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bruce in oakton's Profile

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Very good experience at Thai Noy

We couldn't get a table at Present last Saturday night so opted for Thai at the above, a restaurant we had not been to before. We had a really excellent evening - the food tasted authentic and very 'undumbed down' and the service was friendly and unobtrusive. The 'Wild Boar Basil' was very spicy-hot indeed and the Chu-Chee sauce on the shrimp was one of the best things I've tasted in a long time. Generally the food here seemed a world away from what's on offer at the average Main Street Thai restaurant.

Thai Noy Restaurant
5880 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22205

The Four Worst Restaurant Etiquette Gaffes

We do not like to get our main courses while finishing, or within minutes of finishing, our appetizers, especially as the main often shows signs of having sat around under the heat lamp. This has been a problem when restaurants have few customers or in certain ethnic places where 'everything on the table at once' seems to be the preferred way of eating.
We now order our appetizers and say that we will decide on the main courses after we've eaten said appetizers. On occasion this has actually had the extra advantage of the experience of the starter changing one's mind about what one wanted to eat next.
I suppose this approach is not very popular in the kitchen but I guarantee that if my main comes on the heels of the starter I will never eat in that restaurant again no matter how wonderful the food..

Feb 20, 2010
bruce in oakton in Features

Store-bought kimchi

The Super H kimchi in jars bears a sell-by date. Given the pickled aspect, should this be adhered to? I have an unopened jar, several months past date.

Guinea Fowl

14th & P?

Guinea Fowl

I guess you would have to order from Wholefoods or maybe online. I'd love to read your Yassa recipe if you feel like sharing it


thanks sbouldin - I'll definitely try it.


has anyone tried the Peruvian restaurant on Route 50/236 near the location of what used to be the Persian 'Pars'? I assume there is a connection with other Cuzco in Arlington

Bellissimo in Fairfax, Still Good?

'For this kind of food the best you will do in Northern VA is Bonaroti in Vienna.'

which is a pretty depressing statement. We stopped going to Bonaroti - overpriced, pretentious and inauthentic. Expense account food for people who don't know any better.

cooks on line [Moved from Home Cooking]

Thanks - that pretty much sums up my thoughts - I know that CI takes no advertising for the magazine, however an extra $20 seems a lot to be able to access their website completely.

cooks on line [Moved from Home Cooking]

any thoughts about Cooks' Illustrated on line? Anyone use it much? Is it worth the extra 20 bucks a year?

Lamb Chops Left Out Overnight!!! Help.

cook them and eat them - compare the length of time that people been eating meat with the period that the refrigerator has become a commonly owned item. I'd be wary of pork or chicken but lamb's ok.

I always defrost on the counter, overnight. have done for thirty years and never had a problem. One of the things I miss most in the US is properly 'hung' game - a well matured pheasant is something I long for, and you can't achieve THAT in the fridge. Americans appear to have become so squeamish that they dislike being reminded of the origin of their neatly packaged cuts of meat and loath the thought of eating what they euphemistically call 'variety meats' .

Nov 19, 2007
bruce in oakton in Home Cooking

Maestro withdrawal symptoms

Has anyone eaten at the Tyson Ritz Carlton Steakhouse? WaPo reported that Vincent Ferraud from Maestro is looking after the wine there and is sommellier on Friday and Saturday nights. It would be good to see Vincent again, but what's the food like? The on- line menu looks ok but no prices are listed.

Where can one order good rabbit meat?

I've recently had terrific fresh rabbit (sourced in Oklahoma) from Giant in Vienna - the one on Maple near Glyndon Street. Last week we had a package of hind leg portions which cost about $15 and provided two of us two good meals. I no longer buy the frozen stuff from Super H. Apart from its Chinese origin and the questionable practices there, we latterly found so much freezer burn that the meat was positively unpleasant.

blended wine in quebec

we are just back from a great stay in Perce and journey around the Gaspe peninsula. We had good, sometimes very good indeed, meals everywhere and liked particularly 'La Morutiere' and 'La Maison du Pecheur' in Perce.
I was, as a non Canadian intrigued by the litre bottles of red wine in the supermarkets containing something described as 'blended by [whomever] in Montreal', but offering no further indication of the provenance, grape, or character of the contents. What is it and what is it like?


We have been going several times a year to Maestro, for several years now and, based on a lifetime of restaurant experience in many parts of the world I can honestly say that the service at Maestro is the best I've known. Maybe Duker52 wanted something more stiff and formal or maybe he wanted "Hi I'm thing and I'll be your waiter tonight" Thankfully Maestro service has been neither. We have found it, efficient, friendly, but neither over-familiar nor obsequious, and most important of all our courses have been paced exactly as we wished and we have never been in the dreaded situation of having one course arrive within minutes of our finishing the previous. We have never had to wait for wine either.

Favorite Foodie Stores

Out of Site Wines - Dominion Road in Vienna is the best wine shop I've ever encountered. A terrific selection of wines, many very affordable and stuff you won't see anywhere else, plus the two guys that own the store are really knowledgeable, have great taste and - most important - honest in their recommendations and opinions - something I've rarely ever experienced where wine retailing in this area is concerned.

DF in March -- Just Back

I agree re Cafe Tacuba (see my post about the margaritas), Sirenas and Girasole. As far as the pacing of the meals is concerned, we found the only way to have an enjoyable experience was to order the starter and tell the waiter that we would order the next course 'mas tarde'. This did not seem to surprise or faze them in the least - the rooms were always at least half empty so it was not as though the table was in great demand - and it also meant that, often having eaten a starter that was new and unfamiliar one's original inclination as to a main course changed. The very best meal I had, however was at La Opera - Caracoles in a Chipotle Sauce and Callos Madrilena. The very worst dish was at Girasole - a snapper concoction that was alleged to contain some Jamaican herb but came across like tired dry fish cooked in Branston pickle. Dreadful.

Apr 03, 2007
bruce in oakton in Mexico

Just back from Mexico City!

We ate at Cafe de Tacuba last week and I thought the food was good but not great. The most notable thing about the evening was the fact that for the first time, anywhere in Mexico, let alone the world, I was asked if we "wanted tequila in the margaritas?" The reason became apparent when we got the bill. We were charged for the 'margarita' plus 'the tequila' (and not a special brand.) This almost doubled the menu cost of 'a margarita' On a couple of occasions at other restaurants subsequently, when ordering, just to be sure I asked the waiter if the margarita 'included tequila. On each occasion they looked at us as though we were idiots.

We found the atmosphere more relaxed and pleasant at La Opera, and the food much superior to Tacuba.

Mar 30, 2007
bruce in oakton in Mexico

Going to Maestro

I second all that. Vincent the sommelier is marvelous - his recommendations have always been exactly right, both for taste and price. I find the the three course option sufficient - Fabio's food is taste-wise so spectacular that the third course is often overshadowed by the preceding dishes. I think his ways with crustaceans, fish, and pasta are the most exceptional.
In spite of its setting (Ritz Carlton) and its haute cuisine reputation, Maestro remains the friendliest most welcoming restaurant I've ever been to.

Bad mussels?

I've recently been disappointed with tiny mussels in large shells too. Taste was fine but scarcely worth the trouble. Frozen New Zealand mussels are are useful alternative, if they're not too old (check the packing date on the box) but of course the fact of being on the half shell diminishes the amount of juice you get for your paella.

Jan 03, 2007
bruce in oakton in Home Cooking

resting meat

Mario Batali is quoted by Bill Buford as saying "Only a moron would wrap meat in foil to let it rest."
While the word 'wrap' may be the operative one here, how and where do YOU let your meat rest, covered by what, in what way? Back of the stove? Oven but turned off? Foil tent?
The trade-off seems to be the center continuing to rise in temperature while the outside cools, but if the outside is kept hot the meat will cook more than desired. Then there's condensation...

Dec 30, 2006
bruce in oakton in Home Cooking

japanese rice

thanks for this info. As you surmised, it's only a small packet - about a pound, so I think I'll take your advice about the plain rice/Japanese meal context.

Dec 28, 2006
bruce in oakton in Home Cooking

Pavo en Relleno Negro recipe?

a question for layuri: I bought a block of the relleno negro paste several months ago while in the Yucatan. Kept in the fridge, how long will it stay edible? (The smallest block was huge!)

Dec 27, 2006
bruce in oakton in Home Cooking

japanese rice

I was given a packet of 'Koshi-Hikari' rice. Any hints or observations would be appreciated. I was thinking of using it for risotto....

Dec 26, 2006
bruce in oakton in Home Cooking

Do you eat this way ... appetizer with entree simultaneously?

I do not want my entree at the same time as my appetizer - in fact I don't want it within ten minutes of my appetizer. I go to a restaurant to, theoretically, enjoy and digest someone else's cooking, talk, drink wine and relax, not to gobble down three courses in half an hour. (no wonder antacid sells so well!) The situation in local Mexican restaurants in particular is so bad that I will now only order the appetizer up front. Once that's been served I'll order the entree.
And leave my salad plate alone - and stop trying to top up my wine glass to the brim!
The only restaurant in the NOVA area where I've found perfect service and pacing has been Maestro.

new wine shop in Vienna

Some very nice things amongst the Spanish and Italian - producers I've not seen before, and this weekend some knockout Western Australian Shiraz.

new wine shop in Vienna

I'm surprised a search didn't provide the info - however here are the exact details:

phone: 703-319-WINE (9463)


new wine shop in Vienna

I've yet to see any mention of an excellent new wine shop 'Out of Sight Wines' in Dominion Road, Vienna. Everything I've bought there has been very good indeed and they have a selection that includes varietals and sources that I've not seen anywhere else. There is a website (Outofsightwines) and the guys who run the place are friendly, unpretentious, and enthusiastic. A nice atmosphere and decent prices. Lots of tastings and events too.


Most memorable cooking disaster?

not so much disaster as embarrassment:

many years ago I bought an unuually cheap duck from a butcher's stall at a street market in London. It wasn't till I began to prepare it for roasting that I discovered that it was still 'intact' and 'undrawn' and there was no alternative but to take a deep breath and 'plunge in', so to speak.
The corollary of this is that, a year or so later, after buying a chicken from a travelling butcher in a remote village in France and being once bitten twice shy, I examined the bird closely and found no sign of apertures significant enough to indicate prior removal of entrails. So I asked the butcher if the chicken was 'vide' (the closest word I could think of) whereupon he looked astonished and exclaimed 'oui, bien sur' or somesuch while several local housewives laughed so uproariously that they practically rolled in the gutter. The chicken was, indeed totally oven-ready but you couldn't see how it had been done!

Question Two: Sushi

Kansai on Maple in Vienna, near Magruder's has the best sushi we've had in the area for a long time. It's Japanese, not Korean, the fish is fresh and delicious and there are some very inventive items on the menu. The prices are moderate but the quality is high and the small staff is exceptionally friendly.