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Vegetarian Experiment For a Month

Vegetate ... some of the best food in DC, vegetarian or otherwise! Its on 9th Street south of Rhode Island... and they have their liquor license now.

Great meal at Vegetate

I hadn't been to Vegetate in Shaw for a while. Last night we went for dinner and I thought it was one of the best meals I've had in a long time.

I started with the mung bean and eggplant fritters. They were similar to falafal, but more flavorful than you usually find, and were perfectly cooked. My main course was the smoked black tea polenta with heirloom bean ragout. Wow. The tea gave a dark, smokey flavor to the polenta, which was cooked crisp. The ragout was well seasoned with corriander and tomato. I finished with a chocolate terrine which was silky smooth, if a little dense, and accompanied with little citrusy bits that provided a sharp counterpoint.

Being a meat eater, I tend to be suspicious of vegetarian cooking - too many 1980's experiences of watery stuffed peppers and brown rice dishes from the Moosewood collective. But this was extremely creative and satisfying on any level. My only complaint was the wine list - a little overpriced, and geared toward southern hemisphere producers.

La Carbonara on 9th St., DC?

I drove up 9th St near U yesterday and saw an Italian place called La Carbonara. It must have gone in recently. Has anyone tried it? I looked online but found two very conflicting dining reports (one person loved it and another thought it was horrendous).

Food from the Sixties?

Wow... this could be scary. But definitely check out the Gallery of Regrettable Food at:
http://www.lileks.com/institute/gallery/
which has (annotated) recipes from period cookbooks. These might not qualify as "delicious" though.

Aug 23, 2007
jmasek in Home Cooking

Wood chips for smoking in Baltimore

It's summer and time for smoked ribs... does anyone know of a good source for wood chips (hickory or mesquite) in Baltimore? I tried Whole Foods and Shoppers, but couldn't find any there. Thanks...

Odeon Cafe--What is the story?

Ooops.... I meant "Sette" in the previous post.

Odeon Cafe--What is the story?

Yep, Odeon is pretty good. I went there a few times, and enjoyed the food. The servers had a bit too much "attitude" for me, though. Like when my friend and I went in, and they told us we'd have to wait 30 minutes for a 2-top instead of seating us at one of the many empty 4-tops. I know that's pretty common, but it still rankled me.

Odeon Cafe--What is the story?

I haven't been in a couple of years, but Odeon was always a good (not great) reliable place to eat. I was particular partial to the smoked salmon pasta. There's nothing on the menu that will really blow away a foodie, but the space is nice and the service is friendly.

Brief review of Dino

Well, I've never been to Dino, so my comments here are general rather than specific... but I can see dcandohio's point. One of my pet peeves are restaurants where the "special" people get attention from the owner and demonstrably better service than peons off the street. Even my favorite restaurants only get my patronage once or month or so... and that's not often enough to obtain the VIP treatment. I'd rather go to a place that gives considerate service to everyone.

Corks

I've eaten there twice and had a similar reaction. Corks is one of those restaurants where you feel pretty good about dinner until the check arrives. Then you start having second thoughts. But I know some people (who earn a lot more than I do) who love going there.

Chianti recommendations...

You might also seeking out a Chianti with a bit of age on it... 1998, 1999, or 2000. Young Chianti (and Brunello) tends to be tannic and tough - a few years in the bottle can soften these wines remarkably.

May 01, 2007
jmasek in Wine

2003 Côtes du Rhône

I don't think of Cotes du Rhone as wines for long aging. 2003 in particular was a hot growing season, and French wines tend to be high in fruit and alcohol. I've had 2003 (and even 2004) Rhone wines and they are drinking nicely now.

Apr 11, 2007
jmasek in Wine

Florida Ave Market - What's good?

The DC Florida Avenue Market / Farmers Market is located close to my new house, but I haven't really taken advantage of it. I've gotten some good wine and pasta at Littori's but that's about it. So my question... what stands or wholesaler/retailers do Chowers like there? Especially, which places are recommended for fresh vegetables? Fresh fish? Or is the quality pretty much like you'd get from any supermarket?

Thanks...

Zaytinya last night

I love Zaytinya - one of the most reliable (and reasonable) restaurants in DC - and one of the few that really offers something unique in the Mediterranean "Small Plates" arena.

Cheap authentic Italian?

Otello south of Dupont. I do wish they offered better wines by the glass, but I guess drinking cheap Chianti is half the charm.

Best Tacos In DC?

Taqueria Tres Reyes in Hyattsville is my favorite. The stewed pork is the real deal, though they also have barbacoa, tripe, etc.

What accompanies pork tenderloin w/ prune sauce?

Thanks for all of the suggestions - the carrot recipe looks really good - lots of concentrated carroty flavor. Couscous could be an interesting direction also.

Mar 07, 2007
jmasek in Home Cooking

What accompanies pork tenderloin w/ prune sauce?

Hi... maybe I'm having a creativity deficit right at the moment. I'd like to serve pork tenderloin with prunes stewed in red wine, but I can't think of a good side dish (something more interesting than potatoes anyway). I was thinking about pan seared polenta slices, but I'm not sure how to dress the polenta. It has to go with the sweetness of the prunes... any ideas folks?

Mar 07, 2007
jmasek in Home Cooking

VINTAGE places DC/suburban MD/N VA

Well, it may be '70's era vintage, but a place I've always enjoyed is Otello on Connecticut Ave, near Dupont Circle. Very old school Italian (complete with red checked tablecloths and Chianti bottles in straw), but I've found the food to be excellent, and a great value.

Fennel in Baltimore?

Whole Foods downtown has fresh fennel

Sascha's in Baltimore = Terrible

Oh yes... I had risotto there once that was unbelievable. Like Minute Rice that someone had left on the stove for two hours. A big ball of paste with very little flavor. Haven't been back since.

Best of the taco places around Eastern and Broadway in Fells?

Quiero dos tacos al pastor, uno con salsa verde y uno con salsa roja. Or maybe "Quiero do tacos de carnitas" depending on the type of pork they have. Pretty sure "taco de puerco" will get you smirks as they visualize a live pig squirming around on a plate.

Rocket to Venus

I had a very good dinner there last week - walnut sage pesto on linguine. The atmosphere is pretty bad - lots of people standing around at the bar. And the wine list is really horrible. But I think it would be ok for a weeknight dinner.

Short ribs (without the fat)

A while ago I went to Passionfish restaurant in Monterey CA and had a great dinner. The "braised" short ribs were amazing. As best I could tell, they grilled them to render out nearly all of the fat, and then braised them (or maybe the other way round?). The result was tender, with a carmelized exterior, but very little of the fatty residue that I get when I simply braise the ribs. It was more like a steak!

Has anyone experimented with a recipe like this? I've been thinking about trying to recreate what I had, but I'm not sure on the specifics.

Jan 13, 2007
jmasek in Home Cooking

Suggest a good CA/WA merlot?

Thanks for all the suggestions - I will seek them out. Three cheers for chowhound!

Dec 27, 2006
jmasek in Wine

Suggest a good CA/WA merlot?

I'm looking to add some domestic merlot to my cellar, but I could use some suggestions. What producers do you like in the $15-$35 range? I guess I'm looking for something soft, with limited tannin, but not a "fruit bomb" either.

Dec 26, 2006
jmasek in Wine

Jam Doung Style - anyone ever been (it's in DC)

Yes I've been there a bunch of times. They only have carry out - no interior seating. I always get the Jerk Chicken - really delicious, although the Jerk rub is pretty salty. It comes with a couple of sides (usually peas'n'rice and some vegetables). I'm not an authority on Jamaican food, but the food is very tasty. They also have goat stew, and (sometimes) really good cornbread. The owners are very nice, and although the thug quotient along North Capitol can be intimidating, I've never had a problem going there.

Buying wine

I've got mixed feelings about Schneider's. I don't go there often enough to have a personal relationship with the owners. But every time I've shopped there, I've gotten the "hard sell" to *not* buy the wine I've asked for, and to instead buy their recommendation. For example, I've had Maison Champy burgundy (not a great producer, IMHO) pushed at me on two different occasions, even when I'm shopping for California Pinot Noir.

Favorite Thai restaurants in D.C., nothern Virginia?

Favorite Thai in DC is Regent Thai on 18th, near T, in Dupont. Very fresh tasting and a beautiful setting.

Cheese shops in Baltimore?

The Whole Foods market on Central Ave and Fleet has a good selection of domestic and international cheeses. The Wine Source in Hampden also has a small but interesting selection. Also, as I was walking through the Cross Street Market yesterday, I saw that a new cheese shop is being set up at the East end of the building. Don't know any details about it however.