Saturday, June 30, 2012

Chasin Tails before the storm

Nothing like 100+F weather to close out the work week. With blazing hot and humid weather, we headed out of work right at quitting time. After arriving home to a hot apartment, we changed into more weather-appropriate clothing and headed over to East Falls Church to our new favorite crawfish joint. With a full dining room, we ended up  scoring two seats at the bar.
Started off with a dozen oysters.
I'm not sure what type these are, but they're nice and meaty with a pleasant briny flavor. Always a great way to start off a meal here.
The sausage is so flavorful and good, you need to order an extra side to share.
I ordered a pound of crawfish in hot Cajun sauce, and the husband went with two pounds in N'awlins hot Cajun. The bartenders were super nice and attentive without being obtrusive. I think we found the winning combo for fantastic food and service, grab a seat at the bar. Best part, we had unobstructed views of the Olympic trials and Nationals game. 
We had a great dinner at a new favorite restaurant, and managed to make it back to Old Town before the crazy, intense thunderstorms rolled through the region, downing trees, exploding transformers and knocking out power to thousands. We were fortunate to not lose power, but our thoughts go out to everyone who has. Hopefully power is restored to everyone in less time than currently predicted, especially with the 100 degree heat blanketing the DC region.

DC Ballers Falafel Food Truck

Washingtonian has a helpful list of food truck locations for lunch every day. Over at 20th and L St, I found Hula Girl, Goodys and DC Ballers. Checking out the lines at each, I tried DC Ballers since it had the shortest line and the sun was blazing.
Falafel, fries, hummus in sandwich form or platters.
I ordered a falafel sandwich and fries.
The falafel had a good flavor, the pita was fluffy, and the filings included a nice spicy kick.
I think the best falafel sandwich I ever ate was in Israel, but this was a solid rendition. Nice staff and good flavor, I would recommend trying this food truck if it visits a location near your office.

Cooking with Leftover Snow Crab

Unsurprisingly, we had leftover shrimp and crab legs. I picked the rest of the crab meat from the snow crab and used the leftovers to make a Korean-inspired meal.
Shrimp and crab-filled hamul pajeon (seafood pancake).
Seafood Soon Dubu (soft tofu stew)

Maine Avenue Fish Market: Captain White's

Craving more seafood, we weighed heading to a crab restaurant, but instead went to the Maine Avenue Fish Market in Southwest DC. Parking is a nightmare, and we ended up finding a spot down the street. On the walk over, I noticed a wallet on the sidewalk after a couple passed us heading in the opposite direction. With a quite glance at the license, I recognized it was one of the couple and swiftly reunited the wallet with its owner. One selfless good deed before our crab gluttony.
We went to Captain White's, which has a large variety of fried items in addition to seafood.
Lots of blue crab sorted by size and ready to be steamed.
Steamed spiced shrimp (medium, jumbo, large) and corn.
Oysters and Snow Crab legs.
5 pounds of snow crab ($45) and 1 pound large shrimp ($18).
Fantastic. We spread out some brown paper on our table and had a fabulous crab feast at home.

Jackson 20 (unofficially the pig place)

After our Sunday morning plans were cancelled at the last minute, I called up my friend for an impromptu brunch at the pig place. Fortunately I can call it that, and she knows where I'm talking about in Old Town. :)
Biscuit with sausage gravy and one poached egg with Tabasco sauce.
The biscuit is pretty good and the gravy tastes like there's a bit of maple syrup in the pork sausage.
Eggs Chesapeake with a rectangular hash brown
Poached eggs with crabcakes, no English muffins. I love poached eggs with crab, and this a good version. Might be better with a side of fruit instead of the hash brown, which is pressed flat like a fruit rollup.
Three Eggs for the Price of Two with sausage and hash brown.
Jackson 20 has unlimited mimosas for $12, which is a bargain, but means you'll be pretty useless for the ensuing afternoon. Service was good, and they're constantly patrolling the room looking for anyone who needs more mimosa or water. Everything was a little on the salty side to me, which is understandable since I don't generally cook with too much salt.

Wonder What Happened Here?

Have you ever seen something odd in the parking lot and wondered, what in the world happened here? Heading to our local pho joint, which is next door to a nail salon, we saw this.
Someone is missing a brown wig, and a random assortment of vegetables.

Pork Barrel BBQ in Del Ray

Craving some tacos, we headed over to Del Ray to Taqueria Poblano. Unfortunately the line was out the door and at least 30 minutes for a table. Not feeling that patient, we wandered down the street and popped into Pork Barrel BBQ. It's a little disorienting, with the food somewhat fast casual with a full bar to the left. If you want to sit at a table, you head to the back of the room and order your bbq, sides and drinks, and carry them over on a tray to an open table. If you're fancying a beer or tasty adult beverage, head over to the bar, where they'll place your food orders as well. It was Friday night, and I definitely fancied an adult beverage.
It's a pretty decent menu. We decided to try the Big Feed ($34.95) to share. With brisket, pulled pork, ribs, chicken and sausage, plus choice of two sides, it was a good way to try a lot of their bbq and get a feel for the place. Hands down, the pulled pork and sausage were my favorite. The brisket was a little on the dry side, while the chicken was surprisingly juicy. I don't believe they smoke the meat on premise, but the flavor was satisfying. 

Java Green Cafe

Met up with a lovely friend at Java Green for a lunchtime talk about the George R.R. Martin books. Since she's an Ashtangi who has cut out a lot of processed foods and no longer indulges in meat-filled meals, we headed over to a vegetarian/vegan hot spot on 19th Street between K and L. Like many popular lunch spots on 19th, the line can be considerable.
Tofu-Avocado Wrap with spinach, tomato and carrot
(A little too much dressing, this became a soggy mess if you take too long to eat it.)
Tomato "Mozzarella" Wrap with tofu cheese.
(I was too slow to get a photo of both halves.)
The staff is super sweet, and the food is really light, healthy and surprisingly filling. A nice array of wraps, salads, soups and noodle dishes, I'll try out some more items when it's not a sweltering 95-100 degrees outside. While my friend particularly likes the storylines of Daenarys, Arya and Tyrion, I'm more partial to Jon, Arya and Bran's storylines. I finally found book five at the quaint bookstore next to Chasin Tails, and wonder how long we'll have to wait for the book six.

Sushi Express on 20th and I St

Tucked away in the 2nd floor above a gym, next door to Baja Fresh is Sushi Express, a tiny spot with bento 
lunch boxes and sushi combinations. Next time, I will definitely call in my order ahead of time. The line was out the door when I arrived. With one man making sushi and one man handling all cooked food, everything takes awhile, but worth it.
Top: Spicy Tuna Roll.
Middle: First Class Sushi Set with California Roll
Everything was really nice and fresh. I ordered way too much. Next time I would probably stick with the $8 two roll combo. Sushi Express is cash only.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

BBQ Pulled Pork

The husband had an all day golf tournament on Sunday, and I only had gym time and pool time scheduled. After cranking through 10 miles, I puttered around the kitchen to make him something special to come home to eat. Pulled pork with bbq sauce in the crock pot. 
8 hours in the crock pot on low, the spice-rubbed 3 pound pork shoulder turned into this delicious, fall apart mass of pulled pork. Super easy, requiring no pot-watching and I was even able to get out for a 2 hour run.
Wasabi-mayo potato salad with scallions.
Kalamata olvies, grapefruit and fresh mint.
Lemongrass-ginger slaw with sno pea shoots, carrots, cabbage and red bell pepper.
After a long day on the golf course, he looked super happy to see some homemade bbq pulled pork and lots of healthy side salads. Maybe he doesn't need to know about the relaxing nap I took at the pool.

Return to Chasin Tails

Every weekend has been a busy weekend so far. With the husband running errands and washing the car, I've been tackling the house cleaning. Thank goodness we live in only 800 sq. ft. Before our weekly supermarket run, we headed to Chasin Tails in East Falls Church to meet up with a friend for a delicious seafood lunch.
N'awlins Hot was hot and flavorful this time, tossed with two pounds of crawfish, corn, potato and a few slices of sausage. When the sausage soaks up the hot sauce, it's fantastic. The sausages were so good, we ended up ordering two more side orders of sausage.
I went with one pound of crawfish in Hot everything sauce, just the right level of spice.
Last time I denied the husband beignets because I saw a bad review of them. 
This time, there was no stopping him and he plowed ahead and ordered the beignets with a homemade strawberry jam and cafe au lait. Our friend ordered one too, and they both liked the powdered sugar-covered pillows of dough, especially since the jam was not overly sweet. Smaller than the beignets at Bayou Bakery, these were devoured by both.
The table next to us ordered a pound of mussels in a lemon garlic butter sauce, and that looked pretty awesome, although the real reason to go here is the crawfish. Once again, the service was the sour point. Our waitress disappeared for a good 2/3 of our meal and we had to flag her down to order a few more things. With the spice level amped up, there's no reason to head into Woodley to Hot n Juicy now, with Chasin Tails so much closer.

Cooking at Home

This week we went to Safeway instead of Super H for our grocery run, and the price was the same, but we were able to purchase 50 items at Super H for the same price as about 26 at Safeway.  The produce is just so much fresher and cheaper at Super H. 
Broccoli rabe with hot Italian pork sausage, orecchiette and freshly grated parmigiano reggiano. 
Big pot of Tonjiru soup.
Sliced pork belly, gai lan, tofu, carrots, scallions, mushrooms and miso paste.
What to do with vegetables left over from the week?
Java curry with vegetables, a few slices of pork belly and two leftover sausages.
Bowl of rice topped with curry is a delicious dinner.

Fish and Chips at Eammon's

Took a break from cooking dinner after work with a trip to Eammon's in Old Town at the suggestion of my husband. I let him choose where to go, and he debated between this and our local pho joint, and surprisingly the fried fish won.
Cod and Grouper with a Regular size Chips
Fried to a deep golden brown with excellent chips.
The husband chose a curry sauce and I went with the standard tartar sauce. I always forget how great the curry sauce is, but I wish the sauce was a little larger. Not the healthiest of meals, but we don't fry things at home that much (mostly because I set the smoke alarm off boiling water some days).

Devon and Blakely Salad

I love salads for lunch during the hot summer days, but it pains me to pay $10-12 for a salad at Chop't. The salads are too large too. Devon and Blakely lets you choose a size and your toppings. The small size greens are $3.50 and the large is $5.50. 
Artichokes, tomato and broccoli with light vinaigrette $6.05 (including tax).
Great price for a light and healthy lunch that was just the right size.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Frugal Friday at Hong Kong Palace

After a long week, we welcomed the weekend with dinner at Hong Kong Palace in Seven Corners. We're trying to be more frugal, and it's a lot easier to stay within a budget by going to places with good quality food and reasonable prices. 
Sauteed Spinach with Garlic $8
Dan Dan Noodles - moderately spicy $6
Scallion Pancake $3
Beef in Spicy Sauce $13
Spicy mala sauce pairs extremely well with the tender beef.
Sichuan Wontons $5
The bill was under $48 with enough leftovers for another meal. 

Cooking at Home

We headed to Super H Mart to stock up on groceries. They have great vegetables and reasonable prices. Their seafood selection is also fresh and extensive. 
Homemade Mussels with white wine, garlic, onion and tomato.
Vegetarian Monday
Bok choy and gai lan, seared tofu on soba with a citrus-sesame dressing.
Fresh kale with red onion and chickpeas.
Sno pea shoots salad with lemon and pepper.

Brunch at Rustik

We met up with my husband's college friend for brunch over in Ward 5 at Rustik. She recently bought a new house in the Truxton Circle-Bloomingdale area. We had never really explored the area before, but it's got a nice neighborhood feel with tons of people and dogs out enjoying the summer day.
Sausage Gravy and Biscuits with a side salad.
Chorizo Hash and Eggs.
The menu says they serve 'eggs any style' but when I asked, they apparently do not do make poached eggs. 

Chasin Tails in Falls Church

To celebrate the new addition to our family (Jiji the fuel efficient Camry hybrid), we tried out a newish crawfish and seafood place in Falls Church I heard about from a friend. Chasin Tails is similar to Hot n Juicy Crawfish in DC, but very different in decor. The Falls Church restaurant is airy and light-filled, with flat screen TVs all over. 
A dozen oysters. 
Better presentation and nicer job shucking the oysters than Hot n Juicy.
One Pound Shrimp in hot Whole Shebang sauce $13
1 Pound Crawfish in N'awlins Hot Original Cajun $10
The very hot sauce was not as fiery as Hot and Juicy, but the flavor was nice. I liked the hand washing area in the dining room, plus they'll give you plastic bibs and even plastic gloves. All told, a nice experience. I chuckled a bit when I overheard the older table near us complaining there weren't any plates or silverware for the shrimp and crawfish.