Don't forget that Taste of Georgetown is Oct 14th, 2006 this year from 11 AM to 4 PM. Taste of Georgetown is a smaller event than Taste of Bethesda, but it's fun non-the-less.
Each tasting is $5 or you can purchase 5 at a time for $20. The festivity proceeds raised will benefit the homeless outreach efforts providing psychiatrist care, shelter and meals through The Georgetown Ministry Center (www.georgetownministrycenter.org).
Clyde’s of Georgetown
Mie N Yu
Tony and Joe's Seafood Place
Nick's Riverside Grille
Old Glory BBQ
Billy Martin’s Tavern
Café La Ruche
Sea Catch Restaurant and Raw Bar
The Ritz Carlton’s Fahrenheit Restaurant
Mendocino Grille and Wine Bar
Leopold's Kafe + Konditorei
Seasons at the Four Seasons
THIS is only $25?
I have a new favorite Contemporary American restaurant in Bethesda, and it's called David Craig. Amy and I visited David Craig Restaurant in Bethesda last Sunday and everything was excellent so let me tell you about our meal.
I'd say that Sunday is the ideal time to go to David Craig, at least based on our experience there. The restaurant wasn't too crowded when we arrived at 8 PM and the atmosphere was calm and relaxing. About three other tables were full. We were seated in the back where there's a window that allows diners to see the kitchen and watch the cooks prepare the food. I tried not to stare.
Our server told us that the menu that night was new and it was the first time for the kitchen preparing the food. We would never have known unless we were told. My first dish was a simple but artfully prepared Caesar salad that was topped with a whole fresh anchovy (about the size of a sardine). There was nothing revolutionary in this salad considering it cost $11, but it still tasted great. I purposely didn't order the oyster stew because that's what everyone else has written about, but when I go back, I really want to order the arugula salad which just sounds incredible.
The second best dish of the night had to be the tuna carpacio (at least that's what I call it). Take thinly sliced tuna, combine it with Japanese mustard greens (also known as mizuna), a wild mushroom salad (I spied trumpet mushrooms), and top with a red wine vinaigrette and a little wasabi, and you have yourself quite a little appetizer.
I love a good pasta dish(which like all the pastas is available in a double portion as an entree), and the hand-cut fettuccine with a slightly creamy and cheesy meat and mushroom sauce was just heavenly -- the best dish of the night by far and probably one of the best pasta dishes I've had in a while. I'd call the sauce a ragu, except I don't think there was any tomatoes in it. I was supposed to share this dish with Amy, but somehow I only managed to let her have a single bite.
The lobster, fava bean, and sun dried tomato Vialone risotto that Amy had was interesting -- not drop-dead incredible, but interesting. When I first tried it, I thought the texture of the rice was odd, and not quite that of a risotto that I was used to, but that was only because of my own ignorance. Once I returned home, I Googled "Vialone" and found out that "Vialone Nano" rice is another type of risotto rice that is a longer grain rice than Arborio. Unlike Amy, who's unable to contain herself if it's on the menu, I'm not a lobster lover, and not surprisingly, I thought the texture of the lobster was odd, but Amy thought it was perfect.
While we waited for our entrees to come out, I looked jealously at a gigantic whole roasted Loup de Mar as one of the servers brought it to one of the tables near us.
"Jesus, I wish you would look at me like that once in a while," Amy said.
"Sorry. Sometimes I just can't control myself," I replied smugly.
My entree was exquisite -- I can't remember when I've eaten better braised veal cheeks. The texture of the meat was perfect, not too dry and not too moist. I've had veal cheeks that were overly moist and almost undercooked, or overcooked and dry. These were neither. Amy's beef tenderloin would have been pretty average if it wasn't for the creamy Gorgonzola flan, an atypical twist on the usual blue cheese topping.
Our server was very unobtrusive. At one point after we'd finished out entrees, the waiter started to come over to clear our plates and ask us how everything was, but Amy and I were in the middle of a conversation so he turned around and went back in the kitchen. He was also very knowledgeable about wine, aware that the wine maker from vineyard that produces the wine we ordered (Savannah-Chanelle Vineyard), had been to the restaurant recently. Hmm, the wine maker's name happens to be Tony Craig...I wonder if there's a connection??
I wasn't crazy about the chocolate bread pudding what we had for dessert, but I'm very picky about bread pudding (perhaps I should just stop ordering it). While the ice cream that came on the side was a wonderfully sweet and creamy accompaniment, that bread pudding was kind of crumbly.
Our bill came to about $200 before tip -- a little expensive, but considering that we had three courses each, shared a dessert, and drank a fairly expensive bottle of wine, and coffees, I think it was a pretty decent deal considering the quality of food we ate. I'm definitely planning on returning to try the other dishes on the menu.
Dress Code: Business Casual
Parking: Street: Street Parking and Bethesda Parking garages.
Smoking: Not Allowed.
Closest Metro: A short walk from the Bethesda metro.
Baby friendly rating: 2 Diapers mainly because Amy noticed that they have child seats. Otherwise, I'd be very hesitant to bring Noah here because the atmosphere is quiet and therefore not baby friendly.
Recently, I found myself in Bethesda with Amy and Noah. It was the middle of the afternoon and we hadn't eaten lunch yet (God, this sounds like just about every Saturday since Noah's been born). Originally, we intended to go to Divino Lounge but once we parked the car, got Noah out of the car, and walked around the corner...oh crap. They're closed. Son of a...!!
"Way to check their hours Jase...What else is around here?" Amy asked.
Man she gets grumpy when she's hungry. Kind of like me.
I thought about our options for a couple minutes. I was obviously taking to long, because Amy suddenly suggested that we go to Jaleo.
The last time we went to Jaleo, we had a pretty mediocre meal and I was hesitant. It's amazing how one bad meal will do that and so many people, including myself, will write off a place after one semi-bad experience, but we decided to give them another chance regardless.
The good news is everything was very good that afternoon (and the following Saturday night as well), unlike most tapas restaurants, where half the dishes your order end up being boring. My favorite tapa (geez I ate that word) was the duck confit, which is by far, one of the best deals that Jaleo has to offer at $7.50, with a very large duck leg that seems to never end. Sadly, it's on their "temporary" menu, so get it while its still on the menu. Other amazing tapas include the homemade grilled pork sausage with white beans thats salty and well seasoned, grilled sirloin with sherry sauce, or some sinful béchamel chicken and Spanish ham fritters.
The only dish I had that I wasn't crazy about was a surprisingly bland Chorizo sausage. Seriously, Chef Andrés, spice this up a bit. No not a bit, a lot! I mean, chorizo is supposed to be spicy, right? So the menu is still a bit hit or miss. Another disappointment was the pork rib that was almost completely fat. We sent that one back it was so bad.
During our afternoon visit, service was very smooth and we couldn't really ask for more. When we returned again the following Saturday, things weren't quite as smooth, which I remembered from our previous experience at Jaleo. That evening, despite the fact that the service was very rushed, which is understandable, considering how crowded the restaurant was, the kitchen continued to bang out dish after dish.
As far as the wine list goes, there are many options all across the different price ranges, which I can appreciate because I don't always feel like dropping $60 on a bottle of wine. Glasses at the bar are reasonable as well. The slightly tart, yet fruity, Albarino that Amy and I had at the bar was only $8 a glass.
It's easy to get carried away at Jaleo, which can easily be considered a cheap eats restaurant, but also can break the bank if you order a ton of tapas and a more expensive bottle of wine. I can appreciate that though, because it means you have the flexibility to make what you want of the meal. All of our bills were under $100.
480 7th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004
7271 Woodmont Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814
2250 A Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202
See Web Site
Dress Code: Business Casual to Casual
Baby friendly rating: 2 Diapers
In the last week, I've had complete night and day experiences in regards to wait times at Ray's the Steaks. Last Friday night, we stopped by at around 7 PM and there was practically a line to get into the parking lot. Once I managed to get close to the restaurant, I kicked Amy out of the car to see how long the wait was. 1 Hour. We ended up going to Guajillo instead.
So last night we return again, because OH MY GOD, I had a huge craving for a steak. We arrived the same time -- 7PM. No wait.
So the moral in this story is, go to Rays the Steaks DURING the week.
So there have been a number of rumors circulating about the foodie world about Galileo and Oyamel and who was moving where or closing, yada yada yada. On Friday I finally got confirmation from the restaurants themselves in the form of a press release, and I thought I'd share the real facts with all of you, mostly because I have to type it out myself to fully understand it.
First, Galileo has closed it's doors for renovations that will take up to one year. Second, Roberto Donna has opened a new restaurant called Bebo Trattoria in Crystal City (not to be confused with Babbo), the same location that Oyamel was in. Conventiently, Jose Andres was planning to move Oyamel to Penn Quarter at the same time and plans are in place to reopen Oyamel in its new location in early 2007.
For the Roberto Donna press release:
Bebo Trattoria, named after Donna's boyhood nickname, will house a custom made wood burning oven in which Donna plans to make pizzas and the popular Panini sandwiches from his Galileo Grill. The menu will also feature a variety of antipasti ranging from $4-9 and entrees priced from $10-19. An extensive selection of small plates and wines by the glass will be offered in the 30 seat bar area; prices will range from $1.95 to $5.25 per small plate and wines by the glass will start at $5. Bebo Trattoria will be open for lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily, with a family style brunch served on Sundays. A dining room with seating for up to 60 guests will also be available for private bookings.
Lately, I work more and more out of my company's Reston office, and until recently, I've been having a lot of trouble finding decent places to eat lunch. My choices within a 5 minute drive are an extremly below average Subway, a Cafe Sano which started out good when it first opened, but has gone a little downhill since, a McDonalds, Pizza Hut, and a Taco Bell. Other than that, the best place that I'd been able to find was a very average Chinese restaurant called Mama Wok (and let me just say that once you've had Joe's Noodle House, other Chinese places don't stand much of a chance).
Last week, a buddy showed me a little hidden kabob place called Reston Kabob. It's not quite Moby Dick, but it's pretty similar. The menu is pretty simple. You can get chicken, beef, lamb, ground lamb, or ground chicken by themselves or any combination. With the meat, you can either get a salad or rice, and you always get some fresh made, fluffy pita bread.
My favorite thing to get is the kabob salad with chicken. The chicken is always very tender and well seasoned. I've also had the beef, and ground lamb and enjoyed them both. They must marinate their meat for a long time because it's always full of flavor. Let me warn you, though, that the ground meat kabobs have plenty of onion in them, so be prepared to reek a little when you go back to work.
If any of you out there know of other good places in the Reston area...I'm open to suggestions.
11844 Sunrise Valley Dr # A
I don't know how it happened, but the other day, Amy and I found ourselves in Wheaton. In Wheaton, I'm totally out of my element -- I mean, it's probably a whole 10 minute drive from DC. Seriously though, I don't get to Wheaton much. But, I could recall the Royal Mile Pub, a Scottish pub with some pretty interesting food that some good friends of ours first introduced us to a few years ago and we've returned to a few times since.
It had been a while since we last visited, but the dining room was just as I remembered it - kind of gloomy and dimly lit while some regulars sat at the bar having lunch and watching football. I don't believe I've ever been to the Royal Mile when there was a wait and this time was no exception for we had our pick of tables. Scottish tartans hang from just about every wall.
The Royal Mile is the only restaurant that I know of in the area with a Scotch list, and quite an extensive one at that. Where else are you going to get your Glenfarclas fix. I don't know anywhere else. On Thursday nights, the Royal mile offers a Single Malt Tasting Menu. The beer list isn't quite as extensive but you'll find a few Scottish Ales that you probably wouldn't typically find elsewhere.
If you've ever been to a restaurant with Celtic food, then you know that the food tends to be on the heavier side so order wisely. Unless you're really hungry, don't go ordering both a huge appetizer and entree. Take it easy. Share a course with a friend.
For dinner, my favorites so far are the beer-battered fish and chips or the beef and Guinness Pie. Both are pretty heavy but pleasing guilty pleasures of mine. I can't honestly say that I've ever had anything bad at the Royal Mile, but keep in mind that I'm no Celtic food expert by any means. I have yet to be brave enough to try the haggis.
The other day for lunch, we had the Welsh Rarebit as an appetizer, which Amy loves and I'm a bit less enthusiastic about. Welsh Rarebit is basically toast topped with a blend of cheeses, beer, mustard, and tomatoes...oh, and throw a little heavy cream into that cheese mixture as well. The corned beef reuben that I ordered (which the Royal Mile calls the "Wandering Willie") was as good as any other reuben that I've ever had with lean beef, some great sauerkraut, and creamy swiss. Prices are pretty reasonable and wont break the bank. Our lunch was a little over $20 for both of us.
I should also point out that the Royal Mile has free WiFi, not that I generally take my computer around with us and test to see that restaurants have WiFi, but if you're looking for a place to hang out and do a little work while eating a slow meal, you might want to consider the Royal Mile.
Monday – Thursday: 3:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.
Friday – Sunday: 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 a.m.
Closed: Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day
It's that time of the year again. A time when I go on a diet to prepare for the my favorite street food festival in the DC area. A time when hundreds flock to the streets of Bethesda to sample treats from the local restaurants like crispy samosas, soft papusas, and your typical peanut sauce encrusted chicken satays. A time when campaign volunteers accost you on the street asking you to take one of their campaign stickers. A time when extremely tall, scary clowns roam the crowds searching for little children to feed on (joking).
It's time for Taste of Bethesda. Oct 7 from 11 AM to 4 PM, downtown Bethesda's streets will be blocked off, music will be played in the streets, and food will be eaten. Full details will be posted here.
I didn't eat anywhere new and interesting last week, but I ate at my usual places that I go to pretty much on a weekly basis now. I'm running out of restaurants to write about so I'm going to have to have a change of pace this week by hitting a few new places so I can put some original content here. In the mean time I thought I would give people an idea of how many normal meals I actually eat in a week, by summing up my week of meals. It seems from peoples emails, that they think I only eat at formal dinner places like Palena and Komi and that I never eat at little old wholes, or let alone my own home.
We went to to visit my Aunt and Uncle at the Maryland Shore for the weekend, and on Sunday they prepared us a great meal with London Broil, sweet corn, a couple great Cabernets. My Uncle and Aunt retired there about 5 year ago, and this was the first time we were able to get over there to visit them -- I think mostly because crossing the Bay Bridge just scares me.
I was back at work after vacation and my lunch was a pathetic chicken salad sandwich from the office deli that I could barely finish. Let me just say that when the chicken looks like and has the consistency of beef, that you should probably stop eating. I worked late, and by the time I got home, there was only time to stick a couple steaks on the skillet after a 15 minute marinade in some salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Not quite Rays the Steaks, but also not quite bad.
I was so busy at work that I had to skip lunch. I worked late again and on the way home in the car I ordered some delivery from Heritage India in Glover Park. I must order deliver from then at least once a week and they know my address and credit card by heart. Paneer Shashlik and Chicken Tikka for me and some paneer Makhani for Amy.
The night before, I made some chicken salad with some leftover rotisserie chicken and that was my lunch. I actually got out of work at a decent time that day, and I was able to see Noah a little before bed time. We made some veggie burgers for dinner and they were pretty bland. I really need to go to the grocery store to stock up on the essentials so I can start cooking some decent meals. We broke out a bottle of Ridge Zinfandel to make up for the lackluster meal.
A complete blur.
Finally something to talk about. I skipped lunch, and maybe had a Snickers out of the vending machine...oh wait. I stopped at Subway and had one of those new cajun roast chicken sandwiches. It was probably the worst thing I've eaten in a while with chicken that was gristly and barely edible. Maybe I ate half of it, back at the office, I don't know really. It didn't really matter much though because we had plans for a big dinner with some friends. The original plan for dinner was to go to the Nats game and hit Sonoma afterwards, but my baby sitter turned out to not be available and the game got rained out. Instead, we went to Rays the Steaks for dinner. Amy and I shared the Chateubriand for two, which came out rare although we'd ordered it medium-rare. Oh well, if we haven't learned by now to order our steaks there a little more done than we're used to by now, I don't think we're ever going to learn. Amy just ate the the more well done edges and I ate the rare parts. I actually prefer it like that, but Amy can't stand the texture of rare meat.
We we planning to go to 2Amys for lunch. For some reason, we didn't get out of the condo until 2:30 PM, so I guess you can just call it a late lunch/early dinner. It was unfashionably cool at 2Amys and I found out from talking to the people at the bar that they replaced the AC system. Thank God! Food was awesome as usual, and I took some pix of some of the food we ate. Things haven't changed much at 2Amys and Scott is still serving up some great food from the bar menu. After eating some meatballs, eggplant, tomato and smoked mozzarella, and capicola, we ordered one of the special pizzas with the 2Amys sausage, yellow sauce, fontina cheese, and leeks.