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Posts Tagged ‘Food’

Iceberry Frozen Yogurt

October 23, 2009 Leave a comment

Since this summer, my husband has been addicted to probiotic frozen yogurt (froyo) especially the most convenient froyo shop, Iceberry. He orders it plain without any toppings and can eat some everyday. Is there a reason why this stuff is so addictive? I myself can do without it. I don’t particularly like the tart aftertaste of the yogurt. At any rate, we’ve tried to buy the stuff in bulk from a variety of grocery stores, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Giant, etc. Nothing even comes close except Yo Baby plain yogurt (tart but not sweet) and greek plain yogurt (tart but not as sweet), and they are still miles away from the flavor of the probiotic frozen yogurt that seems to be all the rage. The search for grocery store brand frozen yogurt continues! Please help…

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Tommy Thai * Springfield, VA

November 22, 2008 Leave a comment

papaya-salad-pic-for-blog1

Tonight, my husband and I tried out Tommy Thai Restaurant for the second time since it had its soft opening two weeks ago.

From the menu, we ordered the sticky rice, white rice, papaya salad and fried flounder with a Thai basil sauce. Unlike most other Thai restaurants, Tommy Thai serves their sticky rice black, an interesting twist to the usual white glutinous rice that’s served with the customary sticky rice and mango dessert. The papaya salad is not the authentic, homemade fishy one that I’m used to. This one was light, spicy and sweet. Very good and more suited to a Thai fusion-style restaurant like this one. The fried flounder was more than enough for two people; we ate the whole thing, barely leaving behind the head and bones. The flounder can be ordered filet style for those who prefer not to see the whole fish, head and all.

For dessert, we enjoyed the custard which is similar to leche flan but has a thicker consistency; it was pure deliciousness! There was a taste of coconut milk and a hint of taro in the filling. This dessert would have been perfection if it had the creme brulee style topping. But for sure, the custard dessert will make a repeat customer of me!

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Upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday!

November 17, 2008 Leave a comment

Yippee! My favorite holiday is fast approaching and this year, we’re hosting turkey day dinner.

Ever since we decided to have dinner at our house, I’ve been researching the best recipes for turkey because it needs to be just perfect! I decided to use the Cooks Illustrated roasted brined turkey recipe in addition to another recipe that calls for some extra brining ingredients. I went with Cooks Illustrated because their chefs tested all the different methods of preparing and roasting a turkey to seek out the most juicy, tender and delicious turkey so I’m pretty confidant that they got it right and are giving me the best method to roast my bird perfectly.

In preparation for the big day, I ordered my free range 18-20 pound turkey which I’ll pick up from Whole Foods on Tuesday. Then, I’ll brine my bird overnight and let it dry before roasting it in the oven on turkey day. I hope it comes out as wonderful as the recipe promises!

Other dishes on our turkey day menu are mashed baby yukon potatoes (made with the usual ingredients and riced instead of mashed), gravy (from my father-in-law’s recipe and usually made by my sister-in-law), sausage, artichoke and parmesan stuffing, and homemade cranberry sauce. Family members will bring other dishes and wines to supplement. I can’t wait!

Boilermaker tailgate chili and buttery cornbread from allrecipes.com

November 17, 2008 Leave a comment

On Sunday, I had a craving for some yummy chili with cornbread. So I thought I’d cook some up for the Redskins and Cowboys game Sunday night.

That afternoon, I went on a scavenger hunt at a number of local grocery stores to find all the ingredients for the boilermaker tailgate chili (rated top chili on allrecipes.com, if you do a sort by rating). Ingredients included a little bit of everything: ground beef chuck, Italian sausage, chili beans, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, yellow onion, celery, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, green chile peppers, bacon bits, beef bouillon, beer, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, dried oregano, cumin, hot pepper sauce, dried basil, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, white sugar, corn chips such as Fritos®, and shredded Cheddar cheese.

After two hours at Costco, Giant, and Trader Joes, I came back home and began to work on my chili. This dish took 2 hours to cook and it was worth all the effort I put into it. The chili was quite delicious, with a little kick to the dish, although it was not as spicy hot as I’d prefer (I didn’t want to risk the heartburn with the baby and all:) To top off the dish, I added corn chips and cheese.

Additionally, while the chili was simmering, I made the cornbread using the buttery cornbread recipe (also found on allrecipes.com, rated third best). The cornbread was buttery and not as grainy as most cornbreads tend to be. I liked the cornbread because it tastes alot better than the jiffy mix but I think I’d like to try another recipe with buttermilk/cream for comparison; this recipe only called for milk and butter.

All in all, it was a wonderful dinner to accompany a rather disappointing game. Skins lost to the Cowboys!

Phillips Seafood Restaurant * Rockville, MD

November 16, 2008 Leave a comment

If you’re looking for a variety of seafood, Phillips Seafood Restaurant in Rockville, MD may have what you’re looking for! I went there for lunch on Saturday and tried alittle bit of everything from the chilled and hot plateau samplers! The chilled plateau includes lobster, lump crab meat, oysters, clams, shrimp cocktail and tuna tartare. And the equally good hot plateau includes crab cake, steamed crab legs, calamari, coconut shrimp, steamed mussels and clams casino. We also ordered the cheesy Phillips crab dip with flat crouton bread. Unfortunately, I couldn’t have any white wine with my meal but I heard that the Bridlewood 2006 voignier was delicious and paired well with all the seafood. Yum! Thanks to my sister-in-law and her fiance for a wonderful lunch outing!

Some quick restaurant reviews * Springfield/Alexandria

November 9, 2008 Leave a comment

Tommy, a good friend of ours, opened up a Thai restaurant, Tommy Thai (tommythairestaurant.com), in Springfield, VA about a week ago. The decor is typical, contemporary Asian, with alot of black, reds and even a green tea color on the walls. Very clean and sleek.

When we went to the soft opening of the restaurant, my husband and I ordered the pad see ew and crying tiger as our entrees, both of which were pretty good. I think we’re going back soon to try the other items on the menu. I’m eyeing the chef’s special of fried fish and the pad kee mao noodle dish, but who knows what we’ll be in the mood for? I’ll try to write a more detailed review after I go back for seconds.

Speaking of moods, the other night, my husband and I were in the mood for seafood so we headed out to a new (to us) restaurant in the Kingstowne, Alexandria area: Bonefish Grill (bonefishgrill.com). According to the host, the seafood is brought in fresh on a daily basis. I actually went to the website before posting this entry and it looks like the Grill is affiliated with Ocean Trust and seeks to be responsible fishbuyers. That’s a plus in my book.

Another plus is the good service at this restaurant. When we ate there on Thursday night, the Bonefish Grill was slightly busy with two big birthday parties/groups. I was surprised that the service didn’t suffer despite the large groups and our waitress was quite pleasant and interesting. Also, the person who seated us gave us a nice introduction to the restaurant when we told him it was our first time there and then he made several recommendations on the menu to help us get started. After debating over what to get, I ordered the filet and crabcake dinner which came with succatash and a side of string beans. My hubby ordered the grilled grouper with a mango chutney sauce, succatash and potato au gratin. My crab cake was mostly lump and the remoulade was one of the tastiest I’ve had in the metro DC area. The filet was not as tender as I’d like but what did I expect at a seafood restaurant, right? Also, the filet tasted a little gamey to me. My husband says it’s because it’s lightly seasoned so you can really taste the meat. That sort of explains it…. The succatash was quite hearty; it was a mix of corn and soy beans. The soy beans added a nice consistency to the corn. To stay on the healthy side, I had the string beans in addition to the other veggies. The string beans were just okay.

A couple of things to note is that there are some specials on food and drinks, probably depending on the time of the day and that drinks that evening were $5/cocktail. I wish I could have tried some. There was also a delicious sounding entree of fish and chips that seemed to be pretty popular and came in at about $10.

All in all, I really wanted to find another restaurant in the Springfield/Alexandria area like Mike’s American Grill. I wish I could say that Bonefish was close but I’m reserving my judgment. Maybe after sampling more of the menu, I’ll find a specialty dish that I’ll just have to keep coming back to.

More Birmingham eats

November 1, 2008 Leave a comment

On my last night in Birmingham, AL, I ventured out into the Five Points area again (right outside my meeting space and hotel) and tried some Thai food although I was pretty skeptical that it would be any good. It’s hard not to be skeptical when you’re the only Thai person eating in the Thai restaurant. There also weren’t any Thai servers. That can say alot about a restaurant as well.

As you can see, I’m the type to trust mostly in those restaurants that are populated by the people who are experts in that type of food; people who ACTUALLY eat the cuisine everyday at their own dinner tables. My theory is that most all other restaurants (that do not serve the people who eat the cuisine on a daily basis) have altered the taste of their authentic, traditional foods by developing a more Westernized and bland menu of dishes to meet the diverse needs of those other customers.

At any rate, we didn’t have too many options for dinner so we stuck it out at Surin Thai Restaurant. Soon, I found the above was true for this particular Thai restaurant: they had altered the taste of their food to meet the taste of their usual customers: Caucasiansand other Westerners in the Birmingham area.

The springroll appetizer (shredded cabbage and carrot wrapped with spring roll wrappers and drief fried) was good. There was nothing altered about that because you can’t really Westernize springrolls; it’s good as is.

For my entree, I ordered the “spicy beef noodle” dish from the menu; at other Thai restaurants, this dish is also known as a pad kee mao or drunken noodle dish. When the food arrived, I noticed right away that the thick rice noodles weren’t freshly made (as in many Thai kitchens I’m familiar with) but rather the restaurant boiled up some dried thick rice noodles. The noodles weren’t bad. I really don’t discriminate much against any noodles (freshly made or not) because I’m a noodles girl (I’d rather eat noodles than rice any day of the week). The sauce for the noodle dish was a little different from your usual drunken noodle spicy basil sauce. There wasn’t alot of basil (it was hard to taste the basil actually) and the sauce was on the sweet side.

I guess you can say I compare foods and dishes to the most authentic version that I’d experienced in the past. I tend to prefer the authentic versions of ethnic foods, although every now and then I do appreciate a twist on the traditional dishes especially when they’re done just right. Again, this spicy beef noodle dish was just okay in comparison to other pad kee mao dishes I’ve had.

On the other end of the table, my partner in eating (none other than my hubby) ordered a numtok dish (grilled beef, red onion, lettuce, with a lime juice and hot pepper dressing) and it was not good at all. It lacked the salty, spicy, fishy, sour taste that is typical of numtok dishes. Very bland in comparison, I would say.

One last thing I’ll add to this review is that the service was unbelievably inflexible. My coworker wanted to order the soft shell crabs with a different sauce on the side and the waitstaff flat-out said no, stating that they just couldn’t accommodate special orders for everyone. So much for the Southern hospitality we all were getting accustomed to 🙂

Overall, this restaurant was a disappointment but I guess you can say it lived up to my not very high expectations. The rating I’d give this restaurant is a 2 out of 5. Ambiance, service and food altogether were alittle below average, in my opinion.

Before I left Birmingham, I had to sample pancakes from the Original Pancake House. I tried the strawberry pancakes while my husband tried the crepes. I thought the pancakes were pretty good although there was nothing spectacular or extraordinary about them. Same feedback from my husband about the crepes. At 8am in the morning, the diner was busy and popular with the local business people and medical staff from nearby office buildings. It was a great place to people watch. The service was friendly and quick. We were in and out in less than an hour; I’d probably guess 45 minutes. Afterwards, we went to the Starbucks next door for some not-so-watered-down coffee. Here are some pictures at the Originial Pancake House.