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Everything posted by cjsadler

  1. My review looks pretty cranky I liked certain things a lot-- the space and the spinach dip appetizer. However, that was the worst risotto I've ever had in a restaurant and I thought the prices ran a little steep for what they're serving. I would give them another chance, but I don't know if they can possibly stack up to the Colorado Kitchen now that I've been there a couple times and been really impressed.
  2. This isn't where you want to take a client, of course, but I recently went to the famous Florida Avenue Grill for breakfast. Man, is this place the definition of greasy spoon or what? Holy smokes. The condition of the interior, with grease and grime coating every available surface makes your average Waffle House look like Citronelle. I ordered hotcakes with bacon. My hotcakes came, but no bacon. I looked to the empty griddle and said 'they must have forgotten it'. Then up came the deep-fryer basket... containing my bacon. Whoa.
  3. cjsadler

    Fresh herb primer

    If you have a thyme plant, what's the best way to use it in recipes and still keep it healthy? Just pluck off the leaves, leaving the stems be or trim stems off and then pluck off the leaves? As a followup, the stems of my thyme plant are green and tender, not hard and woody. I guess this is because it's a young plant (?) Can the stems be used too?
  4. I don't think I've ever been to Club Charles. Is it the kind of place where the best option is to "drink your dinner". Has anyone ever been to Blue Agave on Federal Hill? I tried it a few weeks ago and had some of the best Mexican food I've had on the East Coast. Numerous margaritas and a pitcher of sangria obscures the details of my meal, but I remember being impressed. Yes, Club Charles is only for drinking. Head over to the Brewer's Art nearby for very good food and more drinks (they brew some killer sorta Belgian style beers). Blue Agave can be hit-or-miss. I've been there several times. Sometimes I'm really impressed and sometimes not. The margaritas are always delicious, though. El Taquito in Fells Point is better (and far cheaper). The best Mexican in the area in my opinion. Bring a six-pack with you.
  5. Has anyone had any experience dealing with the People Garden, a CSA group in Mount Pleasant. They provide a mixed bag of fresh produce each week. Looks interesting.
  6. I really like the burgers at the Five Guys in Alexandria, but the ones at the new DC location (over by Howard) are totally mediocre. However, the fries at the Howard location are crisp and delicious.
  7. Entrees are low to mid 20's. I was walking by the other week and they had something up for an 'early bird' special of a $25 (I think-- it may have even been only $20) three course prix fixe. It was from 5-6:30 pm or so... I don't know if they're still doing the oyster happy hours, but those were great too (50 cents per oyster). That would make a nice, inexpensive evening: Hit the oyster happy hour for a drink and some oysters, then do the prix fixe.
  8. We've got reservations for it and are really looking forward to it. Care to give us a preview of the dishes the chef is fixing?
  9. cjsadler

    Citrus Cured Salmon

    Tried the Colicchio method. I ended up letting it sit for longer than the 36 hours, more like 48 until I could get back home to check it out. The result..... not good. The salt sucked a huge amount of moisture out of the salmon, making it hard and stiff. Rinsed it off, patted it dry and seared it. Quite disgusting. The salmon was too salty, not very citrus-y and the texture was unpleasant. Edible, but barely. I'm wondering if Django didn't just soak the salmon ceviche style for an hour or so... theirs was moist, citrus-y and delicious.
  10. cjsadler

    Citrus Cured Salmon

    It was cured and then cooked? I thought gravlax was served raw? It was seared very briefly, which was unusual, but made it more interesting in texture and flavor, I thought.
  11. cjsadler

    Citrus Cured Salmon

    I found a recipe in Tom Colicchio's 'Think like a Chef'. He uses lime, lemon and orange zest (no juice) mixed with salt and a bit of sugar. Cure for 36 hours, then air dry for a bit in the fridge.
  12. I had some delicious seared citrus cured salmon with creme fraiche at a restaurant in Philly (Django). Has anyone citrus cured salmon? Or know of a recipe that could be trusted?
  13. There was one in Saveur a few months ago (sometime in the fall), as part of a story on milk in the kitchen, which was originally from the Gramercy Tavern. Try their website. I was going to pit this against a regular panna cotta to see which one I liked best for an upcoming dinner.
  14. As part of a weekend of gustatory birthday excess two weeks ago, some friends took me to Ray's. A steakhouse is not really my first choice of destination for dining (I ok'd it in a deep voice in order to retain my manhood, though). However, I was totally impressed. In fact, the only time I've had a better steak is at Peter Luger's. I had a NY strip, which was so well textured, charred, cooked to perfect temperature and full of dry-aged beefy goodness that I could have eaten two of them. The brandied mushroom cream on top (the house special) was nice, but I ended up taking most of it off to just focus on the steak. It came with sides of mashed potatoes and creamed spinach spiked with nutmeg all for the grand price of $22. The skirt and rib-eyes I got a taste of were just as good. I don't know why I'd ever go to Morton's, Ruth Chris', et al, ever again. The wine prices are a bargain as well. One bottle, the excellent Onyx Kroon from South Africa, was only $34 ($22 retail). The meal was topped off with a demitasse of rich hot chocolate for each of us, brought with the bill. It's a really tiny place, so make reservations. Not much in the way of atmosphere and it is LOUD in there. Sorta like eating in a warehouse. Ray seems to wander out to the dining room every fifteen minutes in his stained chef's jacket, checking to see if all is well... and it is.
  15. I stopped by Urban BBQ this past Friday, on my way up to Germantown. Had high hopes that this place might finally deliver some quality pulled pork to the area. But alas, it was not to be.... just mediocre. The smoke just wasn't there. Red Hot & Blue and Rocklands are still about the best you can do for pulled/chopped pork in in DC. However, the sides at Urban were terrific. Some of the best cornbread I've ever had, and fine beans and potato salad. The sauces are also good and all made in house. Plus, there's a tap of Dominion root beer on the counter that you can help yourself to. Nice guys who run the place, too. They obviously are making an effort to produce some quality chow. I'll definitely be back to try some of the other Q there soon. Note: This place can be tough to find. It's around back of El Patio, off of Twinbrook Parkway.
  16. I think Sietsema does have a point here that Ann Amernick is missing. I've been eating at Palena fairly regularly for a long time and the dessert menu never seems to change. In fact, I usually skip dessert there these days. I can understand keeping the cookie plate on there since it's so noteworthy, but some of the other items aren't really that fantastic. I say this knowing how good Ann Amernick is-- everything I've had at her shop has been amazing. The complaint isn't that she do something 'new and different', it's that surely she has a bunch of delicious desserts she could rotate on and off the Palena menu with more frequency to provide some needed variation.
  17. Look in the Washington Post front page section every Monday. Most weeks there are great coupons for Total Wine. Last week they had ones for $2 off any bottle in the store $10 or more and one for $5 (!) off every Bordeaux $15 or more.
  18. I envy those of you that haven't had a disaster. Things usually work out when I try something new, but I learned my lesson the last time I had a dinner party. Tried 'Asian short ribs' from Simple to Spectacular (Vonderichten and Bittman). Used the freshest spices, know what I'm doing with short ribs, figured I could trust this book, etc... but the flavor of the final dish was disgusting! I was horrified when I tasted it in the kitchen and quickly made some soy BBQ sauce to throw on the ribs.
  19. Can anyone recommend specific brands of truffle oil that they've been happy with. Was told that white is the way to go.
  20. WTF!? What is up with this?
  21. In Jeffrey Steingarten's latest book there is a recipe for tartlets (including his 'gold standard' tart dough). It instructs to use flan rings. Why would one use these over removable-bottom tartlet pans? Is there some baking advantage? Or is it just a shape/asthetic thing? Just curious, as I am debating which of the two to purchase.
  22. Went to Laboratorio for my birthday last night. Here's the run-down of the 'main' courses: 1. Crunchy tuna, "Citronelle Style" Roberto explained that he 'borrowed' this idea from Michel Richard. A thin crisp of potato with a layer of tuna tartare, served with chive oil and artichokes. Was a refreshing way to begin the meal. 2. Duck Liver Custard with Peach Marmalade Delicious-- probably the best dish of the night. This custard seems to be a standard, with the sauces/garnishes varying. Was topped with some sort of edible flower (didn't quite get what the waiter said the name of it was) 3. Raviolini of Veal with Veal Jus Ok, but not all that flavorful. 4. Pappardelle with Venison Ragu Good, but was unexciting. I stood next to the stove to watch Roberto prepare this dish. He mixed in an ungodly amount of butter with the pappardelle. 5. Risotto with Lobster Very deeply flavored with some chunks of knuckle meat. The rice was perfectly cooked vialone nona. I'd love to sit through an all-risotto tasting menu just to experience what he can do with it. 6. Roasted Monkfish with Periwinkles and Red Wine Sauce I love monkfish and this was well prepared. A small piece sitting atop a roasted portabella circle. The sauce was somewhat dull, but the periwinkles were interesting, as I've never had them before (they're sea snails). 7. Basil Crusted Lamb Loin with Black Olive Sauce, Roasted Leeks, and Eggplant puree Very good, especially the black olive sauce. Somehow only half our table ended up getting the eggplant puree on the dish. 8. Persimmon sorbet Was very creamy and smooth for a sorbet. Interesting flavor. 9. Chocolate-Espresso Mousse Extremely rich and chocolate-y. Was more like a semi-solid ganache (held in place by a caramelized shell) than a mousse (too dense). People really liked this one. The presentation was beautiful, but I thought this was an unexceptional ending. I ate quite a few pieces of the fantastic breads throughout the meal. A black olive flavored one and one baked with some sort of cured meat were standouts. We all really enjoyed the experience. That said, somehow I left with a feeling of disappointment-- I just wasn't as blown away as I expected to be.
  23. It's at the corner of Q and Connecticut. Don't know the number, though.
  24. The chefs who I've seen remove the inner membrane did so mainly for presentation purposes (and it does make the pepper look much nicer), but for a sauce where the pepper is to be pureed, I'd say it's a waste of time as I doubt it will make that much of a difference.
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