The Weekly Whisk - 9/19/19

Musings from a foodie…

I was going to report on an elegant little restaurant that opened a mere three weeks ago just a short distance north of Kittery, Maine where I live.  It was opened by Eloise and John and represented an elegant addition to the local culinary scene.  However, after only a mere three weeks of operation, it closed. While the microgreens with truffle salt dressing and gazpacho made with local farm raised tomatoes in the “Salmoregia” (Catalonian = strained not just blended) style and the duck were all outstanding, the business model – for whatever reason – was not in place.  So, it folded. 

So, I turned to Zaytinya [* * * * * ] based in Washington, DC to celebrate the culinary skills of Jose Andres who not only does an outstanding job of turning out wonderful Mediterranean cuisine but also can be found handing out food to hurricane victims on a moments notice.  So, my message to all if that if you make it to our Nation’s Capital, stop in a Zaytinya – one of my favorites to help out Andres who will turn around and help others.  He brings the best of the best to culinary practices…  Zaytinya – 701 9th Street, NW (Corner of 9th and G Streets, near a DC Metro stop) – Washington, DC 20001 – (202) 638-0800 – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Weekly Whisk - 8/5/19

Musings from a foodie…

In recent years, I’ve become a fan of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods of various styles – especially Greek and Iranian.  I’m always on the hunt for good places that offer true-to-form style cooking.  Well, I found one in New York City.  Head to Limani [* * * * * ] the next time you are in the Big Apple.  While it’s a bit on the expensive side, the food is Greek, the cooks are Greek, the waiters are Greek and the ambiance is Greek.  It’s a fine establishment and a worthy destination on any foodie’s checklist. 

We decided to go with a family style dinner which they very nicely adapted from the menu.  The dinner  started with a bang when we order the octopoli (octopus) which was the best I’ve had in the states.  In fact, this was one of the best octopus I’ve had across the lands.  Not only was it cooked to perfection but the aging was also exceptional.  The Saganaki was equally outstanding. Then, came the Greek salad which had the only ding of the evening and, it wasn’t the salad, but the tomatoes that were disappointing.  The reason?  They were American tomatoes – you know, those bright red, harddddddd (ready-to-ship-across-the-country tomatoes).  They were acceptable but not garden quality tomatoes.  The Horta was OK although I’m not a big fan except for the spinach portion and the asparagus was cooked to perfection.  The Dorado was the main entree and, again, was cooked to perfection with an olive oil/lemon sauce.  Finally, what Greek dinner is not complete without Greek yoghurt, walnuts and honey (from Kythera where the bees suckle on thyme instead of clover).  It was fabulous. 

So, if you’re in the mood for a wonderful dinner with equally wonderful ambiance – head to Limani – 45 Rockefeller Plaza (near Radio City Music Hall on 51st) – New York – (212) 858-9200 – www.limani.comEnjoy!!

The Weekly Whisk - 6/12/19

Musings from a foodie…

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to visit the “Northern Neck” of Virginia.  It’s a specific rural area of the state where a peninsula juts out into the Chesapeake Bay.  And, while you can sort of see the lights of DC and Baltimore late at night with the lights bouncing on the upper stratosphere, you are definitely in rural America. It’s a charming area and in particular, the town Irvington, Virginia is where you’ll find the Hope and Glory Inn [ * * * * ]. The owners are Peggy and Dudley Patterson – and, Dudley does exactly what Peggy asks him to do!  Each room in the bed and breakfast is like a small cabin with a small living room, a sitting area, as well as sleeping space.  And, the crème de la crème of the place is Meserata, the cook.  She hails from Addis, Ethiopia and she was exceptionally accommodating to all the culinary needs of our small group.  Peggy and Dudley are lucky to have her as part of their team. Besides, even though Dudley is a nice guy, I’m not sure he would cook as well. 

We started the evening with local roasted oysters with pesto sauce accompanied with soft bread mixed with thyme and tobacco (yes, you got it although I could not taste it). After lots of talkin’, discussin’, and assumin’ we moved on to the main course of rock fish and blue crab.  The fish was cooked to perfection and accompanied with lentils and peas. Meserata noted that the sauce had “Ethiopian spices” but she demurred and smiled when I asked which ones.  For starch there was a potato scallop.  Not to be forgotten were the carrots with dill – in a traditional French style, brussels sprouts with red pepper; and, asparagus steamed and braised with butter.  To top off the evening, Meserata prepared a crème brulee with fresh blackberries and, it was over the top wonderful!!!  As important as the meal was the presentation which was wonderful as well.  It’s truly an undiscovered foodie place and, after the meal, you can simply retire to your room for a nap!  I highly recommend it.  Call ahead and make reservations if you’re not staying there and, even if you are staying there, call ahead to make sure Meserata will be tending the culinary delights of the customers that evening.  After all, you probably don’t want Dudley to step in :-)   Enjoy…  Call ahead and check it out: Hope & Glory Inn – 65 Tavern Road – Irvington, VA 22480 – (804) 438-6053 – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Weekly Whisk - 5/1/19

Musings from a foodie…

You’re not going to believe this!!  In Changsha, China I had the opportunity to participate in a literal “feast” which exceed my wildest imagination.  First, I’ve been to many Chinese “feasts” over the years.  But, this one topped the list.  We had dinner in a restaurant located at the Fire Palace Temple Fair which is renowned in Changsha as one of the oldest temple fairs in China. In fact, even to this day, Changsha is considered one of the cities which highlights the folk culture of Hunan and the rest of the nation. To that end we were invited to our evening at the First Palace Restaurant in the notable Mao Zedong Room, named after the founding leader of the People’s Republic of China. 

Let me say simply that a description of the fabulous – remember, “beyond imagination” – meal is simply not possible.  The setting was typical with a large room and a circular table seating 20 people with a constantly moving inner disk to keep the food circling the entire table ever so slowly but regularly. But, rather than describing the food, let me simply share the litany of courses we were offered since a description is not feasible unless the entire blog were devoted to food – which some of you may wish for :-) . Regardless, the menu consisted of: Fresh tofu with a rice broth for starters, Fat back bacon or, “Chairman Mao’s” favorite, Jelly fish, Shredded tripe, Steamed baby bok choy (in season for virtually every meal), Curried cauliflower, Orange shrimp, Chicken with mushrooms in a sweet and sour sauce, Lamb spare ribs – served on a plate adorned with a porcelain lambs head, Roasted white fish with spinach, Squash soup, Fried balls of dough drenched in honey, Spicy bacon and mushrooms, Fire beef in cumin sauce, Lotus root (also, in season), Fresh fruit; and, Fried rice donuts.  Whew!!!  If reading the list does not fill you up, I suggest that you purchase a ticket to Changsha and go to the Fire Palace Restaurant  [ * * * * * ]WuYi East Road 93 – Changsha, China - +86 (731) 8412 0580.  You will not be disappointed. 

The Weekly Whisk - 4/19/19

Musings from a foodie…

It’s not just down the street, across town or even in the next state over but, if you ever have the chance – make sure you visit Fakhreldin Restaurant in Amman, Jordan.  First, Jordan should be on your bucket list for a lot of reasons.  It’s got Petra – the city carved out of stone; Jerash, one of the only Greco-Roman cities, Wadi Rum with all of its pre-historic carvings out in a desert preserve, Mount Nebo where Moses saw the Promised Land – to say nothing about the wonderful people.  We were in the neighborhood (Dubai) and I suggested that we should stop by Jordan on the way home. 

One of the best restaurants in Jordan is Fakhreldin.  It was originally built and owned by Fawzi Al-Mulki, one of the first Prime Ministers of Jordan.  It offers up some of the most delicious Lebanese food I’ve ever tasted and now has the added distinction of growing its own herbs and spices onsite which are used in the various recipes that adorn the menu.  The starters of Hommous, Grilled Halloumi Cheese was served as a grilled appetizer with local olives.  It was absolutely great (J)! Next came the Fattoush Salad with cucumbers, lettuce, tomato – in a classic Arabic salad.  What a delight.  And, if that weren’t enough – we then proceeded to the obligatory lamb cutlets or Kastaleta with potatoes and tomatoes. Ummm.  I was in heaven.  And, you will be too if you have the opportunity to visit Jordan and the Fakhreldin Restaurant – a not to be missed treat in Central Amman.  Save the location: Fakhreldin Restaurant – Jabal – 1st Circle – Amman, Jordan - +962 (6) 4652 399 – www.fakhreldin.com

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