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EliWho's Profile

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Most Unique/Local Montreal Foodspots?

My wife and I have decided to embrace the cold this year, and are driving from Washington, DC up to Montreal for the Christmas/New Year's holiday! We are both big foodies, and have been gathering recommendations. However, rather than focusing on the best/nicest/most trendy places in Montreal, we are really focused on finding the most authentic/unique/local food experiences that there are.

We have already been recommended to Au Pied Du Cochon and Schwartz's, and are looking for more similar recommendations -- Where can we try uniquely Canadian/French fare, and really get a sense of the authentic cuisine of Montreal?

Also, keep in mind that since we'll be there for Christmas and New Year's, anything that's particularly appropriate/active around that time of year would be great.

Thank you!
Eli

Oct 31, 2009
EliWho in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Best Food Near I-95?

This is kind of an unusual request; I'm not looking for food in any particular city. Instead, the fiancée and I are going to be driving back from Charleston, SC to Washington, DC tomorrow, after having been in Charleston for a wedding. It's a looong drive so we'll probably stop for lunch along the way. So, can anyone recommend their favorite food place that's close to I-95 between Charleston and DC? Authentic southern favorites -- BBQ joints in particular -- are especially welcome, and we'd love to be able to stop in a nice area where we could get out, walk around the town and stretch our legs, etc.

And please, no posts containing the words "cracker" and "barrel."

Thanks in advance!

Nov 11, 2007
EliWho in General South Archive

Sabores in Cleveland Park?

My fiancee and I recently gave Sabores a try. Here's how it shook out:

The service is still a little spotty, but these are clearly technical and procedural glitches -- the wait staff itself is very friendly and generally pretty attentive. I'd say "uneven" describes the service currently, but I think it'll get better.

As for the food: The bread was good. Fresh, a nice size. They're picking up the trend I first saw recently at Acadiana of giving you one big piece of bread per person dining, rather than a whole basket of the stuff. As an incurable Boredom Snacker, I appreciate the gesture. For dipping, there was a nice small bowl of olive oil, which was tasty, but neither "nuevo" or "latino" that I could detect.

We decided to treat the small plates as appetizers. I had the ham croquettes; she had the veggie empanadas. The croquettes were good. Ingredients are clearly pretty top-notch and the preparation was great -- they were quite crispy but NOT greasy. My only nit-pick was one that would be a recurrent theme throughout the night; not enough "sabores"! Chef Amaya really needs to get comfortable using his spice rack and adding some heat. A jalapeno (or something) here or there would've been much appreciated.

Same goes for the veggie empanadas, which were fine but pretty plain. No heat! And the pastry shell was a "nuevo" change that didn't need to happen -- I much prefer the soft dough of a normal, off-the-street empanada to the brittle, filo-like contraption that encased my veggies.

Dinner was not bad, as well. I had the ropa vieja, which came with a standard black beans and rice -- and I do mean STANDARD. If I was Chef Amaya's parents, and I tried this stuff, I'd ask myself why I paid to send him to chef school. The "ropa" itself was tasty (but NOT, notably, spicy), but a little too "vieja." I thought the point of the dish was to cook the living daylights out of the meat so it gets tender. That didn't happen here. It's a good thing the stuff tasted good, because each bite spent way longer in my mouth than a piece of meat should have to.

My fiancee tried to order the paella for one, but it has been discontinued in favor of a $45, only-for-two version. So she instead got the salmon, which she praised very highly. I'm not a fish person, but I tried some of it, and overall it gets the same assessment as the ham croquettes -- good ingredients, cooked to perfection, but no BIG FLAVORS!

We skipped dessert. Not because nothing on the menu looked good (it did), but because nothing on the menu looked *better* than the stuff being dished out at Coldstone across the street.

Besides, at this point, we needed a little fresh air. Two mojitos apiece will do that to you. And that's one aspect of the meal to which I can give unalloyed praise: The place makes a mean mojito. Or, in our case, four mean mojitos. And, not trivially, the first one tasted like the second one tasted like the third one tasted like the fourth one -- no mean feat when concepts like fresh mint and "muddling" are involved.

Overall, I give this place a 6/10 with much room to grow. It's clear that we're in the presence of seasoned professionals who don't yet have their sea legs. What will really determine whether this place becomes a neighborhood fave is whether those seasoned professionals can start producing some seasoned food. For a place called sabores, there just wasn't enough sabor. Nonetheless, the latin flavors that it does offer are a welcome addition to the Cleveland Park scene, particularly the wide variety of tapas that they offer. (I love Bardeo, but sometimes a guy doesn't feel like a meatball, y'know?) And if I had to pick a place to stop after work for small plates and a drink, I'd take a mojito and some platos here any day of the week.

Weekend in Philly with Family?

My fiancee and I will be taking a trip to Philly next weekend with both sets of parents (don't worry, we all get along great!) and are looking for some eating recommendations. Particularly, we want to find a great place for dinner Saturday night, as well as a nice spot for brunch on Sunday. Here are the conditions:

1. No mostly- or only-seafood places. I know Philly has some good ones, but one parent is allergic to shellfish and won't go near it, and a few others just don't really like it.

2. Since we're a group of 6, we want somewhere that's family-friendly -- accommodating for big groups, not noisy/smokey, etc.

3. Price-wise, we're thinking mid-range. (Think $35-$55 for a three-course dinner + drink.)

We're staying near UPenn in the Inn at Penn Quarter, but will probably drive over the river into downtown for dinner.

Let the suggestions fly!

Jul 28, 2007
EliWho in Pennsylvania

KIMCHI?

Kuma on Wisc. Ave had some pretty great kimchi, and other great Korean dishes, plus a nice selection of Japanese/sushi. It's a nice little space -- easy to miss, but elegant and low-key inside. More at http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/fo...

Viridian Brunch

...Anybody?

Viridian Brunch

Have a friend coming into town next Sunday and want to take them to a nice brunch. I've LOVED Viridian for dinner, but never been for brunch. Is it any good? And does it tend to be crowded during brunch - will I need reservations far ahead? Thanks in advance.

TexMex/Mexican suggestions near CapSouth/EasternMkt?

I'm looking for a good, nice-ish but moderately expensive place to have lunch with my girlfriend somewhere between the Capitol Building and Eastern Market in DC. We both love texmex or Mexican, and would be particularly happy with some good chicken soft tacos. We've been to La Loma and La Lomita which are good but not great, and I've heard so-so things about Tortilla Coast. Any ideas? Thanks in advance!

Client dinner (10 people) in D.C. - suggestions needed

I guess it's a little late, but I LOVE taking people to Buca di Beppo. It's on Connecticut Ave a few blocks north of DuPont, and they have the most delicious southern-Italian food, plus the best atmosphere! They have a great back room for private seating, and the desserts are pretty amazing. Everything is served family-style (i.e. portions are ginormous), so for 10 people you'd probably get 5 or 6 dishes and share them all around.

It's all at http://www.bucadibeppo.com/

Good delivery in White Oak, Silver Spring

I live in the White Oak area of Silver Spring - where MD-29 meets New Hampshire Ave - and I'm looking for some good delivery places. I've found delivery of any kind to be impossible to find around here; no one seems to come to this area. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance!