Ask Tom: Rants, raves and questions on the DC dining scene

Feb 06, 2019

Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema entertains your dining questions, rants and raves.

Find all of Tom Sietsema's Washington Post work at washingtonpost.com/tomsietsema.

Hey Tom and all, Long time reader and appreciator here (is that a word? it should be!). I just made an online reservation up here in Toronto (where for my sins, I live) and it came back as "5:45 - 7:15 pm". Talk about the perfect solution to prevent camping -- or us non-campers wondering how we can make sure we don't camp! I loved it, and wanted to share.

Brilliant idea, as it sets ground rules from the start. And 90 minutes is a fair amount of time for two people to have dinner and not feel rushed. (A larger party would hopefully get more time.) Thanks for sharing. 

 

Happy Wednesday, everyone. Tell me what's on your mind today. The subject of my Sunday review is a small ode to raw fish behind a prominent hotel in Washington. Allow me to share my take on Sushi Nakazawa, an import from New York, ahead of the print edition of the Magazine. 

 

Let's get started. 

Hi Tom, First and foremost, I love your weekly chats and rely on your reviews regularly when choosing restaurants. I wish you lived next door so I could include you in our weekly wine club, which is more about chatting with wonderful neighbors than wine! :) My question is this: how do you remember the many details of a meal that you describe so vividly in your reviews? Do you discreetly scribble notes at the table? Or is your memory just beyond extraordinary? Thanks!

One of a critic's best tools is his smart phone. I frequently take pictures to help me recall certain dishes, especially the more detailed ones.  (Everyone else seems to do it, so I more or less blend in.) If a waiter says something funny or worth quoting, I tend to repeat the line in my head throughout dinner, or jot it down on a piece of paper in the restroom. 

Tom, The last question in your 'Ask Tom' column for February 1 asks about the noise levels at various restaurants; and I think I heard you on NPR - both good stuff. Where do/can I see the noise readings? David Austin

My sound checks appear alongside the address, hours, etc. with every starred review. And yes, that was me ranting about noisy restaurants on NPR's Here & Now last month.

We are having a party and need to find either a caterer, or someone we can order a really large takeout order from in advance (like for 20 people). Between Mt. Vernon and Alexandria. Any thoughts?

Chatters? 

Tom....this last week you had a hard time making a recommendation for restaurants in McLean. You may want to try out (or have an assistant try) Assagi Osteria. It went through a major renovation and has reopened (about 6 or 7 months ago), The décor is very nice, the service was great, and we have enjoyed the Italian cuisine. We have now gone back 3 times since they reopened and plan to go regularly. Regards!

Thanks for putting the Italian restaurant on my radar.

 

Coincidentally, after last week's chat, a participant sent me a picture of the heart-shaped pie the neighboring  Assaggi Pizzeria is making for Valentine's Day (only), which answers a question someone posted last week, about sources for heart-shaped pizzas.  The pizzeria's artful crust is 10 inches and $14, according to the restaurant.

Taking up on a q/a from 1/30, how do you advise diners to respond to restaurant noise that ruins a good meal? Lately, we have walked away from one loud restaurant before being seated. But we've also booked early for restaurants where we've been warned of excessive noise only to find mid-way through otherwise excellent meals that the increasingly pounding noise was just too much for us so we quickly paid our bill and left. While we always mention to the wait staff when the noise is excessive, it's not clear they communicate our complaints to owners or management. In fact, it often seems that loud noise is the preferred work environment for "hip" restaurants whatever the impact on diners. So my question is, when I leave a comment on Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc. should I leave the lowest rating/will not return (which may be ignored) or a medium-rating acknowledging good or even excellent food but explaining that the loud noise more than offsets everything else such that we will not return?

The fair thing to do is, well, be accurate, and base your mini-reviews on your experience. Whatever rating you assign should match (support) the text.

 

Going forward, if the sound in a restaurant doesn't go down after you've spoken with a server, the next step is to take up your complaint with a manager or owner.  The easiest time to do this is early in the night, when there are typically fewer diners.

 

Kudos to you for walking when you can no longer enjoy a meal because of the clamor. If enough people do that -- and let restaurants know why they're leaving -- maybe we can achieve some measure of peace.

Hi Tom, I'm a big fan and always try to take your advice when a rave review is given by you and this past weekend was no exception. My husband and I visited St. Anselm on Friday evening with a reservation and ordered many of your recommended items including the biscuits (WOW). For our main course we both ordered the flat iron medium rare, mine was definitely a medium and not a medium rare but my husband had a perfect medium rare. As our amazing waitress (I believe her name was Dominque) was coming over to check on how the food looked she caught us swapping plates (my husband doesn't mind eating medium) she stopped us and asked what was going on and said that the steak coming out medium was absolutely unacceptable and took it away. Then the general manager came over to apologize and say that they were a steak house and delivering anything less than perfect was unacceptable to him. Mind you this was all without us even mentioning we had a problem, they are that on top of their service! We ended up chatting for a while with the manager, and he was honestly one of the best managers I've ever come in contact with in the service industry and even though the place was packed he talked with us as if we were all old friends. He ended up comping us two desserts because he felt so bad about the steak being slightly over cooked, even when we insisted we couldn't eat anymore he wrapped one up for us. Long story short, I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you that your review of St. Anslem is absolutely on the money and I wanted to take this as an opportunity to praise the service (and the food!) there which was OUTSTANDING. Both the manager and waitress blew us away and made our night. The second my husband and I walked out we agreed we would be making another reservation ASAP. Thank you St. Anslem for the awesome night and thank you Tom for the review!

Take a bow, St. Anselm. The hospitality there helped the restaurant garner three stars, an "excellent" rating. Food and design did the rest.

Hi Tom, I'm submitting early as I normally have a staff meeting during your chat. I was recently in Belfast and fell in love with some amazing pubs there; great food, drinks and laid back atmospheres. So I'm looking for a good pub here that fits that description. Do you have any suggestions? I live in Alexandria so Nova is preferable.

For a response, I turned to the Post's nightlife repeater and beer columnist, Fritz Hahn, who writes:

 

"While you’re probably not going to find a pub in Alexandria that will remind you exactly of Belfast, there are some that stand out. I like O’Connell’s next the waterfront, for the wide variety of nooks and corners in which you can settle with a date or friends, and for the well-poured pints of Guinness or American craft beers. Murphy’s of Alexandria can be full of Irish pub cliché, but they get some of the best local Irish musicians to perform on weekends, when you can sing along or just enjoy conversation with traditional Irish folk songs in the background. (I’m no fan of “The Unicorn Song,” but every performer in Alexandria must be required to perform it, in honor of the late, great publican Pat Troy.) But lately, if I’m picking a pub in Old Town where I want to sit with friends for a couple of hours and talk over beers, I’ve gone to the Union Street Public House. If you don’t go on a Friday or Saturday night, it’s a cozy, friendly spot with numerous regulars, a solid beer list and interesting whisk(e)y selection. Fairly easy to find a spot at the bar, where the bartenders will make you feel like you’re in on all the jokes, or one of the high tables nearby.  Celtic House, out on Columbia Pike, is similarly friendly, with really good Guinness and crowds.

 

In D.C., by the way, I’m loyal to the Dubliner and the Queen Vic."

 

We recently went to Convivial, a restaurant we’ve loved in the past, for my husband and his sisters joint birthday dinner. I had noted it was a birthday party when making the reservation, but to cover my bases I also called the restaurant 30 minutes prior to our arrival to ask that they bring out two of their “celebration” desserts even if no one at our table asked for dessert. When we arrived, we ordered two bottles of red wine and while pouring, the waiter knocked over one of our party’s full glasses. He apologized and cleaned up and told us that some would be taken off the bill but he never replaced her glass with a full one so we just had to pour her another from our bottle. At the end of dinner, no one ordered dessert but despite my directions, they didn’t bring out the two desserts. Instead he just brought the check which, despite being about $400 for six people, only took off $10 for the spilt wine—less than one glass cost. On our way out I pulled them aside and mentioned that and the missed dessert orders and the hostess apologized because she remembered me calling but they did nothing. Am I wrong in thinking that this was an unacceptable response?

Ouch. Sorry to hear about the spill, the bill and the non-response to your birthday request. It doesn't sound like the Convivial I know, but that doesn't mean I don't believe what happened.

 

Accidents happen, of course, but they should also be recalled when the check comes around -- with a proper discount, if even for the inconvenience. The forgotten dessert, on the other hand, was a missed opportunity for the restaurant to make a sale *and* leave a good taste in your mouth. 

 

UPDATE: Because I received the above complaint a couple days before today's live chat -- hint, hint --I was able to reach out to chef-owner Cedric Maupillier for a response. Here's what he wrote to the woman who sent her complaint both to the restaurant and to me: 

 

I apologize that it took the day to respond, but I wanted to speak with your server and the host staff from that evening.  
I sincerely apologize for our misseps during your celebration dinner with us.  
In regards to the spilled wine, while it is no excuse on our end, I appreciate your understanding that accidents happen. The discount that was applied was based on the price of the bottle.  
My response is based on the communication that you had with Mr. Tom Sietsema, who was kind enough to share with us the disappointing Convivial guest comment to allow us to respond in the event the restaurant did not receive a message from that guest (which you were kind enough to send us).    
Unfortunately, due to poor communication, neither my manager nor I were aware of the dessert request or that you voiced your concern to the host as you were leaving. If we had known, it would have allowed us to look out for your desserts or follow up with you the following day. Be assured, no one is going to lose their job, but firm coaching was necessary and this lack of communication is being seriously addressed with the staff. I am very sorry for how negatively it impacted your celebration dinner with us.  


I do hope you will join us again, as my guest. I would love to meet another neighbor (my wife and I also live in the neighborhood), and to have the opportunity to assure you that your experience on Saturday evening is not indicative of that for which we strive at Convivial.    
Cedric

 

Hi Tom, Long time reader, first time submitter. I felt compelled to write. You mentioned in last week's chat that you were dying to try Urbano 116 in Old Town. I'll save you the trouble. The service was terrible, the noise level deafening and the food...every single thing we ordered came out cold! Not just room temp. COLD. When we pointed it out to the bartender (we sat at the bar), she kind of shrugged and said, "we'll get you another order." This second order was also cold. The grilled corn appetizer came out watery. It is not a soup, and grilled corn should not be watery. They were out of queso and the lamb barbacoa. The margaritas were poured into glasses out of a big vat that had been pre-mixed instead of being made to order. When we asked what the problem was, again, the bartender just shrugged and said, "we weren't expecting it to be so crowded tonight." It was a Friday. After months of hype, I feel like they should have been prepared. They did comp us for the cold food, but if they're comping everyone for cold food, they sure aren't going to be in business long (many people around us were having the same issues). I understand new restaurants have kinks, but this was beyond the newbie jitters. I won't be back. I hope you have a much different experience if you go.

I've been once, and I found myself nodding along, reading some of your comments. (The kitchen was out of the queso when I went, on another night.  And the service was kind of pushy.) The new and much-hyped Mexican restaurant needs to get it's act together. 

Hi Tom - We're heading to NYC to see a 2 pm matinee on a Saturday. Any suggestions of where we should eat before? I've DB bistro and Marea which are fine and my fav - la grenouille - isn't open for Saturday lunch. We'd love to have a lovely meal before the show. Thanks

My usual pre-Broadway splurge takes place at Esca, the fish-themed Italian trattoria on West 43rd. Picture razor clam crudo, fried smelts with tarragon-caper aioli and spaghetti with lobster and crab. 

Hi Tom, I assume as a food critic you must have a stomach of steel. But I've been wondering if you do ever have issues with food not sitting well? And if so, how you handle it? Do you let it go the first time and return to the scene to complete your review process / give the restaurant a second chance? Follow up with the restaurant to find out if there was an unusual ingredient or known irritant in the food? Or go straight to reporting it to the health department? And, does it make a difference if it's neighborhood carryout vs. name-brand chef type place?

I've had severe food upsets only three times during my career, once in Seoul and twice in Barcelona. All three times, (raw) oysters were part of the meals. I've not had the "opportunity" to contact a domestic restaurant after an issue, in other words. 

Just missed your chat on 1/30, so hoping to get in early for next week. We're headed to Pittsburgh in March for three days and looking for any recommendations. We're staying in the Strip area near downtown. We're prefer walking distance or a quick cab, but we'll have a car. Particularly interested in a couple of really good dinner spots, maybe a good breakfast place in the Strip, but open to any suggestions. Thank you!!

My source for all things Pittsburgh is Melissa McCart of the Post-Gazette. Here's a link to what the restaurant critic thinks is best right now. 

So, what are the best places in eat in Springfield? It's the best middle ground for a group of friends I am trying to meet up for dinner a lot. We have trouble coordinating our schedules to get together, and finding a good middle ground spot so that no one has to drive THAT far would be really helpful. I've read about a good Afghan place (which sounds awesome!) but I was wondering if there is anything else worth considering in the area? Must serve alcohol.

That Afghan place is Afghan Bistro: delicious food (the sleeper on the menu is a burger!) that can be washed back with booze. Friends who live in Springfield like Mike's American, part of the Great American Restaurant group, Elini's Greek Taverna and Taiko Sushi. 

Hi, Tom. I need to use your (and other chatter's!) extensive establishment knowledge to find a great place for a 75th birthday dinner for my father in May. He was born in DC, so we'd love a place unique to DC or historic or with a view - or all three! There will be 12 people, so a private room isn't necessary but could be an option. Of note, 5 of the 12 are kids, so that needs to be factored in to the decision too. Thanks in advance for the assistance!

Places with a sense of history? You can't beat Occidental Grill near the White House, the stately 1789 in Georgetown or the Monocle on Capitol Hill. Chatters, feel free to chime in. 

Hey Tom, why did the WaPo change the drop-down guide on the side of the computer screen to take Food out of Lifestyle and then ONLY have "Voraciously" as a selection. Where are other Food sections. Where are you?

Actually, when you hit  the Food tab, under Sections, you should get all things cooking and dining

Hi Tom, Can you please offer suggestions for a low-key restaurant for Feb. 14th. We want to go out but have no interest in fixed menus, fine-dining, etc and need a place that has reservations available at a reasonable time (or don't need them). Open to all kinds of food - but need gluten free options. Thanks!

You'd have to call and inquire about gluten-free items, but when I checked yesterday afternoon on Open Table, there were still seats available at "reasonable" times at such casual-and-good restaurants around town as America Eats Tavern in Georgetown, Ethiopic on H St. NE., Alta Strada (home to THE BEST chicken parm) in Mount Vernon Triangle, Rare Tavern downtown and Johnny's Half Shell in Adams Morgan. You're welcome. 

 

 

FOOD FLASH: I just got off the phone with Danny Meyer, the founder and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, who tells me his company is partnering with the forthcoming 225-room Thompson Hotel in The Yards to open a full-service restaurant and rooftop bar sometime in 2020.

 

While details are sparse, Meyer says that the yet-to-be-named dining room “won’t be French and it won’t be Indian.” The future restaurant, which will have its own entrance, also won’t be “something we already do in New York,” home to such popular USHG restaurants as Union Square Café, Gramercy Tavern and the Modern. A chef has yet to be assigned to the project.

 

Meyer has been a long-time visitor to Washington, first as a board member of the charity Share Our Strength and later when his company introduced Shake Shacks here. A fan of the late Kinkead’s, Restaurant Nora, Provence and Michel Richard Citronelle, the restaurateur says he’s watched the market grow from one dominated by steak houses and a handful of special occasion places to a national dining destination. These days, “it would take me two to three weeks to get to all the places I want to go.”

 

The Thompson will be located at the corner of Tingey and Third streets SE.

 

Hi Tom, I have reservations at Convivial for dinner in a couple of weeks. I dined there once not long after it opened and had an excellent meal, but I haven't heard much about it in the last couple of years. Are you still as enthusiastic about it as you were when it opened?

I am! Like a lot of other established players, however, it has to compete for attention with dozens of  new restaurants. What's been great for consumers (so many choices!) has been challenging for the industry.

You asked a few weeks ago for an update on Founding Farmers. My wife and I ate at the one near the White House in mid December and your previous review is still accurate.

You know what? That makes me sad.

Three friends and I gather annually for an upscale steak dinner. The last three years we've loved Mastro's, but we're considering something new if we find a unique new option. Do you have a current slam dunk for high end steaks in the District, or better yet, do you know of any steak omakase/tasting menus where the chef serves the table a wide range of cuts? I've heard they do this at certain restaurants like Cote in NYC. Long time reader, first time submitter. Thanks!

I'd take your request to chef Drew Adams and Bourbon Steak in Georgetown, where the entrees include both locally-sourced and prized Japanese cuts (A5 Wagyu beef) and the service has been top-notch. Something tells me he'd be able to put together a fun night for you.  

Hi Tom, A few weeks ago based on the strength of your preview, I made reservations for my husband's birthday at Fuyu for this coming weekend. He loves Japanese hotpot and is looking forward to hosting 3 other couples for his party there. The chat last week and the most recent Yelp reviews are making us both nervous. If it was just us two, we'd take the risk, but we'd hate to have the other guests (all coming from Baltimore) come so far and spend a lot of money and leave hungry. If you were in my place, would you keep the reservation or scramble and try to find somewhere else with room for 8 on Friday?

I'd keep my reservation at Fuyube sure to order some of the delicious small plates to start; and take the server's advice about how much hot pot to order for eight. 

Tom, I love oysters (had 12 dozen tiny ones in PR once). Never gotten sick. Do you still eat them raw? I was wondering after your response.

I've knocked back oceans of oysters since my upsets. Haven't lost my taste for 'em.

A big plug for Society Fair...they could absolutely handle a group of this size...and they are easy to access for folks in the Mount Vernon area or Old Town.

Yes, but what's the state of the business right now?

I would call that Newington, not Springfield. Then again "Springfield" is like "Silver Spring" or "Ellicott City" for widespread vagueness. "Newington" is more precise and lets people know that the restaurant is further away than they might otherwise think. Just sayin.

I thank you.

I'm sure you saw Pete Wells' article in the NYTimes about complaining in restaurants. It certainly echoes many of the recommendations you've made in this forum: Don't wait. Ask for a manager. Be specific, and be constructive. Do you know Pete? I value his reviews ALMOST as much as yours. And would you ever be interested in moving into non-food writing and commentary, like Frank Bruni did? Thanks for all the guidance and insight. Moved from DC area 15 years ago this summer, and still read your stuff at least weekly. Please consider revisiting Denver; lots of progress here.

Thank you for the kind words. I do know Pete; he served with me on the James Beard restaurant awards committee until he was hired to be food editor of the New York Times. (In fact, the news broke during one of our breaks, in Seattle.) Pete is a great writer, for sure, and slyly funny. 

 

As for moving into another subject matter, I have to say I love my beat. The great thing about food, in general, is the endless variety and the different ways you can approach the subject. Food is about politics, family, the economy, quality of life, fantasy and so much more. 

 

Denver? It's been on my mind. Where should I start?

 

 

I'm planning on doing a self guided food tour on Saturday (or possibly Sunday) in DC for my 35th Bday where a group of us will share 1-3 dishes in multiple restaurants/food establishments. Do you have any suggestions on your absolute favorite dishes? Atmosphere doesn't matter whatsoever so hole-in-the-wall type places are great too. Location also doesn't matter, I'm just looking for delicious food and will go wherever that may be! Thanks!

I'm a big fan of Hog Island Oyster Co. in the Embarcadero (the waterfront views are lovely) and I never miss a chance to graze at Zuni Cafe on Market Street, where my lunch obsession is the Caesar salad and fabulous hamburger and my evening choice is the roast chicken for two.  If you don't mind lining up, Che Fico is worth the trouble. Congrats, and have fun.

Mission BBQ! Have gotten it catered for work a few times and it is quite delicious! And a good cause :)

Another reader to the rescue!

Hi! What's your opinion of Olivia, a Bajaj Restaurant in Penn Quarter? Any recommendations? Grazie

I like it! Here's my preview. Do not miss the bisteeya.

Hey Tom - You recommended The Dutch to someone a couple of months ago. Wanted to second that recommendation. 3 of us were visiting from San Francisco and we had such a great meal start to finish. Our server was so helpful, and turns out she's also from NorCal, what a coincidence, and the restaurant was just what we wanted to a cold, rainy New York night. Thanks!

Yet more support for the Dutch, a go to restaurant for me in the Big Apple. Thanks for the feedback. 

I caught the hot chicken bug when visiting Nashville a couple years ago, but despite how trendy it seems to be right now, I’ve yet to find a truly hot version here in DC - most places seem to be merely passing off spicy or buffalo fried chicken as hot chicken and it’s just not the same. Maison Dixon used to do hot chicken pop-ups on H Street but they seem to have gone dark. Do you know of anywhere in dc md or va I can get my hot chicken fix?! Will travel evenings or weekends to get it!! (Unfortunately my office is in Arlington so I’m pretty stuck during week day lunches)

Locally, the hottest chicken is probably the "dirty" version at Succotash in the District. It's chef Edward Lee's take on (stick with me) Buffalo chicken wings, whereby legs and thighs are doused with lime, honey and the fiery Korean chile paste gochujang and dappled with blue cheese, which Lee likes for its umami. 

Hi Tom - I just got back from a semester abroad in the UK where I had my very first Michelin Star experience at Paco Tapas in Bristol! I could go on forever singing the praises of the establishment, but more specifically, one of the courses served that evening was an incredible Spanish omelet. I have been craving one ever since! I know there's plenty of tapas bars in DC, but which one would be your choice for tortilla espanola?

Look no further than the long-running Jaleo in Penn Quarter, the sumptuous Del Mar at the Wharf or Estadio on 14th St. NW  for some of the best potato omelets around.

Hello Tom, I’m meeting a friend of my parents for lunch this weekend who has just moved to DC. We’d like to meet in DC near a metro. Was thinking Central or Unconventional Diner but would love your thoughts! I don’t take the metro that often and i would love to find a fun DC place that’s not too fancy, not fast food and gives a good impression of our food scene. Thank you!

Good ideas there. I'm a big fan of the whimsical cooking at Unconventional Diner. Another idea, on the Hill: Joselito, for Spanish fare in a setting that captures the spirit of the owner's native Spain.  

A quick rave. We went out to celebrate our 11 year-old daughter's birthday at the Kosher Pastry Oven in Silver Spring, and had a wonderful time (8 total people, including 4 kids). The staff was quick and attentive, and it was incredibly easy to hold a conversation because there wasn't any music overhead. Food was delicious. The birthday girl ordered Moroccan lentil soup as a starter, main was hand-made fettuccine with salmon in cream sauce. The other kiddos ordered a crazy-mushroom tart (which my 6 yo calls pizza), and the 9yo had fettuccine alfredo (the baby shared from everyone). My wife and I split two huge salads (salmon ceasar and a chopped salmon - we like the fish :-). The salmon was perfectly cooked, and my favorite part was the crispy skin still attached. My in-laws got the Monday night Moroccan special which included handmade flat breads, matbucha, hummus, and other salads. Desserts were a treat, including a huge chocolate and walnut brownie/cupcake, as well as a Mille-feuille. As always, thanks for the chats - a highlight of my week!

Thanks for the helpful tip!

Hi Tom- My partner and I haven't had a date night out for over a year, and I'd like to plan something for this or next weekend. Could you recommend a restaurant where we could re-connect (romantic vibes, can have a conversation without neighbors listening) that has places nearby we could wander to (bar, park, bookstore or theater or something)? Thank you!

I'm thinking a corner table at the cozy Iron Gate, followed by a stroll to Kramerbooks, could be fun. Or a nook at Buck's Fishing & Camping followed by a look-see at the neighboring Politics & Prose. Both restaurants have flattering lighting and Iron Gate features a fireplace.

 

Readers, what say you? 

I think the reader was asking for DC recs, not SF

How did I mess THAT up? Oh well, any chatter bound for the Bay Area now has some dining tips from me.

 

In  the District, I'd probably head to the Wharf for crab dip, peel-and-eat shrimp and drinks at the youthful Rappahannock Oyster Bar ...  the new Chaia for some wonderful plant-based tacos and shrubs  .. maybe Pappe for Indiian appetizers or a thali ...

Bittersweet Catering or Mediterranean Bakery.

Tanks for weighing in with ideas.

Hello Sir, Do you see a cause for alarm regarding how expensive dining out in this city has become?

The price climb is real. Last week, I was surprised to find $17 drinks at a neighborhood Indian restaurant (they were good, but still!) and you won't believe what I paid last night, at a place I have yet to formally review, for a "tortilla" that featured sea urchin and caviar as garnishes.

 

That's a wrap for today, gang. Let's do it again next week, when I promise to re-read each post before I hit "publish." Eat well.

In This Chat
Tom Sietsema
Tom Sietsema has been the Washington Post food critic since 2000. In leaner years, he worked for the Microsoft Corporation, where he launched sidewalk.com; the Seattle Post-Intelligencer; the San Francisco Chronicle; and the Milwaukee Journal. A graduate of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, he has also written for Food & Wine, Gourmet, GQ, Travel & Leisure and other national publications. In 2016, he received an award from the James Beard Foundation for his series identifying and rating the "10 Best Food Cities in America" the previous year.
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