• 23Nov

    We recently sampled the bar menu specials at Wildfire’s Martini Lounge at Tysons Galleria. This menu is available at the bar (and bar tables) Monday through Friday from 3:00pm to 6:00pm.

    Wildfire did a good job with the bar menu. My favorite items were the Crispy Fish Tacos and Crispy Chicken Sliders. I’ll probably also order the Macaroni & Cheese Bites and Pepperoni Pizza sometime soon. There are also two other pizza options: Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil, and Classic Mushroom.

    Prices:

    • $4.95 for Wood Oven Baked Mozzarella, Macaroni & Cheese Bites, or Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil Pizza.
    • $5.95 for Crispy Fish Tacos, Loaded Cottage Fries, Classic Mushroom Pizza, or Pepperoni Pizza.
    • Sliders (Crab Cake, Bison Cheeseburger, or Crispy Chicken) are $3.95 for one, $6.95 for six, or $9.95 for three.

    For IPA fans, Wildfire has Lagunitas IPA (one of my favorites) on draught, and Flying Dog Bloodline (Blood Orange) IPA in bottles. Either of those are wonderful paired with either fried or hot cheese-based bar bites!

    -JAY

    Wildfire Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

  • 18Nov

    One Eight Distillery (located in Ivy City, right around the corner from Union Market) new product line of whiskey is excellent for both drinking and baking.   Upon entering the tasting room which is just right outside the Distillery, One Eight presented an indulgent alcohol-infused brownie. The brownie and chocolate ganache were infused with One Eight’s spirits and went over very well with the crowd.

    After your ID was checked (Good Looking Out, Loved the Complainant), the individual  received a bracelet with 3 tear away coupons for the tasting room.  The tasting room presented Rock Creek Whiskey, Ivy City Gin, District Made Vodka, and Untitled.  These Spirits were distilled in DC; each of the ingredients were hand picked from local vendors in DC. The rye and corn were locally grown.  Rock Creek Rye has the distinct honor of being the ONLY “Grain to Glass” bottled in the District since Prohibition.  Now I caution you that when I stuck my tongue in the shot glass, my tongue stung. (Editor’s Note: A Christmas Story flashbacks, anyone?)

    #MadeInDC network theme ran though the event from the individualized Photo Booth (take a selfie with the bottle!) to the  “Make Your Own Cocktail” bar (craft their own personal spirit!). Also, food vendors from neighboring Union Market were on hand to wow the mouth with either pizza rolls and gelato.

    Additionally, the bar was serving various cocktails featuring the One Eight product line.  My favorite was the “Constant Gardner.”

    Happy Exploring the NEW IVY CITY,

    -CLF (Crystal)

     

     

    One Eight Distilling

    1135 Okie Street NE | Washington, DC 20002

    Metro: NoMa-Gallaudet U; Rhode Island Ave

    Bus: D3, D4; E2, E3

    Parking: Free on-street parking is available. Please be respectful of neighboring businesses/residences and any posted parking policies.

  • 17Nov

    Aperto Restaurant serves contemporary Italian Fare featuring homemade food by an authentic Italian chef, Luigi Diotaiuti. At a recent event, he offered up passed antipasti including tiny focaccia sandwiches, sun-dried tomato and ricotta on a cracker, steak tartare with salsa, lamb curry risotto balls, lamb chop lollipops, mussels, and the ever elusive tortellini on a silver spoon.

    As the food was great, the atmosphere was really engaging and conversation flowed. The bar area was decorated with all the homemade sauces, and limoncello touches a patron would expect of this downtown bar near George Washington University and the Foggy Bottom crowd.  The waiters passed around the plates and ever-hungry patrons swarmed the trays.

    The drink of the night was the “Riding the Vespa” (Earl Grey-infused Tito’s vodka/Cocchi Americano/ ginger/lime/soda water).  The non-alcoholic version was delicious as well.

    The bartender who sported the ever popular handlebar mustache was in a very excited state when dipping the punch from the silver punch bowl; he served the drink with a traditional “Salute”!  Peroni Beer paired well with the Blue Cheese Polenta, served on a cracker with sun-dried tomato and ricotta.

    Chef Luigi Diotaiuti was decked out in a bowtie pasta inspired chef Jacket that was made especially for him in Naples, Italy.  Chef Luigi was happy to speak to each of the patrons about his excited adventures though Italy.

    Happy Eating,

    Crystal (CLF)

  • 17Nov

    cr-invite-mokiCotton and Reed (1330 5th Street NE) is a new distillery recently opened near Union Market.  This bar does not offer any food; co-founders Reed Walker and Jordon Cotton contract local food truck vendors to make sure that they are in the parking lot for the last night ready for the crowd.

    Chaz Jefferson, Head Bartender, when asked about what type of bar does he want to have: “I want to have rowdy bar.”  His favorite shot is: 1 oz shot, and is so smooth. His advice to Novice Drinkers: Chaz suggest that individuals start with a daiquiri to taste the rum; its not a sweet bite, but its sneaks up on you!” Lucas, the Head Drink Designer, states, that the “sweetness comes from Turkish sweets.”

    The official opening was November 12, however we attended a soft opening which was open to food bloggers, friends,  and publicists, but some locals did manage to get in and enjoy free spirits that night.

    The menu normally contains simple offerings at only of $10 a drink, which is very generous considering the quality of the spirits and cocktails.

    When speaking with one patron, he stated, “The Spice Boy is my favorite: I just love it!”  Another man, whose 21st birthday was this day, marked the occasion with a 1 oz Spice Rum Shot which he stated as “Transverse.”  A group of women joined in and cheered, “This rum makes me speechless!” while the other woman stated, “This rum makes you wonder why other rums aren’t this good.”

    My question remains, “WHY DO ALL OTHER RUMS BURN, when this rum is so SMOOTH?”

    Smoothly Signing Off,

    -CLF (Crystal)

     

     

  • 16Nov

    District Fishwife, located in Union Market against the right wall, has a special secret.  The Shrimp Bahn Mi sandwich!

    District Fishwife introduced the Shrimp Bahn Mi sandwich re-imagined. District Fishwife’s original Shrimp Po’Boy – which is known in New Orleans as fried shrimp balls on a bun with a slaw – recently received a Vietnamese splash (fried shrimp balls on a bun with Vietnamese accompaniment). This sandwich’s relaunch has justifiably increased its popularity.

    When the creative chef team behind the sandwiches went back to the drawing board, the Shrimp Banh Mi was designed.  The sandwich comes with your choice of curly fries or apple slaw.  Nolan, one of the managers, was gracious enough to answer my questions in regards to where the fish originates.  Most of the fish come from Florida and the East Coast during the cold months, ensuring freshness, since the time from water to plate is shortened.  The fish is full of Omega-3 fatty acids which good for a growing body.

    The sandwich was good, but with 4 little shrimp balls, this sandwich is more like a good snack than a meal.  That works just fine if you are walking around Union Market perusing food stalls and planning dinner.  But, the addition of 2 more shrimp balls might make the sandwich fuller and seem more like a meal.  Overall, I like the Vietnamese influence in this sandwich.

    Happy Eating,

    -CLF (Crystal)

     

  • 09Nov

    A new restaurant that can possibly break the curse of the doomed location? It always baffled me how businesses can’t strive in what seems to be prime location. VinPearl – Viet Taste Lounge took over the spot off Little River Turnpike between Pep Boys and Ara on October 15th. For the last 5 years that I’ve been in Annandale, this location has been 3 different restaurants.

    I was very skeptical when I first walked in, they have poor signage and nobody in their dining room. It’s a semi-fast food setup and feel. You walk up to the counter, order and pay first and then sit down and the food is served to you. Honestly, I like this style. It gives the customer a little more control as to when you’re ready to order without the hassle of a server irritating you because you need to tip them for doing a good job, but perhaps they really didn’t give you good service.

    This restaurant offers you pretty much anything you’d like in the realm of Vietnamese food: banh mi, phở, Vietnamese entrees and bubble tea. They don’t have appetizers on their menu for some reason, but they do serve rolls. We had their chả giò and it was delightfully crispy and not that oily.

    o-1o

    We had the Shaking Beef (bò lúc lắc) and it was absolutely delicious. It came out on a sizzling plate, the beef was well flavored and portioned nicely. The Beef Noodle Soup (Bún bò Huế) was a little lacking though. They give you a nice portion and a lot of beef and pigs blood but only one small slice of pigs feet. The soup was pretty oily and spicy, but it wasn’t inedible. I just probably wouldn’t order it again.

    I know that the restaurant has only been open for a couple of weeks now, but I would suggest getting some better signage. The restaurant is setup like a sit down restaurant so people walk in expecting to be seated, and then not realize they’re supposed to order first.  An “Order Here” sign would be great. They keep one door locked and one door open, but there’s no signage that says “Please Use Other Door.” We almost turned around and walked away thinking the restaurant was actually not open because there’s such aa lack of signage. And for a new restaurant, they weren’t really on it with customer service or sales” It’s a figure it out for yourself kind of situation. If it wasn’t for the phenomenal bò lúc lắc and chả giò, I probably wouldn’t bother returning, but I think this place could stand a chance.

    -ADT

  • 07Nov
    earls

    It’s fall time and we’re weeks out from Thanksgiving!  And that means the pumpkin spice is wafting in the air.  Earls Kitchen + Bar in Tyson’s Corner is rolling out their new Canadian inspired Fall dishes and it’s a menu that hits a home run and it’s not your average fall menu.

    sam_0979I am not a fan of kale salad.  I know it’s a superfood and quite the trendy green, but it’s just not my cup of tea.  When the plate of Warm Kale Salad was set in front of me, I’ll admit, I turned my nose.  But being the type to try anything at least once that’s set in front of me, I dug my fork in and gave myself a hearty helping.  Let’s let’s start with this first…this salad was warm.  Not a straight out of the icebox salad, toss some toppings and dressing on top kind of salad.  The kale was warmed up which made it more tolerable for a non-kale lover to endure.  But the best part of this salad was tossing in of the roasted Brussels sprouts.  I love a salad that crunches and the Brussels sprout’s crunchy saltiness really brought this dish to life.  This salad was everything that I’ve ever wanted in a salad: salty, sweet and crunch.  The baby potatoes were roasted until the skin was crispy; the brown butter vinaigrette gave them a light sweetness.  I won’t go as far to say that this salad changed my opinion of kale but I will go as far to say that I will not hesitate to order this salad from this particular restaurant again.

    sam_0982A new twist on surf n’ turf.  Earls’ version of surf n’ turf is sushi and steak which is fine by me!  I love sushi and I love steak so it’s an incredible combination.  The steak comes out on a sizzling pan with great sushi flavors.  I felt that the marinated steak was a tad salty but had a great citrus flavor.  Two rolls are available: a California roll with pacific crab and a classic dynamite roll.  Most sushi connoisseurs turn their noses at a California Roll as not being “true sushi” but this is made with real lump crab with a tempura crunch.  The Dynamite Roll is probably not best judged by me since I am not very tolerant of spicy foods, but there was a nice chunk of pineapple in the roll that helped cool down the heat.

    sam_0990The next 3 dishes are not new to their menu but a reminder of some of their classic menu items.
    To me Kung Pao is pretty much the same everywhere.  It’s not very imaginative and it’s just Americanized Chinese food.  Earls serves their Hunan Kung Pao with shrimp and Farkay noodles.  I enjoyed the noodles with the dish but am more accustomed to eating this dish with white rice.  Your mouth begins to water from just the smell alone of their Chimichurri Skirt Steak that comes out on a sizzling plate.  The meat was so tender and the chimichurri sauce was perfection.  It was slightly saltier than I like but I’d still eat a plate of it in a heartbeat.  I would’ve also loved to have the potatoes crispier like from the Warm Kale Salad.

    sam_0992Have I expressed that I enjoy crispiness? The Earls Bigger, Better Burger was crispy!  How they got that onion ring on the burger to be so crispy is beyond my understanding. This burger had no need for extra condiments such as ketchup because what seemed to be some kind of pico de gallo concoction of sweet tomatoes and onions gave the burger a powerful flavor.

    And of course I had to save the best for last – dessert!  I tried their freshly baked Pumpkin Pie, Smores Skillet Cookie and Chocolate Sticky Toffee Pudding.  My favorite of the three was the Smores Cookie.  It tasted just like you made yourself a smore over a camp fire, but without the messiness.  I’m not a fan of pumpkin pie but theirs was actually really great.  It was light and fluffy kind of like biting into a cloud.  My least fave, which is actually an Earls Classic, was the Chocolate Sticky Toffee Pudding.  If you’re a chocolate lover, I feel that you’ll be disappointed in this dessert.  It doesn’t have the richness of a chocolate dessert but if you like chocolate, but can’t eat it because sometimes chocolate desserts and too rich for your consumption, this might be just the right dessert for you.

    Go check out their new Fall Menu at Tyson’s Corner.  I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

    -ADT

  • 14Oct
    20161009_134545

    Adams Morgan Neighborhood Immersion concept is kind of like a bar crawl but without all of the unlimited boozing. Brooklyn Brewery hosted this immersion, so you know some good brews were present!

    You pay $20 and you’re guaranteed a free lunch at a participating restaurant and two beer tickets.  Upon getting your tickets you are given a number of coupons that include your free lunch at Mellow Mushroom and another restaurant of your choice (Amsterdam Falafel, Pop’s SeaBar or Songbyrd) and coupons for discounts, raffles, etc.

    First stop Mellow Mushroom for a free lunch.  Lunch at the Mellow Mushroom was awesome.  However, you’re not told what your “free lunch” entails until you arrive at the restaurant.  It was a free small pizza with one topping of your choice.  And who doesn’t like free pizza?

    Mellow Mushroom is always a favorite and you can’t go to a place called “mellow mushroom” and not get mushrooms as your topping.  Next stop was BicycleSPACE where they were raffling off a free bike.  Very cool bicycle shop.  I need a bike basket for my dog!  =)  We then headed over to Rise Bakery for some gluten free baked goods.  So I’m not a big fan of gluten free pastries but I have to say it’s much better than some of the gluten free foods I’ve had before.  So I’d say if you have a gluten allergy, this is a great spot to get your bread, cupcake and pastry fix.  Of the three other free lunches to choose from I went with Pop’s Seabar because I’ve never been there before.

    Options were free calamari or their boardwalk chicken…so I went for them both and then threw in an order of oysters on the half shell.  Wonderfully fresh oysters and who doesn’t like fried foods.  It’s definitely a spot I’d hit up again; however, I wouldn’t have considered that a “lunch.”

    I didn’t hit up all of the spots that they had in their envelope of coupon goodies because they didn’t really entice me.  Overall, I thought that this event was a little lacking and not at all interesting.  The free lunch at Mellow Mushroom was great, free beer is always good and that paid for the tickets themselves.  But I would’ve hoped for more restaurants to want to draw in the crowd by offering more than just some discounts and having to choose from their already small selection of restaurants (3).

    -ADT


    Editor’s Note(s): During this Mash Tour, I attended the Beer Mansion event and part of the dinner at the Royal. I do wish I’d had more available time on both days because Chef Andrew Gerson is amazing! His duck dish (Seared Duck Breast, Confit Leg, Celery, Orange, Grilled Shishito Peppers, and Duck Demi Glace) was wonderful and who else will serve you poke directly into your hand?

    My favorite brews of the dinner at the Royal were Yokai (which includes sake leaves) and Local 1, while my dining partner favored Galahad and Framboisie (raspberries!). Ok, Sorachi Ace and K is for Kriek (cherries!) were great too, as always

    Some highlights:

    -JAY

  • 14Oct

    Beer Garden in the middle of the Street

    The 17th Annual Mid-Atlantic Oktoberfest- Shirlington Vilage was held on Saturday, October 1, 2016 from 12pm – 7pm with the taps closing at 6pm in the Shirlington area of Campbell Street area. It was presented by the Capitol City Brewing Company.

    More than 65 breweries from all over Virginia were lined up and down the streets, to provide their ”spirits offering” to a new audience.   These mostly Southern breweries are trying to tap into the Northern Virginia market. While walking down the street, I got to experience distinct hops (and combinations) that make  brews that are unique to the participating breweries.   While the beer is the mostly the draw, the addition of authentic German food: brezlen –huge German-style pretzels, bratwurst- German-style hot dogs, and my personal favorite: cinnamon nuts combined with Apline Bavarian tunes playing in the middle of the square to create a classic Oktoberfest ambiance.

    The ticket price were $30 for 21-year old and over, which included an official waistband, official Capital City Tasting cup, and 10 drink tickets. For an additional fee you can add “Beer Insurance” for $5 which is basically a lanyard so you can be hands-free.   For additional $1, a festivalgoer can purchase additional tickets with a 5-ticket maximum, for additional tastings.

    With my ten drink tickets, I had the distinct pleasure to taste some of these elixirs myself:

    Capital City Brewing has three offerings inside the restaurant – Cursed Gourd – which was brewed with chocolate, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.  Next up, Smoketoberfest – this wheat beer had a smoky character and packed a punch.  Lastly, Oktoberfest Lager (which was just 1 ticket) was complex and tangy, and left a sweet flavor pleasantly lingering on our tongues.

    Starr Hill which is based in Charlottesville, VA – had two offering – Reviver: Red Indian Pale Ale which is a wheat beer (made exclusively in Virginia) and Last Leaf Maple Brown Ale (with maple syrup from a local vendor in Charlottesville)

    Crabbie (Ginger Beer) is based in Richmond, VA  – had two offerings – Fruits: Cloudy Alcoholic Lemonade (I personally recommend) which is good for summer days, and not as much for cold, wet, rainy days, and Original Ginger Beer which is good anytime with hints of citrus, ginger, and more refreshing notes much like a wine cooler.

    Ardoit Theory is based in Purcellville, VA (Loundon County)  and has a heavy Social Media presence through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat; their lines were long, due the heavy branding process which was already in effect.  Additionally, their larger was darker, richer, and bolder than most.  I personally don’t like dark stouts unless mixed with a lighter brew (Black and Tans are always my go to in a Tavern setting.)

    Mad Fox has two locations in Northern Virginia, and offered winter brews.  Orange Whip (American Pale Ale) had fruity notes such as pineapple, oranges, and citrus tones along with a smooth caramel finish.  Oktoberfest Lagerbier  is a classic German beer with all the right touches.

    Flying Dog  Grout Standard (Pumpkin IPA) helps you get in the Autumn spirit. Raging Bitch is another personal favorite, but I think I like the name almost as much as the beer.

    Another cool aspect, was COPA, which is a cup of red or white wine, and has a presence at Total Wine and Whole Foods, but this was a chance to actually taste it before purchasing it elsewhere.

    As good as beers are, they do have a habit of sneaking up on you so please drink responsibly.

    Your Cheering Buddy,

    -CLF (Crystal)

     

  • 06Oct

    We recently reviewed a local business that cooks healthy meals and delivers them to homes in the DC area, Strong Fit meals. We ordered 5 more meals (pictured above), and were impressed with the consistency and quality of the entrees. Yeah, we missed the Chicken Fajitas and Chicken Satays from the last round, but the new meals were tasty (and healthy) as well.

    Strong Fit Meals did a good job at grilling many of the components (some proteins and some vegetables), and used some tasty herbs, spices, and sauces as well. We ordered four entrees from the clean menu (which changes weekly) and one (Ground Turkey) from the lean menu (which stays the same). The Teriyaki Chicken and the Ground Turkey were our favorite dishes this time around. The steak was a little tough but the chimichurri sauce made up for it. It would have been nice if the buckwheat noodles were not chopped up, but they were a tasty gluten-free option.

    It was nice that this week’s meals were not (low-fat) cheese heavy like some of the dishes we previously sampled. The cheese wasn’t bad, but I didn’t feel it was necessary.

    -JAY

Subscribe Now!!

Please enter e-mail address below and click the subscribe button. Thank you!

Subscribe in RSS Reader

RSS Feed

Categories

Archives

View my food journey on Zomato!
View my food journey on Zomato!