Sunday, December 16, 2007

Falafel Hut

I haven't had a falafel in about 20 years, I'm guessing. But DH has been wanting to check out Falafel Hut for a while and I finally gave in. I'm glad I tried it, but I wasn't really all that impressed. I mean, it was good, but not something I'd ever crave or anything. I ordered the Vegetarian Combo Plate which came with 2 good size balls of deep fried ground chickpeas (hence, the falafel), hummus, baba ghannoush, tahini, tebouleh, cucumber salad, warm pita bread and 2 small dolmas. I am kind of a expert when it comes to the hummus and baba ghannoush because I worked at a fabulous company for a few years and they made absolutely the best dips you'll ever taste. My husband thought Falafel Huts dips were better than my ex-clients stuff, but I totally disagree.

The falafel itself was good-really crispy on the outside softer on the inside. The dolmas were underneath the falafel, so they were warm, and that ruined it for me. I like my dolmas chilled. The cucumber salad was really good and so was the tebouleh. Everything was good, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. But it was a healthy choice and different than what I would usually eat. My husband tried the shawerma and he loved it. I put a link to the menu in case anyone needs definition's on any of this stuff! LOL

This stuff was quite filling! I don't think I was even able to finish half of my lunch--good size portions, though. I have gotten quite the assortment of good grains in my diet these past couple of days! :)


The husband and I have eaten at Noonans several times, but the last time we ate there, we got into a huge fight (over my weight!) and I have refused to return. Until last night. Sadly, I think last nights visit made me want to never return again. I always say that I'm happy as long as I get good service, good food, or obviously, both. In this case, it is true that the service was excellent, but the food just kind of sucked. No, thats not completely true. Some of it was pretty good, but the bad stuff overruled. No big deal for Noonans, though, because I will always frequent their other two excellent spots: Moylans and Marin Brewing Company. And not for the beer--their food is quite awesome. In fact, I don't believe I've done reviews on either before...? I know I've intended to do one on Moylans, so just consider this it. Moylans is awesome, good micro brews, and the best Reuben you can get at a non Jewish place.

Back to Noonans, though. BTW, I should have listened to Becks and Posh's review of Noonans form 2004, but I didn't. I ordered with the intention of writing this review, not that I compromised my taste at all, though.

I was intrigued by the Grilled Pancetta Wrapped Prawns. Molasses & cumin? Interesting. These little guys were good. They were presented in a bowl and were swimming in the sauce. I never did taste any cumin, but the molasses was apparent--not as sweet as I was afraid t would be.

I am sorry to say that the only salad that interested me was the Baby Iceberg salad! Still almost kind of a wedge, but not quite. It was beautiful! It looked like it was almost like an intact head of butter lettuce or frisee, but it was indeed iceberg. It had baby tomatoes, sliced red onion, and a delicious bleu cheese dressing, which was pleasantly on the creamy side. Not as many chunks of cheese, which was a nice change.

I ordered the crab cakes off of the appetizer menu as my entree. I really wanted a steak, but wanted to eat a little healthier. These were some of the worst crab cakes I've ever had. And I've had bad crab cakes. I really should learn that no one makes them better than I do! LOL But seriously, I do have a knack for crab cakes. I'm going to make them next week for the family Christmas gathering, so I'll have to post my recipe. Anyway, the presentation was beautiful-4 dots of green sauce of undetermined flavor, and a endive leave with what was supposed to be remoulade sauce, but tasted more like tartar sauce to me. And in the middle of that was two crab cakes the size of a silver dollar at most. Very tiny. But for the price, it was fine, and after all, it was just an appetizer. But still. I've had crab cakes from appetizer menus before and they were much larger. These crab cakes were just flavorless. Even the sauces couldn't save them.

The husband ordered the daily fish special which was Opaka Paka...which sounded great in theory, but it wasn't. Again, it was a tiny portion-and this was an entree. Beautiful presentation, but just not great. Now, I don't always review the husbands food, but since I was still hungry from only eating half of one of my tiny crab cakes, I tried some of his dish. So the fish was baked and a bit overdone. Neither one of us can remember the waiters description of what it was supposed to be, but we're going with an orange/citrus sauce that was drizzled on top of the fish. It was bland, but thats ok because I think they were trying to highlight the fish. As they should---assuming that they hadn't over cooked it, I bet it would have been better. Does that make sense? What I'm saying is that they had good intentions. On the side of this dish was something rarely seen: a pleasant surprise of a scoop of quinoa!! Unfortunately, it was also bland, but the sauteed bell peppers complimented it nicely enough.

On to Bella's dish! I took one bite of her delicious grilled cheese sandwich and I wanted to eat the rest! But I didn't. Of course, neither did she! When will restaurants learn that children generally do not like cheddar cheese? The french fries were really good, though.

This review ended up being more mixed than I thought it would have been. I went away unimpressed, but in thinking back and writing about it, I realize that it wasn't all bad. There is a lot of room for improvement, though.

A message to diners who insist on using their cell phone in restaurants: whether you realize it or not--and I'm guessing you don't---you are being extremely rude. There was this party of 3 in the same dining room as us last night. 2 very large black men and a cute black girl. One of the men was YELLING so loudly into his cell phone that I nearly got up and took the phone away from him and wanted to smack him so badly!! The only reason I didn't is because he would have mopped me up with the floor. Anyway, it's really rude to chat on your cell phone in restaurants--not only to the other patrons, but what about your table mates? Rude.

Bottom line is that I don't think we will go back to Noonans again. The service is really good, but the food is just too inconsistent.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

McCormick & Schmicks Seafood-DC

This place was awesome! It was bustling busy with lots of big Christmas parties, but even without a reservation, we were greeted and seated right away. Our table was set back in a little alcove with lush red velvet drapes so we felt semi private. There were coat hooks on either side so we could easily all fit our coats, scarves, & mittens. We were greeted right away by our waiter, who recommended a nice glass of wine to start out with. He was very attentive! I was very happy with the service!

We ordered 2 bowls of steamed clams for everyone to share and they were delicious. Not too small, not too big. The broth was delicious, not salty like it can be sometimes. It was served with a few toast points on the side. Yummy. I split a wedge of iceberg with my husband. The lettuce was cold and crisp, the bleu cheese was generous, and it was sprinkled with bacon bits and red onion slices. My only complaint would be that the dressing was too heavy, but thats not such a bad thing--unless you happen to be counting calories! ;) For my entree, I ordered the seared ahi tuna off of the appetizer menu. It was very deep red in color; I prefer mine more pink. But it was fresh and very good. It was served with soy sauce & wasabi for dipping, and a garnish of a really good seaweed & sprout salad.

McCormick and Schmicks are located all over the country, primarily on both coasts. I've eaten at the one in San Francisco many times and it is always delicious. The one in DC was equally as good, if not better. Delicious food, excellent service. What more could I ask for?

Sometimes I rate, sometimes I don't. I give this place 5 out of 5 stars!

Thank you Tracy for the great comment! I have a lot more to go! Next time I dine out, I'm going to remind myself that I'm getting tired of writing "I had the wedge and ahi tuna"!! LOL Maybe I ought to think outside the box next time! :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Cosi-Washington DC

After walking in the freezing snow for miles, and miles, and miles (ok, 1/4 of a mile) we found a place called cosi. After perusing the huge menu above the cashiers head, I decided on the bagel sandwich. However, since it was 10:59, I was informed that breakfast was no longer available, so I had to resort to lunch. This was a flat bread sandwich type place, and since I was friggin' starving, I went for the Turkey, Cheddar, & Tomato with honey mustard. It was ok. The honey mustard had an unexpected "bite" to it, which was a pleasant surprise. But, it was drippy. The service was more than confusing, the food was mediocre, but hey, they had wi-fi! Too bad I left my laptop at the hotel!

I didn't eat much on our trip, but I do plan to do a review of McCormicks & Schmicks because they absolutely rocked! Thanks, Tracy, for the gentle kick in getting me to post on this blog! RBR----if you are reading----add my EP account to your friends list, ok? I'm out of the closet now LOL Love you guys!
PS Tracy--how do you do the swirly dash before your name? I don't have that...