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November 2004
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December 2004

D.C. Foodies turns 1

Today, D.C. Foodies turns 1 year old. Thanks EVERYONE for reading! I think if it weren't for the emails that I get from readers, I would have lost interest in this experiment a while ago. And now, for old times sake, a link to my first, pathetic review of Sushi Sushi, from exactly a year ago.


I'm so pissed...At myself.

Back in February I went to Komi with some friends. I think since then, my taste in food, particularly new American food, has developed considerably (at least in my opinion). But when I was writing my original review, I think I just didn't get it. In the mean time, I've been missing out on this wonderful restaurant.

Last Friday night, Amy and I wanted to go out for a last minute celebration. We were celebrating her being contacted by a literary agent. By the time I got home from work and after we decided to go out and celebrate it was 8 pm. I called Komi to see if they had any last minute cancelations and  lucky for us, they did - 9:30.

Besides the menu, Komi has not changed much since February. As I stated in my previous write up of Komi, the menu changes with the seasons. On Friday, only a few of the dishes looked familiar from our past visit. Even those had ingredients that had been altered so most dishes on the menu were new. We were about to order and Amy noticed the option at the bottom of the menu for the Chef's tasting menu. With as many interesting options on the menu as there were, this option seemed very attractive. The waitress explained to us that the tasting menu had two options - 5 courses for $59 and 7 courses for $79. We also had the option to have a wine pairing for $25 and $30 respectively. The final decision was to go with the 5 course with pairing, because we knew we'd never be able to eat 7 courses.

The waitress began by bringing out 2 glasses of champaigne. They were very dry, crisp, full glasses of wine. Soon after that, the first course came out - a single oyster atop a bed of ice with a spicy mustard. Now, I'm normally not an oyster kind of person. I barely know how to eat an oyster let alone what to look for in how oysters taste. However, according to Amy, who's eats oysters occasionally, they were great. There wasn't a hint of brine.

The next course was a marinated yellowtail tartar with fingerling potato chips and caviar creme. To say the least, this course was excellent. We found ourselves wiping the plate with our fingers to get the last of the caviar creme. Yum!

Starting off the next course was a spicy white wine what was slightly fruity and dry. I almost drank it all before the food it was paired with came, which turned out to be a butternut squash soup. This was no ordinary butternut squash soup and really turned out to be the piece de resistance of the entire menu. Overall there was not much of it. The bowl, barely half full, contained a homemade marshmallow and a spicy cracker. The broth was smooth - not gritty or pulpy in any sense of the word. It had a definative curry flavor to it that really made the soup extraordinary. At the end, I found myself longing to lick the bowl. When the waitress came by to take our dishes away, she could see how we were smiling and asked jokingly if we liked it. I stupidly replied, "No! It was horrible. Bring me another!" Almost immediately I replied to myself, "Oh god. I can't believe I just said that!" When I was a waiter, I always wanted to smack people that said things like that.

At this point in the meal, I was still very hungry. Most of the courses up until this point were pretty small. The next course, a mushroom and mozzarella salad,  wasn't much different, but really set us up for the following course - a grilled sea scallop. Never in a million years would I order the wild mushroom salad on my own. If it weren't for us ordering the tasting menu, I probably would have never tried it. It contained a few different kinds of mushrooms that were very fresh and complemented the mozzarella well. Also, it contained a slightly bitter salad green that I could not identify - like miniature watercress. All the ingredients were organized in a neat little circle on the plate which I very quickly detroyed once I tasted it.

Before the scallops came out, the waitress brought us another glass of wine. This time, it was a red wine. As soon as I saw the red wine, I said to Amy, "Ooh, I bet the next course is a meat dish!" I could'nt have been more wrong. The waitress appeared with the scallops and Amy and I both laughed. Of course the red wine went really well with the scallop. I'm really mad that I didn't have my notebook on me to take notes for this meal, because I would've liked to get the names of the wines we had. Oh well. Next time. ;-) The scallop (and yes it was a single large scallop) wasn't anything extremely wonderful except for the fact that it was very fresh.

We finshed off the scallop quickly and the waitress was bringing out our next glass of wine. It was another red and this time the red was actually matched with a meat course - beef short ribs. When the short ribs were placed on the table, I picked up my knife and fork to cut through the short ribs. Soon after that I was putting my knife down because I realized that I wasn't going to need it. The meat was incredibly tender. You barely had to cut with the side of the fork. Pressing down slightly made the meat crumble. Over the meat was a sweet, cinimony barbeque sauce. The short ribs were served over a bed of lemon cheese grits. Now, Amy is a grits expert (Well, not really, but she likes to make grits a lot). These in her "expert" opinion were top notch. ;)

Around this time, I started feeling a little full. It came on me kind of fast and I was worried that I wouldn't have enough room for dessert. All awhile, we were wondering how many more courses we had left. We'd already had 6 courses, and I thought I remembered only ordering the 5 course meal. I figured our waitress had put in our order wrong. Either way, I didn't care and would've gladly paid the 7 course meal price for the meal we were having. 

Desserts showed up with a couple glasses of dessert wine - a glass of red and a glass of white. I'm not normally one for dessert wine, unless it is Limoncello, and in this time wasn't much different. That's just me though. By the time the desserts came, I wasn't able to eat much more. The waitress brought out the homemade donuts for me and a flourless chocolate cake for Amy. Both were amazing, but we were so full we couldn't finish either. The donuts were just as I remembered them from our trip in February. Amy's chocolate cake was sinful, and probably one of the better desserts we've had in a long time - too bad I didn't have room to enjoy it. We also had some coffee to finish the meal off.

Unlike our last trip to Komi, the service was perfect. I think when we went last time, Komi was affected by a review that a certain Tom Sietsema had written the week before. Funny how his reviews can do that to a place, especially when they are good.

I can't remember the last time I was so pleased when a check was delivered to the table. Don't get me wrong, it was expensive at $198, but well worth it in my opinion. You could easily spend less there by not ordering the tasting menu. I would just have a really hard time deciding what to order. I'll be returning to Komi soon, and I expect it to top my list of meals in December.

For full restaurant details - address, phone number, etc., check my previous post.

Top 5 Meals - November

This is going to be a tough post to write, because I ate a lot of great meals in November, but it's gotta be done so here goes.

1) 2 Amys - Remember my post about the fried dough?? can't beat that!
2) Samantha's - I had an awesome dish there last Saturday. It was a Cuban-style pork with a bitter-orange and mustard sauce that was out of this world.
3) Spezie - Our return to Spezie with my parents reminded us that we don't get back to Spezie nearly enough. we'll be going back again soon. Hi Enzo!
4) My Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner - Nothing beats my challah stuffing. (OK, the recipe is really my grandmother's. So sue me.)
5) Mandalay - Despite having no liquor license, we still really enjoyed the Burmese cuisine of this bargain Silver Spring eatery.

Fried Dough

I had something at dinner the other night that brought back some very fond childhood memories. When I was very young, probably around 5 years old and living in Waterbury, CT, my brother played for a soccer team. His soccer team was sponsored by an Italian club called the Pontelandolfo Community Club. Every year there was a festival a lot like Taste of Bethesda, but with only Italian food. My most vivid memory from these festivals was the fried dough. Just think of a blob of pizza dough about the size of a fist flattened out, deep-fried and served with a small dish of marinara. Sometimes it wouldn't be cooked all the way through and it would be a little gooey on the inside. Mmmmmm. It was best like that. There were carts that would sell it for $2 a piece and every year when we'd go, we'd head straight for the fried dough cart. 

When I was 13, my family moved to PA and I wasn't able to find any fried dough until I moved down here after college. There's only one place I know of that serves fried dough on their regular menu and that's Cesco Trattoria in Bethesda. I remember when I first saw it on the menu I was overjoyed. "Holy sh*t!" I remember saying, "They have fried dough!"  Although it didn't really come close to the memories I have of fried dough in CT. It's just a bit too dainty. I mean, it comes in a "stick" form for God's sake. It's heresy I tell ya!

The other night, though, I had some fried dough that sent me soaring back to my childhood in CT. 2 Amys had a special fried dough with "saucy" lamb meatballs. I know you're all probably sick and tired of hearing about 2 Amys and I promise this is the last post in which I'll mention them for a while (cross my heart and hope to die), but it was seriously good. Exactly as I remember it from childhood. Anyone know any other places that have fried dough?! I gotta have more!