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Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Dining Room

Hello fabulous readers! Sorry it’s been a while… I’ve been cramming for this huge licensing test and now it is finally over! Pheew! Now back to the delicious things in life – mochas.

On a recent trip to NYC I stayed with my beautiful friend Ashley!  Ashley lives just outside the city in Hoboken, NJ. There are so many little shops and restaurants to explore in Hoboken, but for Sunday brunch Ashley knew where we were going – to The Dining Room.  It did not disappoint 🙂

Taste: 6

I’ve been desperately searching for the mocha that offers the perfect balance of flavors – I want to taste equal parts espresso, milk, and cocoa.  Well, The Dining Room got 2 out of 3.  I could taste equal parts espresso and steamed milk, but the only way I could taste the cocoa was from the crappy Hershey’s Syrup they poured on top. Sigh…

Appearance: 4

I’m not playing games, Dining Room.  This mocha is for amateurs.  My father can draw a better chocolate-y design than this – a horse, perhaps 😉 Yes the steamed milk looks nice and yes the crisp white cup AND saucer (extra point) compliment the mocha colors.  But no, I have higher expectations for you Mr. Anthony David.

Store Ambiance: 7

I need a new camera. Eugh. Any suggestions? Foggy photos aside, I really liked my morning here at The Dining Room!  Not only was I in great company, but I kind of felt at home (more on this later).  We walked into the restaurant early (10:30amish) and there was already a crowd!  Ashley helped herself to some coffee (DIY) and I ordered a mocha while we waited for our table.  We were seated almost immediately in the back room.  The decor reminds me of my parents house – wood floors, trinkets from their travels, Persian rugs, and random antiques. Oh yeah, and great food!  I walked into the Dining Room not very hungry, but when I caught eye of what others were ordering, I changed my mind quickly! Portions are large, quality is there, outdoor seating is offered.  Just go here.  But don’t order a mocha.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in New Jersey

 

GUEST POST: Nathaniel Rosenblatt

As what is becoming a bi-monthly extra, as in once every other month, I present to you the second Guest Post!  Today’s post is by my brother Guckie Nathaniel!  Nathaniel is currently living in DC, and even though he’s a long train ride away, I’ll take DC over him living in Iraq any day.  Yes, that’s right, the man has lived in Iraq… and Turkey… and Syria.  He’s really fun to brag about and looks great in a mustache.  He also is fluent in a handful of languages and he’s an all around mensch. So prepare yourself, folks, for the most uplifting dose of happiness you’ve had all day.  The one and only, Nathaniel Guckie Rosenblatt.

Guest Post: An East Coaster writes from our nation’s capital

Hello from gridlocked Washington DC! Or should I say: shut up and get out of my way, I have a bill not to pass!

But seriously folks, we get things done over here. As our lovable Vice President Joseph Biden once said: “If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, there’s still a 30% chance we’re going to get it wrong.”

Which is why it might be hard to understand why Washington DC coffee is crap. I mean, this city practically runs on caffeine and coffee meetings. Why can’t we find a quiet place sit and access free wifi?

We are so busy here in Washington that we do more in one hour than those good-for-nothing West Coasters do in a week. Heaven forbid the Portola Coffee Lab mocha-sipping hacks like my brother can’t get a cup of   Strauss pasture-fed, nearly-raw milk. While we might write crappy legislation, they write crappy movies, which is to say at least we’re trying to do something that matters. Shouldn’t that mean we get coffee that matters, too?

With such high demand for caffeine in this city of appearances – where looking like you’re working hard is virtually the same as actually working hard – you’d think people would be demanding a better brew. So why does Washington DC coffee suck so much?

In a word: Starbucks. They’ve flooded our coffee-drinking market with brown water that costs too much and tastes like the sad dismal landscape of hyper-commercialized America. Starbucks is on every street corner in the city. There are 75 of them within five miles of the White House. There are more Starbucks coffee shops per capita in Washington DC than any other city in the world.

Why is this a problem? Because it makes people lazy. We have officially capitulated to market forces. There is the extra minute required for us to look on our smart phone for a better cup of coffee, and then the extra five minutes it would take to get there. Clearly we don’t have time for that, and so Starbucks crap-ttés reign supreme. Adam Smith was right: the invisible hand does steer us, and odds are, when we want caffeine, it’ll drop us off in front of a Starbucks.

That being said, there are some halfway decent places in Washington, some of them have been reviewed here at DMV (see here and here). But that is the DC coffee drinking community holding up an umbrella to the biblical-sized deluge of crappy Starbucks lattes and mochas that flood our city. We can’t stop the brown rain, we can only hope to build a boat sturdy enough and fast enough to get the hell out of there.

And maybe that boat will take us to a place warm and nice. A place where we don’t have to worry about writing legislation that will combat the spread of nuclear weapons, or curb a national debt that has reached $50,000 per American citizen. A place where we can wile away the day creating coffee drinks with milk set at the rawest legal limit for public consumption. I’m talking about a little place called Los Angeles.

But as for Washington DC, it gets zeroes across the board for its crappy coffee: its mediocre taste; the forlorn appearance of its brews, hidden as they always are behind white paper cups; and the unimaginative ambiance of its so-called cafés. Clearly we’re too busy and important to care about such things as nearly raw milk for making mochas. And if we did, someone at the FDA would probably find out and send some damn fool backwater hick-town congressman from Idaho to halt the legislative session with a filibuster about how raw milk endangers the pasteurizing industry. But it wouldn’t pass, of course, because our congress is as partisan as ever. I suppose you could say we get the coffee we deserve.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2012 in DC