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Everything posted by tobism

  1. Everyone's seen it, and I'm sure 90% have purchased one at one time or another: The Annual Washingtonian Cheap Eats Issue. It's the guide to the latest and greatest (not to mention cheapest) good food in the Metro DC area. It's one of Washingtonian's best selling issues. My wife and I always pick it up when it comes out and we trust the ratings, but should we? I mean, the food's good when they say it is, but I heard recently that you had to pay to play... if you didn't pay, even if the reviewers liked you, you wouldn't make it in the magazine. What gives? Can anybody give a clear perspective on how those restaurants make it into Cheap Eats? Do they have to pony up a fee to be featured? Is there some back kitchen arm twisting going on? After years of trusting this source, should we know look at it with some skepticism?
  2. Went to Famous Dave's in Oakton over the weekend. I must say, it's DANG DELICIOUS! I had the Georgia Chopped Pork Sandwich, and my wife had the rib platter. The meat was moist, tender, and juicy, and was served so fast it was still hot from the smoker! The Devil's Spit BBQ sauce is excellent, very bold and tangy with just enough heat to make you come back for more. I think Famous Dave's and Rockland's ties for the best in the area (from what I've tried). I tend to favor Rocklands of Wisconsin Ave only because I like the ambience better.
  3. Ate at China Star again and I must say, the more I try new things from the menu, the more that place ROCKS! Can't go wrong with the Crispy Beef and Lake Windless Shrimp!
  4. Pizza=Vace or Regina's (off Allentown Rd in Maryland) Deli=Booeymonger's (good pastrami, good Reuben) Chinese Food=China Star (Fairfax City, VA) DC has it all, you just have be adventurous, patient, and find it. It makes you work harder to find the good stuff... but once you do, it's worth it!
  5. tobism


    My wife and I just recently married and we registered and received a set of 12 "Isabella" 12oz all purpose goblets from Crate & Barrel. They seem to work fine to me...
  6. One of my favorite places to go around there is Hope Key, for chinese food. It's cheap and really, really good... in my opinion one of the best in the area. Try the wonton noodle soup, hong kong style, and you can't leave there w/o having the salt and pepper squid... it's awesome! Hope Key is located in the same area as Hard Times, on the same side of the street as Clarendon Ballroom.
  7. I've heard the Social Safeway also called the Singles Safeway... then there's the Secret Safeway, the one up Wisconsin tucked behind a car dealership.
  8. Maybe Food Network's recent success is the devil in disguise. What I can imagine happening now is like what they do to you in college; everyone comes from different educational backgrounds, so they throw you all into English 101 to make sure you're all on the same page. After that, you can go and take any English Lit class you want with this basic understanding. FTV might be in this stage, i.e., drawing in a bigger audience, and "educating" them about food. At least exposing these food newbies (newfies?) to some base food/techniques/cuisines/ingredients. This will get people hooked, and maybe, hopefully soon they'll start more instructional/sophisticated programming after they build their audience. I agree with Brad that a few years ago FTV was more "geeky," it had cooking shows on almost all the time. I still miss Galloping Gourmet and East Meets West, among others. This was B.E.E. (Before Emeril Exploded), and now I don't watch it as much as I used to. I wish I could stay home during the day to watch the good stuff, but we've gotta pay the mortgage. I wish there was more respect for primetime gulleteers in FTV programming. There's only so much "Best Of" and "Top Five" I can take... I hope the Brooke Johnson has a better vision and gives the audience more credit.
  9. I did notice the "I'm too good to wear a head covering in the kitchen" attitude of Rocco. Considering he looks like he hasn't showered and shaved in a few days, it's pretty gross. Then to see him eyeball that plate, then dip, lick, and dip again, it really got my stomach churning. If he's supposed to be a professional, I'd hate to imagine what's going on in the kitchen of my local chinese place... I did cheer quite a bit when Rocco let Drew the Idiot have it... then cheered even more when Jefferey put him in his place. Then couldn't stop cheering when he couldn't get a cab! It all evens out in the end! Poor Mama, what can she do? At least she's doing what she can... working hard at the restaurant. Gotta respect that. No too impressed with the tall do-rag corporate chef. I have more respect for the other suits that actually constructively criticized the lack of drink refills to Laurent. Seemed courteous enough and geniunely concerned, not just critiquing for critique's sake. I wish they showed more of The Meeting Outside between JC and Rocco.
  10. Hmmm... I guess it really depends on how much time you've got. I'd probably take 95 from Virginia, then 495 toward 66, then 66 into town, and exit into Georgetown. There's a few places to eat there, or just keep going up Wisconsin Ave til you hit Tenleytown, and grab a pizza at 2Amy's (more parking, less traffic). Then you could continue on your way up Wisconsin til you hit 495 again, then take 270. It's a slightly longer route, but you'd drive through a nicer part of the city and still see things, and eat a good meal where there's decent parking. You could also take 95 to 395 into downtown, exit Maine Avenue, and drive through the Smithsonian/Mall. Grab a sidewalk hotdog, soda and chips for $2.50 and enjoy the scenery. If it's a nice sunny day there's a lot to see around there and it's worth the drive. You can't beat it with a stick, and it's something everyone loves to do... walk around the National Mall. The Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Tidal Basin area... all very nice on a warm, sunny day. Five Guys is also a good local burger joint off of 395. Take King St exit away from Alexandria. Nothing incredibly interesting to see around there, tho.
  11. Does anyone know where the one in Fairfax is going to be located? Fairfax City or surrounding area Fairfax? Is it being built already?
  12. Kalamansi (or calamansi) juice is one of my favorite drinks in the Phillippines! You can't beat it on a hot, humid day in the islands. I've had it freshly squeezed mixed with water and sugar, and poured into a tall glass filled with ice. I also like calamansi fruit shakes. In the Phillippines the fruit is used like lemon to flavor fish, sauces, paella, etc. While I was there one time, I remember asking one of our cooks to make me some calamansi juice. Little did I realize we had no more, and I was shocked to see her in the kitchen squeezing out about 50 of these ping pong ball sized fruits into a pitcher! Definitely a lot of hard work making freshly squeezed calamansi juice. But it's so good and some love it so much, I've heard of people growing calamansi in Florida. Stateside, I've used the syrup concentrate. It's okay, but tastes a little artificial. I've used it to make popsicles before, and they came out decent, but nothing beats the real thing. I think I've made calamansi sorbet before, and it got a good response. Personally, I thought it was okay... it's hard to like the concentrate when you know the taste of the real fresh fruit.
  13. I'm not from New York but have been, and have had the street vendor food. Good stuff, but nothing memeorable (I'll try and really savor it next time). But I can tell you the absolute best pad thai I've ever had came from a street vendor at a nightmarket when I was in Bangkok. The lady just called it "fried noodles," and she looked about 65 years old, been cooking on the streets all her life, and had enough gunk on her old wok to prove it. It took her all of 2 minutes to stir fry the ingredients and dump it into tin foil, and man, it was awesome!
  14. I've noticed within the past few years that mango, the tropical fruit, has grown in popularity. It's in desserts, ice cream, sorbets, tarts, pies... you name it, someone is going to try and make a mango flavor of it. What do you guys think the "new mango" will be? Guava? Jackfruit? Durian? Have you noticed anything on the horizon that could usurp mango's popularity?
  15. I don't know if anybody's mentioned this, but Mama Wok is good for Chinese. It's up the pike near Rockville Town Center. They have the greatest szechuan fried shrimp! It's the best cure for a hangover!
  16. I have the same Cuisinart but haven't used it in a while. I also have a mini hand crank Donvier, and a 1.5 gallon ice-and-rock-salt White Mountain. My workhorse is a 4 quart Coldelite LB100; it's da BOMB! The Cuisinart makes a decent, smooth product, if you know the basics. Just make sure to use a wooden or plastic spoon for extraction (rice paddle is perfect), and if you plan on making a couple batches in succession, buy another self contained freezing unit. Now go make ice cream!
  17. Name the best place to have Japanese food or sushi in the Metro DC area, then tell us why it's your favorite. A great place I've been to recently is Arigato Sushi in Fairfax. Moderately priced, but some of the freshest, tastiest sushi I've ever had! The decor is tasteful, but nothing to write home about. Service is decent, sushi chefs are awesome for a neighborhood sushi restaurant. My other favorites are Tako Grill and Matuba and Bethesda.
  18. Food Network is getting a little tired. When I first started watching it, I was mezmerized by the Galloping Gourmet, Ming Tsai, Iron Chef, and Mario. Good Eats is a perennial favorite, when I can catch it. I think now that's the only thing holding it together. Can't find Mario, Bobby Flay sucks, and Ming's gone. I do like 30 Minute Meals and Everyday Italian for the eye candy. WTF is up with Top 5 and Unwrapped? Date Plate? Food Fight? Dweezil and Lisa? Man, they are reaching... now it's becoming entertainment (with food), just like MTV is entertainment (with music). The should drop the antics and just get on with the food.
  19. tobism

    Crab questions

    Stone crab is goood... but you can't beat Maryland Blue Crabs. They're the best during the summer, with piles of Old Bay, eaten on newpaper covered wooden patio furniture, with the sun beating down and the salt water smell in the air... washed down with cold beer and good friends.
  20. IMHO, hands down, Cluck U's! The one in College Park is my favorite, cheap, tasty and filling... and good for people watching...
  21. I second that nomination for Louisiana Express... even though there was a roach in my Coke!
  22. verbalized what I've been thinking for a long time...
  23. tobism

    Bagged Teas

    There's a pretty good drink out here (Bethesda, Maryland) called Honest Tea. It's marketed as an alternative to Snapple; a cold, refreshing drink that's healthy and not sweet. When you try it, it'll be a shock to the system first because you'll be looking for the initial sweetness, but after the second or third sip, it grows on you and is actually quite good. Cold tea, with interesting flavors, low sugar, served in bottles. I like the word play with the name, too.
  24. I used to work at Ben and Jerry's years ago and had all these flavors at my finger tips, as much as I wanted. At the time I was training to run a marathon, so I never gained any weight! My favorites used to be/are: Coconut Almond Fudge Chip, Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Dilbert's Totally Nuts. Another under-rated favorite of mine was Vanilla Caramel Fudge Swirl. During the downtimes we'd experiment with mixing a lot of different flavors in shakes and double dip combos. I created a Chunky Monkey/Pistachio milk shake that was unbeleiveable! Those were the days...
  25. Malawry, Farrel's closed down years ago (maybe 10?), and where it used to be is now an open-air drug market. JK... Hey, what have you been up to since your externship? I followed your posts on L'Academie religiously. Great work and excellent reading!
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