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. 🙂

 

Swahili Village

Of all the ethnic restaurant that are readily available in the D.C. area I haven’t really had the opportunity to come across one dedicated to Kenyan food until now. Swahili Village offered just that. When I stepped in I wont lie, I was taken aback normally African restaurants in this area have a mom and pop feel but this space was extremely contemporary.

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The concept was open and the lights dim. African music could be heard playing through out the restaurant.  And a large bar dominating the space in the back. Once seated the wait staff immediately came to take my order and offered insight to items on the menu. I was a part of a group so the combinations of food were endless.

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There was the chapati, a flatbread that is common to Kenya and many other nations in that region. Then the Pilau, a seasoned Basmati rice that was someone claimed was similar to West African Jollof Rice (it wasn’t. 😦 nothing is ever close). Then the Nyama Choma, or grilled cubed Beef Steak and the Fried Tilapia. Some folks ordered onions and collard greens aka Sukuma Wiki; Pan fried cabbage and onions, Kabeji; Sauteed spinach and onionsh onions, and the Kachumbari, a tomato salad with onions, cilantro, andhabanero tossed in lemon juice.

Honestly the menu had so many great things to try and I plan to visit again in the near future. So if you are ever in the Washington D.C. area make sure to stop by the Swahili Village.

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.

Brown Bag Challenge *FINAL WEEK* Recap

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Can I say that I am extremely relieved! The Brown Bag Challenge is officially over and life can become semi normal. For week 4 because the finish line was in sight it gave me the motivation to really push myself to bring my lunch to work. And boy was I successful. On Monday I brought tomato stew and rice; Tuesday saw me eating baked chicken with cabbage, potatoes, bell peppers, and carrots; Wednesday there was a work picnic (Yayyy free food!!); Thursday was a repeat of Tuesday; I went out to lunch on Friday so nada on that front. But overall it was a win.

For the last week of the challenge I saved $56. WOW!!! 🙂 🙂 To date on the challenge I banked $154.

The challenge, as you all saw, was extremely difficult for me. But I can say that my eating habits have improved and I will be more cognizant of bringing my lunch to work. I can’t promise that I’ve been doing this daily but I wont be going months without bringing my meals. So if you ever want to save money in a small way, I would say go ahead and try the brown bag challenge!

Brown Bag Challenge Week 3 Recap

I will be the first to say that I am the absolute worst when it comes to daily blogging. So apologies for making a lofty promise that’s a bit hard to keep. Week 3 of the Brown Bag Challenge ended…well not too great.

I brought food in to work 2 of the 5 days :(. So on Monday I brought in Hummus and Pita chips and saved $14. But the progress wasn’t maintained since Tuesday and Wednesday saw me purchasing. So minus $28. On Thursday I brought Rice and Tomato Stew in to work, so a small victory. Unfortunately the week closed on a weak note since I purchased lunch on Friday.

I’m starting to notice the trend of being able to bring in my meals some days of the week and not the full. That’s not too bad. It’s progress. 🙂

So in all for week 3 I saved $28 and spent $42. For days 8&9 of last week I spent $28 dollars total. As of now I have banked $98. Yayyy me!

Quick & Easy Chili Nachos

Seeing that I had a plethora of Chili in my fridge last week, I had to find ways to swag it out so that I didn’t feel as if I was eating the same thing almost everyday (I was though 😦 ). In a bought of laziness I decided to make my own chili nachos at home. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at how good it tasted in the end. (Forgive this post! It’s not a picture laden as normal)

What you need:

3 cups of Tortilla Chips

1 cup of Chili

1/2 cup of salsa

1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used a prepackaged Mexican blend)

6 leaves of lettuce

Take the cup of chili and heat it until warm.

Wash and dry the lettuce. Then chop it into small pieces.

On a large plate, spread the tortilla chips into one layer.

Pour the Chili over the tortilla chips.

Sprinkle with cheese, so it can melt over the Chili.

Top with the lettuce, and finally your salsa.

Voila!! You have your Chili Nachos. A quick, easy, and delicious meal in less than 10 minutes.

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Brown Bag Challenge Day 7

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Today was a lazy but successful day. Lazy in that I took Haystacks in as lunch. Literally tortilla chips, beans, salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream. The idea being that I’d assemble and eat during lunch. And successful in that I took my lunch in to work. Yay me!!!

Because I was between 2 client sites today, by the time I got to the second client site I didn’t have much of an appetite. So i took a few bites and lost interest. Tomorrow will be interesting since I will be splitting my time again between 2 locations. Hopefully i eat more than a couple of bites and loads of water.

Money saved today $14. Overall banked $70 (including $2 from Friday and  $8 from yesterday). Small small steps.