Toki Underground

What do you do when you are in D.C. and get a hankering for ramen that wont go away? You go to TOKI UNDERGROUND! Located in Northeast D.C. this restaurant is a hole in the wall that can be a bit hard to find. contrary to it’s name, Toki Underground is actually nestled above a pub. Blasting hip hop on it’s speakers, manga on the walls, skateboards as railings,  28 bar stools for seating, this is truly an urban hipster paradise.

 

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There was a wait to be seated due to the high demand. Once we were we started with kimchi and pan fried vegetarian dumplings.

And then moved onto the Taipei Curry Chicken Ramen which consisted of a curry infusion broth with fried chicken, greens, soft egg, and pickled ginger; and the Vegetarian Ramen, with tofu, daikon, seasonal pickles, shiitake, greens, and marinated kombu.

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I can definitely say that I left feeling satisfied. So if you are in Northeast and get a hankering for ramen make sure to stop by Toki Underground!

Riverside Hot Pot

For those of you in the DMV, I’m sure you understand when I say this area has been going through some things. We are in May, but the weather has been unusually nippy and the sun has been on hiatus for, what feels like, months. Because being outside wasn’t a top choice a friend and decided to try Chinese hot pot at Riverside Hot Pot.

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Located in Gaithersburg, the restaurant has a casual intimate feel that immeadiately makes you feel welcome. Once seated the waiter presents you with a checklist for your selection of the broth base (for the soup), meats, veggies, and add-ins. While the soup add-ins are shared, each diner has an individual hot pot. Allowing for personalized soups with endless choices from the menu of more than 24 items. That and the fact that the restaurant is all you can eat (Yayyyy!!!!) made it amazing!

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Once we made our selections it was a matter of waiting. But it was definitely worth it! Initially the two of us were overwhelmed the amount of food, because we ordered pretty much everything on the menu. But once we started eating it was a wrap.

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So if you’re looking for a great place to eat and a new experience to try. Stop over at Riverside Hot Pot.
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OMG! There’s Coconut in my Spinach!

Awhile back I was going through a vegan phase, and wanted to experiment with ways to eat my veggies apart from stewing and steaming. I tried coconut cream of Spinach at a restaurant and had to give it a go. A traditional Cream of Spinach dish is dairy based. You start with heavy cream, add seasoning and them the spinach. It’s really the not the healthiest. Coconut Cream of Spinach has the same idea but instead the cream base is substituted with coconut milk. This gives the spinach a light sweet subtle coconut flavor which is absolutely delish. So let’s get started!

You need:

1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

½ yellow onion, chopped

Pinch of salt

3 teaspoons Yellow Curry

1 can Coconut Milk

4 cups of Spinach

 

Take your pan and lightly oil. Then place on the burner for a minute or so until the oil warms up.

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Add the onions. Mix so it’s lightly coated and let it cook until tender.

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Take the can of coconut milk, shake vigorously to mix it. Now open and add to the pan. Allow it to cook for about 10 minutes.

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Add the curry and Salt to the coconut milk, stir in. And wait for the combination to come to a low boil.

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It’a now time to add the spinach. Add handfuls at a time to the pan and spoon the coconut milk over it. It initially seems like it’s too much spinach but it wilts so don’t worry.

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Cover and let it cook for 5 minutes, and add more spinach if you wish. Voila! You’re done, a vegan tasty concoction that can go with pretty much anything from rice to meats. 😉

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Baking & Roasting My Chicken

My week has been pretty hectic and I’ve been looking for meal ideas that are delicious, but require little prep work. So while at the grocery store when I came across a 6 dollar bird a light bulb went off and I immediately knew what I would be making. Roasted Chicken with potatoes, a “one pot meal” of sorts.

What You Need:

1 Small Whole Chicken

1/2 A head of Cabbage

1 Yellow Bell Pepper

1 Yellow Onion

6 Baby Red Potatoes

1 tablespoon of unsalted butter

2 tablespoons of Chimichurri

2 tablespoon Olive Oil

Salt

1 baking pan

Mrs. Dash

Curry Powder

First preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Wash and cut vegetables and place in baking pan.
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Drizzle olive oil over them and add a dash of curry, salt and Mrs. Dash. Toss the vegetables to make sure everything is covered with the oil and seasoning.BC 2

Take the chicken, rinse with water and remove the giblet and other goodies.  Pat dry with paper towels. Place in the pan with the vegetables and rub with the unsalted butter. Follow with the chimichurri and rub all parts of the bird with as much of the sauce as you desire. (You can replace this with the seasoning of your choice). Stuff the bird with some of the potatoes you’ve seasoned.BC 3

Take a piece of aluminum foil and cover the pan. Place in the oven and cook for an 1 hour 20 minutes. 40 minutes into the bake time remove the foil.BC 4

After the the bird has finished baking take it out and enjoy. As you can tell from the picture below I got carried away and forgot to take a picture before i started to serve myself :). Enjoy!!

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Shimmy for the Chimichurri!

My co-worker introduced me to true greatness when she brought in some “adobe sauce” as dip for for pita chips. The mix of olive oil, parsley, cilantro, garlic, and jalapeno really pushed the snack over the edge and gave it the ultimate status. So I had to make it for myself.

After researching for a bit I discovered the”adobe sauce” that my co-worker had given me was actually called Chimichurri. An Argentinean condiment that is used to spruce up meats, and vegetable dishes. In a way it’s the ketchup of Latin America.

Because of the green nature of the sauce I decided to push it a bit further and add an unusual twist to the recipes I saw by adding spinach, for the cocktail of vitamins it offers, and cucumber, for vitamin K. The difference in the taste of the sauce is extremely subtle, so I managed to retain the taste while adding more nutritional content. Below is my take on this simple but awesome sauce. The sauce which I have been using to spruce up pretty much anything from rice to sushi.

What you need:

1/4 Yellow Onion

1 clove Garlic (if you like garlic add more)

1 jalapeno (or pepper of choice)

3 mini snacking cucumbers

2 cups Spinach

1/4 cup Parsley

1/4 cup Cilantro

1/3 cup Olive Oil

2 teaspoons salt

First gently wash your vegetables. Keeping the spinach and herbs in a separate container as they are more fragile.

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Next place your spinach, salt and herbs in the food processor with the olive oil and blend.

Now chop up your vegetables and add them to the processor and blend.

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Voila!!!! Your Chimichurri is ready. It was so quick and easy that it doesn’t even feel as if you were cooking. 😉

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All I See Is Green….

Green is really all I’m seeing at the moment. Except it’s not money :(. Lol! Oh Well it’s something better. Sauteed Kale and Spinach. Just how is it better you ask? Well Kale is high in vitamin K, iron, and antioxidants. While Spinach makes you as strong as Popeye the sailor. Seriously Spinach has vitamin B6, zinc and a whole slew of other things. But together the two greens make you beautiful both inside and out. And who doesn’t want to be beautiful?

What you need:
1 medium size pan
4 cups of Kale
4 cups of Spinach
2 tbspoons of Olive Oil
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of Dill Weed
1 teaspoon of Parsley
1 teaspoon of crushed Coriander Seeds
Sea Salt for taste

ks 2After placing my Kale and Spinach in a bowl to the side, the first thing I did was prep my
coriander seeds. I measured it out and placed it in a zip-lock bag, then crushed it with a cup. Easy.

I did the same with my garlic.

ks 1After completing this I then took my pan coated it with the olive oil and added my garlic, dill weed, parsley, and coriander. I put this over medium heat until my garlic started to become translucent. Do not allow the garlic to brown.

 

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Next, I added my spinach and kale to the oil mixture in the pan. I made sure to coat the greens with the oil and spices. I also added salt to taste. To keep this on the healthy side, make sure you don’t add too much salt that promotes hypertension. (Just saying) Cook the greens for about 5 minutes max. Let them wilt slightly.

ks 5Voila! You’re done and have a healthy meal. This can go well with potatoes, salmon, rice. Pretty much anything. So give it a whirl.

 

 

20150723_174720Enjoying Wagyu Beef Ginger Potsitckers at Bonefish Grill, while my friends enjoyed Bang Bang Shrimp, and burgers. This restaurant is a good location for happy hour. For a more formal dining experience you can stay inside, but for a casual eating outside is the best. Waiters ask you where you want to sit, seat you then give you the menu. The food is reasonable priced and their happy hour options are plentiful (for those who drink). If you are looking for a way to decompress after work be sure to check out Bonefish.

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Bone Fish Grill

Let’s Get to Stewing!

One thing you notice quickly when dealing with West African Cuisine is that the basis of most sauces (stews going forward) are tomatoes. Making Cabbage Stew? Start with tomatoes. Agushi Stew? Start with tomatoes. Making Spinach Stew?…You get the idea 🙂 It’s pretty clear that once you’ve mastered how to create a tomato stew then you’re set for life.

Tomato stew isn’t just a base. It acts as a stand alone sauce and can be eaten with a variety of things such as yams, rice, plantain, gari, pasta, even bread! Only your imagination can limit its usage. So let’s get you started!!!

What you need:

1 medium size saute pan

1 tablespoon olive oil (any oil of your choice)

1 1/2 medium tomato

1 clove of garlic

1/2 yellow onion

Salt

Pepper

Mrs. Dash Original Seasoning

First cut your vegetables andts2
set them aside. Take the saute pan and coat the bottom with oil. Now add the onions and garlic.Stir with a wooden spatula to cover them with oil. Turn on stove and cook at a medium heat.

Allow for the onions and garlic to wilt and start to approach translucency.

Add the tomatoes.ts3

Stir everything together and allow it to cook for about 5 minutes.

Now add salt, pepper, and a dash of Mrs. Dash to the stew. (Seasoning is to taste so feel free to doctor.)

Mix well and allow the stew to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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As you’re cooking your stew will look very liquidy, don’t worry as it continues to cook the water will evaporate. After 10 minutes your stew should be done.ts10

Voila! You’ve made West African tomato stew; you are now ready to conquer the world. Enjoy ;).

Tazza Kitchen

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Tazza Kitchen is a gem that can be found in Arlington, VA. The restaurant has a very rustic and cozy feel, offering a mix of Mexican and Mediterranean cuisines. 

My friends and I decided to meetup after work for dinner, and we were glad we did. From the menu we ordered a Kale and Chile Salad containing pine nuts, lemon vinaigrette, and grana padano with chicken added to the salad for protein; with Chicken. Fish and Chorizo tacos. The Chicken taco was divine with smoky tomato jam, pequin slaw, pico de gallo, and the crema. The Fish was just as good with tomatillo confit, pickled red onion, radish & jicama, calabrese mayo, crunchy quinoa. I didn’t have the Chorizo, with the fingerling potatoes, avocado, salsa verde, pickled red onions, queso fresco, but my friends raved about it so I’m assuming it was delish.

For dessert we decided to split a warm Apple Crumble containing toasted hazelnuts, apple slices soaked in rye whisky, citrus, and thyme topped with a poppy seed semifreddo which pushed it from great to simple awesomeness in my mouth. We ended up ordering another. Then there was the Chocolate Budino with Olive Oil and toasted almonds, a chocoholic’s dream.

We had to take ourselves inside due to unexpected rain but barring that we would definitely return. The food was delicious, and the wait staff was pleasant. Check it out if you’re ever in the area.

 

Soretti’s

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I felt like Ethiopian so I decided to stop by Soretti’s with a friend. The restaurant has an intimate feel with a bar dominating the bulk of the space and tables spread out for customers who came in groups. There is a TV playing Ethiopian music videos and an assortment of African artwork scattered about.The menu is pretty clear cut, so that even the most unadventurous eater will find something.

Just to be clear the bulk of African foods are meant to be eaten by hand, and also shared to enhance the experience. Ethiopian food does this extremely well because even the “plate” your food is served on (injera) is meant to be consumed after its soaked in the flavors of the dishes its serving.

We ended up ordering Spicy Lamb Tibs (lamb cubes sauteed with oinon, jalepeno, and traditional herbs) and Dora Alicha (chicken pieces simmered in an onion, garlic, and tumeric sauce), as our meats. With Misir Wot (red lentils), Timtim Selata (tomato salad), and Misir Selata (chickpea salad). Consuming it by hand with the aid of additional injera made sure that it hit the spot!

Can I say Yum? Next time you are in the mood for food give Ethiopian food a try!