Previous month:
June 2005
Next month:
August 2005

July 2005

This Week in Reviews

Todd Kliman from The City Paper reviews Sonoma. Like many people Todd notices so-so service but gives positive reviews to the food. In my trips there, I never noticed the service to be slow, but I was always there pretty late in the evening. I can only wonder what it's like for lunch on The Hill.

Old Homestead Streak House in Bethesda is the topic of Tom Sietsema's review this week. Tom thinks that the service is far superior to the food.

"Typically, I depart a steakhouse toting a lighter wallet and some meaty leftovers. At the Old Homestead, I found myself exiting with some nice service stories -- and free hands."

Alex MacLennan from The Hill Rag talks about the  DC Barbeque Scene.

Mjf from DCFUD gives a fairly positive writeup of the Crystal City Mexican tapas restaurant, Oyamel, saying, "I don't really think of myself as a fan of Mexican food...Then I went to Oyamel."

Finally, Alexandra Greely from The Examiner likes China Canteen in Rockville.

And of course, get your latest restaurant news and rumour from Amanda at Metrocurean.

Circle Bistro Wine Tastings

I just noticed this on the the Circle Bistro web site. Circle Bistro is having wine tastings every Thursday beginning today (July 28th) from 7 PM to 8 PM in the Circle Lounge. Cost is $25 per person and includes light hor d'ouevres created by Executive Chef Brendan Cox. The wine tasting is hosted by a local wine representative so you're be able to learn about new wines from around the world. Sounds like fun to me.


Best_damn_dishThis was the best damn dish I've eaten in a long time. I know it doesn't look like much from the pathetic photography (please ignore the shadow cast from my hand in in front of the flash) exhibited here, but it was delicious. Saturday afternoon, Amy and I went to Samantha's because Amy had a craving for some pupusas. Who was I to deny her?

Instead of just blindly ordering something new off the menu, I asked our server what he recommended. He immediately pointed me to a dish on the specials menu -- tenderloin tips with rice, cilantro sauce, black beans and  tomatoes. It sounded simple, but sometimes the simplest things on the menu end up tasting the best.

Amy ordered 5 pupusas as well, which upon ordering, our server looked at us like we were nuts. "You want 5 pupusas?!" He had to double check, but I informed him that I intended to share them with Amy. In case you've never had pupusas at Samantha's, they're quite large.

So back to the tenderloin tips. The smell of this dish when it was first brought to the table made my mouth water. Bright colors of green, red, and purple from the cilantro sauce, tomatoes and pickled red onions made the dish visibly appealing. The tender steak, grilled on a kabab with peppers, onions and mushrooms, is matched with cilantro and mole sauces, pickled red onions, tomatoes, and black beans giving a robust flavor that I've never quite tasted before. I'd practically finished the dish when Amy exclaimed, "You know for the past 10 minutes you've done nothing but moan over every bite of that dish! Are you planning on talking to me at all during this meal? Oh, and you told me you were going to share these pupusas with me."

Read my other writing about Samantha's.

A Letter to Peter and Tim

OK. After rereading this, I came off way too strong. Perhaps the heat is getting to me -- just forget I put this up here. The people at 2Amys are really good to me and it was rude of me to post something as critical as this. Really, It's not THAT hot at 2Amys right now and it's totally worth "suffering" through a little warmth for their awesome food.

Dear Peter and Tim,

For the love of God, please upgrade the A/C unit at your restaurant, 2Amys! It's way too hot for a normal person to enjoy your fabulous pizza. Granted, you're probably selling a lot more ice cream than you usually do, but it makes it very hard for me to convince my wife (who happens to be pregnant) to eat there. Your waitstaff and chefs look like they are wilting to death.

In conclusion...FIX THE GODDAMN A/C!!!!!!!!!!

Yours truly,

D.C. Foodies

OK. Seriously people, I am only half serious about this letter. If 2Amys had no A/C and was 100 degrees, I'd still go there cause the food is so damn good (I'd just have to bring food home for Amy cause there's no way she'd go). It's just that the A/C has been struggling there for about 2 months now and I see the people working there are all dying under the heat and I can only imagine what it's like for a cook in with the ovens. The heat is bad enough as a diner.


Friday evening, we were looking for a place that we could get some comfort food. Although, unlike most households where comfort food involves some sort of mystery meatloaf, our idea is more like porcini mushroom ravioli with a pistachio cream sauce.

We returned to Spezie, after not having been there for a few months. There were a few changes on the menu -- some dishes that were new, but mostly it was the same old Spezie. The first thing that I noticed was that the prices had gone up. This is pretty normal, especially considering that the restaurants that Spezie competes with, namely Galileo and Tosca, are still considerably more expensive.

In light of some other meals that I've eaten recently with dishes containing complex lists of ingredients, Spezie is a welcome change. The insalata di spinaci (spinach salad with gorgonzola cheese, walnuts, pears and crispy pancetta) is a classic salad that begs to be enjoyed. The spinach is topped with just enough balsamic vinegar to compliment the flavors of the gorgonzola, pancetta and pears. Eaten all together, you've got one blissful mouthful of salad.

As usual, the pasta I ordered was cooked perfectly. A simple tomato-based ragu with some fresh herbs and spices will always beat an overloaded pasta dish with seven or eight ingredients in my mind. The Pappardelle al Sugo D'Anatra (homemade wide-noodle pasta with tomato-based duck ragu) with was no exception to this rule. And as usual, Amy got herself an order of the ravioli with pistachio cream sauce. I couldn't help but feel a twinge of inadequacy watching Amy drool over at the plate of pasta in front of her. Eccellente!

Something a little disappointing was the prosciutto and mozzarella salad. The mozzarella was dense and too cold as if it was "fresh" out of the freezer. Given our recent trips to Dino and 2Amys, we  also found the prosciutto, that we once used to lust after, to be substandard. Other than that, it was a typically good meal at Spezie.

Our check came to a little over $100 -- that with only one glass of wine, but 2 apps, 2 pastas and desserts. It's getting harder and harder for me to find a decent Italian meal in this city for under that.

1736 L Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 467-0777

Monday - Saturday: 5:30 PM. - 10:00 PM

Monday - Friday: 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM

Dress Code: Business Casual. I saw someone in shorts -- they deserve a beat down.
Smoking: Allowed at the bar.
Closest Metro: Farragut North
Parking: No valet anymore. I can usually find a parking spot for dinner, and there are plenty of paid lots in the area.
Reservations: Taken. Not necessarily needed for dinner. Definitely needed for lunch.
Amy's Bathroom Rating: Beautifully clean.

Bethesda Restaurant Week

Click for the most recent Bethesda Restaurant Week info.

OK, so I'll admit I'm a little behind on this one, but come on -- Why did Bethesda have to go an have their own Restaurant Week?! In case you haven't heard about it, it started TODAY and runs through July 24th. Participating restaurants will be offering a 2-course lunch for $10 or a 3-course dinner for $18 or $25. Below is the list of participating restaurants. Of the ones in the list, I'd try Passage to India, since Passage to India is one of my favorite Indian restaurants in the area. Faryab is also excellent Afghan food -- I visited Faryab back in March and had a wonderful time. Other than that, I had a pretty decent tasting of the Irish food at Ri-Ra Irish Restaurant and Pub back in October when I went to Taste of Bethesda, but I've never been to the restaurant in person.

Continue reading "Bethesda Restaurant Week" »

Galileo Half-Price Special

I just had a chance to check out Galileo's new menu. Here are some samples to wet your appetite:

  • Fried Soft Shell Crab with Pork Belly, Fava Beans, Pork Jus and Porcini Mushrooms
  • Oysters Six Ways in the Spoon; Roasted Red Beets with Burrata, Watercress and Sweet Garlic Dressing
  • Asparagus Soup with Soft Poached Egg, Black Truffles and Ricotta and Fonduta
  • Risotto with Lobster, Fava Beans, Tomato, Olive Oil and Basil
  • Pillow Pasta filled with Asparagus in a Mascarpone Cheese Sauce served with Prosciutto, Slivers of Parmesan Cheese and Basil Olive Oil
  • Black Cod Dusted with Roasted Porcini Mushrooms served over a Ragu of Asparagus and Morels in a Lobster Fennel Sauce
  • Squab Breast served over a Crostone of Duck Liver with Duck Liver Ravioli served in a Squab Broth

Dear God that all sounds awesome!

...and right now you can get it half-price on Sunday through Tuesday -- and that includes wine as well! You can only get this deal by printing out this post on DCist and bringing it with you to the restaurant.

This offer is available until August 30th (except August 1, 2, 7), so hurry up and take advantage of it before it's too late.

Also, please remember to tip the servers what the check would have been without the discount, not the half-price value of the check.