Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tysons Corner: Seasons 52

Seasons 52 is a restaurant that boasts a menu of each item being 475 calories or less, changing seasonally to bring the freshest ingredients to your table. Located on the bottom level at Tysons Corner Center, this is a great alternative to all those fast food options. This was my second visit and I was able to go outside of my box to try a few new items. 

I've had the chance to try two of their flat breads - one seasonal, the Braised Short Rib and Cheddar $10.95 pickled beet/red onion confetti/horseradish sour cream/micro cilantro (photo shown below) and one that is year round, the Roasted Roma Tomato $8.75 mozzarella/Parmesan/basil. Both were extremely delicious and the perfect light appetizer that packs a good flavor punch but doesn't stuff you before your entree. It's important to note that these are not really flat breads, they are more of a think cracker-like texture. 
Both visits I ordered the Crisp Romaine and Baby Kale Cesar Salad $7.95. This is a great salad if you are hesitant about kale as baby kale is not quite as intense and bitter as adult/fully matured(?) kale. The dressing is delicious - the way a Cesar dressing should taste and the salad is appropriately dressed (not drenched). Teddy ordered the Warm Harvest Mushrooms and Arugula Salad $8.25 with a truffle dressing. He really liked this and I enjoyed the truffle dressing and overall woodsyness of the salad. Sam ordered the seasonally chili and really liked it. (all photos above)
For my entree I ordered the Red Mole Braised Beef Tacos $9.75 jalapeño-lime slaw/
guacamole/pickled red onion. The beef was seasoned and cooked really well and the jalapeño slaw was not very spicy. Teddy ordered the Signature Burger $9.75 which came with a side of bread and butter pickles - he enjoyed his meal. Sam ordered the Crispy “Banh Mi” $10.50 chili-glazed Maple Leaf Farms duck/vegetable-pear confetti/cilantro/mint. While he enjoyed it, he wished there was a little more duck and the gingery taste was not his favorite. However, we traded a taco for a part of the sandwich sandwich and I really enjoyed it. 

I have also tried their sushi (California roll I believe) and some random veggie sides, both delicious. 

Service has always been on point and they let you try a a sip of the wine before committing to a glass. That paired with delicious/mostly good for you food will keep me coming back. I was stuffed after my meal, and I definitely didn't need part of an app, a salad AND tacos.

Would I come back? Yes, I really like Seasons 52, dare I say more then True Food Kitchen

Tysons Corner Center
Seasons 52 on Urbanspoon

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Barracks Row: Bottomless Brunch at Ambar

Well I am back on the bottomless brunch train, with 2 brunches the past two weekends and a couple more planned for the next two months. After the disappointment two weeks ago at Medium Rare (review coming soon) Ambar was a breath of fresh air. 

Ambar is part of the Richard Sandoval restaurant group featuring Southeastern European (Balkan) cuisine. I've been here for restaurant week and happy hour and was very pleased with both experiences so I thought it was finally time to take the plunge for brunch. 

Brunch at Ambar consists of bottomless plates and cocktails (oj mimosa, peach mimosa, bloody mary). Not being a bloody fan I can't vouch for that - but the oj mimosa was our favorite. 

We tried A LOT of small plates but I am only going to highlight my favorites.
 
1.Steak and Eggs (sirloin with chimichurri and potatoes) the steak was cooked just like I requested (medium rare) - and not chewy at all - chimichurri paired wonderfully and helped make the dish not as heavy. 
2.Balkan Scrambled Eggs (red and yellow peppers, onions, cheese) seasoned to perfection and texture of the eggs was on point - not too dry, not too moist.
3.Eggs Benedict (english muffin, ajvar, prosciutto, kajmak sauce) the eggs were perfectly poached. I will admit I was not a fan of the red pepper sauce that came on it but that is just a personal taste.  
4. Cinnamon Sweet Sourdough with Nutella - this was probably one of our favorites, fried dough in cinnamon sugar with nutella to dip, need I say more?
5. Strawberry Waffle with Nutella and Whipped Cream - the waffle was wonderful, crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside - then you add nutella and strawberries - more perfection
6. Roasted Mushroom Crepe (red pepper emulsion / bechamel / gouda) - admittedly I didn't like this, but the other two girls said if you liked mushrooms then this is a good dish. 
7. Cheese Pie (cucumber yogurt / ajvar emulsion) - another dish that was a favorite of the girls, they loved the crispy pastry with the cheese. 
It's important to note that the Balkan Salad (tomatoes, peppers, onions, cheese) was a delicious, nice fresh addition to brunch. The service was great, most of the food items we got were very good and the drinks were flowing. For a couple of dishes we requested them to come without the potatoes (or eggs from the steak and eggs dish) because we were getting full and didn't want to waste food - they were very accommodating. Bottomless Brunch at it's best. 

Would I come back? Yes, I was very impressed with the food and service. I've been here on three separate occasions and never had any complaints. 

523 8th Street SE
Washington DC
Barracks Row - closest metro: Eastern Markey
Ambar on Urbanspoon

Other trips to Ambar
Happy Hour
Other Bottomless Brunches I enjoy
PJ Clarkes
El Centro (another Richard Sandoval restaurant!)
Acre 121

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Arlington: Dama Pastry and Restaurant

Last month for Daring Diners we decided to check out Dama Pastry and Restaurant, an Ethiopian restaurant in Arlington – right down the road from the Air Force Memorial. 

While I have had Ethiopian a few times, I thought it would be a very big cultural leap for a few of my friends to try out. We chose this restaurant because they had a bakery attached to it – best decision EVER (and I will devote a separate post to it).

One of things that I personally think is the biggest hurdle/difference in Ethiopian food is the way it is served. Often food is served on a big spongy/sourdoughy like tortilla called injera. This is probably what keeps me away from Ethiopian food as I am not a huge fan of the tortilla. Served on injera, injera is also the “utensil” you use to eat the food.
We started off with a ginger tea – which was just hot water infused with ginger and a tea packet. Who knew water and ginger would taste so good together – will be using this technique at home.
3/5 of us ordered the veggie platter which came with 5 different vegetable dishes. One of the girls ordered Doro Watt, which was very unique - it came with a chili like sauce, two drumsticks and two boiled eggs. Although we really were not sure what the chili like substance was - it was quite tasty. The other ordered Awaze Tibs - cubed beef in spices - flavored well and very plentiful - she had leftovers for the next day.
If you like Ethiopian food then you will like this place. If you are looking to try something way outside of your box, this is definitely the cuisine to try. 

Would I come back? I am still not a huge fan of Ethiopian food. That being said, the bakery portion of this visit – I will definitely be back in the very near future, a piece of delicious cake for UNDER $5…yes please! 

1503 Columbia Pike
Arlington, VA
Dama Ethiopian on Urbanspoon

Other Ethiopian Restaurants visited
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

DC Chinatown: Happy Hour at District Chophouse

Last week some coworkers and I headed to District Chophouse for happy hour before the CAPS game. We got there on 4 on a Friday and got the last table in the bar area that held more than 2 people. By 5/530 this place was packed.

Cocktails were on happy hour for $6 so we made sure to take advantage and try a variety of them. The initial favorite was Gary’s Shandy (not sure the official ingredients but it included beer, gin and grapefruit juice). I know it sounds like an odd combo but it was ridiculously delicious. My coworkers all tried it and we agreed it was the favorite. However for our last round of the night we all ordered it and they put WAY too much beer in it. Bleh. Other drinks ordered were the Geisha – very fresh but absolutely no hint of sake/wasabi like the description suggests, the Spice Orange and Cinnamon Martini – the perfect fall/winter cocktail, however it was very strong and took me awhile to drink. My other coworkers ordered the Cosmo, the One Martini and the Margarita. All were happy with their choices.
We also tried and assortment of the food happy hour specials (all $7): Chophouse Brown Ale Meatballs, Shaved Prime Rib Sliders, BBQ Chicken Flatbread and BBQ Pulled Chicken Sliders. My favorite was the Chophouse Brown Ale Meatballs – I really enjoyed the sauce (although one coworker thought it was a little too sweet) and the caramelized onions on top. None of the appetizers were standout but they did their job (or would have had we ordered more…whoops!).
Their service was slacking – even before it got busy. Appetizer specials were just ok, but the drink specials were on point. Most of the drinks we ordered were made well and delicious except for the last round of the Shandy’s, which were pretty bad.

Would I come back? Sure, like I’ve mentioned before, I really like it when places have happy hours that include things other than rail drinks - $6 is pretty good for specialty cocktails.

509 7th Street NW
Washington DC
China Town
Gallery Place Metro red/yellow lines 
District Chophouse & Brewery on Urbanspoon

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Barracks Row: Happy Hour at Ambar

The other week Amy and I had a late volleyball game and decided to take advantage of one of the happy hours close by. We settled upon Ambar as they had some great drink and food specials. I actually went to Ambar a few years ago for restaurant week and LOVED a couple of their dishes so I was excited to finally make a trip back. 
For happy hour they offer a couple of drinks and small plates for $4. Naturally I had to try all of the cocktails that they offered for happy hour (don't worry, there are only 3!), including a favorite of mine (I had it once 2 years ago and loved it), Mango Lemonade. They also offer a Margarita and a Mojito. All three were great - the margarita was much better then the one I had at the Mexican restaurant across the street recently. I really liked that care was put into their drinks, I watched him muddle each one (at least the mojito and mango lemonade) - it's nice to go to a happy hour that has something other then beer or rail drinks. 
Amy is a vegetarian so we stuck to the veggie happy hour specials and a few vegetarian dishes. Our favorites were the Fries (not on happy hour but according to their online menu they are), Balkan Salad tomato/pepper/onion/aged cheese and the Urnebes Dip cow’s cheese/ajvar/chili flakes/lavash bread. The Balkan salad was light and fresh – necessary to counteract the heavier dishes we picked. The Urnebes dip was flavorful and a must get for cheese lovers – the chili flakes added a nice punch without being spicy and the ajvar (red pepper relish) gave it a lovely color and flavor. We also ordered the hummus which we thought lacked something and will pass it up next visit.
We also decided to try 2 dishes not on the happy hour menu: A flatbread, White “beli hleb” kajmak/cured aged cow’s cheese/fresh herbs/truffle pasta/olive oil and the Cabbage Casuela “podvarak” braised cabbage/dry pepper/yogurt/lepinja. I was not a huge fan of the flat bread but Amy seemed to like it – I was disappointed that I couldn’t pick up the truffle paste. The cabbage dish was different and delicious – I especially liked the addition of the yogurt. While eating this dish I was immediately transported to the Balkan region.
I really liked their happy hour specials and their servers/bartenders were awesome. The ones that we came across were actually from the Balkan region and he helped us pronounce things the proper way. Always a fun experience.

Would I come back? Yes, I really enjoyed their happy hour and would like to revisit for brunch/dinner sometime! 

523 8th Street SE
Washington DC
Barracks Row
Eastern Market Metro
Ambar on Urbanspoon



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Monday, November 10, 2014

Pasta Carbonara

Disclaimer - this is more of a alfredo/carbonara hybrid dish. I am aware that truly authentic carbonara's don't have cream in them but because I got this recipe out of a book where the title of the recipe is Pasta Carbonara that is what the official name is. This beautiful pasta dish is from the new cookbook, Carmine's Celebrates (review coming later this week) by Chef Glenn Rolnick.
 
That being said, this was a super delicious and amazing recipe - my Carbonara fiend of a friend LOVED it - heck, I loved it. This recipe was very easy to follow and was very delicious - definitely keeping these in my rotation of pasta sauces! It's a great weeknight dish - it probably takes a little under 30 minutes to cook.
 
 
Pasta Carbonara - serves 4
Carmine's Celebrates
Chef Glen Roddick

 
Ingredients
3 oz pancetta - finely diced (I bought mine already diced from Wegmans - if you can't find pancetta, double the bacon)
3 slices thick-cut bacon
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
1 Tbsp chopped shallots
3 Tbsp chopped basil
2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 pint heavy cream
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp  cracked black pepper
1 egg yolk, beaten
3/4 cup grated romano cheese
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
12 ox perciatelli (buccatini), cooked al dente
 
Directions (my comments in bold)
1. Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 2 minutes. Add the bacon and cook until both meats are brown and crisp. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. (this is about when I put the water on to boil for the pasta)
2. Reserve about half of the rendered fat from the bacon and pancetta (discard the rest...I didn't do this as there really wasn't a lot of fat in my pan). Add the garlic and shallots to the pan and sauté until they begin to pick up some color. Add half of the basil and parsley and sauté for 30 seconds.
3. Add the heavy cream, salt, and pepper and cook until the liquid has reduced by half. At that point reduce the temperature to medium and return the bacon and pancetta to the pan, reserving a small portion for garnish. (When I added the cream I turned down the heat until medium, it took approx. 10ish minutes). Remove from heat and whisk in the egg yolk. (make sure you are constantly whisking when you put the egg yolk in so it doesn't become scrambled).
4. When the yolk is completely incorporated, fold in the cheese and the remaining basil, parsley and the butter (I actually forgot the butter but it still turned out amazing). Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat. Transfer to a large serving platter and garnish with remaining pancetta/bacon before serving.

Thoughts/Comments
-This was a pretty easy recipe to follow and it definitely a impressive recipe to share with company. As you can see, it's super easy to make pretty by just adding a little extra pancetta/bacon and herbs on top.
*Breaking news* - the leftovers (2 days old) taste good, they are a little greasy thought.
 
I was sent a copy of this cookbook for review but was not compensated for this post. All thoughts an opinions are my own. Image Map

Monday, November 3, 2014

Best Bites October 2014

Happy Monday! I thought I would try something new and do a “Best Bites” of the month post. Here are some of my favorite dishes/drinks from the month! It’s been a busy month so there hasn't been a lot of time for exploring. Hopefully next month I will have some more must tries for you!

1. Lemon Sourdough Pancakes from Ovvio Osteria. It's kind of embarrassing how many times I have thought about these pancakes the past  month. 
2. Ginger Margarita and The Peacemaker (no photo - but it is a whiskey drink) from True Food Kitchen. With the addition of the ginger - I somehow felt healthy drinking the margarita. Be warned, the ginger does give it a little kick, but it is a welcome one. 
3. Pan Fried Pork and Leek Dumplings from Peking Gourmet Inn (review coming soon, however here are past posts part 1, part 2). If you like dumplings - these are the ultimate dumplings. 

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mosaic District: True Food Kitchen

2910 District Ave #170
Mosaic District
Fairfax, VA
571-326-1616

After all of the hype surrounding True Food Kitchen I finally made it there the other night with my friends Teddy and Sam. True Food Kitchen is a health-focused restaurant that feature dishes that abide by Dr.Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet I've been hearing about ridiculous wait times, and Sunday night when I put our names down we were quotes 50-60 minutes but it only ended up being about 30.

Teddy ordered The Peacemaker $13 buffalo trace bourbon, averna, honey, lemon, heavy brewed black tea and I had the Ginger Margarita (shown below) $13 gran centenario, st. germain, ginger agave, flamed orange. Both drinks were original and fantastic.

Based off the reviews on yelp and the recommendation of one of the bartenders the Edamame Dumplings $9 were a must order. Filled with edamame in a broth with white truffle these were spectacular. A firm believer in (pan)fried dumplings I was able to get past the softer texture because of the complex flavors.

Last minute Sam decided to order the Albacore Tataki $12 – not knowing at all what it was. I figured it was some sort of rawish tuna (I was right, it is slightly seared), and yes, I ate it – a few bites in fact. I’m getting much more daring with trying things. This was good, but not stand out.
I ordered the Teriyaki Brown Rice Bowl with Steak $16 (can also come with tofu or chicken). This was good and exactly what you would expect of a brown rice and teriyaki bowl – absolutely no surprises. The steak was cooked perfectly and there were no weird bits (which is crucial) and the overall dish was very plentiful. While I ate the majority of it, my bottomless pit of a friend ended up polishing it off for me. 

Teddy ordered the Miso Glazed Black Cod $25 which he enjoyed but thought there should be a little more substance to the dish. I snuck a bit of the fish and it was cooked well, but agreed that if you are getting this for a meal you need a little starch or carbs. Sam ordered the Panang Curry with Shrimp $17. He thought this dish was just ok and the potatoes and rice were a little undercooked.
Everyone has been raving about the Squash Pie with Coconut Whipped Cream $7 so that was a must order for dessert. If you are a lover of pumpkin pie then you will love this. The boys loved it while I thought it was good, pumpkin pie isn’t my thing though. However the coconut whipped cream was fantastic. We also decided to try the Flourless Chocolate Cake (GF, VEG) $7 made with 72% Cocoa, Vanilla Cream, Almond Butter and Caramel. This was the cake of my dreams. A chocolate molton cake with caramel oozing out. Serious Perfection. Funny story, Sam decided to take a break when there were only a few bites of dessert left…he went for the chocolate and I had finished it off so he started to reach for the rest of the squash pie, which Teddy quick shoved the last very big bite (like 3 bites worth) into his mouth. If you snooze you lose, especially with dessert.
Our servers were nice, but actual service was a little spotty. They don’t bring you water unless you ask for it – and are quite bad at keeping it refilled. The food was good – there were a lot of Asian influences on the menu which was a little unexpected, but I guess originating from the West Coast it makes sense. If you are looking for a healthier night out where you can have drinks, appetizers, entrees and desserts without feeling like a blob this is the place for you. We all enjoyed everything, and agreed, while the food was good – there is no rush to come back, especially if there is an hour wait.


Would I come back? Probably (the food was good, but I am a pretty good cook and can make certain dishes that I enjoyed at home pretty easily), if I do, it will most likely be for drinks and appetizers/desserts. I would be more inclined to come back if they took reservations or there wasn’t such a long wait all the time. 


True Food Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ovvio Osteria : New Fall Menu

2727G Merrilee Drive
Merrifield, VA
703-573-2161

Four appetizers + four salads + five pastas + three entrees + one pizza + three desserts + four glasses of wine = one fantastic new fall menu (and and even better thursday night!) at Ovvio Osteria. While everything was quite delicious, I've narrowed down a few favorites in each category for you. 

Starting off with the most important thing, drinks & happy hour. Ovvio Osteria has a pretty kick ass happy hour - even including $4 off their cocktails - which based off the one I tried and my dining companions tried is something that needs to be taken advantage of. It's very rare that restaurants offer a deal on any of their specialty cocktails
Out of the appetizers I really loved the White Bean Hummus $9 stewed white beans, roasted garlic, olive oil, balsamic drizzle served with grilled bread. This was incredibly smooth, flavorful and creamy. Pairing with the grilled bread intensified the flavor. Initially I was a little worried that this would be too beany like other versions I've had, but this wasn't the case at all. My other favorite that was the Mozzarella in Corrozza $10 house made mozzarella, brioche, roasted tomato salsa, salsa verde. Umm, hello - fancy grilled cheese as an appetizer. Sign me up. This was amazing and cheesy. Don't fear the salsa verde - it's an Italian verde, made with parsley and basil and other Italiany things. 
Ahh Pasta, how I love you so (excuse the photos, it was dark in the restaurant at this point in the night). Depending on your personal tastes you should be happy with any pasta here. My personal favorite was the Bucatini All'Amatriciana $18 (bottom left). It's a smokey and slightly spicy tomato sauce tossed with homemade pasta - perfection in a dish. Also, I deserve some bragging rights for trying the ravioli you see below - it was made with Veal Sweet Bread. If you can get past the sweet bread part, it really is quite a delicious dish. 
A self-proclaimed pizza expert I can vouch for Ovvio's dough and sauce. We tried a special of the night which was delicious (I also tried a breakfast pizza for brunch and the quality is consistent).  
If you are trying to cut carbs some, there are a couple of delicious options. My personal favorite was The Grilled Hanger Steak $25 carbonara onions, roasted new potato cake, rosemary sauce. The steak was cooked perfectly (which is quite clear looking at the photo below) and the sauce was the perfect accompaniment. The carbonara onions on top were a different, but very nice addition. If you are not a meat eater or looking for something a little lighter then the Grilled Wild Salmon $24 is the perfect option. Salmon is one of the few things from the sea that I will eat and Ovvio's version of salmon was delicious
Now, I normally don't go for dessert after having this complete of a meal but Ovvio offers sorbets and gelatos...and like my uncle says, you always have room for ice cream, it fits in between all the food in your stomach because it melts. There are usually 3 different sorbets and gelatos offered each night and are the perfect option for a little nightcap. 

Would I come back? I have actually been here for brunch 3 times in the past month or so since my original visit! I have not been back for dinner - but it will have to happen in the near future. 

Brunch Take 1
Brunch Take 2

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Ovvio Osteria on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Revisit: Brunch at Ovvio Osteria

2727G Merrilee Drive
Merrifield, VA
703-573-2161

My friends love a good brunch as much as I do. After writing about a recent brunch at Ovvio Osteria and their dollar mimosas my friend Nadia suggested that we spend an afternoon enjoying their mimosas. Since my original visit I have been back two times (dollar mimosas outside of DC is VERY appealing to people). Plus it's very metro accessible so if you live anywhere near a metro - you should check this place out with their mimosa deal! 

One visit a few friends and I decided to split the Sour Dough Pancakes $14 as an appetizer. Best decision ever made. These pancakes were fluffy and lemony and just perfect. The blueberry compote and ricotta infused with honey was the perfect topping. I could eat these all day every day and still think about them every once and awhile. A word of advice, these are super filling and heavy. Be prepared to be stuffed. 
Because I have been here a few times, I/my friends have gotten a chance to try a lot of the menu. Nadia ended up getting a sausage panini which she said was delicious (their sausage is delicious here). She appreciated the greens on the side. Another tried the Carne Frittata $16. I have tried the veggie and the carne frittata and they are both are a little bland for my taste. Even with the addition of the meat, the eggs still needed more flavor.  Up next is the Pancetta Pizza $16 white pizza with pancetta, ricotta, egg and arugula. I prefer my pizzas with sauce so I got some on the side, but this was delicious on its own. They have the crust and quality toppings down. Not shown, but ordered was the Ovvio Breakfast $18 2 eggs any style, potato cake, toast and sausage or bacon. My friend said the eggs were cooked well and everything looked good, but this dish is a bit on the pricey side for what it is -$18 for 2 eggs, a little potato and some meat - expensive compared to the quantity of the other menu offerings. 
For one of my visits I decided to retry the Parmesan Biscuits $14. They have switched this dish up a little since I originally had it. Last time I only got one biscuit with an egg and gravy - this time they gave me two. As I commented last time they still need to work on poaching their eggs and adding a little more sausage gravy. My only other suggestion would be adding something fresh on the side, like mixed greens or fruit or something along those lines to take away from the heaviness of the dish. 
Service is still really lacking here. The servers don't have attitude but they are pretty much non existent. The second time back it was a pain trying to get refills on our mimosas. I've noticed that servers seem to hang out in the kitchen a lot - not sure if they have something they need to be doing in there or it's just where they wait? The third time back it seemed our server was in a rush to get us our check on an almost empty restaurant - perhaps it was the end of his shift? Both times the server never asked us if we preferred bacon or sausage with our meals (for those that came with it) or a biscuit or toast - something else that needs to be worked on. 

Would I come back? Yes, it's a good alternative to going into DC and with it being so close to my house it really is a good option. Plus those pancakes. Service needs to be seriously worked on as I have gone here 3 times in the past month (wow - being less then 10 minutes from me is very appealing) and I have had similar experiences each time. 

Ovvio Osteria on Urbanspoon




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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Blaze Pizza

One of the best opportunities this blog has presented me with is the opportunity to meet and chat with restaurant owners and chefs. It’s such a diverse field and I love being able to see what drives each individual and what the really love about being in the kitchen. 

I was recently given the opportunity to sit down and chat with Chef Brad Kent of Blaze Pizza. Along with learning about his fascinating background and passion for food, I also learned all about the heart and soul that Chef Brad put into creating the perfect formula for pizza here at Blaze. 
 
Chef Brad is involved with every step of the pizza making process - every little nitty gritty detail. Starting with the crust, which he describes as "delicate with a crunch." Taking inspiration from the way the french make baguettes combined with the ratio of the way the Italians make pizza he created a formula for the perfect crust. As far as the cheese, sauce and olive, Brad makes sure that the people who provide the ingredients are passionate about their product and that they love and respect every part of the process. 
A couple of fun facts I couldn't resist asking Chef Brad. 


Best thing I ever ate: An oyster poboy with creole, tomatoes, hotsauce and fried oysters at a Jazz Fest in Nola. 
Go-to Pizza topping: Arugula
Craziest Pizzas Made: Persian – chicken kubideh, saffron potatoes (tadeek style), marinated cucumber salad, shallot yogurt and sumac / Southeast Asain – shrimp, panang red curry, dressing of lime, chili and fish oil finished with crispy shallots
Key Kitchen Tools: Microplane, Nice Blender “you can do anything with a nice blender” 
Key Kitchen Advice: “Don’t be afraid of the heat” and emphasizes the importance of searing – “don’t touch the food until it is ready- listen to your food, it will tell you when it is ready” and“If food comes out bad, don’t always blame yourself, it could be a bad recipe”

We ended up trying three pizzas – I left it up to Chef Brad to decide and we tried the Simple Pie, BBQ Chicken (grilled chicken, mozzarella, red onion, banana peppers, gorgonzola, bbq sauce drizzleand the White Top (white cream sauce with mozzarella, applewood bacon, chopped garlic, oregano, arugula). Being the purist that I am – my favorite was the Simple Pie or Margherita (which if you want it the way I had you will have to give them instructions – but it will be well worth the effort). Surprisingly the BBQ came in at a close second. I say surprisingly because of my strong dislike for gorgonzola but it was put on sparingly which gave it a slight tang that paired perfectly with the drizzle of BBQ.
I also got to sample the s'mores. If you choose to get one of these delicious bites make sure you ask for them to heat it up so the chocolate and marshmallow gets gooey and delicious. What makes these stand out is that instead of graham crackers Chef Brad decided to used digestive crackers which go amazingly with chocolate (I spent a summer abroad eating these for breakfast everyday…whoops)!
Don't worry - I didn't forget how to tell you how to ask them to make the Margherita pizza. To start off you need to ask them to take 1 1/2 halves of mozzarella and ask them to break it off around the pizza. Next ask them to put dollops of red sauce on the crust. Then sprinkle some parmesan on top and put basil leaves around the pie. If you are feeling it you can have them sprinkle some oregano on top and then thats it! Be prepared for amazingness. 

Would I come back? Yes - pizza in 4 minutes? Delicious - I recommend the Margherita but I'm interested in trying their spicy tomato sauce next time!

7101 Democracy Blvd
Besthesda, MD
Blaze Pizza on Urbanspoon

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