Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Benjarong - Rockville, MD

I haven't been back to Benjarong in so long! It was my family's favorite Thai restaurant during my high school and college years. We had stopped going for a while around the time the original owners had sold it. They have recently gotten back into the restaurant business and opened Sabai Sabai. Located in Wintergreen Plaza, there is plenty of parking. The closest metro stop is Rockville on the red line.

The interior is cute because they pay attention to detail and put a lot of traditional Thai decor everywhere.

One of my favorite drinks ever! The Thai Iced Tea was made just right. Wish they came in jumbo sizes or with free refills.

For our appetizer, we shared the Papaya Salad (Fresh shredded green papaya mixed with lime juice and chili pepper served with grilled shrimp, tomatoes, green beans and peanuts) for $8. I thought it was good but had way too much fish sauce. It was too the point you could really smell it. The Viet people at the table didn't mind that, but the bf couldn't eat it.

We also shared Peek Gai (Deep fried stuffed chicken with minced chicken, crab meat, mushroom and spring onions) for $6. It was really yummy and different since it tasted like a chicken wing with eggroll stuffing.

My dad ordered the best thing of the night, in my opinion. Crispy Duck Basil (Deep-fried quarter duck with fresh chili pepper sauce topped with crispy holy basil) for $15. I love duck and they did a great job because it was flavorful, crispy, yet moist. The basil on top were also crispy, which I found fascinating. I'm ordering this dish next time,

I ordered the Phad See Eew (Wide rice noodles sautéed with egg and black bean sauce with bean sprouts and broccoli with beef) for $10. I liked it but I didn't think it was better than other places I've had it at before.

My cousin ordered one of the daily specials. Gai Yang (Thai-style BBQ chicken) for $16. It came with a side of the same papaya salad we ordered as our appetizer. He said the chicken was moist, however it lacked flavor and tasted like plain chicken.

The bf ordered my favorite Thai curry, Panang Curry (Thick red curry with chicken) for $11. I thought it was too spicy for me, but he loved the spice level and the dish a lot.

Our meal ended with a delicious and delicate dessert of Thai-style fried bananas with mango sorbet ($7). The wrapper was thin and crispy with sweet banana filling. The honey on top made it that much better. OMG I loved it.

Service was fine, and the food was overall good. It had been a long time since coming back and I rediscovered some great dishes that I will be coming back for. The large menu and dining room makes Benjarong a good choice for larger parties too.

885 Rockville Pike
(301) 424-5533
Rockville, MD 20852
Benjarong Thai on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Eatonville - U Street Corridor, DC

Recently went out to dinner for a good friend's birthday for upscale, comfort food at Eatonville in the U Street Corridor. It was named after the famous Harlem Renaissance author Zora Neale Hurston's childhood town in Florida. There is street parking and a garage nearby. The closest metro stop is U Street/Memorial/Cardozo on the green/yellow line.

The interior is very open and spacious with floor to ceiling windows. There are two levels, but we didn't get to check out upstairs. Very funky and colorful story-themed murals line most of the walls. Outdoor seating is available during warmer months.

To quench my thirst, I ordered a Ginger Lemonade ($3.50) in this cute mason jar glass. I thought it was refreshing, however I would have preferred more ginger. The bf ordered the same thing and found the amount of ginger to be just right.

Since it was a celebration, I ordered a Chocolate Cinn (chocolate-infused Buffalo Trace bourbon, creme de cocoa, patron citronge) for $10. Holy cow it was SO strong! I couldn't drink it, yet was too lazy to send it back. So beware.

The menu is slightly on the smaller side, but there is a good selection of veggie, meat and seafood dishes. I ended up ordering the Catfish and Grits (cheddar heirloom grits, cider-infused collared greens, tomato butter) for $16. The fish was fried but not oily, and paired well with the softer side items. I wish the collared greens had bacon in them though. I guess it's healthier this way.

The bf ordered the Fried Chicken (cider-infused collared greens, extra-sharp mac and cheese, buttermilk biscuit) for $16. He found the chicken to be crispy, flavorful and not greasy. He also wished the collared greens had bacon in them.

Even though the bf had mac and cheese with his entree, he was being greedy! So I ordered my own side ($4) and thank goodness I did. It is the BEST I've had to date. Very hot, creamy, salty goodness with crispy-sharpness on top. Delicious. I was quite impressed.

The bf ordered a side of House-cut Cajun Fries ($4), which I liked because they were thin and packed a lot of salt and spices.

It appeared everyone at the table ordered a side of Cornbread ($2). They were more like muffins with a side of sweet butter. I thought they were a bit dry and bland without the butter.
Overall the food was on point with their style, which was more refined soul food. Nothing was overly heavy or over compensated with extra fat. Our server was attentive and the woman who appeared to be the manager was checking on us throughout the night. A cool event they offer is Food and Folklore, a monthly event mixing literature and food.

2121 14th St, NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 332-9672
Eatonville on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 14, 2011

$55 CSN Stores winner is...

#11 - Edmontonjb!

Thanks for entering guys and for reading my blog. The winner was chosen using random.org.

Check back towards the end of the month for another giveaway. Do you like how I'm blogging on Valentine's Day =)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Another CSN Stores $55 Giveaway!!

I love giveaways because you guys deserve it! CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find anything you could ever want like wall art and decor, clothes, or even fancy shmancy cookware!

They are giving one lucky reader $55 to spend on their site, so I'm going to make this quick and painless.

1. Comment about your Valentine's Day plans! (We're either cooking or using one of my many Groupon/LivingSocial deals that I compulsively buy)
2. Leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.
3. Contest ends Sunday, Feb. 13th 11:59pm

Good luck and keep an eye out for another giveaway this month!

Sushiko - Chevy Chase, MD

A lazy night with the bf meant using our Groupon at Sushiko in Chevy Chase, MD. It has been on Washingtonian Magazine's Top 100 Best Restaurants list in the past, and this was our first time eating there. Located in a very posh shopping center, there is an hourly parking lot right out front. Closest metro stop is Friendship Heights on the red line.

It was smaller than I thought it would be. Simple design with the sushi bar in the back. The front of the restaurant has the bar and windows. I wish there were some visible windows in the dining room to make it appear more open.

The menu consists of mostly sushi, small plates, and a few entrees.

We love duck, so we started out with a non-sushi item of Honey soy roasted duck breast (mustard miso) for  $10.50. It wasn't a lot of food, but I thought it was yummy because of the sauce and they were sliced thinly.

The Softshell crab roll (fried crab with avocado and sesame dressing) for $10 was good and once again the sauce helped to make it taste better.

Left to right:
Rainbow roll (cucumber, avocado, salmon, tuna, shrimp, white fish) for $12.50.
Toro roll (minced fatty tuna with cucumber and avocado) for $9.50.
Dragon roll (cucumber, avocado, eel) for $12.50.

The dragon roll was our favorite because it was very tender and melted in your mouth. The toro roll's fatty tuna didn't seem particularly different than regular tuna. The rainbow roll also had very good quality ingredients.
Pretty simple night with a few shared dishes. I've heard so much about this place, and I thought it was good but perhaps I had higher expectations? The atmosphere was pretty normal and the rolls weren't as creative as other places I have been, however you can definitely taste the quality in the rice and fish. I thought our server was fine. Don't forget to ask them to validate your parking ticket as you pay your check.

5455 Wisconsin Ave
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
(301) 961-1644
Sushi Ko Chevy Chase on Urbanspoon