Summer Vacay 2016 – NY/VT/RI

I was away for a week and just got back home..! This vacation was, of course, amazinglicious as usual! LOTS OF FOOD every single day. 

It started with awesome BBQ at the annual family picnic in upstate NY. People bring not only sausages and burgers but also homemade desserts too. It’s one of the events that I most look forward to every year!
Then, there are meals prepared by Jo, who is better than any other chef!l that I know!πŸ˜πŸ‘ Her homemade food is out of this world. Pretty much everything is made from scratch! Don’t know how she does it every time. Her buckwheat crepes were a bit hit this year! 
During the visit to NY, we took a day trip to Burlington, VT. YES, when in Vermont, do what everyone else does: Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Too bad that we didn’t have time for the factory tour. Oh well, next time.  
After we left NY, we went to Rhode Island. Real vacation started there! Seafood, seafood and more seafood!❀️
Among all the great food options, these 3 particular spots were my personal favorites. 

1. Matunuck Oyster Bar, South Kingstown, RI – Great location, awesome service and delicious lobster rolls!

2. Wharf Pub & Restaurant, Newport, RI – Super friendly staff, GREAT food and fun drinks! This was by far the best restaurant (food and atmosphere wise) in Newport. Sit at the bar and make some friends!

3. Del’s Lemonade – THE. FROZEN. LEMONADE. OMG. We went to Block Island for another day trip. After biking for a couple of hours, the frozen lemonade just hit the spot. Refreshing, yet not too sweet, the lemonade even had bits of lemon in it! Gonna miss this one a lot I think. 

Yes, the trip was so much fun and delish! However, I can’t deny that I’m so glad to be back home snuggling with my kitties! 

Summer is almost over but it isn’t yet! Time for some more fun back in NOVA/DC! Happy summerβ˜€οΈβ˜€οΈβ˜€οΈ

P. S. When in Newport, don’t forget to check out the Bit Players at the Firehouse Theater! Great improv comedy shows on Fridays and Saturdays! Many of the people in the audience seemed to be locals. Apparently, Newport locals hate the construction of Broadway, which is a street a little off the main drag. It’s where things are happening these days! 

Rose’s Luxury – the hype, expectations & satisfaction!

The phrase “the best restaurant in DC” usually triggers my sarcasm. Rose’s Luxury had been on my radar for a while but I wasn’t in a hurry. If it’s that good, it will stick around for years, right?πŸ˜‰

Then, a friend of mine recently has decided to move to San Diego. The farewell meal of her choice was……..! Yes, Rose’s Luxury! So it happened tonight!

Rose’s Luxury: 717 8th Street SE, Washington, DC, 20003 | (202)580-8889

 The restaurant opens at 5pm. By the time she got there (at 4ish), the line was already this long. But don’t let that intimidate you! More than half of the people are there in line to reserve a spot for a later time. We got seated as soon as the door opened even though there were 50+ other people ahead of us!

  The whole staff and servers greeted us with big smiles. The moment we walked in, we felt at home. 

 Like many other restaurants in DC, the space is rather tight. However, every table has this little secret place for your drink menu (or whatever) you might wanna hold on to all night! It’s a nice touch. 

So, the food. 

  Potato brioche and butter with crispy onion bits and chives. I normally don’t fill up with dinner rolls. Man, this bread was from another world! It was nice and warm. We just killed this soft, delicious loaf in 2 seconds. I almost wanted to ask for another one to eat and another to go but I decided to behave myself….. THIS TIME. 

  Their signature dish: pork sausage, habanero, peanuts and lychee salad. We didn’t know what to expect when we ordered this dish. My friend is a pescaterian so she ordered the vegetarian version with veggie sausages. The saltiness from the sausages, the sweetness from lychee, the tangy flavor from the dressing, the spiciness from red onions, the aroma from the herbs plus peanuts and thin, toasted garlic! All those flavors were nicely put tougher without clashing with each other. Surprisingly, I actually LOVED the vegetarian version as well. It was milder. If you are not a big fan of strong herby tastes (of sausages), the vegetarian version will give you the ultimate satisfaction!

  Charred carrots with harrisa, housemade yogurt and pearl onions. The combination of the yogurt and the spicy red sauce went really well with charred veggies. Gosh, I love pearl onions! Btw, every time I say onions, I can’t stop hearing Mr. Raftery in my head haha. #NCAA #MarchMadness πŸ˜πŸ€

  
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm…. Spaghetti with spring pistou, jalapeΓ±o and blue crab. Even if you are terrified with anything green, you should try this dish. Their pasta is supposed to be really well made. The noodles were cooked perfectly. The sauce was seasoned just right. There was a good amount of crab meat. We kept saying that we could eat this all day every day. We were only half joking. 

  AND when we thought we were done, this special dish (on the house!) came out for no reason. What a nice surprise! White rice with risotto-like texture topped with seasoned beans! Not sure how they made this rice so creamy without using any cream or milk! Or did they..?! πŸ˜› I loved the perfect harmony of saltiness and sweetness!
  No meal ends without desserts! Warm chocolate mousse, toasted brioche and rose ice cream. Yes, pure foodgasm it was. 
  Then, a more classic choice. Rhubarb tart, strawberries and black pepper whipped cream. When we thought that we were done eating, we had a little taste of this tart. Like we hadn’t been eating, we started to stuff our faces again. I think, at one point, the two couples next to us kind of looked at us with judging eyes. Lol
I’ve read reviews about this place. Some aren’t nice. The wait is too long. The portions are small. It’s expensive. They don’t take reservations. And all of these are somewhat true. Some super duper famous restaurants have let me down for sure. However, to me, it was well worth it. The hype met my expectations today. 

The menu is simple. They give you familiar food choices; yet, they mix and match flavors that we are used to and give you a little surprise on your palate. 

  

I wouldn’t come here every day but it’s definitely a destination. I even asked them about private dining options! 

Farewell to my good friend, C!! Hope she finds all the good restaurants in San Diego by the time I visit her! Can’t wait!

Happy weekend!

Christmas 2015 in New York!

This Christmas weekend has been so amazinglicious! It’s always great to have an awesome cook or two in your family. Between going out to some cool restaurants in upstate New York and Jo’s unbelievable cooking talent, I’m still in food coma. I’m really amazed how someone can cook everything so perfectly all from scratch! Jealous!

Here’s a little footage of my scrumptious weekend!  

    
     

    
    
    
    
   
   
This was my first year to go up to NY on a train too. The train station in Alexandria is conveniently located. Train ride took about 7-8 hours, which would’ve been the same if we had driven. However, by riding the train, we didn’t need to worry about the weather, traffic, etc. 

It was really good to see everyone and spend some quality time together. However, it’s also great to snuggle with my kitties while having some ramen noodles back home.   

 

Merry belated Christmas and a happy new year! ❀️

Valentine’s dinner at Bistrot Royal

I had been told that we had a reservation for Valentine’s day but I did not know where we were eating until we got to Bastille in Alexandria, VA. Well, hubby made a surprise reservation for the day but it turned out that they have two locations. The one that pops on Google is a new one, which looks nice and chic, but we were trying to get to the sister restaurant, Bistrot Royal.

BISTROT ROYAL
1201 N. Royal St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
Tele: 703.519.9110

IMG_1466

IMG_1470

IMG_1468

IMG_1469
For Valentine’s day, they had a prix fixe menu. While hubby’s dishes would have been more photogenic, I just took pictures of my selections to be somewhat decent at a dinner table.πŸ™‚

The lobster bisque had surprisingly generous amount of lobster meat and an exquisite flavor. Filet mignon was still perfectly cooked while the best part was the sides: potato anna, Brussels sprouts and while mushrooms!

One thing about this visit… We were literally on top of each other. I get that restaurants need to fit as many people as possible, especially on a holiday night. However, we were 10 inches apart from other tables.

For that reason, I would like to go back to this restaurant and have a full, complete dinner experience. I am also curious about the dishes on their regular menu.

After delicious dinner time, I was given this card!

IMG_1471 You would give up your phone for me? You must REALLY like me!πŸ˜‰ Hope you all had a scrumptious Valentine’s day!

Delicious NYC!

Oh boy. Last weekend, we went up to NYC to get a couple of things done and, of course, we tried to eat as many meals as possible in a very limited time frame.πŸ˜‰ Here are things we ate.

IMG_1333

IMG_1332

IMG_1340

IMG_1342

IMG_1344

IMG_1345

<a href="https://

IMG_1346

IMG_1349

1. Momofuku Noodle Bar – We had ramen noodles. I’ve become obsessed with finding GREAT ramen noodles. One thing is that I think I ate ramen noodles that were TOO good. That was in Osaka and I tend to compare every bowl to that one, which is not fair. Momofuku ramen noodles were good but they were not mind blowing. They do have some interesting dishes I want to try next time, though.

2. Levain Bakery – While standing in a mile long line, I felt like I became one of those tourists lined up in front of Georgetown Cupcake. Haha. This bakery has baseball size cookies. Was it worth the 15 minute wait? I say yes. Cookies were nice and crispy outside but super duper moist and soft inside. The peanut butter kind wasn’t from the best batch but overall it was a very satisfying experience.

3. Gato – Another restaurant of Bobby Flay’s. We were there for some cocktails so did not get to taste their food. However, people seemed to be happy with their food and the menu looked simple yet interesting. Maybe I’ll go back for the whole dining experience.πŸ™‚ (Side note: are New Yorkers better looking than Washingtonians?? Sitting there watching people, I thought everyone was so pretty and handsome. Too much Riesling, maybe?)

4. Pepe Giallo – I personally liked this place a lot. It’s very small but nice and cozy. They seemed to have a terrace area where you can sit outside when weather is nice. I had spicy seafood pasta. I LOVE SPICY FOOD so I did not have any problem with the heat but apparently it wasn’t supposed to be THAT spicy. Overall, the restaurant owner (who I think is from Italy) was very attentive about it. It’s a great restaurant for a date I think. The best part? The price! They have 7 dollar pasta dishes. Unbelievable. No one can beat that!

5. 72nd Street Bagel – It’s just a small bagel place in the neighborhood recommended by our cousin. They make their bagel on site. LOX! Yup. Can’t miss that. Here’s my secret though. New York bagels are good but my favorite was the ones in Montreal!! Shhhhhhh

Next time I go up to NYC, where should I go? Suggestions?!πŸ˜‰

Christmas 2014 and now entering the new year!

2014 was such a scrumptious year! For Christmas, we picked a cookbook off the bookshelf and cooked a couple of dishes from it. Fun fun!πŸ™‚

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/676/37948488/files/2015/01/img_1122.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/676/37948488/files/2015/01/img_1123.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/676/37948488/files/2015/01/img_1129.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/676/37948488/files/2015/01/img_1127.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/676/37948488/files/2015/01/img_1130.jpg
Vichyssoise, skirt steak and some red wine jus over it!

For New Year’s Eve, we decided to stay in and chill with my favorite Thai food!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/676/37948488/files/2015/01/img_1161.jpg
This restaurant, Thai Square, is on Columbia Pike in Arlington. Doesn’t look like anything special from outside but THEIR FOOD IS SO GOOOOOOD!

Now I’m indeed ready for 2015! It’s gonna be another fantabulicious year.πŸ™‚ Happy new year!!

It’s the thought that counts; better when that thought is delicious!

My father-in-law is a HUGE fan of Linzer tarts. Since the whole fam is down here with us to celebrate the holiday season, I’ve decided to make his all time favorite snack!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/676/37948488/files/2014/12/img_1030.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/676/37948488/files/2014/12/img_1028.jpg
I gotta say, it’s a major pain to make these little delicious treats but it was definitely worth every bad word I let out of my mouth while making them!πŸ˜‰ I kept saying to myself, “it’s the thought that counts, right?” However, my father-in-law, aka a Linzer tart connoisseur, gave a generous 9 out of 10!πŸ™‚πŸ™‚πŸ™‚ Now it’s time to enjoy!

Recipe from Allrecipes.com

Thanksgivng 2014 and the leftovers!

Have you taken off your turkey pants yet? After 4 days of stuffing my face, nothing seems to fit me any more so I still have my turkey pants on.πŸ˜‰

I just finished cooking some turkey curry with the very last batch of turkey meat!

IMG_0888.JPG

Yesterday, I tried making this salad below, which came out great.

IMG_0876.JPG

IMG_0875.JPG
Basically, take some of dry, white turkey meat, cut up some veggies
(onions, scallions, bell peppers, etc.) and mix with this dressing I use to make a smoked duck salad. How to make the dressing (4 servings) : 3 table spoons wholegrain mustard, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons honey, 5 tablespoons of vinegar and some minced garlic. BAM! Thanksgiving food is one of my favorite but let’s admit it. It’s very heartattacky! This way, you still get to enjoy the turkey as much as possible yet in a healthier way.πŸ˜‰

Speaking of awesomeness of Thanksgiving food, this year, instead of going up to see the family, we decided to stay here and cook. Here’s what we cooked and, I gotta say, it wouldn’t have been as fantabulicious without Food Network Magazine.πŸ˜‰

Appetizer 1: Cornbread-Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms (Recipe here!)

IMG_0834.JPG

Appetizer 2: Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp (Recipe here!)

IMG_0836.JPG

Side 1: Apple and Sausage Stuffing (Recipe here!)

IMG_0840.JPG

Side 2: Sweet Potatoes and Marshmallows (Recipe here!)

IMG_0837.JPG

Side 3: Swiss Chard Gratin – Special thanks to Jo for cooking this for us last year! (Recipe here!)

IMG_0835.JPG

Side 4: Jalapeno-Bacon Skillet Cornbread (Recipe here!)

IMG_0841.JPG

Side 5: Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes (Recipe here!) & Gravy by hubby!

Everyone was in food coma after dinner.πŸ™‚

IMG_0842.JPG

No matter how stuffed you are, you can’t skip desserts! Thanks to Erika, who is an awesome baker, Thanksgiving night was finally complete!

IMG_0843.JPGHope everyone had an awesome turkey day! Gobble gobble!

IMG_0839.JPG

IMG_0838.JPG

It’s apples and apples!

I gotta say baking has never been my thing. It’s just too much precise measuring, timing, etc. Plus, it’s TMI! I don’t feel comfortable knowing how much butter, shortening (what the heck is this white substance anyway!) or sugar is in my desserts. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.πŸ˜‰ However, this Fall, I’ve been kinda “forced” to since I went to Hollin Farms in Delaplane, VA last weekend.

IMG_0276.JPG

IMG_0274.JPG

IMG_0275.JPG
So, what do I do when I have bags of apples? Gotta bake!

First, we baked a cinnamon crumble apple pie. Recipe is from Epicurious.com.

IMG_0343.JPG

IMG_0338.JPG

IMG_0340.JPG

IMG_0339.JPG
I had never baked anything but store-ready-made-frozen-dough cookies but making this pie was a lot better than I had imagined. The best part? the crumbles!

Next, we baked “apple brownies”, recipe of which is also from Epicurious.com.

IMG_0377.JPG

IMG_0379.JPG

IMG_0380.JPG
This is actually my favorite so far. Crispy on top but super moist inside. Just the right amount of cinnamon. I brought this to work and the girls were literally moaning! #FoodgasmπŸ˜‰

And tonight, we made some “apple peanut butter cookies”. That’s right. Apples + peanut butter! This recipe I found on Taste of Home.

IMG_0388.JPG

IMG_0385.JPG

IMG_0386.JPG
Personally, I am not a big fan of peanut butter but the hubby is.πŸ™‚ They came out great. Very moist inside. The recipe says “grated peeled apple” but I chopped the apple with a knife. That way, the cookies definitely have more “texture” IMO.

IMG_0389.JPG
After baking the whole week, I did not feel like cooking tonight so we ordered some Chinese food. Guess what the fortune cookies said: “Apple” and “Sugar”! It’s a sign. We still have about a dozen of apples and that means we gotta keep baking! Bakers gonna bake, bake, bake, bake, bake~ Bake it up!πŸ™‚

Taste of Georgetown 2014

I randomly found out about this event and had no expectations. It turned out to be awesome!

Each “taste” was 5 dollars or a bundle of 5 plates was 20 bucks. Of course, we bought a few of those bundlesπŸ˜‰ Portions were bigger than we thought and the vibe we got there was great.

I’m not gonna say much about it this year until I go back in 2015 but I do want to share some pictures of the foods! It was such a delicious afternoon!!

IMG_0027.JPG

IMG_0026.JPG

IMG_0028.JPG

IMG_0029.JPG

IMG_0030.JPG

IMG_0034.JPG

IMG_0033.JPG

IMG_0035.JPG

IMG_0037.JPG

IMG_0036.JPG

IMG_0018.JPG

IMG_0038.JPG

IMG_0022.JPG

IMG_0020.JPG

IMG_0017.JPG

IMG_0021.JPG

IMG_0025.JPG

IMG_0024.JPG

Official website : Taste of Georgetown