rolls. Whoever said they are the Ron Jeremy of spring rolls, you are right - regarding the length. The girth, I don't know. But how perfect this juicy filling, this crispiness, and the sauce with just enough bite. Nice wine, too, 1999 Syrah (from Marietta? California? right? - all is blurred), strong floral taste. Rissa fixed us with some pretty good chardonnay, too - thank you, darling. But the highlight of the evening was chocolate sabayon. I went for bread pudding as was my original intention, and mdt orderd sabayon. The bread pudding was great, don't get me wrong, it's just that nothing, and I do mean, NOTHING, can be better than a well-done dark chocolate dessert. And the spoonfuls that the kind person mdt let me have still have me swooning. It's THAT good. Dark, moist, melting, rich, everything that a chocolate dessert should be, and I want it Right Now. We didn't leave till close to midnight, only to migrate to Citronelle for a nightcap riesling - but that's a story for another time. If I have one night like this a week for the rest of my life, I will never have to have a therapist. What a great send-off.
  15. My vote for Best Value For Any Single Food Item in all of Washington must go to Corduroy's Filipino Spring Rolls during Happy Hour. From 4-7 PM at the bar only, these things are FOUR DOLLARS, and even at the regular price of six dollars, it's Free Giveaway City. During lunch only, they offer two rolls for five dollars in the restaurant. General Manager Rissa Pagsibigan is the impetus behind these spring rolls: it's her mom's own recipe, executed at the hands of the master Tom Power. Rissa told me that her mom comes in periodically and berates Tom if things aren't exactly as they're supposed to be ('You need to chop the water chestnuts a bit smaller!'). Between Rissa and Ferhat (our own fero style), Corduroy's FOH is becoming a huge strength. Next time you go in, congratulate Rissa on being one of only eight women to be invited in 2004 to join the Washington chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier. We've all had spring rolls a million times, but I'll go out on a bamboo shoot and say that I don't think I've ever had any that are better than these. Cheers! Rocks. P.S. Try the pistachio bread pudding, made with brioche! ← I wonder how many orders of these we will go through at HH today.... And thanks for the tip on one of my favorite desserts. ← Bread pudding, my favorite thing in the world...will be consumed tonight. Had to eat a pathetic knockoff at company potluck yesterday and must have the real thing pronto before I jet off to a no-pudding land.
  16. The place never looked appealing to me, either.
  17. I'll try to be there by 8 pm or so as I will be saying a long goodbye to my gym.
  18. What I wanna know is....how do YOU know so well what all of these options are? And what the proper compensation should be? And where all the little alleys run to? Hmmmm....
  19. Madam's Organ is often dissed for no reason. What most don't realize is that above the noise and grunge of the first floor, there is actually a second and a third floor made of cozy if shabby separate rooms with bars in most of them. With, like, fireplaces (I think) and wingback chairs. The vibe there is that of a British B&B that fell on hard times...or had a child with a biker bar. Very Adams Morgan and great for b-day parties - if you have more than 50 guests and want to run after midnight.
  20. Nadya

    Poor Service

    Ohhh, the gift certificates. Ahhh, the gift certificates. And the use thereof to address customer satisfaction dilemmas. A month ago or so a party of 14 dined with us. According to the recollection of the floor manager, they seemed fine, and did not complain at all while they were in. Next Wednesday, Sietsema's chat featured a long complaint from that same party (easy to figure out because how many parties of 14 can dine at the same place on the same night) about the food, the service, the ambience, the service - the whole shebang. The entire FOH and BOH staff gets the what for from the management. Our GM contacted the host of the party and after a telephone con, sent him a nice letter of apology and a gift certificate for two. Yesterday a couple came in brandishing the same gift certificate (with the letter attached, to boot). Obviously, all kinds of fuss happens over them. Manager visits, service extraordinaire, comments entered in OpenTable...you name it. Upon departure, we inquire tremulously..."how was it this time? how did you enjoy your dinner? was the service to your satisfaction?" Blank stare. More smiles. More stares. "This time? this is our first time here." "Oh, the gift certificate. Some friends gave it to us for our anniversary." Curtain falls.
  21. Nadya

    Poor Service

    Couldn't agree more...as to the reasons why, well, I refer you to the kitchen-sink list of basic human deficiencies like insecurity, poor communication skills, anger management issues, passive-agressive habits, etc. Sounds familiar? Why should the dining room be any different from other forms of life? You would think that nothing is easier than calmly describing what your problem is and suggesting a desired solution to the person who is empowered to do so and working from there. But not for some people. Go figure.
  22. Per the email I got from them the night before, the answer is yes. Note to everyone: please don't shun the soup! I had a bowl yesterday and really enjoyed it, perfect bowl o'comfort in this weather. It was chickpea, bacon and pasta.
  23. Had chickpea-bacon and pasta soup at Da Grill and it really hit the spot. For the cold day and if you're recovering from cold, especially. For three bucks, Cosi and their ilk can kiss my biscuits as I will take Galileo any time.
  24. I used to really, really, really like Kuna when they opened (like, two years ago), but they have been going downhill since, and particularly in the last six months. Plus they never seem to be overwhelmingly busy. I also have to wonder if their neigborhood can sustain their type of dining for a long time. I'll be sorry, in any event...
  25. Planning to leave Courthouse metro at 11.40 or so, should be at the Grill around noon.
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