American Bounty Restaurant (Culinary Institute of America)

Hyde Park, NY
(845) 471-6608

I was really looking forward to this meal, and I was not disappointed.  Like the other restaurants on the CIA campus, the students work both the front and the back of the restaurant.  The result is great service, remarkable food, and a pleasant atmosphere at a fraction of the price.

We started our meal with blueberry mojitos.  I lived in Miami for a bit and I appreciate good mojitos.  These were good.  To start, I had fois gras on "French toast" with a cherry sauce.  The liver and the sauce were delicious; the French toast was a bit greasy and overpowered the already rich duck.  My dining companion had an asparagus salad with warm goat cheese and pickled beats.  The sweet and sour beats paired nicely with the warm cheese.

For our main courses we had Lobster Burgoo--according to our waiter, a Southern dish that is typically made with possum or squirrel.  The lobster was a welcomed and delicious substitute.  My companion had braised short ribs.  The succulent meat fell off the bone and into a pool of creamy polenta.

For dessert we shared a strawberry rhubarb cobbler with homemade ice cream.  The top of the cobbler was more cookie like, and not my favorite (I am partial to biscuit crusts on cobblers), but the fruit compote and ice cream were delicious.




4822 MacArthur Blvd NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 298-6866

Makoto is rated a 29 on Zagat and it has earned every point.

You can certainly go there for sushi, but I highly recommend getting the complete dinner (7-10 small plates) to get the full experience. We started our meal with conch and wild mushroom soup served in a conch shell over "fire." This soup is traditionally cooked over a fire in Japan so it was served next to a flaming piece of blue lava. ok, I have no idea if it is really traditional or not, but I have no reason not to believe them and the flame was a completely gratuitous and enchanting accompaniment to the meal. It just got better from there. Some of the highlights included sushi served with freshly ground wasabi which tastes sweet rather than bitter; mussels in a ginger vinaigrette accompanied by avocado with spicy miso (rather than being hot spicy it was incredibly flavorful); soft shell crab in a puffed rice crust accompanied by a duo of lime and chili dipping salts; delicious sake; and, when you don't think you can eat another bite, gran marnier strawberry ice.

I can't wait to go back.



401 7th Street NW,
Washington, DC
(202) 628-1005

I love Oyamel. I usually go here for girl's nights, but my mom was in town and my husband and I thought it would be a great place to go for dinner. It was. My mom was a little hesitant because Oyamel is Mexican food. It is not the heavy, flavorless standard fair, but rather a light interpretation of interior Mexican flavors.

Before I get to the food, I just want to mention the atmosphere and the drinks. The restaurant is filled with Neiman Marcus inspired butterfly mobiles, Mexican masks, and bright colors. Maybe it's because I lived in New Mexico, but I love the festive atmosphere. You can't help but be in a good mood when you enter the restaurant. I recommend the Oyamel Margarita. It is a standard margarita served in a martini glass with salt foam, rather then a salt rim. The foam is light and delicious. I also recommend the "Frutas Agumadas," mango juice and mint combine with chili and tequila. It is slightly sweet, and slightly spicy--an intriguing alternative if you don't feel like a margarita.

The food really is good. I have eaten here on several occasions and although some dishes are definitely better then others, I have never been disappointed. I am a big fan of tapas because you get to try lots of different things and if you don't like it, you don't have to eat it. On this visit, we started with two types of ceviches--blue marlin and wahoo. The marlin was spicy and delicious. Ever since I first ate Marlin in Honduras, its been one of my favorite--but hard to find--fish. Marlin reminds me of a white fleshed salmon, and it works well with grapefruit and Jalapeno (the way Oyamel serves it). The "verde" wahoo ceviche lived up to it's name and was covered in avocado. I preferred the delicate balance of the Marlin ceviche, but the wahoo was delicious. We also had guacamole (good, but not as good as mine. Of course, I am biased), a special bean tapa (fabulous), hearts of palm salad, grilled flank steak, and an amazing chicken tamale. To top it all off, we each had a taco. I had the relatively standard grilled chicken taco with onions, guac, and peppers, which was good, but not amazing. I highly recommend the fish tacos (the fish melts in your mouth and is sauteed, not fried) and, if they have it, the braised goat tacos.

We ended our meal with coffee and warm chocolate cake with mole and vanilla ice cream. We were so full, but it was a great end to a fabulous meal.


Evo Bistro

1313 Old Chain Bridge Road,
McLean, VA
(703) 288-4422

We decided to go out to lunch today.  Our usual routine is to dutifully eat lunch at our desk, so this was a bit of an occasion.  We decided to go to Evo because 1) tapas are fun and 2) we really needed a glass of wine.  Evo has traditional Spanish Tapas, but with a Middle Eastern flare.

We were not disappointed.  Evo is kind of the place for "Mclean Ladies Who Lunch" to go and eat.  This actually isn't a bad thing.  The bistro with its high ceilings, blown glass fixtures, and wine wall, has a great atmosphere. Yes, you heard me correctly, there is a wine wall.  Evo has many wines on "tap."  You can purchase a card and taste as much or as little from the individual wines as you wish!  If you don't have to drive, it could be fun, delicious, and dangerous!

Although Evo has a full menu, I highly recommend getting tapas and sharing. They are delicious, and it's simply more fun to share your food.  We ordered two per person, which was just right.  First, my favorites.  The calamari was delicious.  It was lightly coated and cooked perfectly (I cannot stand heavily breaded overcooked rubber) and served with three delicious and intriguing dipping sauces.  I also recommend the Sweet Peppers stuffed with mushrooms and cheese, the tomato mozzarella salad, the spinach with chorizo, and the chicken kabobs served with saffron hummus.  We also had a portabello mushroom with goat cheese, empanadas, and the tortilla Espanola.  The mushroom had potential, but was kind of flavorless and the tortilla has way too much potato.  The empanadas were fine, but underspiced.  Also (and this is a completely personal preference) I prefer my empanadas with a flour/corn meal crust rather than a fried puff pastry.

I highly recommend Evo if you are looking for a place with excellent service,  plentiful drinks, good food, and a fun atmosphere.


Crystal Thai (vs. Thai Square)

4819 Arlington Blvd
Arlington, VA 22203
(703) 522-1311

Hey, ya'll.  My first blog entry. Up to now I have been an eater, rather than a blogger.  As Mary's loving husband, I have been the beneficiary of all of the good recipes you have read to date. (I have actually gained 9 pounds since we started living together.)  You would think her blog would be the best thing that ever happened to me.  While I have benefited from even more good food than usual, I fear I have lost my wife. (Now take my wife . . . please).  Mary now spends hours and hours in front of the computer screen.  Our conversations go something like this, [Me] "Mary, do you want to go out of town this weekend?"  [Long Pause] [Mary] "Hmmmnn."  You get the picture.  The blog has become the main topic of conversation in our household. Sorry President O.

Well, now on to the review. When we ordered the Thai food, I thought we were ordering from our usual place Thai Square.  Only halfway through the meal did Mary reveal that we had ordered from Crystal Thai. That should tell you that the food was very good because we thinking highly of Thai Square.  The food there is consistently delicious.  It was easy to compare between the two because we ordered two out of the three dishes we normally order at Thai Square.  The potpourri shrimp was good, but I only had the cellophane noodles.  They were quite tasty.  The Pad See-ew was seasoned just right, but not quite as good as Thai Square.  Finally, the Panang Curry chicken was too spicy and the chicken a bit overcooked.  We ordered mild and it was so hot that we had to eat rice to cut the taste.

Overall, I would recommend Crystal Thai, but give the nod to Thai Square. 

Look for my next guest appearance as Jefe, our cabanna boy (if Mary lets me post again after this).