Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jamieson Grille, Alexandria

"Death ray my ass" said the patent attorney leaning in from the window "It hardly even slows them down"

It might not be such a good idea to book a window seat at the Jamieson Grille, Westin Alexandria, 400 Courthouse Square, Alexandria, VA, Tel +1 (703) 253-8640. It's right near the USPTO and crawling with patent attorneys. Scary.

salmon benedict

Being quite the daredevil, I plonked myself down at a window table and ordered the "poached organic egg salmon benedict" with wilted spinach, English muffin, and "olive oil citrus hollandaise". And that's what I got. One egg. One muffin. Note the careful use of the singular for both "egg" and "muffin". It's a lawyer-proof menu. You want two eggs? Order two serves.

What would be funny would be to re-write the menu in patent-speak: at least one meal of salmon benedict including at least one egg served together with at least one muffin and at least one portion of salmon accompanied by hollandaise sauce wherein said at least one egg is poached, said at least one muffin is English, said at least one portion of salmon is smoked and said hollandaise includes olive oil and at least one form of citrus extract. And let's not forget the dependent claim: the aforementioned salmon benedict, served with at least one leaf of spinach wherein said at least one leaf of spinach is wilted.

I won't attempt this for the whole menu. Instead, I will share some brief highlights. Like blueberry orange granola flapjacks with citrus berry salad, warm maple syrup and whipped butter. Or baked organic egg and chicken apple sausage with spinach and artisan marscapone. Or steel cut oat brulee with honey glazed green apples, bananas and toasted pecans. They called them "steal cut" but that must be a typo. I'm sure the Westin would never serve stolen oats.

The Jamieson is a very swish venue, with good service and reasonable prices if you don't mind half portions. Except for the Starbucks coffee, which, at $4.50, is daylight robbery.

16/20 "nice egg"


Labels: , , , , , ,

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Highland Kitchen, Somerville

Readers of The Tipping Point will recall the claim that a small bunch of super-influencial East-Village hipster-trendoids started wearing Hush Puppies and, hey presto, they were tranformed into must-wear footwear for the masses. Which begs the question: if the cool kids start eating hush puppies for breakfast, will they trigger the breakfast food fad of 2009? To find out, I urge all foodie fashionistas to get on down to Highland Kitchen, 150 Highland Avenue, Somerville, MA, Tel +1 (617) 625-1131, and order a side of deep-fried pups.

chicken liver omelete

Not everyone agrees with Malcolm Gladwell mind you. Duncan Watts reckons the super-influencer theory is toast, and that mere mortals are just as likely to trigger a fashion epidemic. What matters is whether the world is ready for deep fried corn bread. If the food is right, any idiot could trigger an outbreak. Even me.

So, all you need to decide is what to have with your hush puppies. I couldn't resist the chicken liver omelette. Tasty chicken livers, fried up with chunks of bacon and smothered in real cheddar cheese (not the plastic American cheese you find in diners, etc). A bit too rich and heavy, but very enjoyable nonetheless.

Other options include: smoked trout and bacon hash, or smoked pork hash, each served with 2 fried eggs and collard greens; shrimp and grits with smoked bacon, mushrooms and collard greens; buttermilk pancakes; organic granola; Iggy's plain or chocolate croissants; and, of course, biscuits with sausage gravy.

Most breakfasts are under $10, the coffee and services is good, and the venue has a warm buzz.

15/20 "chicken liver omelette"


Labels: , , , , , , ,

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Columbus Cafe and Bar, Boston

Maybe they do a great brunch at Columbus Cafe and Bar, 535 Columbus Avenue, Boston (South End), Tel +1 (617) 247-9001. And maybe Joaquin Pheonix will make a great rapper. Or maybe not. At the end of the day, these are matters of opinion.

maine eggs benedict

If you believe the opinions on Yelp, this place deserves 4 out of 5 stars and is good for brunch. One Yelper even rates the Maine Eggs Benedict her favorite brunch dish ever. As Flavor Fav would say, don't believe the hype. This just proves that too much opinion can be just as bad as too little. Because there is no way I would rate the eggs benny as anything other than a bare pass. The poached eggs were good, and the crab cakes weren't bad, but it was all downhill from there. The hollandaise was like cold whipped butter, completely devoid of tang. The muffins were absolutely rock hard and stale. The home fries were too greasy. And I really don't see the point of the cold slide of tomato.

I have no doubt that loyal locals will be spitting out their Vermont Scrambles or choking on their chorizo as they read this. So let me just say that I get that it's cozy, I liked the coffee, and the staff seemed very nice. My gripe is the food. Like Joaquin's rapping, it needs much work. In my humble opinion, of course.

13/20 "over hyped"


Labels: , , , , , , ,