Pickle Chicken – No waste any more!

O.M.G.

That’s right. It’s so heavenly, juicy, mouthwatering, scrumptious… You get the point! This is “Pickle Chicken”.

Have you ever finished a jar of pickles and poured the leftover juice down the drain? SHAME ON YOU! No more waste in the house! How do you make pickle chicken then?

Pickle juice + Chicken

That’s it. There’s no salt and pepper. There’s no certain amout of anything! Just pour the pickle juice in the tupperware and put chicken thighs there. Done. Marinate the chicken for a day or two. You don’t have time? It’s okay. Today, the chicken was marinating just for two hours while we were out playing tennis and it was still dºeºlºiºcºiºoºsºo! I personally prefer thighs to breasts (hmm… did that sound weird?) but it’s totally up to you.

The question is “what kind of pickles do I use?”. Any regularsupermarket  dill pickles will work I think. But today, of course, I used the homemade pickles that we made last month (click to see the posting). Think about it. That salty, vinegary, sweet juice makes perfect sense to cook chicken with! 🙂

Super easy recipe. Great cooked in oven. Greater cooked on your grill. See if you have an old jar of pickles right now and try!

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[Restaurant Review] Thai Square – Arlington, VA

▣ Location: 3217 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204

▣ Tel: 703-685-7040

▣ Thai

▣ Yelp Rating: ★★★★☆ (as of August 22, 2012) – Click stars for more info!

……THE.BEST.THAI.RESTAURANT.OUTSIDE.OF.THAILAND……

Since I went to Thailand last year, I’ve fallen in love with Thai food. I would totally trade it with Korean food, which I grew up on my entire life until now. I even took a cooking class during the three week long trip in Chiangmai, Thailand. Absolutely fun! Now that I’m in the states, I see Thai restaurants literally everywhere. It wasn’t like this when I was here 5 years ago. In this case, “the more, the better” doesn’t necessarily work because you have too many to choose from! If you live in Arlington, your “which Thai restaurant do you want tonight?” problem is about to kiss goodbye to you. Thai Square it is!

The picture is my second favorite Thai dish: Floating Market Noodle Soup. Guess where they usually sell them? 😉 These noodles are Thai people’s comfort food and they don’t even cost a dollar in Thailand. You see small restaurants selling just this noddle soup quite easily. No other restaurant in the states has given me those fried noodles to go with this noodle soup so far but Thai Square knows how to serve this dish. I didn’t even ask for the fried noodles and honestly I didn’t even expect those when I opened the bag at home. You season it with fish sauce, pepper flakes and/or sugar, which are btw their staple condiments. It’s got so many different flavors that it tastes crazy! Sour, sweet, meaty, herby, salty, fishy, spicy and you name it!

What’s best here, though, is my favorite dish! Remember my first post on the blog? Fried rice with shrimp (←click for details)! The thing about that dish is that you can’t really mess it up. I haven’t had any bad experience with it. Plus, my coworkers are all hooked now! However, not messing up is one thing but being the best at cooking the best dish in the world is another! THEY KNOW THAI FOOD. Even their take-out/delivery food tastes goooooood!

Great service. Greater location. Greatest food. What more needs to be said? Do I get paid to advertise this restaurant (hmm.. that would be nice)? They don’t even know I write about them. I WANT EVERYONE TO TRY THIS RESTAURANT! That’s all.

Next time you go there, get a nice cold glass of Thai iced tea with your scrumptious meal!

Chesapeake Crab & Beer Festival

I just went to Chesapeake Crab & Beer Festival this weekend. I know that I wrote a review on a crabhouse very recently but I have to do this because it’s not just about eating crabs! It was a family gathering so we got their package deal, which cost us about $85 apiece after  taxes and fees(?). It sounds a bit pricy but this is ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT-CRABS & ALL-YOU-CAN-DRINK-BEER AND WINE for 4 hours so after all it was not a bad deal. With the weather being perfect and family around, I couldn’t have asked for anything better than this for this price. For future reference, they give you an option of just purchasing a beer-only-package for $39 (plus taxes and fees) dollars as well. If you don’t like seafood, it’s okay too. They have individual vendors that sell hot dogs, burgers, fried dough and other things on the venue.

They had two sessions for this event: 11am-3pm / 5pm-9pm. Of course, we went for the second option. All you can drink alcohol means that we are drinking!! They had pretty decent beer options but the lines were really long. Some people were just drinking while standing in line (SMART!!). Once you get in, they give you a plastic mug. That’s your booze vessel for the night. And after you pass that point, there are a few crab stations, where they give you 6 crabs+corn on the cob+coleslaw at a time. You can always go back for more. I think we each ended up getting two trays (at least). Even though there were lots of tables, people were still looking for a spot all evening so be there early. Getting there earlier also means that you will sit at a clean table.

In terms of the quality of food, it was GOOD. The crabs were fresh and not smothered in Old Bay. I wouldn’t say that it was mind-blowing. When it comes to the best deal (quality and price) in town so far, I am gonna say Maine Ave. Fishmarket’s got the best deal. As you can see in the picture above, the crabs were not that big. I would say they were small-medium sized mostly. They were delicious. though.

Also, although they do keep brining in new buschels of crabs constantly, you might end up getting the very last bits of the whole batch, which means that the crabs might not be that hot. So look around the other crab stations to see if they just brought new ones from the steamer and go there. There aren’t any servers who help you with drinks and food there either so be prepared to serve yourself. They have paper towels there but, as you know, YOU WANT TO CLEAN THE HECK OUT YOUR HANDS after crabbing. Wet naps I brought came in handy BIG TIME, FYI. Oh, don’t forget to get those sweet watermelons that they give you on the side for free! After you eat all these crabs, your lips burn! The watermelons tasted sweeter than ever!

 

After the battle was over, we were all happy campers. 🙂 Then, real drinking starts. Of course, people getting drunk means that the place might get a little crazy: beer overflowing on the ground, people getting loud………. and the bathroom (O.M.G.) but it’s all good. By the time this is all happening, no one is sober! 😉

National Harbor, MD is a really small area but it was just perfect this kind of weekend. There was music playing by the pier and there were fireworks around 9:30 as well. We went to Bobby McKey’s for some drinks and entertainment for a bit. What a complete day!

It’s an annual event so don’t miss this fun event if you are in town next year!

Samgyeopsal, Ultimate Meatlovers’ Dish

Samgyeopsal!

The picture up there said it all. Pure delight in your mouth. Every single person in Korea has had this and vegan population in Korea is pretty insignificant probably because samgyeopsal is so irresistible!! You can’t go vegan with this meat cooking right in front of you!

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What’s cooking on the pan:

– Meat: Go to any Asian grocery store (in my case, I go to H-Mart) and look for “sliced pork belly”. It is basically thicker bacon meat that’s not cured or smoked. Frozen samgyeopsal works just fine too.

– Garlic: Slice garlic cloves and just throw them in the pan with the meat. No rules.

Kimchi: Yup. Kimchi it is. Even if you might like the strong taste of kimchi normally, you will be pleasantly surprised with the amazing taste of cooked kimchi. Trust me and try this.

– Pan? Your regular non-stick frying pan works fine but if you want to get a little fancy, try your breakfast griddle! It seems that someone made it just for samgyeopsal without telling anyone this secret! *Warning: lots of grease!

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“Triple-S” Salad – Spicy, Sweet and Sour!

It’s got all the flavors that you can imagine. Just grab a bag of any lettuce at the supermarket. I usually get red leaf and a mix of other greens. All you have to do is to toss it with this mind-blowing dressing!

Pepper flakes (2) + Soy sauce (2) + Fish sauce (1, optional) + Honey(1) + Vinegar (2) + Sugar (2) + Minced Garlic (1) + A hint of sesame oil

After tossing it nicely in a big bowl, if you are into a nice presentation, sprinkle some sesame seeds! ALL DONE!

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SoMac! = Soju + Maekju (Beer, in Korean)

A complete Samgyeopsal meal is finally served with some SoMac! Soju can be purchased pretty much at any ABC store in Virginia for $4-$6 a bottle (it’s kinda sad because it’s less than a dollar in Korea). 😦 Anyway, watch these people make SoMac. ->; So Cool! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL6oWNgAZNs

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No exaggeration. Not a month goes by without Samgyeopsal in Korea. If you have a regular job, not a week goes by without it. This is meat lovers’ ultimate pilgrimage so you should try it some time. If it’s too much headache for you to do it at home, go find any Korean style BBQ restaurant. It is one of those things that you can’t really mess up! Enjoy!

[Restaurant Review] Cantler’s Riverside Inn – Annapolis, MD

▣ Location: 458 Forest Beach Rd., Annapolis, MD 21401

▣ Tel: 410-757-1311

▣ Seafood, Crabhouse

▣ Yelp Rating: ★★★★☆ (as of August 5, 2012) – Click stars for more info!

▷▶▷▶▷▶WARNING◁◀◁◀◁◀

If you don’t like to WAIT to be seated and/or if you are a clean freak, don’t go to this restaurant!

Quintessential Maryland experience! If you had one day in MD, what would you do? Go get blue crabs! Cover the table with some paper and get messy in lots of old bay!

For that reason, there are quite a few “crabhouses” in MD. Some are decent, and some are terrible. I’ve been to several and THIS IS IT! It is legit!

Cantler’s Riverside Inn. As I warned up there, expect LOTS OF waiting. We got there around 5:30. It took 30 minutes just to get a parking spot and got seated at about 7:10. Was it worth the wait in the heat? YES!

While waiting for a parking spot, one of you can actually get out and walk to the restaurant and put your name in the waiting list to somewhat shorten the “process”. They give you a little beeper so you can stare at it for the next 1.5 hours till it buzzes. 😉 Actually, it wasn’t that bad. As you can see in the picture, they are right by the river with the pier. People actually dock their boats and hang out there until they get a table too. You see the guys measuring crabs and separate them right there too. I totally wish we would’ve brought some old bread to feed the ducks. Time would have gone by faster. Who knows. Maybe take your scrabble board. 🙂

Once you get a table, the server asks, “Paper for crabs?” And your answer is “NOW!” It differs day to day but this weekend they had medium/large/x-large crabs. They have other seafood dishes as well but blue crabs are the way to go. Crabs are not served with any sides FYI. We got a dozen medium crabs, hushpuppies, corn on the cob, and onion rings (they are very, very delicious and I don’t even like them usually). The crabs are served with vinegar, butter, and extra old bay on the side but honestly the crabs are so fresh that you don’t even need anything else! I’ve been to Maine Ave. Fishmarket in D.C. for steamed crabs as well but the medium-sized crabs at this restaurant were VERY BIG! I think 10 crabs would have been enough with the sides that we ordered and they totally let you do that as well – 1 or 10. Even if you don’t know what to do with those steamed creatures, no worries. Servers are just down-to-earth and show you how to get that nice, juicy meat out of the shell very kindly!

Cantler’s is in a very remote, residential neighborhood so don’t let your hubby or bf get too cocky and go “I got this. I know where I’m going” because he doesn’t! Turn your GPS on and find this hidden gem for great crab feast!

[Restaurant Review] Boqueria – Washington D. C.

▣ Location:1837 M St NW, Washington, DC 20036

▣ Tel: 202-558-9545

▣ Tapas, Spanish

▣ Yelp Rating: ★★★★☆ (as of August 4, 2012) – Click stars for more info!

 

This Spanish tapas place with a very modern look, Boqueria, offers quite good brunch options. To me, it looked like a perfect place to take the girl you like out for a nice brunch date: very nice but not too fancy to scare her away. 😉 Or “girls only” brunch sounds really good  as well.

While I was waiting for my friend to show up (I went there even before they opened but they were very nice and hospitable!), I had some of their rose wine with tequila. VERY DELISH! They do have a lot of drink options that are apparently really good according to online reviews. Only if I was much of a drinker!! Also, their dinner menu look really fun. However, we decided to stick to typical brunch dishes.

That’s right! Huevos Benedictos! I normally don’t get eggs benedict because, sad to say, some restaurants totally don’t know what they are doing with the Hollandaise sauce. Making Hollandaise sauce is like rocket science! But the chef at Boqueria does a really good job! The eggs are poached perfectly, the Hollandaise sauce is well-seasoned, and the smoked Scottish salmon that we got we it had a really nice flavor. It was served with french fries, which had a nice kick to them (I love spicy food!), and a house salad toss with light vinaigrette. It was quite a complete meal with their house-made lemonade!

I wish I could have tried all the 10 brunch dishes on the menu! Or some of their tapas dishes offered at lunch! Or the famous churros! I think I will definitely go back for some more food here.

If you are near Dupont Circle in D.C. or want to have a fun, nice brunch with your friends or partner, check out this place. You will get treated very well with their excellent service as well as their scrumptious food!

 

Make your own pickles! Don’t forget Soju!

There’s nothing easier than making home-made pickles! The pickled cucumbers are traditional ones that you see in the supermarket. However, the sexy, dark one on the right side is what I call “Grandma Pickles“! You know why they are great? Even my grandma, who is a notorious cook, can make these pickles and they are so yummy! So anyone can make them and they taste heavenly especially with BBQ’d meat! I usually put these pickles on the table when we have samgyeopsal! That’s a cut of pork belly and it’s gonna have to be another seperate post, if not, a book!

Here’s the simplest secret recipe >>>>>> vinegar : sugar : soy sauce : soju = 1 : 1 : 1 : 1 

You can put them all in a pot and boil. When it gets to a boil, turn it off and wait a couple minutes for it to cool down. You wanna pour the yumminess onto cut-up veggies when it’s still hot. Obviously, use a glass jar. 😉

You can pretty much pickle ANYTHING. In the picture are banana peppers (which I love!) and onions. I put a couple of garlic cloves and a few pieces of jalapenos for the flavor as well. My mom sometimes uses carrots, cucumbers and radish too, which are all great. If you don’t like anything too salty, add a half portion of water. 😉

What’s different here is the thing called SOJU! Soju is a what I call “Korean vodka”. It doesn’t really have any strong taste but Korean people for some reason seem to love this. It usually has 20% alcohol and people drink it out of shotglasses, usually in a “bottoms-up” pace. They say “Gun-Bay” or “One Shot” before they empty their glasses. How old you are really matters in Korea so if you are younger, you have to pour soju with two hands. It’s all about showing respect. It’s a dollar in Korea but you gotta pay at least $5 a bottle here in the states, depending on where you are. Most ABC stores in VA carry them so maybe get two bottles and use one for your pickels and the other for some dinner entertainment!

If you do make my GRANDMA PICKLES, keep me posted! Let me know how they come out 🙂