Sunday, March 27, 2011

Egg in the Basket

As I have shown in the past I barely keep any food in my refrigerator. So when times are tough or when I'm too lazy to go out an get some quick food I scramble whatever food I have into a quick meal.

One of my go to recipes is called egg in the basket and is one of the simplest and quickest meals you can make. I found out about it while watching the film V for Vendetta. There was one scene were they were cooking it and I was very interested in trying to replicate this meal. I saw a quick tutorial and was easily able to reproduce it.

All you need to make this is

1 Egg
1 Piece of bread & butter.

You cut out a hole in the center of the bread using a small cup or anything you can find with a small enough diameter to fit in the middle of the bread. Next you butter what you have left and put it on a hot pan. Lightly toast both sides of the bread before putting your egg on.

(Egg in the Basket)

After this is done put your egg to cook on both sides. The amount of time you cook it depends on how you want your egg done. I do it for no more than 1 minute on each side because I like my egg runny, you can cook it longer if you want your egg solid.

This literally takes no more than 5 minutes to cook and is both light and healthy if you have the right kind of bread. I add a pinch of salt, tabasco and a hint of mustard to make a quick breakfast or post run snack. A quick Youtube tutorial can be found here if you need more help

Pica Taco

There is an age old saying that the simplest things in life are always the best. This philosophy can be best applied when it comes to food. Every culture has that one meal that is so easy to make yet tastes so magnificent. In Mexican cuisine this dish is the taco which takes us to our next restaurant.

Pica Taco recently opened two locations in what was a traditionally Hispanic neighborhoods of Columbia Heights (more towards U St.) & Adams Morgan. They pride themselves on serving patrons authentic Mexican cuisine.

If you are looking to introduce yourself to Mexican cuisine look no further. While it may not fully encompass everything Mexico has to offer they do a good job replicating the food. If you are a novice you can dig into a traditional Mexican sandwich, also called a torta or you can go with what you know and have a cheesy enchilada.

I on the other hand came for what I heard they do best which is their magnificently delicious and traditional tacos. My first visit came when I was looking for a quick hangover remedy on a cool Saturday morning. I decided to go with their breakfast tacos which are made like any Latin family would make them.

Taking my fist bite brought back memories of eating breakfast at home. These tacos were spot on in both flavor and preparation. The eggs were prepared in a traditional Latin method using fresh bell peppers topped with cheese and black beans. After my meal was done my hangover had disappeared and I was ready to conquer the day.

(Breakfast Taco's)

My next visit came during a quite Monday night. I decided to grab a quick bite to eat right after work. The weather was nice so I decided to walk home and with this place relatively near my house I decided to eat here. I was bit hungry so I decided to order one fish, a barbacoa and a chicken taco. I was also pleasently delighted to see that they had a vast selection of imported sodas as well a solid choice of Mexican beers.

I decided to go with my favorite, a bottled coca cola which is made with real sugar not corn syrup. I got my order and took a seat at which point I could not help but draw the parallels between this place and the run in the mill taco stands I used to go to in Honduras. From the simple menu to the bottled sodas everything seemed to be exactly the same.

I started off with the chicken taco which I topped with salsa verde (green sauce). The chicken emenated with flavor and spice which blended well with the fresh cilantro and pico de gallo. Next I went for the barbacoa which was juicy and succulent and faired just as well as the chicken. I saved what I thought would be the best for last. Mexico is renowned for their fish taco's as most of you know so the hype I put behind it was extraordinary. I am saddened to say that it did not, in fact the taco was actually bad. The tilapia lacked any real flavor and the accoutrement added no extra flavor to salvage the dish.

(Barbacoa, Fish & Chicken Taco)

Aside from that minor disappointment I really did enjoy my tacos. As I left I saw a big black sign on the wall which said "El Torro Burrito". Looking at it with a modicum of interest I discovered that it was a food challenge. I later told a couple of friends about this and was met with unprecedented enthusiasm.

We decided to sign up for the challenge which consists of eating a 4 pound burrito in 45 minutes. I knew that I could never accomplish this feat but did not shy from the challenge. We joined another group of friends and convened on the U St. location on a Saturday afternoon. I arrived late but was in an utter state of shock to discover the sheer amount of attention that this had garnered. The restaurant was literally packed with people cheering on these brave souls.

(El Torro Burrito Challenge)

Originally I had an intuitive plan which called for an excruciating workout prior to the challenge in an attempt to gain the extra hunger I needed to slay this gigantic beast. Those plans were quickly derailed by the massive hangover that I woke up to. I tried all day to get over it but there was no budging, in fact when I arrived (late I might add) I was still feeling the side effects of last nights debauchery.

Needless to say I toughed it out and tried my hardest but on this day I was not able to channel my inner Adam Richman and failed miserably. I would like to point out that I did not throw up as did one competitor but I probably ate the least.

(45 minutes later this is all I was able to eat)

I have to say that the challenge was very exciting, the crowd definitely amplified this feeling and I don't regret trying it. For those that are interested the challenge happens every couple of weeks and the burrito only costs $15 which is a steal. You can see the highlights of this challenge by checking this video out.

All in all I have nothing but good things to say about Pica Taco. They serve great authentic food, the service is spot on, the prices are fair and the atmosphere is solid. So if you are in the mood to eat south of the border I would recommend giving this place a shot.

Stylish Blog Award

I would love to write this post to thank every person that has taken the time to read any of my posts. I started this blog to share my thoughts on the food I eat. I never had any sort of expectations about how it would fare, I only knew that I loved food and I am the type of person who likes to try new places.

Lately my blog has picked up some unprecedented attention. I have been invited to blog about new restaurants and have also been asked to have my blog posts on other sites. Now I am in the running of winning the stylish blog award.

At this point I would like to thank Amy who one of my best supporters who also has a great food blog on the west coast. Food and Booze details the travels of a good friend, she focuses more on posting her own recipes than trying places, but it is a great blog nonetheless. Thanks again Amy!!

Rules of the Game

1. Thank the person who gave me the award, make a post and put a link back to the person.
2. Share seven things about myself.
3. Pass the award to 10 recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award.

Seven things about myself.

1. I was born and raised in DC (the actual city, not a suburb or MD/VA)
2. I love to try any and all food.
3. I hate most chain's, especially Subway, McDonalds, and Starbucks.
4. I am an avid runner which explains why I can eat so much food an not gain any weight.
5. I never feel the sensation of hunger (ironic huh), by that I am never really hungry, I just eat out of necessity.
6. I don't drink coffee, I have only had it 3 times in my life.
7. The more I blog about food the harder my decisions are about what to eat. At lunch I find myself thinking for 10-20 minutes about what to eat.

Blogs that deserve this award


At this point in time I have catalogued seven food trucks. I am in the process of writing reviews for another four. During this time I questioned whether I had reached the plateau of food quality from these mobile vendors. While there were a few exceptions among the crowd, the overall quality of the food was tinkering slightly above average.

That notion was quickly put to rest when I sampled Sâuçá. I had seen great reviews of both Yelp and Urbanspoon so I decided to give them a shot. My first encounter came during a cool January afternoon when they parked their station at the George Washington University campus. I decided to invite my sister to join me in sampling this highly regarded mobile food vendor.

Upon my arrival I laid witness to the most diverse selection of food I have seen not only in a food truck but at any restaurant I have been to. Their eight wraps, three soups and three salads span just about every region and continent on the globe. Out of the various options I had to choose from I took the safe choice and went with the fish taco's and a small chicken mulligatawny soup. The former which is called a Mexicali is a spin off of a traditional Latin American dish while the latter is a traditional Indian soup.

The Mexicali blends several different recipes to produce the behemoth wrap you see below you. It consists of vibrant cilantro marinated fish covered in a sweet mango pico de gallo sauce, topped with cabbage and then drizzled with a hot chili sauce. My first bite of this wrap was met with a barrage of different flavors which my palate could barely synthesize. Each bite took me on a roller-coaster of flavor the likes of which I did not want to depart from. To say I enjoyed this meal would be an understatement. I did not believe that you could put so many different flavors into a small wrap but somehow it was done. The soup was a good compliment to the frigid weather and was very flavorful.

(Mexicali Fish Taco)

The delight I experienced from my first encounter made me want to further sample their diverse menu. On my next venture I decided to sample their highly popular Pork Banh Mi. This wrap which draws it's origins from Vietnam is made up of pork infused with ginger, soy and chili, toped off with pickled veggies and lathered with peanut and coconut sauces.

I love Vietnamese food, Pho is one of my favorite dishes, but after trying this I have a special place in my heart for Vietnamese cuisine. After devouring this I was honestly speechless. The flavors mixed perfectly producing one of the best (you heard it) wraps/sandwiches I have EVER eaten. If you don't believe me look at the reviews on Yelp, The Washington Post, Urbanspoon, etc. you will see several rave reviews for this specific sandwich.

(Pork Banh Mi)

I think I have said all the positive things I could have said about Sâuçá. Their food speaks for itself and their popularity has blossomed because of it. They are the only vendor outside of Curbside Cupcake to have more than one food truck. At this point in time they have four trucks that hit different locations every day. I tried to visit this past week to sample their Mumbai Butter Chicken but was informed that they were all sold out of food when I arrived.

I may be going out on a limb here but I am declaring that this is THE BEST FOOD TRUCK IN DC. Not only are the prices fair but the food is both diverse and great. You can track their daily location on Twitter or Facebook or look on Food Truck Fiesta. They do take both cash and credit cards, lines are avearage and the wait is short. I look forward to sampling their entire menu which will be easier now since the weather is getting nicer.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sprinkles Cupcake

The local war of cupcakes has been a battle primarily dominated by two establishments both in the Georgetown neighborhood. Now a new competitor has entered the scene. Southern California based Sprinkles has imported their talents and nation wide prestige into the mix.

Now Georgetown is the scene of a three way battle for the bragging rights for the best cupcakes in DC. My office is the breeding ground for debate on this topic and we are given plenty of chances to sample the competition. I decided to take a sneak peak by going during their grand opening.

I was greeted by a relatively long line and cameras both of which are reminiscent of a weekend in the Georgetown Cupcake line. The wait took no longer than five minutes which was great seeing as though I am not fond of waiting in line for food.

Upon entering I laid witness to a pristine selection of the aesthetically modern morsels you see below. Seeing as though this was my first time there I decided to order flavors that were unique only this this establishment. I decided to channel my inner gluten and get the chocolate marshmallow.

I was promptly given my order which I smuggled into my office so as to not arouse any of my cupcake crazed coworkers. After eating it I was a bit baffled, the flavors were there but it seemed too bland. Two days later I decided to try the lemon which was fantastic. The icing was superb and the little hard candy that comes on all their cupcakes was splendid as well.

Next came the first office party where me and my coworkers celebrated a couple birthdays with an array of cupcakes and pie. During this party I sampled the red velvet which was on par with both Baked & Wired and Georgetown Cupcake, their carrot which was good and their coconut which I found to be a bit overwhelming.

(Orange, Strawberry, and Cinnamon Sugar)

My last encounter came this past weekend when I decided to take home the three flavors you see above. Of the three I found the orange to be the best and one in which I highly recommend you trying. The Strawberry was good but not great and the cinnamon sugar was very delightful.

I would have to say off all the cupcake places that I have tried Sprinkles has the best icing which is the most vital part of the cupcake. But their downside lies in the fact that the cake itself is not as flavorful as their competitors.

It is always good to have competition and the arrival of Sprinkles only heightens the cupcake war. Their arrival has irked some (hint: the competitors) mainly because it is a chain which tend to kill the independent shops but needless to say they are here and will be staying as long as cupcakes are in vogue.

Their shop also offers a number of other items including the dog treats you see above you as well as bottled Coca Cola!!!! Cupcakes cost $3.50 each and there is no bundling discount. You can order online and pick it up in the store which is nice. The lines are nowhere near as absurd as Georgetown Cupcake but do go outside the door from time to time.

All in all this is a great place to get one of these popular treats. So if you are in Georgetown try if you might to to a Cupcake Crawl (I should patent the term) and see which one you like best. Stay tuned for my breakdown in the near future.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bistro La Bonne

The next restaurant on our U St. expedition is the chic French restaurant Bistro La Bonne. Formerly Axis bar and grill this rustic café serves up traditional French cuisine to the culturally diverse U St. corridor. I for one was ecstatic when it opened last year mainly because French cuisine is heavily confined to Georgetown and North Dupont.

My first encounter was for a quick beer last summer before I started blogging. I remember enjoying the décor, the exposed brick lined with French memorabilia really gives it a European vibe. I had meant to return but put if off for a while until this month when I entertained two great friends.

Our evening started off by arriving past our reservation time. Being a Saturday night on U St. this spells nothing but problems as they were booked out with the occasional couple coming in to try and snag any available table. After waiting for a bit we decided to get ordering our meals from the bar.

(Photo brought to you by Yelp)

We decided to start off our meal with one of the most popular French/Belgian dishes moules en frites. Served in a bucket with your choice of broth these crustaceans are one of the restaurants most popular dishes and happy hour special. If you are daring you can create your own stew by adding a variety of ingredients.

Our bartender recommended that we order the Moules Mariniere which are steamed in white wine and topped with shallots, garlic and parsley. His advice was spot on, we all enjoyed it so much so that one of my friends began drinking the broth and soaking it up with our complimentary bread.

(Moules Marinieres)

Next I decided to order a side of Ratatouille. A cornerstone of French culture this peasant dish is simple yet masterful in the flavors it evokes, enough even to warm the heart of the harshest food critique (movie reference here). I have never tried this dish and was never able to find it at any French restaurant that I have been to so I was ecstatic to find out that it was served here. I enjoyed my introduction to the dish and hope to try it elsewhere so that I have a proper barometer.


Next we decided to exit peasentry and order a more bourgeois dish. We ordered a plate of escargot and French Rooster. The escargot which deviates from its traditional serving comes out of the shell. They were far better than the escargot I had at Bistro Francais and Cafe La Ruche mainly because the butter and garlic was nowhere near as overwhelming to the palate. The seasoning and proportions fared well and were fantastic both by themselves or atop of a fresh piece of French bread.


Our last dish was the aforementioned rooster that both friend and I wanted to order prior to coming here. I was simply interested in tasting the differences between a rooster and a hen. Our meal came in a warm pot and was prepared as a stew with an assortment of vegetables, tortellini all atop a creamy sauce. To put it simply the dish was fantastic. The juicy and succulent chicken was cooked perfectly and the sauce emanated with flavor. We both took our turns devouring this dish and were promptly thrown into a food coma.

In the end we were all pleasantly satisfied with the overall meal which was fairly priced for what we ate. We decided to skip on dessert mainly because of our current condition and somehow managed to lift ourselves from our state of comatose and hit up the bars on U St.

(Coq au Vin)

Overall I was pleased with my experience. The food is great, the prices are reasonable and the service was prompt, I look forward to coming here in the summer for a happy hour and enjoy their outdoor seating which is confined to three tables.

I want to return to try their French Onion Soup, Quiche Loraine and Brunch all of which have received rave reviews. So if you are on U St. I would give this place a shot, their take on French cuisine follows the norm and they have a number of unique dishes that are sure to impress.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Vietnam Georgetown Restaurant

There is a prevailing notion that "Mom and Pop" restaurants seem to serve the most culturally authentic foods. When it comes to Vietnamese food this philosophy is at it's most pronounced. So when looking for authentic Vietnamese food you are limited to this style of restaurant.

As you can see by both the name and picture below Vietnam Georgetown Restaurant has to be the diviest restaurant in all of Georgetown. Uncharictaristly located on M St. this restaurant serves up some great authentic Vietnamese cuisine.

Vietnamese food runs near and dear to me so when I discovered this place I had immediately to sample their menu. My affinity towards this type of food was nutured during my early teenage life when my parents used to take me to 7 corners in Virginia to a mini mall which is infused with Vietnamese culture.

We went to a number of different restaurants my favorite of which served two dishes that I could never live without. The first is the appetizer you see below. Bun Cha Gio are traditional Vietnamese egg rolls that are filled with pork, carrots and jicama which are then deep fried. In my opinion this is one dish you have to try before you die. They are the best egg rolls that I have ever had by a long shot. Full of flavor these rolls have a taste profile of their own and cannot be described in words.

(Bun Cha Gio)

I was delighted that they had this dish and it was served in its traditional style unlike their direct competitor Miss Saigon Restaurant. I followed this up with the most influential dish in Vietnamese cuisine, Pho Bo is a rich noodle soup served in either a beef (Bo) or chicken (Ga) broth. The preparation for this dish takes is arduous to say the least but the by-product is heavenly.

The Pho at this place is served in it's traditional style and is slightly above average which is a godsend because most of the great Pho is located in northern Virginia. The soup was both rich and flavorful, adding the plum sauce with a side of shrimp toast and you are in business. Every time I come here I devour this soup with a unmeasurable rage which is followed by a feeling nirvana.

(Pho Bo)

On my last visit I decided to try something I have never had. I ordered my usual spring rolls and a spicy lemongrass soup with shrimp. The broth was full of flavor and the lemongrass added an extra dimension which was very pleasent. I was very pleased with it and will make it a go to soup on a cold day or when I am sick.

The one shortfall with this place is the service. I went with some of my coworkers around 12:30, at that time it was at capacity yet there was only one old lady acting as both the maitre d' and the sole waitress. It took us about 5 minutes to get seated an additional 10 minutes to get water and our menus. So to say the service during peak hours is atrocious is an understatement.

(Canh Chua Sa)

To alleviate this problem I tend to go after the initial lunch rush. When I do this the service jumps exponentially. I never have any problems and am in and out within 40 minutes. There is nothing nice to say about the decor but I guess it comes with the territory of being a dive restaurant. I'm not much a stickler for these nuances as long as the food is tasty and the prices are fair both of which are so with this establishment.

All in all this is a solid place to get authentic Vietnamese food, the service can be horrible if you go during peak hours but people keep coming which says something about the food they serve. So if you are in the neighborhood I would recommend giving this place a shot, especially if you are a enthusiast for Vietnamese cuisine. I promise you that you will not be disappointed.

Unlike other dive Vietnamese places (mainly in Virginia) they accept credit cards. But they do share the same quality of food as well as the atmosphere associated with any authentic Vietnamese restaurant.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Muncheez Mania

For the most part all of the restaurants in Georgetown are well established and have been in business for several years. There are several reasons for this which I will get into a some point in the future. But recently a wave of new dining options have changed the landscape of this historically prominent neighborhood.

One of these new restaurants is Mucheez Mania which opened last year near the busy intersection of M St. & Wisconsin Avenue. I first noticed this establishment when I was shopping at Rugby. It was a semi-warm afternoon and there was a short line outside near a window where you can order crepes to go.

Semi-interested I decided to invite a group of coworkers for lunch there. Upon entering I was immediately puzzled at the swank decor and retro hip-hop playing in the background. I quickly asked myself if I was in the same time period and if I was in a club. The music and mix's were reminiscent of an above average DJ which to this day still puzzles me as I have never been in a restaurant like this.

Leaving the aesthetics behind I previewed the menu and decided to order the grilled chicken and cheese wrap which comes with a variety of vegetables and a ranch sauce. My coworkers got a beef brisket cheese steak and a nutella and banana crepe. While I did eat all of my wrap it didn't find it to be too appetizing, my coworker was disappointed with his brisket and my other coworker seemed to enjoy her crepe. All in all we were thought it was an average meal.

(Grilled Chicken & Cheese Wrap)

But as I do with every place I write about I check it more than once to give me a clearer more objective picture. On my second visit I decided to take a friend of mine. For some reason I was in the mood for a hot dog that day. I had noticed from the last time I went that they had a wrap that came with a hot dog so I decided to go with my instincts and try it out. I ordered the Frankfurter which comes with a hot dog, cheese, chips and onions. Essentially a hodgepodge of stadium food all put in a wrap.

I was surprised to uncover that I deviously enjoyed this coronary nightmare. The flavors meshed well and the hot dog was extremely delicious. My friend shared this and an order of french fries as we sat back and listed to the solid hip-hop playlist in the background.

(Frankfurter Wrap)

During my last visit I was in the mood to get something light and healthy so I decided to try one of their hand made pita wraps. I ordered the Nana's original which comes with an assortment of vegetables including tomatoes, olives and cucumbers mixed with thyme and greek yogurt.

I can easily say that this is the best meal I had from them, it easily surpassed the previous two wraps not only in terms of flavor but also its nutritional value. I was also shocked that they were able to make olives taste good (FYI I hate olives).

(Nana's Original)

All in all Muncheez Mania offers a variety of food which is hit or miss in my opinion. The outdoor window is a nice touch and is now open since the weather is getting warmer. They are also open until 3:30 AM on the weekends which makes this place a solid destination if you bar hoping in Georgetown.

I don't think I will go here too often but I will have to try some more of their vegetarian options and crepes when I do. The service is spot on, the cliental are very nice and the music is very unique. So if you are in the area you should give this place a shot.