Tuesday, February 14 at 11 AM

Every Tuesday at 11, food and wine editor Todd Kliman takes your questions about Washington area cuisine and restaurant news.

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.

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 work has appeared in The New YorkerHarper'sThe Oxford AmericanThe Daily Beast and Men's Health, among others, and he has been selected four times for inclusion in the Best Food Writing anthologies. He 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.

Can't wait a week to talk to Todd? Follow him on Twitter for dining reports, tips, and breaking news from the culinary world.

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

Komi, DC
The best, most sensual, most fully realized restaurant in the area remains Johnny Monis's lair of a place, a sparely appointed East Dupont townhouse withcheck itno menu.

Eola, DC
Daniel Singhofen scrapped his a la carte menu this past April, replacing it with a $65 five-course tasting menu. The move seemed premature, given that the chef had yet to establish his Dupont Circle townhouse restaurant as a landmark dining destination, one that had endured many seasons and fads. But Singhofen and company appear ready to make the leap. Courses are imaginatively conceived without straining for effect, and the execution is clean and precise without lapsing into austerity. Best of all, Singhofen imbues these sophisticated dishes with a quality more precious than all the tricks in the molecular gastronomer's toolkit: soul.

R&R Taqueria, Elkridge
Best Mexican food in the area, and it's not even close. Andit's in a gas station. Worth the drive to Elkridge.

Fiola, DC

Fabio Trabocchi's edge-of-Penn Quarter restaurant has put its tentative beginnings behind it. The dishes emerging from the brick-framed, herb-potted kitchen find the prodigiously talented chef moving further and further from the controlled elegance of his work at the late Maestro. They also find him cooking with a renewed confidence and conviction. The best of these platesan astonishingly flavorful ragu of wild hare with thick bands of papardelle, a double-cut, prosciutto-wrapped veal chop with toasted hazelnuts that accent the sweetness and nuttiness of the meat, a bowl of tender meatballs in a tomato sauce that frankly puts most Italian grandmothers to shamemarry rusticity with refinement. Dessertsincluding a fabulous cone of sugar-dusted bomboloni, with pots of apple marmalade and cinnamon gelatoremain a rousing finish.

Proof, DC
I love the tossed-off sophistication of Mark Kuller's wine-bar-plus, the sense you get that everything just seems to have fallen into place and nobody's straining too hard for effect. The cooking, under the direction of Haidar Karoum, reinforces the feeling with dishes that combine the complexity and intricacy of fine dining with the approachability of a neighborhood bistro: superlative foie gras (seared and served atop a cherry-studded short cake), crisp-skinned branzino in a saffron broth, a knockout plate of spaghetti and meatballs (foie gras is the crucial ingredient, an ingenious way of lightening the texture of the meat without resorting to bready filler). There's a wealth of good, interesting wines to pair with these plates—wines you're simply not going to find anywhere else in the city. The restaurant, to its great credit, makes them available in two-ounce pours that encourages you to try things you wouldn't ordinarily.

Banh Mi DC Sandwich, Falls Church
#1 Combination and #2 Roast Pork. $3.75 apiece. Vivid reminders of what the boring and/or dumbed-down others all miss—the peppery bite, the pronounced sharpness of the pickling, the balance between meats and condiments, the lightness of the loaf. 

Mama Chuy, DC
Working from their perch in a rowhouse across the street from Howard University, a brother-sister team from Guadalajara (by way of Chicago) have delivered one of the great surprises of the season -- a taqueria that aims not merely to be authentic, but to win your hungry heart with its commitment to exactitude and detail. Start with an order of the superlative housemade chips -- as salty, thin and crunchy as you could hope for -- and guacamole, then move on to the tacos and sopes, each presented in easy-to-handle cocktail-size portions. The carnitas sopes (tiny discs of fried masa slathered with refried beans and topped with luscious cubes of marinated, grilled pork) might just be the best three bites of Mexican food you're going to find within city limits.

Rice Paper, Falls Church
This new Eden Center mom 'n' pop, the first restaurant venture for the host family after two-plus decades in the jewelry business, breaks from the drab utilitarianism of its Eden Center peers with a pressed tin ceiling, dangling globe lights, sleek leather chairs, and the requisite industrial brick wall. It's the cooking, though, that commands inspection: spicy lemongrass ribs, garlic-marinated roast chicken with coconut rice, and the most stylish presentation of grilled stuffed grape leaves I've ever seen -- and easily one of the most delicious. The coffee with condensed milk is a must-order, among the strongest and darkest you're going to find.
 
Mio, DC
In its five fitful years, Manuel Iguina's restaurant has endured more identity transplants than a snitch in the witness protection program and more mood swings than a teenie pop star. It's currently up -- way up -- thanks to new chef Giovanna Huyke. Like Iguina, Huyke is a native of Puerto Rico, and much of the inspiration for her menu looks to that small but vibrant island. The chef appears to value execution and lightness even more than boldness and spice, resulting in a slew of big-tasting dishes that don't taste big. Zero in on her roast quail stuffed with foie gras and white polenta, a cubed tuna tartare with orange cream, and, from the bar menu, her irresistible bolsitas -- tiny fried purses filled with juicy pork, served with a guava dipping sauce.

* Bon Fresco, Columbia
Best bread in the area. And maybe the best sandwiches, too -- I still can't stop thinking about the unlikely masterpiece of brie, lightly caramelized onions and sundried tomato pesto on a light and crusty baguette. And the London Broil on ciabatta is fantastic, too. Gerald Koh, the owner and bread-baker, is a former GM at Breadline and as passionate about his craft as any chef in the area.

 
* new this week

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Happy Valentine's Day! This week's book giveaway is a big one: On February 16, Sticky Fingers Bakery owner Doron Petersan releases her new cookbook, Sticky Fingers Sweets: 100 Super-Secret Vegan Dishes, and we will send you a copy.

 Here's how to win it: Write a love letter to one Washington-area dish that makes you swoon.

Do you obsess over the Shackburger at Shake Shack? Does Rasika's palak chaat make your heart go pitter-patter? Perhaps you possess an inexplicable and abiding love for the pastrami-cured sweetbreads at CityZen, the anchovies at 2 Amys, or the cowboy-cut rib eye at Ray's the Steaks. We're not here to tell you what to love, just to give you some ideas to get you thinking—and typing. So go ahead, make us desire that dish as much as you do.

The paean Todd likes best wins the book. Submit before the end of the chat on Tuesday, February 14.

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   ... "Inauthentic" has rarely sounded so promising.
   Jackie Greenbaum, whose restaurant Jackie's helped to usher in the era of Suburban Chic when she converted a Silver Spring auto parts store into a trippy enclave of pink pillows and quirky comfort food, is set to open El Chucho's Cocina Superior in May, in Columbia Heights, serving "inauthentic Mexican food."
   The forthcoming taqueria, located at 3313 11th St. NW, will seat 40, with an additional 16 seats outside and another 40 on the roof.
   Greenbaum's tongue-in-cheek description is intended as a sly "out" for the sorts of playful dishes chef Diana Davila-Boldin -- whom we singled out last year as one of 13 "rising star" chefs for her work at Jackie's -- is devising for the taqueria, a mix of the "traditional and newfangled" that includes antojitos (small plates), tortas (sandwiches) and tacos.
   There will be posole and mariscos, but also chicharrones with "Mexican kimchi" and "chile relleno with pork belly." Expect carne asada and al pastor tacos, but also a version with tripe and foie gras and another with "herb-marinated octopus."
   Davila-Boldin's family hails from Guerrero, Mexico, and a significant portion of her girlhood was devoted to mastering the complex flavors of regional Mexican cooking. She apprenticed at her parents' three restaurants in her native Chicago, eventually becoming, at age 21, the executive chef of Hacienda Jalapenos, which garnered a strong two stars from The Chicago Tribune in 2003 and earned her the moniker "wunderkind."
   At Jackie's, the chef works in an altogether different idiom, turning out an American cuisine that is dizzying in its global references. Her menu swings from spanikopita to brined pork skewers with Thai chili sauce, from rack of wild boar with brandied cherry sauce to burgers topped with pimento cheese, and often reads like an Ipod shuffle of wildly disparate hits. But Davila-Boldin pulls it off, somehow. And with great elan.
   Greenbaum says she didn't want to squelch her chef's ever-broadening range, and thought that calling the new venture "inauthentic" right from the start would give her the wide latitude -- not to mention the critical immunity, Greenbaum joked by phone late last night -- to explore her past as well as her present.
   Gordon Banks, who curates the selection of cocktails at Greenbaum's Sidebar, is her partner in the venture, and is assembling the lineup of drinks. It will include a wide selection of margaritas, including one on draft, craft cocktails, housemade soft drinks, as well as tequilas, mezcals and Mexican beer.
   Greenbaum is aiming for a Cinco de May opening. Stay tuned.

   ...

   Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! ... I'm looking forward to reading your paeans to your favorite dishes and drinks. Let 'er rip ...
  

Great Falls, VA

Todd,

We love traditional steamed mussels (white wine and garlic) and frites. We've tried them at Mannequin Pis, Belga Cafe, and Cafe Du Parc.So plump and sweet! Can you rank the others on our list? We're ready for more.

And, did I miss any? - Bistrot Du Coin - Brasserie Beck's - Et Voila - Granville Moore's

Et Voila! has terrific mussels and fries. I'd put it at the top of the list.

Then comes Beck -- I especially like their crazy veal bolognese mussels: two great tastes that (somehow) taste great together. Granville Moore's is next, then BDC.

Wings of Desire

My paean ...

You're not tiny like the other wings.

You don't baste yourself in garish orange sauce or attempt to hide your fatty curves by cruising  with a clique of carrot and celery sticks.

You, Smoke and Barrel wings, are an appetizer all grown up.

And now that I  have tasted your tangy, juicy flesh, I am forever blind to the Buffalo babes. 

Nice! ...

Makes me wonder what it would've been like had Neruda tried his hand at writing about bar food.

You're in the running ...

Keep 'em coming ...

mt. vernon

Hi Todd,

I feel like every week I read about an exciting new restaurant that is opening or just opened. I love when we get new places in DC as much as the next guy, but are there any brand new or almost-open spots that you are (and thus, we should be) really excited about?

Thanks!

This one -- El Chucho's.

I say that because a.) there's not that much good Mexican food in the area, and b.) because I don't suspect this is some slick project designed to make a quick, bar-fueled buck -- Jackie Greenbaum is a very invested owner, and seems to be more motivated by doing something interesting and good than making money -- and c.) because the chef, Diana Davila-Boldin, is a talent. And her specifically Mexican dishes at Jackie's have always been fantastic.

Fayetteville, NC

My paean ...

My Dearest City Tavern Grill Fried Zucchini, I have missed you so terribly. I count the days until we are together again. I want you so much. I want to dip your spear in that buttermilk ranch dip and totally consume it - to feel the tenderness beneath your spicy, crisp coating.

I can't wait to take that first bite. Oh yes, yes, YES! The old saying is so true...

Absence does, indeed, make the heart gro fonder! I will see you soon, my deliciousness.

(Paging Dr. Freud, paging Dr. Freud ... )

Um. Yeah. Ok ...

Thanks for playing, Fayetteville, you've given me a good laugh on this cold morning.

And made me pretty curious to head on down to Manassas to City Tavern Grill ...

 

20132

Mr.Kliman-

In my relentless quest to progress the hot dog up the culinary totem pole I am hoping you would consider adding a "hot dog" category to your cheap eats dinning guide. Thanks for your consideration!!

Lionel Holmes

Haute Dogs and Fries

Lionel, thanks for taking part today ...

I'm not sure, though, what you're proposing -- a box, say, where we'd rate all the hot dog spots in the area?

And settle on yours as the pick o' the litter? ... ; )

BTW, everyone, I know that a hot dog is not something you'd consider getting in the car and taking a drive for, but Lionel's place is really, really good. Best hot dog place in the area. He's even got a dessert dog on the menu, a buttered bun dipped in sugar and cinnamon and slapped on the griddle, until it gets warm and almost crunchy on the outside, then stuffed with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce.

Purcellville, Va., is over an hour from downtown DC -- an hour and 7 minutes, according to the current Google map -- but if you're winery-hopping on a weekend, or antiquing, consider making the trip out.

Low Tolerance, DC

A forbidden love, if you will:

On those dark nights, when the hour grows late, and I am too intoxicated for sanity or cups of water, that's when I desire you the most. I know I can (and have and will) do better. But Oh! Alberto's Pizza, your instant gratification and free-flowing ranch dressing is my desire. Your crisp, thin crust and firm-bodied cheese push me towards sobriety and ease my guilt as I walk past Pizzeria Paradiso the next day.

I love it!

You're in the early lead, LTDC ...

Don't we all know that kind of forbidden love, the foodie's secret shame, the single slice of prole pizza ingested quickly and lustily and out of range of sight of anyone we know ...

Elisir Restaurant

Happy Safe and Healthy Valentine's Day to the Washingtonian's staff and to all the readers for your love and support

Love Enzo Fargione

Thank you, Enzo.

Falls Church, VA

I've been searching for duck breast at a nice French restaurant for months.

In Paris, duck is everywhere - with honey, with cherry, figs or other fruit sauce - but, here, nothing but over-cooked duck a la orange.

Any ideas? Thank you SO much!!

Really? I haven't seen duck a la orange anywhere.

Where've you been looking? Bistro Bis and Bistro Cacao, both French, both on Capitol Hill, feature duck breast, and do a fine job with it.

The thing I've noticed of late is the absence of duck breast, for years a staple of high-end restaurants and ambitious bistros, while at the same time duck parts -- duck shanks, duck bacon, etc. -- are in abundance. I think that has everything to do with the collapse and the new need to economize.

 

V-Day paean:

Dear Shrimp and Grits at Evening Star, 

I love the way I know you arrive the same way every time, perfectly plated--your crown of prawns steaming slighlty, your cheesy hominy plump and dressed prettily with pickled okra.

I love the way I can eat you all up and still have room for the cobbler  for two that inevitably follows our union.

I love the way the server brings you to me kindly but without fanfare, the way she might present something casually concocted at a roadside Waffle House.

This is where I meet you, Shrimp and Grits, at the intersection of humble homey-ness and culinary precision.

It is my favorite place in the world. 

Nice job.

And what a testimonial to a dish. Who doesn't want to drive out there and eat a plate of that right now ...

Bear in mind, everyone, that the paean need not be addressed TO the dish. Feel free to wax poetically ABOUT it.

Or not wax. A paean can be wonderful without going flowery or quasi-erotic ...

Just sayin' ...

v day outing

Hi Todd,

We got a last minute sitter tonight and no reservations. Husband is telling me to be ready to go at 5 b/c we have to be at our destination at 5:30. He won't tell me where, but I have a strong feeling it's Little Serow. I really don't know if I want to go tonight, of all nights.

What do you think? Help! I really get nervous going out on V Day. With all the hype, I imagine that Little Serow will have a line forming well before 5:30 tonight.

Maybe.

But let's suppose for a minute that it IS Little Serow, and let's suppose also that there IS a line, and you have a wait.

At least you will know that you're going to be dining at Little Serow. If any restaurant is going to put out a great and loving meal on Valentine's Day -- a day that most restaurants dread -- it's Little Serow.

I hope everything works out for you, and I'd love to know where you ended up on your mystery date and how it was.

(Me, I'll be staying local. it's my son's birthday. Effectively wipes out a holiday for two for the next 15 years, but I'm not complaining. I like V-day, but I have also always found it -- the marketing and hyping of it -- to be coercive.)

Re: duck breast

For Falls Church, VA:

La Chaumiere has duck breast and they cook it just right.

Yes. How could I forget?

La Chaumiere = the epitome of "old school."

Thanks for chiming in ...

J.G. - Centreville, VA

Here's my paean:

Such cruelty in 2008 when you left with Tom Wellings when Maestro in Tysons Corner closed.

Such billowy softness with every bite, such sweetness with every spoonful, such joy in all my senses were to be no more as I searched for you and sunk into total despair that I would never find you again within the 25 miles radius of my abode.

But hark, what wonderful apparition does my eyes perceive but you on the menu of Adour????!!!!!!

Yes, yes, yes...it is you again, my beloved hazelnut souffle.

Will this reincarnation be a dark cloud or will it be the parting of sunlit sky? My 9 year granddaughter looks at me with her soulful eyes as she pierces the souffle and takes a bite. Will she see nirvana like I or will she make the face of a thousand yucks?

She smiles and she says that she wants my souffle too.

Only if Hades freezes over will she get my souffle because I am devouring every bite before she can get her spoon anywhere near mine!

I love how you set us up to think that you're desperate to encourage your granddaughter's appreciation and devotion -- only to pull the tablecloth out from under us by declaring "Only if Hades freezes over ... "

Thanks for playing ...

Arlington, VA

BakeshopVA Cupcake,

IYou are fine girl, your Momma and Pappa must have really sifted your flour and measured all your ingredients because you came out perfect. The way you put it all out there with those sprinkles makes me want to lick all your frosting off. But girl, I like you so much I will take my time with you, and enjoy every bite of your luscious devilish chocolate flavor. Mmmmm MmM Mmmm!

I can see this now, whispered sweetly by R. Kelly in an outro -- "The Way You Put It All Out There (Cupcake Love)" ...

 

Clarksville, MD

Boudin Blanc from Marcel's A singular pleasure. If I close my eyes while taking that first bite, I am instantly transported to all that was good about my childhood. Merci Boucoup Robert!

Agreed -- a fantastic dish, one of the glories of the area's food scene, and has been for years.

But as a paean? I'm not "feeling" the love. As Quincy Jones instructed MJ on "Lady in My Life" -- "You got to beg for it."

If you find this kind of begging to be unbecoming -- I, personally, don't; it's need; it's vulnerability -- then at least treat us to some more words ...

Clifton, VA

Thought you might enjoy this was in NYC a while back to meet up with some old friends and we were having dinner at one of "the" restaurants in Manhattan. It was a busy Saturday night and I discovered the FOH manager is also an old friend. I used to wait tables when she managed 30 years ago.

We were all waiting for our tables and one dude was being very loud and obnoxious. Telling the hostess do you know who I am. Just across the street was a pizza place that delivered so I walked across gave the manager a c note to a ham and pineapple pizza delivered to this loudmouth.

So manager comes across the street and walks in and announces pizza delivery for Mr Bourdain, pizza delivery for Mr Anthony Bourdain. Mr Bourdain pipes up with an obscene remark manager hands him the pizza and says its from Paula Dean. He looks inside and drops several F bombs. The whole restaurant is laughing hysterically and Tony and his party leave in a huff.

We had a great meal and I am sure the other patrons enjoyed themselves w/o having to listen to Tony.

I like your sass, Clifton.

Though it all sounds just a little too perfect, I have to say. And I have a hard time buying the idea that AB tried to big-foot like that.

DC

Todd,

Which makes for a better restaurant - a newcomer with seasoned talent that learns from the successes and failures of other restaurants or a restaurant that has been around for 30 or 40 or even 50 years, that tends to get lost in the shuffle of love from food critics but when it comes up in conversation, it always gets good reviews because it really is good (but not in a new way)?

Thanks

The common denominator of all great restaurants is a certain energy in the air.

Good new restaurants have it in abundance, but many lose it after 6 months. There are much-older restaurants, places that have been around for many decades, and, amazingly, they still have it -- despite their wear, despite their turnover through the years. There's still a crackle in the air. It's a remarkable thing. 

Walk into the Inn at Little Washington -- as just one for instance -- and though it certainly doesn't feel new, or look new, or make the same moves as its younger contemporaries do, it has the zip you look for. Things are crisp. Someone -- many someones -- are paying careful attention. There's an air of festivity and promise.

Arlington, VA

Fiola has a duck dish for two that is very good, cherry sauce I believe. And I just saw it on the menu at Charlie Palmer this past weekend, as well.

Good tips -- though of course neither is "French." Not sure how much that matters, but the chatter did mention it ...

Thanks for chiming in ...

Shaw DC

Dear El Pollo Rico:

I've traveled all around this country, lived on both coasts, and eaten chicken in all sorts of ways. I like it fried, I like it stir-fried, I even like it double-fried. There were even a few days of experimenting in college where I'd have it... baked.

But all my life, with all the birds I've come across, it wasn't until a few years ago that I knew I could have it so good. The first time we met I was blown away. It was like every other chicken relationship was a fraud, a sham, a dry, boring waste of time and calories. Maybe it was because I was a little older, a little wiser, or a little more ready to accept mayo as a dipping condiment, you hit me and you hit me hard.

Then a week later I went back to the same place and you... changed. You weren't as good as I remembered. Was it just a one time thing? I had to go back and try again. YES! It was good. Maybe it was just me that other time.

This continued for a while. You played hot and cold with me. I tried to research a way to satisfy myself at home but to no avail. I had to go to you, and there was no telling what would be waiting for me when I arrived. The peaks and valleys just made me crave it more.

I've now moved my fascination on to things that are more consistent. I just can't put my effort into something that can be so cruel. But I can still look back on that first bite and smile.

I know the feeling.

EPR hasn't really been the same since the big move. A lot has to do with their ability, now, to keep so many of the birds warm in the oven. They sit, and sitting for more than a few minutes is death to crispiness and juiciness.

Good job in capturing the complexity of love and longing ...

We now have a two-way tie at the top ...

Keep 'em coming ...........

Potomac, MD

My love letter, buried in a box in the back of my shoe closet, goes out to the bone marrow at Blue Duck Tavern ...

"Oh oven roasted bone marrow, how I lust for you. I dream of your browned edges, the luster of the just barely melted marrow you covet in the crevice of the bone.

"You bring back memories, delicious and sweet, just like the roasted garlic that spreads with the push of a knife over the crusty bread. The vehicle for which the salty, sensual marrow touches my lips, like the wings of an angel, shutting my eyes and imagining no one else around but the dish of bone marrow.....me....and my glass of champagne.

"Love and forever yours, the petite gal who craves you when you aren't around."

I'll tell you -- I never imagined this week's contest would bring forth so much lusty writing.

I guess that's the nature of good food, to make us pant after the dishes we love ...

... or maybe you're just a bunch of repressed foodies. ; )

Thanks for playing, Potomac ...

Arlington

Had a great cassoulet w/ duck confit at Montmartre

I like that dish, too.

Thanks for chiming in ...

Speaking of cassoulet -- there's a fantastic cassoulet on the menu right now at the new Mintwood Place, where former Central chef Cedric Maupillier is running the show in the kitchen. Worth going there just for that. (Actually, I could say that of a handful of dishes on Maupillier's menu.)

Virginia

What's the deal with DC's underground dining scene? Is there anything worth doing if the opportunity arises? A friend passed along an invite to this dinner party, which seems new -- http://chezlecommis.wordpress.com/ -- but hey, the menu at least sounds intriguing!

It does.

And there'll be a pop-up thing this Thursday at Montserrat House with James Claudio, the chef de cuisine at Marvin, and Thang Le, of Toki Underground. They'll be making pho.

Intriguing. Though I wonder if a big part of the appeal of pho in an urban industrial setting -- call it the chic-ing of pho -- is that twentysomething urbanites don't have to rent a Zipcar to drive out to Falls Church for the real deal. They can have a cheap and hearty meal and save their money for a show at the Black Cat.

Another intriguing pop-up is Orange Arrow, Carole Greenwood's roving dinner series. Greenwood has been a commanding presence in the city for nearly two decades, from her days at Greenwood on through to her stint at Buck's.

Not a pop-up, but still part of the underground, is Dan O'Brien's promising Seasonal Pantry, in Shaw, with its 8-person-per-table dinners. O'Brien does the cooking, and the menu is always changing.

I know a lot of people make fun of pop-ups, and the quality seems to be pretty uneven, but I like what it indicates, just as the proliferation of food trucks is evidence of a grass-roots sort of gastronomic energy. A real food scene is not a top-down thing. A real food scene is strong at all levels, and there's always this kind of ferment going on. It's exciting.

the other Falls Church

L'auberge does duck right. Actually, they do a lot of things right - including the hazelnut souffle alluded to already.

Yes.

L'Auberge has been doing a lot of things right for a long time.

Thanks ...

Clarksville, MD

Boudin Blanc from Marcel's ...

OK, I'll try again.

Mon Ami Robert,

Your signature creation transports me to my childhood and all that was good then, but now I am no longer tasting like a child. I am now experiencing the taste as woman. What used to be a moment of of comfort when feed to me as prepared by my family has now become a moment of pure bliss when eaten with my love next to me and we share this delicious boudin together. We melt together as we both share a bite of the silkiness of such a "haute" dog!

A haute dog, for sure.

The haute-est of dogs, in fact.

Thanks for the tasty "revision," Clarksville.

 

Alexandria, VA

Dear Palena's cauliflower, anchovies, and garlic,

When we ordered you, we figured you would just be a side dish - an accompaniment to our burgers. And yet, with one bite we were swooning. The garlic, the olive oil, the pungent kick of anchovies, and the roasted taste of cauliflower - we were in love. And obsessed.

We have been working tirelessly to recreate your amazing flavors at home so we can enjoy you whenever we want.

Love, us

Nice job, "us."

Amazing, isn't it, that such a simple thing could be so magical--?

To Mussel Lover

The Mussel Corn Chowder at Bezu in Potomac rocks.

Good to know.

Thanks for the tip ...

Time to pick a winner. Doron Petersan's new cookbook, Sticky Fingers Sweets: 100 Super-Secret Vegan Dishes, out today, goes to "Shaw," for the paean to EPR, an unexpectedly complex entry that captures what it's like to love a dish, then be toyed with by a dish, and, finally, to move on from the dish -- but all the same, to never  forget the dish.

Shaw, drop me an email at tkliman@washingtonian.com and I'll get that book shipped off to you today.

Have a great Valentine's Day, everyone. I'll be interested in hearing your V-Day restaurant adventures next week ...

Be well, eat well, and let's do it again next Tuesday at 11 ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[missing you, TEK ... ]