Did Pilgrams Eat Lobster?

  • Posted on November 22, 2007 at 9:08 pm

For the first time ever, Larry and I decided not to go to Indiana to spend Thanksgiving with our family. Instead, to save money and vacation days, we stayed in DC and had our own little private Thanksgiving. We contemplated going to a restaurant, but decided on something even better: lobster. (I’m not a huge fan of turkey anyway; I enjoy the side dishes more than the meat on Thanksgiving.)

Yesterday, we saw the seafood guys set up on the corner down the street, selling lobsters, fish and shellfish out of coolers, straight off the truck from Maine. We bought two on a whim (total weight almost six pounds!!). We named them Rod and Todd. They lived in our fridge for a day, which was kind of weird. I wanted to feed them some breakfast and give them a little bowl of water to drink, because I was worried they might die, but Larry told me not to worry about it. I would not, however, touch them. Ew.
Look What's In The Fridge
Todd and Rod in the fridge

Rod(Rhoda) and Tod(Tina)
Todd and Rod on the Counter

Where Lobsters go to Die
Where Lobsters Go to Die

Death of a Lobster
Death of a Lobster

Boiling Lobster
Boiling Lobsters

Happy Thanksgiving
The Spread: Lobsters, Clams, Polenta, Peas and Butter (P.S. those are 10 inch plates, to give you an idea of how ENORMOUS the lobsters were)
Better than Turkey
Better Than Turkey

Chocolate Pecan Pie
Dessert: Chocolate Pecan Pie

It turned out that Rod and Todd were actually Tina and Rhoda. Oops. I had Tina, and she was soooo good, probably the best lobster I’ve ever had. I’d like to make it a family tradition on Thanksgiving, but once the baby is born, we probably won’t be splurging on lobster.

Surprise, Surprise!

  • Posted on November 15, 2007 at 6:42 pm

What’s the best way to start the day? Getting a prize in your cereal!

Wow! A Breakfast Prize!

Totally unexpected and delightful. It just fell out as Larry was pouring the cereal into his bowl. Do you remember HOW COOL it was to get the prize out of the cereal when you were a kid? I remember tipping the cereal boxes, trying to catch a glimpse of the toy inside, and reaching my arm all the way down the box to nab it before my brothers got it.

(And ahem, we do not eat children’s cereals around here. Cinnamon Toast Crunch is made with whole grains, people. It’s definitely an adult cereal.)

Huong Viet at Eden Center

  • Posted on October 13, 2007 at 4:46 pm

My mom is in town for a few days (not really to visit but to help my uncle and cousin while my aunt is in the hospital recovering from brain surgery [!!!]). I dropped her off at my uncle’s house this afternoon, but before we parted Larry and I took her to Eden Center for lunch. Eden Center is a strip mall in Northern Virginia, not far from the beltway, that is entirely Vietnamese. Stores, restaurants, salons, you name it. It’s always very crowded–I suggest just forgoing the endless search for a parking spot and just park clear on the other side of the strip mall. Your car is probably less likely to get dinged this way.

We went to Huong Viet, a fabulous Vietnamese restaurant that Michaela introduced us to–thank you Michaela! We love this place. And–big bonus points–it’s Washingtonian’s Top 100 restaurant list. Super cheap and super delicious.

We ate garden rolls and pho. So delicious. Although, I’m thinking next time that I might branch out and try something else. But the pho is just so good…


Delicious Pho.

Garden Rolls

Yummy garden rolls.

Taste of Bethesda

  • Posted on October 6, 2007 at 4:25 pm

I’ve lived in Bethesda for four years, and today I finally made it to the annual Taste of Bethesda. It’s sad that I’ve never been before, because it is literally right outside my door. With the apartment windows open, scents of grilled meat waft into the apartment, and I can hear the bands playing Cream covers.

Taste of Bethesda, 3:01 pm
The view from my apartment balcony.

Here are some of my pathetic excuses for not going the past few years: I’ve already eaten at most of the restaurants, it’s too crowded, it’s too hot, it’s too cold, I already ate lunch at a restaurant, and I’m on vacation in the Outer Banks. But since this might be my last year in Bethesda, I just had to go.

Larry and I tried to make it a point to only sample food from restaurants we’ve never been to before, which was difficult because we’ve been to most of the restaurants here. Oh, and we tried to avoid chains like Chipolte and McCormick and Schmicks.

We got lamb stew and an onion tart from Brasserie Monte Carlo:

Onion Tart with Ham, Gruyere and Sage
Onion Tart

Lamb Stew and Saffron Rice
Lamb Stew

We also tried the beef rice noodle bowl from Rice Paddies Vietnamese restaurant.

Beef RIce Noodle Bowl
Beef rice noodle bowl
For dessert, we got a cupcake from Just Cakes and a piece of chocolate cake from Ri-Ra Irish Pub. We broke our little rule with these two, because we’ve eaten at both places. Oh well. They were delicious.

Coconut Cupcake
Coconut cupcake

Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Cake

It was super crowded, and it amazed me that people lined up around the block for Haagen-Dazs ice cream! Come on, people, you can buy that at the grocery store and it will taste exactly the same. Why not try something a little more adventurous?

And another thing, I think it’s a complete cop-out when restaurants serve chicken satay. Please. No one wants to eat dried up chicken on a stick. I think there were at least four restaurants serving this, and it all looked like a shoe sole on a stick. Gross.

All in all, it was fun and delicious, and I’m glad I finally went.

Farrah Olivia

  • Posted on September 23, 2007 at 6:35 pm

Grrrrr. I just wrote a nice little review of my trip to Farrah Olivia, and I somehow lost the entire post. I really don’t feel like writing it again.

To sum it up: Farrah Olivia is awesome. Delicious. Try the five course dinner. Totally worth it. Get the lemon cheesecake for dessert. SO GOOD.

Home Alone

  • Posted on September 9, 2007 at 8:47 pm

Larry is out of town for the next two weeks, so I’m home alone. AAAAAHHHHHH (hands on face.)

Larry usually does all the cooking around here, so if anyone wants to come over and make me dinner, you’re more than welcome. (I know, I know, I am so spoiled.) I’ll do the dishes. Otherwise, I will look forward to my Trader Joe’s frozen dinners.

It’s going to be weird without him here for so long. But, I will be able to watch all the Medium episodes and Discovery Health Channel shows that I want.

The Great Outdoors

  • Posted on September 7, 2007 at 8:44 pm

Last weekend was a whirlwind of activity, eating and emotions. My brother Eric was visiting from Indianapolis, and we managed to do some fun junk outdoors, eat way too much food and laugh a lot, in spite of some other really awful things that happened. (I’m still processing how to even write about one of them, it’s so intense and extreme and scary, so right now I’m going to stick to happy thoughts.)

One highlight of last weekend was our trip to the National Zoo on Friday-we spent eight hours walking around, and I think we managed to see every single animal there except the elusive liger baby anteater. However, by the end of the day, we were all so physically worn out, and my legs hurt so bad that I could barely walk back to the car. I did manage to get some pretty cool shots of animals with my nifty zoom lens:

Cute Panda

Gharial–sort of like a crocodile with a really funny mouth

Strange Creature
unidentified mammal with the speed of a liger and the wit of a mongoose.

We ate SO MUCH FOOD this past weekend. I am sure I gained 11 pounds. There were too many good meals to review them all, but a few of the highlights were: Fogo de Chao (again–we cashed in one of our free lunches), Mannequin Pis–an amazing Belgian restaurant that was an instant favorite, and Jaleo, which is always a winner. I am still full. (Okay, not really.)

Come back anytime, Eric!

Free Pizza, I think

  • Posted on September 6, 2007 at 9:42 pm

Tonight, because I was tired and lazy and didn’t have the energy to prepare something for dinner (and Larry was out, so there was no hope of him making dinner), I went to the unnamed pizza/gyro shop across the street from my apartment building. I went all out and got the $4.99 pizza and soda special. (I know, I know, soooo healthy. But did I mention I am exhausted? It’s easy.)

I gave the man behind the counter my credit card, and he just kind of swooped it under the counter and did not push any buttons. He did not ring up anything on the cash register. Then he said, “ok, good night!” I said that I still needed the credit card slip to sign it. “Oh, don’t worry–I’ll sign it.” Warning bells start going off in my head. What kind of place would sign your credit card slip for you?! I don’t trust this guy at all, because this is the same place that has screwed up every credit card transaction I attempt with them, usually resulting in multiple charges for the same item. The only reason I used the card was because I had no cash.

“Um, no, I’d like to sign the slip, so that I can make sure the correct amount was charged,” I replied. He mumbled something under his breath in response and waved his hand dismissively. “Pardon me?” I asked. He responded quietly, “I am not charging you. The credit card minimum is five dollars.”

“Oh–well, just charge me $5.50 then. I’d like a receipt,” I replied.

“No, no, don’t worry about it–it’s free.”

Rather than argue with the man, I just told him I would owe him next time and left. I either got a free dinner, or he’s just going to type in whatever amount he wants on the little credit card machine. I sure as hell hope I didn’t just buy a $450 piece of pizza.

Chocolate Decadence at the Ritz, Part Deux

  • Posted on August 26, 2007 at 9:38 am

On Friday evening, Larry and I joined our friends Amy, Kirk and Blythe at the Ritz Carlton for the return of Chocolate Decadence. Last spring, the Ritz held a Chocolate Decadence event every Friday night, an all-you-can-eat chocolate buffet of unimaginable sweetness. Amy, Blythe and I attended the spring event, which I blogged about here. When I found out that Chocolate Decadence was back again this summer, I just had to go.

The theme this time was ice cream–four flavors of chocolate-based ice cream, with about 20 gourmet toppings to garnish with. A regular ol’ ice cream social. They had toppings like brandied cherries, chocolate peanut sauce, nutella, and peanut brittle, but none of the traditional toppings like sprinkles and hot fudge. I was a little disappointed at the small portions of ice cream we were given, but I made friends with the pastry chef and was able to finagle more scoops from her.

The ice cream was delicious, but the whole thing just didn’t have the same WOW factor as the first chocolate decadence, maybe because we’d already been there, done that, or maybe because ice cream and toppings don’t look as impressive as all the cakes, pies, pastries and mousses that they had displayed last time. Also, we burned out of the ice cream way more quickly than we had expected to, and had to order some “real” food.

Although the chocolate may have been a tiny disappointment compared to the last Chocolate Decadence, the company more than made up for it. We had a great time.

In Search of Soup Dumplings

  • Posted on August 19, 2007 at 5:35 pm

Yesterday, Larry and I went to Chinatown in search of soup dumplings. We first saw soup dumplings a few weeks ago on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, when Anthony took a trip to Shanghai. The soup dumplings he ate at Nan Xiang restaurant in Shanghai were pillows of dough enveloping a rich soup broth. The smaller variety look like they burst out soupy goodness in the mouth, and the larger ones are big enough to suck the broth out with a straw. Ever since I saw the episode, I’ve been obsessed with soup dumplings. Must have soup dumplings.

After some research, I found that Chinatown Express in Chinatown (where else, with a name like that) serves the elusive soup dumpling, although their specialty is the hand-stretched noodles you can watch them make in the window. They’ve got chickens, pigs, and ducks hanging in the window, which I think is super cool. We ordered the soup dumplings (duh), some seafood dumplings, stir-fried noodles with beef and the roasted half chicken.

The soup dumplings were…disappointing. They didn’t really have much broth in them at all. They were good for pork dumplings, but these are not the dumplings I saw on Anthony Bourdain. The noodles and the chicken were really delicious. The noodles were one of the best Chinese noodle stir-fry dishes I have had, for sure. I will definitely be back to Chinatown Express. But I guess we’ll have to go to either New York or San Fransisco for soup dumplings. Or Shanghai for the real thing. Sigh.

Chinatown Express