[Restaurant Review] China Boy – Chinatown, D.C.

 

▣ Location: 815 6th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

▣ Tel: 202-371-1661

▣ Chinese

▣ Yelp Rating: ★★★★☆ (as of July 28, 2012) – Click stars for more info!

 

The picture up there says it all. A HOLE IN THE WALL. And the hole ain’t even big.

Whenever I go to the Chinatown in D.C., there’s this one place on 6th, where there’s an old Chinese lady making noodles and dumplings with roasted peking duck hanging off the hooks. There are always many people there too. I’ve eaten there once and (don’t get me wrong) it was good. However, it is still “for American tourists” it feels like.

However, if you walk 50 feet up the street, you see this restaurant with a grumpy-looking Chinese lady, who doesn’t really even seem that excited that you walked in. There are 1 and a half tables and there are no servers. The food is served in a plastic container. I don’t think they deliver either. I really wanted to try their “famous” crepe but they don’t even serve it after 5 p.m. Plus, it’s cash only. Now you get the point. FOOD IS REALLY GOOD.

 

Chow Foon (sometimes spelled “Chow Fun” or “Chao Fen”)

Chow Foon is a southern Chinese dish. “Chow” means to stir-fry and “Foon” is the flat, wide rice noodles. This is roast pork chow food was amazing. Perfectly seasoned pork and that smokey flavor from the sauce that they use to cook the noodles with bring out the amazing taste with the crisp texture of bean sprouts. Please ask for “spicy sauce” when she brings the food out to your table. Then, she will give you a squeeze bottle of some red sauce but the best part is their pickled peppers. Try a very small piece of the pepper with your pork. It tastes like heaven!

 

Roast Pork Noodle Soup

They use the same roast pork but you gotta taste their broth! It’s very rich yet not too “meaty”. It tastes great with the green onions too. I just grabbed the bowl and drank it out of it at the end because it was that gooooooooooooooooooooooooood. I couldn’t even finish the noodles. 😉

 

Other than pork, they have your choices of chicken, beef or shrimp as well.I kept saying, “the people in this neighborhood are so lucky!” So don’t get distracted with some Chinese characters luring you on the main street of Chinatown next time (they probably don’t mean what they say they do ;)). This place is very easy to find and once you taste their food, you are gonna wanna start writing a food blog yourself!

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Cold Soba Noodles when it’s 100 degrees out!

 

Cold Soba Noodles! It’s the time of the year and today was perfect weather for these mouthwatering buckwheat noodles in a cold dashi broth! These are my favorite summer food.

What is soba? It’s a Japanese word, which means buckwheat (I am guessing it’s not gluten free?? I have no idea, because I don’t have any special dietary needs. I can eat literally EVERYTHING!). These noodles made of soba are known to be rich in amino acids and antioxidants. They are very easy to digest as well. Girls seem to love these noodles in Asian countries because these are “healthier”, meaning you won’t get too fat from them. 😉

Then what is dashi? Dashi is basically a fish broth or stock. In this case, it’s seasoned with soy sauce. I could have made the broth but, after a long day of work, I feel lazy too. So I buy the magic bottle! You can easily find this sauce at Asian stores. Look for “zarusoba sauce” or “tsuyu”. This sauce is really strong but all you have to do is pour this into a bowl of cold water. That’s it. No cooking involved here at all! I do sauce:water=1:5 but if you want a little more flavor, it’s your call.

Super Simple Soba Noodle Recipe!

1. Get the broth ready with the sauce.

2. Boil water and cook the noodles for 6-7 minutes.

3. Rinse the noodles with running, cold water. Let them drain and sit there.

4. Things that go perfectly well with this: finely chopped radish, wasabi, and nori(awesome kind of seaweed)!

5. Ready to serve: Get the broth(I usually put a couple ice cubes in it too), put the noodles in, mix the broth with some radish, wasabi and nori and now ENJOY!

 

I should write about Nori, aka Kim, because that’s my “what if you can choose only one food you can eat till u die” food. No brainer. But next time because my tummy is full of soba noodles now and I am getting sleepy……….Zzzzzzzz……..

 

[Restaurant Review] Sushi Naru – Alexandria, VA

▣ Location: 540 John Carlyle St., Alexandria, VA 22314

▣ Tel: 703-535-5540

▣ Sushi / Roll / Asian Cuisine

▣ Yelp Rating: ★★★★☆ (as of July 25, 2012) – Click stars for more info!

 

I work in Alexandria, VA. Even though I work right off King Street, which is full of great restaurant options, I try not to go too far because I have so much S*** to do every day!!!

Me and my girls today decided to go back to this sushi restaurant nearby AGAIN because we all loved it so much last week. Sushi Naru!

I’ve never been there for dinner but according to one of the attorneys in my office, this place has some amazing tofu salad. Anyway, we get their lunch buffet.

Not only do they have fantabulous sushi/roll options, but they also have a “hot food” section – bulgogi, lomein, fried tofu, mussels, dumplings, and heavenly miso soup! Miss F (not gonna mention her full name) had never had miso soup in her life until this afternoon. She fell in love with it, had two full bowls of it and she still couldn’t stop talking about it. That’s how darn good it was! Another good thing about this place is that you can accommodate lots of different needs – meat lovers, seafood lovers, and even vegetarians!

They are very hospitable and quick to serve you. It gets quite hectic during their lunch buffet hours, but that’s a good sign. And one thing about this place is that it doesn’t feel cheap. I am sad to say this but some Asian all-you-can-eat places could be kinda (or sometimes REALLY) crappy. However, it actually feels nice to sit there and enjoy your meal at Sushi Naru. My girls were all about their lamps, whether they could be from IKEA or Crate and Barrel.

I might go there for dinner to see what it’s like some time soon!

Next time you are near King Street, come check this place out. You might catch me with my coworkers talking about very important stuff like “where did you get those cute earrings?” 😉

 

Asian Festival DC 2012

 

ASIANFestival 2012

☆ Where: GMU in Fairfax

☆ When: July 21, 2012~July 22, 2012

☆ Best Part: Are you kidding me? FOOD!

I am not gonna lie. I knew nothing about this even until this morning and I just randomly saw what one of my tweeps posted “… at the Asian Festival…” when I was trying to figure out what to get for lunch. And to be completely honest, I still have no clue what this festival is all about. However, I do know that it comes back every year and they have great, fun food selections there!

The food picture up there is Liang Mian (涼麵), a kind of chinese noodle dish, which literally means ‘cold noodles’. These gingery, vinegary noodles were only ONE DOLLAR! Nothing in this world is a dollar these days even at the dollar store after taxes! The portion was really small but when you are there, you want to go for variety rather than “quantity”!

Lunch consisted of: Dosa (Indian crepe with dips), Liang Mian (Chinese cold noodles), Dinuguan (Filipino meat dish… I didn’t know exactly what it was but I just found out when I got home.. Click the link.. Might be a little disturbing ;)) and Gway Teow (My all-time favorite noodle soup from Thailand – It’s gonna be another post when I get the recipe down).

If you missed it today, check it out tomorrow! If you can’t make it this year, you know where to go back next year! Happy weekend!!

Yes, I eat very well!

There’s nothing better than smelling your steak cooking, especially when that’s done by someone else other than you 😉 I sometimes have no choice but to eat whatever that’s served and it was steak with mushrooms and zucchini. I used to hate mushrooms but, when served with steak, mushrooms are great! So here are some tips for you mushroom lovers!

♧ Garlic Oil : Remember that garlic minced and frozen in the tupperware (Click HERE to see the post)? Cook the garlic in oil before you put your veggies in the pan so you get that awesome garlic flavor in your veggies without actually chewing up garlic bits in your mouth.

No one likes small stuff! : Don’t cut your mushrooms too small because they are going to shrink once they are cooked. Mushrooms are all water. If they are decent sized and cooked well, they are nicely caramelized with the inside still soft and delicious.

Everyone likes hot stuff! : No. 1 “saute” rule! Make sure your pan is sizzling hot before you put those mushrooms in. You eat your food with your mouth but at the same time it’s gotta be eye-pleasing too. And a hot pan gives you that sexy color to your delicious food.

(BTW, I think I need new plates… Food is exciting but it seems to be always the same plate! lol)

When you think you have nothing, you have something!

I have been so busy recently that I didn’t even get to post anything this week!! That’s unheard of. So here we go.

When we are all too busy with work during the weekdays, it goes without saying that we barely have time to go food-shopping or even cook. Then, you end up getting BK on the way home or calling Domino’s for some pizza (not that it’s morally wrong). However, I manage to cook something even though it might be something super simple.

My secret? Garlic and pepper in the freezer!

When I go some serious grocery shopping, I get a lot of bulbs of garlic and peppers-usually jalapenos. I chop them up (BTW, mind you, use your common sense. Use gloves or something when you chop up those spicy peppers. They could seriously injure you and your beloved family at the same time!). Put them in a tupperware and freeze them.

When you have a boring piece of chicken breast and you have no idea what to do with it, put some soy sauce or any kind of seasoning that you like and add a little bit of garlic that you have in your freezer, the meaningless chicken breast gets transformed into a whole new meaning of your life. (You think I’m exaggerating, don’t you?….)

So, when you have just 10 minutes after you put away all the shopping bags from Giant or Harris Teeter or Whole Foods, do a little chopping with a little caution, you will always have something that can make your dish taste much better!

 

Korean (Asian) Supermarket – Great Seafood Selections!

It’s not easy to get fresh fish in the neighborhood. That means it’s time to go to H-Mart in Falls Church. It’s the closest one but there are actually two other ones around that I can go to. H-Mart has been around since 1982. It is run by Korean people and there’s a small food court in the supermarket as well. I’ve tried their food once. It wasn’t anything crazy but to some people it might be an interesting experience, especially if you don’t cook Korean food at home. Just so you know, right in front of the H-Mart in Falls Church is this Chinese supermarket called “Great Wall” – go figure.

Today’s Shopping List: Kimchi, soy sauce, oyster sauce, soba noodles (my favorite summer food, which I eat in winter too…?!), pork belly (the legendary “samgyeopsal” to be posted some time soon), a huge bag of sticky rice, clams and two mackerel.

I cannot help talking about their seafood selections there. They have quite a variety from  dried anchovies (in multiple sizes) to whole monkfish. They are fresh. They are very affordable. Two mackerel, which could feed three people, were 7 dollars. They clean the fish for you too without any extra charge. You might not be familiar with dealing with the whole fish but I love it! The best flavor is where the bones are – meat, poultry or fish! I also bought some clams so I can use them in my doenjang soup later. Remember doenjang? 😉

I am not gonnna lie. If you like a slow-paced, peaceful shopping experience, H-Mart is not for you. You gotta hustle and bustle walking through tiny aisles trying to figure out what all the things say in multiple foreign languages when other people are pushing you around. But it’s definitely FUN! Try the free tasting samples. Maybe buy their best-selling ramen noodles for your late night snack. Be adventurous and get some kimchi to cook with! You will see so many things that Giant or Harris Teeter doesn’t have.

Next time you go to H-Mart, if you don’t know what the heck you are holding in your hand, take a picture of that and tweet it to me! I will be pleased to help you!

Oven-baked Doenjang Chicken!

Ok, we need to talk about Doenjang. What the heck is Doenjang? (I am gonna call it DJ here so you don’t have to get embarrassed trying to pronounce it right.) DJ is a Korean style fermented soybean paste. Korean people usually make soups with it or they use it to get rid of that gamey smell off your meat dish, just like western people use herbs. Every single household in Korea has DJ and Gochujang, which is a spicy pepper paste. I am going to focus on DJ this time though.

We buy a lot of chicken thighs. Chicken breasts are probably a little healthier? Maybe? However, thighs are a lot more affordable and, most of all, they taste way better than any other parts of chicken. Buy a bunch and freeze them in smaller bags. Thaw them out one day before and cook them. And this is one easy way to cook your chicken thighs. Trust me, I ain’t no cook but man, this was delicious. This could seriously be served at a nice restaurant for 27 dollars(+tax) and get a good review on Yelp! 😉

Here’s how I made this dish: 3 chicken thighs, 2 tbsp of soy sauce, ground black pepper, honey, sesame oil, onions, AND 1 tbsp of DOENJANG

1. Score the thighs so the flavor gets in and it also helps cook the chicken all the way – Bones are tricky!

2. Marinate the thighs – soy sauce, honey, ground black pepper (Don’t leave the chicken in the “liquid” cuz it might get too salty.)

3. Rub DJ all over the thighs (Hmm… this could sound kinda weird…? Sorry, but DJ is kind of smelly.)

4. Get a baking pan and put foil on it. Rub a little sesame oil so the chicken doesn’t stick (like you use butter for certain things). If you don’t have sesame oil, it’s not a big deal. Just don’t go too crazy with sesame oil because it’s got a really strong aroma. You don’t wanna overdo it.

5. Set the oven at 400 degrees and put the chicken in the oven COVERED so it doesn’t get dry. Let it bake for 30-35 minutes.

6. Take the chicken out and put the onions in the pan. Get rid of the foil and set the oven on broil at 400.

7. Let it broil in the oven for another 5 minutes and turn the chicken and do it again for another 5 minutes.

8. Dinner is served!

This took less than an hour and the actually “me cooking time” wasn’t even 10 minutes. Onions are optional. You can put any veggies you want. Some summer squash would have been really nice as well. If things are too crazy during the weekdays, get your usual DiGiorno pizza. Then, try to cook this easy dish on the weekend with the fam. And I guarantee you that YOU CAN’T REALLY MESS IT UP. Keep me posted! And if you have any questions about where to get all these “Asian” ingredients, please send me a message on Twitter (@Virginia_Delish). They are easier to find than you think! Good luck!

[Restaurant Review] Philadelphia Mike’s – Arlington, VA

▣ Location: 1615 Crystal Square Arc., Arlington, VA

▣ Tel: 703-416-6640

▣ Deli/Sandwich

▣ Yelp Rating: ★★★☆☆ (as of July 7, 2012) – Click stars for more info!

This sandwich place located in a mall in Crystal City, owned by a nice Korean family, offers a steak sandwich that’s better than the “real” Philly cheese sandwich I got in Philadelphia years ago. Maybe expectations were too high?

Anyway, they were very quick to serve their food and the best part was the quality of their meat. They use thin slices of beef, which is somewhat similar to bulgogi meat (if you are familiar), and that could taste REALLY CHEAP a lot of times but they use good quality meat. It was not dry. It had a nice amount of veggies and the cheese on top wasn’t overflowing. Their sub rolls were nice and soft as well (personally, I am not a big fan of “baguette” style, hard bread).

One of the complaints I see online about this restaurant is that “their food is too bland”. I kind of understand where it’s coming from. Their food is not salty! It’s a good thing! To me, “American food” is usually very salty. This was perfect for me but I was thinking while eating there, ‘Hmm… Some jalapenos would be nice in the sandwich.” So if you think it’s too bland, ask them for a couple of pieces of jalapenos, which will give a nice kick without giving yourself a chance of a future hospital visit or two.

The mall isn’t all that great but if you are in the area, go check this restaurant out! Oh, and they have root beer on tap, which has become my favorite soda (I hardly every drink soda but I get a craving from time to time).

Stay inside! It’s over 100 degrees out here! Mother Earth is angry I think… Oh well, AC+watermelon evening!

Happy 4th! Happy tummy!

How was your 4th? It was my first 4th of July in D.C. so we decided to go to the Air Force Memorial to see the fireworks. It was really a unique experience to see the fireworks at an awesome site with nice music played by the air force band, but we had to “pay” for it. Yes, 4 hours under the sun. Plus, we walked to the memorial from our place, which takes about 20 minutes. That means we couldn’t bring anything too fancy for dinner. So, this is what we had. Very light, yet quite delightful! (Hmm… Too corny?)

 

Pasta Salad: pasta(duh!), tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, basil, chopped onions, minced garlic, lemon juice, EVOO, salt and pepper.

Greek Chicken Salad Wrap: chicken (you don’t need anything crazy-supermarket rotisserie chicken works just great), plain greek yogurt, lemon juice, dijon mustard, craisins, walnuts and spinach tortilla. – If you are trying to avoid mayo but you still want the creaminess in your dish, this is a perfect, scrumptious alternative.

Home-made Pickles: Yes, I said it. H-O-M-E-M-A-D-E-P-I-C-K-L-E-S! It’s going to be another posting soon. We’ve just gotten into pickling! The secret will come out soon so be there for it!

 

This is the thing about this kind of meal, though. There is no rule. If you like spicy food, chop up some jalapenos and put them in your salad. If you like sweet food (I don’t, btw), cut up some apples in there. One thing about cooking at home is that you can be creative (even though you probably got yelled at when you were young, “don’t play with your food!”) and if your food tastes like #2, who cares? Next time, you know what to do (or what NOT to do).

Maybe this weekend, you can fix a nice little picnic lunch and go out to a park with your beloved ones. It’s going to be a hot one (I heard it’s gonna be 106 degrees!) so bring lots of water. Lesson learned yesterday!

So, what are you cooking this weekend? 😉