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Jim Zurer's Profile

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Myanmar in Falls Church or Mandalay in Silver Spring?

I would say Myanmar is much better.....

Sauces and Shapes wins IACP Award

Just wanted to congratulate Maureen Fant and Oretta Zanini de Vita for winning a 2014 International Association of Culinary Association (IACP) Food Writing Award in the International category for "Sauces and Shapes: Pasta the Italian Way".

A well deserved honor....

Chowhound dinner at Pacifica Cafe

Just wanted to second Steve's account of the Pacifica Cafe.....a very satisfying and delicious meal. I will be planning to attend movies at the Kentlands theater in the future so I can then eat at the Pacifica Cafe.

Chow lunch Report - Myanmar

Thanks for posting this, Steve.....I agree with your assessment, although I have to mention one of my favorites--the roasted fish with tangy onions. The fish may not have been quite as good as at previous meals, but it is a nice piece of fish roasted so the skin is crispy and the meat is moist and flavorful. The onions add a piquant edge to the dish. My dining companions know that make sure that they get a serving before the fish reaches my plate. Otherwise they are in danger of missing out.....or having to order another fish.

1 day cookery course, in Rome

I second the motion of getting in touch with Maureen Fant for a wonderful day of shopping, cooking and eating......

http://www.maureenbfant.com

Eat like the Romans. Cook like the Romans. Cook with me.

I must stipulate that Maureen is a good friend of mine but her cooking course seems to be perfect for the poster's request.

Jul 08, 2008
Jim Zurer in Italy

Is there a good NY bagel shop in DC?

>>And they're inexplicably sweet! Blecch!<<

I agree. Definitely sweet......

Is there a good NY bagel shop in DC?

Re: Goldberg's and Bagel City.....glad that they have their adherents, but I stand by my assertion that there are no good bagels in the metropolitan area and I know for sure that these two places don't measure up.

I would love to be proven wrong, however.......but after some 40 years of living in this bagel wasteland, I don't expect to find an acceptable bagel now.

Toscano Salami in DC?

Are you referring to a brand name? In Tuscany, there is a great variety of salumi--different styles, different tastes, different textures.

Is there a good NY bagel shop in DC?

>> Is there a good NY bagle shop in DC?<<

In my opinion, the answer is a resounding "no'....but if it makes you feel any better, in my experience, it is pretty difficult to find a decent bagel in the New York City area as well. The Bagel Hole in Brooklyn may be one of the few that can compare to best of the old days....but I haven't been there in a few years.

Best Braised Lamb Shanks?

Believe it or not, I am very partial to the lamb shanks that are served at the various locations of Cafe Deluxe. The dish is consistently well prepared and delicious. I would have them more frequently if they could figure out how to lower the decibel volume at their restaurants.

Authentic Chinese in DC area?

>>That being said, Joe's Noodle House is leaps and bounds better<<

Hmmm....personally I much prefer Full Kee to Joe's Noodle House. But it is certainly a matter of taste and depends on whether you prefer very spicy Szechuan or wonderfully prepared but more subtle Cantonese food.

Pizza at BEBO

We have had very good experiences for the most part at Bebo (somehow we have been able to avoid the most serious service lapses that are much too common) and had a very good meal there last Monday evening. I was reluctant to try the pizza but Diana went ahead and ordered one anyway. We were both favorable impressed with the prosciutto and rucola pie that came out...the crust was light yet had a bite and some texture, the toppings were austere (like an Italian pizza) but balanced. I still prefer Paradiso's pizzas but Bebo's effort was definitely a good product.

Unfortunately the biggest change that I have noticed at Bebo since it opened is a drastic increase in the prices so it is no longer the bargain that it was in the early days. But we will definitely return and I will try the pizza myself.

A good meal at Bebo

Just a quick note about another very good experience at Bebo last night (Saturday). We were there early but it was packed by 7:30 pm. Food was excellent--pork ribs, halibut (albeit a small portion), luganega sausage, fennel salad; wines were nice--prosecco and a montepulciano d'abruzzo; desserts terrific--panna cotta, bombolini and bicerin (doughnut balls and a hot chocolate concoction) and a vanilla pudding.

The service was pleasant and efficient (maybe things are getting under control), the prices still reasonable and the noise level was blissfully moderate.

Can't wait to go back.....

Chicken Hainanese Style at Michael's Noodles

>>This turns out to be a simple pleasure. ..... As this is a legendary street food served around SE Asia, I imagine this may not be the best version in the world, but i was not about to complain.<<

Thanks for this tip Steve. This dish was our staple breakfast meal in the market town near where we were stationed as Peace Corps Volunteers in Thailand in the 1960s. It has proved almost impossible to find a good version here so we are looking forward to trying it.

I'm not sure about living in Rockville, however....:)

A good meal at Bebo

We had a very good meal at Bebo on Monday night.....the food was almost all excellent and--to our surprise--even the service was good.

All the appetizers were fine....asparagus (al dente) vinaigrette, a light but tasty mozzarella in carrozza and a refined carne cruda (veal carpaccio) with mushrooms. My grilled luganega sausage was deliicious as usual and the liver with onions on a bed of polenta was outstanding. The asparagus risotto was the only disappointment....but it wasn't a disaster.

We had two desserts--Panna cotta was terrific as it usually is and the cannoli was well received.

We drank an inexpensive Barbera which was pleasant if unremarkable.

The welcome by the maitre d' was warm and the waiter--who allowed that it was his second day there--was pleasant and accommodating.

The bill came to $140.00 for the three of us.....a good value.

Lunch at Michel Richard's Central

According to the person who had the hamburger, it was still good, although not "hot".

Lunch at Michel Richard's Central

We had an excellent lunch at Michel Richard's new "bistro"--Central--yesterday. The place is very attractive and the menu extremely appealing.

Among the three of us, we had appetizers of beautifully cooked asparagus and a wonderful mussel chowder. The "main courses" were a perfectly cooked hamburger, a succulent tuna burger and very tasty grilled salmon on a bed of delicious lentils. We ordered one side--brussels sprouts; they were tasty but sort of overwhelmed by a bacony sauce. One dessert was tasted....an apple pan dowdy with great filling, a less successful crust and a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream.

One negative was that we saw the hamburger and tuna burger languishing in the serving area for about 10 minutes before being delivered to the table...so the hamburger was no longer hot.

Prices were very high for the burgers....$16 and $18...but more reasonable for the appetizers and main courses.

All in all, everyone enjoyed their meal and will be happy to return in the not too distant future.

Peking Cheers in Gaithersburg

That's it, Dean. We used to get it in DC in the 1970s--I remember a version at the Yenching Palace (back when it was what passed for a "serious" Chinese restaurant). I will continue my search......

Peking Cheers in Gaithersburg

I have to preface my comments by stipulating that I am not as much a devotee of Szechuan cooking as others on the board but I do have very fond memories of meals at China Star with James G.

I thought that Peking Cheers was fine but I think our meal was a mixed bag. The highlights for me were the soft bean curd szechuan style (silky and savory) and the Chinese style dry beef saute (very tasty and nice contrast of textures.)

The string beans were tasty but I am stll looking for the "old-style twice cooked szechuan string beans" which come out slightly dry and crinkly. Does anyone have a source?

I will say that lunch was a great bargain...all the food listed in Steve's report cost $90.00 before tip--amazing.

Pizzeria Paradiso-has been?

Haven't been to the Dupont Circle location in a while.....noise level is too high....but I still frequent the Georgetown location and believe that the pizzas continue to be excellent. 2 Amys is very good (especially for antipasti) but I still prefer the pizza at Paradiso. I liked to order it "well-baked" to get a bit more crustiness.....

gnocchi in rome?

Just a note to say that we had a truly mediocre meal at Matricianella a couple of years ago...perhaps it was an off-day but it didn't make us want to return.

Jan 12, 2007
Jim Zurer in Italy

gnocchi in rome?

>>Keep in mind that gnocchi in Rome usually means, literally, Gnocchi alla Romana, the baked semolina variety, often with a sauce and cheese,<<

You are correct that gnocchi alla romana is the baked semolina variety, but in my dozen or more trips to Rome, I have never seen it in a restaurant. In my experience, the Thursday gnocchi is the potato variety. Take a look at this link....

http://www.geocities.com/richardandli...

I have seen the semolina variety in shops that have prepared food to take home but the only place that I ever saw it on a restaurant menu was in a hotel dining room in Sesto Calende, near Malpensa Airport.

If anyone can direct me to a place in Rome (or anywhere else in Italy) where the baked semolina variety can be had, I will be grateful.

Jan 12, 2007
Jim Zurer in Italy

Tuscany:Restaurants in a beautiful country setting or with a great view of the countryside...

>>We love Al Gallopapa in Castellina<<

Very stylish and very "creative" and very expensive as well......not traditional Tuscan food but very tasty...as long as one is prepared for the experience.

Dec 30, 2006
Jim Zurer in Italy

Does Authentic Italian Food Exhist in the DC Area?

Definitely Bebo and, for a number of dishes, Dino.......Obelisk and Tosca are quite good but a much different (and higher) price point.

I think A.V. lost its luster a number of years ago but I do miss its cousin Fio's that used to be in the Woodner Hotel. Pasta Mia is a good value but I am not sure it is "authentic" Italian pasta.

Corduroy - way missed the mark

Unfortunately all restaurants have off-days....my experience with Corduroy (about 10 meals there over the past few years) has been uniformly positive. The food has always been excellent, the service somewhat variable, the decor unremarkable but comfortable and the price/quality ratio very, very high.

I especially like to go there during Restaurant Week when they have the full menu available at very reasonable prices.

Bamian

>>But Bamian is absolutely outstanding for its vegetables and most of the apps as well as its meat sauce and the "green relish."<<

We will just have to agree to disagree on this one.....I have been going to Afghan restaurants for many years--going back to the original Bamiyan in Georgetown in the 1970s--and...to my taste...this place just didn't measure up.

Bamian

>>You're writing it off after one bad meal? <<

Hmmm....I actually wrote it off after my first meal. I think Steve and La Bacchante (whose opinions about food I respect a lot) were much too kind. The food was average at best--and some was a lot worse--and there are plenty of other better Afghan or kebab places at much more reasonable prices.

Mozzarella and Cheese

The challenge will be to find a place that has good tomatoes at this time of year.....

Mozzarella, tomato, basil and olive oil are the components of one of the great dishes in Italy (actually from the Naples area in Campania)--insalata caprese.

But without in-season, flavorful tomatoes, it will be hard to duplicate the dish.

Eating out in Rome

>>Trattoria Monti<<

Excellent choice but I believe that the cooking is from Le Marche, not Abruzzo.

Dec 11, 2006
Jim Zurer in Italy

Rome: where is all the good food!

Alle Colline Emiliane is an excellent restaurant...wonderful cured meats and terrific pasta--a fine representative of the cuisine of Emila-Romagna.

Dec 07, 2006
Jim Zurer in Italy