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Posts posted by HORSEPLAY

  1. When cooks bang out or crush out a cuisine, how would you say their saucing tends to be?

    Heavy-handed?  Also, what dishes are better smashed out than crushed or banged out?

    When I crush out a cuisine, the saucing definitely tends to be heavy-handed, overflowing even. But that's me.

    When a dish is really fine, it is best to first smash out, then crush out. You don't want to leave anything undone. Save banging out, however, for staff meals.

    Don't you agree John?

    Do you at least snuggle afterwards?

  2. I know I've been criticized for talking about Michelin starred places and so forth but my real love are places like this.  The Charcoal Pit's Half Pound burger (NOT the 1/4 lb) is legitimately outstanding.  I say this having been to Kincaid's in Ft. Worth, the Apple Pan in L. A., Chester's in San Antonio, etc. and having made something of a reputation in part because of this essay on another board:


    Unfortunately this place is a local institution and they actually get a line on weekends that can be quite long.  They also have a good, but "unconventional" cheesesteak, too.  I say unconventional because the bread has nothing in common with Amoroso's.  Still, it's good.  But the Charcoal Pit built a rep onits 1/2 lb burger and shakes.

    Mr. H,

    Next time you're in NYC check out, if you havn't already, Jackson Hole on E. 64th street. I believe they have the best burger in the world. They advertise 7oz. but they usually weigh in considerably more. With so many different toppings, you would be hard pressed not to find one you didn't like. And they've been around since 1972.

  3. Exactly.

    You made your choice based on having a good school system.

    I made mine to make it easier to expose Peanut to a wider variety of cultural experiences available inside the beltway.

    I am in no way saying that one choice is better than the other. For me my choice was better. For you, your choice was. No need to get defensive.

    Please reread my previous post -- You are one person. Most of the people I have met who end up choosing to live in the outer 'burbs are not the same as you.

    We can agree to disagree pleasantly.

    have a lovely day.

    I did not move to Reston until I was 41 years old. I did not have children. Schools had no bearing on my decision to live here. Nor did they play any role in my decision to live in Silver Spring or in McLean Gardens.

    I am sorry but it is impossible for me not to respond to you. There is no one on this or any board who will obsessively, endlessly, passionately promote DC more than I. Once a month my wife and I visit the National/Warner/Kennedy/etc. Once every two weeks we eat somewhere downtown. I drive from Reston to the Mall and walk the four miles roundtrip from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial and back-once every two weeks in the spring and summer. I feel priviliged to have been born here and to have grown up here. I have also made the active decision with a business that allows me to literally live anywhere in North America to live here. To CONTINUE to live HERE, if you don't mind, since I love this city-my CITY-so much. As a rare native born Washingtonian I claim this right. I would add that I also married a native born Washingtonian!

    I would also note that in the early '60's I took girls on dates to the Jefferson Memorial thinking what a great place for a first kiss (!),in the late '60's I was gassed at Dupont Circle as a war protester; later, I saw Hendrix, stoned, play the Star Spangled Banner while I, also, was stoned at the Ambassador theatre at 18th and Columbia in '69. I've been to the Folklife Festival a dozen times, fireworks on the Mall thirty or forty times, eaten fish sandwiches on Maine Avenue in five decades and am one of the few who have taken the tour of the haunted catacombs under the Lincoln Memorial which the National Park Service used to host at midnight. Of course I've been to the White House, the Supreme Court, worked on a second degree in the National Archives and had many "last cigarette evers" outside of the jaw dropping, awe inspiring artistic and literary majesty of the Library of Congress. I also drove a cab for eight or nine years in the city and gave countless, endless tours of all of DC, from the observation platform of the National Cathedral (the HIGHEST POINT OF THE CITY) to a rise in Southeast overlooking the expansive city which is the most impressive view of Washington.

    I know a bit about Washington. I know a bit about its culture. And its opportunities. As well as its past and what it is today.

    I live in Reston. In a 31 unit townhouse cluster. A neighbor and a good friend is the former CFO of AIG and lived, before Reston, in Knightsbridge in London for 8 years. Today he lives in London for two months, Malaga for two and my cluster for eight. Another neighbor is head of sales for an IT services company (not quite the position today that it may sound!). He is from India as is his wife. A third neighbor also has a "second" house in his hometown-Sydney. He bought a house here while on assignment for his Australian company. A fourth neighbor just moved from Praha (Prague in the Czech Republic), a fifth from Budapest (where my best friend was also born and lived for his first twenty + years). Did I mention the neighbor from Bremen? The neighbor who just moved back from Tel Aviv? The neighbor who's last assignment was the first secretary in the American embassy in Singapore? Of course there are others. Of course there is myself who travels over 30 days a year in Europe on business and does driving trips through six or seven countries no longer using a map.

    Don't talk to me about a lack of culture in the suburbs or agreeing to disagree. Because one lives "outside the beltway" does not mean they have any less culture, any less "couth" than you or anyone else. The wealth of living in a truly international community is absolutely invaluable. The wealth of travelling internationally is also. One does not need to live in the city that I was born in and grew up in to know this.

    And, as for schools in the suburbs, do you have any idea of the ethnic composition of Thomas Jefferson, arguably America's best school? It's in the suburbs. Or Montgomery Blair, Montgomery County's magnet school, my alma mater, in Silver Spring?

    I'm sorry but the arrogance of those who move to the city which is mine can be stifling and overwhelming at times. Whether McLean, Georgetown, Landover or Middleburg we are all Washingtonians. This city, my city, does not limit it's opportunities and cultural wealth to either its borders or to those who live within its geographical boundaries. Forgive me but sometimes I think its necessary to point out that life doesn't end when one crosses the river. Nor do cultural opportunities. This is an extraordinary city, one of the Great places on earth where many people come together. Just not all live where you think they do. Some, perhaps many, perhaps even most, are "out here."

    Sometimes I get a bit carried away. Sorry.

    The only thing this post needs is "Pomp and Circumstances" playing in the background. :raz: I'm just playing Mr. H I truly respect your devotion to this town. As a born and raised New Yorker I strongly relate to the type of pride you display.

  4. [www.asterrestaurant.com

    come on out. . .you'll like the food

    . . . amongst other things

    Horseplay: are you associated with Aster? The Washingtonian's current issue just gave Aster a nice preview sort of writeup.

    I can vouch for the attractiveness of the room, having eaten there when it was the Black Coffee Bistro.

    The food sounds very interesting, but the prices, um, sound like they are aimed at the horsey set (owners, not groomers).

    Yes Bob, I am associated with Aster. I'm the Maitre 'D/Bartender/Host/Janitor/. . .

    But yes you are right we are not an inexepensive restaurant. We are a fine dining establishment and and our prices reflect what comes out on the plate, as well as what is on the walls and the staff of professionals that service our guests. We are not targeting the horsey set, although right now they make up the majority of our clientele. Rather, we are targeting the foodie, such as those who post on and read egullet. The Washingtonian "Best Bite" article was great in that the magazine reaches Chantilly, Reston, Herndon, Ashburne, Great Falls, etc. Aster will succeed when the foodies in these areas find out about us. Bob, thank you for your interest and I look foward to having you as my guest.


    Craig Erion

    Maitre 'D


  5. I think upscale, local places in the outer suburbs are challenged in a few ways:  Less population density/foot traffic to drop in on a whim, reluctance of foodies inside the beltway to go "out there", different demographics-more families with kids that will go to places they feel comfortable bringing their children to- and lastly, competition from chains.

    This is a really great point and I think it speaks directly to why there are not more L'Auberge etc. type of restaurants in the suburban areas of DC.

    Why does a restaurant in the suburbs where 90% of the population of the D. C. metro area lives NEED anyone from inside the beltway to travel to it to survive? Why does there need to be foot traffic for a destination restaurant to survive? Why does every restaurant opening on every pad in the suburbs have to be marketed to families? And, the very fact that the competition from chains is THE competition is the reason that when an independently owned restaurant opens the frequency of it succeeding is greater than the frequency of a similar restaurant succeeding in D. C.?

    I was born in D. C. and have lived downtown, in Montgomery County and in Reston. I am struck by people in the suburbs who really don't "understand" D. C. and who rarely go into it except perhaps to work, having any real idea of what Washington is all about. Similarly I am struck by people in D. C. who assume that the world "outside the Beltway" is all vans, pads and chains. Both have much to learn from the other.

    Tysons is every bit as urban as downtown Washington. Bonefish Grill squarely markets itself to adults with its supper club ambience and after 5 opening. No it's not Black Salt nor Kinkead's. But the four that have opened in the past two years are all successful, clearly demonstrating that the very LACK of adult restaurants is what helps ensure the success of a decent one (albiet part of a chain) when it does open. There are a half dozen examples of decent to good individually owned restaurants in Western Fairfax that have been open 5 years + (i.e. EuroBistro, SBC Cafe, etc.) and are successful.

    Leesburg supports Tuscarora Mill, Lightfoot Cafe and Zaferelli's second restaurant, all in or near an old Town "pocket" (if you will) close to a 100+ store outlet mall, a new Costco and Super Target and countless clones of outposts of national chains.

    There is no foot traffic in front of any of them. Certainly not like Old Town or Georgetown or Adams Morgan. Yet all three would fit into any of these neighborhoods and survive. I could also add not only Old Town Fairfax but also independently owned restaurants that have surivived for 10+ years intermingled with the strip shopping centers on the nearby Lee highway. And a dozen other areas in Fairfax County, a dozen more in Montgomery (Olney?) not even counting Bethesda; look at Jerry's Seafood in Lanham which is the best Maryland style seafood restaurant in the Washington area and rarely mentioned on here. Clearly, there is NO foot traffic in Lanham! It's in its third decade now.

    Great Falls has several restaurants in two or three different locations marketing themselves not to families but to adults. I am not including L'auberge in this. But L'auberge does illustrate a point: the actual lack of or paucity of these types of restaurants generates a great deal of interest when one does open. If it's decent it will survive. If it's good it will be successful. If it's excellent even those from "inside the beltway" will drive out to it.

    Mr. H


    come on out. . .you'll like the food

    . . . amongst other things

  6. Other than Craigslist, anyone know how to find good cooks in this area? I'm lookin' and I'm not findin'......maybe there's a website out there I'm missing. Tryin' to find a line cook/kitchen manager with some experience.... If anyone knows where I might post/publish, etc.. I'm all ears. Thanks!

    StarChefs.com. Be prepared to spend $ :sad:

    p.s. Please wait till we find our line cook :wink:

  7. Will be making my first trip to Ray's soon!  Snagged a Saturday night reservation for a few weeks from now.  I'm thinking to order the scallops and the key lime pie.  I really like the taste of a meaty, beefy steak so I hope I can order the hanger steak.  Does hanger steak have any fat along the edge, a la NY strip?  I love the taste of charred steak fat.  *sighs*

    I will get it "plain" - unless they do mushrooms and onions on the side? 

    Any other suggestions?  Thanks, y'all!

    Dude, you like the taste of meaty, beefy steak? Get the cowboy cut. You'll be tasting long time. It took me an hour at least to finish. But every bite was worth it. And can anyone tell me who that hunk in the Red Sock cap is cooking? :raz:

  8. I will be in Herndon for work all week by myself.  Looking for some good Sushi.  I'd be willing to drive like 10 minutes from my luxurious Holiday Inn Express on Elden St.  Any recommendations for a bar with above-average food in the same area would also be helpful.

    Check out Makako (I think that's how you spell it) in the shopping center at McClaren and Centerville Rds. I've been three or four times and evrytime was really good. As far as good bar food goes, you're pretty close to Reston Town Center. They have a wide selection of tried and true establishments.

  9. Wondering if there are any special South American markets in the DC area where I might be able to pick up culantro (recao), panca pepper paste and aji amarillo pepper paste?  Checked a couple of latin markets in Falls Church with no luck.  Thanks in advance for any advice.


    If you're willing to make the drive, Global Market in Manassass is the legit spot for ethnic ingredients. Wegman's it is not, it's quite bare bones. But i'm 99%sure they have what you are looking for.

  10. Do you have any of that Vietnamese stuff that cats crap out, that sounds delish. And as some chefs know "My Kitty Likes Kitty Food."

    You mean Kupi Luwak coffee?

    No. I don't. I don't deal with gimmicks in my business. (except for one :blink: )


    Come on, lighten up! Wouldn't it be fun to order a "double cat crap latte with 2% milk"? You could charge a lot for that. :raz:

    "Cats crap coffee"? Isn't that a song by Ted Nugent? :raz:

  11. On the subject of kids, and bringing this back to 2 Amys, I noticed today that they've almost run out of space in the back to store the literally dozens of highchairs and boosters they need for the kiddie lunch crowd. Soon, they may have to change their name to Franco E. Formaggi's.

    These kids just don't get it.

    When I was little they fed me Shakey's Pizza or popped McCain Ellio's in the oven (if ever). I was just barely aware that school lunch pizza wasn't very good.

    It was a steady diet of hot pocket pepperoni pizza. I didn't even get real pizza. I was so deprived. :wink:

  12. Just so we know what we're talking about here--and I think people both in the business and in the business of dining can find this easy to understand.

    Ray's has twelve tables.

    The first times to be reserved are 7, 7:30 and 8 o'clock. 

    Once those times are filled and the tables committed I can not offer them for an unlimited period of time earlier in the eveningsince there is a prior claim which I must honor first.

    I always offer an alternative time, which will be for later in the evening.  The potential guest then has the option to choose the limited, earlier time, the later unlimited time, another day farther in the future or not to make a reservation at all.

    It's all I can do until I learn how to bend the laws of time, space and physics to my (actually my guests') will.

    I can not, however, dishonor my previous commitment to another guest however much the later-reserving guest would like me to.

    Go on wit yo bad self!!!

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