Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lincoln - McPherson Square, DC

Brunch for birthday celebrations is such a nice change from typical dinners. We took my wonderful aunt to Lincoln. Their seasonal menu uses fresh, local ingredients for its American dishes. They have outdoor seating in front for warmer weather, and metered street parking.

The interior is beautiful! The detailing is on the walls, furniture, ceiling and floor looks modern yet colonial-chic. Jars hang from the ceilings while the floor is COVERED in real pennies. One of the walls changes color, and it was hot pink while we were there.

See the hot pink wall? Can't have brunch without some drinks! We had Bellinis and Mimosas.

 The birthday lady ordered the Brunch Burger ($13). Who doesn't love a fried egg on top?

My cousin ordered the Poached Eggs Benedict ($13). She thought everything was seasoned well.

My Stuffed French Toast ($10) was quite special. I ate the entire thing, didn't have to cover it in syrup and enjoyed the pears very much. It was very light and fluffy. I'd recommend this and order this again!

My cousin and I were being fatties and decided to share a Gingerbread Waffle ($14) from their waffle/omelet station in the front. It is made to order and you can top it however you like. You have the option of a regular waffle too. It tasted like a dessert!

Such a beautiful place and the food was delicious. Everything was between $10-14, so it can add up if you want more food. Our server was nice, but not as attentive as he was serving a large party in a separate room. One cool thing was a DJ was playing house music during brunch, which brought a trendy vibe.

Lincoln Restaurant
1110 Vermont Ave NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 386-9200
Lincoln Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Saturday, January 21, 2012

MOA - Rockville, MD

A large group of my girl friends and I had dinner at MOA, which is a Korean restaurant hidden in a more industrial part of Rockville. I actually used to work across the street years ago before they opened! The parking lot is small, but there is plenty of street parking.

The interior is bright with wooden tables and benches. They do not have tables with grills built into the center. They bring a portable grill if you order BBQ. They have a wide range of items from soups, BBQ and other traditional Korean dishes.

I've listed the dishes that everyone got, just as a reference.

1. Seol Leong Tang ($7.99) - This is what I ordered. A milky-looking noodle soup with beef. The milkiness come from the bone marrow in the broth. It was my first time trying this dish, and I wish it was spicy.

2. Mul Naeng Myun ($9.99) - Cold soup with beef and vegetables. Has a tangy taste, which makes it a popular dish among my friends. I personally do not like cold, noodle soups.

3. Pork Tang Su Yook ($14.99) - The Korean version of Sweet and Sour pork. I thought it was yummy!

4. Bulgogi Jungol ($29.99) - The plate that the meat is grilled on has a moat (is that the right term?) to hold vegetables, noodles and broth. The beef drippings also help add flavor. This was nice because there was extra stuff other than just meat.

5. Son Wang Mandu ($8.99) - These dumplings are the size of my palm! The biggest ones I've ever seen before. I enjoyed them.

6. Yukgaejang ($8.99) - Spicy, shredded beef soup.

I like that they give yogurt drinks at the end with the bill. Another good dish is their Spicy Octopus, which I've had on a different visit. Small staff, but very helpful! The kim chi is homemade and really good.

MOA Korean Restaurant
12300 Wilkins Ave
Rockville, MD 20852
(301) 881-8880

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pho Nom Nom - Rockville, MD

My heart sank a bit when I heard that Ba Le was closing. Where was I going to get my banh mi and fast Vietnamese dishes?!  My heart has risen again since Pho Nom Nom has arrived because they do it better.

Limited parking in the front and side, but I've seen people make their own spots when needed.

The place looks brighter, warmer, larger and more inviting. I've been three times in one week, and every time it has been busy.

The menu consists of pho, banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches), appetizers, rice/vermicelli, house specials, drinks and desserts.

We started off with an order of Gỏi Cuốn/Summer Roll (fresh garden roll with a choice of pork or chicken, shrimp, lettuce, cilantro, mint & vermicelli wrapped in rice paper, served with peanut sauce) for $3.50. I typically like a lot of mint in mine, but they tasted just fine.

The banh mi is not on their main menu, so you need to ask for it separately. They will give you a 'check-off' sheet where you can customize what you want in it. The bf loved that idea! We shared a Thit Heo Nuong/Grilled Pork banh  mi ($4.45) and it was amazing. The bread is softer, yet still crispy. Almost looks shorter, yet wider. We loved it!

We had zero expectation when ordering the pho because it's not easy to make memorable pho, especially if you have other items on your menu. We were blown away! Very good broth, though tasted cleaner and sweeter than Pho 75. They also give more meat than some other places we've been too. They have three different sizes: Small ($6.45),  Large ($7.95), Super Large ($9.95), the picture below is a small.

Such a minor detail, but it's ingenious. I hate when my spoon falls into the broth, and now I won't have to worry.
These pics were taken from the first time we tried the place. Since then, we've also ordered a vermicelli dish, egg rolls, coconut juice, Vietnamese iced coffee and Dac Biet banh mi. Overall, the place is solid. The pho is delicious. The service is good. Water is constantly refilled, they are friendly and food comes out pretty fast. Everything has been delicious, however I'm not a fan of their coffee because they pre-make it and it isn't sweet enough. The prices appear to be about $1 or so more than Ba Le was or surrounding Pho places. This is the bf's new favorite pho place because he is able to eat other dishes along with his pho. We will be going back quite often.

Pho Nom Nom
842 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852
(301) 610-0232
Pho Nom Nom on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 9, 2012

Birthday Recap! Kafe Leopold, Ching Ching Cha, J.Chocolatier - Georgetown, DC

Happy Birthday to all my Capricorns! I recently turned a year older and wanted to share the few places where I ate. I wanted to keep it low key and told the bf to take me wherever. He surprised me with brunch in Georgetown!

My doggie was all dressed up for the occasion =)

Kafè Leopold
3315 Cady's Alley, NW
Washington, DC 20007
Neighborhood: Georgetown
(202) 965-6005
Kafè Leopold on Urbanspoon

I didn't know there was a tiny alley way called Cady's Alley that has a few interior design companies and restaurants. This cafe has a cute outdoor area with a fountain. I'll definitely come back when it's warmer to eat outside. It is much quieter back there away from busy M Street.

This European-style cafe is modern with white Ikea-looking decor, but still sophisticated with cloth napkins and real flowers on each table. The bf ordered the Austrian Coffee, Chedderwurst and Truffle Grits with Egg and Cured Meat.

I had a Kafe Mocha and Malted Waffle. Everything was delicious, the place was cute and the service was fine. I can't wait to go back!

ching ching CHA
1063 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20007
Neighborhood: Georgetown
(202) 333-8288
Ching Ching Cha on Urbanspoon

The bf also planned for us to try a tea place after brunch. He took me to this traditional tea house that sells tea products too. I've also never heard or noticed this place before. It's a very small, quiet place that makes you forget you're in DC. They had a pot of hot water going for us on our table for easy refills.

You have the option of sitting at a table with chairs or on floor cushions. The bf ordered a Strawberry Green Tea ($6) and we shared Chicken Dumplings ($5). The loose tea leaves looked like collard greens but had an amazing flavor. The dumplings were tasty too.

I ordered a Floating Lanturn ($7) which was a very mild jasmine green tea. OMG I couldn't stop looking at it! It was the prettiest thing and you drink directly from the glass.
J. Chocolatier
1039 33rd St NW
Washington, DC 20007
Neighborhood: Georgetown
(202) 333-4111

On our walk back to the car, we stopped by this tiny chocolate shop for a quick dessert. This is really the size of the whole place minus the two-person table where we sat.
We tried the Absinthe truffle ($2), Champagne truffle ($2) and Dark Chocolate Cherry Cookie ($2.50)

One of the happiest birthdays I've ever experienced. The bf put thought into these places, and knows what I like: trendy, cute, cozy, delicious.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, Pecan Cookies

I enjoy making a ton of cookies during Christmas to give away. This year I made 9 dozen! I was debating between making the Nuoc Mam Chocolate Chip Cookies again or trying something else, and I went with the latter.

Smitten Kitchen's Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, Pecan post intrigued me with the added orange zest. Plus, I always trust her insight and tips so I was excited to try something new. In 2 days, ALLLLL of the cookies were eaten. As Smitten Kitchen points out, they are a more "grown up" cookie, so the adults ended up liking them more then the kids.

They stayed soft all weekend and had a nice balance of flavors. I think I might switch up the chocolate and nuts next time just to try something different too.

Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip and Pecan Cookies
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes about 3 dozen cookies (made 4.5 dozen for me)

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
1 cup quick-cooking oats
2 cups chopped pecans
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest (I only added 1 tsp after reading comments about 2 tsp being overpowering. I thought 1 tsp was perfect.)
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment or a Silpat (nonstick baking mat).

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla, and beat until well mixed, about three minutes.

3. Stir in eggs, one at a time.

4. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove in a separate bowl. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter with the mixer on low speed. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the second half.

5. Stir in the oats, pecans, orange zest, and chocolate chips.

6. Drop the dough, by the tablespoon, onto the cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden.

7. Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on a rack. Store at room temperature in a cookie jar or other airtight container.

Happy New Year! Recap of the End of 2011

I can't believe it's 2012 already! You guys know that holiday time can be a bit insane, and that definitely reflected in my blog with the last post being RIGHT before Thanksgiving. Gah.

I'm feeling really good about 2012 and am excited to go full throttle with posting more often again. Maybe even going into a different direction...we will see.

Happy New Year to you all! Here is a mini glimpse at the end of 2011.

Thanksgiving in Phoenix, AZ

We flew out Thanksgiving morning and made it just in time for food! We were in town for about 5 days, and besides eating leftovers, my family took us out to a few places. We got New Orleans seafood at Pappadeaux, fed our addiction of In-N-Out Burger, sipped bubble tea at Boba Tea House, stuffed our faces with a buffet brunch at The Royal Palm Hotel, and ate fresh sushi at Tomo.

There is nothing better than spending time with family especially when it's not often. We climbed mountains at Papago Park, played some baseball behind my brother's house, ate some fresh jack fruit, and was reminded how much I miss my mom's cooking.

$1 Day at the Baltimore Aquarium

Once a year, the Baltimore Aquarium is cheap enough to actually visit. Typically, it is $24.95 for adults and $19.95 for children, which is an expensive day trip for a family. We waited in line with our friends for about 40 minutes, and were given a time to come back. We ended up going to Stuggy's in Fells Point for hot dogs while we waited. We got the fries with Stuggy's Sauce, the Late Night dog ($5.99) and the Chi-Town dog ($5.99). Tiny place with delicious food!


Spent Christmas with my family and the bf's. My cousin's yorkie napped while dinner was cooking, my aunt displayed her porcelain figurines, the kids left Santa some homemade cookies and Korean banana milk, and we got a new ornament for our 1.5 ft tree.

Hope you guys had a great end of the year too!