• 22Nov

    Lamb Soup

    After writing a recent article about the wonderful Sichuan food at Asian Origin in Tysons, we decided to return and try their sushi menu, which is only available Tuesdays through Saturdays. We dined on a variety of fresh Sushi and Sashimi as well as Miso Soup, and Seaweed Salad. The sushi is all very fresh and skillfully prepared; the eel was a favorite of my dining partner. The Seaweed Salad is a little spicy, which is nice. The homemade tofu in the Miso Soup is made from soy, unlike the black bean tofu used in a Ma Po Tofu at Asian Origin.

    Chef Liu even invited us to come back the next evening to sample the test run of a Lamb Soup recipe from the town in Sichuan Province he grew up in. The soup is made with lamb bones and fish stock, and includes lamb slices, radishes, and cabbage. It is traditional to dip the lamb slices in crushed red pepper. This is Fall/Winter comfort food at it’s best. The Lamb soup will soon be added to the restaurant’s menu. I even shared shots of extremely strong rice wine with Chef Liu near the end of our meal.

    We always end meals at this restaurant with an order of Sesame Balls, which are filled with black sesame seeds and black beans.

    -JAY

    Update: The lamb soup has not joined the official menu.

  • 08Oct

    Chef Liu Chaoshengs Asian Origin opened this wonderful Sichuan and sushi restaurant in the spring. This highly skilled chef/restaurateur also owns Hong Kong Palace in Falls Church; Uncle Liu’s Hot Pot in Merrifield; China Jade in Rockville; and Cafe Hong Kong Bistro in Germantown. We recently attended a media tasting at this establishment.

    Award Winning Dumpling Maker, Jixin Lv.

    I am thrilled that like other Chef Liu restaurants, this establishment makes everything from scratch, including the tofu. More restaurants need to do this; we are happy when we find places like Asian Origin and another newcomer, Sugar Factory, where restaurateurs understand that pre-made ingredients cost more and do not lead to the kind of deliciousness you can find in freshly made (and from scratch) dishes. You can really tell the difference from scratch cooking makes in Asian Origin’s dishes; we’ve been back twice since the media tasting. Plus, Chef Liu imports many ingredients from China (like the wooden ear mushrooms), to add even more authenticity to his made from scratch dishes.

    So. let’s talk about Asian Origin’s (house-made) tofu. It is delicate and wonderful, but I could immediately tell it was different than the (also delicious) Ma Po Tofu we’ve eaten at his other restaurants. It turns out that Asian Origin is the only Chef Liu restaurant using black beans instead of soy beans. The dish is great either way, but it was nice to try the back bean version, which is a modern take on tofu that you sometimes find in China nowadays.

    Besides the Chinese menu, this restaurant also has a sushi menu. We’ve only tried one sushi item here (a roll, which was good), so I’ll need to go back to to the seaweed salad, miso soup, and more sushi.

    I’m not a DCFüd writers who typically ends articles with “you need to try this place,” but you do, and now, especially if you are a spicy food lover. Sichuan cuisine includes a remarkable floral note in it’s spicy dishes that we (here at DCFüd) just love.

    -JAY

    Editor’s Note: Sushi menu is served Tuesdays through Saturdays.

  • 24Dec

    Sesame Balls

    We recently had a wonderful meal at the first restaurant Chef Liu Chaosheng ever opened, Hong Kong Palace in Seven Corners. It was definitely time to try Hong Kong Palace, since we had featured his newest restaurant, Asian Origin (in Tysons). Chef Liu is known for making everything from scratch in his five restaurants, including the tofu he uses in the Ma Po Tofu.

    While many of our favorites (Ma Po Tofu, Scallion Pancakes, Sesame Balls, etc.) are available at both Hong Kong Palace and Asian Origin, the Tea Smoked Duck and Cumin Lamb are only available at Hong Kong Palace. The Cumin Lamb is a must order for lovers of both lamb and spicy food. The noodles and wontons are good appetizer choices, and are available at both restaurants.

    We were informed prior to this meal by a popular poster on Chowhound.com that the specials written in Chinese on the wall include a “preserved pork” version of the Cumin Lamb that is also quite good. The same poster also recommends the Chicken with Crunchy Peppers from the same menu on the wall.

    -JAY

  • 06Nov
    Ping Pong Dim Sum Brunch

    Ping Pong Dim Sum introduces their new brunch menu with an eastern flare.  Dim Sum is already considered Chinese-style brunch but fusing it with the western brunch style makes it a Ping Pong brunch to remember.  Dupont Circle’s location introduced their newest East West Brunch dishes and cocktails in late October. They flew their Beverage Director, Daniele Ziaco, from London for a quick mixology lesson on how to make one of their signature cocktails, Lemon Grass and Lime,  a complicated cocktail of 5 different ingredients (vodka, lychee sake with fresh lemongrass, lime and lychee juice).

    Daniele Ziaco, Beverage Director of Ping Pong Dim Sum

    Daniele Ziaco, Beverage Director of Ping Pong Dim Sum

    Ziaco brings 15 years of experience to Ping Pong, and has developed regional bar programs in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas. Before joining Ping Pong’s first store in London in 2006, Ziaco managed the bar programs in London for the critically acclaimed Hakkasan restaurants by Alan Yau. Born in Tuscany, much of Ziaco’s inspiration for his methodology, and appreciation for quality and freshness, comes from his childhood in Italy.​

    Ping Pong Bubble

    Ping Pong Bubble

    My favorite cocktail of the night was their Brunch Champagne with Bubbles.  Think of it as an adult beverage Bubble Tea although instead of your typical tapioca bubbles it’s filled with poppers.  And if you’re unfamiliar with poppers, I highly suggest that you go out and try them.  It’s unlike it’s tapioca counterparts because instead of being a solid ball of tapioca, the center is filled with fruit juice; the skin encasing the juice is so light that when bitten, a burst of juice fills your mouth.

    Egg & Cheese Spring Rolls

    Egg & Cheese Spring Rolls

    But now for the important part…the food!  I’m not a huge fan of western brunch foods as I’m not really a breakfast person, but these dishes really did wow me.  So here’s a take on my favorite dishes on the menu.  Let’s start with their egg and cheese spring rolls, which is a fried egg roll wrapper filled with scrambled eggs, sharp white cheddar, peppers and spring onion, and served with a five-spice tonkatsu sauce.  This dish will make you rethink your breakfast burritos.

    Chicken & Green Tea Waffles

    Chicken & Green Tea Waffles

    Next up is their chicken and waffles.  Who doesn’t like chicken and waffles, but how about green tea flavored waffles with an Asian spice kick?  It is a sweet and savory matcha made in heaven (see what I did there?)  Matcha green tea belgian waffles topped with sesame seed crusted fried chicken with lemongrass and ginger maple syrup!  Doesn’t the description alone get your mouth watering?  It has mine watering so much that it makes me want to drink the syrup.

    Black Mango Tea French Toast

    Black Mango Tea French Toast

    Do you have a sweet tooth for breakfast?  I certainly do.  In my non-executive chef mind, an eastern French toast would just be French toast with some Asian Fruit compote. but this is why I’m not an executive chef.  This French toast is no ordinary french toast; it’s a mango black tea steeped brioche French toast  topped with exotic fruit and served with a  ginger maple syrup. It’s that ginger maple syrup that brings you to tears of happiness.

    Char Sui Bun

    Char Sui Bun

    And my final top dish would be the Char Sui Buns, an ultimate favorite dim sum dish of mine made up of honey roasted pork in a mantou (fluffy white Chinese bun).  Although I don’t feel that Ping Pong’s rendition beats the original version, it is rather tasty and I’m a fan of the open face mantou.

    So with all that’s said and eaten, I highly suggest that you grab some friends and run, don’t walk to the nearest Ping Pong Dim Sum and have yourself a East West Brunch.

     

    OTHER ITEMS ON THE MENU:

    Dumpling

    Dumplings

    Sichuan Hanger Steak "Loco Moco"

    Sichuan Hanger Steak “Loco Moco”

    Shanghai Shrimp and Grits

    Shanghai Shrimp and Grits

    Pork Belly Bun

    Braised Pork Belly Bao Sliders

    Sesame Beef and Sweet Chili Meatballs

    Sesame Beef and Sweet Chili Meatballs

    Edamame Dumpling

    Edamame and Truffle Dumpling

    Wild Mushroom Puff with Sweet Potato

    Wild Mushroom Puff with Sweet Potato

    Assortment of Steamed Items

    Assortment of Steamed Items

    Chinese Chocolate Sesame Donuts

    Chinese Chocolate Sesame Donuts

    Mochi Ice Cream

    Mochi Ice Cream

    -ADT

    Click to add a blog post for Ping Pong Dim Sum on Zomato

  • 22Mar

    Ever since I first came to D.C. as a reasonably poor cereal eating freshmen in college, I’ve wanted to eat at the Old Ebbitt Grill. Now, as an extremely poor junior, I’ve given up Fruity Pebbles for Cliff Bars and finally managed to snag a table at the Old Ebbitt Grill. Located between F and G on 15th street, just a block from the White House, Old Ebbit is the oldest and most well-known saloon in D.C. And when I say that I recently ate there, I really mean my very kind mother took my malnourished boyfriend and me there, and out of the good charity of her heart, kindly paid for our meals.

    Seared Salmon Burger with a Side of Fruit Salad.

    Seared Salmon Burger with a Side of Fruit Salad.

    Serving martinis and oysters to tourists, D.C. residents, and Presidents since 1856, this Victorian inspired Oyster bar and hot spot feels like entering another world. Its velvet and mahogany booths, marble bar, antique walrus head, and full-length leg lanterns create an authentic and fun atmosphere. It’s the kind of fancy yet swaggering joint that makes you want to smoke a cigar, order a steak, and talk about how the stock market is doing. Honestly, it’s just a plain fun place.

    Moving on to our meals, I started the night with a Ginger Snap cocktail, just one of the Old Ebbitt Grill’s tasty sounding alcoholic concoctions. My drink of choice that night included Domaine de Canton Ginger liqueur, Captain Morgan original spiced rum, and ginger ale, with the rim dipped in crushed ginger snap cookies. This is an excellent choice if you like ginger ale as a mixer, and it left me feeling a very warm, happy, and nostalgic for low-waisted dresses and bobbed haircuts.

    The Chocolate Brownie Cappuccino.

    The Chocolate Brownie Cappuccino.

    Throughout the night, my boyfriend was a bit quiet, probably because he was shuffling a pile of their Chicken Carbonara into his mouth. I managed to sneak a spoonful before he inhaled it all.  The combination of bacon, Parmesan cheese, and, pasta made me feel better about living. It also had a surprising addition of fresh peas in it, which actually worked well.

    My mother kept it pretty healthy and got the Seared Salmon Burger topped with sesame-seaweed salad and Sriracha aioli on a multi-grain Kaiser roll with a side of fresh fruit instead of the traditional crispy fries.

    I, myself, went for a classier twist on a comforting classic: Veal Stew. This meal, which consisted of tender veal simmered with vegetables and served over creamy mashed potatoes, was the best thing I’ve eaten this year. It made me feel like I was living some sort of 1920’s fantasy in which I was Mrs. Gatsby and lived a blissful happily ever after with him in that mansion of his in Long Island. This might seem like an exaggeration but trust me, it’s not. This stew does things to you. Walrus head, Stop judging me.

    After we ate dinner, we still found room for dessert. We chose the Chocolate Brownie Cappuccino, which is basically a delicious brownie soaking in a mug of cappuccino topped with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.  Yes, you read that right. It was a brownie, and a cappuccino, and ice cream. Together.

    My one trip to The Old Ebbitt Grill doesn’t seem like enough. The saloon’s delicious menu also offers a range or fresh oysters on their menu that I’m curious to try as well as tasty breakfast and brunch options. For healthy eaters, the Athens’ Delight of Greek yogurt, granola, and fruit sounds like the good choice, but I’ll probably order the Grand Marnier French Toast with apple compote, honey pecan butter, topped with Vermont maple syrup because it sounds too tempting to say no to.

    Also, I’m going to end this post with a shout out to all Moms. They’re awesome. They buy you fancy old timey themed food, and let you keep they’re leftovers. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

    -MAS (Mary)

    Old Ebbitt Grill on Urbanspoon

     

  • 21Sep

    Newton's NoodlesDupont is in for a new fast-casual dining treat, as Monday will mark the grand opening of Dennis Freidman’s Asian inspired Newton’s Noodles. A spin-off from his Bethesda restaurant Newton’s Table, he is putting his poplar Fuzu noodle bowl front and center on the menu.

    At the VIP preview on Wednesday night I was struck by the vast openness of the restaurant and avocado green glow that donned it’s space. I grabbed a beverage and cued up to order my first Fuzu. I was delighted to taste both the original Fuzu noodle bowl (which includes shrimp, scallops, chicken, egg, carrots, snow peas, onions, bean sprouts, scallions, crispy shallots, and black sesame)  and the Coco Curry bowl.  I have to admit, Coco Curry bowl blew my doors off. The perfect combination of sweet with a touch of heat- I will be back for a bigger bowl! All of the noodle bowls are available in 3 different sizes, ranging in price from $4-$14. And, in a very “Chipotle like” twist, one can build their own Fuzu. Choosing their own gluten-free or buckwheat noodle and then adding 2 proteins, choosing a spice level, selecting a sauce (original or coco curry), picking 3 vegetables and adding toppings.

    Also on the menu, and available in 3 generous portion sizes, are the appetizers: Duck Confit Spring Rolls, Tuna Bites, Soba Salad with Ceviche, Beef Wontons, and Kapow Chicken.

    Newton’s Noodles will be quite a treat for those wanting a meal on the go and who don’t want to sacrifice flavor or compromise fresh ingredients. For more information visit their website or just pop around for a Fuzu at 1129 20TH ST NW | WASHINGTON, DC 20036.

    -Lindsey Fern (LKF)

    Newton's Noodles on Urbanspoon

  • 23Jul

    Summer is here and real American men know what to do: watch baseball on TV, because it’s just too friggin’ hot at the ballpark, especially if you’re not from the Dominican Republic like all those rich pro ballplayers.
    It’s also when real American men are expected to generate Code Orange air quality days by immolating meat in the backyard. Any pantywaist metrocurian can use those SUV-sized natural gas, electric, or gelignite-powered barbecue grills with all the fancy features (good subwoofers do help spread the sauce evenly, though). Nah, let’s get ready to deep-fry some turkey.
    1. Put Fire Department on Speed-Dial. Keep your cell phone in your welding apron pocket. It is unwise to enter a flaming residence to use the telephone.
    2. Purchase more equipment. You can never have enough real guy outdoor cooking gear. Buy some new stuff at Home Depot first. Don’t bother with those electronic gizmos at Leading Edge; you can never read the LCD screens outdoors anyway. Williams-Sonoma? Isn’t that the California wine the wife likes?
    3. Don’t forget the turkey. Make sure it is big enough to bother with. Double-check to make sure you are not buying a goat or lamb.
    4. Check interior compartment of poultry (note: light does not go on automatically; use Maglite). Any paper-wrapped parcels inside do not contain Surprise Creme Filling. Remove; give to wife or cat. If the bird is frozen, use your Benz-0-Matic torch judiciously or the meat will be dry. At this point you may marinate the turkey in any fluid mixture as long as it contains beer.
    5. Equipment check list. This will vary but should definitely include safety equipment (welding apron, Kevlar™ gloves, safety glasses, fire extinguisher, cell phone, well-stocked beer cooler or full beer keg with ice), fire ignition tools (lighting chimney, matches, flamethrower, etc.), food manipulating tools (tongs, skewers, forks, knives, meat thermometers, meat hygrometers, count-down timer, 55-gallon deep-fry container, perforated deep-fry container insert with turkey stand and handle, caulking gun for stuffing insertion, brushes, airbrushes, and hypodermic needles for applying sauce, tattoo gun for decorations), deep-fry medium (vegetable oil is better than animal fat; Marvel Mystery Oil is not recommended), sauces, rubs, marinades, condiments and spices, and some essential vegetables (potato salad, cole slaw, ketchup). Anything missing? See Step #2. Hot and sweaty? See Step #2 (the shopping mall is air-conditioned) or begin beer consumption.
    6. Check fuel supply. Make sure you have enough. Charcoal briquettes add a certain piquancy, but for even more petro-chemical taste and aroma soak your wood, charcoal, or bitumen in charcoal starter, napalm, or even gasoline (to hell with the expense). Do not add gasoline to burning fires or glowing coals, even if you feel you have protected yourself by consuming sufficient beer.
    7. Ignite fire. Don welding apron, Kevlar™ gloves, safety glasses; if you are Caucasian, reverse baseball cap. Apply flame to fuel and accelerant, then extinguish eyebrows and flip-flops. If you are cooking over a gas burner or using an electric deep-fryer, get medical treatment for low testosterone level immediately. Remember to consume enough beer to keep cool.
    8. Ensure that your annoying neighbor is downwind of your fire. Give the jerk something real to grumble about. He won’t complain to you, though — no real American guy would embarrass himself like that or disrespect the sacred nature of male outdoor cooking. If he complains, report the wimp to the authorities as an illegal alien terrorist and/or sexual deviant. Continue consuming beer to keep cool.
    9. Cook. Allow fire to settle into glowing coals before using crane to hoist container of cooking oil over grill or burner. If you have been too impatient to allow fire to settle into glowing coals, extinguish oil fire and repeat. While waiting for fire to settle into glowing coals, prepare turkey by sprinkling it with salt, pepper, and/or the Deep-Fried Turkey Sprinkle you probably bought at Home Depot, and/or brush, air-brush or inject that Home Depot Deep-Fried Turkey Sauce. Remember to leave room in the oil container for turkey and perforated container to displace hot oil; if you forget, extinguish oil fire and repeat Step #9. Consume beer to replenish vital fluids and keep cool.
    10. Remove turkey when done.The Deep-Fried Turkey Doneness Formula is simply Time = (weight of turkey) ß/Σ (altitude)2. Remember to adjust for actual air pressure and the specific gravity of your particular oil medium. If you think of turkey weight in kilos, knock on some doors and get a real American to help you. You can calculate Deep-Fried Turkey Doneness more easily with a meat thermometer: remove turkey ten minutes after meat thermometer melts. Alternative method: turkey is done when a 200-pound American male cook has consumed 216 fluid ounces (one gallon, five-and-a-half pints) of beer (caution: if you think of this as 6.39 liters, see above).
    11. Allow turkey to drain and cool before eating. Do not blot with shop rags (these often contain metal shavings and will ruin dinner) or those little finger towels in the guest bathroom (using those for anything is grounds for divorce).
    12. Call KFC. What the hell; a good time was had by all. Need a cold one?
    Disclaimer: The above is provided for amusement, not actual cooking. NotionsCapital is not responsible for interpretations by the humor-impaired, mentally-challenged, or emotionally-disturbed. If English is not your native tongue, please ignore this post. Yes, we are aware that people are injured while improperly deep-frying turkeys and that consuming deep-fried foods is not considered healthy, so keep it to yourself. Jeez, what a country.
    The preceding post was submitted by guest blogger Mike Licht. His original entry may be found here.

  • 19Mar

    frederick-marketstcafe.jpgI hear that some people read important memos at work. Perhaps they write emails or talk to coworkers. Not for me, these rituals of petty productivity! When I’m at work, I research up dining guides for small towns I hope to visit soon! Obsessively and compulsively!
    Last month’s excuse for unproductively was the following dining guide, complete with color coded maps and timing instructions. It was meant to represent a complete culinary tour of Frederick MD, but the individual it was created with had the gall to move to Tampa before I really had a chance to sink my teeth in (dining guide to Tampa, coming soon!). Rather than waste my many hours of chowhound research, here it is for open perusal. I created it as if coming from 495, up 270 and then over through Urbana. Yes, Obsessive and compulsive. I know.
    +means an especially suggested pick
    Bakeries
    + Hot Breads Bakery and Cafe – Tandoori chicken stuffed croissants – 70 Market St, Gaithersburg
    + Carriage House Bakery – Cakes – 9807 Kelly Rd, Mt. Pleasant
    + Classic bakery – Cookies, Pastries, and chocolates – 18503 North Frederick Avenue, Gaithersburg
    + Ed’s Country Bakery – Kinklings, cupcakes – 4309 Cap Stine Rd
    Deliciosa Bakery – Pastries – 1507 W Patrick St
    + The Stone Hearth Bakery -Breads, scones, and finger deserts 138 East St
    + Proof Artisan Bakery & Barista – Pastry and sandwiches -12 East Patrick St
    Coffee
    Beans & Bagels – Coffee and breakfast – 49 E Patrick St
    + Downtime Café – Coffee and vegetarian food – 23 E Patrick St
    + Frederick Coffee Company – Original coffee drinks – 100 East St FSK Kaffe – Coffee and baked goods – 31 W Patrick St
    + The Mudd Puddle Coffee Café – Coffee and paninis – 124 South Carroll Street
    The Book Center – 1305 W. 7th Street
    + Market Street Café (shown above) – Coffee, ice cream, and deserts – 14 N. Market St.
    Dessert
    + Candy Kitchen – Chocolate – 52 N Market St
    + Classic Cigars and British Goodies – British groceries – 153 N Market Street+ Frederick Fudge & Ice Cream Company – Ice cream soda counter and fudge – 253 East Church Street
    Alcohol
    + Tasting room – Wine – 101 North Market Street
    Berrywine Plantations/Linganore
    Windham Winery
    + Isabella’s Taverna & Tapas Bar – Wine and tapas – 44 N Market Street
    Tarara Winery
    Brewer’s Alley Restaurant & Brewery – Beer – 124 North Market Street
    Casual restaurants
    + Bill Watson’s – Fried Chicken – 50 North McCain Drive
    + Lancaster Dutch market – Breakfast, bakery, cheese – 12613 Wisteria Drive Germantown
    Frederick Farmers market – 797 E. Patrick Street Kountry Kitchen – Family food – 17 Water St Thurmont
    + Cafe Anglais – English food – 238 N Market St
    + Barbara Fritchie Candystick Restaurant – Diner food and deserts – 1513 West Patrick Street
    Griff’s – Seafood – 43 S Market St
    + Wag’s – Burgers – 24 South Market Street
    + May’s Restaurant – Cream of crab soup and crab balls – 5640 Urbana Pike
    + Callahan’s – Crabcakes – 1808 Rosemont Ave
    Luke’s Pizza Company – Pizza – 6942 Crestwood Blvd., Crestwood Plaza
    Mealey’s Restaurant – Family food – 8 Main Street, New Market,
    Isabella’s Taverna & Tapas Bar – Wine and tapas – 44 N Market Street
    Serenity Tearoom – Formal tea 119 E Patrick St
    Roys place: Sandwiches -2 East Diamond, Gaithersburg
    Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que – BBQ – 1003 W Patrick St
    Market Bagel & Deli – Bagels – 36 Market St
    And a couple extras thrown in for free, although they probably wouldn’t be part of any consecutively staged meal:
    Destination Restaurants
    The Province Restaurant
    Dutch’s Daughter
    + Tasting room
    + Acacia
    Tarousos
    Zest
    Tajitu
    Markets:
    Asian Super Market
    La Chiquita Grocery
    Common Market Food Co-op
    McCutcheon Apple Products Inc

  • 02Jun

    kv_restaurants_celio_warmAuburn_glass_1.jpeSouthwest Virginia may not be on you list of must-make weekend trips – yet. But I hope to correct that oversight. Not only is this 5 hr drive worth making for the authentic bluegrass music, but there is some interesting food to try too.
    The capital of funky SW VA is Floyd. This small rural town was a mecca of communes and hippies back in the 70’s, and guess what- they’re still there, just older and unreformed (thank goodness). So are the local farmers and proud rednecks. All happily living side by side. This makes for a fun culture which all come together every Friday night at the famous Floyd Country Store This place is not exactly undiscovered, there was a Washington Post article on it not that long ago. The point is that bluegrass and mountain music are alive and well. If you liked Oh Brother Where Art Thou, this is the place.
    Anyway enough about the music; where to eat in Floyd is the question. The best Natural Food store in the area is Harvest Moon, a wonderful shop, and above it on the second floor is Over the Moon Bakery and Coffee Shop – a lovely combo café and high-class crafts gallery (it’s that kind of town).
    Another cool café is Café Sol – again sharing space with a wonderful imported batik clothing store, Wintersun , and also a small theater also called Café Sol which offers world music. And finally, Black Water Café – above a combo music and bookstore, Notebooks. Not bad – three cool cafés in a town of 431! That’s right, population 431 in 2004.
    Older, odder, and even cooler is Oddfella’s Cantina, the original hippy restaurant. Local artists on the wall, natch. This is a full service restaurant with waiters and some great eclectic dining. The accent is on organic local ingredients and they are serious about it, served in recipes with a Tex-Mex /SE Asian slant. Always plenty of veg options. Open for lunch Wed – Sat, Sun brunch is also fine and there is often live music on Thursday or Friday.
    Two places for old, authentic country cooking are The Pine Tavern and the Blue Ridge Restaurant. Blue Ridge has a full menu breakfast, lunch and dinner with real home made biscuits, mashed potatoes, sausage gravy, country ham, and homemade pie. The Pine Tavern serves big family-style meals. That’s 2 or 3 meats with sides with big bowls that everyone helps themselves from. Two or three meats means fried chicken, country ham and roast beef with sides – ready? Mashed potatoes, dumplings, green beans, pinto beans, cole slaw, fruit cobbler and home made biscuits. You get all of it. For $12 with three meats, $11 for 2.
    The best of these incredibly reasonable family style country restaurants is not in Floyd but about 1/2 hr away. Its called The Homeplace and is definitely, absolutely worth the trip. Catawba, Virginia.
    To wash it all down, you can complete your weekend with two good wineries, Chateau Morrisette which has a full, upscale restaurant and Villa Appalachia, which specializes in Italian style wines and is a fun visit too.
    There are B and B’s in the area too and did I mention that you are smack on the Blue Ridge Parkway for hiking, biking and camping?
    This guest blog is by reformed New Yorker MHF, to whom we really should just give an account.

  • 17Aug

    bfl2.jpg All right, so it’s not that I’m exactly on a diet. But my friends Kevin and Jess started the Body For Life exercise and eating plan a couple of weeks ago. Within one evening, I went from mocking them heavily to flirting with the idea of trying it myself.
    And now, even though I’m not nearly as hardcore as they are (and if I ever go up to you in an earnest voice and tell you that you should “shoot for progress, not perfection”, just shoot ME), I have been trying to balance my carbs and proteins, eat smaller meals, and exercise every day. I’ve always been anti-diet, so I’m even skeptical of myself here, and if I start hating my body or food in the process, I’m quitting promptly.
    In the meantime, the fact that I’m cutting back at ALL has caused my body to shoot straight into Craving Mode. Doesn’t matter if I wasn’t eating that badly before – now all of a sudden junk food haunts my days and my dreams. These are the top 10 foods I’ve been missing these past two and a half weeks:
    Nachos Bellgrande: Dude, I’ve been to Taco Bell maybe once in the past three years. I haven’t been a fan since high school, and usually am all about its various nicknames, from Toxic Hell to Taco Smell…but for some reason (perhaps a late-night commerical?), I lie awake at night thinking about that liquid cheese. It’s kind of pathetic.
    Reduced Fat Pringles: If they’re reduced fat, they must be permissible, right? Not if you’re like me, and take their “Once you pop, you can’t stop!” slogan to heart, devouring them by the can. I prefer the reduced fat ones to the original because of their lighter, crispier quality. I just wish I could treat them with self-control.
    Ramen Noodles. For being someone who cooks reasonably well, invests a decent amount of money on groceries, and doesn’t let a busy schedule interfere with her time in the kitchen, I eat a lot of Ramen noodles. I can’t help it! They’re cheap, they’re salty, and I love making dishes like “I Can’t Believe It’s Just Ramen”, where I jazz them up with dark-meat chicken, mushrooms and spices. But the sodium content’s ridiculous, the carbs are junk ones and one packet actually supposedly holds two servings (what?). Alas, they must be cut down.
    Pineapple Fried Rice: So it’s not as commonplace as, say, cheese or chocolate, but it nearly killed me to go into a Thai restaurant and pass this old standard by. It’s the unbeatable combination of sweet and savory.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Permalink Filed under: Etc 8 Comments

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