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Posts posted by Crackers

  1. its price-quality ratio was horrible, but then, we’re spoiled eating elsewhere).

    Sadly, my last visit to the Enoteca echoes this sentiment. My gummy gnocchi with lamb "ragu" was a very poor showing, as were the beet salad (bring a magnifying glass and tweezers - a fork is too big for that dish) and the calamari. The soups were standouts, and the bartender was quite helpful with pairing suggestions.

    I regret we did not go to the bar at Charleston instead. There was not one single person in Charleston's serene bar as we were arriving or leaving Cinghiale. :sad:

  2. So how was the coffee? :smile:

    I was at Clementine for lunch this past weekend - also my first visit. I had a much different experience than you did, so maybe it was an off day, or maybe breakfast is not their strong suit? First of all, I love the space - very neighborly and casual, and they've set aside a nice nook for a childrens' play area - much appreciated with active little ones in tow.

    It was quite busy, so none of the waitstaff were doing any lollygagging. They could have used one or two more servers, but the ones who were there were doing their darndest to keep up. Lunch for me was a hefty grilled chicken sandwich on toasted wheat, with nice thick bacon, a light schmear of avocado and a sharp blue cheese mayo. A bit sloppily assembled, but each ingredient was top notch. Only complaint is that I wish it had more avocado. It came with a choice of sides - mine was a fresh green salad with an absolutely tangy-delicious Green Goddess dressing. When was the last time any little mom and pop in Baltimore had that on the menu?! Oh, and the ice tea was the real deal - it tasted fresh brewed. I also sampled the mac and cheese, which was of the firm brick variety, with tomato laced throughout. Not bad. Prices were very reasonable, and I would like to return for dinner. Judging by the fact that virtually all tables were filled when we left, and some had turned over once or twice, I'd say they are doing quite well.

  3.   Tony liked Todd Thrasher's Negroni so much that he had 3 of them.  Said it's the best kind of drink to follow fried foods.

    Even though I've been many times, I've never asked if they would make me an off-menu cocktail. Mostly because I've enjoyed working my way through the list of delightful special drinks. (Not necessarily all in the same evening, mind you.) Do they prefer that guests stick close to what's on the printed menu?

  4. Anything new or improved appear in the last three years in or around Bronxville? (i.e. between Mt. Vernon and Scarsdale) Looks like I will be making periodic trips up there for the next four years (starting this week) and it would be nice to have a few go-to places close by to bring a college kid with big city tastes, for lunches and dinners.

  5. Any recent reports for this part of the world? I read a few good things about a newer place in Nederland called the First Street Bar and Grill. We'll be taking a leisurely peak-to-peak drive up from Denver next weekend and would like a place to stop for brunch or lunch. Preferably with view, but that would be secondary to the food. Alcohol not important since I'll be driving and my passenger is too young to take over the wheel for me.

  6. No updates on the Silver Spring Ray's, aka Ray's Classic, but interested parties should know that the old Ray's in Arlington is offering -- iuntil Michael changes his mind -- a $20 bistro dinner.

    The new no-res policy is reportedly working well, and lines are short.

    It is a great deal. And if you order salmon, the price is $18 instead of $20. I ordered the salmon (choice of Diablo, blackened or grilled, I went with grilled) and received a very generous filet, perfectly prepared. The special offer is not on the menu, so don't hesitate to ask about it if the waitstaff does not mention it. There's also a wine special: a 2002 Condado de Haza for $38, down from $46. $18 for that meal is one of those too-good-to-be true deals, so get it while it's still there.

    At 9:30 on a weeknight there place was still busy, but there were a couple of tables open and no wait. Chef Landrum explained the new system:

    We are doing as much business, if not more, as before, but in a much more easy-going atmosphere. However, waits are minimal--usually 20-30 minutes, sometimes 45, rarely up to an hour and 15 minutes (our average dining time is and always was a comfortable 75-80 minutes despite all the whining). Those who arrive before 6:15 should be seated right away. No promises, but that is the way it has been working so far.

    Sounds like Rays the Classic is mere weeks from opening - with a few of the usual building inspection issues to be resolved. Hoping for some good eating in June.

  7. Matyson is still one of my favorite byobs when I am in Philadelphia. This weekend I joined friends for a celebration and enjoyed fantastic service and food. For starters I had what chef is calling a "Sticky Bun II" - which is a pinwheel of flaky dough layered with dried fig and then topped with a generous mound of melting duck confit and tidbits of pink grapefruit. I also sampled the poached lobster salad which was first rate, though on the small side (hence I did not get a big sample.) My main course was a perfectly prepared whole bronzino that had been partially de-boned - with sprigs of rosemary and lemon slices tucked inside, between filets served with broccoli and sun dried tomatoes. It was just the right size fish - slightly longer than the plate and extremely meaty. I had been waivering between it and the wild rock fish and the waiter steered me to the bronzino. Other entrees at the table were a seafood chowder, duck breast, scallops, and the roast chicken. With my new years' resolutions still in force, I could only stare longingly at the desserts! They mentioned that they will be participating in Restaurant Week, although it sounded as though this was a reluctant decision driven more by the competition than by any profit potential. The room was full to the gills throughout the evening.

  8. Johnny Boys' south of La Plata, on the northbound side of 301, used to have great ribs.  We'd even get some to bring to the long-suffering Salvatorian priests who ran the camp.  :biggrin: I have heard that it has gone downhill in the last few years (the ribs, not the camp).  I haven't been there in awhile - maybe it's improved.

    Oh, that's bad news about Johnny Boys.

    For the life of me I cannot remember the name of the decent bbq place in Waldorf. If it occurs to me I'll post - it would be on your way whether you take 301 or Rt 5 south.

    You may be thinking about Lefty's Barbeque in Waldorf: www.leftysbarbeque.com.
  9. I'm spending a good chunk of the next few Sundays motoring into deep Southern Maryland and back along 301 (camp-time) and would be happy to accept any new tips, thread updates or timely suggestions regarding where to get some good Charles County 'cue.

    Hell, I'll even play delivery boy if anyone wants a Sunday picnic or spontaneous gathering.  PM, in that case.

    Ah, I know the route back and forth to Camp St. Charles in southern Charles County all too well. Johnny Boys' south of La Plata, on the northbound side of 301, used to have great ribs. We'd even get some to bring to the long-suffering Salvatorian priests who ran the camp. :biggrin: I have heard that it has gone downhill in the last few years (the ribs, not the camp). I haven't been there in awhile - maybe it's improved. I like Randy's which is on Rt. 5 (Leonardtown Road). From La Plata, take La Plata Rd./Rt. 488 east to Rt. 5 heading south. Their website is www.randysribs.com.
  10. I'm looking for places that serve pan-fried chicken, preferably in P.G., Montgomery or northern counties, or Baltimore, but anywhere will do for the real McCoy. 

    I've had it many times at Crisfield's in Silver Spring, and I believe Florida Avenue Grill has it and maybe Flavors in Falls Church.  But there must be (I hope) a bunch of places that serve it but I just haven't found out about them.

    Thanks very much,


    Wednesday night at Jackie's is skillet-fried chicken night. 8081 Georgia Ave. in Silver Spring: click here for Jackie's webpage.
  11. It's that time of year again... I am cake hunting for my son.

    Last year after posting here I was lucky to find someone who made us a gorgeous Nemo icrecream cake!

    this year the party is outdoors so we cant do icecream

    The cake can be in the shape of batman (preferred) or a cake done up with batman stuff.

    Anyone ???  :wub:

    If money were no object, this is where I would start and end my search: at Mike's Amazing Cakes.
  12. DC Restaurants that allow BYOW

    Amazingly, Galileo, even the Laboratorio del Galileo, allows BYOW with a $15/bottle corkage fee.

    Not wanting to re-open a can of worms here, just wondering if someone can direct me to a more recent link (the one above is broken) to a list of DC byobs. Or other suggestions for "destination" restaurants in the DC/Baltimore region with a corkage fee. It's not about the money or the depth or breadth of a wine list, it's about a fine bottle with a sentimental history that deserves something much better than my cooking.
  13. Sounds like he enjoyed it, but I wouldn't call it a rave. Disappointing desserts, weak coffee, other imperfections. But I certainly think it's appropriate for him to review it, and let us know whether it's worth the trip.

    Between JoeH's wonderfully descriptive review and Sietsema's more staid lauds, this bucolic getaway sounds perfect as a weekend destination antedote for those sitting in airless offices in downtown DC all week. And you can bet that by the time Sunday's Post rolls off the presses the coffee will be exemplary, and the desserts, if anyone has room, will also be much improved. In fact, Sietsema seemed to enjoy the "cakey" carrot cake served at the beginning of his meal quite a bit - maybe it will show up on the dessert menu.
  14. Those clams even look like they smell nasty.

    Am I wrong or aren't most of the clams that are used, say, in Ipswitch from Maryland's eastern shore?

    Nasty can be good....

    Don't know about most, but Kinkeads swears they get their Ipswich clams from Massachusetts.

    Nasty can be real good, but when it comes to clams, nasty ain't good nohow. Unless you're a crab. :biggrin:

  15. With spring in the air, Tweaked and I decided to use a "get out of Dodge free" card to head to the Eastern Shore. First stop Easton. Unfortunately, the recommended Inn at Easton is not open for lunch, and Out of the Fire and Alice’s Café (not Alice’s bakery a couple of blocks away), are open for lunch, but only if one manages to get to lunch before 2 p.m., which we didn’t.

    Instead we decided to try Legal Spirits Tavern (corner of Dover and Harrison) because it was open and we were hungry. We were kept company by a menagerie of taxidermied critters (didn’t know moose were native to the Eastern Shore, but whatever.) We had two really great soups off the menu - cream of crab - full of lump crab and sherry, one of the best I’ve had, and a perfect charred tomato bisque topped with a generous mound of melting pecorino romano. Someone in that kitchen knows what they are doing. Their "business lunch" is a cup of soup and a grilled American cheese on white bread. Yawn. Our waiter happily took requests, and out came two very tasty grilled cheddar sandwiches with thick tomato slices and plenty of bacon - almost flabby enough for Tweaked, almost crispy enough for me. And a heap of Grandma Utz kettle chips.

    A couple of pints of Bass and Harp later we were satisfied and on our way down to Tilghman Island after blasting through the heavily touristed St. Michaels. Our VP was there visiting his buddy Rumsfeld at his getaway place, causing a very D.C.-like traffic hassle later as all the choppers took off from the Inn at Perry Cabin landing pad.

    On Tilghman, we pulled in at Dogwood Harbor to see the oyster boats and skipjacks, parking next to a pickup truck loaded down with heaping bushels of razorback clams - sitting in the warm sun. We were told it all gets crushed up and tossed over for crab bait. Crab alert: Crabs are working their way up the bay - already getting some down in the Crisfield area but not really as far north yet as Harris Creek. Ditto for softies - not due up here until mid to late June.

    Harrison’s Chesapeake House. It’s been there since the 1870's, and not a tourist in sight, but plenty of rowdy sport fisherman enjoying the opening of rockfish season. Owner Buddy Harrison also does a thriving fishing charter business. Our table overlooked Harris Creek and the docks and we watched a fishing boat come in with the first rockfish catch. Two huge (at least 40") rockfish were held up for photos - what beauties!

    We started with generous bowl of steamed shucked oysters in butter and a little Old Bay - right off the boat, and a Maryland vegetable crab soup that was just a bit above average, but definitely house made. More crab and it would have been great. It was opening day for Chesapeake Bay soft shells at Harrisons, and we got an entrée of two almost-whale beauties. They tasted like summer! Another special was soft shell clams (pissers to some of you) so I negotiated a two-fer plate of the clams and, yes, more oysters. Good stuff. The sides were petite brussel sprouts (sadly mushy steam table victims) and whipped potatoes with gravy. More memorable was the rich, eggy, warm bread pudding with rum custard that finished things off. Heavenly! Oh yes, summer is definitely on the way.

    I haven't mastered uploading photos yet, so they are linked - hope it works!(click on “view slideshow”):


  16. I've made several trips now, and keep going back. Reservations are tough on weekends and with this review will get even harder :sad: (also I wonder if Sietsema read my review on the *other* board before he wrote his?) If you come over after going to Charleston they seem willing to help facilitate getting you in if you ask. If you show up early, like 5-5:30pm, you should be ok, even on Saturday.

    There is a mezzanine with a good view of the whole space, and it is quieter up there. You can order from the entire menu while sitting on the sofas in the lounge and there are big cocktail tables to put everything on.

    Corkage is not allowed we were told on one visit, and on another were told "only for special occasions."

    Once the place is full the staff are practically running to get orders filled, and the orders come out of sync - too soon, too late, so order as you go rather than all at once in the beginning of the meal, despite their assurances to the contrary.

    I have enjoyed: grilled prawns, chorizo and roast potatoes, grilled sardines, grilled calamari (whole tubes stuffed with julienne of green apple), shrimp with garlic, and grilled lambchops. Also the braised veal cheeks and rabbit were hits last time we went. The beets with pancetta are marinated in orange vinaigrette, I like them a lot even if Tom didn't. The pappa fritta, ripple potato chips, are very good and the generous order of whole wheat peasant bread is perfect for sopping up tapas juices and oils and spreading cheese on, and there really is a generous selection of cheeses. Desserts include a forgettable creme catalan (brulee) and a good chocolate torte and a fruit tart du jour.

    The music starts to crank up as tables are vacated downstairs later in the evening, and the floor is cleared for dancing and the dj takes over. They continue to serve tapas until 1:00 a.m. in the lounge and it stays open until 2:00 am.

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