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Everything posted by cjsadler

  1. I recently used this mousse recipe from the NY Times. No eggs, no gelatin. It looked and tasted like chocolate pudding before it went into the fridge and I thought it was to be an utter failure, but it setup into an incredible mousse. So for the caramel mousse recipe that started this thread, simply omitting the gelatin would work (with perhaps a slight loss in stability)?
  2. If there's a better lunch deal than the $20 three course prix-fixe at CP Steak, I don't know what it is. The hanger steak is one of the entree options and it was fantastic-- tender and flavorful atop a potato gratin with demi-glace. Had a rich celery root soup to start, which had plenty of duck confit, gnocchi and wild mushrooms in it. The caramel mousse for dessert was excellent as well. I brought along a bottle of Ch. Souverain Cabernet, for which there was no corkage charge. We felt like super-skinflints, but what a deal.... We walked out into the sun completely happy and totally unready for an afternoon of work. Free up your afternoon schedule and get there before this deal ends (I don't know if they'll continue it next year or not-- it's been on for all of 2004).
  3. I'll be down in Durham this coming weekend. We've got places to eat planned for everything but Sunday. Is there any BBQ places open on Sun? Seems like everything is closed! Failing that, any other Sunday-open fairly cheap eats (Magnolia Grill and Enoteca Vin are sapping our budget the other days)?
  4. Rice has a new carryout-only sister restaurant, Simply Home Cuisine (the owner also owns the Simply Home store on 18th). It's on U Street next to Julia's (the strip where Coppi's and Utopia are).
  5. Well, there's the legendary Florida Avenue Grill, which serves most the things you mention. 'Greasy spoon' does not even begin to relate what this place is like, though-- grease seems to cover every available surface inside. Consult your cardiologist first.
  6. Was at a certain bustling small plates restaurant last week and ordered two glasses of not cheap red. The wine must have been at least 75 degrees. Glasses of wine can't really be chilled down and would have to be pitched. So feeling wrong about sending it back, I waited until mine came down to room temperature and tried drinking it. Even if I was able to communicate to the server that "yes, I know red wine is supposed to be served 'warm', but this is too warm", I'm not sure what can constructively come of saying this, unless they're going to decide to build a new space to store the wine (which is highly doubtful). I'm wondering what those here in the restaurant industry think is the appropriate diner response to the warm red wine problem. Is refusing glasses of wine that are too warm acceptable? (if it was a bottle, I'd try the suggested ice bucket trick).
  7. I was at a cocktail party of sorts at Charlie Palmer's on Tuesday-- they reserved a small room off the main dining area for it. The wines (chosen by their sommelier), passed hors d'oeurves, and service were all excellent. God knows how much this cost, though (the hors d'oeurves included foie gras stuffed profiteroles and Muscovy duck, but you could probably get them to tone it down a bit). The bill was picked up by a magazine publisher and I was there as the (wine swilling) guest of a friend (if anyone knows how I can crash more of these type of events, please PM me )
  8. Was down in Harrisonburg for a wedding this past weekend and when driving back up 81, saw the billboard for the Sunnyside Burger Barn. The sign said "Exit 6 and then follow 522 South". What the sign doesn't tell you is that after you've followed the twists and turns of 522 for a few miles, there's another sign announcing "Burger Barn: 23 miles" Though pressed for time, we were already drooling over the thought of a Kobe burger and decided to go for it. Sunnyside has a whole "World Famous Rest Stop" complex that includes a market, huge tchotke store, ice cream shop, and the Burger Barn. Outside, they were pouring some of their cider, which I think that WP article mentioned as being one of the only remaining unpasteurized ciders made in VA. This stuff is delicious and I picked up a gallon ($5) before heading inside. The Kobe burgers are very tasty ($6.50) and cooked to a nice medium-rare (they don't ask how you want it). Skip the sides, as the portions are miniscule and they aren't all that great anyway. Do wash the burger down with a Star Hill beer, though.
  9. There's one I completely disagree with: Buck's gets three stars?! (Thus putting in on the same level as Nectar and Palena? )
  10. On waterbaths in general, on another thread I remember nightscotsman saying that you really only needed a small amount of water for the waterbath, as it acts as a heatsink. This is intriguing to me, as you usually read that you need to get the water at least halfway up the pan. Usually, the rationale is given as being to protect the cake sides from direct heat (which would be slightly different than a heatsink and would imply that you should get the water up as high as possible). Is there any truth to the "halfway up the pan" idea or is it just a myth/rule of thumb? (The point of asking about all this is that it would be alot easier to deal with a smaller amount of water).
  11. Sorry the experience wasn't that great. The service and food quality are well below Palena's bar menu, that's for sure. Still, there were enough positives that I thought it was a good deal (the bread board, the wine, and about 60% of the dishes I've had). I've lucked out with decent service the times I've been there, but I could see how it could be really poor-- in so many ways the Osteria seems like an afterthought to the main restaurant (and even the bar). I'm hoping they'll try and fix the (sometimes glaring) flaws.
  12. According to this, he's in town on the 22nd of Nov. Maybe drop him a PM to see what he's doing after the signing?
  13. If you can still get ahold of some figs, this is my favorite tapa (from a P. Casas recipe): Simmer 1 cup red wine vinegar with 1 cup of sugar, a cinnamon stick and a few cloves. Put the figs in whole and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Let cool. Saute the chorizo in slices and deglaze with wine. Skewer half a fig and a slice of chorizo on a toothpick. These are delicious.
  14. Took some friends prior to heading to the 9:30. The menu is completely changed from the last time I was here (wish they would have kept those anchovies on there, though). The highlights were the duck carpaccio (really, really good) and the carbonara. Had a nice bottle of Barbera d'Asti for a good price. This place is such a deal-- my friends couldn't have been happier. So why is nobody going here? We were the only table there.
  15. I found myself in Laurel the other day in need of food and stopped at the Chick-fil-a. I've been to them quite a few times, but just don't understand the raving about it. Even my grandmother (who could cook some amazing chicken dishes) used to rave about Chick-fil-a, asking me to take her there when she could no longer drive (and she hated fast food!). So I'm thinking this time I'll finally understand.... Nope-- it just a somewhat dry, fairly flavorless fried chicken sandwich (with those weird pickles). I can make a better chicken sandwich (seriously!) Them waffle fries ain't bad, though...
  16. The trick at that Safeway (and any others too) with alot of the seafood is to ask them to get frozen fish for you out of the back. Tuna and scallops (dry) are cheap there, but they leave them out to defrost (so people think they're 'fresh') and then they rot. They're all frozen anyway, except for some of the fillets, which have usually gone bad. Their cryovac'd frozen tuna is actually pretty good for the price (usually $7-8/lb)
  17. Hmmmm..... I can definitely confirm that their beer is brewed at the DC location, as I've met the brewer. He's a knowledgeable guy (and capable of brewing some really good stuff). Maybe he left?
  18. When forced to eat at the Brickskeller, there's only one choice to be made: the Brickburger, which comes topped with bacon, fried salami, cheese and cole slaw. I think it's still only $6. bx23$qa has it exactly right-- the beer selection has really deteriorated, especially in the US department (how can they not have any Bell's?). The downslide seems to have coincided with the opening of RFD. RFD's selection isn't all that it could be either, though they do have some interesting things on tap from time to time (currently they have St. Bernardus 8, which is insanely good).
  19. Was at New Big Wong last night. Easily the best Chinese food I've had in Chinatown. The beef with sour cabbage was incredible. Not quite as good, but still tasty were a braised pork belly dish and a mixed seafood clay pot thing. Many interesting things on the 'Chef's Specials' menu.
  20. cjsadler


    I could've sworn there was a website for Chloe. If there is, I can't seem to find it now. Anyone know?
  21. What you can't get in DC and what I immediately head for when I'm in San Fran is good Mexican food. Try La Taqueria or El Farolito, both on Mission. And I'd recommend the Zuni Cafe. You'll need to make a reservation far in advance.
  22. I think I'm ok as a savory cook, but I am awful with pastry. I hesitate to even post this. Warning: what you're about to see is very graphic and disturbing. Cross-section of the dough. This doesn't look promising. Ready for action Uh-oh.... These taste about as good as they look. Very dense and unpuffed. It's just as delicious as my tart dough Not sure where this all went wrong. I'm guessing it must have been the butter getting too warm at some point in the process. I chilled the dough for about 10 minutes after rolling (prior to rolling it had come straight from resting in the fridge overnight). My kitchen is rather warm, but it just didn't seem like enough time for the butter to melt. Maybe it got too warm when I was making the dough. Back to the drawing board.
  23. Now that I look at the menu they gave us, I have it mixed up. The sea urchin was served whole with pomegranite air on top and I believe it was an oyster that had the banana foam on top and a chilled mango soup underneath it (it's tough to keep all that food straight ). Both those dishes were outstanding.
  24. I think alot of the enjoyment of the Minibar experience rests on novelty. A few of the dishes were just plain delicious and I'd definitely enjoy eating them again, but for many of the courses, the enjoyment was more in thinking about food in a new and different way. Take the melon experiment-- intriguing and creative, but I don't see any reason to experience it again. Edit: I forgot to mention the fresh sea urchin, flown in from CA and served with a banana espuma. Wow-- this was a crazy combination that just totally worked.
  25. Was at the Minibar on Tuesday. After the break, most of the dishes seem to be the same (It was my first time there-- I'm basing this assessment on posts here and the experience of one of my dining companions). One very interesting new dish was a 'science experiment' with melon. Three trays of liquid are set out on the counter, one orange and the other two clear. The orange liquid is a cantalope puree mixed with some sort of gelatin. Spoonfuls of it are dropped into the next liquid (a clear calcium solution) and form what look exactly like egg yolks. After a few minutes, the 'yolks' are rinsed in the third bowl (simply water). The 'yolks' are then placed on a spoon with mint puree. Pop it in your mouth and after a split second of resistance, you get a burst of flavorful melon liquid. I think the cucumber roll with tomato sorbet was new as well. This was one of my favorite dishes: very thin overlapped slices of cucumer are rolled around a line of tomato sorbet. Startling (I didn't hear the 'sorbet' description) and refreshing. I was pretty skeptical about some of the more outlandish ingredient pairings and was busy parodying them in my mind this week (Braised pork belly rolled in orange pixy stix dust, anyone?) Have to admit, though-- that foie gras with cotton candy was surprisingly delicious. Really enjoyed the experience, but I think Don summed it up perfectly: "Now that I've had it, it would not be in my top 50 for visiting a second time" And many thanks to the three chefs that night, who were happy to answer all our questions about the food.
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