Recent Posts

March 23, 2010

Cherry Blossom Restaurant Specials

Photo by National Cherry Blossom Festival

It's Cherry Blossom time! The peak bloom dates have been moved up to April 1-4. If you're planning to go to the festival or just wander around with the other several 100,000 people taking pictures, be sure to take advantage of the area restaurant specials and fuel up to battle the crowds. Here are just a few highlights:

Asia Nine Bar & Lounge
915 E St., NW
Edamame cherry dumpling appetizer; Crispy fish with Pik King
and cherry rice sauce; Cherry sushi entree; Taro Roti with
sweet cherry sauce dessert

BlackFinn American Saloon
1620 I St., NW
Cherry glazed baby back ribs; sour cherry cobbler;
Chocolate covered Cherrytini

Logan Tavern
1423 P St., NW
Grilled chicken stuffed with pecans, dried cherries and
Gorgonzola cheese

1430 H St., NW
Smoked duck arancini with Cherry Aioli

Restaurant Marvin
2007 14th St., NW
Rabbit terrine with cherry preserves

For more specials, check out a full list on

March 22, 2010

Sabroso is Delicioso

Photo from

It was a Friday evening, I just left happy hour and I was starving. I wanted something good and something fast, but also wanted to try something I hadn't had before. A friend recommended I go around the block to Sabroso on Colesville Rd in downtown Silver Spring.

It smelled great when I walked in- intense aromas of spices and rotisserie chicken. I wasn't impressed when I looked at the sides turning to mush under the heat lamps, but what can I expect during a slow hour on a Friday night. I opted to bring home a roasted chicken with sides of coleslaw and fries (neither of which had been sitting under the heat lamps). It was ready quickly and it was cheap. It was around $17 for a WHOLE chicken and two sides. This could easily feed a family of four (no I did not eat all of this myself.)

Driving home, I found it hard to resist grabbing a crispy french fry. Ok, I didn't really try that hard. I snuck a few fries and they were really good. They had that crispy outside coating. I used to refer to these as "stealth fries" or "the good fries" back in my restaurant kitchen days- also known as college. They were more expensive to order, but they tasted better, cooked faster and the customers like them.

When I got home, I barely made it through the door before I ripped open the bag and started digging in. The coleslaw was one of the better ones I've had in awhile. I am partial to how they dice it as opposed to julienne and it didn't have an overkill of mayo.

Now for the chicken. There is no better way to put it than "yummy". I know- that's an annoyingly happy and childish word, but so am I sometimes. It was tender, moist and full of flavor. The skin was covered in seasonings and the flavor penetrated to the bone. I am guessing we got lucky and hit them on a good night as I've heard mixed reviews. I'm sure I will be back so I'll follow up on consistency.

If you want some more details on local Peruvian chicken, check out Just Up the Pike. This local blogger has been to several places for his Great Peruvian Taste Test. Thanks for the tip JUTP!

Sabroso Grill
8624 Colesville Rd
(Across from the AFI Theatre)

March 18, 2010

From Ireland to Italy- DC Italian Markets

St. Patrick's day is over and time to cure your hangovers with a little help from Italy. I have been making pizzas like crazy and am now getting bored with my ingredient choices. I want to find the good stuff. I want mozzarella di bufala. I want fresh homemade sauces and perfect pre-made pizza doughs. 

I did a little research to find some Italian markets in the area and this is what I've found so far. If you have any insight into any of these places or any others, please add a comment. Maybe I'll hit one of these up this weekend if I'm not too busy running outside and enjoying the gorgeous spring weather!

A. Litteri Inc.
517 Morse St. NE (btwn 5th & 6th)
Washington, DC
(NY Ave, Red Line)

3315 Connecticut Ave
Washington, DC
(Cleveland Park Metro)
4705 Miller Ave
Bethesda, MD

Griffin Market
1425 28th St. NW
Washington, DC
(Georgetown) btwn. O & P Streets

The Italian Store
3123 Lee Highway
Arlington, VA

March 17, 2010

Cooking Show Quotes That Sound Inappropriate- Giada De Laurentiis

After many years of watching cooking shows, I've decided it's time to start a new segment for the blog. It seems there is an endless supply of quotes from celebrity chefs that sound, well, inappropriate when taken out of context. You'll never be able to watch cooking shows in the same way again!

                           "I just love the two breasts!"
                                                 - Giada De Laurentiis, Everyday Italian
                                                 On her choice of white meat over dark
                                                 for a particular chicken recipe


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

You don't have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patrick's day. Whether you choose to fill up on bangers and mash or green beer, there are plenty of places in DC to accommodate you and your green hat. Put on your dancing shoes, practice your jig (TW, you're ready), and pour yourself a Guinness or two (or 7).

If you plan on staying in, be sure to check out my friend Christy's blog, the Beer B1tch. She can help you pick out some great brews to bring home as she knows more about beer than anyone I know. (I was always embarrassed at happy hour to order a Miller Lite in front of her! ha). She is also brewing her own beer at home. I have to hand it to her- I had NO idea how involved the process is. Her patience is unmatched!

Rumors: Shamrocks & Shenanigans- 4pm-Midnight
Drink specials, DJ, Bagpiper, contests
$5 cover
1900 M St., NW

Ireland's Four Fields
3412 Connecticut Ave (Cleveland Park Metro)
Live Music, dancers, bagpipers
$10 admission all day

Murphy's of DC
2609 24th St, NW (Woodley Park)
Open at 10am, Drink specials, Prizes
Live music

Mackey's Public House
1823 L St, NW or
320 S. 23rd St, Arlington

808 7th St, NW (Gallery Pl.)
Starts at noon
Irish fare, pipers, Irish dancers, DJ

Ri Ra
4931 Elm St
Bethesda, MD or
2915 Wilson Blvd, Arlington
Live music, drink specials

For more listings, check out On Tap Magazine's list here or the list from the Post's Going Out Gurus here.

March 14, 2010

Natural Food Challenge

I'm a fake food junkie. I like light butter, light chips, light bread and light ice cream- pretty much anything with the word "light" on it. The irony is that I have been doing this for years as part of being a self-proclaimed "health nut" but the fact is there is nothing healthy about what I've been eating. I know this, and I'm challenging myself to change. I've decided to try changing my plastic, partially-hydrogenated ways and buy only natural foods from here on out. I knew it would be difficult, I just didn't realize HOW difficult. I also didn't realize just how many horrible things I was eating. My guess is, most people don't.

My first trip to the grocery store since making this decision was eye-opening. I went to pick up several items that are regulars on my grocery list only to find there were long lists of ingredients I couldn't pronounce on every label. Should butter really have more than 5 ingredients? Should it really have 37? No, it shouldn't. My shopping list kept getting shorter and shorter and I soon realized almost everything I have been eating had ingredients that were solid at room temperature, man-made and not actually food at all. How can this be legal? Well, don't rest on the notion that the government will keep you healthy. Did you read the Jungle or Fast Food Nation? Enough said.

I made it to the deli, only to realize there is NOTHING natural about meat that is an oval shape and then sliced. I turned to grab some pickles (a staple in my diet) and to my dismay, they have high-fructose corn syrup. Are you kidding me? Are all of the joys in my food life to be taken away? Not quite. It doesn't have to be as dramatic as it seems the first shopping trip.

There are many foods in natural food stores or even the natural food isle of the grocery store that are great substitutes, delicious and not plastic. I am still new in my quest, so bare with me in my journey. I can 100% guarantee I will fall off the natural food wagon more than once- especially since I plan on making chocolate chip cookies tonight and I haven't looked at the chocolate chip label yet. I think the trick to this is that I need to ease into it. I can't punish myself for a slip-up here or there and I just need to keep reminding myself this is all for the best. I bet if I saw some of these ingredients sitting as a jellied blob on a lab table I wouldn't feel the need to eat these "light" foods anymore.

If you need some inspiration, the book I'm reading now got me started. It's called In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan. It could help you, too to change your plastic ways and hopefully lead towards a healthier life.

March 6, 2010

A Trip to Mandalay

Ok, so the headline is a little deceiving. I did not go on an exotic Burmese vacation. I went to a restaurant in downtown Silver Spring.

Mandalay is family owned and run. Three generations of Burmese Americans are the heart and soul of this place and it is evident the second you walk in the door. Mandalay is very casual and welcoming. The decor is simple and personal. There are even pictures of the children on the wall. It makes you feel as if you are sharing a meal with their family.

The food is straightforward and delicious. The samosas are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. How could potatoes and peas wrapped in pastry and deep fried not be outstanding? I ordered an entree with chicken and potatoes in an onion curry sauce. Although this sounds like an Indian or Thai dish, the main difference is the absence of cream or coconut milk. This makes the spiciness of the sauces much more apparent, so keep that in mind when ordering. The great thing is that you have total control over the heat. They let you decide just how spicy you want your dish to be when ordering. They clearly understand that tastes are different and want to make sure that everyone enjoys their dining experience.

Mandalay will be added to my list of regular dining spots. They have great food, friendly service and they are very reasonably priced. Most of the dishes are around $12.

Mandalay Restaurant and Cafe
930 Bonifant Street
Silver Spring, MD 20910