Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lebanese Taverna: Tysons Galleria

When my uncle was in town the other weekend we met up for dinner at the Lebanese Taverna. A couple weeks ago I went to the reopening party for the location in DC so I was pretty pumped to be sitting down and eating. 

There serve all meals with some bread like thing and olive oil. Zaytina offers this same bread, and I am just not a fan. However the olive oil was tasty. 
For an appetizer we split the Sujok spicy sausage: beef and lamb, garlic, tomato sauce. It was pretty good, not overly spicy. 
We also ended up getting an order of grape leaves rice, chickpeas, tomatoes, mint, parsley on the house because they brought my uncle out the wrong dish and had to send it back. These were delicious. 
My favorite Lebanese dish EVER. Or pretty far up there, Lamb Fatteh chickpeas, toasted pita, pine nuts, yogurt sauce, garlic, pomagranate seeds. Perfect dish. All of the flavors went together really well. Sweet, tangy, savory & a little salty. Perfection. 
My uncle got the mixed kabobs: lamb, chicken & kafta. He thought it was pretty good. 
This was a pretty good experience overall. When they made a mistake with my uncle's entree, they offered up a free appetizer while it was being recooked. I thought that it was the appropriate gesture/resolution for a situation like that.  I will be back :)
1840 International Drive
Tysons Corner, VA
Tysons 2/Tysons Galleria
Lebanese Taverna on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 10, 2012

Panera Bread

Who doesn't love Panera Bread? There is something for everybody: soups, salads, sandwiches and an assortment of baked goods. Now that winter (ugh) and cold weather (double ugh) are upon us, the soup part of Panera is even more appealing then ever.
This past weekend, while taking a break from party preparations and shopping I brought my friend along with me to Panera for some soup. I'll have to admit, I have been getting the same soup for over 10 years, Broccoli and Cheddar. This time was no different, I ordered broccoli and cheddar soup. This cheesy, creamy soup is perfect. 
The soup I got was part of a you pick-2 meal, so for part 2 I ordered the Chipotle Chicken Sandwich. I have to say I was pretty disappointed with the sandwich. It was clear that whoever made the sandwich was in a rush/didn't care. It was messy & soggy. 
Lili ordered the black bean soup. She though it was good but it needed a little more oompff to it. I surprisingly liked it a lot and I do not like beans of any sort. This soup is low fat & vegetation
I have also tried the french onion soup and it's good and I really want to try their creamy tomato soup. I was exploring their website and watched a video on them making it and I was almost torn away from my usual broccoli and cheddar...maybe next time I go I can convince whoever I go with to order it ;)

I have always been happy with Panera, the soups have always been spot on. Wasn't to thrilled with my sandwich but the soup was delicious and filled me up so the meal ended well. I'll be back, I always am :)

Panera Bread (Baileys Crossroads) on Urbanspoon

This post was sponsored by Panera Bread but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Candy Cane Oreo Cookies & National Cookie Day

Have you tried the Peppermint Joe Joe's from Trader Joe's yet? If you haven't go out and buy yourself a box. Well maybe don't, because if you do, you are most likely to be addicted. I have already gone through one box this season, and I bought a second, but I am giving that away so I won't eat the rest of the box.

I know some of you may be hesitating...peppermint and chocolate? I think those thoughts too, but for some reason this cookies have won my heart, and the hearts of other peppermint+chocolate haters. 

I got in a conversation with the checkout lady at TJ's who said people have stocked up and bought these and then tried to sell them on Craigslist for $20 a box. I don't know if said person made a sale, but perhaps I need to think about making a little cash on the side?

These are a perfect, fun holiday cookie. I'd eat them year round, but hey, now is the season of peppermint. 

2 1/4 Cup flour 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon salt 
2 sticks butter room temp
3/4 cup granulated sugar 
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2 large eggs
14 Crush Candy-Cane Joe Joe's

preheat oven to 375 degrees 
1. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. 
2. In a big bowl blend together butter, both sugars, and vanilla extract until creamy. Then add in one egg at a time, making sure each one gets blended in.  Gradually add in sugar. 
3. Once everything is blended together, fold in the oreos (Joe Joe's). Once everything is mixed put in refrigerator for about 30-45 minutes for the dough to harden up (optional, I have cooked it right after making too)
4. Using a spoon/tablespoon/cookie scoop but balls on a baking sheet about an 1-1/2 inches apart and then sprinkle sea salt on top of each one. Bake 8-10 minutes, just until the edges brown. 
5. Let cool on pans for a few minutes before transferring to a baking sheet. 

Oh, hey its National Cookie Day....perfect plan for this post. I didn't even realize it :)

What's your favorite cookie? Mine has to be the typical chocolate chip cookie. If I am in the mood, an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. 

Do you have a favorite holiday cookies? Welllllll, not to toot my own horn, but I do like these alot, or just the Candy-Cane Joe Joe's in general.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Restaurant Revisit: Lava Yogurt

I think I have been to Lava Yogurt a total of 4 times since my original visit in September. It is one of my favorite Froyo places in the area, and that visit number would be would be a lot higher if it were just a tad bit closer to where I live.
I just wanted to pop in and say they are still doing awesome-flavors are usually spot on. Their seasonal Peppermint flavor is delicious...however their Gingerbread tastes horrible. Fruit selection is sometimes iffy, but most of the time still good. 

I usually stick to the original tart, but sometimes I switch it up and add some yummy flavors in, like pistachio. Best part is that you can sample the flavors before you commit. Good thing for people like me who can sometimes have commitment issues. 

Pop in and give them a visit, and then stop by my one of my favorite grocery stores next door, Trader Joes :)
7500 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA
Lava Yogurt on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt

One of the few things I never get tired of is Frozen Yogurt...or a much hated/loved term of FroYo. Pinkberry was on of the first frozen yogurt places to hit the Northern Virginia area and it has started quite a trend. From my first moment of trying this, I was addicted. The addiction has gotten worse of the years and now I constantly crave the frozen yogurty goodness. Luckily froyo places are popping up everywhere with lots of fun flavors. 

Back to Pinkberry. I firmly believe that this is one of the best quality frozen yogurt places in the area. All of their flavors are delicious and their toppings are of great quality-always fresh fruit. 

A new cool thing, Pinkberry also serves savory yogurt options now. Can't find the info on their website, but the Fairfax Corner location has this option.

My mom got the Chocolate Yogurt with assorted chocolate toppings. Very tasty.
 I got my typical order of Original (but I tried samples of the green tea and mango...both yummy!) with fruit, almonds, dark chocolate nibs and hazelnut things. So GOOD.
 The feature fewer flavors then other froyo places but they make sure each flavor is quality.
 Toppings bar. You can have as many that fit into your cup.
Pinkberry will always have a special place in my heart. People often complain about the prices being higher, but you are paying for quality-no artificial flavors here (and probably a little bit of trendy too...) but it is worth every cent.

Stay tuned, I will be doing a Best of Frozen Yogurt in the NOVA area :) I've been to most of the places in the area, but I haven't blogged about them all yet. 

11942 Grand Commons Ave
Fairfax, VA
Fairfax Corner
Pinkberry on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Nutella Hot Cocoa

Nutella Hot Cocoa. Enough said. I'd like to thank Jasmine for this wonderful idea. I saw this on her blog the other day, it was cold and I was sick so I thought this would be the perfect thing to make. And it was, it so was. This is going to be a staple throughout the cold winter. Much better then any packaged mix.

Nutella Hot Cocoa

Ingredients serves 2-3
1/3 Cup Nutella
3 Cups Milk

1. Heat milk over medium heat on the stove. 
2. Once the milk begins to warm up, whisk nutella in and then heat to your desired warmth. 
3. Serve, sit back and enjoy. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Funfetti Cake Waffles

There have been a lag of blog posts lately because every time I try and upload photos, blogger tells me I have reached my capacity and I need to buy more space in order to upload. It doesn't seem like anyone else is having this problem so I am trying to figure out if it is my computer??

Anyways, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Break, the first half of mine was great (I'd post photos...but it wont let me), but I have been sick since Sunday and I had to call off work today :(
But enough about me and my problems and more about these delicious Funfetti Cake Waffles. A wonderful dessert or special breakfast, these are awesome for any time. The first time I made these, I put them in baggies and ate them throughout the week for breakfast. Not super healthy, but it made for a great start to my mornings :) You could make these with any cake mix, but I have a particular fondness for funfetti!

Funfetti Cake Waffles
1 box of cake mix
3 eggs
1 1/3 cups water
1/3 oil (vegetable, canola, etc)
optional: whipped cream, sprinkles, butter, chocolate sauce, etc
1. Plug in and heat up your waffle maker. 
2. Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl. 
3. Put batter in waffle maker (whatever amount your particular waffle maker suggests) and cook for suggested time your waffle maker starts, mine has a light that tells me when it is done. 
4. Serve with toppings (optional:whipped cream, butter, syrup, chocolate, etc)

It's that easy and it's a fun change from your typical waffle or cake! Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lebanese Taverna DC Remodel Reveal Party

Last week I was invited to the reveal party to show off the remodel of the Lebanese Taverna in Washington DC (Woodley Park).

After checking in, Carrie and I headed straight to the bar to get a drink (per usual). They had 2 specially cocktails available: 1001 Nights Martini vodka, passion fruit & The Phoenician Martini vodka, pomegranate seeds, pomegranate juice. Both were good but I don't like vodka. They also served white & red sangria, assorted beers and red & white wines. Their red sangria was amazing. 
At the bar they had grape favorite.
There were a ton of appetizers passed around. My favorite was the spinach pie also known as FATAYER B`SBANIGH. They also had a dessert bar and a few more things not shown below. 
A HUMMUS bar....freaking amazing. How cute were the little cocktail glasses filled with hummus? Plenty of toppings available to appease everybody.
And of course...the reason we were there...the remodel. I have never been to this particular location so I don't know what it looked like before but I can say that it looks amazing now. I absolutely love the interior, it is a perfect place to catch up with a friend, go on a date or go to happy hour after work. 
 The open space in the middle will have tables during regular dining hours. 
 I NEED to sit in this booth next time I come here. I have a love affair with booth seats. 
This was an wonderful night, Mondays will just never be the same for me (event was on a Monday night). Everyone was ridiculously nice, we got to meet a lot of the family that owns the Lebanese Taverna which was really cool. They took the time to go around and meet everyone that was there. The employees were also really nice, Carrie and I made friends with them so everytime that had the spinach pies, they made sure to come around to us :)

I already knew I loved the food, I've been going here for the past ~10 years but finding out the people behind the restaurant were so nice was awesome. Next time you go, get the Lamb's my fav dish :)

They also gave an awesome gift bag, I am really excited to try the olive oil & zaatar spice :)
2641 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC
Woodley Park
Lebanese Taverna on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ray's to the Third

another iphone photo post, this was an impromto meal :)

The other day Lili kidnapped me to go to dinner with her and Rommie at Ray's to the Third. Being that I am always down for a burger, I didn't put up too much of a protest ;) 

Ray's to the Third is a fancier version of Ray's Hell Burger. They sell burgers as combos as well as having whole bunch of different entrees available and it's a sit down and be served environment.

All diners are served some bread before their meal which was not very good.
I got the New Jack Zing $12.99 Blackened Burger, Pepper Jack Cheese, Grilled Onions, Charred Jalapenos, Roasted Garlic with a side of pirhanna sauce. Love the flavors of this burger.
 Lili got a make your own burger with tater tots. Great tots!
Rommie ordered the "Nice and Greasy, Steak and Cheesy" over stuffed sandwich. He enjoyed it.
This meal wasn't bad, but it wasn't really good either. The cheese on our burgers wasn't even melted, which is crucial for a good burger. In my experience with the Ray's Restaurants, they are either phenomenal or average, which I have found correlates with how busy they are. Going during off hours and you should get a baller burger..or you know, just be the President of the USA :)

1650 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA
Ray's To the Third on Urbanspoon