Monday, April 30, 2007

Local landmark goes up in flames

One of my favorite places in Washington DC, if not the entire world is Eastern Market. Nothing embodies the magic of summer quite like the walk down to Eastern Market, the buzz of the crowd waiting in line for their lunch, or taking that first free sample of a peach or tomato.

For now Eastern Market is gone. But it will be back, and hopefully than ever. I hope that the community can survive and thrive in its absence.

To read more, see the Washington Post link below:

Sunday, April 29, 2007

They are a changin'

So yeah, times are...but so is this blog.

After thinking about putting the site down for a while, if not forever, I've decided that it just means too much to me to let go right now.

Plus, there are too many exciting things to write about.

So in the next few days, expect a glowing review of the Armstrong's speakeasy in Old Town Alexandria - PX, and fantastic Italian food in Baltimore's Little Italy.

I'm back - let the insanity begin.


Monday, April 23, 2007

The Produce Section is Closed

Hello loyal readers. I know this will come as a shock to both of you, but the site is being put on a brief (or not so brief) hiatus for reasons that aren’t food related.

Until it’s open again, and I’m giving no promises that it’ll happen, please continue reading the sites that we’ve linked to.

It’s been a great pleasure to write for you these past few months. I’ve eaten a lot of great meals, and had some good times, and I’m glad you’ve been there with me the whole way through.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Movin' Out

Once again, I have to apologize for what has been another dry spell in posts. I'm trying here people, I really am. However, since I'm in the process of changing jobs and moving from Old Town to downtown, things have been slow.

This next week should result in a couple quality posts. Sunday, I plan on making the trek to Penn Quarter and visiting Jose Andres' Oyamel - probably just to sample these grasshopper tacos that everyone keeps talking about.

But the big event on the culinary horizon is my visit next Wednesday to PX, the hot speakeasy on King Street in Old Town Alexandria run by the Armstrong clan. Reservations have been made and the excitment is building.

On top of all of that, I might be going to my first baseball game of the season this Saturday - so keep your eyes open, there might be a lot of reading ahead of you.

Monday, April 16, 2007

My new hero

Since there was no Iron Chef on last night, bumped off for the completely useless Food Network Awards, I’m going to take this time to talk about my wonderful lunch at Les Halles and the wonderful book written by its owner, Anthony Bourdain.

Allow me to go on a mini rant before I start: Why does the Food Network feel the need to invent some useless award show when they could just televise or make a bigger deal of the James Beard Foundation awards – something that people in the food community actually care about. I could care less about some award that Sandra Lee gives out – what I do care about is an award given out by a truly reputable organization. Get with it Food Network. Go back to doing what made me love you so much – letting real chefs cook, and me wish I could afford to eat their food.

Now, speaking of a real chef whose food I can afford to eat; Anthony Bourdain is my new hero. The George Patton of the culinary world, Bourdain comes out guns blazing in Kitchen Confidential, speaking the truth on the restaurant industry and those of us who fill its seats and its coffers.

So I don’t repeat much of what’s already been said of this best seller, I’ll keep it short. The stories are sharp and dirty, and you really leave the book wondering how Bourdain survived the drugs and the shady practices to become as successful as he has been. It’s a true testament to his brilliance as a chef and an entrepreneur.

It’s a quick read, so you have no excuse. Buy it, read it, you won’t be able to put it down until you finish it.

Now, onto the food. Les Halles, located conveniently at 12th and Pennsylvania, right from the Federal Triangle Metro stop, is almost everything I expected and more.

Arriving at noon on Sunday, the restaurant was fairly empty, but I’m sure most of that could be contributed to the horrible weather outside. Once our coats were checked we (myself and four friends) were sat towards the back of the restaurant. The restaurant itself is fairly large, but sectioned off nicely into manageable sections.

The service was sharp and quick. I must have had my water glass filled at least seven times, and at no point did we have to go above and beyond to get our waitress’s attention.

We didn’t get any appetizers, but plenty of bread and butter was supplied. The bread was good – nothing earth shattering, but just good French bread. The butter was a little hard though, a result of just coming out of the fridge; but once warmed up, the combination of both was enjoyed by all.

For my main course, I decided upon the Moules and Frites. Les Halles’ frites are supposed to be some of the best, and upon tasting I can see why. Very fresh and incredibly light, they were well seasoned and had a great texture to them. I wish they were a bit warmer, but in all, very good.

The mussels, and there were a lot of them, were also quality. Not the best I’ve ever had (that distinction goes to Jaleo), but they were very good and I certainly got my money’s worth for $16.50.

In all, the prices were great for the meal received, and I definitely plan on returning.

You can’t come away from either Kitchen Confidential or Les Halles without being impressed by Bourdain. He gets both the big and the little things right, and that results in one great meal, and one great book.

Les Halles
1201 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004
Ph: 202-347-6848

Kitchen Confidential

Friday, April 13, 2007

A few of my favorite things...

A quick post before the day/week is over about my favorite topic sushi – and the lack of quality in my life over the past few weeks –

So I went to Sushi Taro last weekend all kinds of excited for all you can eat sushi – only to find a line a block long. If it weren’t so cold, and if other commitments weren’t had, then I would have stood in line for hours, but instead, there was mediocre sushi to be consumed.

Walking down P St. west of Dupont Circle to Uni on a Saturday afternoon, my roommate Marc and I found a nearly empty restaurant. I had heard mixed reviews of Uni, and I now know why. In short, Uni is overpriced and underwhelming. I got a tuna roll, which is very heavy on the rice and very light on the tuna, and a crawfish roll which was actually decent, but still wasn’t able to make up for the tuna roll, or the awkwardly set up sushi bar.

A bit closer to home, I stopped by a new take out sushi place in Old Town Alexandria last Friday. Bumblefish looks and tastes like your grocery store’s sushi counter, just in one separate location (although my HT’s sushi counter is amazing). Nice and cheap, I was able to get two packets of sushi, the equivalent of four rolls, for just $8.00. Again, the sushi wasn’t great, wasn’t even that good – but I do admire what Bumblefish (a growing national chain) is doing in an attempt to bring sushi, and healthy food to the masses. If you’re going to eat crappy food, it might as well be crappy sushi over a crappy hamburger.

So in closing - I’ll have to get in line for Sushi Taro’s all you can eat day earlier next year. Uni was disappointing, despite one good roll. And Bumblefish is the new McDonalds.

Until next time, have a great weekend.

2122 P St NW
Washington, DC 20037
(202) 833-8038

631 King Street
Alexandria, Virginia

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Iron Chef Recap and other news

Iron Chef Recap

A day late but hopefully not a dollar short, here’s your Iron Chef America recap for this past Sunday, April 8th.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, whose last appearance was against molecular gastronomist Homaro Cantu in Battle Beet at the end of last season. Looking to redeem himself for the loss in the season finale, Morimoto tangled with winner of the Iron Chef Atlanta competition, Linton Hopkins in Battle Sablefish.

In a fantastic contrast to the previous week’s battle, Battle Goat, Morimoto and Hopkins were incredibly calm, almost appearing in slow motion as they worked their various pieces of Sablefish into five dishes a piece.

The Battle went to Morimoto, who suffered initially with a parmesan sablefish soup, which was an incredibly heavy and illogical choice for the Iron Chef, but was able to recover in the last four dishes with a fried sablefish sandwich (a takeoff on a filet-o-fish) and a traditional Japanese sablefish dish.

In other news:

-I just finished Kitchen Confidential and will be writing a review, most likely combined with a review of Les Halles this Sunday
-I will also be writing a review over the next few days on Uni, a sushi joint in Dupont, where I ended up after facing a block-long line at Sushi Taro on all you can eat sushi day.

Thursday, April 5, 2007


Straight off of their website (

Cherry Blossom Festival !!
Come Enjoy Our Cherry Blossom Special

12:30 - 8:00 PM
(Last seating at 7:30)

Saturday, April 7, 2007

per person (12 -)

6 - 11 years old

5 and younger

Includes Tax & Tip / Beverages are sold cash only.

Short Sushi Stop

It’s always fun to hang out with fellow foodies – eating with them is even better. So last night, when my friend Lisa, of Kitchenette Diaries fame (see link on right) called and asked if I wanted to join her at 2Amy’s, I had to say yes.

But this post isn’t about 2Amy’s and the delicious stuffed pizza I had there, it’s about the roll that Lisa ordered at Sushi Sushi across the street beforehand.

There’s always at wait at 2Amy’s, so we took advantage of the sushi bar across the street to allow the time to pass and the grumbling in our stomachs to stop.

Now I can’t quite give a review on Sushi Sushi because, well…I really didn’t have enough to make a proper judgment, though from what I saw and tasted it looks promising (though the service was a little slow and don’t like the way they have their sushi bar set up).

What I can talk about is the roll that Lisa got – a concoction of crab, avocado, rice, seaweed and salmon with a thin slice of lemon on top that was perhaps the most inventive and one of the best single bites of sushi I’ve ever had.

The real key to the piece was the lemon. I had a piece sans lemon, and it just was like almost any other piece of sushi I’d had. The lemon, if one were to dramatize this wondrous event, was the vessel on which the flavors of the fish and avocado and rice traveled – and it was a journey I’d gladly take again.

Alas, I don’t have any pictures, but it gives me another reason to hop on over to Sushi Sushi during my wait for 2Amy’s and get this spectacular morsel of food.

Sushi Sushi
Couldn’t find a website – but it’s on Macomb across from 2Amy’s

Monday, April 2, 2007

Lions and Tigers and Goats?

I know that posts have been few and far between recently, but I want to announce a couple minor changes – some temporary, some permanent.

First, Jill will be taking a leave of absence from the site, focusing on the last 49 days of her collegiate career. So if you want your Northampton food fix, you’ll just have to hop a flight to Bradley and rent a car – it’s probably worth it.

Since my restaurant visitations have been down as of late, I will be adding a weekly feature to the blog: post Iron Chef America commentary. It’s a show I never miss and one that deserves a weekly feature.

I’ll say it upfront: I usually root for Mario and Bobby – however, I was kind of excited to see Jose Andres, the mastermind behind Jaleo, Zaytinya, Café Atlantico, and Oyamel win against Bobby Flay in last night’s battle goat.

Bobby, now at 15 wins, 6 loses and 2 ties, just wasn’t on last night. As Jeffrey Steingarten so eloquently pointed out, Flay’s first few dishes could have been any variety of meat – instead of obviously goat. Bobby tends to win his battles by getting near perfect scores on taste (30 out of the 60 points) and just barely keeping up when it comes to plating and originality.

Andres, who was lucky enough to train under arguably the world’s best chef, Ferrán Adria of El Bullí, was able to best Flay on all counts – from his goat tartar sushi to his goat frozen yogurt on a bed of small gelatinized reduced red wine spheres, Andres showed why he’s one of the best chefs DC has to offer.

Next week’s recap will be a bit more in depth, and I hope that I can write a bit more frequently over the next few weeks.