Rose’s Luxury – Roof Garden Tasting Menu

When two friends have birthdays in July, what do we do? We have a fancy birthday celebration at Rose’s Luxury

I still remember the first time I ate there. It was totally worth the wait. This time, it was even better because we had a reservation!

This beautiful rooftop garden (that I would just pass by on my way to the restroom upstairs😂) welcomed us when we got there. One of the birthday girls, “C”, had to stay online and refresh their reservation page 15,000 times to get this. The competition is intense! Special thanks to C for your fast click skills!

We basically sat there for 4 hours and kept eating and drinking. That’s what I call a great life!😁 What was even better, I didn’t have to experience that anxiety/agony/suffering at Komi, where I was asked not to take any pictures of the food. Food was great but every time they brought out beautiful dishes, I gotta say, a little part of me died. No picture, no blog post. Oh well. 

So, here are the pictures from our lavish birthday party!

Rye Challah / with whipped honey-caraway butter and sea salt 

Pheasant “Mortadella” / with pistachio, Dijon & red onion 

Stuff Date / with cultured butter

Artichoke Leaf / with barigoule & smoked trout roe

Kung Pao Tofu / with broccoli, Virginia peanuts & pea shoots (Well, most of us were Asian. When they brought out the Chinese to-go paper containers, for a split second, some of us thought, ‘they are not serving this because we are…?’😂)

Carrots “Pastrami” / with smoked butter, rye & sauerkraut (This might have been my favorite dish this time!)

THE Lychee Salad / with pork sausage, habanero, red onions, coconut milk foam, toasted garlic slices, cilantro & peanuts (This dish has been on their menu forever and I like it every time I eat it!)

Farro Reginetti / with garlic & mustard greens (Some said that it was too salty, even though I liked pasta better than the other one😉)
Rogatoni Alla Vodka / with squid & genovese basil
Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken / with honey & benne seeds (Btw, pickle juice is a great marinade! Never throw away leftover pickle juice. I use it all the time!)
Smoked Brisket / with white bread, horseradish & slaw

Italian House Salad

BBQ Beans / with Carolina gold rice 

Toasted Cinnamon Ice Cream / with apple cider donut (The. Donut. Was. The. Bomb.)
Innkeeper’s Pie / with walnuts, chocolate ganache & milk ice cream (O. M. G. 😱)

Last, but not least, the breakfast goodie bag! On our way out, they gave each of us this bag with a cinnamon bun and bottled cold brew coffee! 

It was such a nice treat! We got to meet and hang out with some cool people while enjoying scrumptious food all evening! If you have some important celebration coming up, I definitely recommmend that you set a reminder on your phone and get online to make a reservation! 

Happy summer!😎 And happy birthday, Y and C!!💕

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Korean style spicy salad

20130331-202519.jpg What goes perfectly well with scrumptious bulgogi? This spicy, tangy, sweet salad! Any type of lettuce will do as well as bok choy, napa cabbage and/or spring greens. You can cut the lettuce into small pieces and mix it with the sauce. Add more if needed.
>>> The key is the sauce: soy sauce(2), vinegar(2), honey(1), minced garlic(0.5), red pepper flakes(1-2), sesame oil(0.5-1), sesame seeds(1)

So easy to make!

[Restaurant Review] Brabo Tasting Room – Alexandria, VA

Brabo_Front

▣ Location: 1600 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314

▣ Tel: 703-894-3440

▣ American, Belgian

▣ Yelp Rating: ★★★★☆ (as of December 23, 2012) – Click for more info!

Literally two blocks from work, this small restaurant called Brabo Tasting Room is attracting a lot of people who visit Old Town, Alexandria, VA. Honestly, I hadn’t even heard of this place until my friend mentioned it the other day. It is right next to BRABO by Robert Wiedmaier, which is supposed to be another great dining option. We weren’t really properly dressed that night so we went for this rather “casual” option at Brabo Tasting Room. When you walk into this “old” building, their modern looking kitchen with the brick oven welcomes you.

Brabo_Mussels2So, what do they offer? Their menu isn’t that complicated. We got “Boston Bibb Lettuce” salad, “Local Tomato Bisque” and “Classic” mussels. One great thing about this place is that it’s really “share-friendly” 😉 As you’ve noticed, some people just LOVE to order a bunch of different dishes and share everything. That’s me! Anyway, we were going to share all the dishes and didn’t really say that to our waiter but when they brought out the salad, they nicely plated it on two separte plates for us! That’s called some great service!

Brabo_Salad

Every bite on the plate tasted so fresh! Not to mention the perfectly cooked beets, even the lettuce itself tasted so delicioius. It was tossed with perfect amount of their mustard vinaigrette.

Brabo_Bisque

Tomato bisque was incredible! To me, most soups here in the States are a little too salty. However, this one was perfectly seasoned with great basil aroma and a nice taste of Crème fraîche.

Brabo_Mussels1

Mussels! Where do I even start? As a big fan of all kinds of seafood, I don’t even need sauce or seasoning for mussels usually. I sometimes just boil them in water with a couple piece of jalapenos. This dish was prepared in white wine, garlic and shallots. Mussels were fantabulous but the leftover broth…. O.M.G. But for all the other people in the restaurant, I would’ve just drunk the broth and licked the bowl and this ain’t joke! When they brought out empty bowls for us (because we were going to share), they were nicely heated so our mussels didn’t get cold!

That was another thing about this place. Even though it kind of looked like a small, quite casual place, they offered a top notch service. This is the kind of restaurant where you feel very well-fed and perfectly-treated when you walk out. I even liked their bathroom! 🙂

They don’t take reservations so show up when you feel like it!

P.S. I forgot to mention but their beers are known to be very good too. Belgian beer, duh! I am not much of a drinker so I didn’t drink anything but it’s worth the trip for that too!

Kimchi Stuffed Chicken Thighs

How does this dish look? Whatever you think, it’s beyond that! 🙂

Here’s a little behind-story of how this dish was born! Main ingredients are kimchi and chicken. Kimchi is a traditional Korean food but this dish is not traditionally “Korean”. Actually, I gotta thank my husband – ex hotel chef- who created this awesome dish for the Korean Food Cooking Contest held in Seoul, Korea in 2011. There were a lot of “foreigners” who cooked great dishes but his kimchi stuffed chicken thighs were the most loved dish by the audience, who were mostly culinary students. Since then, it’s been HIS dish and I am totally stealing it this time because I did it on my own with a little personal touch!  :p

*** Recipe ***

1. Get a couple of chicken thighs and debone them.

2. Pound them flat, if necessary.

3. Sautee some chopped kimchi. Depending on your preference, add veggies and/or cooked rice. I put some zucchini (to add more color) and rice.

4. Spread the cooked kimchi onto the flat chicken thighs and roll them.

5. Season the outer part of the chicken thighs – the hubby used sweet Thai chili sauce but this time I used bacon, which turned out to be really good.

6. Put them in the oven for 25-30 minutes (380°F) COVERED.

7. Get rid of the cover and broil them for about 5-10 minutes (both sides) so they get that sexy color!

Tada~ You see what I am saying about that sexiness here??!! Let them sit for a couple of minutes before you slice and plate them.

You can do so much with this dish in terms of presentation. I cooked some cauliflower to go with it. The hubby made some tangy salad last time (first picture above). Get creative and amuse your senses! Enjoy!

 

 

[Restaurant Review] Lebanese Taverna – Arlington, VA

▣ Location: 5900 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22202

▣ Tel: 703-241-8681

▣ Deli

▣ Yelp Rating: ★★★★☆ (as of September 18, 2012) – Click for more info!

I am very glad to be reviewing this place. It’s been a while since I posted on the blog and I’m so happy that it’s Lebanese Taverna today. 🙂

I found this deli on our picnic day this weekend. To me, picnic=food (go figure, what’s not about food? ;))! So we went to this deli to pick up some shawarma but I got so carried away that I ended up getting more than I could handle (again, this happens quite often). As you can see in the picture, the meat is prepared on a spit. To be completely honest, I don’t really know much about Arabic food so I can’t tell if the food was “authentic” but you know what? Who cares? It was so delicious! My grilled taouk (meaning chicken in Arabic) was heavenly as well.

I gotta say, their salad selections are excellent as well as their dip/sauce options. Like most delis, you can buy these sides by the pound. Some of my favorites include garlic-fried cauliflower, tabouleh, stuffed grape leaves, cous cous and anything with eggplant! Not to mention their garlic sauce, their salads are so fresh and refreshing. As I write this, my mouth is literally watering. You might end up spending 30 minutes there when you go pick up one thing, though. They have so much to offer – cookies, jam, wine, great beers, cheeses, dried fruit AND this awesome dessert called Halawa Chocolate , aka Halva. It is made from tahini so it’s dry, crumbly. Very rich in flavor but because of the dry texture(?), I couldn’t eat more than 4 small bites of it after lunch but it was so good that this might be my favorite chocolatty dessert now! Do you like Whoppers? It kind of tastes/feels like the malted milk inside, if you will.

If you are planning a weekend picnic with your family and if you live in Arlington or anywhere close enough, go to Lebanese Taverna and get yourselves some great lunch! I can’t wait to go back!

P.S. If you are looking for a quite, nice, beautiful picnic please, check out Mason Neck State Park!

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] 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!

 

[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?” 😉

 

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? 😉

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A Great Way to Enjoy your Steak!

Steak is such an easy meal – compared to other home-made dishes that you actually have to “cook” – but sometimes it’s just not enough. A great way to highlight your dinner (or lunch…. or breakfast? sure, what the heck!) is to fix a nice salad with it. In this case, it was spinach+feta cheese with cut-up onions and tomatoes, which we picked up at a local farmer’s market. The key is the dressing.

We all have a couple different kinds of dressing sitting in the refrigerator but when you want some nice “home-made” dressing, this is how. EVOO+any kind of vinegar+any mustard+salt+pepper+garlic. SUPER SIMPLE! You can start from there and play with what you have left in your pantry if you feel creative that night. Otherwise, it’s a lot healthier than the supermarket dressing that you have.

We used the red wine that had been sitting next to the Keuric machine for ages! Well-transformed and well-enjoyed!

Happy 4th of July! Grill up and get yourself a nice salad with fresh veggies and home-made dressing! Cheers!