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Everything posted by bilrus

  1. bilrus

    Crab Cakes

    I like to serve mine over mixed greens with a mustardy vinagrette.
  2. The thing to understand about Flay's cooking is that he isn't interested in authenticity of any of his cusines. This is probably partly attributable to the fact that the Southwestern US food he made his reputation on pulls from so many different cultures. Purists may not like it, and I didn't really like my only meal at Mesa Grill, but his recipes from the Boy Meets Grill show are pretty good and he's not claiming to be something he isn't.
  3. bilrus


    As long as they don't put a 90 minute limit on the early seating and allow people to make reservations at all times of the day, and don't tell people how to behave and order their food they should do OK. Those all seem to be the kiss of death. I wonder why it took DC a while to catch up to the idea of actual Italian food? Edited to add little winky thing.
  4. But Tom gave Citizen 3 stars on his four star scale. Although you do want everything to be nearly perfect at a restaurant of that caliber. And most reports hint at it missing just a little something. But I'm not sure I'd call one bug a "pest problem."
  5. On the casual side of things, I'd recommend Johnny's Half Shell in Dupont Circle. At lunch, I'm especially fond of their gumbo and the shrimp Po-Boy. This isn't inexpensive, probably in the middle ground of your range. Another newer place that has gotten some favorable mentions lately is Hank's Oyster Bar. In the upper range, but not quite ouch, I like Blacksalt. THey seem to have gotten control a little bit of their tendency to overuse their namesake (i.e. oversalting). They have a light touch with their fryer, have a good selection of shellfish and their fish stews get good reviews. They also have tasting menus in the evenings. At the highest end, Kinkeads is a long-time contender. I've never been, so other can comment more, but it has its loyalists and an equal number of detractors. For the most casual, you might want to venture out of the city to a crab shack somewhere in Maryland. That isn't my thing, so others would have to give advice on that particular piece of regional flavor.
  6. Are you sure you're thinking of Tosca, or was it the lunch you went to? When I was there last summer for RW, the whole menu was available, but some items had a slight surcharge. You could even choose smaller portions of their pastas as an appetizer, or have a larger portion for the main course. I'll be going back again this time. ← I looked back and it was two summers ago (how time files) since I went to Tosca for RW. It was definietly a split menu then. I also read my post from that week and my initial reaction was that I didn't like it that much. But my rememberences are that I did. Memory is a funny thing.
  7. Frontera appeared (we actually enjoyed dinner enough that we tried to go for lunch the following day but got there right at their 2:30 closing) to have a slightly more casual menu as well as feel. Less elaborate presentations, probably slightly less expensive ingredients, etc.
  8. bilrus


    IIRC, here in DC they are running 3 or 4 little suckers for $2. Highway robbery! Does DC have much of a Latino population? ← Huge - mostly central American, especially in certain suburbs.
  9. bilrus


    IIRC, here in DC they are running 3 or 4 little suckers for $2.
  10. bilrus


    The best I've ever had were at Topolobampo in Chicago. Here is a link to Bayless' recipe. To keep this scientific (if my math skills are OK) he opts for a 6:3:2 ratio.
  11. The reputation of most of those restaurants you mentioned in your list of neglected restaurants is that they all used to be a lot better than they are now, with most having seen better days and are either coasting or lost their way a bit (I'd except Tosca from that characterization). Many of the regular posters (or at least those who were more regular posters in the recent past) are younger and/or have not been in town long enough to have the lingering respect for these faded places that you are expecting. The reason that the restaurants that receive accolades on here receive those accolades is because they are doing good work now, not five or ten or twenty years ago. Everyone has the right to post praise or criticisms of a particular restaurant. And no one should be shouted down for speaking up one way or another. But when it becomes a single minded crusade, either for or against, everyone else has the right to ignore those posts, no matter how loudly they are being shouted.
  12. TenPehn, DC Coast and Ceiba usually make all the entrees available but only a handful of so-so apps and desserts. Stick with places like Corduroy, Vidalia, Tosca and others that really do make the whole menu available... Jennifer ← When I went to Tosca last summer, the whole menu wasn't part of the RW promotion. I ordered off the RW menu, but my wife ordered entirely from teh regular menu. But Tosca is still a good choice either way. DC Coast during winter 2005 RW was not very good - poor choices and poor execution. Corduroy takes it seriously. I've had good meals from the limited menus at Equinox and Colvin Run. Equinox only had two or three choices per course but for each course the RW options would have been my first choice, so it worked out well.
  13. Beacuse of its price and style, Ray's is much more accessible (in every aspect) than a place like Maestro, so more people are able to go there more often. It follows that more people would end up posting about Ray's.
  14. The recipe linked above calls for a "sorbet stabilizer". A sorbet I made this weekend didn't set as nicely as my ice cream. I assume this would help, but what is it and where would one find it?
  15. No pictures here either, but for a cookout at a friend's house on the 4th I made a White Chocolate ice cream (was supposed to be White Chocolate Mint but the one store I went to didn't have fresh mint) and Blackberry sorbet. It was nice to break the machine out again.
  16. After 8 hours I pulled it off - it was registering a temp of about 180 and the cooker temp was still solidly 240. I'm a believer in the Minion method. Sandwiches were served on buns and topped with some basic creamy coleslaw. Not overly smoky - I think next time, if I want some more smoke I'll add some chunks of wood about 4 hours in. But this was the most meltingly tender version I've made. I'm glad I made the Carolina sauce for this - my other standby, my own KC style sauce might have been a little too unctious with the pork. At least for the first time. Happy 4th of July.
  17. Couldn't resist looking after 5 hours. It has stayed right at 240 with one spike that I noticed to 270, but I closed some vents for a bit and got it back down pretty quickly. Looking good so far:
  18. I've taken a few classes at a local DC Lebanese restaurant and their recipe calls for soaked and cooked dried beans and I thought it made all the difference in the world in terms of texture. Whenever I've tried with canned chickpeas the texture has been a little grainy. The dried beans make a smooth, more creamy version that I really like.
  19. This is tonight's dinner. Well, not yet, but we'll get to that in a bit. One of my Christmas presents from jenrus this year was a Weber Smokey Mountain - the Weber Bullet. I've often tried half-assed (no pun intended)attempts at smoking butts on the grill, but they've never quite turned out the way I would have liked. Overcooked, not enough smoke flavor, hard to manage the temperature. Whether it was turkey breast, brisket, ribs or the aforementioned butt it was always a disappointment. Like any kid with a new toy I tred using it a few times in the dead of winter, including New Years weekend and I wasn't happy with the results either. I don't think I was adjusting to the colder temps outside the cooker. Plus my patience in the cold of winter was not exactly what it should be. Now, for one reason or another - trips, work around the house, the golf course calling me - it has been about five months since I played with my toy. So what better weekend to crack it open. When I saw this beautifully marbled butt I knew I had to smoke it this weekend. I've decided to use the Minion Method from the Virtual Weber Bullet site for the first time. As I mentioned I have had a hard time in the past keeping the fire going and this is supposed to allow for long, slow cooking times by only starting with a small number of pieces of charcoal lit at the beginning of the cooking process. I brined the pork overnight in a salt and brown sugar solution, then rinsed it and dried it off well. I've opted against a rub today, since the last one I used burned a bit and I really want to get a good feel for the results of the cooker and method itself rather than the taste of the rub. I'm using the Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce recipe from Steven Raichlen's BBQ Bible. I love the onions in this after it sits for a few hours. I'm using hickory chunks for the wood. In the past, I've tried applewood which I though was a little too mild and mesquite which I like for beef, but not so much for pork. Things started well with a lot of smoke wafting up the cooker around the pork (and into my eyes). The lid went on at a few minutes before 11 EDT. I'm going to go check the temp and adjust my vents then hopefully let it sit for a long while without any worries.
  20. Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce This is based on the recipe from Steven Raichlen's BBQ Bible. I especially love the onions after they have soaked in this for a few hours. 1-1/2 c cider vinegar 1 c water 1 T sugar 1 T red chile flakes 1 thinly sliced jalapeno 1 thinly sliced onion salt and pepper to taste Couldn't be easier - combine everything in a non-reactive container, mix and let sit for a few hours. Mix with pulled, smoked pork. Keywords: Sauce, Barbeque ( RG1324 )
  21. Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce This is based on the recipe from Steven Raichlen's BBQ Bible. I especially love the onions after they have soaked in this for a few hours. 1-1/2 c cider vinegar 1 c water 1 T sugar 1 T red chile flakes 1 thinly sliced jalapeno 1 thinly sliced onion salt and pepper to taste Couldn't be easier - combine everything in a non-reactive container, mix and let sit for a few hours. Mix with pulled, smoked pork. Keywords: Sauce, Barbeque ( RG1324 )
  22. But that isn't the typical standard at a four-star restaurant. I'd rather eat my dinner wearing sweatpants and at-shirt, but I'm not expecting that at a four star restaurant either. (I know that is an extreme example, but I like the image.) Now that I'd be down with.
  23. The modern feel didn't bother me at all, in fact despite their very basic appearance the chairs were the most comfortable I've ever had the pleasure of eating a meal in outside of my sofa. (The chairs I sat in last week at Charlie Trotter's that made my foot fall asleep could learn a few things from the chairs at the Modern.) I think the Bar Room entrance is part of it. We were early for our reservation and had to sit at the long banquette near the bar for about 10 minutes before being seated. I also didn't have the feel that there were always eyes upon our table anticipating our needs - when we needed water, or a wine pour or if anything was amiss. Not that I necessarily want a hovering presence , but I've not been to any four-star level places where there wasn't that awareness. Neither of these are major issues, and our visit was early. But when you are looking to make the jump to four stars it is the little things that count.
  24. Would you say that things have improved markedly over the initial few months? I went pretty early (mid-march) and I thought it would comfortably earn a NYT three star and was very surprised when it didn't. But I also didn't see where it had the potential to get to a fourth star without some changes in style. I didn't get the sense that they were aiming at that level. The service was excellent but I didn't get that sense of pampering that I associate with four-star dining. And I agree on the amuses. Three great little bites is a great concept, but none of the three pulled that off on my visit.
  25. Everything I've read and seen tells me to agree with Melkor on this one. You're not going to find soemthing comparable in wine country to the French Laundry. If you are willing to have your blowout meal in San Francisco, you might not find another French Laundry, but it opens you up to several worthy challengers. Others would be able to chime in with suggestions there. But keep trying TFL.
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