Dinner At Iron Works Tavern

Rhode Island is a great state for restored spaces that are used for great restaurants. An example of this is seen with Iron Works Tavern. The space used to hold the offices of the Iron Works Factory. So the restaurant has a industrial chic, old school feel.

Granted when we went for dinner we were not concerned about the ambiance. We were celebrating a birthday but due to several factors were running a bit behind. So come time for dinner we were starving.

Luckily, Our dining experience was good, the menu was straightforward, and the waitstaff attentive. For an appetizer (excuse the picture we were hungry) we ordered Lamb Lollipops. Which arrived served on white hummus with Chimichurri on top. The lamb was well seasoned and paired well with the hummus, this appetizer was was finished pretty quickly.

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For entrees we ordered the 9 0z Steak Frites (Steak and fries) which was paired with Chimichurri, Herbed Fries, and Parmesean and Argula Salad. This was a decent entree but the flavor factor was not there.

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The other entree was the Roasted Half Chicken paired with Wild Rice pilaf, Roasted Carrots, Green Beans, and Chicken Jus (meat gravy).  This was a disappointment considering the flavor was lacking for the steak dish, this one lacked salt completely. Even starving this dish didn’t leave an impact.

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Overall Iron Works Tavern was a good restaurant. The flavor in the entrees were lacking,  but it could just be bias on our part considering our palettes West African. So I would say check out Iron  Works Tavern and come to your own conclusions.

A Nibble of Agu

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On transition days like this, when the weather is starting to ease out of fall into winter that’s when I start to reminisce about warmer times. Like the night out in Oahu when hunger unexpectedly hit and caused a quick stop at Agu, a ramen bistro.

The resturant has an intimate feel. With bar placed in the center of the space and tables to the sides. The menu is simple and straight forward, presenting everything at a glance. The waitstaff helpful, answering the dumbest questions with patience.

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That evening we kept it light and ordered the Yuzu Jidori Ramen. Which had a chicken broth base and came with menma (fermented bamboo shoots), aji tamago (soft boiled egg), nori (seaweed) with negi (leeks). We opted out of the pork char siu topping. We shared an order of Chicken Nanban which came with tarter sauce and shredded cabbage, along with a plate of kimchi.

 

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Overall for a late night pick me up it definitely hit the spot.

Sushi, Rock? Yes! Sushi Rock!

There are very few places in Northern Virginia where you can find Rock and Sushi in one place, and that’s Sushi Rock in Arlington. Nestled at the base of an apartment complex and next to the Arlington Courthouse this restaurant is a staple for residents and workers daily.

The restaurant is comprised of two floors, and has dim lighting, though in the day time ample sunlight comes in from the windows that make up 2 of it’s walls. There is ample seating and the red and black interior give the space an edgy feel.

The menu offered here covers a wide array of foods from the Sushi, as expected, to Ramen, Fried Chicken, and Steak. I normally order the Vegetarian Shoyu Ramen which consists of Kombu broth, menma, scallion, mushroom, seaweed and vegetables. The first time I ordered this I was blown away by how many veggies it contained. But on a chilly days this is just what I need.

For times when I’m feeling more adventurous I’ll enjoy the Stairway to Heaven which is made up of Yellowtail, white tuna, jalapeno, scallion, cilantro, pickled ginger, drizzled in a habanero balsamic sauce. A flavor combination that is refreshing and hard to beat. The Tornado roll comes in at a close second, and contains Yellowtail and snapper with the addition of jalapeno and cream cheese, which is then deep-fried and baked with sweet miso sauce. Can I say YUM!

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As I said before, Sushi Rock has many more items to offer so if you are ever in the NoVa area be sure to check it out. 😀

A Satisfying Dinner at Chi’Bal

Great food, lively music, relaxing atmosphere, and an awesome wait staff. All this comes together at Chi’Bal to create an excellent dining experience.

Everyone knows that Tuesdays can be the worst part of the work week. It isn’t a Monday, so there’s the expectation that you’ve fallen into the grove of the work week, but at the same time it isn’t Wednesday, so anticipating the weekend is premature. This status is especially cemented if the day is especially grueling. So when I had the opportunity to have a meal at Chi’Bal and take a break from the grind of the work week I took it.

Located in Laurel, this new restaurant offers Mexican Cuisine is a contemporary way.

When you first enter your eyes are immediately drawn to the bar and from there you take in the decor and the lighthearted music playing on the speakers. The staff is friendly and attentive and are willing to take the time to explain the menu.

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The appetizers menu had a wide array of options. We ordered the Yuca (cassava) fries and Chicken Sopes. I will be honest and say I preferred the Sopes to the Yuca, the seasoning made it taste bitter. But the Sopes were so good the finished quickly.

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For the entrees we ordered New York Steak, which was rubbed with Mexican Chile and came with yuca fries; and chicken breast marinated in Adobe and served with sweet potato and chimichurry. All were delish but I especially enjoyed the open-faced Short Rib taco that was topped with pico de gallo and pickled onion. Only warning I have is they add avocado to the taco so watch if you are allergic the menu doesn’t state this.

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So if you are ever in the Laurel, Maryland area be sure to drop by Chi’Bal for a memorable, fun, tasty experience. 🙂

 

Tom’s BaoBoa

The idea of finding a Chinese steam bun cafe in downtown Providence, Rhode Island was something that never crossed my mind but once the cafe was seen I just had to go in and give it a try.

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Tom’s Bao Bao is a Chinese Chain that has has recently been expanded to the united States with a location in Cambridge, MA and Providence, RI. The Rhode Island Store that I stumbled opened this past August. I wont lie, the reason I decided to step into the restaurant was because of the view. I was able to see the handmade dumplings being crafted and filled.

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The design of the restaurant is very sleek and modern and the menu extremely simple. With there currently being 5 Bao Offerings; Pork, Chicken, Curry Beef, Vegetarian, and A Seasonal Lobster. Seating is available near the workstations so customers can view the steam bun making process as well as the rest of the restaurant. Because the bao is made ahead of time once you order you immediately receive your buns. I ordered the Curry Beef and Chicken Buns. Both were delicious, warm, and hearty.

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So if you happen to be in downtown Providence be sure to stop by Tom’s BaoBao and see what the hype is about!

Judy’s Island Grill II

If you are craving quality Jamacain food Judy’s Island Grill is the place to go, especially the second location in Glen Burnie, MD. The menu is pretty straight forward with the normal fare you would expect to see offered; beef patties, ox tail, jerk chicken, etc. But what really makes the restuarant is the staff. I have been to the location several times and each experience has been great. The wait staff always offers a warm greeting and are quick to recognize you and strike up a conversation.

For this trip I went with friends, so we were able to order a variety of dishes. From Oxtail with Mac and Cheese, Rice and Beans, and Cabbage Medley; to Veggie Roti with Coconut Cream of Spinach and Green Beans.

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But the show stopper, in my personal opinion is the fried Red Snapper in Spinach Cream Sauce with Rice and Beans on the side. I am addicted to this dish. It is so good that I have no problems driving the 30 odd minutes from my house to the restuarant in order to have it to eat. It is just that good!

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So if you are in the greater Baltimore area and have a hankering for Jamacain just stop by Judy’s Island Grill.

El Golfo

El Golfo is a Mexican Restaurant nestled on the outskirts of Silver Spring offering traditional and vegan fare. The unassuming exterior leads to a pleasant surprise once you enter the restaurant and realize how relaxing and colorful it actually is.

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Once seated a complimentary basket of Tortilla Chips and Salsa is brought to the table while you go through the menu looking at the options.EG3-min

I decided to to start off with Yucca Fries, cassava chips, and a creamy Chipotle dip. The appetizer alone could have made my meal complete but being my fat self, I wanted more.

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I followed with Beef Tamales with a Tomato and Onion Salsa. The tamales were wonderfully flavored. And met my craving, seriously I’ve been looking for a good place for tamales for the longest time! If you have any spots I should check out just put it in the comments. My stomach thanks you in advance.

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To finish it all off I had Tres Leche Cake for dessert. As soon as it hit my tongue it was an out of body experience. I just had to order some for the road.

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So you are ever in the Silver Spring make sure to stop by El Golfo. It will be an experience you wont forget.

I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Icecream

 

I will be the first to admit that I always viewed no churn ice cream recipes with a lot of skepticism, especially when folks touted it as only taking 2 ingredients. Well…I have to eat crow. After making some. I have to say that this will be my go to for the summer. The ice cream is quick and easy to make; light in terms of texture and consistency; and far better tasting than most store brands. I know, I know you think I’m exaggerating. But I challenge you to try the recipe for yourself and see how it goes.

You need:

1 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 Pint of Heavy Whipping Cream

1 teaspoon of vanilla

Toppings of your choice (In my case crispy m&ms and twix)

Chilled Bowl

Hand mixer

Freezer safe container

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Pour the heavy whipping cream into the bowl.

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Take you hand mixer and place on a medium setting and whip.

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Initially you will just be looking at a liquid but as a couple minutes go by the cream will start to thicken.

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Add vanilla and whip the cream until its mixed well.

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Now pour in all the condensed milk.

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Whip the cream again to till the consistency is thicker and matches what is seen in the picture.

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Now add your toppings. (I attempted to crush the twix in the wrapper…it didn’t work too well -_-‘.)

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Whip until the candy is evenly distributed.

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Spoon your cream mixture into you freezer safe container and freeze overnight.

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The next day take out your icecream, serve and enjoy!

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Hummus in 5

These days I find myself getting home pretty late. And because I don’t feel liking prepping a full meal, I “graze”. Which literally means that I snack on whatever is available in the fridge or pantry. In an effort to stop this habit and have some semblance of a healthy snack, I started making hummus to have something to eat with veggies, crackers, or pretzels with. It’s extremely simple and very quick to make.

You will need:

1 can Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)

1 jalapeno

1/2 a small yellow onion

1/2 a bell pepper

1 clove of garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

First take the your veggies and cut them into pieces that can be processed easily by your food processor.

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Next drain, and rinse your chickpeas and place it in the food processor. Followed by the veggies.

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Add the olive oil and salt to taste. Blend.

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Blend until the hummus has a smooth consistency. Voila! You now have hummus. Enjoy ;).

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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!