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Everything posted by Damian

  1. Damian


    Balth is still pretty hot. Went there for brunch the other day (food sucked actually, but that was a first for me there and I chalked it up to an off day). Place was packed to the gills as ever, line out the door. I like it for late lunches and late night food. Last time I was there for lunch, Bono sat next to us - that's hot enough for me.
  2. The pastry shop is La Bombonera on Calle San Fransisco towards the bottom of Old San Juan. Great place to sit at the counter for cafe con leche and a mallorca. The downhome comidas criollas are pretty good too.
  3. I've had two terrific meals at Radius - one dinner and one lunch. Easily my favorite restaurant in Boston. The room is modern and does have more of a business feel to it. Very solid new american fare - nothing really innovative, but everything well-executed and beautifully presented.
  4. Just on the beaches point. The El San Juan is on Isla Verde beach and is not in Condado. The Isla Verde beach is perfectly fine, I lived on it for two years and swam there several times a week. The beach at Ocean Park, just down from Condado, is also an excellent beach. The beach where the Ritz is also fine, as are the beaches in Pinones. However, all of my friends, gringos and puertorriquenos alike, who lived in Condado would invariably avoid the beaches there and walk down to Ocean Park instead. One of the main reasons is the overflow sewer effluent pipe that occasionally spews out nasty brown goop about 500 yards down from the Marriott Beach in front of the Condado Del Mar Condo - seen it do so myself on more than one occasion. The Marriott beach itself is OK, I suppose, but bookending it are two notoriously nasty beaches - seen the syringes myself, too - that no one ever really goes to, especially at night. Not sure wha the new development at the site of the former La Concha and Hotel Condado will do in terms of beaches. Shugga, you didn't miss anything by not dining at the Empresa's outdoor patio at the point at the far eastern end of Isla Verde, it's nothing special for food at all. Decent place to chill with a beer though.
  5. Right about the time I moved to NYC, Mark. Ah well.
  6. Do they still have the all you can eat gospel brunch at the Music City Roadhouse in G'Town. That was always a good time, if notable for food other than heaping plates of eggs, sausage and biscuits - hey live gospel choir can't beat that
  7. I echo Scott on the Barrilitos - Don Q Cristal is a superior white rum for mixing - makes a great cuba libre.
  8. Do the boys at Mario's still wear those aprons witht he front pockets where they keep the toppings? I don't think I've ever had Mario's sober, but we used to love to go there after a night of drinking and thought it was hilarious that the boys would reach into their pockets and pull out pepperoni and mushrooms (and lint? and god knows what else?) to sprinkle on the slice. As I recall, the sausage pizza was one big patty in the middle of a square slice. Is it still the same?
  9. I think you want to be in Old San Juan for the nightlife. Parrot Club sounds like it fits the bill. Amadeus, also maybe. I like Picoteo (tapas, not Caribbean) too in the atrium of the Convento Hotel. Chef Marisoll is a good serious food choice in Old San Juan (pricier, better food, not particularly funky). Sounds like fun, enjoy.
  10. I disagree with Jason about a private beach being an important thing, and the Hilton's beach is fine, but there's really not much to it. However, the Marriott's beach is worse, I wouldn't swim there or anywhere else in Condado. Head down to Ocean Park or Isla Verde (the beach I lived on for two years) for San Juan beaches - neither is private both are good. There are natural reefs offshore that prevent much surf in San Juan beaches. For surf in and around San Juan, Pinones is your best bet, east of Isla Verde and around the bend, all kinds of food shacks abound and it is a real locals area with all that that entails. Puerto Rico is not a great surf island in general. For real surf, Rincon is generally the best on the island and Isabela's not bad but can be tough to access given the rocky shoreline. Summer is not the best season though, you're right about that. The only places I've stayed out there are the Horned Dorset near Rincon and a friend's house in Isabela. Horned Dorset is a Relais and Chateaux and is pretty pricey and upscale. I know there are several parador type places in Rincon, but can't think of any to recommend. Pick up a Que Pasa magazine at the airport or ask the tourist desk for a paradors brochure. Paradors run the gamut from dingy to pretty nice though. Lots of other threads in here on San juan food and nightlife - check 'em out.
  11. Wanted to bump this thread back up given all of the crab talk these days.
  12. Vivre's got it. Florida Ave. Grill is the one. I like Ben's and I like the Bethesda TD, but FL Ave. Grill is the real deal. Is Jimmy T's on the Hill still around?
  13. Still awful, damn. I had a truly awful meal there several years ago at this point, so was hesitant to trash it since I had no recent experience. I had high hopes for new management. The place is a damned monstrosity compared to its prior size. Oh well, drinks in the billiard room is still fun, right? If I'd known you were there last weekend (my bad for not checking things out) we'd have had you come by for some crabs. We catch them off the dock and steam 'em ourselves. Went fishing on Sunday down there and caught about 25 decent size rockfish (only kept our limit of 8 for 4 people though) What did you have at Bistro, Kim? We ate there early on Saturday night, I had the pork tenderloin - pretty good.
  14. That's why they call it the Crab Claw and not the Fish Fin or the Burger Bulge, Big Fella. Actually, Did you eat at the Town Dock or just park the boat at the town dock and eat at the Crab Claw? One of the best things about the Crab Claw other than the crabs is watching the weekend captains try to park their boats without killing anyone (spoken like a true weekend captain myself).
  15. See the other St. Michael's thread, if not too late. Both 208 Talbot and Bistro St. Michael's are better fine dining options than Perry Cabin (Although if you go to Perry Cabin tell me how it is lately, I've not been since the expansion and new management). Crab Claw is where you want to be for crabs or Higgins (zero atmosphere there though). Possibly Chesapeake Landing (especially for just picking up some steamed crabs to eat somewhere more picturesque). [Edit: the other thread mentioned has been merged into this one. -vengroff]
  16. The Crab Claw is a St. Michael's classic. The Crab Claw is great because you can call ahead and park your boat right at the restaurant, or simply drive there and eat crabs by the water. Quality varies tremendously, weekdays and off hours are better for getting the big and the heavy. Sides? Uh, I don't remember. Beer, Check. Pitcher after pitcher. Brown paper on picnic tables next to the harbor? Check. Saltines in a paper bucket? Check. The other well-known crab place is Higgins which is in a shopping mall-type area before you get into town on 33. No waterfront ambiance like the CC and last I saw there was some construction going on, so might not be an option. Another spot for acceptable crabs/seafood is Chesapeake Landing which is well past town on Rte. 33 in McDaniel. Upscale places - the Inn at Perry Cabin, one of the former Laura Ashley properties now owned by a Japanese firm, this is a beautiful inn with all of the expected appointments, the food is OK but is way overpriced compared to other offerings in town. I haven't been since new managagement took over. My favorite part of the Inn is cocktails in the billiard room after dinner. For fine dining, or the St. Michael's approximation thereof, Bistro St. Michael's is where it's at or 208 Talbot. Not sure about lunch, but early dinner is doable at either. My favorite is the Bistro whose name doesn't lie, uncomplicated but delicious bistro fare which makes great use of local ingredients. Neither of these is a cheap option, but both are great. Call and reserve for both of these on the weekends and even weekdays in summer. for Bistro call several days in advance. Justine's is a must for ice cream, right in town you can't miss it. (creamsicle shake is a personal fave). You should drive down to Tilghman Island, very unique part of the world. There are a couple of restaurants there that score big points for on-the-water ambience none are special for food in any way, one is the Bay Hundred (outdoor bar and tables next to the drawbridge so you can see all the action in Knapps Narrows. The better food option is the Tilghman Island Inn (cross the drawbridge and make a right after the store, tables on the water near the Bay side of the Narrows).
  17. The Outback in Bethesda serves Castlemaine XXXX bitter on tap (as of two years ago anyway). Never found it anywhere else in the States. That qualifies as genuine Australian in my book.
  18. Hunan Dynasty on Penn. Ave. probably has the best chinese on the Hill, it's adequate, but not fantastic by any stretch. If you don't know about the wine selection at Schneider's Liquors on Mass Ave., you should check it out - one of the best wine spots in DC.
  19. Agreed Mark, but that ain't Capitol Hill...it's downtown. I did have a wonderful rockfish lunch at Occidental recently though, and I think it has come up a few notches lately. The Penn. Ave. strip in question is the one on the other side of the Capitol in SE.
  20. La Brasserie used to do a pretty good job over on the NE side on Mass Ave. I've also had some decent meals at 2Quail over on that side. I've also heard good things about La Colline over the years (not far from Bis in NW, but haven't been. Italian Sub? Mangialardo's "G-man" down Pennsylvania at 12th (?) SE may be the best in DC. Another good Hill sandwich is at the Liquor Store's lunch counter on Penn. Ave. between 3rd and 4th (towards 3rd end); it's called the NCB after the venerable banking institution across the street. I second Al on the Tune Inn's old-school (greasy) burgers, and almost legendary atmosphere. Best part about the Tune is that you can always find people you know there late night after going out - a real neighborhood joint. Market Lunch is good stuff, and I entirely disagree that the fish at Maine Ave. waterfront is fresher than the seafood stand at the Eastern Market unless things have radically changed in the last two years. Taverna is the serviceable Greek place on Penn. Ave. The rapidly revitalizing 8th Street down towards the Marine Barracks has the wild and wonderful Sheridan's 1874 Old West Steakhouse for the open-minded. I had an excellent rare buffalo steak there.
  21. One of my great regrets is not having made the trip across the Mona Strait to La Republica Dominicana when I lived in San Juan for two years. The closest I got was a dive trip to Desecheo. I've heard wonderful things from so many people who have been there about the dilapidated beauty of Santo Domingo and of the countryside and resorts. Slightly off-topic, but in my limited experience and from conversations I've had, the basic cuisine is very similar - to the point of being nearly identical to the basics of Puerto Rican comida criolla. Is this true? Are there Dominican delights to be had that one couldn't get elsewhere in the Caribbean or particularly in Puerto Rico?
  22. I missed that vengroff - nice heads up.
  23. No pain here, and 1789 is a very well-known, very old-school Washington place so I'm sure others may chime in with their impressions. The cuisine is very traditional American, in the style of an elegant country inn. Beef, fish, fowl, game, seasonal vegetables, some southern influence. I think of the Virginia hunt country. I would not say it was innovative or imaginitve, but it is very well-executed and very well presented. Service is my preferred right balance of "formal but friendly." Servers are not stuffy or snooty by any means and are adept at leaving you in peace with just the requisite attention (water, bread, proper silver, etc. silently appearing). They are also at home with being engaged about the food or the restaurant. If you call in advance and explain the occasion, I am sure they will be very accomodating about reserving a suitable table and any special requests. 1789 webpage Another restaurant that comes to mind is Elysium in Alexandria - I've not dined there, but other eGulleters have gone together and had a wonderful time. That seems like it could qualify as a sufficiently romantic spot and the cuisine is superior by all accounts (Chef Mazzi was recently at the Beard House in NYC). I also find L'Auberge Chez Francois out in Great Falls, VA to be a very romantic and delicious restaurant - in the style of an Alsatian Inn. Finally, of course, there is the Inn at Little Washington and that would be hard to top as a romantic venue - particularly if you pull out the stops (and your wallet) and stay over night.
  24. One of the most romantic tables in town is at 1789 in Georgetown, the flagship of the Clyde's chain. There is a corner banquette in the first floor room off to the left - a very cozy setting. Chef Ris Lacoste does an excellent job in the kitchen, and the service has always been perfect in my visits there.
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