Monthly Archives: August 2010

Goodbye, DC!

That’s right, folks. I am both sad and happy to announce that I will be leavingĀ  DC in a few days and hopefully taking this blog with me. I’ll keep my destination a surprise for now, but here’s a hint: it’s always sunny there.

I can’t believe how fast the past 10 months flew by, and I’m eternally grateful to the friends, fellow food bloggers, dining companions, and readers who’ve made my time in DC so memorable. From discovering the best gyro ever, to surviving Smowmageddon, to hunting for Easter eggs at the White House, it’s truly been an amazing time in my life–and I’m so glad I could share it with all of you on this blog. I don’t think I’ll be able to tour the world in 1 day, bump into former Top Chef contestants, or top the meal of a lifetime in my next city, but hopefully I’ll be able to find a dining scene as vibrant and special as DC’s.

And with that, I’m signing off for the week. Til then, happy eating!

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


Shameless Plug #5

In my latest column for Zester Daily, I attended the second annual Korean BBQ Cook-Off in Los Angeles and interviewed contestants and judges on Korean food’s sudden rise in popularity. Chef Ludo Lefebvre (of LudoBites fame), Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold, and award-winning actress Sandra Oh were on hand to offer their thoughts on the trend and answer this burning question: Is kimchi the new sushi?

Here’s an excerpt:

Diners aren’t the only ones embracing Korean cuisine. Chefs are also hopping on the bandwagon, with Korean ingredients and flavors showing up more and more at high-profile restaurants around L.A., including LudoBites, where Lefebvre frequently uses kimchi in his dishes. “Korean food is a big influence in America,” Lefebvre said. “I am French, and I cook a lot with kimchi at my restaurant. I’ve made kimchi foie gras, kimchi with cheese, and now I’m working on a kimchi dessert.”

Korean chefs are incorporating American influences into their native cuisine as well, perhaps playing off the success of Roy Choi’s Kogi tacos. At the Korean BBQ Cook-Off, visitors waited in line for half an hour to try Kalbi Burger and Seoul Sausage Company, which sold Korean-inspired burgers and hot dogs. But it was Choonchun Dakgalbi’s signature dish of chicken, rice cakes, yams and cheese in a spicy red sauce that won the attention of the judges. Cook-off judge Oh presented the restaurant with the award for best fusion dish. “I love the fact that Korean food, especially in LA, is moving forward,” she said. “I’m totally there with you guys to expand Korean flavors.”

Read the full article at Zester Daily. And please Tweet, Like, and forward to your friends!


Estadio: The Last Supper

Before leaving DC, there was one restaurant I had to try: Estadio, the newly opened Logan Circle tapas bar that has garnered much attention from The Washington Post’s Jane Black and Metrocurean’s Amanda McClement. Black wrote about Estadio owner Mark Kuller (who also owns Proof) and chef Haidar Karoum’s journey through Spain to find the most authentic, delectable tapas to serve at their restaurant. McClements provided a sneak peek of the restaurant, full of delicious photos, and later gushed about Estadio’s now infamous slushitos (adult alcoholic slushies). I was salivating after reading both articles, and rushed over for my last supper in DC.

Estadio is a food blogger’s dream to photograph, with its gorgeous Spanish tiles, Gothic wrought ironwork, and antique chandeliers. The space is warm and welcoming, especially with the bar located in the center of the restaurant–it made for a more convivial atmosphere.

After being told we had an hour-long wait for a table ahead of us, we decided to order some drinks. Of course, I had to try the slushito ($9) with quince, paprika, lemon, sherry, and scotch. And yes, it did live up to the hype. The quince added a complex fruitiness to the drink, and tempered the strong alcohol taste of the sherry and scotch. Perfect for a hot DC summer night.

Fortunately, we were seated after only half an hour. We started off the meal with marcona almonds (around $4-6), olives, and pintxos of jamon-wrapped figs, cabrales cheese, and marcona almonds ($2.50 each). I adored the almonds, which were coated in a spice mixture that packed subtle heat. The pintxos, bite-sized tapas from Spain’s Basque region, were simple but delightful, and really showcased the sweetness of the figs and saltiness of the jamon.

Next came the patatas bravas, tortilla espanola ($8), and crispy stuffed squash blossoms ($7). The most memorable out of the three dishes was the tortilla espanola, served with aioli and sweet hot pepperts. The peppers made a classic tapas dish seem new again, adding a spice element that enhanced the flavors nicely. I also enjoyed the squash blossoms, stuffed with a spinach and cheese mixture that oozed out when you bit into the battered, crunchy exterior.Proteins were a bit disappointing. The hangar steak with crushed potatoes and mojo verde ($14) was all right, but nothing special. The potatoes had an unappealing, mealy texture to me and there was barely enough mojo verde to dip the meat in. Duck breast with baby chard, quince and ginger sauce ($14) was overcooked and chewy, and the quince and ginger sauce had no flavor at all. Plus, portions for both dishes were pretty small considering the pricetags.

Dessert was a pleasant surprise after the less than stellar mains. We ordered the panna cotta with strawberry gazpacho ($8): a milky vanilla bean custard sitting atop a pool of refreshing ruby red strawberry gazpacho, dotted with pearls of sweet meringue. It was a light and refreshing way to end the meal.

Though the food wasn’t perfect, I do think Estadio has an appealing atmosphere and fantastic drinks. It’s a great place to meet friends for a drink and share a light meal. But if you’re hungry and in the mood for something more substantial, Estadio might not be your best bet.


1520 14th St. NW

Washington, DC 20005

(202) 319-1404

Estadio on Urbanspoon


Chinatown Coffee Co. Saves the Day

Just as my friend and I were leaving Taylor, happy and full from a fabulous lunch, it started to downpour on us (typical DC). We sought refuge under a random building in Chinatown and waited for the storm to pass. But even though the rain only lasted 20 minutes, we were still completely soaked and in desperate need of a pick- me-up.

Luckily, Chinatown Coffee Co. was there to save the day with its inviting interior, friendly staff, and quality coffee. My latte ($3.09) warmed me up after the unpleasant storm, and the adorable heart-design on top made me smile. Chinatown Coffee Co. serves coffee from all over the world, including Intelligentsia and Counter Culture, two of my favorite coffee purveyors. The baristas expertly brew the coffee and are happy to offer recommendations.

Chinatown Coffee Co. also seems like a perfect place to work or take refuge from the traffic and noise (and in my case, rain) outside. Next time, I plan to bring my computer and blog from there!

Chinatown Coffee Co.

475 H St. NW

Washington, DC 20001

(202) 559-7656

Chinatown Coffee Company on Urbanspoon


Top-Notch Ingredients at Taylor Gourmet

After reading about Taylor Gourmet in Tim Carman’s annual Washington City Paper Dining Guide, I knew I had to try one of their famed roast pork hoagies before I left DC (note: I’m in Los Angeles for the next couple weeks!). To make the sandwich, Taylor Gourmet co-founder Casey PattenĀ  marinates Niman Ranch pork shoulders overnight with salt, thyme, rosemary, and garlic and then slow-roasts it for about four hours until they’re juicy and tender. He finishes the pork with a homemade pork stock for extra moisture and intense flavor.

The meat isn’t the only ingredient getting star treatment at this sandwich shop. Breads are also taken very seriously–so seriously, in fact, that owners Casey Patten and David Mazza have their rolls driven in everyday from Sarcone’s, an Italian bakery in Philadelphia that’s been in business since 1918.

Taylor’s commitment to top-notch ingredients certainly shined through in the Market Street ($7.20 for a 6″) sandwich I ordered. Every component was fresh as can be: warm sliced pork topped with sprightly green arugula, sweet roasted red peppers, and bite-sized chunks of fresh mozzarella, all packed into one of those famous Sarcone’s sub rolls. The roll was crusty enough to hold together, even with the generous amount of fillings, and anchored the sub nicely.

Based on my first experience at Taylor, I’d love to come back and try some of their other subs–like the South Street made with tomato, pesto, goat cheese, and your choice of breaded or grilled chicken. Or their newest creation, the Cherry Street, slow-roasted slices of rosy-pink beef topped with double-cream brie, roasted garlic spread, and a handful of arugula served on that unforgettable Sarcone’s roll. All of Taylor’s subs are named after streets in Philadephia, paying homage to the owners’ hometown. And best of all, nothing on the menu tops $10–a steal for sandwiches made from such high-quality ingredients.

The aesthetic at Taylor Gourmet is just as pleasing as the food: spare and modern, with exposed brick walls, wood tables, and black industrial light fixtures hanging from the ceiling. I’m not sure if this is the case at the H St. location, but the K St. location opens up to the street, letting in lots of fresh air and sunlight during the day. The only problem is that plenty of heat and humidity are let in as well, making for a somewhat uncomfortable dining experience temperature-wise. If it’s like this all the time, especially during in the summer, I’d probably go for take-out instead.

Taylor Gourmet

485 K St. NW

Washington, DC 20001

(202) 289-8001


1116 H St. NE

Washington, DC 20002

(202) 684-7001

Taylor Gourmet II on Urbanspoon