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

May 29, 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.

Hi Tom. I have twice recently ordered glasses of wine at restaurants and could tell from the taste that it was day old and not well preserved wine. The restaurant confirmed that both times and opened a fresh bottle. In the past I more often ordered bottles so no problem there. Now I ask each time I order a glass of wine if it was opened that night. Kind of annoying to have to do that. Do you think there are norms about the freshness of wine? Do you have suggestions about how to ask for glasses of wine?

I've been in your shoes. It's no fun anticipating a glass of wine and getting something that tastes as if it's been sitting around, exposed to the elements (namely air). For that reason, I like to see wines by the glass poured from the bottle. If it's not full, it gives a diner the chance to inquire about how recently the bottle was opened. Which is not to say the opened bottle is inferior, just that it's been tapped (perhaps recently, perhaps not).

 

For input, I reached out to Post wine columnist   Dave McIntyre, who says you handled the situation perfectly, and the restaurants did the right thing by opening new bottles. 

 

"The freshness of BTG (by the glass) wines is often a question," he emailed me. "Some restaurants invest in Enomatic machines that help preserve wines once opened. More often they mark the date opened and discard it after two or three days. Sometimes wines do improve, but of course they will fall off after some time. 

 

Diners should not be shy about asking for a new bottle if they suspect the wine is not fresh. If I'm sitting at a bar watching my glass being poured, I cringe when one bottle is emptied and another opened to fill the glass. I'll just ask for a full glass from the new bottle." 

   

 

Good morning, everyone, and welcome back from the long holiday weekend. There's a new installment of my monthly Weekend column, a round-up of eight of my current favorite places to eat (some old, some new). Please check it out. 

 

What's on your mind this morning? Talk to me. 

On Sunday night, May 26, we took friends to Bistro Aracosia to celebrate the woman's 70th birthday. When we got there, we were led to the second room (the one without the bar): no air conditioning. The maître d' explained that the air conditioning had broken and they were waiting for it to be fixed. We agreed that a Sunday of a three-day weekend is a tough time to get a repair person. The maître d' told us he could sit us by the open door (and inadequate fan) or we could wait 30-45 minutes for a table in the air conditioned part of the restaurant or, obviously, we could leave. We had chosen the restaurant thoughtfully as our guests had never been there and the food is both good and interesting. Here's my question: what should the restaurant have done? Should they have contacted me through Open Table and revealed the problem with the air conditioning? Should they have comped us a glass of wine or a dessert? Do they have any obligation to the diner or is their obligation only to their bottom line? We stayed. We made the best of it. Our check was over $200. As we were leaving, another man -- who I did not recognize from previous visits --- was entering the restaurant as we were leaving. He asked how we liked the meal. "The food was delicious, " we said and I added that it was "a little hot inside." At that point he tells us the air conditioner in the second room has been out for two weeks and they are waiting for a part. Curiouser an curiouser. 

Two weeks is a long time to be without AC in DC this time of year, and while it would have been nice to receive advance notice about the problem, the host at least explained the situation and offered some choices once your party arrived. 

 

Restaurants, I'd love to get your take on the matter. At a minimum, it seems to me the popular Afghan restaurant could have purchased a few more fans. 

I recently celebrated my anniversary at Kith/Kin and our server brought us two glasses of what appeared to be champagne, gratis--a fairly common occurrence when we let restaurants know we're celebrating a special occasion, but one that's wasted on a non-drinker like me. In this instance, however, our waiter had noticed that I hadn't ordered anything to drink or even glanced at the cocktail menu, and he correctly deduced that I wasn't drinking that evening. We were pleasantly surprised when he told us that one of the champagne flutes was actually filled with gingerale. This was a very kind gesture, and one I wish more restaurants would emulate: don't assume everyone will enjoy a glass of wine on the house.

Nice touch, but how did the server know for sure you weren't drinking? Sounds as if the gratis drinks came out right when you were seated? 

Hi Tom! Any suggestions for a birthday lunch for two on a weekday in downtown DC in June? I’m on maternity leave and will have a young baby along, so somewhere less crowded like a shady patio would be ideal.

You'll want to book at Iron Gate in Dupont Circle, home to one of the best shaded patios I know. The restaurant's charms extend to an Italian-Greek menu of small plates: charred octopus with potato salad, grilled scallops with spicy eggplant dip, ricotta dumplings with tomato sauce and on.

Hi Tom, I read a few years ago that Pete Wells of the NYT doesn't bother going to a restaurant a second or third time if he knows the restaurant is going to get a lousy review. Do you follow that rule that it is better stop and let a no review tell the story versus a no or low star review? By the way, excellent article on how at least he is treated (spoiler alert, they know who he is) and plus it also has a subtext for what happens when famous chefs stretch their brand too far with the resulting impact on quality. I still love what Wells said to David Chang after a bad review, This is awful, Pete. This never gets easier.” In Chang’s memory, Wells replied, “This is the life you chose.” https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/09/12/pete-wells-the-new-york-times-restaurant-critic

I have no problems serving up negative reviews. See, for instance, Founding Farmers.

 

 I probably wouldn't submit a poor review of say, a mom and pop in the suburbs, however, because what's the point? (Previews are different.) Founding Farmers was fair game because of its 1) prime location 2) expansion plans and 3)  a farm-to-table theme that I didn't detect on the plate.

 

In the piece about Pete in the New Yorker, it says he sometimes sets a place aside after one or two visits for literary reasons. ("I can't figure out what to say about it.") But the critic for the Times has, in fact, written some notable negative reviews. Just Google Per Se or Guy's American Kitchen & Bar

An old friend is arriving at Union Station on a Friday evening, around 6 pm. If she's not totally wiped out, I want to suggest we should downtown before heading to my house in the burbs. Thoughts on something suitable for a weary traveler -- nothing too fancy or with too high-strung an atmosphere. I love Compass Rose and was thinking of taking her there; anything else along those lines you can think of?

Unfortunately, the whimsical Compass Rose doesn't take reservations on Friday nights. Try instead Johnny's Half Shell in Adams Morgan or, closer to where you asked on 14th St. NW, Ghibellina for Italian.  

Tom, second try. We’ll be in Seattle this weekend and staying near the Pike Place Market. I haven’t been there in 30 years and looking for recommendations for seafood and steaks. Looking for something within walking distance. Thank you in advance.

I feel like I've addressed Seattle a zillion times in this forum, which is why I passed over your question last week. My favorite spot in Pike Place Market remains Matt's in the Market, for dishes including fish sandwiches and seafood stew and, if you get get the right seat, postcard views of Elliott Bay. The nearby Le Pichet is good for French bistro fare, including chicken liver terrine and steak frites. 

Tom: My wife had a long Monday caring for her mom, who was in a hospital, so I decided to give her a break and take her out to dinner before she returned to the facility to stay overnight. I was hoping that the brief respite would pick up her spirits. We visited a restaurant that is part of a small chain. We dined there a few times in the past, so we knew the service and food were good. Each of our dishes was lacking: Of the half-dozen oysters ordered, one look bad and smelled worse; there were no pecans in a salad that listed the nuts; the restaurant was out of a red wine that was on the permanent menu; and a particular fried chicken dish was not available. Our waiter replaced the iffy oyster, but met our other queries with a shrug. We later asked to speak to the manager, not seeking anything in return, but mostly to let him know that the kitchen came up short that night. After listing the deficiencies, he said the chicken dish was, in fact, available. He apologized and gave us a $10 gift card to use that night or at a later date. We chose to put it toward the bill. For a restaurant that advertises a menu of “scratch-made Southern food” to come up so short was perplexing. We hoped that by speaking up, as you so often suggest, the restaurant could correct the missteps. However, I don’t think we’ll be back to see if the restaurant remedied the situation. Is that unfair?

First, GOOD FOR YOU for piping up. At least you got *something* for your feedback. But given the list of slips, the server's shrug and the manager's response ($10 sounds stingy), I wouldn't be inclined to return. There are simply too many good restaurants that would welcome your business. 

Or a free-standing A/C unit (since window units probably wouldn't have a place to be installed). They do exist.

I learned something new there. 

We have lived in DC/MD for our entire lives. Can't head out of town so what would you recommend to celebrate 25 years? We eat seafood & vegetarian. Love a wide variety of tastes. A special place to celebrate? DC, Old Town area? Water view?

Congrats. Twenty five years is a nice long run. Some ideas:

 

DC for seafood, casual edition: Pesce in Dupont Circle

 

DC for seafood with a view: Fiola Mare in Georgetown

 

Old Town for a Big Night Out:  Hummingbird for fish on the waterfront (with a hat tip to Stephanie).

My girlfriend and I both transfer from different bus lines to the line we take home at Farragut square. I was thinking it’d be nice to grab a bite to eat in that area sometime but I’m not sure what’s good, any advice?

Count me an admirer of the low-key Siroc on 15th St. NW. The kitchen does well by seafood and pasta in particular. Think shrimp-stuffed squid and black pepper spaghetti carbonara. 

For last week's reader asking about Cincinnati, I would recommend Mita's for excellent Spanish cuisine, mostly as small plates, but the room can be noisy. Red Feather is a great American farm-to-table place. And Lisse, across the river in Covington, is worth your time as a steakhouse with a Dutch influence. Skip the Cincinnati-style chili parlors. Speaking as a non-native, the stuff is only a novelty.

The Cincinnati-bound chatters thank you kindly. 

 

This tip for Montreal (a request from last week's chat) came my way today, too:

 

I'd also add Agrikol as a must try (http://www.agrikol.ca/) - Haitian food, delicious cocktails, and an amazing back patio. A taste of the islands in Quebec! (Also interesting to note, you might spot some members of the band Arcade Fire during your visit as they are part owners).
And as long as we're talking travel destinations, there's this in my in-basket:
Hi Tom! Weekly reader, huge fan of your posts and suggestions (i.e. my boyfriend and I are regulars at Buck's now, thanks to you!). We are heading to Rome, Siena, and Naples in a few weeks and would love some restaurant recommendations. We are staying in Trastavere, love fresh fish and simple good cooking, and are looking to do at least one fancier-ish night out. Thanks so much!

Hi Tom. Traveling to DC next week all the way from Ellicott City for two days to celebrate our birthdays/anniversary. Our usual DC eats are geared toward picky eater kids so we're looking forward to eating somewhere new. Staying in a hotel in Georgetown but open other areas. Suggestions for lunch and dinner? Casual-ish, medium price. Anything but pork. Thanks!

Take at least one meal at the charming Chez Billy Sud in Georgetown. It serves very good French bistro fare, and if the weather cooperates, you can enjoy lunch or dinner on the side patio. All are open for both lunch and dinner, btw.

 

If you like fish and seafood, check out the venerable Pesce in Dupont Circle, home of the roving chalkboard menu. For Italian, you might enjoy the neighborly Tortino on 11th St. NW.  Maketto, on H St. NE, offers an unusual and delicious combination: Taiwanese and Cambodian food.

Wanted to send my thanks to Little Serow. A few months ago, you recommended them as a place for solo dining. My wife was out of town for the long weekend, so I ventured out alone and had an amazing experience. Every course was fantastic and the chef even sent me an off menu crab dish that was one of the best things I have eaten in the city. It defined what I love about Thai food; salty, funky, spicy, flavorful goodness. I really appreciated the hospitality and thought I would let you know they continue to do everything right, from food to service to wine program. Thanks again.

Take a bow, Little Serow! I hate to break it to you, but the Thai eatery from Johnny Monis typically sends out off-the-menu dishes, or something extra, to most customers. That's the way he does business -- and makes everyone feel like a VIP. 

Do you have any recommendations for Richmond restaurants? We've eaten at Comfort and Mama Zu.

I haven't been in several years, when I filed this dispatch. The Richmond restaurants attracting the most attention at the moment are Longoven (for its creative American tasting menu) and Alewife (for sustainable seafood). 

Do you ever eat in a restaurant in the Maryland suburbs? I have not seen a Silver Spring or Olney place ever reviewed by you?

You haven't been reading me very closely then. See (most recently): El Sapo Cuban Social Club and the related Urban Butcher, featured in my February round-up of favorite restaurants. Also, stay tuned for a review from Rockville next month. 

I know you asked for downtown, but what about considering some of the interesting new restaurants on H St - your friend mike like a walk after the train trip.

H St NE brims with possibilities, many of them international: Stable for Swiss, the new Thamee for Burmese, Ethiopic for Ethiopian .... the list goes on. 

No Q, just a thank you from the SF Bay Area. I read you when you were here, at the Chron; got suckered in. I so enjoy your writing, insight, commentary and reflections. You are a diamond among food writers. Tx redux.

Mom, is that you? 

 

Seriously, thanks for the kind words. You just made my day. I have nothing but fond memories of my four years in pre-Internet San Francisco, when I was writing about trends months or more before they'd make their way to the East Coast and I once went undercover as a waiter in three different restaurants, including the revered Stars, for a story on service.

 

Have you ever had a bad meal there? I've only been there once, years ago for husband's birthday. His risotto was wonderful but my diver scallop was dry and I thought the mango in the crab/mango dish overpowered the crab. In fact the only part of my meal that impressed me was the home-made ice cream and fudge sauce. I have to say I wasn't impressed. Didn't like the decor either. But I still have my door hangers from our overnight stay that say "Go Away".

I've never had inferior cooking at the Inn, but years ago, in disguise, I had less than starry service. I remember asking the sommelier for suggestions under three digits and he pointed me to a bottle for $95. I still get angry thinking about that. 

There seems to be a growing trend for restaurants to host collaborative dinners - events where they invite outside (often well known) chefs into their kitchens for an evening usually to prepare a joint tasting menu served banquet style...at a premium price. What are your thoughts on this? Good opportunities to sample food from chefs whose food you might not otherwise be able to taste? Marketing gimmicks to create buzz for the restaurants? Both? neither? Inquiring minds want to know!

I don't have much first-hand experience with collaboration dinners, since they tend to be one-night-only and I'm inclined to write about menus that are going to stick around longer. But creating buzz is probably the hope of the participating chefs. 

Hi, Tom, My sister-in-law has a business trip to the District in July and is bringing my brother-in-law, niece, and nephew with her. My family of 4 would like to give them a uniquely DC experience. Where is a family-friendly, casual restaurant in Shaw/Downtown/Chinatown that could accommodate picky eaters? Italian, Tex-Mex, and American food are favorites, and fish is okay for most, as long as there are other options available. Thanks! Katie Blackmon

I mention it a lot in this forum, but Woodward Table is reliable for creative American cooking near the White House. And one of my favorite destinations in Shaw remains the cozy All-Purpose Pizzeria for the obvious, plus Italian-American fare (as in, eggplant Parmesan and fried calamari). If you don't mind a trip to Georgetown, America Eats Tavern by Jose Andres is the dining room you want to seek out for a bit of an edible history lesson. 

Tom, I'm a huge fan of your recommendations! My wife and I finally got to check out St. Anselm on Saturday evening and while the food was stellar (shout out to those smoked herb butter oysters!), the service left a lot to be desired. We had reservations on the early side and despite multiple tables being open (or at least appearing as if they were available), we were initially sat right next to the door. I asked to be reseated and unfortunately the hostess put us right next to the bathroom in the back and in front of the wait station. From reading your chats, I know that tables that appear open may in fact not be, but for the duration of our meal, many of those tables remained open. I decided not to say anything to be resat for a third time, but ultimately I wish I had. The waiters that hung out at the wait station gossiped and talked about how tired they were. Our waiter was perfunctory, never told us about any specials (we only knew there were specials after overhearing them as we were getting ready to leave), nor helped my wife with wine suggestions. The bartender (within earshot) was more helpful to patrons at the bar and I only wish we had sat there. In St. Anselm's defense, a manager circulated throughout the restaurant and did stop off at our table, but the waitstaff at the wait station were right next to us, so there was no discrete way to outline these issues. I want to again stress that the food was excellent and we will probably return, but it'd be great if wait staff was more attentive. Thanks.

Thanks for this feedback, which gives me a chance to tell servers and other hospitality workers: you're being observed. Act accordingly. 

Hi Tom. I love you for showing some love to established restaurants (e.g., Pesce and La Piquette) that serve good food consistently and reliably. It's human nature to run after the novel and want to try the hot new places. So thanks for reminding us that there's great value brought by the places we've known for years. Mwah!

Thanks for noticing! I'm making an effort to flag more of the long-time good work by some of the area's established chefs, both in my monthly Weekend columnlaunched in January, and in the Magazine. 

I am visiting the zoo next week. I know that area is kind of dead-zone for restaurants. Do you have any suggestions for good vegetarian?

Slim pickings near the zoo. Your best bet is to trek to Cleveland Park, where you might enjoy the charred eggplant or vegetable tagine at Sababa or the saag paneer or asparagus with mustard seeds and curry leaves at Indique

Hi Tom! Had a reservation this past Saturday at Rooster and Owl (thanks for the suggestion of going to Seven Reasons for a drink before - did not disappoint). First impression of Rooster and Owl - the staff knows their stuff about both the menu and wine. I challenged our server, Ralph, to surprise me with the four courses as well as the drinks that were paired with them. All of the courses were spot on and went together amazing. The wine paired excellently at each step and it was a great experience. All of my dining companions thought I was nuts for asking to be surprised at every step of the way....but I was glad I did. Also, the restaurant was great about accommodating some kosher requests and even tweaked some dishes so all could enjoy. Major kudos to the entire Rooster and Owl staff. Food was amazing and the service was exemplary!!!

One of the fears a critic has after writing a rave review is the restaurant letting down its guard. Based on this and other feedback, I'm glad to see Rooster and Owl performing at the same high level I enjoyed. 

A commenter last week was critical of Spoken English for it's 100% standing format -- no seating offered. When it first opened, Spoken English would accommodate diners by offering its menu in the adjacent Brothers & Sisters restaurant, which has traditional seating. It would be worth a call to the restaurant if you're interested in this option.

Erik Brunger-Yang, the creator of Spoken English, tells me the menu can be experienced in the relative comfort of the nearby Brothers & Sisters for those who can't stand. Also (this is new), the staff can provide a stool for a diner in Spoken English. 

Conference next month, looking for the best spots when I have time to venture out of the convention center. Casual and vegetarian friendly. Can uber or metro to venture further afield, but the easier the better because I'll have limited time. Bonus if they're places a friend with baby along would be comfortable meeting me. Thanks!

Right near where you'll be is the fine and friendly Unconventional Diner on 9th St. Nw, with delicious cooking by chef-owner David Deshaies. Vegetarian highlights include kale nachos, shiitake spring rolls and a spread of mezze. 

Hi Tom, we are traveling to Bethesda to take some family members on a final food field trip before they move out of the area. We are specifically looking for brunch, lunch, and dinner suggestions in or near Bethesda, or in nearby DC. It might be fun for them to try some of the newer spots in the area. We loved La Ferme, but have been there many times. Wheelchair accessibility is important, as is not having to scream at each other. Thanks so much!

Your tribe shouldn't move away before tasting Q by Peter Chang -- pork dumplings, dry-fried eggplant, any of the specials  -- in Bethesda. I can't vouch for accessibility, so you should call ahead to confirm whether there are steps involved, etc. 

Freestanding A/C units are costly and bulky, and still need a window to vent the exhaust...

Gotcha. 

There seems to be an explosion of new restaurants featuring international cuisines that are unfamiliar to most Americans, including many in the culinary community. This is fabulous in many ways but also has a down side. For instance, some observers believe DC chef Eric Adjepong’s success on this season’s Top Chef was limited by the judges’ lack of understanding of West African cooking. Are there particular things you do before dining at such a restaurant to gain a better familiarity with that cuisine? Do you have recommendations for diners who may want to venture into what mighg be new worlds of taste and texture so they are best prepared for the experience?

Eating international food at its source for many years certainly prepares me for assessing non-American restaurants. I'm particularly lucky here in Washington, though, where I can invite to foreign establishments companions who may have lived or worked in countries whose food is less familiar to me. Reading (cookbooks) helps me prepare, too. 

And while you’re reminding servers they’re being observed, you might want to share that with the kitchen staff in opens kitchens! We can hear their conversations, see their food preparation and watch their sanitation practices! Watching a chef yell at staff, hear them gossip, or cut meat on the same surface he just sliced raw fish is not appropriate (not hypothetical! I encountered all three in the past month at different restaurants!

Ouch. Same thing happened to me - twice - at a restaurant I included in my recent spring dining guide. The head chef was yelling throughout both my meals. People go to restaurants in part to be pampered, not to be subjected to noise pollution. 

My wife and I recently returned from Lisbon. Every time we ordered a glass of wine, the waiter brought over the bottle with an empty glass. We were then given a small sip to taste to see if it was too our liking--much like when you order a bottle. We were only poured the full glass when we approved of the wine. We wish all restaurants here would do it this way.

Nice! I, too, prefer a fresh glass with every new pour. 

Hi Tom! Avid reader of your reviews and chat. I’ve noticed some restaurants receive a First Bite following their opening and some skip right to the starred review. How do you decide if a restaurant will receive a First Bite or just get starred? Thank you again for keeping us up to date on the DC dining scene!

It depends. Because of the crush of new restaurants, I've been reviewing some of them for the Magazine earlier than I would have say, even a few years ago. 

Hi Tom, I'm moving back to the DC area at the end of June and I'm so excited! There's a bit of a food desert in the current location. I have a month off before I start my new job, and I'm looking forward to being able to try some restaurants for solo lunches on weekdays that might be harder to get into with a group on a weekend. Any recommendations with particularly good bar/solo service? What should I take advantage of at this (theoretically) easier time? Thanks! I can't wait to be a local again!

You don't say how long you've been away, but among the bars you might want to belly up to are Bindaas in Foggy Bottom, Momofuku in CityCenterDC, Del Mar in the Wharf, Little Havana on 14th St. NW and All-Purpose Pizzeria -- the waterfront location -- in Southeast. Welcome back. 

Is there anywhere on line to see your old article on service at Stars, that you mentioned you did undercover? I would love to see it!

I might be able to locate the piece in the next week or so. I remember getting trained on the fly and kind of messing up to the point I apologized to a couple I was serving. Not my finest moment! I was a better banquet waiter at a Marriott hotel (also part of the story). 

A warning about eating at Unconventional Diner during a conference. I've found that if it's a big conference, they are sometimes overwhelmed by demand, which can delay seating times. Despite having a reservation, I had to wait almost 30 minutes for my table on a Monday night back in March. Now I check the Convention Center schedule before I go. Walk 5 minutes to Chaia instead.

Good to know! Thanks for the intel.

I look forward to the end of the Celebrity Chef cult and its toxic masculinity. Who did that guy think he was, Mario Batali?

Well, I think he was going through some stressful times. But still! 

If we don't hear or see any specials listed, we ask if there any specials.

Roger that. But, it's a waiter's job to introduce them if there are indeed specials 

Went there over the weekend with some friends. Outstanding service, interesting menu, obvious skill in the kitchen - but it seems like every dish has lots of sweetness, not all of which really worked with the dish - e.g., the cauliflower tempura (very popular as it seemed like every table near us ordered it) didn't need the apple butter or the other sweet sauces - at best, a hint of something sweet would've been sufficient and the chorizo/lobster bomba not only had roasted beets adding sweetness, whatever was mixed through the rice also had very sweet elements. BTW, we did tell our waiter to mention to the kitchen our overall appreciation of the kitchen but our concern that every dish (we had 5) seemed overly sweet. Didn't you experience this?

If I had, I would have said so in my preview of the upscale Latin American restaurant. Good for you for saying something to your server. Consistency is one of the hardest details to execute in a business. 

Tom: in a relatively recent trend, several nicer restaurants -- not chain, not fast-food, not fast-casual -- have the diner order at the counter, then sit at the table for food to be brought. It's sort of a hybrid: wait in line, order at counter (a la fast food), but then have food brought, perhaps be able to order drinks at the table. I have seen this at Cielo Rojo in Takoma Park, for example. My question is about tipping. Do I need to tip 20 percent if I am doing some of the work of wait-staff? And, do you find it odd that diners are prompted to tip at the time of the order, before the food has been brought and the experience properly appreciated/valued? Restaurants like this make me wish for a no-tipping/"We pay our staff appropriately" policy.

Irritating, I know. How are you supposed to "reward" service if you have yet to experience it? I sometimes tip 15 percent, just because I'd feel bad leaving nothing, but my preferred way of showing thanks is leaving something in a tip jar (or with a server)  *after* my meal. 

 

That's a wrap for today, gang. See you next month (June already!), same time, same place. 

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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