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Member Since 08 Jun 2007
Offline Last Active Aug 14 2019 04:45 PM

#1443282 Crown Shy

Posted by Nathan on 25 July 2019 - 12:04 AM

Crown Shy is very nice. The white beans with nduja (granted there is some version of this on every menu everywhere in the country), carrots with razor clams, tagliatelle with sungolds was excellent, something else was more forgettable but fine. Cocktails were good if slightly sweet. Will happily go back.

#1441205 What's Good Now in DC

Posted by Nathan on 20 May 2019 - 09:17 PM

yeah, the Rake’s Progress is more concept than execution I think. Lovely space.

#1439139 Dallas 2019

Posted by Nathan on 23 March 2019 - 12:34 AM

So I “literally” was last in Dallas when Dean Fearing was cooking at The Mansion, and that was really good.

I’ll be there in spring-time. Welcoming tips from anyone who’s been there more recently, either high-end or casual. Also, anything worth seeing (assume I did the JFK stuff last time).


For hotels I really like The Adolphus.  Good location too.  Strongly recommend going to the Kimball and Modern in Fort Worth if you haven't been.

#1439131 Foxface

Posted by Nathan on 22 March 2019 - 11:26 PM

On Asian airlines I often have to correct their assumption that I really meant the western menu.


(with that said, despite the massive difference in service and food quality, I think I'm sticking to United and Delta (Aeromexico is fine too) for long-haul flights to Asia.  100% of Asian carriers keep the cabin too damn hot and don't have individual air vents.  If you can't sleep, what's the point.  At least an American carrier will give me a lie-flat, booze and an air vent in a not too hot cabin.). (European carriers often keep the cabin too hot but at least have individual air vents.)

#1422597 New Orleans

Posted by Nathan on 30 January 2018 - 05:49 PM

Cochon, still great. Finally had the rabbit and dumplings. What nice play on a vernacular dish. It looks like that southern version of chicken pot pie with the biscuits on top instead of a pie crust, but the “biscuits” are actually wonderful dumplings. Had a bunch of other Cochon classics.

Torrential downpour cut short other dinner plans resulting in dining at Mr. B’s...actually I was quite happy with it. Nice fried oysters, good barbecue shrimp (a straightforward classic rendition). The $6 properly made martinis don’t hurt either.

Chris Hannah is still working hard behind the bar at French 75 and it’s as awesome as ever.

Ended up crashing a fabulous house party (with excellent food) for the krewe du vieux. Followed by a party at the Ace Hotel that was much better than you would expect it to be.

#1419448 Great NY Noodletown

Posted by Nathan on 21 November 2017 - 10:11 PM

I was in on Sunday night.  Standouts included the "roast pig" and the beef chow fun in black bean sauce...

#1419196 Slovenia

Posted by Nathan on 16 November 2017 - 09:39 PM


Ljubljana might be the most beautiful city no one has been too. So fricking gorgeous and pleasant. Add it to your bucket list now. Its basically a theme park except real. Very few Americans but a fair amount of Asian tourists on the weekends. They probably couldnt handle too many more tourists...its a small city and there are only a couple hotels (I rented an apartment which I recommend). Buildings look like St. Petersburg but its all set not the river with multiple pretty bridges. Its probably most similar to Salzburg in how its laid out (complete with a fortress on a hill overlooking). Food: pretty good actually. Its kind of a mixture of Balkan and adjoining Italian...their own version of proscuitto and lots of pasta. Horsemeat is a thing too. Everyone speaks English somewhat (their TV is mostly in English and subtitled in Slovenian). The restaurants right on the riverwalks are predictably bad/overpriced but once you go a block away...I liked Soba 102 quite a bit (not everything was great though). Everyone goes to the Friday food festival. Centralna Postaja might be one of the coolest (I dont mean that ironically) bars Ive ever been too. They begin the day with a ridiculously cheap breakfast buffet, followed by it being a lunch/coffee shop spot, followed by it turning into a bar with the best cocktails in Slovenia with pub food and an internet radio station. Open late. I liked Ljubljana so much I changed my plans and stayed a couple extra days.

Lake Bled: its every bit as pretty as youve read. Remarkably photogenic. Dont go for the food but its only an hour from Ljubljana so you have to at least day trip. Im glad I stayed a night here though....seeing Lake Bled at both sunrise and sunset is just nuts.

#1415396 New iPhones

Posted by Nathan on 13 September 2017 - 08:37 PM

Anthony, Centurion lounges are the shit and so are international ones (some of them).

#1415385 New iPhones

Posted by Nathan on 13 September 2017 - 07:24 PM

Yawn. Not the iPhones. The utterly predictable blather here.
I remember how it went in 2007 when I got the first iPhone. “Why do you have that?” “Because it has the full internet in my pocket.” There were two different responses I would receive: “My phone already has that.” Or “I don’t need the internet all the time. I have it on my work computer.” Both turned out to be bullshit.

Moving forward.

1. Everyone can cherrypick specs to show that their preferred phone has something that others do not have. This is because: a. All phones are compromises based upon the designer’s intent...you can’t put everything on one device due to size, weight, battery life etc. b. Apples and oranges. No, prior phones have not had something similar to FaceId. Fact. There are other devices that use facial recognition to unlock if you don’t mind an unsecure mechanism that is easily fooled by a photo. Apple is using 3D IR mapping solution based on PrimeSense technology (they purchased the company in 2013). The same tech that Microsoft uses on its newest computers with Hello Windows. That’s the only reason it’s secure enough to use for Apple Pay. (PrimeSense was behind the Kinect btw.)
No, there are no other phones with this on the market. (Microsoft probably could have done it if they had stayed in the market.)

But let’s keep cherry picking specs.

Yes, Apple is late to the Qi wireless standard. Probably going in on it now because in 2 years they’ll go completely portless. (I mean I only use the lightning port to charge. Once you go wireless you never go back.)

Yes, the X is the second (I think) phone on the market to support the Dolby HDR and HDR 10 standards. More on the reason for this below. (Lots of phones, including the iPhone 8, advertise as “HDR”....they’re not. If they don’t have Dolby HDR or HDR 10 listed, it’s purely marketing.

Yes, Apple is late to the OLED game. The reason for this is well known: there simply aren’t enough screens available. Fact. That’s the reason it’s only on the X and not on the 8. No one can manufacture small high quality OLED screens in iPhone quantities. But it’s a fair critique nonetheless. (There are drawbacks to OLED but it’s complicated.)

Both the 8 and the X are the only phones on the planet that can do 4K60FPS. And that’s not going to change for a bit. You may not care about that but if we’re going to cherrypick specs....the reason for this is below.

Apple is far far ahead on the CPU game. Everyone knows this. Everyone else depends upon Qualcomm (yes I know about the Exynos) to make the CPUs and they’re too far behind. The standard Android response the past three years all of a sudden has been “specs don’t matter, all modern phones are fast enough....this may well be true (if you’re not doing 4K at 60 FPS)...but it’s fucking funny to hear from Android folks...specs don’t matter unless you’re ahead.

Apple is far far ahead in AR (they’re sitting out in VR). In a couple years we will find out if this matters.

Yes the camera on the Pixel is very very good (though DXO Labs never came out with their promised 7+ review...which raises conspiratorial questions)...but it doesn’t have OIS. The iPhones do. Whether this matters depends on what you shoot. (OIS requires the camera bump...it’s a design question. Like I said, all phones are compromises.)

Security. We all know Apple runs away with that. It is what it is. Android doesn’t allow for a secure enclave. That may change in the future. But until it does, any police department or private investigator who buys a $400 software package from Cellebrite can do a DFE on almost any locked Android phone (the most secure ones may require an expensive chip-off procedure). Cellebrite now claims that they can extract from an IPhone 6 or 6s but it requires sending it to their lab in Israel and a six figure fee. They make no claims to open a 7. And ios11 makes these procedures even harder.
More important for the average user, you get updates on iOS. Good luck with that on anything other than a Pixel. Considering such things as the recent Equifax hack (which fucked everyone of us), it’s stunning to me that Android users tolerate this.

Apps. Which is all that really matters. Android users are cheap. All app developers know this. Which is why truly professional apps (like say TrialPad which is a bargain at $149) or the OmniFocus apps or Scrivener etc. are only on iOS.

Color Management. Android OS simply doesn’t allow for it. Android Oreo will change that but when will you get it on your device? And will your carrier have destroyed it?

So, yes, let’s all cherrypick our preferred specs to win the argument. The reality is that all the flagship phones are really good (except on security).

As for the cost of flagship phones today, if you took someone from twenty years ago and told them there existed a device small enough to fit in the pocket that replaced their car, their library, their newspaper, their television, their radio, their camera, their home phone, maps, their computer (if they had one)...and they could have it for $20,000 they would be impressed. If you said $1000 they wouldn’t believe you.

It’s the most important thing you own in your life and you’re complaining that the flagships (the X and the S8) cost a $1000 (never mind that perfectly good devices are half that). That’s insane. Just stop it.

(It’s kind of like that Slate symposium last week with articles on how bad airports and air travel have gotten....Only for leisure travelers. Which it’s true that airlines don’t care about (as they don’t generate the revenue). As all frequent fliers know, PreCheck and lounge access make all the difference. Lounge access is complicated but I don’t comprehend why there would be anyone who doesn’t get Precheck. It costs less than $20 a year. Folks are fricking cheap.)

#1411118 Micromanage My Life: Riga to Barcelona

Posted by Nathan on 10 July 2017 - 05:22 PM

So I'm traveling for nearly a month this fall as I leave government practice.  I'm flying into Riga (via Frankfurt) and 24 days later flying out of Barcelona.  I have a flight from Dubrovnik to Paris in the middle of the trip (and then meeting a couple buds for the western Europe portion).


It's the Riga to Dubrovnik portion that I'm especially looking for thoughts on.  (I'm using Seat61 for ideas on trains).  I'm thinking something like Riga to Vilnius to Krakow to Warsaw....then head down to the Balkans....Sarajevo for sure...maybe Montenegro before Croatia?

#1411113 Downtown Denver

Posted by Nathan on 10 July 2017 - 04:57 PM

I really like what they've done with Union Station.


For drinks, Green Russell was nice.  (Proof that I'm old, so the bartender is making an off-menu Bramble for someone next to me and describing it.  I said, "it put Dick Bradsell on the map"...bartender was like, "who?"  "Kind of the English Dale DeGroff"...I don't think he knew who that was either...but fine drinks, good conversation.  Comp disclosure: a Negroni.

#1408228 Schiller's Liquor Bar

Posted by Nathan on 23 May 2017 - 04:44 PM

It really was something vital the first five years (it did have one of the best hosts in NY and I always ordered the steak frites au poivre)...ok, the cocktails were never great but I have many happy memories from there.  And they served late. 

#1404623 Otto

Posted by Nathan on 27 March 2017 - 02:55 PM

It is a B&T place on the weekends, but still very reliable for what it is.  And yes, those two behind the stick, one has been there since at least 2003 (when I started going to Otto) and the other since at least 2004/5 (and maybe before).

#1402172 Mary Margaret's Tea and Biscuit

Posted by Nathan on 15 February 2017 - 04:07 PM

I go to Florida every winter (family on the west, friends in southeast)...in fact was in Fort Lauderdale and Miami this weekend.


Whether that description applies is primarily a matter of whether you're eating at 6 or at 9. :)

#1401575 The Dabney

Posted by Nathan on 06 February 2017 - 07:25 PM

Along with Bad Saint and Pineapples and Pearls, The Dabney has been the most discussed and reviewed restaurant to open in Washington, D.C. since Rose's Luxury.  I finally made it (it's hard to get in without reservations, I was able to get a solo bar seat after a thirty minute wait -- they texted me as I got a drink around the corner).


The name is precious and the staff have similar names (Mr. Jeremiah Langhorne, former chef de cuisine at McCrady's, is the chef, bartenders named Taylor etc.).  The décor is not your contemporary chic industrial restaurant found at The Dabney's neighbors, but is instead very polished retro-southern (if you've been to McCrady's or Hot & Hot Fish Club etc. then you have the idea).  Open kitchen on the dining room (not the bar), prep work likely downstairs, huge wood-burning fireplace as the kitchen centerpiece.  The location is dead center in the Shaw uber-hot restaurant/bar corridor (Espita and All-Purpose are around the corner, the Columbia Room is above it).


Cocktails are excellent (DC is still a second-rate cocktail town for the simple reason that drinks almost everywhere are too sweet -- my working theory is that it's the PX influence).  Wine list is U.S. centric but thoughtful.  Ditto for beers.


Food-wise, the conceit is that everything comes from the mid-Atlantic region (defined a bit broadly, both Carolinas and Tennessee appear to be part of it).  The menu ostensibly changes daily.  Lots of places claim this, it's almost true for The Dabney.  I've compared the menu over multiple points in time.  Several dishes really do change out every single day.  And the entire menu changes out every couple weeks.  It really is astounding.  Every single dish discussed in the reviews was gone when I ate there.  (In fact they're completely different in almost every review.)  They're not lying, It really is a daily menu.  Format: a few small "snacks" at $6-10.  Small Plates at $10-20 (not really small, more mediumish.)  A couple large format plates for multiple people (around the $50 range).  A selection of $8ish side dishes/contorini.  Decently sized.  On Saturday night the menu was seafood and winter vegetable heavy.


Is it any good?  Every single professional review has been laudatory.  I only had 3 dishes.  But what I had was fantastic.  "Day boat" (from Cape May) scallop crudo (yeah, this is really just a measure of good product and knife skills but both were on point) with some sort of buttermilk emulsion.  A very rich beef cheek dish (with roasted vegetables and a starchy puree)....this was really entrée-heavy -- for $20.  Side of roasted parsnips with lardons and ham vinaigrette.  It was all very very good.  No missteps.


Service: warm, friendly, knowledgeable.  The one negative was a failure to replace my silverware between courses.  Not sure if this was a misstep or the restaurant's practice.  Either way it was the one mistake. 


So...worth traveling to DC for?  Probably not in and of itself.  After all you can fly to Charleston and eat at McCrady's (every dish I saw at The Dabney would fit in on the McCrady's menu), Husk and Fig in a weekend.  On the other hand, traveling to DC for a weekend and eating at The Dabney, Little Serow and Rose's Luxury would be well worth doing.  If you are in DC for any reason (unless maybe if you're coming from Charleston or New Orleans or Oxford, MS), you should eat here.


I liked it quite a bit more than I thought I would.  It has a Michelin star and is better than some European one-stars I've been too and certainly better than say The Spotted Pig (which I have nostalgic affection for).  Some folks on MF would look at the menu and prices and call it a very good NYTimes two star.  I'd (again, one meal) disagree and make the case for three. 


eta:  instead of an amuse they bring a plate of very good bread with sorghum butter.