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Showing posts from February, 2019

Los Angeles: Carmen Cantina

I enjoyed a great Chile burger at Carmen Cantina. The beef is wagyu and is laced with jalapeno peppers. The result was both juicy and with a nice kick of heat. The jalapenos were very nicely balanced with the beef. The fries were great, too. I ordered my burger protein style but the standard delivery is on a rich brioche bun.

Los Angeles: Water Grill

Water Grill has been a presence in downtown Los Angeles for twenty years. I enjoyed a superb dinner there. The space is one of those rooms that is halfway above the sidewalk, providing a comforting sense of coziness. The staff was extremely gracious. This superb bread got me started. My sea bass was perfectly cooked. The flesh was tender and very moist with a perfect texture. I carefully ate my fish to be sure I savored every bite.

Los Angeles: Pez Cantina

Pez is a lively lunch spot in downtown Los Angeles---a video crew was leaving as we entered. This is my Caesar salad with falafel that have been enhanced with nuts and some very nice spices. This was a healthy lunch that kept me going through the afternoon.

Los Angeles: Breakfast at Smeraldi

I enjoyed two breakfasts at Smeraldi, the breakfast spot at the Millenium Biltmore. The hotel has a long, elegant history and the restaurant reflects that heritage. The restaurant does provide a menu but the breakfast buffet seems like the smart choice. The omelet chef prepared me a very nice veggie omelet on both mornings. The fruit was fresh, firm, and flavorful. I enjoyed the yogurt with granola as well. Service was a bit scattered on my first morning but came up to speed by the time I was done. The second morning was very pleasurable. As I left, the maitre'd greeted me by name---these folks do their homework.

Los Angeles: McConnell's Ice Cream

I managed a quick visit to downtown LA's Grand Central Market, a historic facility that has been rejuvenated by a number of innovative vendors. McConnell's caught my attention as a great place for a treat. The single consists of two small scoops. I selected chocolate and coffee. This is superb ice cream with perfect flavors wrapped around a creamy base. Mmmmm, chocolate and coffee...

Los Angeles: Langer's Deli

Langer's is famous for it's pastrami. I managed to make it to the counter just before the restaurant closed at 4 PM. The decor is classic 1970's although the restaurant itself is much older. I enjoyed the cole slaw: slightly sweet and moderately crunchy. Here is my sandwich. The pastrami itself was flavorful and tender. I was a little disappointed in the rye bread. Although the center was tender, the crust was tough. Overall, a very good sandwich and I'm glad I made it to last call.

BWI: The Greene Turtle

I have found The Greene Turtle to be a reliable dinner spot at BWI. This time, I ordered soup and salad. The crab soup was hearty and appropriately crabby. The salad, which didn't make it into the photo, was small which turned out to be exactly the right size for me. The salad ingredients were very fresh and perky.

Pit Beef At The Canopy

After so many trips to Maryland, I finally realized that the suburbs have their own pit beef outposts. This Baltimore specialty has stayed very close to home, unlike some specialties like cheesesteaks. But food often travels with people as they move from the city to the suburbs. The Canopy was an excellent choice for my first sampling of this wonderful sandwich. The proprietor was very friendly and explained that they have been in business for over 30 years. The place is small. Most of the business is takeout but they do have a small counter. I ordered the classic pit beef sandwich with rare, thinly sliced beef. I followed the owner's suggestion on topping: horseradish, the homemade BBQ sauce, and sliced onion. That combination was excellent: a bit of sweetness, a touch of heat, just enough sauce to keep things moving. The beef itself was tender and juicy. The bun was just right---it provided both support and a bit of carbohydrate but didn't overwhelm the star …

Sykesville MD: French Twist Cafe

French Twist Cafe provided the perfect spot for a good breakfast, fortifying coffee, and space for morning work. It is located in a quaint two-story house in downtown Sykesville; upstairs is the spot to go for tables. As you can see, their two-barreled crepe stand would be a proud part of many a French crepe purveyor. I ordered two crepes. This is my savory Breton crepe with cheese, buckwheat, and a touch of black pepper. Superb! And this is my mandantory Nutella and banana crepe. Wonderfully sweet and satisfying.

Milu's Lamb Curry

My friend Milu made a delicious lamb curry using a simple Instant Pot pressure cooking technique. She started by browning the meat. Next, the potatoes and some chicken stock went into the pot for a round of pressure cooking. Next, the larger vegetables were pressure cooked for a few minutes. The smaller vegetables didn't receive any pressure cooking time, just a few minutes cooking time at room pressure. The result was delicious. The vegetables were perfectly cooked: soft and tender but full of flavor and just the right amount of texture.

College Park MD: Hanami Japanese Restaurant

Hanami, across from the University of Maryland campus, provided the perfect spot for our lunch meeting. The quite atmosphere was very conducive to discussion. My sushi lunch was very enjoyable. It featured many of the greatest hits, including my favorite tuna and salmon. We also had a chance to try dessert. This lava cake featured lava mainly on top but it was quite tasty.

Columbia MD: Victoria Gastropub

Victoria Gastropub was our place to go for dinner. By the time we arrived, all seating was in the bar area but the full menu was being served. The atmosphere was lively, the staff friendly. My protein-style burger was satisfyingly burger-y. Shuvra ordered some excellent fries.

Milu's Lamb Kebabs

My friend Milu showed me how she makes her lamb kebabs. The mixture is simple: ground lamb, chopped onion, a few herbs and spices. The mixture is shaped simply. Milu keeps them short because she doesn't cook them on a skewer. Instead, she cooks them in the air fryer. The fat of the meat is enough to provide texture and heat conduction. The results were great---these tasty treats are great out-of-the-air-fryer for dinner or out-of-the-refrigerator for breakfast. Thanks, Milu!

Ellicott City MD: Sweet Cascades Chocolate

Sweet Cascades has relocated up the hill from its original pre-flood location. They are still going strong and provide a heady array of chocoaltes. Their collection includes both traditional chocolates---truffles and the like---along with treats such as peanut butter cups and dipped pretzels. I managed to hold off from devouring my peanut butter cup to make it a superb mid-afternoon treat.

Ellicott City MD: Georgia Grace Cafe

My friends and I enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Georgia Grace Cafe in old Ellicott City. The historic downtown was hit by a brutal flood and is still recovering. Georgia Grace has rebuilt and its beautiful, light-filled space was full. My potato soup was hearty and rich. A nice dose of bacon added a flavor note and added to the sense of richness. These fries were wonderfully crispy. The goat cheese and vinegar were an excellent combination. This baklava was oustanding: walnuts, pastry, honey all came through perfectly. It was huge, too.

Ellicott City MD: Lotte Supermarket

Milu and I enjoyed a visit to the Lotte market. This Korean chain caters to a broad range of cuisines. These huge bags of whole wheat flour greeted us at the entrance. We found Indian okra and American okra side-by-side. The American version seemed a little shorter and plumper but the differences were subtle. Not so with this Thai okra, a completely different beast. I've never noticed Thai okra before. My curiosity has been piqued.

NRT: Soba Noodles

I needed some lunch before boarding my plane. The hall outside of security at Narita Terminal 1 has a wide range of restaurants. Some have large menus. Others, like this soba shop, specialize. I ordered the soba noodles made from high-quality buckwheat. They were served cold with two sauces, one spicy and one savory. The noodles had a delicate flavor and texture with a touch of earthiness. I tried and enjoyed both sauces. This was a wonderful, peaceful meal that set me on my journey home.

Lincoln NE: Virginia's Cafe and Sweet Roll Showdown

Virginia's Cafe proved to be the right place for sustenance and technical discussion. It is located in an unfashionable part of town but the atmosphere inside is bright and welcoming. Justin and I decided to compare Virginia's sweet roll to Tina's Cafe. Our server explained that Virginia's version comes from a local donut shop. It is taller and a little more subdued than Tina's version, which makes it less sinful but more suited to long-haul eating. My veggie omelet was tasty. The potatoes were nicely crispy with soft, creamy centers. The little pancakes were an unexpected bonus. Overall, a very good breakfast.