Apparently Starbucks thinks it’s Ben & Jerry’s. The coffee chain will be offering free ice cream at its many locations today. Though we’ll probably be assaulted by the thousands of readers (shut up; we can dream) who abhor Starbucks’ corporate empire, we consider providing you Free Food Alerts our mission.
We won’t patronize you and tell you where to find a Starbucks in DC – we’ll simply tell you to walk four blocks. Or take a hint from DCist and discover your Starbucks Density.
When it comes to the cook v.s. baker dichotomy, I definitely fall in the “cook” category. I have nothing but disdain for this “measuring” thing people always talk about. I’m not good with things like electric mixers. I don’t own a rolling pin, and try to make pies using a Pam can instead. I don’t even like dessert.
But since I’m competent in the kitchen, there invariably comes a time when I’m asked to bring dessert to a party, bbq or other gathering. I dread it, but also tend to accept the challenge rather than showing up with a frozen pie or box of Entenmann’s.
My biggest problem is the whole appearance thing. Chalk it up to my lack of artistic talent, my klutziness or my impatience, but while my desserts usually taste reasonably good, they tend to look, well, kind of unappetizing.
The double-layer Key Lime pies I made for two friends’ bbqs last weekend were no exception. Adapting a recipe I saw once in Gourmet magazine, the pies certainly were impressive on the effort scale; there were homemade crusts, custards and cheesecake-like concoctions with which to contend. And I could tell as I tasted my progress that they were going to be yummy in the end. The problem? They were ugly.
In the US, Italian food has a lot to do with dried pasta and California tomato paste. In Japan, French food is a steak with curry and American food is rice noodles with a hamburger patty, topped with a fried egg. In France, Japanese food is canned tuna on a bed of rice, and Chinese is spaghetti with soy sause. But what is Chinese like in Thailand? Well, there are two ways to find out. You can go to Bangkok’s Chinatown, where a significant portion of Southern China resides, or you could go to Man Ho, a restaurant best described as ‘Chinese tribute’ at the Marriot on Sukhumvet.
Which isn’t to say it isn’t good. The menu claims an Excellent Hong Kong chef and they aren’t kidding- at least about the ‘excellent’ part. The deep wood décor would make any Chinese emperor or comrade glad that he decided to stay at the Marriot. Everything possible is silver, and when that can’t be accomplished, in porcelain, and the waiters can’t replace the plates fast enough.
So what are the tip offs? Well, first off, the waitresses, despite wearing identical pseudo Chinese dresses, bow thai- style (hands pressed together, thumbs pointing at chin, nose, or eyebrows) to you upon entering. This would be like going to a German place and having waiters in full lederhosen perform a complicated Chicago gangsta handshake for you. There are other subtleties. Like the sake martinis, and the tobiko-covered dim sum. In fact, by the time your food arrives you’re already half tempted to just ditch this Chinese pretense and order up from the distastefully named ‘Tsunami’ Sushi bar downstairs.
Anyway, authentic or not, the food here is damn fine and about as different from Chinatown as you can get and still be cooking with soy sause. There we crunched through shrimp around baby corns, pork dumplings, and fish, hot and crispy and oily and fresh from the putrid river. Here, we started with a plate of sautéed oysters covered in peppers and then moved on to steamed rice dumplings frilled with greens and more greens. Next were scallops in a tarot dumpling, the outside fried to a fluffy crispiness that dissolved at a touch. That sounds great till you realize that this made them impossible to pick up, by the time they reached the mouth they were barely a pile of crumbs. Tasty crumbs.
We had one of the better roasted ducks I’ve had- Cantonese duck is lighter on flavor than Peking, but it’s also lighter an the thick layer of subcutaneous fat, and anyway, there was a dish of plum sause to dip in. And lasty, following The Man Who ate Everything’s advice to always order a dish you expect not to like, we got a pigeon in five spice seasoning. ‘Poor man’s duck’ was AMG’s masterful summary-the taste is gamier than chicken but not as tender. Like duck that has been run through a rough meat grinder once. Besides, the surprisingly organic-looking head stares at you with accusing, char-broiled eyes while you eat.
Are you a celebrity chef stalker (some of us have already admitted as much)? Do hearing the names Emeril Lagasse or Charlie Palmer get you more excited than spotting Christina Aguilera or Christian Bale on the street?
If you follow the D.C. restaurant scene, purchase cookbooks like they’re crack or want to see people like Roberto Donna in action, you should check out the Smithsonian Folklife Festival’s Food Culture USA. Events begin today.
This is the first time the festival’s taking on food as one of its themes, and it will feature book signings, three areas for cooking demonstrations and lectures and events dedicated to various food topics, such as immigrant cooking, slow food and farmers’ markets.
Create a standard bingo card using various items from the list below. Fly to Bangkok. Arrive any time, day or night. Walk one block in any direction, crossing off items as you spot them. I guarantee you that someone will have won before you even get halfway to the scary mob at the bus stop.
Things on a stick:
- Fish balls – Pale, rubbery, fish balls.
- Deep Fried Meat dumplings – in a crispy wrapper with sweet chili
- Whole Squid - Roasted over an open fire. Variation: dried squid.
On a a stick
- Sausage – Just what it sounds like, but squishier
Chicken satay – watch out for the big old chunks of fat that
are this item’s profit margin.
- Whole half chicken – Boned, flattened between two sticks of
bamboo, and held over an open fire
- Giant fish – Looks like a fish popsicle. Don’t eat the
fins. Or the fish.
- Corn on a stick – I’m not really sure why this has become
a mainstay of Thai street food.
Things in a bag
- Soft drinks – A seller pours the drink on the little bag filled
with ice and give you a plastic straw to drink it with, thereby negating the
point of his keeping the bottle to recycle it. Useful as a water balloon in
- Fresh orange juice – Salt added. Made from tiny little oranges.
You will never drink that garbage from Tropicana again
- Roasted peanuts with sesame seeds – Usually sold out of large
baskets balanced on yolks carried over the shoulders by tiny little men
- Deep fried banana chips – Light and crispy, or covered with
salt and sugar
- Muffin and cream roll-ups – Exactly what they sound like
- Chili sauce- Careful of unwrapping, or beware the spicy rubber band
- Broad beans- They’re better in the shell, not too bad without. Fried
in oil and salty.
- Tempura sweet potato – Tasty, but sits in your tummy forever
- Little round honey cookies -Yep
- Fresh doughnuts in sugar, in peanut oil - Greasier than you’re used
- Bread crusts- For the catfish, not for you
Things in a big plastic bowl
- Deep fried potatoes – Look out for the huge metal shield being
used as a frying pan
- Pad thai omelet – A noodle omelet. Really good. Surprisingly.
Add sugar and chilies, and maybe some lime and peanuts
- Noodle soup – Clear broth with fragrant green leafy veg, nice
thick noodles, and sliced pork. Add sugar and chilies, and fish sauce.
- Different kind of noodle soup – Sweet broth over fish balls,
plasticy fungi, (see ‘things on a stick’)
- Beef broth thick noodles - Or thin. who’s keeping track.
- Rice and duck – Or chicken. Or pork.
Things inside other things
- Bamboo sticky rice - I really don’t have a clue how this is made,
except they crack the bamboo open with a hatchet
- Sticky Rice with mango in banana leaf – Apparently they teach how
to origami these things in home-economics classes here
- Sticky rice with custard in banana leaf - Also
- Coconut - Chill it in a bucket of water.Hack off the top. stick in
- Deep-fried Sticky rice – Yes, in a banana leaf
- Rice pancake - With coconut and fructose. Don’t just use sugar or
all the other pancakes will laugh at you
- Mini pancake – With bean paste, hot dog, or custard
- Banana crepes - See above. Bigger, with a banana
Things on Ice
- Tasteless gelatin deals – with red beans and coconut milk
- Fruit - sliced, served with a skewer
- Sweet coffee – sweet coffee. condensed milk not optional
- Scorpions – Deep fried and battered
- Cicadas - Likewise
- Grasshoppers – Stir fried with chilies.
Ah, Chipotle and your mysteriously addictive burritos. Sure, sometimes the overstuffed tortillas make us ill, have an aftertaste that stays with us for hours, and boast four days worth of fat grams. But despite our vows to avoid the chain, we can’t seem to stay away for long.
Tomorrow is a good day to come crawling back to the evil master that is Chipotle – if you buy a burrito and hang on to your receipt, you can get a free one if you come in again before Sunday. As free food deals go, the purchasing component makes it less attractive than, say, Ben & Jerry’s or Krispy Kreme’s offerings, but a free burrito is a free burrito.
Finding a Chipotle shouldn’t be too difficult: there are 13 in the DC/MD/VA metro area. For those of you, though, who persevere in navigating the company’s overly-busy, headache-inducing website to figure out your closest location, we salute you.
Update: Fixed! long live the fud.
Hi there folks,
We’ve been having a few technical difficulties here at fud, sorry about that. Everything’s fixed now except the comments…which just aren’t working at all. We’ll figure it out later. after some chocolate. And a bath.
I love bubble tea. I know many who think it’s gross, but I love it; I love the oversweet tea, the strange tapioca balls, and the oversized straws you drink it all through.
You can imagine my delight (and my bank account’s horror) when walking to my office this morning I notice a brightly colored sign in the window of the once-great-but-now-mostly-mediocre Lawson’s Gourmet advertising their newest offering: Bubble Tea!!!!
So for my afternoon sugar break, I went down to Lawson’s and paid my whopping $3.85 (incl. tax). Their menu is confusing: it appears that they have many flavors of bubble tea (as you can get at a proper Chinese place), but they only have Black Tea. “Oh well,” I thought, my dreams of green tea flavored bubble tea returning to their dark corners in my mind, and ordered Black Tea flavor.
The tea itself was a bit too bitter – probably brewed too hot (as seems to be the custom in these parts) and too long (ditto) to boot – but the sweet milk with which it was mixed canceled most of that out. The tapioca pearls, which are what makes Bubble Tea so special, were good, if a bit mushy. I expect this will improve as Lawson’s staff gain a bit of experience handling them, and as long as they don’t go all the way to the other end and end up hard and awful like the miserable Teaism bubble tea, I’ll be happy. There was also a bit too much ice in my cup. More
flavors would be nice.
I’ll have another one tomorrow.
1350 Connecticut Ave, NW
Washington DC 20036
When I was living in New York and strapped for cash, one of the pleasures worth setting aside a little money for was brunch at Kitchenette. During the week I dreamed of fluffy scrambled eggs, perfect triangles of toast with strawberry butter, fresh squeezed orange juice and home fries. If I was feeling really indulgent, I would get dessert — like their chocolate cupcakes with the white curlicue of icing just like Hostess does, but so much better. I spend so many great weekend mornings at Kitchenette that I decided to buy their cookbook.
The little spiral-bound volume is now a kitchen veteran, covered in oil splatters, cake batter and shortening. I’ve cooked a number of recipes and all have proven to be rib-sticking good. For the hotter weather, I whipped up Kitchenette’s Chick Pea Burger with Tahini Sauce. If you have a food processor, this recipe is easy to prepare ahead of time and doesn’t require a lot of laboring over a grill. The recipe is also flexible if you want to substitute other veggies in the burger, just make sure you cook out any excess moisture. Doll up your burger with some fresh summer tomatoes, lettuce and some warm pita bread, and voila! — veggie delight. My only complaint is that the provided recipe for tahini sauce is bland. Instead, I recommend Gourmet’s souped up version which gives the extra kick this recipe needs to be truly taste-bud pleasing.
Chick Pea Burger with Tahini Sauce
From Kitchenette: Recipes From Our Kitchen
By Lisa Hall and Ann Nickinson
Makes 4 burgers
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup sliced mushrooms
4 oz. fresh spinach, cleaned and chopped
2 14 3/4 oz. cans chick peas, drained
1/2 cup tahini mixed with equal parts water plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste
4 pieces pita bread
4 large leaves red of green leaf lettuce
4 tomato slices
Place 2 tablespoons oil in medium saut