Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pizza in the Morning, Pizza in the noon day, Pizza at Supper time

you must have thought that I forgot about you, NEVER! I have been actually in the kitchen quite a lot, BUT school is hard so I have little time to post. sad day. With a small break, I am going to try and throw together all that I have been cooking and baking since the end of August...which is a lot...so we'll see how much I get done.

Let's rock and roll.

So pizza is my lazy meal. however, it is so good and so easy and then look at this pizza, it looks so fancy...right?

Ingredients:

1 Pizza dough (TJs, Wegmans, Pillsbury (any grocery store), or make your own!
1 Cup of Spinach
1/2 Cup of Sliced Mushrooms
1/4-1/3 cup of Goat Cheese
1/2 cup of Kalamata olives
2/3 cup of Marinara Sauce

Directions:

1) Preheat that glorious oven of yours to 425
2) If using a baking sheet, line with foil or just oil with the sheet with olive oil and dust it with corn starch
-- If using a pizza stone, just pull that beautiful thing out of your cabinet
3) While oven is heating, saute mushrooms in olive oil, salt and pepper until soft and then add spinach until it just begins to wilt.
4) Remove spinach and mushrooms from heat and cover pizza dough with as little or as much pizza/marinara sauce as your heart desires
5) Top pizza with goat cheese, olives, spinach and mushrooms
6) Heat in oven until crusts browns and cheese is melted about 15-20 minutes
7) Remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes
8) Enjoy and Share!!!

Yes, yes, Yes. I know. Karri, you've made pizza a lot before. Welp, it is easy, delicious and there are endless opportunities. So cry me a river. Well, don't but please go make yourself some pizza, preferably this one. One of these days when I have some more time on my hands, I definitely plan on taking to the kitchen and making my own pizza crust. GASP! That, and I also plan on taking on making my own gnocchi. CRAZY TALK. One of these days...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sukho Thai

friday night take-out.

maybe i'll start a special post for that. maybe not. we'll see.

nevertheless, this was the second to last stop on the short hudson valley tour.

After becoming cultured to Thai food during my time in DC over the past five years, I was always sad when I went home that I could not engage in the delicious Thai cuisine. However, I was definitely mistaken because Sukho Thai has been in Beacon for a while now, but it was only until a year or so ago that I had went for my first time.

This review, however, will only be about my Sukho Thai take out experience, but I will remark that the restaurant itself is located on the Eastern end of Main Street in Beacon (both Chill and Homespun were located on the western end) and it is adjacent to many of the well known antique shops in town. The restaurant does feature a nice modern decor and it is a really good spot for a small group of friends or a nice date night with your significant other.

For take out, I ordered the Fried Golden Tofu to start which was served with sweet chili dipping sauce. After having delicious golden tofu from Sticky Rice and decent tofu from Malaysia Kopitiam, I was expecting something at least in between. Unfortunately, I got something that was not really close. The Golden Tofu had absolutely no flavor and even with the dipping sauce which was standard, I was not off to a good start with my meal. However, my entree, the Penang Curry, a Thai panang curry with red bell peppers, snow peas, green beans, topped with a coconut sauce and Kaffir lime leaves, was a completely different situation. You can order it with your choice of chicken, beef, pork, tofu, vegetable, or shrimp. I had my version with a mixture of tofu and vegetables and it was really really really good. I was almost shocked that two things, one with no flavor and another dish with such tasty flavors could come from the same restaurant. You are able to choose the spiciness of your food and I like some heat to my meals, so I chose the "medium" option which was the perfect amount of spice to give it some kick but I was still able to enjoy the other flavor profiles of the dish.

Despite the poor appetizer, my entree more then made up for the meal. Having also been to Sukho Thai a few times prior, I also know that they usually serve up really solid and delicious Thai food, but they definitely need to redo that Fried Golden Tofu.

Grade: B+

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chill Wine and Tapas


Back home for a couple of weeks before the big move, I decided to meet up with the BOOF buddy that I have known the longest (about 18 years!), Ash. We were originally planning to get coffee earlier that evening, but I ended up having to take care of some things, so she threw out the idea of heading to the newish Wine Bar in Beacon, Chill.

Chill is located on the Northern part of Main Street in Beacon and has a very cool hipster/dive vibe to it. In the evening, it features live acoustic music that still allows you to carry on a conversation, dim/little to no lights and an overall relaxed atmosphere.

The bar features exposed brick walls, slightly elevated seating on the side opposite to the bar with small lamps on each table. In the back of the restaurant, there is more seating with big leather chairs and a similar intimate and relaxed feel.

For being a winebar, there wine list is somewhat short but it covers all grounds. Ash ordered the German Dr. Loosen Riesling and I ordered the South African Indaba Shiraz. Both wines were tasty and had a nice body to them. The red was served at the perfect room temperature which is always a necessity. Chill also features a nice food selection with food plates, grilled panins and hummus platters. I opted to order the Pesto Hummus which was served with toasted flatbread and it was really quite tasty. I wish that the flatbread was not as crunchy as it was but because the hummus had such a weight to it, it might not have held up otherwise.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time at Chill. I would definitely go back when I am in time, and I think it is really the perfect way to end your day. I would also go back and try their paninis because who does not like a panini? Chill definitely has the possibility of becoming a Beacon main stay.

Grade: B+
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Homespun Foods

Yea Man. First post outside of the DMV. Booyah.

I am from this really gorgeous part of NY (not the city) but the Hudson Valley which sits right along the Hudson River smack dab between NYC and Albany. If you really want to know more, just wiki it but needless to say, it is a really awesome part of the country (and NY state) that is filled with beautiful landscapes, mountains (or "hills" for you westcoast folks), and plenty of historic sites to see (West Point, Vanderbilt Mansion, FDR Estate, Samuel Morse Estate-- to name a few) and a plethora of other outdoor activities.

Only home for a few weeks before I made my big move out to PA (more on that in a later post), I decided that I would delve into more of the local cuisine, which I hear is actually quite delicious. Although I am not in NYC, the food from the area must be doing something right because Anthony Bourdain has highlighted our area on his show "No Reservations". Therefore, we are legit. I had never actually ate a meal at Homespun before but I did have a delicious cookie from there and best buddy of BOOF, Mo, is always a big fan of homespun because of their amount of gluten-free items on the menu.

Homespun is located right on Main Street in Beacon, NY, a little historic city sitting in the mid-hudson valley. Beacon has seen its share of ups and downs but it has recently been undergoing a transformation back to its former glory with the entrance of nice cafes, good cultural cuisine options, more antique shops (it has actually ALWAYS been known for these) and just more things to do. Homespun features nice warm colors, exposed brick walls and a nice but smallish dining area in the front but more seating in the back. It is definitely a cafe/lunch spot, but their lunch meals are absolutely delicious and they also serve breakfast, so why not? A major perk to Homespun is there large outdoor garden patio which is where I opted to sit on that beautiful summer day which has the perfect mix of shade and sun and I never felt as though there were too many bugs bothering me.

I ordered the Goat Gouda Pecan salad which featured goat cheese, grapes, dried cherries, toasted pecans and salad greens with a balsamic dressing. As you probably can figure from the ingredients, this salad was delicious. It had the perfect touch of fresh ingredients with the nice but simple balance of the sweet grapes, cherries with the more salty and sharp taste of the goat cheese and the pecans. Furthermore, the dressing was also nice light and refreshing and complemented but did not overwhelm the ingredients in the salad. I could eat the salad all the time but so many other salads, sandwiches and deliciousness on their menu look so good, I would have to try something else out first.

I also treated myself to a large chocolate chip cookie which was so delicious. The perfect balance of chewiness with that nice outer edge crisp. The owner/head chef of Homespun formerly headed a bakery in Seattle, so desserts and pastries are her thing, and she does it so well. As previously mentioned, they offer gluten-free desserts as well as vegan, and you can also put in order for specialty items to be catered or cakes for special occasions.

I would definitely go back to Homespun for a nice afternoon lunch and I would be hard pressed to find another better option on a nice day to eat lunch outside, then either go antiquing or hit up DIA: Beacon, the popular art museum.

Grade: B+

-- No dinner makes Karri a sad girl.
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Spring Shells and Cheese






Dear creators of Tastespotting,

I love you. Although I dislike that anytime I visit your page, hunger consumes me and I am immediately in need of making/eating everything that I see. Nevertheless, thank you for putting every wonderful foodblogger's recipes smack dab in front of me. every day. Also, thank you for making it so easy to search for a specific item that I want to use that evening and coming up with wonderful options. You have made my life so much more delicious and satisifying, and I am forever indebted towards you because of it.

Sincerely,
-Karri

So yes. I went on taste spotting, typed in "Shells" and came up with a slew of wonderful recipes but then there was this one...

There was this recipe that looked so utterly delicious and then I went to this food blog's page and not only fell in love with the recipe but became an immediate fan of the two guys behind it...probably because they too were based in DC. I secretly wanted to meet them and become friends but that's a little stalkerish and crazy, so I just to make this delicious recipe and call it a day.

Adapted From: http://www.thebittenword.com/thebittenword/2010/05/spring-shells-and-cheese.html

Ingredients

• 2 pounds medium zucchini
• Kosher salt I used regular salt
• 1 stick unsalted butter
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg * I used regular nutmeg
• Pinch of cayenne pepper
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 6 cups whole milk * I only used about 2-3 cups and I am also certain that you could have used heavy cream as your base
• 4 sprigs fresh thyme
• 3 bay leaves * Omitted these (but probably would just give it more flavor)
• Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
• 1 pound medium pasta shells
• 4 shallots, minced * I just used one small white onion
• 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
• 4 ounces parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
• 4 ounces gruyere cheese, grated (about 1 1/4 cups)
• 4 ounces baby spinach

Directions

1) Grate the zucchini into a colander using the large holes of a box grater. Toss with 1 tablespoon salt, then place in the sink to drain, about 15 minutes. Squeeze out the excess liquid.

2) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.

3) Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, nutmeg, cayenne, 2 teaspoons salt, and black pepper to taste and mix with a wooden spoon to make a paste.

4) Cook, stirring, until the paste puffs slightly, about 3 minutes.

5) Slowly whisk in the milk, then add the thyme, and lemon zest and bring to a boil, stirring.

6) Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Strain into a bowl.

7) Meanwhile, position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F.

8) Drain and add to the sauce.

9) Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat.

10) Add the onions and cook until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.

11) Add the zucchini and cook, stirring, until almost tender, about 4 minutes.

12) Add the zucchini mixture to the pasta along with the egg yolks and all but 3 tablespoons of both cheeses; stir to combine, then add the spinach.

13) Transfer the mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and sprinkle with the reserved cheeses. Bake until browned on top and heated through, 15 to 20 minutes.

14) Enjoy and Share!

It appears that there are a lot of steps but it really is not that time consuming. I definitely recommend this for a group of buds getting together for a potluck style evening dinner. No formalities needed just an appetite required. Oh and did I mention that the leftovers are maybe better then the original? Yeah, that just happened.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Grilled Shrimp Orzo Salad




I like pasta. I like Seafood. I like pasta and seafood. Well, I lied. I LOVE pasta and seafood, especially together. I got a little inspired by this delicious looking orzo salmon salad on another foodblog but with no salmon in sight, I opted to use shrimp instead. Needless to say, the substitute was no problem and the dish turned out deliciously and wonderfully...like the shrimp deserved to be there from the beginning. Or something like that.

Ingredients

1 Cup of Shrimp (Peeled and deveined)
1/3 cup of orzo
1 medium white onion
20 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
Juice of 2 large Lemons
1/4 cup diced Green Bell Pepper
2 tablespoons fresh Dill, chopped
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
Salt, to taste





Directions

1) Boil Orzo according to package
2) Meanwhile chop onions, tomatoes and bell peppers.
3) Season shrimp with a little salt and pepper and some olive oil in a small bowl on the side
4) Heat oil in medium sized skillet and saute onions until translucent
5) Once onions are cooked thoroughly, add shrimp and cook until opaque.
6) Once done, remove shrimp and onions, add to orzo and chopped peppers and tomatoes.
7) Mix thoroughly, season with salt and pepper to taste and top with some fresh dill
8) Enjoy and Share!

Adapted from: http://thruthebugsonmywindshield.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/grilled-salmon-orzo-salad/

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Mahoney's Smokehouse




I've got a couple of more posts from the good ol' hudson valley before i hit you with scranton. wa bammmm.

yeah yeah yeah, these events happened almost a month ago (oh man, i've been living in scranton for almost a month! when did that happen), but grad school is hard and time consuming so clearly i just don't have time to post that often. sad day. however, with a small lull, i am trying to get caught up as much as possible.

back to the food. for the birthday of one of BOOF's aunts, some of the fam bam headed to Mahoney's Smokehouse in Wappingers Falls. The intention of heading to Mahoney's was that we had heard word that they boast some of the best bbq in the hudson valley and although this is no memphis, who does not want some good bbq to wrap up the summer? I was fully aware that I was going to be hard pressed to find something on the menu for me to eat, but at least I knew I would be able to get some fries...or something.


Mahoney's Smokehouse (not to be confused with its sister restaurant, Mahoney's Irish Pub in Poughkeepsie) is really nothing to look at from the outside or the inside. Frankly, if we would have not heard through the grapevine about Mahoney's SH, I am sure that we would have never found our way to it. It sits in a mini strip mall on Route 9 in Wappingers Falls. When you walk in, there is nothing really to mention besides the fact that it appears to be pretty much a hole in the wall with some food. So let's get to the food.

There are various bbq options on the menu from chicken to pulled pork to st louis ribs to baby back ribs and a few others. Mom and Auntie ordered the St. Louis and Baby Back Ribs respectively and luckily, they had some fish and chips on the bar menu because if that had not been the case, i would have been eating sweet potato fries for dinner. I ordered the fish and chips but substituted the chips for the sweet potato fries. Both types of ribs came with a two sides so everyone essentially ordered the corn on the cob and sweet potato fries on the side. Looking back, mom wish she would have tried the Baked Beans, and I had actually asked about these but found out that they do cook them with their meat...sad face.

The reason why Mahoney's SH is very good and well known is because they literally have a smoke house out back where they cook and cure their meat throughout the day. The St. Louis came with a dry rub and the Baby Back Ribs were slathered in barbecue sauce. The Fish n Chips was just a standard cod. The fish and Chips were fine but the Sweet Potato fries were really quite delicious. I mean, the fish was really just standard and nothing special at all. From what I gathered, both types of Ribs were really really tasty and worth the hoopla. Because the St. Louis was a dry rub, depending on your taste, you may have wanted to add some additional barbecue sauce (as did my mom), but the smokiness and tenderness of the ribs were stellar. The seasoning was good and the flavors were there. Additionally, the corn on the cob was cooked on the grill and that IS the best way to eat corn on the cob. Really fresh and sweet.

Despite its appearance and lack of vegetarian items, Mahoney's did not disappoint in the cuisine that is its staple. Nevertheless, I do believe that if Mahoney's wants to become a mainstay of the area, it definitely needs to up its decor and service because it's food, definitely backs it up.

Grade: B- (A- for the ribs; C for everything else)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ted’s Bulletin




For my last DC meal for a couple of months, best buddy of BOOF, Mo and I decided to head to Ted's Bulletin for lunch on my way out of town. Ted's Bulletin is a new restaurant located in Eastern Market/Barracks Row and after reading Tom Sistema's Washington Post review, I was really amped up to go. Because Mo works in that same area, she has already been to Ted's but because she has always enjoyed it, she was excited to venture there again with me. Ted's Bulletin has one of the coolest decors in all of DC restaurant because the restaurant is themed after old newspapers and bulletins. The restaurant is split into a front room which has a couple of high tables but that area is primarily for takeout and it also features a bakery with the most delicious homemade pop-tarts. The main dining room in the back has ground level booths in the middle and then slightly raised booths on the side with hardwood tables and gold/yellow leather cushioned seats. Similar to many restaurants in the Capitol Hill/Eastern Market area, the designers of the restaurant decided to maintain the integrity of the building with its exposed brick walls which also helps add to the old school feel. On one wall, the restaurant has continuous black and white movies being played and my favorite part of the dining area is the large skylight in the middle of the ceiling which allows for a great amount of natural light.

The menu comes in the form of a newspaper with actual articles on the front and then the food menu on the inside. I love that idea. So really, if your friend/date is boring you, just read a couple of the articles so at least you'll have something to talk about. Just kidding. I love that a restaurant decided to do something different and creative when coming up with a concept for their d├ęcor and the food is good too. We're on to that next.

Mo is always happy when she finds a restaurant that has a decent amount of gluten-free items available for her to enjoy. She was really craving breakfast, so she decided to order the "Mark on an Off Day". She really enjoyed how everything was cooked and the bacon was not to oily or greasy as well as the hashbrowns. Additionally, she ordered the fries as a side…yes, I know she was eating breakfast but fries are a universal meal item in my personal opinion. The fries are really really delicious. They are seasoned well and fried nicely with a little bit of crisp to complement the nice soft potato interior. Furthermore, I am always appreciative of places that keep the skin on their potatoes and this is becoming more popular, so that was also another good thing.

For my meal, I reverted back to most people's favorite childhood comfort food, Ted's Famous Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup. Apparently it is one of the restaurant's top meals, and it was extremely tasty. I clearly had to ensure that there would be no surprise meat in the tomato soup (some weird places put meat in their tomato soup!), and it was all clear.I definitely I understand why Ted is famous for his Grilled Cheese and Tomato soup because both were definitely quite tasty. Although a grilled cheese is a grilled cheese and there was nothing too special about it, the toast was toasted perfectly and this can definitely be a make or break of a grilled cheese sandwich. The tomato soup was absolutely delicious. You could definitely tell that this was no canned tomato soup but definitely featured freshly pureed tomatoes and because tomato soup has the tendency to be too salty, this was perfectly averted by the use of other seasonings such as pepper to balance out the flavor. Additionally, I ordered the Mac & Four Cheese as a side because I am the queen of baked mac & cheese. A lot of restaurants these days also have the preference of adding some bacon into their mac and cheese which I personally think is just a travesty, so I had to ensure that there would be no little pieces of meat hanging around and I was in the clear (points for being vegetarian friendly!). I was not too blown away by the mac and cheese and it was honestly a bit of a disappointment. The top had a nice crisp to it but I think they were to heavy handed on the cream base that they used and didn't include enough cheese but you never got that delicious gooey cheese taste when you took a bite.


Now, we were way over the acceptable caloric intake so we just thought we would top it off with a Ted's Bulletin staple, the milkshake. Now in my Good Stuff review, I mentioned that they have the best milkshakes in town which I will stick to, but Ted's Bulletin is right behind them. They have delicious milkshakes and both Mo and I ordered them. I went with my classic Cookies and Cream shake and Mo went with the Heath Almond. I think it is just plain impossible to not do a milkshake justice but both Good Stuff and Ted's does a superb job at both making the consistency right (not too thin, not too thick) and the flavor is just delicious. They also have "Adult Milkshakes" for the evening time which feature delicious flavor combos plus some alcohol.

I really enjoyed Ted's Bulletin. The vision for the restaurant is new and interesting and the food is classically well done American cuisine. A big plus to the restaurant is that they serve breakfast all day (WIN!) and so I would definitely be inclined to head back to Ted's for both breakfast and dinner, and obviously another milkshake. Oh yes, and don't forget to get a homemade pop tart on your way out. :-)

Grade: A-

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Hook

I love when livingsocial/groupon deals come through for those restaurants that you really really want to go to. Hook, was one of those for me. For one of my final dinners in DC, best buddy of BOOF, sio and I decided to put my deal to good use and head to Hook for dinner. I previously mentioned that Hook is the "big" sister restaurant to Tacklebox which is located right next door. Like its little sister, Hook also uses local produce and sustainable ingredients in all of their food which is a major plus for me. The restaurant is located in the heart of Georgetown on M Street and its a perfect way to spend your evening meal.

The interior has a nice modern look with dim low hanging overhead lights, nice hardwood floors and tables but it also features a nice long high table top across from the bar. There is normal restaurant seating in both the back and front of the restaurant but I would recommend making a reservation with hopes of getting a seat in the designated dining area.

To start I ordered the Asparagus Soup. When this dish came out, I along with Sio was actually surprised that it was green. Clearly, it make sense that it would be green because it is asparagus soup, but I guess maybe I was thinking that it would be more asparagus infused then just pureed and asparagus. Nevertheless, it was so good. So delicious. The asparagus was definitely the primary flavor that came through but because there was such a great complexity of additional flavors as well as jumbo lump crab meat throughout the soup, that you never felt overpowered by the asparagus. I would order that soup every trip.

For our entrees, Sio ordered the Lobster Risotto. We both had this on our radar upon deciding what we would order and it was definitely a very good choice. Although we are not in New England, the lobster was fresh and there was plenty of lobster present in the dish along with the full tail. The Risotto was a little soupier then expected but the flavor profile was there and it was a very well done dish as well. My only complaint is that there could have been a little kick to this lobster risotto which maybe would have not only been a good surprise but it also may have taken this good dish and made it into a great dish.

Additionally, I personally like my Risotto a little softer but Hook cooked it to al dente but I guess that is just a personal preference.

I ordered the Halibut which was really a pleasant surprise. I had not had Halibut in a while and I am glad that I waited for this occasion to have it. I could not have asked for a better cooked piece of fish on this evening as the white fish just broke beautifully and melted in my mouth. Furthermore, the dish was perfectly balanced with the saltiness of the beans underlying the fish with the beautiful sweet honey glaze on top of the fish and surrounding it. The fish was also plated beautifully but the fact that the taste matched its beauty made it a winner. The texture balance was also perfect as the crunchiness of the shredded carrot matched with the sear on the halibut and then the nice soft crunch of the beans was near perfect. Despite my desire to order another fish off the menu at a future date, I am sure that I will be so inclined to order the halibut once again. It was better than I expected.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time at Hook. It was definitely one of the better meals that I have had in DC and also a top 5 for seafood dining experiences in DC, which is saying a lot. The dessert menu was definitely enticing but both Sio and I declined for the evening; however, the Pastry chef at Hook is getting ready to be featured on the new Bravo Series with Gail Simmons, Top Chef Just Desserts. That is my kind of show. I digress. Hook is definitely a perfect place for a date or just a nice dinner with a few friends but it is not a place that you want to be rambunctious and loud in. After a nice meal at Hook, I definitely recommend taking a walk either down the Waterfront or across Key Bridge.

Grade: A-

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sweet Green: Sweet Flow Mobile

i like my meals on wheels. true that. who doesn't?

After the most perfect saturday morning kayaking on the potomac river, BOOF buds had a great idea to head to the Sweet Green Sweet Flow Mobile for "Free Sweet Flow Saturdays". Luckily for us, the sweet green mobile was only located a few blocks away and free fro-yo sounded perfect after spending the morning on the water.

Although you all know my strong bias for the deliciousness of Mr. Yogato, this fro-yo comes from Sweet Green, another fro-yo shop with a few DC locations. Having been to the Sweet Green shop, I enjoy the Fro-yo but I don't really think it compares to the deliciousness of Mr. Yogato. However, in the mobile version and the free version, I don't see how you can go wrong. Not only do they give you a medium-sized non skimpy version but they also give you not one, not two but three!!!! free toppings. that is unheard of. it's almost just ludicrous. Therefore, although the fro-yo amazingness might not be as great as Mr. Yogato, the Sweet Green truck is a wonderful treat. The plain tart yogurt is tasty and they offer a great selection of over ten toppings...both healthy and not-so-healthy. So find the truck, especially on Sweet Flow Saturdays and enjoy a delicious fro-yo treat on me. well, not really but you get the idea.

Grade: B+


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Souk

one of the final stops on my romp of H Street was another around the corner goody, SOUK. It had been a long time coming for good buddies of BOOF, Bill and AB and I to get together. I had been wanting to go to Souk for a while and I knew that Bill studied abroad in Morocco, so I threw out the idea of Souk and both agreed.

Souk is a smaller primarily tapas restaurant with a nice relaxed vibe. It is filled with warm colors and very decorative pillows on many of the seats throughout the restaurant. I had never realized that in addition to the small dining room in the front of the restaurant (along with the bar), there is in additional dining room in the back with very very dimmed lighting but more of the same color scheme. It also boasts an open kitchen and we all i know, i love an open kitchen. points for that.

to start off we ordered the hummus which was just a simple blend of chick peas puree, tahini, olive oil and lemon. i feel like it is difficult to go wrong with homemade hummus and Souk did a good job with it. No unexpected kicks or surprise flavors but it was good nonetheless.

i also ordered the Chiflour Bi Tahina which is fried cauliflour with herbs and tahina sauce. i can really never see anything wrong with a tempura vegetable and this was more of the same. The flavors were nicely balanced but there was no special kick to it. i think that it could have had some more complex flavors going on but it was still clean and simple.



Additionally, I ordered the Couscous a la Berebere which is couscous served with dry fruits, apricots, nuts and a yogurt sauce. this was recommended to me by Bill and my mouth may have been watering upon reading the description on the menu. unfortunately, it wasn't as good as the description leads it on to be. the couscous was cooked fine as were the ingredients but the flavor intensity that I was expecting from the dried fruits and apricots did not come through as much as I would have hoped. the yogurt sauce helped a bit but it was definitely one of those "great vision, not so great execution" dishes.

AB ordered the Chicken Shawarma which is roasted chicken with tomato onion salad served with Basmati rice. Both Bill and AB enjoyed this dish and Bill felt like she was back in Morocco, which is a clearly a good thing. The flavor and seasoning was there and definitely had mediterranean influences but it also had its own distinct identity.

Bill ordered the Lamb couscous which was a stewed lamb shank with a vegetable medley of squash, carrots, and zucchini served with couscous. This was a big hit and I even had some of the carrots which were really tasty. AB also took really well to this dish and enjoyed the flavor. There are occasions when restaurants mistake good seasoning from salting and this was not the case. The seasoning was nicely balanced.

Additionally, I ordered the Shrimp Biryani (i'm pretty sure that's what it was called), and it was really quite good. The flavor and seasoning was really present and had the nice "kick" that I had been looking for all evening. I would actually caution that unless you are accustomed to very spicy things and can take it, that you might not get it because I had to polish off that couscous to be able to finish it. However, I was really pleased with the dish and the flavor and I think that the bold seasoning that they used in this particular dish should be used more so throughout.

All in all, i enjoyed my time at Souk. There are definitely additional items on the menu that I would like to try and I think tapas is always a good choice among a small group of friends or for a date. If on a date, I would recommend asking to be seated in the back dining room because the front dining room can be a little bit of the fishbowl with the open windows. They had a lot of good flavors in some of the dishes, but I definitely would not be afraid to push the envelope if I were them.

Grade: B
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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Maoz Vegetarian


oh hey, i'm a vegetarian. yup, i am. well actually, i'm a pescatarian...but you already knew that. i think. i hope?

when i saw the sign for Maoz Vegetarian one day when I was on M Street, i thought to myself "What is that little place there? I've never seen it before". good thing is that it was new to the south of dupont circle area of DC and DC as a whole, but after doing some research, i found that it actually is a chain. Maoz Vegetarian is a Falafel chain that is popping all over the states and is filled with an unlimited toppings bar and delicious belgian frites and sweet potato fries.

I had been wanting to go to Maoz for a while but when that glorious groupon/livingsocial deal finally appeared in my inbox, I quickly grabbed it up. Close buddy of BOOF, CCoast, was not going to be in town for my final DC weekend, so we decided to meet up and grab dinner on evening. I threw out the idea of Maoz and she had also been wanting to try it so it worked out perfectly.

As I had mentioned earlier, Maoz is located on M Street btw 18th and 19th and close to other previously reviewed eats, Penang and Malaysia Kopitiam. It is a very small restaurant and for dinner it is not too busy but word is that during lunch time there is a crazy line out the door. There is limited seating inside but it does have large hardwood picnic style tables that awkwardly contrast with the otherwise clean more modern interior.

Maoz has two main falafel meal deals, the Maoz Royal Sandwich which comes with a full falafel, a order of belgian frites and a soft drink. Maybe if you are there for lunch, you may consider the Junior Maoz Sandwich which is 1/2 the amount of falafel (3 falafel balls), frites and a soft drink. Both CCoast and I opted for the Maoz Royal Sandwich (only $9.00!) but I ordered the sweet potato fries instead of the regular belgian frites. The falafel is automatically topped with eggplant and hummus. However, there is about 15 other delicious looking self-serve-all-you-can-pile-on toppings bar.

The falafel is so delicious (and gluten-free!). The seasoning is delicious and the falafel is fried perfectly on the spot. I mentioned in my Pasha Bistro post how Mo commented that the falafel was not as fluffy on the inside as sometimes you like your falafel. I would say that this falafel has that fluffiness on the inside paired perfectly with the crispy exterior. Yum. Yum. Yum.
The fries were more of the same. Both the Belgian frites and sweet potato fries were seasoned well and perfectly fried. gosh, i want some sweet potato fries right now.

Overall, I really enjoyed my trip and would definitely go back for some delicious falafel...even without a coupon! shocker! But honestly, if you are looking for a quick bite, especially to take on the go or during lunch time, then Maoz Vegetarian is definitely your spot. Don't be deterred by the "vegetarian" because we are people too. and we like food. good food.


Grade: A-/B+