Wednesday, March 26, 2008; 11:00 AM
In a city loaded with diverse restaurants, from New American chic and upscale Italian to sandwich shops and burritos on the run, finding the best places to eat can be a real puzzle. Where's the best restaurant for a first date or an anniversary? Father's Day? What's the best burger joint? Who has the best service?
Ask Tom. Tom Sietsema, The Washington Post's food critic, is on hand Wednesdays at 11 a.m. ET to answer your questions, listen to your suggestions and even entertain your complaints about Washington dining. Sietsema, a veteran food writer, has sampled the wares and worked as a critic in Washington, Seattle, San Francisco and Milwaukee, and can talk restaurants with the best of 'em. You can access his Postcards from Tom to read his recommendations for other cities, read his dining column, First Bite and the Dish or read transcripts of previous "Ask Tom" chats. Tom's Sunday magazine reviews, as well as his "Ask Tom" column, are available early on the Web.
The transcript follows.
Falls Church, Va.: Hi -- Just my opinion, but you do such a great job of covering out-of-town dining with the postcards and archives that I don't see the point of devoting any more on the weekly chats (a BIG chunk of space on Buenos Aires a couple of weeks back). How many people did that serve? Pardon the pun. There is so much to cover in our own backyard.
Tom Sietsema: You're right. There IS a lot to talk about, right here at home. But I like to get, and respond to, questions and comments that cover a broad range of topics -- out-of-town restaurants included.
Good morning, everyone. Welcome to another 60 minutes of food talk.
Washington, D.C.: After reading about Co Co Sala in last week's Express I found your write-up from January. As of Tuesday, the place still isn't open. Any word on what is going on? All they have is a generic "opening soon" sign in the window.
Tom Sietsema: It seems customs is holding an Italian-made bar, which should be released this week. But I'm informed that installation of the design detail will take three weeks or so. The owners are now hoping for a late-April launch.
washingtonpost.com: Dish: Co Co. Sala
James Beard Nominees: I just cannot buy into the Central hype. I keep trying it hoping that I will get it, but I always leave there thinking that it was average, at best. I feel like people love the place because Michel Richard is tied to it and if it were anyone else, the place probably wouldn't be as popular. I just found the JB nomination ridiculous.
Tom Sietsema: What specfically don't you care for?
Chevy Chase, Md.: Sushi Ko Chevy Chase is now open
Tom Sietsema: Indeed it is!
Co-owner Russell Gravatt tells me "we snuck open last Friday" (March 22) after months and months of delays. He blames "lots of county stuff" and some design snafus.
Gravatt also confirms the rumor that the Chevy Chase branch didn't open on time in part because the talent wasn't in place. "We're still battling that," he says. "It's a tough marketplace for sushi chefs. There's lots of cannibalism going on." Competitors have hired away several of his kitchen staff -- but fortunately not Koji Terano, the top gun, who is "bouncing around" from place to place these days, according to his boss.
The new Sushi-Ko is at 5455 Wisconsin Ave. NW; call 301-961-1644.
Arlington, Va.: Tom,
Need some help since I have never been. I am supposed to go on a first date in Columbia, Md. Any suggestion that is not a chain restaurant?
Tom Sietsema: I've got the perfect spot for you: The Iron Bridge Wine Company. While it has a (newish) sibling in Warrenton, it is definitely NOT a chain.
washingtonpost.com: Review: Iron Bridge Wine Company
I had dinner at Mio last week and it was very good. I noticed something that I wanted to ask because there are always complaints about servers on the chat. It looked to me that many of the servers at Mio, ours included, looked to be older than the normal 20-something waiters we often see. They just seemed to be part of a "professional class" of servers. Have you noticed this in your eating travels around the area?
Tom Sietsema: Have I noticed that there's a professional class of servers? I have. And they tend to know a good thing when they see it.
Mio's owner, Manuel Iguna, has been in the restaurant business for decades, and he's worked at some very good places. He's had great luck, finding and securing good staff in the dining room.
Alexandria, Va.: Hi Tom!
Wanted to chime in with a big thank you for the Me Jana recommendation! We went there for my mother's birthday last week. The service was very friendly and the food was very good.
Well worth the recommendation and a visit.
Tom Sietsema: I'm glad to hear that. I always worry that a postive review will substantially change a place, particularly a small neighborhood operation.
Chapel Hill, N.C.: A few weeks back my question about San Antonio recommendations didn't make the chat... Well I'm back from San Antonio and I have to report that the dining there is splendid indeed. A few of the highlights:
Boudros, a "Texas bistro" on the Riverwalk, had a "Texas tapas" lunch with several little items including a great smoked duck tamale and very tasty slices of grilled sausage.
Azuca, a "Nuevo Latino" restaurant a few blocks south of the convention center area, was a great dinner spot. A chorizo appetizer and a mixed-grill entree were both tasty; the chimichurri sauce was outstanding. The desserts looked amazing but we were just too full.
At Biga on the Banks, right at the south end of the Riverwalk, I had a "Texas hill country" combination of venison and grilled quail that was out-of-this-world.
San Antonio is a great dining destination.
Tom Sietsema: Anyone headed to San Antonio thanks you.
Capitol Hill: Hi Tom, Am hosting a dinner for 6 colleagues in Boston next week. I read your recent Postcard but am looking for additional ideas for a new-ish spot with good food/scene appropriate for business dinner. Open to most any cuisine. Friends have recommended Clio, Radius and KO Prime -- thoughts on those or other suggestions much appreciated!
Tom Sietsema: If you dig deeper into the Postcard archives, you'll find I highlighted both Clio and Radius. They aren't new, but they continue to serve interesting food. Another long-time favorite, near the Boston Commons, is No. 9 Park.
Old Town Alexandria: I've been craving a good bowl of guacamole lately. Where are some of your favorite places to chow down? Would like to get ideas for low and high price points; D.C. and NoVa preferred.
Tom Sietsema: For good guac, try Oyamel and Casa Oaxaca in the city and Guajillo, Casa Oaxaca's siblng, in Arlington. I also like the dip as it's staged at Rosa Mexicano -- but that's about all that I like at the sprawling New York import.
Washington, D.C.: Hi Tom. Do you know when Ray's the Steaks is moving to larger digs? And do you know anything about what it will be like? Will the vibe be dressier, like its cousin in Silver Spring? (If you don't know, perhaps you could summon Michael Landrum by posting this anyway.) Thanks!
Tom Sietsema: Michael, do you care to answer a fan's questions here?
"Co Co. Sala":....is about the dumbest name I have heard for a dining establishment. What is it supposed to mean? I live in Penn Quarter and want to be excited about this tasty-sounding place coming in....but I can't get over the stupid name.
Tom Sietsema: Did you read my Dish column about the place? The name is a hybrid -- not a very good one, in my opinion.
Alexandria, Va.: Tom, I recently had a horrible experience at McCormick and Schmicks in Crystal City. The next day I wrote to the company, via Web site, and explained in detailed all the terrible things that happened and my severe disappointment. I left all of the relevant contact information as well. This was over two weeks ago and I haven't gotten a response. I'm pretty angry. Any thoughts?
Tom Sietsema: It could be no one has read your complaint. It could also be that the restaurant is investigating your problem.
It wouldn't hurt to resend your original missive and request a reply that the company at least received your email.
All that said, two weeks is too long for a reply.
Washington, D.C.: Hi Tom,
I'm curious what your favorite dine-in restaraunts are in D.C. with entrees under $10? (It seems everyone has a different concept of budget, but this one is mine!) Thanks.
Tom Sietsema: In no particular order -- and with the caveat that some entrees on their menus are more than $10 -- I suggest Four Sisters in Falls Church, Yechon in Annanadale, Jaleo in DC and elsewhere, Hitching Post on Upshur St. NW, Etete on Ninth St. NW, Mandalay in Silver Spring, Amsterdam Falafel Shop in Adams Morgan and Nirvana on K St.
Does anyone else care to share a favorite cheap eat?
Herndon, Va.: I have a topic I'm hoping you'll post so that I can possibly satisfy my curiosity. My wife and I, like 99 percent of couples we have observed, sit on opposite sides of the table facing each other when we eat at a restaurant. Occasionally, however, we will notice a couple sitting on the same side of the table, next to each other. This usually seams to occur in booths, but not always. It has always seamed a little odd to us, because the folks sitting this way are not facing the person they presumably want to be interacting with. They're just sort of staring out into the restaurant. They have to turn towards each other in order to have a conversation. I'm hoping someone out there will explain why they prefer this seating arrangement.
Tom Sietsema: Funny you should bring this up. I found myself sitting next to a (female) dining companion just a week or so ago. We were in a booth facing a dance floor in a restaurant I have yet to review. Both of us felt kind of awkward, because as you point out, such positioning makes conversation a bit more difficult. In our case, hwever, the alternative would have been to sit with our backs to the entertainment.
Can anyone out there argue for a good reason to sit side-by-side like that, particularly in a place where there's no entertainment but dinner?
Great Falls, Va.: Tom, I need to rant a bit about my pet peeve in U.S. restaurants; the act of clearing plates from diners that are finished while others at the same table are still eating. This is as rude as things get in my mind. I often entertain business clients and I am constantly having to tell the wait staff not to clear until everyone's done. It is uncormfortable for some people to be eating while others have had their plates cleared and takes away from the enjoyment of their experience. I know they want to turn the table, but how much longer does it really take to clear everyone at the same time. I work in Europe 50 percent of the time and you almost never see this happen.
What are your thoughts on this?
Tom Sietsema: We've addressed this topic a lot in the past.
I agree with you: it's rude to clear an empty plate when others at the table are still eating. The practice makes people feel as if they're being rushed, even if that's not the case. That said, some diners argue that they hate sitting in front of dirty plates.
Let's hope the transgressors see your gripe. And take action (or not).
Washington, D.C.: Tom,
Quick Italian questions: Tuscana West or Teatro Goldoni?
Any idea how Laconda on the Hill is?
Tom Sietsema: How about Tosca or Al Tiramisu or Spezie instead?
Locanda is a terrific addition to the Hill. (The pastas and desserts are particularly good.) Most encouragingly, the restaurant has maintained the high standards it launched with.
washingtonpost.com: Review: Locanda
Couples sitting side-by-side: They still like each other and want to be close and touch during dinner. I used to be part of such a couple .... now I'm interviewing for a new boyfriend.
Tom Sietsema: Given your history there, I'm not sure if you're promoting the idea or shooting it down!
washington DC: re: sitting side-by-side: I find that tables at restaurants these days tend to be big, even for two people. In loud restaurants, particularly, its better to sit next to each other, even on the same side, than to scream across the table to be heard.
Tom Sietsema: Good point.
Dupont: Re: Out of town dining
There are quite a bit of places to review in the district alone, but considering the amount of travel done by the area's residents, the Postcard idea is more than useful.
Tom Sietsema: I do get a lot of feedback (privately and here) on the Postcard columns. You'll be seeing more of 'em.
Fairfax, Va.: I'm wondering how a food critic, chef, or other food industry professional whose job includes eating or drinking, do when faced with a dietary restriction for health reasons. How would you handle a diet with sodium, alcohol, or sugar restrictions, for example?
Tom Sietsema: Fortunately, that's not a question I've had to ponder yet. But I do recall that the late Craig Claiborne responded to his doc's orders not to eat salt by writing a low-sodium cookbook. And remember Jeff Tunks of DC Coast acclaim, who dropped major pounds a few years ago? I recall him saying he didn't eat after a certain hour, and upped his exercise.
There are probably lots of other examples, but none that come to mind right now.
E-mailing a restaurant: Tom, do you think maybe the diner should call the restaurant? I am unconvinced that e-mails even get read...and definitely not my the manager. I assume this one was conveniently deleted. Plus, voice to voice (although it takes more courage) sends a less passive message
Tom Sietsema: Calling has its merits and its down sides -- as in, what's the best time to catch a manager's attention? Also, I think restaurateurs like to see things in writing. (I know I do!)
There are plenty of businesses that DO listen and DO read email and letters. I know, because readers tell me they do.
Fairfax, VA: Favorite cheap eats:
A&J in Annandale (great dumplings), Huong Viet (everything) in Eden, and Marks Duck House (soups and noodles)
Tom Sietsema: Yum.
Food Under 10: The saltenas at Tutto Bene on the weekends works for me! Good bowl of pho at Pho 75...
Tom Sietsema: Yep, I dig those savory pastries, too, as well as the beef noodle soup.
Clearing plates: Its actually worse than just making the lingering eater feel rushed. It also stigmatizes the early finisher for woofing down his or her meal. At my restaurant, no plate is to be removed until all are done UNLESS there is a specific request to do so.
Tom Sietsema: Bravo. Thanks for chiming in.
Washington, D.C.: Hi Tom:
What do you do when something happens that puts you off a restaurant before you even get any food? I took my husband out to Blacks in Bethesda for his birthday. Our waiter arrived and recited the specials but while he was doing so he wiped his nose between his thumb and forefinger 3 or 4 times. He didn't have a runny nose -- just a bad mannerism. Then he tucked his shoulder length hair behind his ears three or four times for good measure! I was revolted. When he left we left too. On the way out I mentioned why (but discretely) to the duty manager who, fairly loudly, nabbed the offending waiter and started to berate him in front of arriving diners. It was an excruciating and unappetizing experience.
What would you do?
Tom Sietsema: Good for you for filling the manager in on the problem (and it IS a problem). But bad form on the part of the manager, berating a server in front of other diners.
What would I have done? Had I wanted to stay, I might have requested another server. And I definitely would have flagged a manager (in private).
Crystal City, VA: I've noticed a number of comments lately about vegetarian options, or lack thereof, at restaurants. What guarantees do patrons have that the food being served is 100% vegetarian. It seems to me that vegetarian patrons should be more concerned that the food is actually vegetarian than whether there are options on the menu.
Tom Sietsema: Do you have reason to believe the food is NOT vegetarian?
Annapolis, MD: The question on sitting positions:
People who have hearing problems (hearing aids, deaf in one ear, etc.) deal with echoes and all sorts of issues in large spaces. I would guess the blind and those who use sign language might have similar seating issues.
I tend to think that the way a couple acts in a restaurant is a window into their marriage- how about those who never say a word to each other, or those who split the check, even though they are married... Food for thought, pun intended!
Tom Sietsema: Yeah, that always saddens me: Obvious couples who have nothing -- nada, zip -- to say to one another over the course of a meal.
Washington, D.C.: Hi Tom, my family is in desperate need of your help! It is my grandmother's 90th birthday on Friday and my father and I are going down to Williamsburg, Va., to take her to dinner. Do you have any suggestions for a meal that would properly celebrate 90 years? We would be looking for a place that serves American/Nouveau American, French or Italian food. Any price range. The Williamsburg Inn has been suggested, if you or any readers have experience dining there. Thank you in advance!
Tom Sietsema: It's been a few years since I've trekked to Williamsburg. But I'd love to help you (and your grandmother)with a suggestion or two. Chatters?
Fairfax, Va.: Are you planning to write a book like Phyllis Richman - (not the usual dining guide)?
Tom Sietsema: I think I have some interesting stories, if not necessarily a book, in me. But I'm far too busy right now to consider writing a novel. Plus, the stories I would want to share are of the "holy &%@#!" variety and probably best served as I'm exiting this job.
Washington, D.C.: Cash tipping. Recently I have noticed a increase in cash tips being requested. Is this a new trend?
Tom Sietsema: I haven't seen a lot of that. But the request might have to do with waiters getting their tips immediately vs. later.
the act of clearing plates from diners that are finished while others at the same table are still eating.: This one of my pet peeves! My husband eats very fast - he just charges right through it immediately. When he's done, I'm only half way through. When his plate is cleared I feel like I have to gulp it down. My solution is to ask my husband not to finish the last few bites until I get closer to being done. That helps about half the time. But at least when the waiter tries to take the plate he can say "still working on that."
Tom Sietsema: I love your compromise. You sound like two people who still talk to one another.
Washington, DC: can I sneak in a request for a recommendation of a vegetarian-friendly restaurant in the Penn Quarter/metro center area? For Friday night, not too expensive. thanks!
Tom Sietsema: Jaleo and Zaytinya are my usual responses to your request. Any othersk, gang?
Tipping question: Tom - When ordering food for take-out (and upon walking into the restaurant to pick it up) is it necessary to tip? FWIW, Gene Weingarten says no, but you're the expert!
Tom Sietsema: Gene is CHEAP. I mean, the guy once figured out how to get the paper to pay for a, um, "massage" at one of the many spas that advertise (or used to advertise) in the Sports section.
I'm inclined to base my tip on the size of the order and how much attention was paid to it, in terms of packaging and extras like napkins, utensils, condiments. I also try to find out who took or prepped my order and tip him or her. Sometimes it's the host, othertimes it's the bar tender.
U Street, DC: Tom, you always recommend Etete for Ethiopian. As a native Ethiopian myself, the most authentic Ethiopian food in the DC area is found at Dukem.
Tom Sietsema: I like Dukem, too.
Just fyi: Every time I get an Ethiopian cab driver, I ask him or her where they go for a taste of home. I rarely get the same answer! I think their responses have a lot to do with their political and social leanings.
Williamsburg, Va.: The Fat Canary on Merchant's Square is fabulous. I'd go there before the Inn. (Then again, I had a really weird waiter at the Inn, so that may be biasing me).
Tom Sietsema: And just as we're winding down. Thanks.
Couples in restaurants: My husband and I tend not to talk if we are seated uncomfortably close to other diners. This happens more and more often as restaurants try to cram too many people into tiny little spaces. It can also be uncomfortable for us to hear what other people talk about. I can't tell you the number of times I have just wanted to lean over and tell someone that they are mis-quoting a book, or are incorrect in a political statement. But, as I would not want someone to do the same to me, I just sit there, eat my salad, and give my husband "a look."
Tom Sietsema: I've noticed a lot of "looks" on the faces of customers in busy, noisy restaurants of late. And I think I'm GIVING them, too!
Vegetarian: I think if you are truly concerned that a restaurant's representation, either written or verbal, of a menu item as vegetarian is not to be trusted, you either have to arrange to watch them cook it, or not eat out.
As a vegetarian, I do ask questions (is there any fish sauce in this? Meat broth?), and I just have to trust that I'm getting an honest response (even if that response is "I don't know").
Tom Sietsema: Yep, you gotta trust SOMEONE right?
Colorado Springs: Hi Tom. Still love the chats, even four years after moving from D.C. Here's a bit of a philosophical question. Went to Vetri in Philadelphia last weekend, in part because of the recommendation in your postcard. Food was great, service was attentive. Interestingly, though, we were served bad wine. The Prosecco, served first, was corked; and a red by the glass served later in the meal was oxidized. Both were replaced immediately and graciously when the problem was identified. We are not, of course, scarred for life. The meal wasn't ruined, and I don't want anything comped or refunded. But I have to wonder: when you're paying $250 a person for a meal, the restaurant is tiny, AND they have a dedicated sommelier, should bad wine even make it to the table? I'm a reasonably well-informed wine consumer, and reasonably assertive. Someone else might keep quiet and endure a major flaw in a hugely costly experience. Surely the sommelier can't taste everyone's wines, but he could smell them; the defects in both these wines were apparent from the first whiff.
By the way, to reduce the element of confrontation, I asked the staff to request that the sommelier try our suspect wine, "to see if it tastes the way it should," without a specific criticism. It worked pretty well.
Tom Sietsema: Wine isn't always one of those ingredients you can judge -- unlike say, wilted lettice or sour milk -- until the cork is removed, the wine is sniffed and sipped. I've been in a number of high-end restaurants where I've had to return corked or otherwise off wine, flaws that the sommelier or whoever opens the bottle sometimes catches right away.
Like you, I always invite the waiter, a manager or dedicated wine person to taste what I perceive to be a flawed bottle. I like your suggestion to diners who think their order might be corked but aren't quite certain: "Is this how the wine should taste?" is a perfectly legitimate question to raise with a sommelier. There are few things worse than suffering through a bad bottle of wine with a meal.
washingtonpost.com: Postcard From Tom: Philadelphia
Washington, D.C.: Tom, I have a question for you. When dining out, I generally like to have a green salad before my entree. Twice in the past week (once at Marvin, once at Station 9), I have ordered a salad appetizer and an entree, only to discover the entree came accompanied by virtually the same green salad I separately paid approx. $8 for. In neither case did the menu say the entree came with a salad, which I suppose is sufficiently annoying. But couldn't the waiter have flagged this for me in each case? This seems like very relevant information -- they are in a position to know, I'm not, given the menu omissions. I suppose they might think doing so would reduce the amount of the check, and thus their tip. Honestly, in each case I likely would have tried another appetizer. And I'm a generous tipper (20 percent minimum), but also generally annoyed enough that, should it happen again, I will be reducing the tip. Your thoughts?
Tom Sietsema: My thoughts are your thoughts, at least as they pertain to menus that don't offer full disclosure and waiters who compound the problem by not informing diners that they're basically getting two salads (or whatever).
I hope your post makes it onto restaurant bulletin boards, or comes up at staff meetings, this week.
Washington, D.C.: Tom --
Wondering if you had any good ideas for brunch after running the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in two weeks. Looking for a place that either takes reservations and is close to the run, or is just good and allows a large party to indulge post-run (trying to avoid Old Ebbitt and Clyde's if possible!). Thanks!
Tom Sietsema: What about Les Halles, Cafe du Parc or the Occidental Grill, all of which have the advantage of patio seating? (Surely it's going to warm up ONE of these days, he types hopefully.)
Alexandria, Va.: I'd like to share my experience from Friday night at Vermillion. It was the first time my boyfriend and I had ever dined there. As far as I could tell, we did nothing to make ourselves appear like first timers, and I wanted to keep it that way. Had the dining room hostess, or attendant or whoever she was, asked us in plain earshot of the other diners if it was our first time, then we would've blended in fairly well with everyone. I was embarrassed because society doesn't expect someone who looks like my boyfriend and I to be "foodies" and therefore I wanted to represent my culture well without my status as a first timer being announced to the whole room. It didn't ruin the dining experience, but it did make me uncomfortable.
Tom Sietsema: I need some context here. Do you feel as though you were singled out because of the way you were dressed, because of your age or your skin color? Because a lot of restaurants ask their patrons "Have you dined with us before?" (I hear it all the time.)
The phrase isn't meant to cause slight; it's typically asked because the restaurant wants to give you background information on the chef, the menu or the venue. In other words, I wouldn't take the question personally.
Northwest D.C.: Long time reader first question: About a week ago I went to Ray's the Steaks with my family. We had arranged to get there early to get a table. I have not eaten there before, but some family members have and explained the process for getting a table. We got on the list, however when we were called I was not there. I was parking the car.
Needless to say there was an issue. They would not seat us until the full party was there. After some discussions with the staff it was clear that we needed to leave. They were unpleasant, unaccommodating and rude. I was taken aback by the upfront rudeness of the staff. Is the old adage of the customer is always right gone? Am I expecting too much for minimum consideration from the staff.
Tom Sietsema: I'm curious: Was it just one person the restaurant was waiting for? How much later did you arrive at the restaurant? The answers to those questions would help me form an answer.
Washington, D.C.: Tom -- I was confused by your Ask Tom column this past Sunday. When you wrote that diners would be expected to pay for the substitute dish (if they did not like the one they ordered), did you mean in addition to the price of their original dish? Or did you mean that the diner would have to pay for only one dish -- the second one?
Tom Sietsema: I meant that the diner should pay only for the dish he had eaten (the substitute). Sorry for any confusion there.
washingtonpost.com: Ask Tom: When Is It Appropriate to Send a Dish Back?
Beware the wrath of Gene's fans: Just for the record, all Gene got was a massage. That was the joke of the column. Look, you already have the Reliable Source ladies trashing you -- don't start a beef with Gene.
Tom Sietsema: LOL
I know, I know, I know. Gene got a massage (without the quotes). I'd love to see how he listed that on his expense report.
Fairfax, Va.: Hi Tom,
I'm getting married next year and I'm trying to find a great place to hold my reception. Someone mentioned 2941 Restaurant, but I read somewhere that the place isn't as good as it used to be ever since Chef Jonathan Krinn left. Can you recommend a great restaurant with a wonderful location like 2941 Restaurant?
Tom Sietsema:2941 is one of the most beautiful rooms around. And I beg to differ with whoever told you the restaurant isn't as good under Krinn's ultimate replacement, Bertrand Chemel.
But read for yourself: My review of the new guy's work comes out this Friday online, in the paper on Sunday.
Washington, D.C.: Hi Tom! Just moved to Dupont Circle, and haven't unpacked my kitchen yet!! Where would you get take out in Dupont? I'm especially fond of Indian and Thai...cheaper is better, but want quality. Thanks!!!
Tom Sietsema: If they deliver, Heritage India and Mai Thai or Nooshi are probably your best carry-out bets.
Takoma, D.C.: I don't get why people get so upset about having their plate cleared when they're done. You're done; you don't need your plate anymore. Let it go.
Tom Sietsema: And with that, I'll let this conversation -- and delightful company -- go. At least until next Wednesday.
So long, gang. Have a delicious weekend.
washingtonpost.com: Gene's column:
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