Friday, October 29, 2010

Pesce Restaurant in Dupont

For an office dinner, we headed to Pesce in Dupont Circle. It used to be located further down P Street a few storefronts.  Now it is in the space vacated by Montsouris and Johnny's Half Shell.  With a name like Pesce you expect and the restaurant delivers some lovely dishes based on things from the sea. 
 The Menu.
The restaurant eschews printed menus in favor of a blackboard listing appetizers in white and entrees in red.
 Carpaccio ($12)
Tuna, salmon and flounder with frisee and lemon oil.  Very light and lovely.
 Steamed PEI Mussels in white wine sauce ($9)
While the bread basket's baguette slices were a bit hard, they was perfect for dipping in this broth.
 Crabcake with greens ($14)
Baked crabcake with a nice composition of beet greens and onions.  The weakest of the 3 appetizers.
 Salmon with haricot vert and mashed potatoes ($22)
Grilled to medium rare. 
Penne with tuna, chorizo, black olive and tomato sauce ($20)
The chorizo gave this a nice spicy kick.
Spaghetti with shrimp, broccoli, tomato, corn and a white wine sauce.  ($20)
It's a casual neighborhood restaurant with some lovely seafood dishes.  It can get loud, but works well as a date place, office dinner, or a nice meal out with the ladies. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Furin's in Georgetown

I like to support small family-owned establishments that serve good food.  Furin's is one of those places that is easy to miss unless you're familiar with the area.  It is predominantly a carry-out lunch spot that now serves breakfast and has some small tables.  Furin's also caters and make some lovely cakes. 
Turkey Club with pickle and Utz chips $7.95
Three Salad Sampler $8.25
Fruit, Tex-Mex corn and bean and pasta with spinach and garlic.
*** I've ordered birthday cakes from Furin's before, and they make a lovely 6" chocolate round cake for $18.99.  Their monthly window display is a whimsical exhibit that I've enjoyed walking by over the years.  Their staff is genial, the line moves quickly, and they make warming soups and chilis in the wintertime.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Experimenting with Spam

My boyfriend and I were walking around the grocery store and he remarked that he had never eated Spam and wondered what it was like.  He's an adventurous boy so we picked up a can.  My Korean friend loves pan-fried Spam with a fried egg.  With that in mind, I made him a Spam donburi.  A bowl of rice was topped with sauteed mushrooms, onions, spinach, shrimp tossed in kochujang, fried spam and a fried egg.  Last night, I used the leftover Spam for Spam Ramen. 
 Boiled eggs, fresh ramen noodles, corn, pickled ginger and the soup base.
 Pan-fried slices of Spam.
A bit of sesame seeds and dried nori plus green beans finish off the concoction.
Tonkotsu-shoyu, or a pork-based broth, worked well, however the Shoyu-aji, soy sauce flavored broth, was a little too salty with the addition of the fried Spam.  Surprisingly the green beans and Spam were a good combination.  The boyfriend has now experience Spam and although he enjoyed the ramen he preferred the donburi. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Honey Pig Pig-Out

We love Honey Pig.  It's open 24-hours, there's a nice variety of Korean dishes to try, and it's relatively inexpensive.  Now there's even one opened in Centreville near Spa World.  Two of my favorite Korean things have come together.  Mentally planning a trip already.
Panchan.  These free little dishes vary each visit. 
Soju and Cass beer.
Mandu ($7.99)
Fried beef dumplings. 
Jumuluk ($13.99)
Seasoned boneless ribs.  These were recommended to me by a Korean friend, and they are tender and delicious.
Pajeon ($6.99)
Hamul pajeon is a scallion pancake with seafood, but we mistakenly ordered just a pajeon.  It was still crispy and wonderful with beer and soju.
Soon doobu ($6.99)
Bubbling soft tofu stew with seafood.  One of my favorite Korean dishes.
I've noticed that the staff at the Annandale Honey Pig has become more friendly towards English speakers in my last few visits.  I haven't seen the surly Korean server in the last year or so, and I've enjoyed the dinners there much more.

Overwood in Old Town

After running the Army 10 Miler, my boyfriend took me to brunch at Overwood in Old Town. It's owned by the same people as Boulevard Woodgrill and Faccia Luna.  It's menu is diverse, the space was nice and bright and at brunch the place was teeming with families with peacefully-sleeping babies. 
Bloody Mary ($5.75)
I'm not sure why there was a spiced shrimp garnish, but this is a nice and spicy rendition.
Eggs Florentine ($10.50)
Poached eggs on a bed of spinach and English Muffin and a light hollandaise sauce. The potatoes were spicy and a nice contrast.
Charleston Frittata ($11)
3-eggs with andouille sausage, crawfish, peppers, roast potatoes and cheddar cheese.
Asiago grits ($5)
Creamy and good.
We had read some reviews that said the service was not spectacular, especially in the evening, but we had a very pleasant experience.  The burger looked nice and juicy, our server was efficient, and it was a nice treat after the race.

Carmine's in DC

I had heard that the famous NYC restaurant, Carmine's, had opened a DC-outpost.  Early reviews included favorable comments.  It's family-style Italian, with portions so large you should go with a group to enjoy as many different dishes as possible. Definitely a few steps above Buca di Beppo and Maggiano's.  7 of us went to an early dinner Saturday night for some pre-race carbo-loading.
Located at 425 7th Street NW, between D and E Streets. 
This immense 700-seat restaurant is across from the Shakespeare Theatre Company's Lansburgh Theatre. 
Mixed Green Slaad ($18.50)
Stuffed Mushrooms ($14.50). 
We should have asked, but these were stuffed with a savory pork sausage.
Linguini with white clam sauce ($23.50)
The clams were plump and the sauce was not too salty, this was my favorite pasta.
Penne alla Vodka ($23.50)
Robust tomato, vodka and cream sauce with chunks of tomato, basil and garlic. 
Spaghetti and Meatballs ($23.50)
The meatballs were the size of tennis balls.  Made with a mixture of beef and veal, they're dense and flavorful.
The Titanic ($19.50). 
A colossal dessert made with a flourless chocolate cake base, scoops of ice cream, bananas, strawberries, nuts and whipped cream.  A smaller version, called the Tugboat, is also available.
Tiramisu ($16.50)
Nicely flavored, this gorgeous dessert could easily serve 8-10 people. 
Call me Odd, but I thought the beautiful bathroom deserved a photo too.
The service was very nice and patient as we debated which dishes to try.  I couldn't help but watch the massive platters delivered to other tables and wonder how two people could dine here without boxes of leftovers for days.  Everything we tried was very good.  I'd like to return to try a few different dishes with a large group again.  In the one hiccup of the night, our server and her manager acted swifty and professionally.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Delhi Club in Clarendon

On a cold October night, my friend and I went to warm up with some Indian after work.
 Papodums.  Roasted lentil crackers are so crispy with a black peppercorn heat. ($1)
 Love the sauce duo, spicy green chili and mint and a sweet-spicy tamarind.
 Trying something new, the Samosa Chat ($5) 
Samosa and chickpeas topped with tamarind, green chili, cilantro, onions and tamarind-mint chutney.
 Aloo Gobhi ($9.50)
Cauliflower, potatoes, garlic and ginger
Saag Paneer ($9.50)
Creamy spinach with paneer cheese.
Naan ($1.95) and Onion Kulcha ($2.75)
I wish Delhi Club would offer a vegetarian thali, or combination of two or three of their Vegetarian menu items.  A little chana masala, saag paneer and dal or bhuna bhartha would be fantastic for those times I'm craving a little bit of everything.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tokyo Banana

I first saw Tokyo Banana in Tokyo Station when I was heading to Shikoku to visit friends.  A few years later one of my coworkers brought me back a box.  I shared them with my classmates and now they too are fans of the delicate dessert that is best described as a banana-flavored twinkie, but better.  Even my former coworkers bring me boxes of Tokyo Banana when they return to DC on business trips.  
 There are a variety of other TB products, including a dark chocolate version filled with the banana cream, or sugar cookies shaped like bananas, but I prefer the original.
Individually wrapped, they're perishable and should be consumed within a week. 
However, I have never had a package that lasted that long.

Mark's Duck House

Mark's Duck House in Falls Church is a very popular weekend destination for dim sum with their rolling carts of nibbles.  They also have an  extensive menu of over 400 dishes.  It's Hong Kong-style with a growing Vietnamese clientele.  Specials and the menu are written in Chinese, Vietnamese and English and the restaurant  has been around over 25 years.  With a large number of round tables, it's good for groups and families.
Salt-baked prawns with chili, head and shell ($15.95)
A bit cumbersome to eat, it was one of the recommended dishes from reviews I read.
Diced chicken with cashew nuts ($10.95)
Sliced chicken with asparagus ($11.50).  The asparagus were delicious.
Half Duck ($16.95) with scallions and pancakes. 
It's not sliced tableside like at Peking Gourmet Inn, but with a name including "duck" you have to try it.
Seafood Lo Mein ($13.95)

Los Tios in Del Ray

My boyfriend and I have been working our way through the Del Ray neighborhood, trying out different restaurants.  We love the tacos at Taqueria Poblano but the chips and salsa do not compare to Los Tios. Their tortilla chips are thin and delicious, and their salsa has a nice kick.  It's Tex-Mex with a Salvadorean influence.  Great for families and always nice service.
Cheese and Mixed Pupusas ($1.95 each)
Chicken Chimichanga ($10.95)
Cheese enchillada and chile rellano combo ($11.95). 
This was A LOT of cheese.  Wish the rice and beans were hotter.
We're still working our way through the menu but we like most of what we've tried so far.  The chorizo and shrimp fajitas were pretty pricey for a small quantity, although my boyfriend enjoyed the flavor.  I'd like to try more of the Salvadorean specials.  They make giant margaritas too.

Cafe Asia in Rosslyn

Rosslyn really needs some better restaurants.  Ray's is great for burgers, Pho 75 and Guajillo are pretty good too, otherwise it's a restaurant wasteland.  In a pinch, Cafe Asia is ok, but it can be hit or miss. Pretty good for groups.
Edamame $4.50
Tempura $7.00
Shrimp Curry Laksa with egg noodles ($12.00)
Not as good as Malaysia Kopitiam, but ok.
Happy Hour Sushi each piece of nigiri is $1.25 until 7 pm.
The sushi was surprisingly good this one time.  The rice was seasoned appropriately and the fish was fresh.  Hit!
Cafe Asia (tuna, crab, avocado) maki ($5.00), Salmon maki ($4.25), Spicy Tuna maki ($4.75), Avocado maki ($4.00), salmon, tuna, yellowtail, shrimp, tobiko nigiri ($1.25 each)
Yellowtail scallion maki ($4.50), spicy crab maki ($5.50), Avocado maki ($4.00), tuna, salmon, yellowtail, tobiko, squid, crab stick, octopus nigiri ($1.25 each)
This time, the nigiri rice was cold and hard, making me thing they were pre-formed. 
Blech.  Definitely a miss.