Saturday, November 8, 2008

Chez Shea (Seattle)

Mr. BW and I are in Seattle, vacationing. Last night, we dined at Chez Shea.

Mr. BW and I both started with the wild mushroom, carmelized onion & gruyere tart. The flavors and textures were amazing. I could have eaten two more!

I then had the roasted golden beets and bosc pear salad. It was light and refreshing, exactly what I wanted.

Mr. BW had the pate campagne with black mission figs. As you can see, the figs were part of the pate, not a side, which was an interesting and pleasant surprise.

I had the house made ricotta gnocci. The chanterelle mushrooms were delightful and the gnocci was lip smacking good.

Mr. BW loved his confit of muscovy duck leg. And when I say he loved it, I mean he didn't offer me a single taste.
His carrot yam puree was delicious, though.

We were so stuffed by the time dessert rolled around that we just opted for coffees. Everything was exquisitely prepared and the service was amazing. The hostess quadrupled as our waitress, server, and sommelier and never let our water glasses get below half full. A great experience -- you can't go wrong!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Harry's Restaurant

Harry's Restaurant / Saloon is a disgusting dive at the corner of 11th and F. Although the place looks far from clean, it's always jammed packed with people and the food isn't too bad.

I've enjoyed the burgers, sandwiches and salads before, but my personal Harry's special is the chili cheese fries!

I picked up an order of these bad boys the other day for lunch and I was in heaven! The food is cheap, the service is fat and good, and it's convenient to work. Harry's gets a thumbs up -- just don't look too closely at the floors or your surroundings!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Mia's Pizza

Mr. BW and I happened upon Mia's Pizza the other day, completely by surprise. We were out and about in Bethesda right around lunch time and thought, hey, what do we have to lose? We've tried both Pizza Paradiso and Two Amy's and while we love both, the endless wait time and the always crowded nature of both restaurants prevents both of us from ever wanting to go when it's just the two of us. Instead, we typically save our Pizza Paradiso and Two Amy's outings to dinners with friends from out of town.

The restaurant features a large dining room, with tables that are actually spread out far enough that you don't feel like you're eating with the group next to you. They also have a large patio (where we sat). By all appearances, the restaurant was extremely kid-friendly, tons of families, little kids, and an ample supply of booster seats.

Mr. BW started with the soup, which he said was delightful.

I ordered the chopped salad with beets, eggs, bacon, tomatoes, and blue cheese. The salad was refreshing, perfectly dressed (not too heavy), and ample enough for me to share with Mr. BW.

Because we're oinkers, we also ordered an appetizer's portion of meatballs and foccacia to share.
Both of us agreed that the meatballs were quite tasty - perfectly seasoned and textured. The foccacia wasn't bad either.

Because we ordered so many starters, we decided to share a pizza.

Our pizza was amply sized and featured pesto, onions, and olives. The crust was great -- must better than Two Amy's, which I found to be slightly undercooked, and the option of having pesto on top of regular sauce, as opposed to as a replacement sauce, was something I appreciated. While I do love pesto, I'm a pizza purist -- I demand tomato sauce and usually, lots of it.

We heartily enjoyed our lunch and will definitely be going back. The lack of the oppressive wait time and the overcrowdedness that plagues Pizza Paradiso and Two Amy's definitely makes driving up to Bethesda worthwhile.

I can't find a website for Mia's Pizza, but it's located at 4926 Cordell Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814. (301) 718-6427

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Capital Grille

Last night, Mr. BW and I had dinner at The Capital Grille. A cross-country chain steakhouse is not really our sort of thing as they usually tend to be overpriced and mediocre (for what you're paying!), but we had received a $50 gift certificate mailer from American Express a few weeks ago and thought -- "hey, what do we have to lose."

Our reservation was for 8:15pm, but we weren't seated until almost 8:45. Service was initially dodgy -- it took quite a while for our server to come, get our drink orders, and give us the specials.

I wasn't particularly hungry and opted for a light meal of soup and salad. My onion soup came in a crock and was pretty tasty; though it could've had a better coating of melted and slightly burnt cheese on the top.
Mr. BW ordered the spinach salad as a starter and, well, it never appeared. We mentioned it to the server when he came with our entrees and our waiter was so apologetic, he offered us dessert -- on the house.

I ordered the spinach salad as my entree and it was fine. Nothing spectacular, but it had all the necessary components: spinach, cheese, nuts, and bacon dressing. The only key was that my dressing was supposed to be warm and warm it was not. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, though, as I ordered my dressing "on the side."

Mr. BW ordered the tenderloin ontop a bed of lobster. I had a tasty taste and it was pretty good. His entree was $42. While it was good, it wasn't blow your mind spectacular, which is what I expect for $42.

Our side of onion rings, however, were blow your mind amazing. I could've eaten a whole bucket of these.
Our complimentary dessert (and coffees) were amazing. The cake was incredibly dense and I loved the vanilla/raspbery coilis sauce on the side.

Our total bill ended up being around $81, so our final bill was a mere $31. Because the waiter was so apologetic about forgetting Mr. BW's salad and because we didn't want to screw the waiter based on my decision not to order a real entree, we left a $30 tip for good measure.

I'm happy we went -- what a deal! -- but wouldn't go back without another $50 gift certificate or on someone else's dime.

Ray's Hell Burger

Last Saturday, Mr. BW and I decided to check out the hoopla that is Ray's Hell Burger.
I ordered the special (burger with choice of two cheeses, side or bag of chips, and a drink). For a few extra bucks, I upgraded to the root beer float, which was totally worth it.
I ordered my burger with a hearty slice of cheddar, dressed with lettuce, tomato, and sauteed onions. The bun was hearty, but the burger was way too messy. Messy as in it started to fall apart as I was eating it.

Mr. BW had even more trouble with his burger (medium), when, as he was eating, chunks of burger started falling out and onto his plate. While the burger was good, our tab ended up being $28 -- which is, frankly, too much for two people to eat at a burger joint. Mr. BW's final word: "it's just a giant burger, with expensive cheese."

I'd recommend this place if you're a burger fanatic or just want to give it a go. But, we've certainly made better burgers on our grill at home.

Present Restaurant

The other day, Mr. BW and I went to Present Restaurant out in Falls Church. They don't have a website yet, but Tyler Cowen's review is a fairly good description of the dining experience.

First, unlike many/most vietnamese restaurants, Present's decor is actually nice. You will not be embarrassed to take a client, or first date, here.
We ordered a number of appetizers, which were light and tasty.

For our first entree, we ordered the whole crispy fish, which was *!@&#$!@&!@&( unbelievable. Highly recommended.
The orange duck was also good, but slightly too gelatinous for my tastes.

We had a very enjoyable time there and highly recommend it. I wouldn't order the orange duck again, but I can still salivate a little thinking of the fish. Also, per Tyler, the menu is rather limited, so don't go expecting 1,001 different phos and variations thereof.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mandoo Bar

While in NYC, we also ate at Mandoo Bar. I need to preface this post by saying that I love mandoos, as you can probably gather from my blog name! I love mandoos and dumplings of all shapes and sizes. They are one of my most favorite things in the world!

So, of course, when our first choice for dinner was all booked up (Lupa), we decided to go to Mandoo Bar instead for a casual, homey meal.

My incredible sense of happiness at being presented with plate after plate of mandoos prevented me from taking any photos, but I can highly recommend both the boiled pork dumplings as well as the fried. I hear the kimchee ones are also good and we declined to order the seafood ones, choosing to get an order of bimbimbap instead. My friend, who is Korean, had been concerned that the popularity of the restaurant would have affected its tastiness, but we were quickly assured -- "still good," she said.

Just 24 hours later, I am craving more mandoos!