Tuesday, March 3, 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.

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’s, The 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. A finalist for the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award, he took home first-place honors for feature writing, in 2013, from the Association of Food Journalists.

He is the author, most recently, 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. Barnes & Noble and The Oxford American both made it an Editor’s Pick. The Richmond TImes-Dispatch called it “an outstanding piece of literature.”

Kliman 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

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WHERE TO EAT NOW:

Bob’s Shanghai 66, Rockville

If my most recent meal is any indication, the kitchen is really clicking right now. Go for the bean curd and pork — the long, thin bands of curd have the slipperiness and chew of great noodles, and the saucing is delicate and tight — and a plate of tiny shrimps in a surprisingly balanced sweet-and-sour chili sauce. The two best meals I’ve had in Rockville’s Chinatown in the past six months were at China Bistro (aka Mama’s Dumplings) and here.

Taqueria el Mexicano, Hyattsville

Someone tweeted me last week after reading what I wrote about the mole poblano: “what else is good there?” What else? What else do you need when a dish is this good? The sauce is the thing — thick, brown-black, dotted with sesame seeds, and with a taste as rich and complex as any of the French master sauces. At the same time, it’s infinitely more idiosyncratic; each bite changes the way you think about it: now sweet, now slightly bitter, now spicy, now slightly smoky. Dark chocolate is the not-so-secret ingredient, and gives the dish its identifiable color, but the strange, mysterious character of mole poblano cannot be chalked up, simply, to the inclusion of chocolate: the mix also includes sweet, smoky guajillo chilis, fried nuts and raisins, as well as a larder’s worth of toasted, ground spices. Each order comes with two pieces of unexpectedly tender chicken (in most cases, a leg and a piece of meat cut from around the breast), good rice and stewed beans, and — an even bigger surprise — two handmade corn tortillas (if there’s anybody making tortillas like this in the area, with this perfect, pebbly surface, please let me know; these are fabulous). The cost to walk away with a memory: $11.50.

Hunan Taste, Fairfax

This kitchen works magic. Not all the time — I’ve had a couple of eh dishes over the course of two visits. But then you turn up a dish like the mushroom casserole with pork (best not to study its long, dark tadpole-like fungi), or fish fillet with bean curd sauce, or Divine Incense Mint Pork (chewy-crunchy strips of pork belly with fried mint) and can’t stop eating, and wow.

Crane & Turtle, DC

Makoto Hamamura reminds me of a certain brand of jazz pianist, the kind who knows how to play melodically but frequently chooses not to. I wouldn’t go so far as to describe his French-Asian dishes as atonal or dissonant, but he clearly means to push, and push hard, against expectation. Sometimes, it doesn’t work. Or, it works and you say to yourself: Interesting; I’m not sure I’d get that again. Often enough, though, the rewards are there, like his tuna tataki, which is accented not with a ponzu sauce but with a tuna sauce — a sly little play on the Piedmontese classic, vitello tonnato. His signature dish, a duck breast that has been on the menu since the restaurant opened in summer, isn’t paired with something sweet, like cherries — a move that many chefs in the West would make; Hamamura turns to bitter, in this case to seaweed yuba and tahini.

Ocopa, DC

Not cheap for H St., but the quality of the fish is high and 24-year-old chef Carlos is a talent. His plates are striking, and his flavors pop. Ocopa functions best when you think of it as a place to divvy up small plates of tiradito and ceviche and causa (his version of papa a la huancaina, a potato salad, is so sublime it makes the picnic staple you’re probably imagining look like prison food) while tanking down cocktails (among which you’ll find expert renditions of pisco and rum punch).

Saba, Fairfax

At a recent meal at this Yemeni gem, I ate injera, pita, and wheat bread (the latter baked for a marvelous bread pudding called masoob, layered with bananas, cream, honey and nigella that is a little bit different with each bite). Owner Taha Alhoraivi didn’t know how to cook a single dish from his tradition when he arrived in the States 15 years ago on a student visa. He didn’t even know how to cook. His mother and sister had barred him from the kitchen; cooking was women’s work. He subsisted for months on eggs, bread and cheese, until he returned home for a visit and prevailed upon the women in his family to share their recipes with him. Thus began a 15-year-journey of research and experimentation, as Alhoraivi sought to recreate the foods of his youth in isolation. Saba is the remarkable result. The two must-orders are the haneeth and the fahsa. The former is a strapping platter of slow-cooked lamb, seasoned with cardamom, cumin and cloves, that comes apart without prodding and some of the most flavorful rice you’ll ever eat — each grain is distinct, and tastes richly of the meat. The latter is a shredded beef stew in a sauce of tomatoes, onions and cumin so concentrated it might as well be a syrup; the crowning touch is a dollop of hilbeh, a tangy dip flavored with mint and cilantro.

Casa Luca, DC

The most casual of the restaurants in Fabio Trabocchi’s collection has found its groove. This is an assured operation from top to bottom, and from its opening nibbles to its pastas (go for the San Leo — ravioli stuffed with wild greens and ricotta and treated to a sauce of butter, toasted almonds and nepitella) to its dazzling preparations of fish and seafood to its light, colorful and exquisitely crafted desserts. I joked to a friend at dinner recently that the cornish hen minestrone was “too flavorful” — its broth so intense and rich that I had to stop talking and give all my attention to it.

Ananda, Fulton

Two of the best meals I had this summer took place here. And I don’t say that just because of the food coming out of the kitchen. The restaurant itself is a showpiece. From outside, it looks a little like a castle and a little like a bank, and sits in the middle of nowhere, amid a still-evolving development of townhouses in Fulton, Md. Inside, the space summons a polo club. The main dining room is a sumptuous lair of handsome dark wood, floor-to-ceiling bookcases and leather seats, while the veranda puts you in mind of an observation deck for a cricket match (it’s already one of the best places to dine on an unseasonably cool summer night, under the gently rotating fans and looking out on the lush treetops). In an age of casual, sometimes dashed-out service, Ananda leans toward greater formality — but without stuffiness. The young, affable waitstaff is got up in vests and ties, and is exceedingly well-drilled — not just attentive but vigilant, and determined to learn what it can do to make your meal better. The restaurant is the third from brothers Keir and Binda Singh, who also run The Ambassador Dining Room and Banjara, both in Baltimore. They maintain their own farm not far from the restaurant, complete with an herb garden — a highly unusual practice for an Indian restaurant in this area. Add to that the quality of the meats and fishes, which is several notches above that of the curry house, and you have a brand of cooking that is lighter and fresher than any Indian restaurant in the area not named Rasika. Given this emphasis, you might expect the dishes to experiment a little, to rethink traditional dishes in whimsical or dramatic ways. But for the most part Ananda is attempting a different, less obvious kind of fusion — the fusion of the local-leaning bistro with the conventional Indian restaurant. The preparations of black dal, chana, and raita are among the most complex I’ve tasted in years, and unexpectedly clean-tasting. A dish of salmon was perfectly roasted, with a subtle melange of tomatoes, cinnamon and cumin for a sauce. A watermelon salad with feta could have stood in for any trendy bistro in DC, except that its spicing was unmistakably Indian, and the dressing and its garnishes were both so stunningly fresh I would have thought I was dining at some gastronomic getaway in the country. I could have eaten three bowls of a recent special, a chilled summer squash and carrot soup, subtly spiced and tasting of fresh vegetables, not cream.

Thai Taste by Kob, Wheaton

On a three-block stretch of Wheaton, near the intersection of University Blvd. and Georgia Ave., can be found two of the area’s best Thai restaurants — Ruan Thai and Nava Thai. Time to add a third. Phak Duangchandr —Kob, to friends — has set up shop in the tiny space that originally contained Nava, in the back of Hung Phat market. Thai food fans may remember her, or at least her cooking; for 19 years she operated the Thai Food Carryout at Thai Market, near the old Safeway in Wheaton. The new setting, electrified with a paint job of orange and day-glo green, gives her a chance to expand her repertoire of dishes, while staying true to the from-scratch traditions that earned her a devoted following. The emphasis is on street food and homecooking, with a good many dishes you simply won’t find anywhere else, like bamee moo daeng, a meal-in-a-bowl of tender egg noodles, red-edged roast pork, baby bok choy, and fish balls; or kai yad sai, an omelette stuffed with ground chicken punched up with fish sauce and soy sauce; or a salad of shrimp paste-flavored rice, onions, cucumber and sweet, sticky pork). But even familiar tastes, taste different here — funkier, more pungent, and definitely hotter (a shrimp fried rice, alive with fistfuls of Thai basil and a generous pinch of chilis, set my heart to racing). Some customers have already been asking for more rice to accompany their orders. Partner and manager Max Praserptmate says he’s willing to accommodate any requests, but adds that his aunt’s cooking isn’t the aberration; it’s the great majority of Thai restaurants that are the aberration. “The taste,” he says, “is what you’re supposed to get from your Thai food.” Duangchandr imports many of her spices from Thailand, and toasts and grinds them herself. All the condiments on the spice tray, including a terrific chili vinegar, are made on the premises. Meats are given a long soak before hitting the grill — 72 hours, in the case of the pork that is pounded and threaded onto a skewer to create a must-order starter called moo yang. The other must-order starter sure doesn’t sound like it — when was the last time you had fried shrimp wontons that were any good? These are fabulous. Kiew tod comes to the table looking more like a plate of tortilla chips, the mix of shrimp and white pepper bundled within a sneakily rolled edge. The crunch is junk food-loud; it’s hard not to believe they weren’t engineered in a lab. No beer or wine yet; Praserptmate says soon on both. I would take the money you’d ordinarily spend on a drink and spring for an extra dish or two (most are under $10, and many items will survive into the next day).

Sushi Capitol, DC

This is a diminished sushi scene: Makoto is no longer special, Kushi has exited, and Sushi-Ko I is gone. That leaves Sushi Taro and Sushi Capitol, and for me, right now, it’s not a debate. Capitol is not as polished an experience as Taro, but neither is it the Zen-like spa of hushed voices and restrained manners — an Important Restaurant to save up for when you are looking to mark an occasion. This is a simple, unassuming spot, a workaday spot, with good, well-sourced fish and a chef who knows how to enhance the raw product without sacrificing the elegance essential to the form. Minoru Ogawa was previously in charge of sushi operations at every Mandarin Oriental property along the Eastern seaboard. He’s a purist at the bar, abjuring gimmicks, fads and clutter. The pieces are small, with tiny pads of rice, and the fish is sliced thin and delicately and draped just so over the pads. This doesn’t just make for an elegant presentation; it ensures that each bite is in balance, with the right proportion of fish to rice. I was in most recently for the omakase, which, at $50 for somewhere between 16-20 pieces, amounts to a sweetheart of a deal in the sushi world — particularly when the yellowtail is so sweet and still tastes of the sea, and the various white fishes are not simply there for padding, and the hand-rolls (passed across the bar as soon as they’re finished, their wrappers warm and crunchy) come with fresh-chopped toro. If you order a la carte, don’t ignore the rolls. The Florida roll, draped with whitened bands of blowtorched salmon belly and sliced avocado, is a stunner in every sense.

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TODD KLIMAN::

Thanks for your patience, everyone. I’m told that the problem with the system has been corrected, and all systems go …

While you wait just a little longer, read this: http://cdn.eatlocalgrown.com/10-fake-olive-oil.html

I posted this last night. 69% of all olive oils on the market are, according to this report, probably fake.

Including Newman’s Own, Colavita, and Whole Foods.

This is the part I loved — Kirkland brand (that’s Costco’s brand) is probably legit.

I love that, don’t you? Whole Foods’s is probably not and Costco’s probably is?

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NEED TO ESCAPE ……….:

My fiance and I are in the final throes of wedding planning and we couldn’t be any more stressed out.

Where would you go if you needed to leave the city and feel like you are somewhere totally different?

Within an hour from Arlington would be superb, although if we’re headed somewhere fun maybe we could afford to make (half) a day of it.

Todd Kliman

I always feel as though I’m somewhere totally different every time I leave Maryland or DC and set foot in Virginia. 😉

(Let the region wars begin … )

What about Shenandoah? It’s one of those rare places in this area that has somehow remained impervious to “development” and all that that brings.

Or, if you were willing to travel to Maryland, I think Annapolis is always a neat little escape. With a number of good places to eat, including Potato Valley for lunch and Vin 909 for dinner.

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CHEF HARI CAMERON AT a(MUSE.) ……….:

Were you surprised to see Hari Cameron of a(Muse.) in Rehoboth Beach named as a semi-finalist for best chef mid-atlantic?

We love his cooking and his restaurant and were so pleased to see it get some well-deserved national attention. Also can’t wait for his pasta/mac and cheese fast casual place to open soon.

Todd Kliman

I’m not surprised — don’t forget, he was also a nominee in 2013.

But no, he’s a talent.

I like the way he thinks for himself. I like the way he draws inspiration from multiple schools and movements to create his menu. I like his use of color and texture.

I can’t wait to get back to the beach — and on a day like this, that longing is intense — to try his lamb tartare and pea soup. Have you had it? It’s actually a cross between a salad and a soup, and tastes just a little bit different with each bite.

And as for his fast casual place … I just want to say that I think this is a really terrific development, not just that Cameron is going this route, but that many chefs are, or are looking at it. If they can keep the level high, that is. If they can do that, then it’s a wonderful thing, a chance to bring interesting, good, high quality food to a lot of people and truly begin to democratize this food revolution. And just maybe, maybe, take a first tiny step to breaking up the hold of the cardiac-arresting chains.

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COFFEE RANT ……….:

I loved your take on the unnecessary sophistication of coffee.

My thought is, a shop can have as many single-origin pour overs as they want, but at least have an agreeable/inoffensive house blend on drip at all times.

Todd Kliman

Agreed.

And thank you.

It’s funny, a friend came up to me last week in a coffee shop where I was doing some writing. A coffee shop I like, but which has, yes, some of the same kinds of coffees I railed against.

He said the owner told him recently that he has “old-fashioned” tastes in coffee.

Old-fashioned.

How long has coffee been around?

I was in Ethiopia last year at this time — Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee — and I drank a ton of the stuff. And nothing I drank was even remotely like the coffees I wrote about.

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EVOO, CONT. ……….:

Not to defend “Big Olive Oil” but it seems like a pretty big jump from:

“In July 2010 the UC Davis Olive Center issued a report showing that 69 percent of imported olive oils labeled as “extra virgin” failed the IOC sensory standard – in other words, these oils were defective and failed to meet the international standard for extra virgin olive oil. ”

to “69% of all olive oils on the market are probably fake”.

The report in question is here http://olivecenter.ucdavis.edu/research/files/report041211finalreduced.pdf

The report indicates that:

Our testing indicated that the samples failed extra virgin olive oil standards according to one or more of the following:
(a) oxidation by exposure to elevated temperatures, light, and/or aging; (b) adulteration with cheaper refined olive oil;
and (c) poor quality oil made from damaged and overripe olives, processing flaws, and/or improper oil storage.

None of which are appealing but I don’t think its quite fair to say that those olive oils are outright fake, at least not without context.

Todd Kliman

Sure.

But those standards don’t seem very stringent to me — a. and c. mean the companies don’t take good care of their product and b. means they’re fraudulent.

Fake is a media hype word. Hey, lookee here — click bait.

What’s interesting to me is that, if this report is to be believed, these olive oils are not the pristine product they’re being sold as.

No one takes corn oil seriously. There are no stores to sell corn oil. No one touts cakes made with corn oil. No one brings out a little saucer of corn oil for you to dip your bread in at a restaurant. And on and on.

Olive oil has a great reputation, and that reputation has been enormously enhanced in the past twenty years by the Mediterranean Diet, the rise of chefs as people the public listens to, cooking shows, and various and sundry disseminators of the “healthy life-style” like Mark Bittman, and other media hype-age.

There are good, legit olive oil producers, it sounds like. And, it also sounds like, a lot of not legit — or not conscientious — olive oil producers, and they’re profiting off the good reputation of the product.

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JURY DUTY LUNCH? ……….:

DC Jury Duty today. Sitting at the Courthouse (corner of 5th and D NW), waiting. We’ll have 1 hour for lunch at 1 pm- really less than that if you consider time to get into the building.

But I need real food. Any recommendations?

Think I get in and out of the bars at Fiola, Rasika or the Source fast enough?

Todd Kliman

Can’t listen to testimony if we’re not happy and sated, right? 🙂

Here’s what you do:

You walk in, you tell the host that you’re on jury duty and that you have to be back in less than an hour.

If he or she says they can accommodate you, then sit down and try to enjoy your lunch.

The moment the waiter or waitress comes by, you repeat what you told the host. And you ask to have the check delivered to the table as soon as he or she brings your food.

Good luck.

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NEED TO ESCAPE, CONT. ……….:

For Arlington why not explore Clifton, VA and Old Town Manassas.

You can also pause briefly at the intersection of Rt 29 and Clifton Rd where John Mosby was wounded. If you can wait about 7 weeks why not head out to the VA Gold Cup for the steeplecahse races and enjoy the crowds and how they are dressed. More fun than the Kentucky Derby usually held the smae weekend. Many VA colleges have alumni gatehrings at the Gold Cup with free food etc.

Clifton, VA

Todd Kliman

Clifton, that’s kind of you.

Thinking of other people … I’m impressed. 🙂

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LUCKY PEACH: THE OBSESSION ISSUE ……….:

Wonderful, wonderful piece in Lucky Peach!

Todd Kliman

That’s so nice of you to say! Thank you.

For those of you who don’t know, I have a memoir out in the current Obsession issue of LP. A memoir made up of seven memoirs.

Each has to do with a meal, and each of those meals has to do with pork of some kind. Pork is the organizing principle. At least on the surface it is. The piece is really about identity, about longing and belonging, about family, about becoming a writer, and the piece moves from meal to meal to tell that larger story.

Pick it up if you can!

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JURY DUTY EATS, CONT. ……….:

Every time I have had jury duty I have eaten at the bar at either Fiola or Rasika. Both are totally doable in the hour you have.

Todd Kliman

There you go, original chatter: reenforcement.

Thanks for writing …

And a question for you and anyone else who has done something similar — Is it that jury duty is that awful that you need the respite of a lunch at an excellent high-end restaurant? Or is it that jury duty simply provides the pretext to indulge an established habit?

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HARI CAMERON AND a(MUSE.), CONT. ……….:

For those of us transplanted Washingtonians, a(Muse.) is one of many culinary gems that help us forget that we abandoned the city for the shore.

It used to be that coastal Delaware food options were only interesting during the summer but that is no longer the case. There are now a number of terrific restaurants that remain open all winter.

And the best part is: it is a whole lot easier to dine at a(Muse.) in March than it will be in July.

Plus, we also appreciate our other James Beard nominee, Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head brewery.

Todd Kliman

It’s true: Rehoboth isn’t just a seasonal town anymore. Hasn’t been for a while.

In recent years, I’ve been surprised to find how many restaurants, like a(MUSE.), like Nage, keep regular or fairly regular hours in the colder weather months.

Which is great for me, personally, since I actually prefer going in October or January or March or April, when the hotels are cheaper and the beach is mostly deserted.

Of the new spots that have opened or are expected to open, what are you most excited about?

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COFFEE, CONT. ……….:

“Old Fashioned” taste in coffee? I’ve been told the same about wines.

I don’t like the younger wines as much. I find them too astringent and sour. Not at all to my liking.

Mind you our taste buds evolve about every seven years or so and because of that I can see how a young 25 year old has different taste than I do. But come on, don’t turn your nose up at my choices. Its just plain rude. And my choices tend to be on the higher end dollar wise, so your tip would reflect that if you weren’t such a twit about my likes. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

Todd Kliman

Anytime! 🙂

I just went on to Twitter to let people know that we’re here and chatting — thank you to the chatter who reminded me that I hadn’t gone back and updated my feed — anyway, I was just on for a second and saw people tweeting about that small piece I wrote about coffee and calling it “fist-shaking.”

Look, I was asked to write a rant, and so I wrote a rant. I tried to keep it light and I tried to keep it breezy. If someone were to ask me to write a longer exegesis on coffee styles, taking you through the whys and hows, I could do that, too.

Sometimes, it’s nice to have the inside-baseball explanation of something. It’s informative. You can learn. And sometimes, it’s nice to step back and see the thing as, well, as it really is.

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NEED TO ESCAPE, CONT. ……….:

On getting out of town – if Shenandoah feels too remote, how about an afternoon in Middleburg? If the weather’s at all decent (I know, forlorn hope), could get coffee at the Cuppa Giddy Up or a treat at the Upper Crust bakery, pick up a picnic from Salamander and head back to Chrysalis for wine-tasting. Or stay in town and have lunch at the French Hound which is better than it needs to be and then wander around popping in and out of semi-ridiculous shops.

The other direction and a bit further, what about a venture out to Easton, MD? Quiet this time of year, but a night at the Bartlett Pear might make all of the wedding stress fall away.

Todd Kliman

Thanks so much for chiming in on this …

Really, really good suggestions.

Kind of wish I were having a getaway to wine country at this moment …


COFFEE, CONT. ……….:

Okay, I’ll take the other side: I thought your coffee rant was ridiculous. Could you please explain how the barista was supposed to pick for you a coffee that was both “mellow” and “intense”?

As far as I know, all of the of high end coffee shops (certainly the ones between Shaw and Dupont) have a standard drip coffee ready to go in the morning. No need to pore over a list of beans and their tasting notes, no need to stand around and wait for a pour over to complete. The local coffee shops want you to be happy. And their product is unquestionably better — and often faster — than you’d get waiting in line at Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, or Starbucks.

Todd Kliman

Oh, better quality — absolutely better quality than Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and McDonald’s.

But my point was not about better quality.

It’s about the preciousness of the experience, for something that ought to be simple, and the winy profile of many of these coffees, which, personally — and it was an opinion piece, so my opinion — I don’t care for.

As for standard drip coffee ready to go — I know of at least three high end coffee shops that do not have a standard drip ready to go in the morning.

What interests me about the reaction to this little piece is that it seems to have a lot to do with how deep your foot is into foodie culture. People who like good food and drink but who aren’t into the trends and the characters and the tropes — like the friend I ran into recently — are pretty clearly in support of. For what it’s worth.

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LITTLE MEXICO UPDATE? ……….:

I haven’t seen you mention Little Mexico in a long time. Have you been to any of the restaurants lately?

Its been at least 5 years for me and I typically went to La Sirenita and Taqueria Tres Reyes.

Any updates?

Todd Kliman

I wish I had some good things to say, but La Sirenita was not great on my most recent visit, about two months ago, and Taqueria La Placita was very decent but not, unfortunately, the memorable spot I’d been writing about.

El Tapatio, I want to return to and see what’s what. My last visit there, about a year ago, wasn’t great.

I’ll be sure to hit Taqueria Tres Reyes within the next few weeks and give you a report.

On a positive note: Taqueria el Mexicano is terrific. I wrote, here, about the fantastic mole poblano I had. https://www.washingtonian.com/blogs/bestbites/best-thing-i-ate/

Last week, chef Jonathan Copeland of Ghibellina on 14th St. went and thanked me on Twitter for the “epic Mexican recommendation,” calling it his “best lunch of 2015.”

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NEED TO ESCAPE, CONT. ……….:

Even better than Annapolis is St. Michaels, that’s a place I love to go for a little escape. There are some other interesting small towns in that area too Easton and Oxford.

But if you go to Annapolis do some of the fun touristy things like visit the Hammond Harmon House or Paca House, I was glad I saw those things when I lived there.

Todd Kliman

Good tips. Thanks.

I tend to think of St. Michaels more as a warm weather place, but yeah, if you need an escape … And Oxford and all those other little towns are interesting, too. John Barth country.

It’s funny, as many times as I’ve been to Annapolis, and I’ve never gone to the Hammond Harmon House or Paca House.

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COFFEE, CONT. ……….:

As a resident of Northeast, I love this line: “all of the high end coffee shops (certainly the ones between Shaw and Dupont)”.

Todd Kliman

What, you think you exist out there in Northeast? 🙂


REPORT FROM THE FIELD: FIOLA MARE IN GEORGETOWN ……….:

Thanks to the chatter who recommended Fiola Mare for a birthday dinner even though I someone in our party didn’t really care for seafood. The quality and preparation of their seafood was magnificent from start to finish. We had one hiccup, and ironically it was with an overdressed and under seasoned salad, but our server handled it smoothly.

The “Raw Bar” was a unanimous hit. It really puts other seafood towers to shame with its creative, fresh and abundant varieties of seafood. To me, it’s a special occasion place which is well worth the cost.
Speaking of coffee, I just returned from Melbourne

Australia, where their coffee culture is quite well known. Plenty of high quality coffee without any hint of pretentious attitude. I probably drank my weight in flat whites.

Great restaurants, as well, but I’ll save that for another time.

Cheers

Todd Kliman

No! We want to read about it — next week, then?

And I’m so glad to hear that Fiola Mare worked out for the birthday dinner. I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t have. It’s a special place.

Gotta run. Gotta hustle out of here and get lunch.

Thanks for the vigorous back and forth and all the good tips and all the gracious, nice words (as well as all the fighting words, too) …

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

[missing you, TEK … ]