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japanese in d.c. or md. for bachelorette party

i'm planning a bachelorette party for my best friend in late february. her favorite type of food is japanese, so i'm trying to find a nice place for a bunch of women to have dinner.

she's really low-key, and not a big drinker, so this won't be your stereotypical whoo-ing/drink-fest type of bachelorette party; just a nice experience for a bunch of women in their early 30s.

any suggestions? i'm still waiting to hear back from the other bridesmaids on their budgets, but i would ideally like to find a place that averages less than $50 a plate. (however, if there's a particularly spectacular spot, i may be able to convince the girls otherwise.)

there's 6 bridesmaids, me (lady of honor) and the bride, as well as possibly a few others, for a total of 10-12.

low-key foodie bachelorette party?

thanks for the suggestions so far! it would be 12 people at most.

low-key foodie bachelorette party?

trying to plan a low-key bachelorette party for my friend, and curious if anyone had any suggestions.

the original plan was to:
book private dinner at seasonal pantry
perhaps have cheese tasting with the cheese course
wine and drinks at a chill spot

however, seasonal pantry does not do private parties on saturdays.

so any suggestions for a
1. seasonal pantry alternative
2. good spot for wine and/or cheese tasting on saturday night?

thanks for your help guys. :)

christmas eve dinner recommendations for d.c.?

my husband and started a tradition a few years ago to go out for dinner with my mom and his dad on christmas eve.

for the past three years, we've gone to dogwood in baltimore -- since we lived there -- but now that we have moved closer to d.c., we're looking to change our christmas eve venue.

any suggestions for a nice dinner on christmas eve?

some criteria:
+ prefer it to be in d.c. close to a metro stop is a bonus.
+ aiming for about $250 check (know that goes farther in baltimore!) -- family is not big drinkers; dad-in-law and i will prolly split a bottle of wine.
+ fairly open on cuisine -- new american/seafood is a crowd-pleaser though.

thanks for your help in advance!

fall dinner party for four?

that is a great idea! thanks!

Nov 14, 2011
mvjd in Home Cooking

fall dinner party for four?

my husband and i are having one of my college friends and her boyfriend for dinner tomorrow night and would love ideas/critique on the menu.

no pork, no beef, no mushrooms, no bananas.
husband and i are TIRED of chicken.

so. given that, my plan so far is:

fennel potato soup w/ smoked salmon ( mayy go without the smoked salmon

main course
fish fillets with olives and oregano (
)spicy green salad with manchego and pears (
)creamy rice with lemon, herbs and parm (



what do you think?

i was also considering making a canape they could munch on while i finish dinner, but after typing out this menu, i figured that is *too* much.

also would love suggestions on dessert. cheers!

Nov 14, 2011
mvjd in Home Cooking

foodie honeymoon, post-christmas. please advise! (slightly long)

I hadn't heard anything about BonTon; I'll look into it. I was kind of thrown off by the dress code at Galatoires, which was part of the reason I hadn't listed it.

Cochon! I forgot to mention Cochon! Since it is close by our hotel, I figured if we're ravenous, we can possibly stop there on the first day after we drop our things off.

... Can I also mention how my husband is lobbying to go to Popeye's while we're there? I've already said 'I Do' to this man ... ;)

930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

Galatoire's Restaurant
209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

Nov 11, 2010
mvjd in New Orleans

foodie honeymoon, post-christmas. please advise! (slightly long)

oh fabulous. thanks!

Nov 11, 2010
mvjd in New Orleans

Need recommendations for good eats around the inner harbor..Homewood Suites

I agree their pizza is very good -- I for a long time stood up for the pizza in spite of the rules. But I've since had two very rude experiences with the people there to justify the trouble of eating in that place.

foodie honeymoon, post-christmas. please advise! (slightly long)

Thank you so much for all these recommendations, particularly about Monday eating. We'll definitely take Daisy Duke's off the list.

I originally had Parkway on the list, but then I worried it was too much of a walk. We will definitely reconsider!

I also found a Groupon this morning for a cooking class at the New Orleans School of Cooking, so we'll be adding that to our list, too.

BayouTeche -- THANKS for mentioning Croissant D'Or -- I'd completely forgotten about that place!

... and thanks for the congrats, folks. :)

Daisy Dukes Restaurant
121 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Nov 11, 2010
mvjd in New Orleans

New Orleans School of Cooking groupon

Don't know if anyone else would be interested, but there's half off New Orleans School of Cooking afternoon classes today.

It *is* the shorter afternoon class, and the "half off" price *is* based on the 2011 class, but it's still cheaper for an afternoon of cooking fun. :)

Nov 11, 2010
mvjd in New Orleans

Baltimore Italian

Little Italy is usually disappointing.

My favorite place for Italian is Cinghiale -- they definitely make their own pasta; their stuffed pastas -- the sausage-stuffed pasta is a regular, but i've also had rabbit-stuffed and meltingly delicate lobster and artichoke pasta that are out of this world.

They can be a little pricey if you have too much fun there (I've done it a couple times!), but their "Grandmother's Kitchen" special (3 courses, $30) is a pretty good deal.

822 Lancaster Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

Baltimore - crabs & good eats

I actually really love b bolton hill bistro for brunch -- though my husband grumbles that they charge too much for basic bacon and eggs. i heart their benedicts! and fresh-squeezed oj! (and mimosas)

i used to love blue moon, but i really couldn't tell you why now. paper moon's food *is* consistent, but i find service to be spotty, likely due to their whole communal tips deal.

Bolton Hill Bistro
1501 Bolton St, Baltimore, MD 21217

Hunt Valley area but if not....

cosigning! i vote for andy nelson's.

Nando's Peri Peri - Annapolis

I haven't been to Nando's yet, but a friend who has been in Malaysia brought some Peri Peri sauce back home to us -- as a seafood-averse eater and a woman weary of noodles, Nando's was a bright spot for the homesick traveler -- and I have to say the bottled sauce is pretty tasty.

We've been meaning to go to the D.C. location for ages -- didn't realize there was a spot in Annapolis, too.

foodie honeymoon, post-christmas. please advise! (slightly long)

my husband and i are having a late honeymoon -- we got married in june -- in new orleans, the week after christmas (dec. 26-dec. 31). i've been stalking these boards for ideas about where to eat and what to do, and i have a rough outline of our eating adventure through new orleans.

but i must admit i'm a little overwhelmed. (see: and i feel like i'm missing something. and there's some definite holes in our plan. where's the best po boy? the best mufaletta? the best happy hour?

i left out some standbys -- e.g. galatoires, commander's palace -- for various reasons, most likely b/c of dress code or distance, but PLEASE let me know if i'm being foolish and MUST go to this place. cheap but tasty eats get bonus points.

fyi: we're staying at the renaissance arts hotel in the warehouse district, and are planning to get 5-day jazzy passes, so we can have unlimited streetcar/bus rides for most of the time we're there.

so! the plan:

land at 2:30, get settled about 3:20-ish
snack + early dinner: domenica (half-off pizzas and drinks, + food deals, 3 p.m.-6 p.m.


breakfast -- daisy duke’s
activity -- walk around magazine st
lunch -- ?
dinner -- coquette

activity -- food and beverage museum
breakfast -- cafe du monde
lunch -- feast
dinner -- luke happy hour drinks, food

breakfast --?
activity -- audubon insectarium (romantic, i know)
lunch -- express lunch, cuvee
dinner -- patois

breakfast -- trolley stop cafe
activity -- breathe, exercise, something.
lunch -- moon wok (for banh mi, since dong phuong appears to be too far away)
dinner -- mila? cafe adelaide?

brunch -- po boy/mufaletta to take home?

Nov 10, 2010
mvjd in New Orleans

Need recommendations for good eats around the inner harbor..Homewood Suites

Iggie's is great, but the people there are a bit too tightly wound IMO. TOO many rules. (See: I only order takeout from that place.

BUT! to your point! Harbor East, which is um, east of the Inner Harbor has a pizza joint, Bagby's Pizza, that's slightly cheaper than Iggies, definitely family friendly, and is pretty good. Thin crust pizzas, a good mix of creative and run-of-the-mill toppings, and daily specials that are sometimes a lovely surprise. You can take the free(!) Circulator from the Inner Harbor to Harbor East.

Best Indian, IMO -- is Kumari, which is another Circulator ride north up Charles (I'm assuming you don't want to drive around). My friend and I went on an informal tour of Baltimore's Indian buffets -- the city has a freakish number of Indian restaurants for its size -- and Kumari's is hands down the best, in taste, variety (they switch up their offerings daily) and price ($8-10 pp). Great for families -- one of the Sunday buffet regulars (other than ourselves) is a woman and her 6-year-old daughter.

For Thai, you can take the Circulator south to Federal Hill to Thai Arroy (i dig their noodle dishes), or up north on Charles to My Thai; they're both almost equally good, but the service is MUCH better at Thai Arroy and the prices are slightly better too, if memory serves.

Lastly, I can't mention cheap and delicious in this post without mentioning Mekong Delta -- they're a couple of blocks south of the central branch of the Pratt Library, and just off of Charles Street -- it's a mom and pop Vietnamese restaurant, open barely two years, and the pho is amazing. Fried rice is also off the chain, as are the summer rolls. It's also super kid friendly -- the owners have a wall of art and homework from their two sons. (The only way they could be more perfect is if they served banh mi, which I've asked them to do, and they're firmly said no).

Now, if you have a car -- it's a whole other ball game. (Though I'd still stand by these recommendations, too!


818 N Calvert St Ste 1, Baltimore, MD 21202

Thai Arroy
1019 Light St, Baltimore, MD 21230

Mekong Delta Cafe
105 W Saratoga St, Baltimore, MD 21201

My Thai
800 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201

Kumari Restaurant
911 N Charles St Ste B, Baltimore, MD 21201

ISO Restaurant near Tremont Plaza Hotel for 30th Birthday Dinner/Drinks

Perhaps Brewer's Art would work? It's about 10 blocks north on Charles, but you can also take the free Circulator if you are feeling lazy and don't want to walk. They have a nice restaurant, brew their own beers, and have a pretty knowledgable bar staff. Esquire has named it one of the best bars in the U.S. ( -- I don't know about all that, but it's pretty good.

Brewer's Art
1106 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201

Baltimore Noodles

amen!! i may have to check out chocolatea and matsuri, tho.

Baltimore Noodles

i'm going to mostly co-sign on what aubzamzam said, but I felt compelled to reply, since I've been in your exact predicament, after coming back from nyc and eating at momfuku noodle bar.

as aubzamzam said, there really is no equivalent in baltimore -- that i've found, at least. however, i will say that mekong delta is hands down the best pho in town and can spark obsession. (i'm recovering.)

nina's ramen is also a very nice pick-me-up; i work nearby and get ramen from there when i need a quick noodle fix. i would recommend the egg ramen.

as for sticky rice ... i grew up in richmond, where sticky rice started, and i don't remember them being known for noodle soups ...

Baltimore car-less grocery shopping for foreigner?

The name of the shop opening on Cathedral Street is Milk and Honey ... They're set to open in mid- to late-September. (For more info:


I generally agree with honeybee, though if you must go to a grocery store that isn't Whole Paycheck (aka Whole Foods), I would grudgingly recommend the SuperFresh on 41st. As far as produce is concerned, I would avoid the store that is probably closest to you -- the Safeway on 25th. The produce is generally horrible and the lines are equally as bad.

And welcome to Baltimore! :)

HELP! last minute trip to Baltimore tonight for dinner - looking for NON TOURISTY place for crabcakes AND steamed crabs

I'd recommend two places:
L.P. Steamers:
Nick's Fish House

Both have good steamed crabs. I haven't had crab cakes at either place, but I know they sell them, and I've had some good crab dishes at Nick's. Both are as non-touristy as you can get -- especially L.P. Steamers.

Strip Joint for 50th B-day Dinner for 2

hear hear! me too!

Aug 05, 2010
mvjd in Las Vegas

Review: Pre-Theater dining at American Fish

My husband and I went to American Fish at Aria last night for the pre-theater menu, which was $55 pp and an additional $25 with wine pairings. We had plans to go to see Penn & Teller, and given our uncertainty about getting there and our tickets on time, we made a 5 p.m. reservation.

General impressions:
Loved the decor. It seemed like they were going for a natural, rustic vibe -- lots of wood in leather in the decor. However, it mostly worked, except for the leather straight-back chairs that seemed almost S&M-ish.
Our server was fantastic -- enthusiastic, attentive and funny. Only ding -- and this may be restaurant policy and not on our server specifically -- is that they were very sneaky about the pre-theater menu. It's prominently displayed outside, but when we were seated, we were presented with the regular menu and the tasting menu. We had to ask specifically for the pre-theater menu.
Ambience -- Generally great. As said before, the decor was beautiful, and I loved that we had a clear view of the goings on in the kitchen. (It was cool to see them throwing wood in the fire.) The restaurant wasn't loud at all, and they were definitely pouring on the mood lighting without it being too dark to see your plate in front of you. The music was only odd touch -- given the wood and leather theme, I would have expected more mood/instrumental music than the oldies and top 40 hits playing.

After ordering, we were presented with a basket of grilled ciabatta and cornbread muffins, along with two small dishes of olive oil and butter. We both tried each -- neither of us could pick a favorite! The cornbread was light and fluffy with a bit of crunch from the cornmeal; the ciabatta was buttery and crisp, with the flavor of the grill. Delicious. They also got points from my husband for the bread being warm: His pet peeve is to be served cold bread. Can I also say I loved their bread plates? The pitting on the rim of the bread plate made for an interesting optical illusion in the mood lighting of the place -- it made it appear as if there were delicate droplets of water along the entire plate. Very cool.

The Apps
I picked the tuna tartare with wild arugula, quail egg and pine nuts; my husband got the shrimp and grits with jalapeno and Serrano ham. I tried a bit of his grits -- they were almost a little too, er, gritty for my taste, but they still passed the southern girl test, flavor wise. The jalapeno cream (Foam? I didn't take good enough notes!) gave a great bit of spice without overwhelming the dish. My husband said he wished they had crumbled the "bacon" -- the Serrano ham -- instead of serving it as big chips, but he loved it anyway. I was wild about my tuna tartare! The pine nuts gave a nice crunch, and i squeezed a little bit of the lemon garnish on it ... gave it great zing. The tartare was seasoned perfectly, and the quail egg was a nice touch. I wish i had saved more of the tiny egg to last the whole dish, but it was so good! It also came with slices of the grilled ciabatta.

The Main Course
I selected the sea-salt baked Hawaiian walu with artichoke, peas, mint and crispy polenta, after the waiter raved about it, saying it was his favorite fish on the menu; my hubby picked the cornmeal-crusted rainbow trout with smoked eggplant, panzanella salad and caper vinaigrette. I feel I should mention this -- there was a definite lag in time between our appetizers and main course. The restaurant was far from packed, though it seemed the kitchen still had a little trouble keeping up.

When our plates arrived, I thought my husband's plate looked a little messy; the fish looked wonderful, but everything else looked like too much going on. in contrast, i had two perfect pieces of fish, bathed in a lemon buerre blanc, and a mix of vegetables that were displayed beautifully. My husband's trout was crunchy on the outside, flaky on the inside. He LOVED it. Devoured it. The salad on the other hand ... remained mostly untouched. (He is picky about veggies, but it didn't look too appetizing to me either.)

My fish, too, was delicious in whole other way; moist, tender fish, seasoned beautifully. The beurre blanc was a great touch, although by the end of the dish, it was almost over the top. I'm not a huge fan of pea puree, but i appreciated that they left some peas not completely obliterated; it made it seem less like baby food. All of the elements went well together, though I was honestly wishing there was more artichoke. Artichoke + walu + beurre blanc = heaven. The polenta was tasty, but it also made me hit my corn limit -- between the cornbread, the grits, the cornmeal-crusted fish, and the polenta, it seems that the chef is almost obsessed with corn. I think he may need to read Omnivore's Dilemma.

In the not really a problem department, I was served too much fish. I didn't even get to my second piece, I was so full.

The Dessert
My husband got the farmer's market strawberries with almond milk ice cream, rhubarb and strudel. I got the Valhrona chocolate custard with red velvet cake, pecans and cocoa nib ice cream. I adored my dessert, particularly the custard, ice cream and the pecans, which seemed as if they were candied, but still were not too sweet. Both the custard and ice cream were velvety smooth, so the pecans were a nice counterpoint. I feel like I was commenting on the crunch in dishes all night, but I guess it just shows that the cooks were aware of variety in texture and taste. I liked that. I could have done without the cake, but it didn't take away either. My husband's dish, on the other hand -- not a huge fan. Seemed like it was more ice cream than strawberry and rhubarb, but he said it got better as you ate it. He loved it.

4.5 stars out of 5. There were a few missteps, but overall, it lifted our spirits after a long first day in Vegas. I'd return.
Total damage: $140 (including 1 glass of rose -- it was ok, nothing to write home about, tax and 20% tip.)
I've attached photos, but sadly they're not the best quality, since I took them with my iPhone.

American Fish
3730 N Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89115

Aug 05, 2010
mvjd in Las Vegas

Penn & Teller pre-show dinner

Thanks for the suggestions -- we ended up opting for the American Fish pre-theater menu early, giving us plenty of time to make it Rio beforehand.

I'll report back!

Aug 02, 2010
mvjd in Las Vegas

Penn & Teller pre-show dinner

We bought the tickets through a third-party vendor, which warns that we must pick up the tickets from the box office no earlier than three hours before and no later than one hour beforehand.

Because of that, I wanted to see if there really were any decent restaurants at or near Rio that could help us avoid the runaround -- as I said before, we're staying at the Bellagio, so even going to Bouchon at the Venetian (which I would love to go to, but could surely do Friday night when we have no other plans), down on the other end of the strip, and then going to Rio from there seems like we'd be doing a lot of moving around to make sure we picked up our tickets before 8.

Aug 01, 2010
mvjd in Las Vegas

Penn & Teller pre-show dinner

My husband and I are going to see Penn & Teller Wednesday night. We have to pick up our tickets at the box office, and since we'll have to schlep over there from the Strip, I thought we might as well have dinner at the Rio or nearby beforehand. But I haven't exactly seen any glowing reviews of places nearby.

I saw that Buzio's was recommended by a few on this board, but after doing my research, I wasn't too impressed. I've read horror stories about the seafood buffet, and, at this point, am leaning toward All-American Bar & Grill, though I'm not too excited about that option either.

Is it even worth getting dinner at Rio, or are we better off going to Rio and getting the tickets, going back to the Strip for dinner and then coming back to Rio for the show?

Cost: Under $100 would be nice.
We're both foodies. I'll eat almost anything.
Restrictions: My husband isn't a big fan of noodles or Latin food.

Other details:
+ Staying at the Bellagio, Wednesday through Saturday.
+ Thursday night dinner will be at Julian Serrano.
+ During the day Friday we're renting a car and going to the Hoover Dam; we'll have lunch out there.
+ We're going to hit up the Bellagio buffet at lunch at some point.

Any other suggestions for dinner or reasonable lunch options would also always be appreciated, but this Rio dilemma is the most pressing question right now. Thanks for your help, guys!!

Aug 01, 2010
mvjd in Las Vegas