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Mixed Plate in Lahaina - Diner

Hi All. Looking to partake in some local cuisine. Mixed plate in particular. Any opinions on what's best in Lahaina? Aloha Mixed Plate? Da Kitchen? Any others?

Aloha Mixed Plate
1285 Front St, Lahaina, HI 96761

Da Kitchen
2439 S Kihei Rd Ste 107A, Kihei, HI 96753

Jul 23, 2010
DC Taco in Hawaii

Maui Recs For DC Anniversary Week

Hi there hounds. My wife and I are traveling to Maui from DC the first week of August, spending three nights in Paia and five nights at the Ritz, to celebrate our 10th anniversary. We will be leaving the kids at home and looking for relaxing with great drinks and food. I have been following the boards for a couple of months, and have some ideas, but I would appreciate your thoughts on the following:

1. The most important question has to do with dinner on our anniversary. We will be at the Ritz and want to eat reasonably close, so that we can catch a shuttle back to the hotel or a not too expensive cab ride. Ambiance (including views) and food are rated equally. Good, flinty, single grower champagne is a plus. It seems that Merrimans is the best choice, but I'd like some validation.

2. Breakfast recs in Kapalua or Lahaina. Outdoor seating is a plus, as are good egg dishes (need that protein to kick start the day) and coffee.

3. We're going to spend one day beach hopping in Wailea and need a place for lunch.

4. We were planning on hitting Hali'imaile General Store for lunch, but not dinner. Is this a mistake?

5. Here are the other restaurants we would like to try. Any that we should strike? Add (especially local specialties)? Mama's Fish House, Da Kitchen, Sansei, Paia Fish Market, Banyan Tree, Anthony's Coffee, Paia Flatbread Co..

In terms of our preferences, we value good food of every type: local dives, five star tasting menus, and everything in between. We prefer friendly service to formal and while we love good wine we would probably be more impressed with house made cocktails. If you were coming to DC, we'd recommend: Restaurant Eve, Two Amys, Rays the Steaks, Joe's Noodle House, Four Sisters, Lebanese Butcher, La Caraquena, Palena, City Zen, the PX, Pho 75, Ray's Hell Burgers and Sushi Ko.

Hope this is enough to go on and thanks in advance!

Da Kitchen
2439 S Kihei Rd Ste 107A, Kihei, HI 96753

Banyan Tree
1 Ritz Carlton Dr, Lahaina, HI

Mama's Fish House
Paia HI, Paia, HI

Paia Fish Market
2A Baldwin Ave, Paia, HI 96779

Noodle House
69-201 Waikoloa Beach Dr Ste F5, Waikoloa, HI 96738

May 04, 2010
DC Taco in Hawaii

Urban BBQ - Silver Spring

Not to beat a dead horse, but I have also been disappointed with Urban BBQ. I was there last week and got the pulled chicken. It came drenched in a sauce that had little flavor other than sweet. The chicken seemed very low quality. About on par with a food court. It was too bad that the chicken and sauce were sub-par, because the new smoker was kickin in. You could definitely taste it.

On prior occasions, I have also tried the mac'n cheese, and cornbread, neither of which were worth writing about. The ribs are OK, but I would get them dry so that you can put your own sauce on.

Tap and Vine -- Lee Hwy in North Arlington

I think Tap and Vine fits a great niche. We can take our three kids and not have to worry about finding things for them to do or eat. We can also get some great beers and wine. And the food is good, too. Some of it is is too expensive for what it is (the hamburger comes to mind) and some of it is better than what you would expect for the cost (the $14 flank steak is one example). We'll come back.

Foodie daughter turning 21 and we're celebrating in Washington

I would suggest Corduroy - New American in a great little renovated townhouse. Neighborhood is meh but once you get inside you're golden. Great variety of things from seafood to meat.

I also second the recs for City Zen and Palena. Both incredible places.

question about Ritz Carlton Tyson's brunch

I have never been to the Ritz Carlton Pentagon City brunch, but my family has been to the Ritz Tyson's brunch several times. It is one of our faves. It is a buffet setting (although there my be a la carte options). There is a caviar station with fresh blini, etc. There are usually a few types of caviar; a black caviar, salmon and gold. They also have champagne.

There is an omelet station with lobster among the options. There is also a great selection of cheese, meats, and seafood. The desserts are amazing. There are several dramatic options, but the house made ice cream and cookies are where I spend my calories.

The buffet is set up in the kitchen, which is kind of cool to walk through, especially if you ate there when it Maestro was open (RIP). Ask for a table by the window and on a clear day you may be able to see the National Cathedral.

Your 2008 Best Meal Wash DC /B.More Area

Aside from Adour, which was very good but not great, I didn't hit too many of the biggies this year (perhaps it was the twin boys born in November of 2007). Had some great casual meals at some of my favorites:

Kotobuki on a cold night. Our first out without the kids since bringing the boys home. Eel Kamemeshi, sake, and moochi. Glad we waited.

My first meal at Black Salt. Addie's mussels are awesome. Followed by brunch at Black Salt. Their scones and sticky buns are the best in town.

My second burger at Ray's Hell burger. The first was underdone. The second was perfect.

And I found my number one remedy for a cold: Ma Po Tofu at Joe's Noodle House with a scallion pancake.

Does anyone know where I might find Star Anise?

There is also a Penzeys on 7 in Falls Church, that might be a little closer to you. Balducci's usually has it in the spice aisle. I think I've seen it at Whole Foods, too.

Best place to buy live lobsters in D.C./Md. area?

It is. But I think lobster prices are down all around. Apparently they tanked with the credit crisis:

Best place to buy live lobsters in D.C./Md. area?

I would try the Blacksalt fishmarket at the front of Blacksalt restaurant in the Palisades. I have always been pleased with the freshness of their product. I was there a couple of weeks ago and I think their white board had 1 1/2 lb lobsters at $12.

Adour @ St. Regis

That seems to be the general consensus. My wife took me for my birthday last week.
Everything was very good, but nothing was exceptional.

First, the space is very cool. The medium sized room is hung with huge old beams. The rest of the room is very modern. Two of the walls are wine bottles encased in glass. Chairs are white leather.

We had the tasting menu, and the one thing I like was that they had an option where we could buy two half bottles (one red, one white) that had been paired with the tasting menu. It allowed us to get comfortable with the wine, but avoided awkward pairings.

A bit of H2 oversell at the beginning. We were offered still or sparkling and ordered still. Tap was not offered and we had to ask for it. Otherwise, service was very good. Friendly, but not gregarious.

I thought the food was very good, but also thought everything needed a little salt or pepper. Thoughtfully, there was salt and pepper on the table. Standouts included a foie gras torchon that was bold and creamy served with toasted brioche, and the above referenced ricotta gnocchi, which I really enjoyed, even though I generally don't like ricotta or gnocchi. Perhaps it was the crispy prosciutto and wild mushrooms. The dusk breast filet was fine. I forgot the fish dish. We ordered cheese. It was tasty, but the bread was sliced too thick. I was very disappointed in the sable for desert. It only had one note, and seemed like the death by chocolate version. The macaroons were awesome, as were the chocolates which were boxed up for us.

Gauging this restaurant is tough, because of the name attached. Five or six years ago, regardless of the name, this would have been a stupendous restaurant in the District. Now, though, it doesn't quite challenge the best the city has. While very good, I probably won't return for a couple of years. I don't go out enough, and there is too much out there to sample when I do.

We had the tasting menu, which consisted of:

Need help with dinner!

How about Black Salt? I think it is one of the best seafood restaurants in DC. It's in Palisades, so you don't have to go deep into the city, just hop across chain bridge and you're almost there. Almost everything is under $30.

I liked BDT, but it's best attributes are roasted dishes, read meet or organs, so not sure if it would be your cup of tea.

Joe's Noodle House-What to order?

There are a couple of older posts you may want to look at, but here are my faves:

Triple Pepper Chicken
Tibetan Lamb With Cumin
Salt and Crispy Squid
Ma Po Tofu
Stir Fried Rice Cake with Pork and Vegetables
Beef Noodle Soup Szechuan Style

I agree with Ericandblueboy - don't order the lunch special! And, remember, Joe's Noodle House was the name of the restaurant before the present owner. It does not mean that the noodle dishes are their specialties.

Pho 75 for Breakfast?

Pho 75 is usually packed for weekend brunch. Same menu: Pho. Can't be beat on those cold, wet mornings when it's tough to get out of bed. Finish it off with the Vietnamese iced coffee. Espresso (or at least strong coffee) with condensed milk. It's like drinking coffee ice cream.

Ray's the Steak, details?

Great posts so far. I would add the shrimp and scallop diablo appetzier, the hangar steak entre, and the key lime pie for desert.

DC/Arlington Dining for One

Sorry, no bar at Rays (Steaks or Hell Burgers). And no TV, either.

DC/Arlington Dining for One

Another short cab ride would be to Old Town Alexandria where you could eat at the bar at Restaurant Eve, IMHO, one of the best restaurants in the city. Also in Old Town, and owned by the same people, is Eamonn's (fantastic fish and chips) and the Majestic, for more casual fare.

You could also take a cab to Eat Bar, a gastro pub in mid-Arlington, slightly closer than Rays.

I have heard raves and rants about Bebo Trattoria, run by former James Beard award winner Roberto Donna. Most rave about the casual, yet well crafted pastas and pizzas, but rant about horrendous service. I've never been.

Finally, I like Lebanese Taverna, in the Pentagon Row shops. It's a local chain, with good mezza.

The 25 Dollar Dinner Challenge

Kotobuki - 12 pieces of sushi ($12), two rolls ($7), water and green tea (free), one order mochi for desert (two portions, I believe, at $2.50 total) = $21.50

Best Chocolates?

Another vote for Artisan Confections. Small (not much more than an ordering area), local shop with phenomenal looking (and tasting) stuff. My parents just gave us a box for our anniversary and the salted caramel and aged bourbon chocolates were awesome.

Opinions of Church Street Pizza in Vienna?

Love Church Street Pizza. I can't say I'm an expert on NY Pizza, being from CA and DC, but I put this on par with the Italian Store in Arlington. IMHO, one of the best in NOVA. Good cheese, good sauce, good crust. My family's go to for take out pizza.

Moving to DC...

This is a phenomenal list! A couple of comments/additions:

I can confirm that Blacksalt is one of the best seafood restaurants in the City. They also have a great jazz brunch on Sundays - and a nice little fish market in the front.

I would add Kotobuki for casual, cheap sushi and kamemeshi (rice casserole that is especially good when the weather turns cold).

Rays the Steaks or Rays the Classics for the best steak you will ever eat - and in a casual setting. Charlie Palmer or Capital Grille (downtown location) for high end steaks.

Mendocino Grill is another wine bar I love.

The OP didn't mention Chinese, but I think there are a couple worth trekking to, specifically Joe's Noodle House, A&J (another brunch spot) and China Bistro (for dumplings).

Help: Morel mushrooms

Saw some today at Balducci's in N. Bethesda on Old Georgetown Road.

Restaurant suggestions?

Near GW I would suggest Kinkead's for seafood (maybe sit at the bar?) or you could walk a bit to Blue Duck Tavern, which might be a bit more adventurous but there is plenty of meat and potato on the menu. I'm a little lost when it comes to Crystal City.

Favorite sit-down Vietnamese in DC/VA/MD?

I'd suggest Minhs, between Clarendon and Courthouse in Arlington. Great food, looks a little fancy (but isn't), quiet. I like whatever fish is on special and the grilled pork North Vietnamese style.

Where to buy foie gras and caviar in/near DC?

The Balducci's on Old Georgetown Road sells several different types of caviar. I think they sell D'artagnan Foie Gras as well. Just slightly outside the Beltway.

where to buy softshells

I saw a few today at the Bethesda Balducci on Old Georgetown Road.

Hong Kong Palace Menu -- Pick Your Faves.....

That seals it, then, I have to sit down and try again.

Hong Kong Palace Menu -- Pick Your Faves.....

Interesting. That's what I expected from the cumin lamb, as well. It was almost as if they took a "sliced lamb in brown sauce" dish and threw some cumin and peppercorns on it. Both times I have done carry out, so maybe I should try eating in next time.

Hong Kong Palace Menu -- Pick Your Faves.....

I am a huge fan of Joe's Noodle House, so when I heard about HK Palace I was excited because it's close to home. I've had it twice (last night was the second time) and I'm a bit disappointed. Here are my thoughts on each dish:

Chengdu Kung Pao Chicken - Better than most Kung Pao, with a lighter, slightly more complex sauce.

The Wooden Ear Mushroom Salad - Slightly bland, I wanted to like it, but I think it just wasn't my cup of tea.

Chengdu Zhong's Dumpling - Good sauce, dumpling skin was too thick, filling was under seasoned. May have suffered from time to take it home.

Mini Wonton With Chicken Broth - Meh; but I wasn't expecting much anyway. This was for my kid.

Chengdu Smoking Tea Duck - Tasty, but the appetizer portion was mostly bone and gristle.

Lamb With Cumin - Major disappointment. It was more like, onions and peppers with small slivers of lamb. Maybe I have come particular to Joe's preparation, but the HKP version was oversauced and you could barely taste the cumin. I also like the way Joe's prepares theirs with chunks, rather than slices and cooks it fairly dry. Plenty of Sezchuan peppercorns, though.

Fried Spinach with Garlic - not bad.

I'll be back to try some of the other recs on this post, but I can't say that it's in the regular rotation right now.

Dumplings in Bethesda?

You have to drive a little further up Rockville Pike, but China Bistro is my fav. Go for Mama's Special Dumplings. I find the dumplings at A&J also tasty, but sometimes a little heavy. You can find A&J in Annandale and Rockville.