Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sichuan Pavillion - Rockville, MD

My cousin and I were in the mood for Chinese food on a Saturday night, so Yelp helped us pick Sichuan Pavilion. There is plenty of free parking in front of the restaurant and the closest metro stop is Rockville on the red line. They also have an outdoor patio for warmer weather.

Nothing too fancy about the inside.

I love tea with my Chinese food!

There are 2 menus - American Chinese Style and Authentic Chinese Style. I think it's pretty self explanatory as to which menu you will find the Sweet and Sour Chicken or the Duck Blood Curd in Sichuan Sauce.

We started off with some Crispy Cucumber Salad ($3.50), which were pickled cucumbers. It would have been a bit better with some chili peppers.

A staple item we like to try at any Chinese restaurant (if served) is the Fried Scallion Pancake ($2.95). It was pretty big, but dry and bland.

The Eggplant in Garlic Sauce ($9.25) was ok. The overall texture of the entire dish was mushy, and had more oil than I would have preferred.

Based upon suggestions from Yelp reviewers, we ordered the "Mapo" Tofu with Minced Beef ($9.25). We didn't know what to expect, but it tasted like...pine needles. We couldn't eat it, so we brought it home and the bf couldn't eat it.

So aside from the food being disappointing, the kicker was the service! On Saturday they claim to close at 10:30pm. Between 10:10pm and 10:20pm, the entire staff had their coats on, we were handed the bill and asked to pay cash for faster processing (we didn't have cash). After swiping our credit cards, the server didn't leave our side until she saw us sign the check. We weren't asked if we wanted to take the food home, but after asking for it to be packed, they only packed 1/2 of it! Then one of the staff members starting singing the tune "So Long, Fair Well" from the Sound of Music....mind you, we were still EATING. Ok we can take a hint, but you're still technically open! So we left after that lovely song.
Sorry if you guys love this place, but I'm not recommending it. There is plenty of good Chinese food in Rockville like Seven Seas, Bob's Noodle 66, Joe's Noddle House and A&J.

410 Hungerford Drive
Rockville, MD 20850
(240) 403-7251
Sichuan Pavilion on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 7, 2011

16 Handles - Gaithersburg, MD

It's the season for... frozen yogurt! If you guys have been following me on Twitter, you know that last summer I would eat a 1lb of froyo for lunch once a week at Caliyogurt. I was an addiction. Recently the bf and I went to Rio to try 16 Handles because the 16 self-serving flavors reminded me of Yogurtland during our SoCal trip. There is a garage and parking lots around the town center, but not directly next to the place. The closest metro stop is Shady Grove on the red line.

It's so pretty and bright on the inside! As you can see above, there isn't much seating.

They charge $.49 an ounce of yogurt/toppings, $.60 of just toppings and $1 for a waffle bowl. Not all of the flavors are non-fat as some are simply low-fat.
The 16 flavors change depending upon availability, but when we went some of the flavors were:
Angel Food Cake
Red Velvet Cake
Peanut Butter
Cookies and Cream
Birthday Cake
Euro Tart
Green Tea

The mini screens shows the flavor and the nutritional value! The most high tech frozen yogurt dispenser I've seen yet.

They offer around 40 toppings too including cheesecake and brownie bites.

The bf and I had opposite types of froyo. I had all fruity flavors with mochi and fruit toppings...

he tried all of the cake flavors topped with candy and cheesecake bites.

This place is almost, if not as good as my favorite place (Caliyogurt) because the flavors are intense. The consistency isn't runny and is creamier rather than icy. The only minor issue is the lack of "Asian" flavors. I like my taro and lychee. Same thing with the toppings, there weren't lychee or longan fruits. I plan on going back often when the weather gets hotter!

215 Boardwalk Place
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
(240) 386-8692
16 Handles on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Seven Seas Afternoon Tea - Rockville, MD

The bf and I were recently invited to try Seven Seas' Afternoon Tea held daily from noon to 6:30pm for $12.99 per person. This includes: 2 Appetizers, 2 Entrees, 1 Dessert and 1 Pot of Premium Tea. Holy crap that is a deal! Granted the entree portions are about half the size, but you get to try a variety. Check out the first time we were here.

We were lucky enough to eat with the owners, their awesome daughters and marketing specialist. Many items pictured below will not show the Afternoon Tea sizes. Might I add, there was a TON of food.

1. Seaweed  - Different than the Japanese kind that you see everywhere.
2. Marinated Shredded Tofu - Really cool how it stays firm enough to hold that shape.
3. Tofu, Fish, Peanut and Soy Sauce - I love soft tofu, so this was great with the sauce.
4. Spicy Shellfish - Nice texture that I didn't expect.

5. Pan Fried Turnip Cake - Loved the soft inside and crispy outside.
6. Hot & Spicy Wonton - One of the best wontons I've ever had.
7. Chili Chicken - Spicy for me but nice flavor. One of their signature dishes.
8. Sliced Lamb with Cilantro - The bf HATES lamb and he loved this dish. That says something.

9. Double Cooked Pork - I don't remember eating much of this...
10. Crispy Eggplant - Comes with a nice dipping sauce.
11. Crispy Beef with Mango - One of my favorites! The texture is crispy and you can taste the caramelization.
12. Sesame Chicken - Not heavy or overly breaded.

Shanghai Steamed Buns - The outside was thicker than I expected but great filling.

Cobia with Garlic - Didn't break apart, nice unique flavor.

Purple Rice Pudding with Coconut Milk - Similar consistency to sticky rice, and the coconut milk is awesome.

Green Tea Ice Cream - You can never go wrong with ice cream.

As much food as their was, I didn't feel gross afterwards. The food is high quality, not heavy and all tasted unique. I learned a lot about Chinese culture, what authentic means via a "heart ruler" (how a dish measures up to your childhood memories of your mom's cooking), was introduced to the rarely seen Taiwanese fish Cobia, and just little things about how a restaurant is run. Thanks again to the Seven Seas family!

1776 East Jefferson St # 112
Rockville, MD 20852
(301) 770-5020