Subscribe Now »

Special Holiday Deal

Give the Gift of the

Give one person a magazine subscription for $29.95, and get each additional subscription for just $19.95.

Tuesday, October 29 at 11 AM
Where can you get a three-star experience at one-star prices? Which hot new restaurant merits the scorching hype? The answer to all these questions and more can be found Tuesdays at 11 AM on Kliman Online. Host Todd Kliman

Editor’s Note: Washingtonian Online moderators and hosts retain editorial control over chats and choose the most relevant questions; hosts can decline to answer questions.

Published October 23, 2013

Where can you get a three-star experience at one-star prices? Which hot new restaurant merits the scorching hype? The answer to all these questions and more can be found Tuesdays at 11 AM on Kliman Online.

From scoping out scruffy holes in the wall to weighing the merits of four-star wanna-bes, from scouring the 'burbs and exurbs to hitting the city's streets, Todd Kliman covers a lot of territory.

Winner of a James Beard Foundation Award in 2005 for the country's best newspaper column about food, Kliman is food and wine editor and restaurant critic for The Washingtonian. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper'sThe Oxford American, Lucky Peach, The Daily Beast and Men's Health, among others, and he has been selected four times for inclusion in the Best Food Writing anthologies. He was a finalist for the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award, and recently took home first-place honors for feature writing from the Association of Food Journalists.

Kliman is the author of The Wild Vine, a literary exploration of two entwined mysteries: an obscure grape that rose to prominence, only to disappear, and its present-day evangelist, a foul-mouthed transgendered multi-millionaire vintner on an obsessive quest to restore the legend of an antebellum southern doctor.

Todd previously taught writing and literature at American University and Howard University. At Howard, he was also the editorial advisor to The Illtop Journal, Chris Rock's humor magazine modeled after the Harvard Lampoon.

Can't wait a week to talk to Todd? Follow him on Twitter for dining reports, tips, and breaking news from the culinary world. Or write to him: tkliman@washingtonian.com 

...............………………………………………………………………………………...

W H E R E   I ' M   E A T I N G   N O W   .  .  . 

Rose's Luxury, DC

I love the crackle in the room when you walk in. I'm not talking about mere noise; lots of restaurants have noise. I'm not even talking about buzz, that sense that a new place is hot. This one has an energy that is unmistakable, a sense that you have entered a kind of rare and cherished zone where the enthusiasm of the kitchen and the staff is returned in kind by the diners, who all seem to walk out the door with smiles on their faces. It's not hard to understand why. Rose's Luxury has an old-school vibe, and a sort of making-it-up-as-we-go-along feel, from the homey, unassuming way the menu bids you to settle in and order to the dinner party-run-amok vibe to the yahrzeit-look-alike votives to the beer glasses that are sawed-off wine bottles. The chef, Aaron Silverman, logged stints in such high-profile kitchens as Momofuku in New York and Husk and McCrady's in Charleston, and you don't have to look hard to see elements of each of these places in the room and on the plate. Like his mentors David Chang and Sean Brock, he aims to bring off a marriage of extreme playfulness and extreme precision. The bulk of the menu consists of a dozen small plates in which Silverman sets out to cross the wires, compositionally speaking, and see what happens. A pate is a braiding of French, Italian (garlic bread are the toasts), Vietnamese (the rich, crushed-peanut topped spread brims with star anise), and I want to say Jewish (the brine for the jalapenos, onions and cukes that add crunch and tang tastes deli to me). It's seamlessly done, and highly addicting. He crosses high and low in a soup that tastes at once like liquefied popcorn and a delicate lobster veloute (the sweetness calls out for some sort of counterbalancing ingredient, or more lobster). It's not all derring-do. His gnocchi are more properly a kind of ravioli, stuffed with fennel and mint, sauced with not-too-much butter and topped with a generous scattering of crunchy toasted breadcrumbs. You'd be hard put to find five better pasta dishes in town right now. The final course is a page not out of Momofuku or Husk or McCrady's, but out of Komi -- share plates for two. In one, you lay luscious slices of perfectly smoked brisket on griddled Texas toast, add on tangy strands of pickled cabbage and smear the whole thing with a fluffy horseradish cream. The other is built around a beautifully brined pork chop -- sweet and aromatic and rich as the best pork can be -- with potlikker beans and a textbook red-eye gravy. The final act needs re-staging. The lack of a pastry chef doesn't help, nor does the tendency to over-think and over-embellish. Quenelles of chocolate cream sprinkled with dried rose petals and intended for spreading on slices of charred bread feels twee, not interesting, and hardly satisfies. More of the sink-in simplicity of the share courses would go a long way. Still, this is one of the most exciting debuts of the year. I'd even go so far as to say it's one of the most exciting debuts of the past three years.

Vermilion, Alexandria

New chef, same supremely assured restaurant. William Morris has risen to the top spot with the departure of Tony Chittum, and is a chef to watch. One of the best dishes on his tightly scripted menu of 15 dishes is also the unlikeliest: a roasted garlic soup. The taste of garlic is subtle, and the soup, a chicken stock base, gets its richness from a touch of cream and a yolk at the bottom of the bowl that you're meant to stir in after the broth is poured. One moment it tastes like a light veloute, another like a liquid roasted chicken, and another -- after you scoop up the fine dice of potatoes -- a chowder. 

Khan Kabob, Chantilly

The best karahi I've had in ages, maybe ever, is a version here made with lamb brains. The brains, for the leery, resemble tiny curds, and the sauce of garlic, ginger, cilantro, tomato and chilis is so concentrated, and so smoky, that even after you've had your fill it's difficult to stop dipping your torn naan into the hammered metal vessel. Tariq Khan, the owner, was for many years part of the Ravi Kabob empire; he's created a worthy rival.

Yia Yia's Kitchen, Beltsville

If you want to see what a gyro can be, order the pork. It's sliced from a conical spit, and the meat is so dark you'd think it was charred. That's the effect of slow cooking, of melting fat, herbs and spices coming together to form a kind of bark. The meat is luscious, like that of a great spare rib, and you can pick up notes of fresh oregano and cinnamon. It's enfolded by a thick, griddled pita, into which the cooks stuff fistfuls of hot fries, along with tzaziki, chopped onions and tomato. The rest of the menu is rewarding, too -- pork chops with long-cooked green beans, onions and tomatoes; a good pastitsio; and a strapping mound of lamb bolognese.

Ya Hala, Vienna

The tabbouleh is made-to-order, and superb -- an explosion of tender, sweet parsley and fruity olive oil. The baba ghanous is exceptional, too -- subtly smoky, perfectly textured. If only for these two dishes, I'd recommend making the trek to this tiny, friendly Lebanese diner. But there's good stuff beyond, including an array of meat pies, minted yogurts, and small, delicate desserts. Alas, the meats, though flavorful, are not as tender as the rest of the cooking would seem to promise, but a dip in the excellent garlic sauce and a pile of perfect rice makes up for it.

Rus Uz, Arlington

This homey cafe in Ballston is the only Russian-Uzbek restaurant in the area. But novelty alone doesn't recommend it. I love all the things that chef-owner Bakhtiyor Rakhmatullaev does with dough and meat -- from the savory pastries (samsas, cheburekis, and piroshkas) that are essential to any meal to the fabulous dumplings (including veal-stuffed pelmeni and manti, the latter filled with ground spiced lamb and buried under drifts of sour cream). My two meals here were richly rewarding, and among the most memorable of this spring and summer.

Curry Leaf, Laurel

The former chef at Udupi Palace, the beloved Langley Park vegetarian Indian restaurant that shuttered three years ago, has made a triumphant return at this comfy Laurel stripmall restaurant. Saravan Krishnan presides over a kitchen that covers a lot more ground than his predecessor's did -- street food, curries, Indo-Chinese, tandoor, dosas, biryani, and breads are among the categories that make up the long and sprawling menu. Some Indian food can be characterized as spicy. Krishnan's is that more elusive beast -- it's spiced. Heat is not the end game, though he certainly doesn't shy away from it; the thing you take away from many of these dishes, however, is the way a gravy or a sauce appears to change as you eat it, the way its complex, carefully coaxed flavors deepen and reveal new and different truths as you go. Among the must-orders are the lemon rice -- its light, citrusy topnotes accentuate the nuttiness of the crushed and toasted cashews scattered throughout -- and a Sri Lankan specialty of hardboiled eggs in a rich brown curry shot through with black pepper and cinnamon and served with Ceylon-style parathas, smaller than their Indian counterparts and coiled like ropes at rest. The latter eats like a lusher version of the Malaysian staple roti canai and might just be the most memorable dish I've eaten this year.

.............................................................................................................................

PRICE CREEP, CONT. :

I finally made it to Fiola last week. Although the close-spaced tables made conversation difficult, the food ranged from good to outstanding.

However, the pricing marred my enjoyment. My veal loin was $56 and the wine list price for a bottle that retails for $18-$20 was $78. Are such prices justifiable in a house that bills itself as a trattoria? I wasn’t offended by the price I paid at Komi a while ago because of the large number and variety of inventive plates, but I felt used by Fiola.

I noticed that Fiola is no longer on the list of places where you are currently eating; does price have something to do with that? Do you consider value in your recommendations?

Todd Kliman:

Thanks for writing in. The fact that Fiola is no longer in the list up top is not a damning of Fiola; I change that list frequently, and you’ll notice that I try, with this list, to highlight places that are not, for some reason, in the larger conversation about restaurants but ought to be. That’s not to say that the list is only to serve that function; Rose’s Luxury, which is on there right now, is suffering from no shortage of buzz at the moment. But most of the restaurants on the list are places that you’re not hearing much, if anything, about.

As for value — yes, I consider it. Along with many other things that make up the experience. The inflation at Fiola, I have to say, is pretty extraordinary. It’s as if, having made the decision to open the “casual” Casa Luca, Fiola was liberated to move Fiola in the direction of Maestro. I think it’s a bad move. Entrees in the 50s — what, exactly, justifies this? I guess you could argue that the market justifies it, if people are paying that kind of money. But Fiola, to me, is not the kind of experience that I’d want if I were dropping that kind of money. It can be very good. But I’d want less hustle around me, I’d want more attention, indeed, a little pampering.

I hate to see this. I think the food, here, can be special, although I dislike the tendency toward overrichness I’m seeing in the saucing. I’d like more control, more elegance.

Good morning, everyone, and I appreciate your patience as we roll out a (we hope) smoother system for you to use. It’s a little adjustment on my end, so please bear with me, but I hope it’s less hassle-free for all of you.

WHAT ARE YOU COOKING FOR FALL?:

If you haven't picked up a copy of "Smoke & Pickles" by Ed Lee--do it.

I made lamb chops last night and used his pistachio gremolata--it's listed with a pork chop recipe in the book--fantastic.

Also his kabocha squash macaroni and cheese is easy and would make a great addition to the Thanksgiving table, ditto his pepper parsnip biscuits.

Speaking of Thanksgiving---what's making your short list?

Todd Kliman:

The pistachio gremolata sounds terrific. Curious about the squash mac and cheese. I have a copy of the book, but haven’t given it much of a read yet. Thanks for the reminder.

As for Thanksgiving, I haven’t given it much thought yet. But you’ve given me an idea, and maybe an idea for this community of cooks, as well. What about if, in the next couple of weeks, we devote some of this space to sharing great recipes — failsafes, family treasures, etc. I’d love to hear about some of these, and I’m sure all of you would, too. We’re all looking for ideas, even if it’s just one new dish to add to our standard lineup.

And I would even consider doing a crowd-sourced Thanksgiving dinner, composed entirely of your suggestions. I’ll be having 9 people, and the only thing I know we’ll be having is a turkey and (most likely) my sister-in-law’s bourbon sweet potatoes with pecans.

AM I GETTING THE TRULY AUTHENTIC?:

Todd,

As an avid fan of your Southeast Asian dining recommendations, I've been turned on to many incredible restaurants. In particular, Minhs has become one of my staples. I even order the take-out for dinner parties to introduce less adventurous friends to Vietnamese cuisine. Few can resist the sticky caramelized meats and catfish, the lemongrass-infused chicken, or the complex profile of the sweet-sour banana flower salad. My recent whim is their glass noodles with crab, threaded with scallions, which satiates my West Coast longing for the Slanted Door's signature dish.

As I've tried to branch out to try other ethnic restaurants, I've experienced a hit or miss pattern. My assumption is that I'm possibly receiving toned down versions of the menu. What is the most effective, polite way to request authentic dishes?

Here is a recent example:

This past Saturday, I finally dined at Rice Paper and ordered a few dishes you recommended. The beef -stuffed grape leaves were not served with the accompaniments described in your review nor was the profile "marvelously alive." The beef was bland as was the thit noung, which was also missing peanuts in the garnish. The most flavor that we tasted was solely due to the fish sauce. Even my dining companion, who is more sensitive to spices, questioned whether any seasoning was used in the dishes we ordered. I cannot believe that this was a similar dining experience to what you shared in your dazzling review.

What are your thoughts?

Thank you very much.

Todd Kliman:

This is the second report I’ve gotten about a less-than-stellar meal at Rice Paper in recent months.

It doesn’t sound like you had the beef-stuffed grape leaves with rice paper. There’s another dish on the menu, and it comes without the rice paper. (Both should have the chopped peanuts.) The version with rice paper is the one you want.

Dipping the paper and transforming it is fun, for one thing. And rolling the charred grape leaf bundle, along with mint and pickled carrots and daikon, in the paper adds a layer of flavor.

I don’t think in this case that it’s a matter of speaking up and requesting the authentic article. The thing to do when you’re eating at a Thai restaurant and want to be sure that you’re going to get a dish that’s prepared for a Thai palate, is to say to the server: Thai hot, please. The server might not believe you. It’s important to stress that that’s exactly what you want, and that you have eaten this particular dish like this many, many times.

You might also say: make it for me the way you would eat it.

Neither has ever failed me. Though occasionally the dishes I have received after this earnest and beseeching plea for authenticity have sometimes been so blisteringly hot I have had to step outside for fear of having anyone on staff get a glimpse of my red, tear-streaked face. : )

BULLETS HOME OPENER FRIDAY: BEST HAPPY HOUR DINING?:

The Wizards home opener is Friday! Proof doesn't open until 5:30, and the only reason to go to Clyde's is for the half-priced oysters, which aren't available on Fridays. So what's the best happy hour spot in Chinatown for pre-game festivities?

Todd Kliman:

Jaleo, if you can get in. Cheap sangria and $4 tapas — what’s not to like?

So, you’ll notice the name in the question line. They will ALWAYS be the Bullets; they’re just biding their time until they can become the Bullets again. I actually thought about this the other day, that if Dan Snyder is smart, he will change the name of the Redskins to the Bullets. Voila!— solves one problem, and really doesn’t create another. And it would make many, many people happy, while retaining a strong sense of tradition and character.

And it isn’t as if this cross-sport name adoption thing has no precedent. It even has precedent in this area. The Capitals, before they were a hockey team, were a basketball team, coached, by the way, by the great Red Auerbach. (OK, technically Capitols. But you get the idea.)

But back to the Bullets for a second. I’m ambivalent about the trade for Gortat because I hate giving up draft picks, ever, but he can board and bang and is skilled offensively, and it’s intriguing to have a piece like him in the post. They haven’t had a piece like this in ages. When Okafor went down, probably for the duration, I was resigned to a crummy season. I’m reenergized, now, and can’t wait to see how he and Harrington fit in, and what Otto Porter (eventually) does. And whether Rice Jr. can become a good gunner off the bench. And how soon (not if) Beal becomes the second best shooting guard in the league. And what Wall, the centerpiece, the enigma, becomes.

OK, now back to food and restaurants …

FOLLOWING UP: HOMECOOKS AND SALT ...:

Todd, you talked last week about how home cooks tend to under-season food. I would argue the opposite: that our palates have become completely immune to salt thanks to the over-seasoning in restaurants lunch joints.

I ordered a salad from Sweetgreen last year and nearly had a heart attack (literally and figuratively) when I found out that it had over 2,000 mg of sodium in it (a whole day's worth, and twice as much as someone with hypertension should eat). Is it really necessary to have so much salt in everything these days?

At home I don't use much at all and my food doesn't suffer for it. One of the reasons people who cook at home tend to be healthier is that they aren't eating sodium-laden meals at dinner every night.

Todd Kliman:

Oh, there’s a lot out there that’s salty.

But at the same time, I have eaten a lot of food in people’s homes over the years that is undersalted. Or I should say — underseasoned. What’s interesting is, it happens much, much less in the case of cooks who are working within a defined/ inherited tradition. Rarely do I find underseasoned soul food, for instance.

I also find that unless a home cook is really passionate about the craft of cooking, and/or has the high-quality equipment, that you don’t tend to get — as just a “for instance” — the deep searing of meat that brings so much texture and flavor.

WANTED: LOVE AND RESPECT FOR ALL THINGS FOOD:

Hi Todd,

I've been giving thought to DC-area restaurants and food scene and here is where I am in my thinking. I think the key factor that is missing, for me, sadly is respect.

Now, please, hear me out. I love food, I am a person who eats because I love everything about food - the color, the fragrances, the tastes, the textures, the crunches or the silkiness, the chemistry, the magical art of combining ingredients to induce complexities, the surprise marriages, etc., so my love is not just to feed my body and give me energy.

I wish proprietors would show the same respect and love that I have for all-things food.

For example, a restaurant that is minimalist (not the ones with high-priced makeovers to look like they are modest, because those simply underwhelm) where the respect is for the food, the ingredients, the talent to combine. The respect to your staff, so that that gracious generosity is passed along to the patrons. The respect for first-rate ingredients. I am tired of overpriced but bland, flavorless produce at the farmers market, which purports to being organic, local and probably gluten-free. (I haven't, yet, seen vegetables or fruit marketed this way.)

I was recently reminded what it means to buy local at farm stands - and the generosity from these farm stands. I can't tell you how many pounds of produce I left with for a $5 dollar bill, but I had 3 bags full, if that helps. And, the taste. Bold, vocal and definitive. I could close my eyes and tell you what each bite was. It only served to remind me that so much of what I buy at the urban farmer's market nowadays lacks flavor but certainly not price. I've forgotten what some produce should taste like. It's making me wonder if that is why what arrives on the plate seems so ladened with experiment and techniques to act as flavor.

I wish new places would honor their business plan and keep their prices as advertised longer than a week or two, because they see they are popular. Even if you jack up prices by a dollar or two, people do notice.

Anyway, I wish there was more respect from top-to-bottom in the food business here in the area. I really miss good food because that is the most welcoming gesture the hospitality industry can do to make me a loyal fan.

Todd Kliman:

Thanks for writing in.

It sounds like you’ve had some disappointing meals out — and shopping expeditions — of late.

I can certainly appreciate that. I recently was asked what percentage of meals out, for me, are winners. I’m out 11, 12 meals a week. The answer? Maybe a third.

I continue to be amazed by the prices many places — many new and new-ish places — are charging. And I say this as someone who has a budget.

There’s a lot out there right now, and there’s a lot out there that’s slick, or contrived, or self-conscious. I would say that I wish more places would make it a mission to do simple, but I’m afraid what that simple would look like: a self-aware simple; an ironic play at being simple.

I think this is one of the things that makes Rose’s Luxury, which I wrote about up top, so appealing. There’s hipness and warmth. There’s ambition, yet it’s not a straining ambition. It’s fun. It has soul. It has heart. It’s inviting. Everything adds up; all the little details mean something. And the food, most of it, is deeply rewarding, and feels like a form of communication.

Re: LE BERNARDIN, IN NYC:

Hi Todd,

Have you been to Le Bernardin in NYC? If so, what are your thoughts? Is there a better seafood restaurant in NYC or DC or is it really the temple of the fish restaurants here in US?

Thanks and good holidays.

Todd Kliman:

It’s a fantastic restaurant, and, no, I don’t think any other restaurant matches it when it comes to understanding how to treat fish and seafood. The delicacy of the preparations, and the range of expression of the flavors, is remarkable.

There’s certainly nothing, here, that compares.

OKAFOR AND GORTAT, CONT.:

The person most sad to see Okafor go? Jose Andres, of course. It all comes full-circle.

Jack

Todd Kliman:

I loved seeing this tweet from Marcin Gortat, by the way:

“First 24h in DC!!Notbad!!Met a lot of people. This City has probably about 1KK restaurants!!!!!:))crazy!!Cant wait to check out the white house”

The Polish Hammer likes restaurants! Apparently, a whole heckuva lot.

Yo, Marcin, since you’re so obviously a lover of good food (or at least being out and about) — I would be happy to have you join me on a review meal. Drop me a note: tkliman@washingtonian.com

I would be happy to show you the scene, and talk to you about taking a hometown discount when your contract is up after the season. : )

SMALL, DIVEY-LOOKING RESTAURANTS ON COLUMBIA PIKE, IN ARLINGTON ...:

My office is down on Columbia Pike in Arlington, where there are tons and tons of small, dive-y looking restaurants that I always like to imagine are secretly terrific. I'll enjoying trying them to try to find out even when it doesn't prove out, but I'm always happy to be lazy.

Do you know of anything out this way that I might blow past without thinking but should really try? Especially things where the quickness and price would make it a good work lunch....

Thanks, as ever!

Todd Kliman:

You’re my kind of eater — “tons and tons of small, dive-y looking restaurants that I always like to imagine are secretly terrific” is so wonderful. Even before I became a restaurant critic, I had these thoughts all the time. I would drive up and down certain restaurant-dense blocks and wonder constantly which ones were amazing, certain that there had to be some. The idea that they all might be lousy was never something I thought about; there were secrets there, and I was certain of it.

Do you know the restaurant Rincome? Thai place, in a motel. Not far from the not-divey Bangkok 54. I like it. Go there and get the crispy whole fish.

Also: Dama, for Ethiopian. They do a very good beef tibs. It’s a good place, consistently one of the best Ethiopian spots in the area.

THANKSGIVING RECIPES, CONT.:

I usually try something new every year--last year the meringue topped sweet potatoes were a big hit, but I think I will pull out an old standard this year from the 2003 issue of bon appetit http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Creamed-Corn-Gratin-with-Fried-Onion-Rings-and-Bacon-108827 and the sour cream apple cider pie from a more recent issue...it's becoming a tradition as well.

It's not turkey day in our house as no one is really a fan so we have prime rib and this year a ham as well.

Todd Kliman:

Creamed corn gratin with fried onion rings and bacon. Whoa.

Are you thinking about trying it out in advance? If you do, I’d love to know how it turns out.

Sounds like a spoof of a dish, the kind of thing that starts with somebody saying: How can I make an insanely rich thing insanely richer?

Tell me more about the apple cider pie.

Re: DIEGO -- NEW, ON 14TH ST. NW:

I went to Diego last night and was surprisingly satisfied with the food and service, but it might have had a lot to do with the free "tasting glass" of their prickly pear frozen margarita.

This got me thinking: would it cost a lot of money for all restaurants to provide just a small taste of something unique about the restaurant, such as a drink, or small soup, or miniature food (NOT free bread)?

Why don't all restaurants do this? I feel such a small gesture could go a long way in making customers feel welcomed, and encourage repeat visits.

Todd Kliman:

I’ve wondered for years why more restaurants don’t do things like this. A little something at the start goes a long way.

A lot of places seem to think that if they have a great cocktail list, great appetizers and a great selection of entrees, that they have a great place on their hands. But what’s the opening act? It begins with a warm, welcoming, and sincere greeting and continues on to the first moments after you sit down and read the menu. Ideally, a restaurant seizes that opportunity to make an impression. This is all part of the first act. Many places squander it.

Look at Rose’s Luxury again. At the moment, they’re delivering not a bread basket, but a roll. A wonderful roll, warm, right out of the oven. It’s a potato roll, an enhanced potato roll (it tastes like a cross between a potato roll and a potato skin) and it’s served with an enhanced sour cream.

That’s a statement right there. Of generosity. Of warmth (quite literally, as well). And also of the kind of cooking that chef Aaron Silverman and his crew are attempting — strongly rooted flavors, but given an imaginative rethinking on the plate.

The statement is made before a drink has arrived.

The final act is often squandered, too. Chefs tend to look at dessert as a little sweet thing to not upstage the procession of savories, and figure that most diners want to go light. The problem is, most desserts are boring. They lack excitement. They’re going through the motions. Sometimes they’re overthought, and ridiculously precious.

This is the last chance to wow a diner, and most places are content to just send us on our way with something we’ve seen before or something that doesn’t excite. Kind of amazing.

SIMPLICITY, CONT.:

That is why I love the Red Hen.

I think they have such a tight and simple menu, yet everything I have eaten there was fantastic.

That is a place that charges a lot less than most places and puts out better plates then 95% of my most recent meals in this city.

Todd Kliman:

I’ll quibble with the 95%, but what you say is true, and one of the reasons it’s one of the great surprises of the year.

HELP ME DECIDE WHERE TO CELEBRATE MY BIRTHDAY!:

Have a birthday coming up and the two restaurants currently on the top of my list to try are Little Serow and Del Campo.

The husband and I love spicy food and are very adventurous (both seasoned Asia-travelers), so have been wanting to try LS forever, but we also huge carnivores so DC would also fit the bill.

Would love to hear which one you'd choose. We also have a tradition of having Thai food on New Year's day, so if you know LS will be open on New Year's day 2014, we could do DC for the upcoming birthday and LS for New Year's day.

Thank you for your input, Todd!

Todd Kliman:

I’d go Little Serow.

But here’s the thing — do you want to wait in line on your birthday? And potentially risk not getting in? Or, getting on the list but having to go somewhere else and kill time for a couple of hours?

Del Campo will take a reservation, the food is festive, and, as you said, you’re both big meat-eaters. I’d take the sure thing, in this case.

By the way: I don’t think LS is open New Year’s Day.

TRUMP WINERY AND GLEN MANOR WINERY:

I was sad to see you give ink and paper to Trump winery in the latest issue.

Why does that egotistical turd deserves positive press for merely being in the right place at the right time to buy a winery that was already making good wine but wasn't properly managed?

You made up for it with Glen Manor though. They deserve everything thats coming to them, I just hope the next few years are kind to them so they can keep releasing Hodder Hill

Todd Kliman:

I love their Hodder Hill. The last two vintages have been superb. I wish they made more. Kudos to winemaker Jeff White!

As for Trump … Look, I hear you. But the piece was a look at the best of Virginia wine right now; it wasn’t just about giving space to Trump Winery. We featured a couple dozen places doing good, interesting work.

And there are some good wines coming out of Trump, regardless of what you might feel about the owner (whose son, by the way, when I interviewed him a couple of years ago, said that the family’s decision to go into winemaking was not a stretch at all, because they were already involved in “agricultural ventures.” Such as? I asked. Such as golf courses, was the reply. I was also told that Virginia had great diversity in its wines. I asked for an elaboration; diversity how, in what way. “Well, you have red, and wine, and rose … “)

THANKSGIVING RECIPES, CONT.: APPLE CIDER PIE:

the apple cider pie is a custard pie made with cider syrup--cider simmered down and mixed with eggs/sour cream--rolled pie crust and topped with cinnamon whipped cream. It never fails to please. We have made the creamed corn gratin and it is stellar. If you are lucky enough to have leftovers it reheats beautifully. http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/apple-cider-cream-pie

Todd Kliman:

Sounds great. Thanks for sending the link. I’m going to consider adding it to the menu.

More links, please, everyone. And family recipes next week, please, if you have them — and you must, you must …

Thanks for your patience today, everyone, and I’d be interested in any feedback you have about the way things handled on your end.

Be well, eat well, and let’s do it again next Tuesday at 11 …







[missing you, TEK … ]



Categories:

Kliman Online
Subscribe to Washingtonian

Ask a question

Our host will take your questions until October 29, 2013 4:30 PM

 
Posted at 11:58 AM/ET, 10/23/2013 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Chats