Sunday, December 30, 2007

Wine is the new oil

2007 could very well go down as the year of wine. We've seen a number of high-end wine bars open up in the area, and more are set to come.

Yet, according to an article in the Washington Post, this wine boom is just the tip of the iceberg.

There's an entire exchange, much like the NYSE, that deals in the buying and selling of wine. And we're not talking about the bottle of Yellowtail in your kitchen, we're talking wines bought at $3,500 and sold at $10,000.

Overall this year the market is up an amazing 39%, but that doesn't mean there still isn't plenty of risk involved.

So, will you be investing in wine in 2008?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

At least it only happens once a year...

Now that I'm back from Florida it's time to start planning for New Years. So far we haven't developed anything past a party at Steve's, which is probably going to end up looking like this.

Does anyone have any NYE suggestions? What are you doing for the big night?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I think I got something here...

Finally, a nice day here in Florida. And without any sign of red tide or clouds, my father and I walked down to the beach to do a little surf fishing.

With the help of some sand fleas I was actually able to catch something, a beautiful black drum.

Unfortunately three hours of solid fishing only produced this one fish. But hey, it's one more than I've ever caught in DC, so I'll take it.

Note: Shortly after taking that last picture, I unhooked the fish and threw it back. It swam happily back to sea to be with its other fish friends.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Comment of the Year

Brought to you by the fine readers of the Miami Herald:

Food Critic...

Do you realize how big of a douchebag you are?

Posted by:
12/26/2007 2:21 PM
25827.4 Report as Violation

Food Day: It's an awards post!

The math is simple folks. Bad weather + a lack of ideas = an end of the year awards post!

Stay with me on this, I'll try to make it as painless as possible.

Best Performance by a Meal or a large snack: Donut and margarita pizza at 2 Amy's
I've eaten a lot of really good food over the past year, but for what it's worth, nothing quite does the trick like a Sunday morning donut and margarita pie at 2 Amy's. I come out spending only $15, I'm in and out in about a half hour (I've I'm there by myself), and I've consumed enough food for the entire day. It's nowhere near the fanciest, but hey, I'll take it any day of the week.

Best Restaurant (Comedy or Musical): Zola
A lot of things have changed for me over the past year. How I eat and who I’ve eaten with being the two primary. But through all of that, Zola has always stood out to me. I feel that this restaurant always gets overlooked, and to me, that’s just fine. It didn’t even make the top 100 list, but I’d still rather go there than most of those who did. The service is always sharp, the bar has a great drink selection, and the menu changes enough to keep things interesting. Oh yeah, and the food is pretty damn good too.

Best Supporting Role by an Alcoholic Beverage: The Grog at PX
If this was all there was to drink in the world, I’d be a happy man. I’d drink this like water if I could, and trust me, I’ve tried.

Best Performance by a Restaurant not in Washington DC: Osaka, Northampton, MA.
I’m not even sure I’ve been to Osaka in the past year, but every sushi restaurant to visit is, and will always be judged against Osaka. This is on my top five places to eat in 2008. Of course getting up to NoHo will be a bit difficult.

Worst Performance by a Meal or Snack: Beer Cheese at King Street Blues
I love beer. I love cheese. But I also love my right hand and blenders. Beer cheese was almost as painful as combining the later two, and probably less healthy.

Worst Restaurant (Drama): Burma
I guess this is what you get when you’re down to your 10th option. I’ve never had to go up and essentially process my own bill, and I’ve never not eaten more than two bites of any meal. Thank you Burma, you’ve shown me what truly horrible food and service really is.

Worst Supporting Role by an Alcoholic Beverage: I don’t remember
If it was that bad, odds are I had enough of it not to remember it. Ah the beauty of booze.

So, let’s hear yours. Leave a comment, let me know what you felt was the best and worst in food in 2007.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

It's official...

I've now gone from the annoying guy, to the annoying guy with a harmonica.

If I really could blame anyone for this, it's Evan and Ross. Evan for bringing me to the Malt Shop last Monday night, and Ross for letting me try his harmonica out.

Now that I've actually got one, I suppose I should learn to play it.

In the meantime, here's my inspiration (and here's the full concert).

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!

No hidden food agenda here. Just wishing everyone who celebrates a very Merry Christmas.

So, what did you get this Christmas? What were you hoping to get? What didn't you get?

And most importantly (here's where that hidden food agenda comes in)...what's for dinner?!?

Review - Haru Sushi (Melbourne, FL)

It seems like a long time ago that sushi was still a novelty. Those days have come and gone to such a great extent that you're just as likely to find sushi in a 7-11 as you are anywhere else.

Interpreting sushi at any one of these places is a lot like interpreting the constitution. Either you're a strict constructionist - a restaurant with a fairly limited menu that focuses primarily on the fish, or you've got a more liberal interpretation of sushi - you've got a larger menu that focuses on playing to the modern tastes of the masses.

When it comes to sushi, I'm a strict constructionist. I'm the Antonin Scalia of sushi. Just cut up the freshest fish you can find, throw in some rice, a little bit of wasabi and soy sauce, and you've got the best meal out there.

Last night my family and I went to Haru, which I've been told is the best sushi outfit in the area.

For me, this is like Scalia going to a forum on the constitution at the Center for American Progress. I loved the topic, I just didn't like the spin on it.

Haru's menu is primarily what they consider "special rolls". Rolls with names like, "La Bamba" and "Spice Girls". Rolls that often have a poor rice to fish ratio and cover the fish in a sauce that takes away from what makes sushi special.

Now, this wasn't bad. In fact, for what it was, I rather enjoyed it.

The edamame we shared was good, well salted and warm.

I ordered a conch roll, probably the most simple roll on the menu, and enjoyed it very much. Conch isn't something you see back home in DC, and I generally try to get it as much as possible when I come down to Florida.

For my other roll I got a "Florida Roll", which consisted of yellow tail, tuna, scallions, avocado, and masago. Again, this was good, but too complicated for my taste. The individual ingredients were drowned out by each other. You could have thrown gefilte fish in there and I probably wouldn't have known.

My mother got a "Volcano Roll", which again was too complicated for my taste, and covered with dynamite sauce, which as I'm sure you all know, is a staple of traditional Japanese cuisine.

For what it is, Haru was good. The fish was fresh, and the steak dish my father got was actually very well prepared. The only major drawback of the restaurant itself was the service, which was almost good enough to be declared decent.

But for what I like, Haru just couldn't cut it. I'm sure the Center for American Progress would put on a great forum on the constitution, but if you're Antonin Scalia, you're probably going to stick to The Federalist Society.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


I'd imagine this is what Iowa is like, but you know, with fish instead of beef or corn. Melbourne, Florida, as with most parts of Florida lives and dies with the sea. You're more likely to get a piece of fish for dinner than you are chicken or beef, and being this close to the source, it's a good thing.

This morning started off with a stroll to the beach. Jackie (the sister and master of all things marine bio) took us down and explained sciency things way beyond my comprehension as a simpleton.

Unfortunately the Red Tide is still pretty bad today, and we scurried back in before we coughed our lungs out.

For lunch my mother and I ventured down the street to Boardwalk Burrito Co., a local burrito place right on (who would have guessed?) the boardwalk off of A1A.

I decided on one of the mahi-mahi tacos and a chicken taco. At a few dollars a piece, it's a pretty good deal, and they come with a substantial portion of house made corn chips.

The mahi-mahi (in the foreground) was particularly good, and the flavors of the fish really came through with a nice cabbage slaw and tomatoes.

After lunch my father, sister and I went south a few miles to do a little crabbing.

Crabbing, for those who haven't been, involves fixing a piece of bait to a trap (as my father is above) and drop it into the water, which is generally shallow, and wait for the crabs to come up to the bait (chicken in this case). Once they do, pull the trap up, and collect the crab.

Unfortunately, I caught the only crab of the day, and we went back home empty handed.

In general, today was full of ocean related activity, which culminated with a sushi dinner which I'll post about tomorrow. Until then, have a great night folks!

I want one!

You wouldn't think you'd find it here. New York City, yes. Washington DC, probably. But Melbourne, Florida? Nah. Not here. Why would you find the best gourmet food store in a small beach town on Florida's Space Coast?

I don't know, I don't care, I just want one. I want one to be in Arlington. Consider yourself lucky Harris Teeter, if I had a Green Turtle Market within walking distance, you'd never see me again.

Making a comparison to HT might be a little unreasonable, this isn't a two-story monster of an uber-grocery store, but think of Green Turtle Market as sort of a better, less pretentious Dean & Deluca.

Behind the counters of their bakery and prepared food section are an army of folks in white chefs coats, making things that Whole Foods which they had. A variety of dishes from the Middle East, Italy, Spain and South America that you're not going to find in a whole lot of other places.

Their fish and meat selection is also first rate, and very inexpensive. I ran across the store to find my father when I found that large pieces of hanger steak were only $6.00 a pound. Their wine section, which seems to cover half of the store, is also exceptional, with an impressive variety of both regions and prices.

On top of their groceries, they also serve some pretty good food. Just from the deli I got a half roast beef sandwich on fresh made bread and a salad for only $5.00, and my father got a rather large portion of Caribbean Grouper Chowder for only around $2.50.

Their Grapevine Cafe also looked interesting, with a pretty diverse and inexpensive menu.

The Green Turtle Market embodies a lot of what I really like about this area. A sort of humbled elegance that delivers a great product. Now if we can only get one in DC.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Washingtonian Top 100 and RW 2008

While waiting for my MARC train to BWI yesterday at Union Station, I picked up a copy of January's Washingtonian, and as promised, here's the new top 10 restaurants in the Washington DC area, at least according to Washingtonian Magazine.

1. Citronelle (Four Stars)
2. CityZen (Four Stars)
3. Komi (Four Stars)
4. Restaurant Eve (Three and a half Stars)
5. Minibar (Three and a half Stars)
6. Inn at Little Washington (Three and a half Stars)
7. Palena (Three and a half Stars)
8. Vidalia (Three and a half Stars)
9. Kinkead's (Three Stars)
10. Central (Three Stars)

Just a few quick observations: I'm surprised that Komi topped Eve. Now, admittedly, I haven't been to either, but the prevailing winds have been in Eve's favor lately, and the Armstrongs did win Restaurateurs of the Year, but a large amount of credit must go to Johnny Monis and his four star joint.

Also, newcomers Wolfgang Puck and Eric Ripert took the 14th and 15th spots respectively with The Source and Westend Bistro.

So now that the Washingtonian list is out, here's your chance to try some of them on the (almost) cheap. The full Restaurant Week list is out for the 14th through the 20th of January.

So far I have reservations at Oval Room for Tuesday and Sushi-Ko on Wednesday. I chose Oval Room because of it's high ranking in the Washingtonian List (13) and Sushi-Ko because I've really been itching to go there for a long time, and I figure this is my chance (It also ranked 29th this year, which certainly helps).

So, where have you made reservations so far? Or where do you plan on making reservations?

Greetings from Florida: Don't go in the water edition

Ah the sunshine state: sun, surf, red tide. Red tide?!? WTF is that?

I was all kinds of set to head to the beach this morning until the ol' M & P put the kibosh on it. Evidently our area has a bad case of red tide and even being near the beach is dangerous.

But, since we're only two blocks away, I figured it couldn't hurt to go down and take a picture or two.

I'm sure I've said this before, but Melbourne has some great dining options, most of which I plan on exploring during my week+ down here.

Stay tuned for updates!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Fatty Fridays - Forbidden Pig Edition

Happy Friday everyone. Hopefully if you're not already heading to wherever you'll be spending the Holidays, you've got some time off ahead of you.

Me? I've got a 5:30 flight back to the Sunshine State. Nothing but a week of reading and playing the harmonica on the beach...and probably blogging.

Last night though I had a chance to visit Jaleo in Penn Quarter and try the prized Ibérico hams from Spain.

I included this in the Fatty Fridays section because, well...there's a lot of delicious fat on those oh so thin slices of piggy goodness. The taste, as Steve stated, is very similar to prosciutto, but sweeter.

But for now, I've got a pecan pie that an old friend of mine just brought over...and it's got my name all over it.

Have a great Friday folks! Next time you hear from me, I'll be on the beach.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The list is out...sort of.

Or at least it probably is to a select few insiders. What list? The Washingtonian Top 100 Restaurant list of course.

I'm going to have to assume that since he's on the cover, Michel Richard's Citronelle is still number 1. Word on the street ( is that CityZen is number two, and Komi is three.

I also overheard when I was having drinks tonight someone who is in the industry and who no doubt has seen the list say that the place where I had dinner last night, Brasserie Beck is at or near 37.

As soon as the complete list comes up, I'll be sure to post about it.

New Restaurant in Dupont

Just in time for the new year, Chef Howsoon Cham, owner of Red Ginger in Georgetown, will be opening the doors of his second restaurant, Café Tropé on December 28th. Café Tropé will offer French Caribbean cuisine, and will be located at 2100 P St. NW.

Some of the dishes to be highlighted at the restaurant will include Foie Gras with Coconut French Toast and Cranberry Jam and Jamaican Jerk Chicken Lollipops with Fried Cabbage.

Of course, you can't be a Caribbean restaurant without some drinks, and Tropé promises to have a great variety of boat drinks to keep you cool, or warm you up.

Review - Brasserie Beck

It isn't very often that you walk into a restaurant for the first time and just say to yourself, "wow". Restaurants are restaurants for the most part; you walk in and you pretty much know what to expect. I had high expectations for Brasserie Beck, the sister restaurant to Robert Wiedmaier's Marcel's in the West End, but there was just something about Beck that drew that "wow" out of me.

This wasn't just a normal dinner however, it was the first time I'd seen Apples in a few months and it made for a good excuse to try something new.

We both started off with a beer, something lighter for me, darker for her - I forget exactly what she got, but it tasted a little like Cricket Cola, which was fine with me. The beer selection here is one of the highlights, with more Belgian beers than you can shake an empty beer stein at.

After the first round and the ordering came the bread. A fresh warm baguette with soft butter (finally, a restaurant who understands!!), for its simplicity, it's one of my favorite bread baskets in the city - because it was done right.

We started off with the apple and curry mussels, which there was enough of for two people. I would say that these were probably the best I've had, or if not the best than certainly in the top three. If in doubt, you can't go wrong with them here.

The mussels were probably enough, but since neither of us know when to stop eating, we both ordered an appetizer - for Apples, the pea soup with veal cheek meatballs, and for me, the duck confit.

The pea soup was fantastic, sweet and creamy, just the way it should be, and the meatballs were soft (though slightly more cooked than I would have preferred) and very tasty.

The duck confit was also very good, though it was at this point in the meal that the beer and the food combined to nearly make me throw in the towel. But with a little urging on I had a few bites of this wonderfully cheesy potato thing with pork belly, and of course, ordered dessert.

The dessert menu is full of great options, but for some reason the Belgian waffle really called to me. This isn't the waffle that you make in that disgusting waffle maker in your college cafeteria (bad memories of TDR come back to any fellow AU grad?), this was a perfectly crisp on the outside, soft on the inside waffle, accompanied by mix of dried fruit and a nice scoop of cinnamin ice cream (almost as good as the best ice cream I've ever had, which was cinnamin ice cream in Vermont).

By the time the waffles were consumed and the check was paid, I didn't want to think about how much food I ate - I really didn't have to, I felt like I could have fallen asleep standing up from the food coma I was about to enter.

Wiedmaier has a good thing going at Beck. He's got an incredibly talented chef in David Ashwell, a great dining room, and a great location (11th and K ST NW). It's one thing to have guests saying "wow" when they walk into a restaurant, but what's important is to have them say it when they leave - after last night, I still can't stop staying it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I guess that's why I call it food day

Normally I have a very boring lunch. Usually just chicken I make at home in the morning and a little spinach salad. Today though, since my office is in the process of moving, I decided to take a nice long lunch with a co-worker at Kaz Sushi Bistro.

I haven't been to Kaz since Restaurant Week a year ago (or two years ago, I honestly forget), but it was just as good as I remember it. Highlights were a big piece of tuna with a little spec of Italian black truffle on top, and a wonderful piece of foie gras with plum jelly on top.

This was my first experience with truffle, and I can (at least to a certain extent) see what the big deal is about, and I really look forward to trying more of it in the future.

The foie was well, awesome as always. It was the first time my co-worker had tried it, and it was a great first impression.

If that wasn't enough, there's still dinner tonight at Brasserie Beck.

Food Day - It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas edition

Ho ho ho! Break out the egg nog, cut yourself a slice of fruitcake, and get ready to open up package after package of tube socks, it's the last Food Day before Christmas!

Here's what's going on in the world of food:

Because the Wii costs $500: Tom Sietsema's gift to us all is a great list of dishes around the city at or under $10. Some of the dishes include a slice of Vegetable Pie at Church Street Pizzeria in Vienna, and tacos at Taqueria Nacionale here in DC.

My two favorite things: Who could have thought that reading and drinking could make such a fine pair? The NYT evidently. They've got a short list of books on wine or about wine that would make a great Chirstmas gift, or a great gift for yourself.

Hey, why stop at one story about books?: The Boston Globe's food section highlights some of the best new cookbooks this year. Again, looking for a last minute gift? Why not get that special someone another Jamie Oliver cookbook?

Thanks for shining a light on this issue: If I wanted to eat in a cave, I would eat in a cave, but I eat in restaurants - so turn the f&*king lights on! The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a really interesting article/commentary on the lighting, or lack thereof in fancier restaurants these days.

So I'll leave you with this question my loyal reader(s):

What restaurants in the DC area do you feel has the best lighting? Which do you feel has the worst?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Another one for the Florida file

One of the guys I produce with told me at one of the stations he used to work for they had a "Florida File", essentially a collection of stories so bizarre, so out of the ordinary, they'd have to come from Florida - as most of them did.

So when a 10 year old 5th grader gets arrested for bringing a steak knife to school in order to cut...her steak, where else could this happen?

This is what I'd imagine the scene was like soon after the knife in question was confiscated by the authorities:

So, were they right in arresting her? Or should she be allowed to cut her meat in peace?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cork Chef Named

According to Don Rockwell, Chef Ron Tanaka will be in charge of the kitchen at Cork, a new wine bar to open up on 14th Street in mid-January.

This is great news for the restaurant/wine bar, as Tanaka has split time over the past eight years between CityZen and Citronelle, both as sous chef.

Tanaka told Rockwell that he plans on doing, "small, Italian tapas-sort-of plates", that will, "force me to use a different type of creativity."

In a city already filled with great wine bars, and with more to come, I hope that Chef Tanaka's work can keep Cork afloat.

Restaurant Week 2008 less than a month away

Restaurant Week 2008 - Winter Edition will kick off Monday, January 14th according to the Washingtonian.

For those of you who haven't done RW before, the trick is to find places that offer their full menu, or at least as close to it as possible, and make reservations early.

I usually go to three restaurants each week, here are the top three I'm looking at for this year:

Mendocino Grille

Of course that'll change about ten times between now and then.

So, what's on your wish list for Restaurant Week?

Review - Napoleon

There's a charm to Napoleon that I can't quite put my finger on. Perhaps it's the cozy dining room in this Adam's Morgan area French bistro, or the intelligently contrived menu, or the cleverly designed uni-sex bathrooms that look like individual apartments.

Regardless of the source of said charm, Agatha, Steve, John Manning and I all ended up there for brunch on Saturday, looking to recover from the night before and start up another solid day of debauchery.

Looking for something light I opted for the beet salad (which had a fancier, better sounding French name on the menu). With the exception of a few almost inedible pieces that were just too hard, the beets were very sweet and nice and soft, just the way I like them. Accompanied by a couple sizable pieces of goat cheese, it was just what I was looking for.

Ags ordered a crepe filled with mushrooms and several different types of cheeses that tasted better than it looked - which was like a mass of grey matter shoved into a crepe.

The one major disappointment was the bread basket, which, for nearly $5, was what one should expect complimentary in most restaurants. Plus the butter was frozen, which is a big problem in my book.

I believe Ags had been the only one who had visited Napoleon prior to this weekend, and only then for drinks, which were good.

The wine list was decent, and there were a great mix of champagne based drinks. The Bloody Mary that Ags got though was a little too heavy on the tomato juice.

In retrospect, perhaps the greatest charm of the restaurant was that it was a fairly quiet place to have a solid meal on a Saturday afternoon. Nothing incredibly special, nothing that really stands out, just a good experience that will probably warrant another look.

1847 Columbia Rd. NW,
Washington, DC 20009

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fatty Fridays - Chicken is healthy, right?

My first summer in college I ate a lot of Chipotle and McDonald's, those being the primary options available to a poor young student such as myself who was interning and taking classes.

One of my favorite things to get was the three piece Chicken Selects meal, with French Fries and a Diet Coke.

I pretty much stopped eating these things once I looked at the nutritional content:

3 Piece Chicken Selects:
Calories: 380
Total Fat: 30g
Trans Fats: 2.5g

Large French Fries:
Calories: 570
Total Fat: 30g
Trans Fats: 8g

Total Meal (without sauce):

Calories: 950
Total Fat: 60g
Trans Fats: 10.5g

So, for those Chicken Selects fans out there, is the taste worth the price?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Best story of the day involving several pies and a dog

Think about this for a second:

It's the World Pie-Eating Championships. You're a former winner and are in charge of ensuring that the pies stay safe. When going to chase a pigeon out of your chimney, do you:

a) Leave your dog next to the pies
b) Take your dog with you to ensure the safety of the pies.

Evidently 1995 champion Dave Williams has a lot of misplaced faith in his dog, Charlie, because Charlie proceeded to eat twenty pies and "damaged" ten more.

Luckily local bakers were pressed into action and the competition went on as planned, with one more competitor - Charlie.

However, Charlie must have been full after taking care of over twenty pies, and didn't even finish his competition pie.

The first place award went to 42-year-old Adrian Frost from Wigan who finished his pie in a 34 seconds, which is a new record.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

How isn't this kosher?

Probably because it's about pigs.

Bev Eggleston is a Virginia pig farmer. Robbie Richter owns Hill Country, a BBQ joint in NYC.

Bev transports his haul to Robbie in a car powered by pig fat. A car that looks like a pig, powered by pig, delivering pig.

What a great concept.

Read the full story here.

Food Day: Seasons Eatings

Happy food day all. Lots of stories about cookies and chocolate and gift giving, probably because it's almost Christmas.

Getting past that, here are some stories of interest for a health conscious Jewish boy such as myself:

So you're ready to move past the box: The LA Times has a very interesting article about the process of becoming a Sommelier. Not only is this process very difficult, requiring the passing of several tests (the final exam has a 97% failure rate!), it's also fairly pricey.

However, a top sommelier job in LA will pay around $100,000.

So again, I'll plead...Agatha, take the damn exam!

With a name like that: How can you go wrong with a fruit called Yumberry? Seriously? The NYT food section reports that Yumberry, a fruit popular in China for the past seven thousand years, will be available here in the U.S. in juice form.

The juice is purplish, and has a sweet-tart flavor, akin to, "a lighter version of pomegranate or mulberry" and is loaded with antioxidant compounds.

Fruit of my youth: I get a little sentimental when I think about grapefruit. My grandfather had a ruby red tree in his back yard, and there's nothing like being about to walk outside and pick those things right off the tree. It also made the yard smell incredible.

Even if you don't have a tree to pick from, you can probably get them at your local grocery store. The Miami Herald has some great ideas of what to do with them, aside from eating them with a couple spoon fulls of sugar.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Brought to you by the National F*&king Pepper Association

From the twisted minds that brought you cheesecake in a cup...

If only all food advertising was like this.

Bite-sized desserts, so hot right now. Bite-sized desserts.

Even though this isn't exactly breaking news (Foodservice Monthly's blog Sauce on the Side posted this a couple weeks ago), the National Restaurant Association has come out with its What's Hot and What's Not survey.

Aside from allowing me to make the obvious Zoolander reference, it's a great way to make fun of your friends for eating tofu (which is only 25% hot as opposed to 59% not).

So what's hot right now?

Bite-sized desserts are knocking the casual dining super sundaes off the map with a 83% hot rating. Coming in a close second is locally-grown produce with 81% (and only 5% not), with organic produce, tapas, and specialty sandwiches rounding out the top ten.

And what's not?

Star fruit (62% not), fruit flavored wine (63% not), and anything deep or pan fried (with only 17% hot) were among some of the least favoried food items/techniques.

So what did we learn from this?

If you're opening up a restaurant, you'll probably want to open up a small tapas and specialty sandwich joint that serves local organic produce.

You probably wouldn't want to serve anything deep fried and chinese (Chinese food is only 22% hot).

So, after all those numbers, what food do you think is hot right now? What do you think is not? What's your list?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Lunch of Champions

You can keep your sandwiches and healthy salads. At our office, we eat cheesecake out of a cup for lunch.

That's how we roll.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

I don't know what it is...but I'll eat it

I had skate wing at Zola last night.

I had no idea Skate looked like that. Needless to say, it looked a lot better on my plate, and tasted pretty good too.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Fatty Fridays - High School Lunch

When I was in high school we had the option of leaving campus to get lunch. My junior year we had an entire hour, which meant that we had plenty of time to venture off school grounds and find whatever fatty fare we could get our hands on.

Wendy's was always my favorite place to go, partially because you had to drive down a dirt road to get there, and partially because of the dollar menu. But occasionally I'd splurge and get something off of the dollar menu, and every once and a while that meant I'd get a triple stack.

In retrospect I don't know how I ate so many of these and lived. Imagine a Five Guys burger dipped in grease. It was disgusting. But when you're in high school I guess you can do that kind of stuff.

So I decided to see, years later, exactly what I was putting into my body. So here's the nutritional info for my meal, sans large birch beer.

Triple Stack Total Fat: 30g
Large French Fries Total Fat: 26g
Triple Stack Calories: 530
Large French Fries Calories: 540
Total Fat: 56g
Total Calories: 1070

So my question to you: What was the most disgusting thing you ate when a child that you wouldn't touch today? Or, would you still chow down on that triple stack today?

Photo Courtesy of

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Stealing food = delicious fun

In one of our better adventures last night, Evan and I went to the Senator to see Fiddler on the Roof. But, as we got there early, and were both hungry, we ventured over to Belvedere Square, which is essentially a mall with a little strip component to it.

What we found there was pure gold, a true Chanukah miracle: an open office Christmas party being held both inside and outside Belvedere Market. The whole market was open, and there was more free food than a VIP box at the Super Bowl.

Were we invited? No! Evan recognized the name of the company as some real estate developer firm, so with the help of some fast talking we were able to fit in pretty quickly.

But this wasn't a party as much as it was a food orgy.

Name it and they had it. Sushi? Yep, all you can eat. Sandwiches? Four or Five different kinds. Cheese? A good dozen varieties. Ice Cream? Some of the best ice cream I've had since I was in Vermont.

But the best part was outside. They had a beer truck, a truck-o-beer, all the wine you could drink, and the true highlight: they had three guys shucking oysters. Not just oysters, but the biggest oysters I've ever seen. I think they pulled them right out of the water and brought them directly to the market, because they were also some of the freshest I've ever had.

So after 15 oysters, about 15 pieces of sushi, a small bowl of cinnamon ice cream, a sandwich, a few cheese samples, a hot chocolate and a hot cider we made our way to the Senator...with our stomachs and wallets still full.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Food Day: Lovin' the Latkes edition

Man do I love the holidays...and the fried potatoes that come with. And now, here's the news in the world of food:

Richard Moves on the West Coast: Riding high off his James Beard award, Chef Michel Richard will be opening two restaurants in LA next month according to the Washington Post. One, also titled Citronelle, will be an eighty seat venture at the Carmel Valley Ranch resort. The other, called Citrus at Social, will also be located in LA and will have more of a lighter, "LA" feel to it.

I also remember reading some time ago that there was talk of him opening a spot up in Bethesda. As long as he stays based in the DC area, I, and the rest of us here in and around the beltway will be happy.

Secret Supper: There's a great story in the Boston Globe's food section about "Love + Butter", a underground restaurant/supper club that's defying the Board of Health and operating without proper licenses and inspections - oh, and the food there is supposed to be amazing.

R.I.P. Entree: The NYT has the most interesting article I've seen today, declaring the decline of the entree. According to the Times, in major cities such as New York, San Francisco and Chicago (Why not DC NYT? I think this town and chefs like Jose Andres has done more to advocate the cause of small plates (the primary downfall of the entree) than any other chef in this country, he, and by association, we, deserve credit) have been turning their nose up at the big protein laden dishes.

My thoughts on this article are mixed; I agree with the premise that the entree is no long the placeholder in the center of your meal, I think it must be acknowledged that this isn't a mainstream trend yet, and somehow I doubt it will be anytime soon.

On that note, lunch has arrived and Tom's chat starts in 15. Have a wonderful snow filled food day folks!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Happy Chanukkah!!

It's the 25th day of Kislev folks...and you know what that means!

May your ham be moist and succulent, and your candles burn bright.

Monday, December 3, 2007

What a wasted weekend...

not in the sense that I didn't do anything, but in the sense that I was wasted for most of it.

At some point on Saturday night, after a trip to the Dancing Crab in Tenleytown (nothing like reliving those college years) the family ended up at Steak & Egg.

For those of you don't know about Steak & Egg, or who have never been, it's kind of like Minibar...for drunk people.

You really shouldn't get a degree from AU unless you've done at least 6 credits of Steak & Egg; and while I didn't frequent it that often while I was there, I always like stopping by if I'm in the neighborhood at 3am on a weekend night.

There really is no sight like watching those line cooks do their thing at some ridiculous hour at night as dozens of drunk kids try not to throw up into their coffee.

Steak & Egg wasn't the only stop on my magical mystery tour of a weekend. Starting and ending with two lovely dinners with my favorite editor/freelance writer, there was a traditional "Irish" meal at some new "Irish" place in Dupont that really isn't worth writing about (though I didn't know that "Irish Whiskey Mayo" was the same thing as tartar sauce) and two great parties that I'll blame/credit for the inebriated state I was in all weekend - Tweaks, Toby, Ags - great job to all.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some sobering up to do.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Five Guys Fridays

Fridays in my office are "Five Guys Fridays", primarily because one of the other producers always goes and gets Five Guys.

It's unreal how people just flock to the smell of Five Guys. Our PA Julia just went and got it and everyone in our office has come out of their individual offices and grabbed a fry.

This place is flippin dangerous. Dangerously delicious.

Fatty Fridays

I've been wanting to add a regular feature to this blog. Though I already do a "Food Day" recap on Wednesdays, I've been trying to think of a signature feature that I could write weekly.

After so many people commented on the Thanksgiving Pizza post (hey, six comments is a lot for this guy), I figured, why not give my readers what they want - freak show food?

So my first feature was declared "The Worst Food in America" by the Today Show and Men's Health Magazine: Outback Steakhouse Aussie Cheese Fries with Ranch Dressing.

So once you chow down on this culinary masterpiece, what exactly are you putting into your body?

Well how about 2,900 calories, 182 grams of fat, and 240 grams of carbs.

So, do you think this is the worst food in America? What gets your vote?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

What I'm Reading: Food Rockz

No real food news to report today. However, I did stumble upon a new blog (well, it was new to me) that I thought was quite good. Food Rockz is a local food blog that has amazing pictures and solid writing. I've got to give credit to Metrocurean for putting it on her blog list (which is where I found it). Check it out.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Food Day - Italian edition

Happy food day all! It's been a crazy week in the real world, and ironically food has kept me from writing (I've produced more food segments this week than I care to count).

But now, here's a taste of what's going on in the food world today:

An offer I can't refuse: In the Dish section in today's WaPo, news that Savino Racine, the owner of Primi Piatti and Finemondo in Washington is planning on opening a new place in Rockville. Named "Oro Pomodoro", Racine will have a Naplese pizza maker manning the pizza oven, and will even show Italian movies on a ten foot screen.

Local Boy Makes Good: The New York Times came out with their updated review of Fabio Trabocchi's new home - Fiamma, located in SoHo NYC. The Old Gray Lady really liked it, though states that Fabio is, "about as Italian as a poodle in a Prada scarf."

Earning a solid three stars, it sounds like Fabio is wowing the NY crowd the same way he impressed us. Let's hope he comes back soon.

The Essence of Reruns: Emeril Live won't be well, live anymore. According to an AP story, after a solid ten year run the mega-New Orleans celebrity who also cooks will continue to star in the Essence of Emeril, while Emeril Live will run via reruns.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Book Report - The Perfectionist

Mention the name Bernard Loiseau to most and the word suicide will probably be one of the first things that comes to mind. While the larger than life, pendulum of a man's suicide did stop the culinary world (and the non-culinary world) in its tracks in 2003, Rudolph Chelminski's 2005 release, The Perfectionist: Life and Death in Haute Cuisine, focuses primarily on the great life of Chef Loiseau, balancing it with a haunting foreshadowing throughout the prose that death was never too far off.

Loiseau's is a life that is truly dedicated to his craft, while sadly neglecting his life. In his obsession to become the best he finds his strength - the strength to eventually get him his third Michelin star, and his weakness - a maddening complex that required constant praise.

The book as a whole is incredibly well written. Chelminski wants you to understand what drove Loiseau, not only to become one of the best chefs in the world, but to end it all so unexpectedly. Beyond this, I must say I learned quite a lot about the French haute cuisine culture, and just how important food is there.

The book isn't perfect though. Chelminski often acts as a cheerleader for French cooking, to the point where you'd think that the French invented food, and without the French we'd all be grazing in our front lawns and eating whatever we could bludgeon to death (probably raw).

At first I also believed that Chelminski overstated the importance of the Michelin Guide. Yet, after finishing the book, no matter how (un)important Michelin may be to me, or anyone else, it was everything to Loiseau.

There's a lot to take away from this book, and from the life of Loiseau - from his dedication to his art, to the dangers of undiagnosed mental disorders, BL has much to teach us. Thankfully, after reading this book, I'll remember him more for his life than his death.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

You know what else starts with "S"?

Strange. Oh so strange. They don't make children's cartoons like they used to.

Though, I guess a cartoon based on crime fighting pieces of sushi (see it to believe it) is better than a pair of Big Macs battling the forces of evil.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Somehow this doesn't seem to far fetched...

A special thanks to Slice, a NYC based pizza blog for showing us why The Onion is the best publication on the planet...and all other planets that may or may not produce a newspaper.

I know this is a joke, but really, how far is Domino's from coming out with this?

Photo courtesy of The Onion

If you're reading this, you're running out of time

So I'm sitting here, watching Battlestar Galactica and I can hardly contain myself (and not only because it's been nearly a year since SciFi has put a new episode on of the best show on TV) as a commercial just came on for Sonic's new Mac & Cheese Snacks - FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY!!!

Yes folks, for a limited time only you can get deep fried Mac & Cheese in bite sized snack form.

Here is the description from Sonic:

"Today I'd like to introduce the term "unrestricted eating." It refers to eating whatever you want, whenever you want it. Like macaroni & cheese, for example. Typically, you'd need a bowl, spoon and both hands to enjoy this quintessentially American dish. Lucky for you, SONIC® invented Mac & Cheese Snacks—a cheesy favorite packed into crunchy bite-size morsels. It's portable and pop-able. Which means you can now have Mac & Cheese anytime, anywhere. So like I said, it's "unrestricted eating." Got it?"

Anyone ready for a heart attack?

A taste of home

Since many of us who went home, or somewhere we'll consider home for the weekend for the Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to see where everyone was eating in their own respective corners of the universe.

Me? After a long nap on the beach I strolled down to Bizzaro's Pizza on the beach with my parents and had a wonderful slice of pizza.

Bizzaro's is classic New York style pizza, made by a bunch of Italian guys from New York - it says so on their sign.

So, what food of note have you had in your respective "hometowns"?

Friday, November 23, 2007

While you're recovering...

here's a really interesting video from the NY Times on what and how the presidential candidates eat on the campaign trail.

It really says a lot about not only the nature of campaigning and of the candidates, but also the difference between the people that represent us, and

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I can't move

Damn, turkey is good.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

First Look and T-1 Day to T-Day

Well happy Food Day everyone. No traditional food day material as I haven't even read Tom's Chat today (I know, it's been one of those days).

I do however want to give a quick first look to Comet, where I went last night with Ags, Evan and Joe after a visit to Politics and Prose.

To paraphrase Joe, it's like a hipster family restaurant. He wasn't a big fan of the atmosphere, I enjoyed it. I thought it was relaxed enough to be a place where I'd want to be a regular.

But how was the pizza?

To be honest, I was a little thrown. Reading up on Comet, and their constant comparisons to 2 Amy's, RedRocks, and Bebo, you'd think they're serving Neapolitan style pies.

Well, they don't. The pies are New Haven style, or at least that's what I thought, and when it comes down to it, quite good. I had one with "melted onions and Italian sausage". I felt the onions and sausage (my favorite combination on pizza/anything) worked perfectly with the pie. I did find the crust a little tough however, and a little too charred at parts (though I understand that's the trademark of the New Haven style pie).

If I had to choose between Comet and 2 Amy's, at least from what I've had to Comet, I'd still prefer 2 Amy's, but that might just be because I prefer the Neapolitan style about the New Haven.

That's it for now, I'm off to the airport to head back to the Sunshine State!

Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Snobbery or Taste?

If this blog has done one thing for me, it's opening up doors to new foods and new food experiences that I probably would have never opened or experienced.

With experience comes a better sense of knowing what's good food and what's not.

When I was growing up in a small town, what I thought was good is food that I probably won't touch unless forced.

I remember the first time I went to the Cheesecake Factory. I skipped the second half of school with a couple friends to go. I thought it was the best thing ever.

Now, I wouldn't go if you paid for my meal. (I have my reasons, I just don't want to get into them now)

So, my question to you out there - is this me being a food snob, or just my palate being refined?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Big changes coming to Ballston

Straight from The Buckingham Herald Tribblog, it looks like Ballston is in for some big changes which will make it a better place to eat and live.

Those in need of specialty food items can now save themselves the trip to Georgetown or Clarendon by stopping by the new Marvelous Market, and if you're looking for a good cup of coffee, you can soon stop by Saxby's Coffee or Bruegger's Bagels.

I'm not a coffee person at all, but I really like Bruegger's a lot and I've got a feeling it'll be packed on weekends.

What I'm really excited about is DC Boathouse, the seafood joint in the Palisades will be opening up their second location, which will add to the increasingly growing number of credible options in the area.

For those of you who, like me, live or even visit the Ballston area of Arlington frequently, which restaurants or types of restaurants would you like to see move in?

Onward to Victory and back to business

What a weekend. I always look forward to my annual pilgrimage to South Bend, and already can't wait to go again next year. Below is a kick-ass picture of me before the game.

But hey, this is a food blog, so where's the food?

The Washington Post Book section (yes, books) has a ton of food book reviews out today, and was supposed to (?) have a book chat with Anthony Bourdain now, but that might be canceled.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

DC Chef on Iron Chef America tonight

If you read this in the next half hour be sure to turn on the Food Network to catch DC's own Ricky Moore of Agraria going up against new Iron Chef Michael Symon in Battle Thanksgiving.

As for me, I'm going to sleep - the magic of reruns will catch me up from here.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Conditions are a little windy...

Hello from the great state of Indiana! No real food related news as there's not much in the way of real food here. It really makes you appreciate what you have in a city like DC when your choice for dinner is between Chili's and Applebees.

Other than the lack of solid food options, the flight into Chicago and drive into South Bend was great, and Mike and McKenna (my BFF and soon to be Mrs. BFF) have really gone out of there way to take care of me - they put those little chocolate Andes mints and bottles of water in my bedroom for me, if that's not adorable, I don't know what is.

Well, it's three hours until game time, so it's time to suit up.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Liberty Tavern - Revisited

Clarendon has always interested me. A neighborhood in transition, empty store fronts stand next to hot restaurants and bars which feed countless yuppies (such as myself) living in their grossly overpriced apartments.

Almost nothing embodies the new Clarendon like Liberty Tavern.

I visited LT a few months back for brunch and found a lot of promise there, so last night I had a chance to visit for dinner.

I sat upstairs, which is significantly less noisy and crowded than the bar downstairs. The service was solid, though a little intrusive at times (on a side note, our waiter had a little Patrick Swayze thing circa 1984 going for him, and was a pretty nice guy).

The menu is fairly causal and limited (in size, but not variety), which I'm a fan of and I think works well in that area.

I decided on the mussels, which were prepared very well in a tomato broth. I got the appetizer sized portion, which sufficed for my entree.

My dining partner got the gnocchi, which must have been pretty good because she devoured the whole thing (plate and all) - so consider that a second hand recommendation.

The drink list was also a winner, which a decent wine selection and enough girly drinks to accommodate any company you might have.

As with last time, I left LT with a good feeling (perhaps it was the wine, perhaps it was the good food and service, who knows?), a good feeling that Liberty Tavern will anchor an improving Clarendon for years to come.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Um, sir...there's something in my $25,000 sundae


After my open letter to chefs to stop making this rediculous novelty food, I'm so glad to see that the same restaurant that brought us the $25,000 ice cream sundae is being shut down due to:

"rodent and fly infestation and conditions conducive to pest infestation, including stagnant water in the basement."

Here's an idea - stop buying the La Madeline au Truffle from Knipschildt Choclatier, which costs about $2,600 a pound, and start buying some $3 rat traps.

Just a thought.

I'm gonna...go home?

Woooo! Beaujolais Nouveau!!

After seeing No Country for Old Men - which I simply can't say enough good things about. See this movie. See this movie now, and then see it tomorrow. I don't see a lot of movies twice in the theaters, but I might just see this three times.

Where was I? Oh yes, so after seeing the movie the family went to Gordon Biersch. Steve was hungry, and GB is a brewery, so this all made sense. What doesn't make sense is the food there. JohnManning got some sort of apple bread pudding cake pie(?) - ok, so I don't know what it was, but it was massive. Thankfully JohnManning rationalized it by stating that apples are healthy, and bread is healthy, so it had to be a good idea.

Even worse looking than that was Meg's peanut butter and chocolate pie which didn't look like food at all.

So after all that was said, done and paid for, JohnManning and I ventured down to Les Halles to meet Ags.

Our reservations were for 10:45, a little over an hour before the Beaujolais was set to flow like rain.

Did I make it?


I think a combination of sitting three feet from the massive movie screen at E St. and having four sliders plus a ton of other food at Matchbox beforehand totally did me in.

So instead of drinking the first of the Beaujolais, I was drinking water - with about a dozen Advil.

Oh well, there's always next year.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

We're all gonna get drunk! (Beaujolais Nouveau edition)

Happy food day folks...

Not quite sure if I'll be able to write my normal food day piece (actual work calls), but I'm all kinds of excited about going to Les Halles tonight for the annual Beaujolais Nouveau.

As the press release states:

"Massive barrels of Beaujolais Nouveau are pierced at midnight, releasing a torrent of wine for the thirsty masses."

How can this be anything but awesome?!?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What I'm Reading:

LTH Forum is basically Chicago's version of

The fella who started the forum, Gary Wiviott, just recieved the Chicago Tribune's Good Eating Award (one of ten given out each year) for his efforts.

So now if you're going to Chicago (like I am this weekend), and Tom doesn't answer your question on Wednesday, you know where to look.

Monday, November 12, 2007

What's on your Thanksgiving Menu?

Thanksgiving is a little more than a week away, and already I'm all kinds of excited for it.

Every family has their special recipes - those dishes that make that dinner special.

For my family, it's a sweet potato casserole recipe that my grandmother came up with, one that we all wait a whole year for (and it's worth it).

So what's your family's special dish? What are you most looking forward to having or making this Thanksgiving?

Where I come from...

I've been living a lie.

If you've met me, odds are you've heard it, and simply accepted it as fact. Well, it's not.

Often, when people ask where I'm from, I say Miami. Or South Florida.

Well, both are technically true. I'm from Miami-Dade County in South Florida, but in all reality I was raised in Homestead, Florida - saying I'm from Miami is just so much easier.

Homestead now is very different from Homestead when I was there. Homestead was ground zero in the housing boom (which later became the housing bubble, which now is a housing crisis) which started around 2002.

When I grew up there, the only chain restaurants were of the fast food variety and we got made fun of for living in the "sticks".

Real progress in Homestead was measured by the little things - a new ice skating rink, the arrival of the Super Wal-Mart...but the thing that truly signaled the evolution of Homestead from a sleepy small backwater redneck town to a busy Miami suburb was the arrival of the Ruby Tuesday.

When Ruby Tuesday opened, it was the event of the year in Homestead. I remember my mom talking about all of her friends going, and my classmates lining up to get jobs there. This was the equivalent of Eric Ripert coming to DC.

Just as Homestead has evolved over the past few years, the restaurant that changed it has moved on as well. Once filled with catchy little trinkets and animal heads, Ruby Tuesday now describes itself as, "Simple Fresh American Dining" and has shed the image as the family feedbag in search of yuppier audiences.

This isn't an isolated case though, "casual dining" restaurants are making increasing attempts to keep up with a country more culinary sophisticated than ever.

I haven't been back to Homestead since this summer, but every time I go, it's hard to find something I recognize.

If you walk into a casual dining restaurant today, you'll probably feel the same way.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Review - Burma Restaurant

The reviews on the walls looked promising. Top 50, top 100, best bets and top cheap eats. Unfortunately, the reviews were ten and even fifteen years old - and after eating dinner at Burma Restaurant earlier tonight, I can see why no critic has been there since.

Steve, Agatha and I ended up at Burma because every other restaurant in Penn Quarter/Chinatown had a two week wait. I remember someone mentioning it at some point, and before you know it, I was hobbling up the steps into the restaurant.

I honestly hate to say this, but I can't think of anything good to say about this restaurant.

After walking upstairs and finding no host or hostess, Steve had to search the restaurant for someone to seat us. There were a couple people standing in the doorway waiting for someone to greet them - if it weren't for Steve, I'd still be standing there with them.

The decor of Burma resembles a elementary school cafeteria, right down to the clock on the wall made with novelty oversized pencils and the bright yellow paint on the walls.

But decor alone doesn't make for a bad experience. The service was downright horrible. It took Steve (again springing into action) to flag down the waitress after several attempts just to take our order.

Once our order was taken, our dishes all came out at different times, and was delivered to the wrong person each time.

I got a noodle soup with chicken and coconut cream - well, that's what I ordered. What I got was pretty much Campbell's chicken noodle soup with coconut milk.

Agatha got a split pea and onion soup that was gritty, though the taste wasn't bad.

The entrees weren't much better, in fact, they were worse.

I ordered a fish entree - fish tamerind (sp?). It sounded like a good idea - though not so much. The fish was overcooked, the sauce was grey and bland.

Thank goodness it came with a huge bowl of rice, because otherwise I'd be very hungry right now.

During the meal I asked for soy sauce to have with the rice - instead I got some sort of hot peppers. And instead of delivering Agatha the Diet Coke she ordered, a server plopped some chicken dish in front of us, and couldn't explain what it was.

Finally, when it was time for us to get the check, I actually had to walk up and demand the check from the server.

I've never written anything this negative in over two hundred posts, and I really hope I'll never have to again. It would serve Burma well to take the 1991 Washington Post review off of the wall and focus their efforts on 2007, or else there might not be a 2008.

Burma Restaurant
740 Sixth Street NW
Washington DC 20001

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The times they are...well, slightly altering

So I'm sitting here doing what all the cool kids are doing on a Saturday night - updating the blog. Actually, I'm using the excuse of both Miami and Florida playing on ESPN and ESPN2 and the fact that I can hardly walk due to a football injury sustained today to really take a hard look at the blog.

Don't worry, I'm not changing this to a blog on seagrass (just making sure you're reading Jack-o), but I'll probably be making some (purely aesthetic) changes to the blog.

As you can see, I made a temporary change to the banner. If anyone knows how to make a better looking banner without the annoying ad, let me know. We should talk.

Also, I feel that the rediculous amounts of green space on either side of the text is well...rediculous.

I'd like to stay with blogger, but I think after 200+ posts, it's time to take this blog to the next level.

Seriously, if you have any ideas, any suggestions on how to make the blog better, let me know. It's something I'm very proud of, and I'd like to be able to roll something better out in early January for the one year anniversary.

First Look - Hudson

There are a lot of places that have pre-theatre menus, but not a lot of obvious places to venture after a nice evening at the opera at the Kennedy Center.

First off, I'd like to thank Evan for taking myself and "the family" to see Don Viovanni at the Kennedy Center. I've got to admit, I'm horribly uncultured (unless yogurt counts) and know almost nothing about the opera, but I only fell asleep a couple of times, which is a minor victory for me.

So after the final curtain, the question of where to go next appeared. Wanting to stay somewhere close, I suggested that we give Hudson a shot.

Arriving around 11:30 or so we were able to get a table for seven pretty easily. The place wasn't dead, but there was plenty of places for us to sit.

As soon as you walk into Hudson, you're very aware that suddenly you're not hip enough to be there. That's not exactly a bad thing, in fact, if that's what you're going for, that's a good thing, but don't go in expecting to find a little place to have a quiet little meal, this place is cool, and it knows it.

We decided to get some food and a few drinks, so I got a good look at the wine list and the late night menu.

I really like the late night menu - which has an Evan Tucker approved matzah ball soup (they need to put that on a sticker and plop that on the menu), a solid looking burger (yet another in the line of big money burgers), a variety of pizzas, mussels and fries.

I ordered the fries, which were thin cut and quite nice - coming with mayo, mustard and ketchup all in little containers.

The wine list was quite extensive, with some very afforable glasses and bottles. The glasses are actually glasses and a half, coming in a larger mini bottle (for lack of a better description) that's then poured into the glass sitting on the table.

The size of the wine list stands in stark contrast to a lacking beer selection, which our server really wasn't incredibly familiar with. I think this also is a larger reflection of the overall vision of Hudson to be more of a "lounge" than a "bar".

Speaking of the service, it was a little off, but not bad in general. Wine and food came out at a decent pace, but our server, once asked to come back to one of my friends after he didn't know what he wanted to drink, completely forgot about him. He made up for it though with some free fries.

I've got to say, I really liked Hudson. It's not the kind of place I'd go every weekend; but next time I feel like pulling out all of the stops and don't have a reservation at PX, I'll be in the West End - I'll be at Hudson.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Sushi Taro - Revisited

The first time I went to Sushi Taro was a watershed moment in my culinary life. It's there that I first really fell for sushi and really appreciated what it could be.

I hadn't been back since until last night, and I must say, it's just as good now as it was then.

I must say that I was a little disappointed in the edamamme, which came out cold and unsalted, but the fish was nearly perfect.

The omakase was fantastic, enough for two with plenty of variety.

Great dinners consist of a lot of things going right. Solid service, good food, and even better company.

Luckily, I had all three last night.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

An open letter to chefs

Dear Chefs,

Please stop making bulls*it dishes with gold leaf and hundred dollar bills and charging obscene prices for it.

I understand this is a gimmick, and that you always get press for it. But if I see one more $25,000 chocolate sundae or $1,000 bagel, I'm going to go nuts. Not gold covered nuts grown by members of a Guatemalan insane asylum and dipped in diamonds once owned by the fifteenth King of Uganda.

I'm going to go just plain old nuts - which would be a nice, affordable alternative to the crap some of you are peddling now.

Stop listening to your PR people and start being chefs again.

Hugs and Kisses,


R.I.P. Childe Harold

This article reads like an obit - one that deserves to be written.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Capital Food Fight 2007 Recap

I've never been to an orgy. Hell, I'll probably never get the chance. But I'd imagine that Capital Food Fight is probably close enough to the real thing to count. Lust and Gluttony were on display as what seemed like an endless crowd reached for sample after sample, and glass after glass of wine.

There was a lot of sin for such a good cause.

In short, Capital Food Fight was a blast, and for those of you who didn't go, there's no excuse not to go next year. All the food you can eat, all the wine you can drink, and some of the best chefs and personalities in the food world - not to mention it was for an amazing cause.

So - who among the battling chefs won the day (night)?

After beating RJ Cooper from Vidalia and Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve, Barton Seaver of Hook ended up beating the duo of Roberto Donna and Anthony Chittum.

A couple quick observations.

-Seaver was the crowd favorite from the beginning. Was it because he's so flippin hot? Who knows, though I'm sure that had a little something to do with it. Honestly, I think Cathal beat him in their faceoff in Round 3 - but that's just me.

-My favorite shot of the night, which, like most of my pictures came out fuzzy, was of the Armstrong clan watching the first battle. Seriously, it was like watching Liam Neeson's character in the opening battle scene of Gangs of New York - I honestly thought that Armstrong and Todd Thrasher were going to run up, draw swords and start effin some people up.

-Anthony Bourdain and Jose Andres were awesome. Holy crap Jose has a lot of energy; I can see why he's been able to sell his brand and his ideas so effectively (that and a great PR team).

-Oh Roberto Donna, why'd you have to hand make pasta in a TEN MINUTE COOKING COMPETITION?!?!? This isn't Iron Chef (which you also didn't finish your dishes in), you only had TEN MINUTES. Seriously, you could have poured a bowl of Corn Flakes and milk for the judges and you would have won - that's how much they love RD. But no, you didn't bring your A-game. Barton did. Kudos to Barton.

As for the actual food served:

-Kaz sitting there making hand rolls was awesome. Yeah I could just go to the restaurant and get that - but there's nothing like the service of sitting at the bar with no line.

-The cake at 1789 was awesome. Great texture play with the crunchy bottom and the creamy top.

-Whatever the hell they were serving at Cafe Atlantico was intense. Some sort of liquid cheese - like a food acid trip.

-Too much tuna tartare. I saw this mentioned elsewhere - but I had to echo it. Enough it with folks!

A very complex dish that I don't remember (just that it was bigger than average and good) won from PS7's.

In all - it was a great event that raised a lot of money for a cause everyone should support.

I can't wait for next year.