Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Boloco: Globally Inspired Burritos & People for Bikes

This past weekend I was invited to Boloco to celebrate the completion of a 5 day ride from Boston to DC put on by People for Bikes and to try some yummy food. 
Hearing that Boloco is a burrito place, one may think it is just another Chipotle spin-off but that assumption could not be more wrong. It is so much more then that. They offer several different types of burritos inspired from flavors around the globe such as teriyaki, tikka masala, cajun, bangkok thai and others. If that is not your thing they also have the classic "Mexican" burrito as well as the option to customize it to whatever your heart desires. 

One of my favorite parts is that they have 3 different burrito sizes you can choose from: original, small and mini. The mini is what you will see below. 

They had a nice set up with 3 different burritos to try and some fixings. 
 
The pico de gallo and corn salsa were both fresh and delicious. The guacamole, wow, something to brag about. This is probably the best guacamole that I have had at a fast food/quick eats restaurant. The chips were also good, I was told that the owner of the restaurant created a recipe for them because he couldn't find one up to his standards. 
My friend and I decided to split the 3 burritos so we could try each of them (mini size below). 
1. The Summer with White Chicken (left) mango salsa, melted cheese, black beans, boloco rice. This one was pretty good, but I am not a fan of beans so it was not my favorite. My friend really liked it though. 
2. Buffalo Burrito with White Chicken (middle) spicy buffalo sauce, blue cheese dressing, boloco rice. This was my favorite of the bunch. I am not a fan of blue cheese at all, but everything in this burrito tasted awesome.
3. Teriyaki Burrito with Tofu/vegan (right) sweet teriyaki sauce, caramelized onions, broccoli, carrots, brown rice. I am not a fan of tofu, but that being said, this was probably the one tofu dish I have semi-liked but I am not going to making the switch over anytime soon. With chicken/steak this burrito would have been awesome. 
Overall I was really impressed with the quality of the food. If the food can taste this good sitting out for an hour, I can't wait to try it fresh. I like that they can cater to the vegans/vegetarians as well as the carnivores of the world. They are also 2 Star Certified by the Green Restaurant Association which is pretty cool. 

Boloco also offer smoothies/milkshakes, way to play to my gluttonous side (my eye is on the nutella shake), but luckily they offer original, small and mini sizes too. They also have some sort of frequent buyer card which is awesome! 

1028 19th St NW
Washington DC
202-223-2704
Boloco on Urbanspoon

The reason why Boloco was open on a Sunday and why we were there to eat all this yummy food was the completion of Ride on Washington through People for Bikes. Last Wednesday (4/24) they started in Boston and ended in DC on Saturday, completing the journey in 5 days! This ride was done to raise money for the organization and Boloco was one of their sponsors.  

A little more about People for Bikes if you were curious (taken from their website), very cool cause:








Thursday, April 25, 2013

Alexandria: Satay Sarinah

Who knew that a normal night out would turn into such an amazing experience. This months dining club dinner was at an Indonesian & Malaysian Restaurant, Satay Sarinah in Alexandria. The shopping center is a little chaotic so be warned. 
It was empty when we got there at 7 but it quickly filled up. 
Carrie got a iced tea juice box. Good but very sweet, so if you don't like sugar in your tea stay away. 
Hot Jasmine Tea. Good, your normal Jasmine tea. 
Based on rave reviews from yelp I decided to try the Avocado and Chocolate Smoothie. It was very good and different. The taste is hard to explain, but it is not what you would think. Everything works well together. All I can offer is that it is slightly sweet and tastes nothing like guacamole. 
Another rave review from yelp, the corn fritters Sweet corn, coriander seeds cilantro and scallion. A must get appetizer, perfectly fried.
After we ordered these we decided on the appetizer platter. Everything was pretty good on this except for the lumpiah (egg roll like things), which just didn't stand up to the other things on the plate. 
Carrie got the Ayam Bumbu Rujak "spicy grilled chicken" Topped with red chili sauce , salad and jasmine rice. This was really good, spicy but good.
Jessie got Laska soup A hearty rice noodles soup with shrimp, white meat chicken, potatoes, tomatoes, sprouts hard boiled egg in coconut milk broth (which is Malaysian, not Indonesian as our new friends made sure to point out). She said this was good, but it was super spicy. She also ordered a side of shrimp chips to dip in the soup, she said it helped cut the spicy some. 
I got the Chicken Satay Satay is very popular dish in Indonesia, consisting of tender meat charcoal grilled on bamboo skewers, served with Jakarta salad and jasmine rice. This was awesome, the meat and sauce were cooked perfectly and had amazing flavor.
R got Tahu Tempe "Hot & Spicy Tofu" Tofu, organic tempe, green beans in spicy coconut sauce. The sauce was good, but I just can't seem to like tofu ever. Not sure how R quite felt about the dish, but she didn't take the leftovers which is not a good sign.
Now to the amazing part of the meal. I noticed a tour bus pull up in front of the restaurant and thought ugh, its going to get super loud and crowded. Luckily that wasn't the case, the bus was full of people who worked for/were a part of the Indonesian Parliament and they were some of the nicest people I have met in awhile. 

They asked us if we had ever tried Indonesian food before, which we had not, and then they proceeded to make suggestions and basically made us try all the different types of food they ordered for their table. At first we tried to be polite, but eventually we just took everything they offered graciously. 

We tried a bunch of dishes that I personally never would have ordered so it was a great experience. Let me tell you, it is really hard to share soup with a bunch of strangers. 

I wish we got a photo with the entire group, but this still an awesome photo. I am now twitter friends with the guy standing up, Didi...He has 14k followers...pretty awesome, although I can't read the majority of his tweets. 
I am assuming that Satay Sarinah is very authentic as the Indonesian people that we ate with all liked their meals. The food and service was great, I will be back. 

512-A South Van Dorn Street
Alexandria, VA
703-370-4313
Satay Sarinah on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Restaurant Revisit: Imm Thai Cuisine (dine in & carry out)

Ever since my friend Alissa introduced me to Imm Thai Cuisine a couple of months ago I have been going back periodically because it's good and super close to my house. 

Imm's Duck Rolls (top left), amazing as usual, a must order here. Fried Calmari nice, cripsy batter but a little chewier then my friend would have preferred. Green Curry with Shrimp which was very flavorful but the curry was watery. Chicken Pad-See-U (bottom right) stir-fried wide rice noodles w/ choice of meat, broccoli, egg w. sweet soy sauce, delicious per usual 
Good service and good food. 

A few weeks ago I ordered carry out with my friend. We got Duck Rolls (bottom right), which were good, but they do not travel well, so stick to eating those in the restaurant. I got Chicken Pad-See-U (top right) which was good (it's currently my Thai obsession right now). My friend got Spicy Eggplant with Chicken (left) which was delicious. 
The food was pretty good, but it's much better when you are in the actual restaurant.  

7203 Columbia Pike
Annandale, VA
703-750-0880
IMM Thai Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Restaurant Revisits Mexican Edition: La Sandia & Buenos Grill

La Sandia
Tysons Corner Center
703-893-2222
La Sandia on Urbanspoon

This past weekend I celebrated my birthday with my family and at one my favorite restaurants, La Sandia in Tysons Corner. I have a soft spot for guacamole, chips & salsa. Throw in a margarita and it is a perfect moment. 

Mango Mojito, delicious, one of my favorite drinks when I come here.Chips & Salsa, another good combo. Guacamole, made fresh at the table and wonderful. These three things are pretty much all you need when you come here. In fact that's usually what I do when I come here. 
But because this was a birthday dinner...and I had to share the guacamole, and you know...some people don't like guacamole we ordered other things this time around. Queso Fundido topped with Chorizo (top left) melted oaxaca, chihuahua and monterrey cheeses, chile morita, tortillas. This is not a personal favorite of mine, but the table really liked it. Carne Asada (Top right) grilled skirt steak, sauteed chile poblano, chimichurri, chile morita sauce, sweet corn tamal, charro beans. Two people ordered this.The meat was cooked to a perfect medium rare and all of the flavors meshed well together. Steak Quesadilla (bottom right), just your typical, delicious quesadilla, it also comes with peppers but I ordered it without. Kids Quesadilla (bottom right). Just a kids quesadilla, typical, child friendly and all the kiddos loved it.
Service was friendly and our server was awesome with the kids. No dirty looks and he even interacted with them. Food was good per usual. If you like guacamole, stop by in May for their guacamole festival...they have a whole bunch of fun variations to try...including grasshopper guac.

Other trips (please excuse the older entries, I was still getting into the groove of things) 
Happy Hour
Dinner


Buenos Grill
7023 Columbia Pike
Annandale, VA
Buenos Grill on Urbanspoon

According to my last entry about this place, I said I would not be back, but a sweet girl and sprained ankle tugged at my heartstrings to come here. 

My cousin got chicken tacos which she liked. I ordered the 3 tacos as well, but tried one steak, one barbacoa and one carnitas. I was not thrilled with any of the meats. While they all seemed like good quality the meat was just bland and not very flavorful. The carnitas were the worst of the bunch. 
My opinion of the place is the same as before. I am just not satisfied with the meats. The toppings are all fresh which is awesome but if I am going to eat the meat, I would like it to have some flavor. On the other hand my uncle and his kids love this place, but he also admits to liking bland food (my aunt agrees with my opinion). To each his own. I am glad I gave it a second shot, but I am making the drive to Chipotle next time. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Restaurant Revisits: Zaytinya & Lebanese Taverna AND a new opening...La Madeleine!!

Instead of doing full reviews of places I have already been, I thought I would just keep in touch and do short little blurbs about them (basically I'm to lazy to take pictures with a real camera)

Lebanese Taverna
One of my favorite restaurants in the area. I have had a great meal each time I have gone here, and I have been coming for years. This time was no different, excellent food and service. I went to the DC location which was neat as the last I was here it was for the reopening party so I finally go to see the full setup. I ordered the Lamb Ouzi (top right) and it was spectacular. The lamb was tender and seasoned perfectly. A great lighter meal. Carrie ordered the Taverna Platter (bottom left). This is a great option you can try a little bit of everything. It came with your choice of meat, hummus, fattoush and rice. 
Other times I have been shown on the blog: DC reopening, Tysons location
Lebanese Taverna on Urbanspoon

Zaytinya
I am super sad this place does not have happy hour any more but the food is delicious I can forgive them. We both got the Pom Fili white wine, vodka, pomegranate. I am not a fan of of vodka but I love this drink. I got my fav eggplant dish Bantijan bil laban. Just as amazing as ever. Carrie tried the Spanakopita. This was really good but not your typical spanakopita, it was more like a spinach egg roll. 
I really need to come here for a full dinner. Last trip here
Zaytinya on Urbanspoon

La Madeleine
I realized I have not posted about my original visit to La Madeleine (tomorrow I will) but I am writing about a new location opening up in Silver Spring, MD. I was invited to a sneak peak of their new cafe and I am pretty bummed that I can't attend. If you are in the area, I highly recommend getting their signature tomato-basil soup. It's amazing, and even though we are entering into the warmer months, I would still order this soup in a heartbeat. Some of my other favorites are the tomato basil pasta salad and the Croque Monsieur sandwich, which is super indulgent but amazing. 
I know I'll be going back again soon, I have a free birthday pastry calling my name! Sign up for their email list and they will send you a coupon for a free pastry for your birthday! 

8435 Georgia Ave
Silver Spring, MD


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Annapolis: Wild Orchid Cafe

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!! I spent the weekend with my mom and Jeff in Maryland relaxing. We decided that we wanted to go to brunch after some research and seeing who still had reservations my mom decided on Wild Orchid Cafe in Annapolis.
The meal started off with "complimentary" (emphasis on that) cinnamon rolls and a fruit salad. Nothing special, if you're starving a nice way to quench that hunger.
Mom and Jeff both ordered the Seafood and Spinach Strudel crab, scallops, shrimp and chopped spinach layered in a phyllo dough. The both thought it was alright, my mom said it was super indulgent and heavy, like eating a seafood spinach dip.
I ordered the Berry Crepe Trio strawberry, raspberry, blueberry filled crepes with Grand Marnier whipped cream. This was a lackluster dish. The crepes were subpar, and it was just a bland crepe experience all together. Perhaps if the crepes were served warm, it would have allowed the juices of the berries to come out more not making this such a dry experience. I actually just ate one of the crepes, and then ate the fruit out of the others. 
With the brunch special you got to order dessert as well. Jeff decided on the strawberry rubarb pie which he enjoyed.
I decided on the Vanilla Creme Brulee. This was the best part of my meal. A very good creme brulee. 
Mom got the Triple Chocolate Cheesecake which was pretty good. It was a lot lighter then your typical cheesecake which my mom really liked. 
Service was good here, but over all I just wasn't pleased with the Easter Brunch they offered-the food was very meh. With the exception of one item on their normal brunch menu, none of the choices go above $15, so I felt that Easter brunch was sort of a rip off in that aspect, especially because it was so limited. Basic drinks were also not included in this price. 

However it was Easter so it was nice to be with the family, I just don't think we will be celebrating here in the future. 

200 Westgate Circle #400
Annapolis, MD
410-268-8009
The Wild Orchid Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Georgetown Waterfront: Bangkok Joe's

After walking around Georgetown for most of the day Saturday my friend and I decided to stop at Bangkok Joe's down by the waterfront for dinner (there is a nice parking garage right here if you need somewhere to park). When we got there around 530ish, it was a little busy, but there were some empty tables so we were seated right away. Around 6 it got super packed, so I recommend reservations on the weekend to be safe.
Alissa started off with a Thai Iced Tea. At Bangkok Joe's they give it to you unmade so you can customize it to your liking (more/less milky & more/less sweet). I thought this was pretty cool but for the inexperienced Thai iced tea drinker it could be a little inconvenient. 
I ordered a Gingered Lemon Iced Tea. This was pretty good, but tasted a little like the powdered ice tea you get out of the plastic jars to me. 
Since this place is a dumpling bar, we had to try a couple different dumplings out. 
A new favorite when I go to Thai restaurants are the duck rolls so we decided on the Peking Duck Spring Roll $9.95 romaine lettuce, leeks, cucumber, cherry-hoisin dip. This was a pretty solid spring roll, all of the flavors meshed together perfectly. 
For our second dumpling, we decided on the Panang Chicken Bun $5.95. This was awesome, totally different from any bun I've had before. I loved that it was filled with one of my favorite dishes, chicken panang.
We ordered the Spicy Basil Chicken Fried Rice $13.25. This was good, your basic fried rice filled with fresh veggies. My only complaint is that it was not really spicy when that's how we ordered it.
Next we ordered a new favorite of mine, Chicken Pad See Ew Noodles $13.25 stir fried sen-yai noodles with chicken, broccoli, egg & soy sauce. This was an excellent version of this dish, however if you are not a fan of soy sauce, stay away. 
Not related to the food at all, but the booth seats are awesome. I love how they are elevated and they have a place for you to put your feet.
I don't have any complaints about this place. Prices were great for the waterfront, food and service were excellent. Portions were huge. We probably could have stuck with one entree to go along with the dumplings, but it made for some delicious leftovers. I went with someone who was Thai and she gave it her stamp of approval. Sure you can probably get cheaper Thai Food that's just as good somewhere else, but this is Georgetown, and it's still with in range budget wise.

3000 K St NW
Washington, DC
Georgetown
202-333-4422
Bangkok Joe's on Urbanspoon

Just a quick shot of the waterfront :)