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.

Rice Paper

July has been a bittersweet month, especially as friends and family transition to new phases and places in life. Luckily Rice Paper is the type of restaurant that forces time to stop and makes you focus on the meal and those you are sharing it with.

Located in Falls Church, VA, Eden Center. Rice Paper is a Vietnamese restaurant that offers traditional fare. The restaurant layout is beautiful and calming with hanging lanterns above the center and a large bar taking up the back wall.

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The menu offered has an extensive list of selections. With clear delicious descriptions of every item shown. Each item on the menu was large enough to shared and that is definitely what we did.

We ordered  Cơm Bò Lúc Lắc, a Cubed Beef dish sauteed with onions,tomatoes,and oyster sauce served on a bed of greens; Lẩu Đuôi Bò a spicy oxtail soup that came with rice; and Bánh Hỏi Con Điệp & Tôm Nướng, Grilled Scallop & Shrimp served with steamed thin Vermicelli noodles, meant to be wrapped and eaten in rice paper.

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So if you are ever in Falls Church, Va make sure to stop by Eden Center and catch a meal at Rice Paper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Northside Social Coffee & Wine

If you are in the DMV area you clearly know that this picture was not taken recently. Especially since we are in the midst of a blizzard. But alas I dream of a warmer time.

Northside Social is a great place to be, especially after a long day of work. It acts like a trinity of sorts being a mix of a Cafe, Coffeehouse, and Wine bar; Offering pastries and sandwiches. The restaurant is 2 stories, with the 2nd floor housing the wine bar and the lower story the cafe and coffee house aspect with the pastries and baristas present.

The day I went I wanted to sit outside and enjoy the Cafe especially since it was a warm day and the inside of the restaurant was feeling a bit too intimate. I went with a friend, so we grabbed a table and went inside to order. Only downside to being outside was the fact that we also had to go in to pick up the orders as well.

We both got the House Smoked Salmon which consisted of tomato, cucumber, spinach, pickled red onion, wasabi cream cheese on sesame bun, and came with a mixed green salad. It was especially delish. I topped mine off with a ‘small” hot chocolate, and released the stresses of the day.

Be sure to check it out if you are ever in Clarendon, Virginia.