Monday, March 29, 2010

Spices: A Misnomer

This will be a quick one. Michael had a craving for Chinese food last night. Well, as far as we have discovered there is no good Chinese food in Washington, not even average Chinese food, so we were reduced to ordering takeout from Spices which has the major benefit of being close to us. We had a large feast of tofu "fries", dragon dumplings, caramelized chicken, "shaking" beef, crispy vegetables, and curry laksa.

The tofu looked like fries (same shape) but were flabby and gummy, although pleasantly spicy. The dragon dumplings were reasonably tasty although doughy. The caramelized chicken was not. It was chicken pieces sauteed with onions in a generic brown sauce. The shaking beef was tough little cubes of meat with large untrimmed stalks of some green Chinese vegetable. The crispy vegetables were also not. Sauteed in the same generic brown sauce as the chicken, along with big square chunks of tofu (better than the fries, but not much). The laksa was good, I thought, moderately spicy with a hint of coconut milk (Michael wanted more coconut flavor) and with large chunks of chicken and green beans and with bean sprouts and noodles to be added. A decent value at $10 and the only successful dish of the bunch.

Hopefully the next time Michael gets a craving for Chinese food we can wait until it goes away. Otherwise, I will hold out for City Lights which while not truly authentic, was much better than this poor collection.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bardeo: Still our favorite neighborhood hangout

After a long and eventful week, neither of us really felt like cooking so we headed over to Ardeo/Bardeo for our Friday evening meal. I made an Opentable reservation (mostly to get the points) although I found out that this really applies to the more formal Ardeo side, while we prefer the usually more lively Bardeo part. Indeed, at 7:00 we got the last Bardeo table while as far as I could tell, Ardeo was seriously underpopulated. (You can get dishes from either menu at either place, so it's really a matter of atmosphere.)

We had, as usual, a delightful and delicious meal. Starters included fried rice balls (delicious), a dish of red peppers with sardine fillets (OK, but the peppers needed more seasoning), and squid ink risotto (rich, generous, and very filling). Michael then had a "medium plate" of steak chimichurri while I had a hamburger...both came with excellent fries. The hamburger for $12 must be one of the best bargains in DC.

For drinks we both started with a wine flight: Michael's included a Gruner Veltliner, Torrontes, and Muscatel, the latter from Spain, all of which were OK but not great. I had a more interesting flight that included a California Chardonnay (name escapes me, but good enough for Michael to order a full glass), Zinfandel and Cab (the Zin was great, the Cab a little heavy). I then followed by a glass of Touriga Nacional which I had wanted to try for some time...I thought it was very nice, well balanced and great with the food although not fruity and rich enough for Michael to have more than one sip.

We left very well fed and very happy. What a great place to have in the neighborhood. Would be even better if we could walk to it...well, maybe in the summer.