Saturday, January 8, 2011

OMG We're Posting Again: Morning Edition

Yay, I have Saturday time to write and Pocahantski & The Quiet One were up for breakfast after the Waverly Market this morning.

Ms. Quiet One got there early and left early because she was JC's ride and he had an appointment elsewhere.

Pocahantski and I stood in the snow for about three minutes naming restaurants and then decided to head to our respective cars, call The Quiet One, and figure out where to meet.

Miss Shirley's?


Sip & Bite?

Golden West (just kidding, we wanted breakfast, not a table in Hamden with the possibility of coffee and food).


Why not Morning Editon says The Quiet One.

Done, I say.

I haven't drooled on a breakfast menu in a LOOOOONG time. But we almost did today.

There were so many tasty looking entries.

We of course wondered why they felt the need to have "buttered" brie as an appetizer...Because triple cream cheeses need to be BUTTERED before they are served. Strangley, we didn't order it. Maybe next time.

It helps when you order breakfast appetizers of cinnamon buns, pecan sticky buns, and an apple fritter.

I mean, The Quiet One asked our server if the sticky bun or cinnamon roll was better. Pocahantski appropriately said let's get both. I added the fritter because there were three of us, so there should be three things to taste.
It helps more when they bring the fresh maple syrup.

And when it's warm.

And when I decide to listen to Pocahantski and adulterate the last bites of apple fritter.
Pocahantski went with the Pumpkin Waffle with Sauted Apples.

Those potatoes had incredible thyme flavor.
I, of course (after much indecision and flirtation with other menu items), went with the Belgian Waffle with Creamed Chipped Beef.

Here's my only problem with today's meal. Creamed chipped beef needs to be two things in my mind...1) one tablespoon of flour short of paste; and 2) so peppery I push the shaker to the other side of the table.

This was a thinner style with higher quality meat and very little pepper at all.
I love places where you can get funky breakfast awesome AND they still do a good eggs, meat, toast, potato plate.
I also love a place when three foodies can get three pastry apps, three meals, and three cups of coffee (plus a side of bacon for Pocahantski that she was kind enough to share) for this many sheckels!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Andy Nelson's BBQ

So the Quiet One, Ms. Vertical, Shack-Fu (real nickname TBD) and I pulled what's becoming a Satruday regular. Market early (I was all the way up 97 and in Bal'mer by 7:15am and at Waverly by 7:30), coffee and breakfast while waiting for others to wake up, then a random driving tour, lunch, and a return trip to Annapolis.

This time we headed out Falls Road and up to Mount Washington, on to Smith Road, then Slade Road and all the way to Owings Mills. We learned that The Quiet One and Shack-Fu had once lived out that way. That is very un-Quiet One-like of her. She is not a Queen of Suburbia. We unsuccessfully searched a shopping center lot for a long-ago shave ice stand that wasn't there. I owe a stop at a spot soon, having now done two trips out into the county without actually stopping for a sno-cone. The Quiet One has not been quiet about it.

U-Turn in the middle of a conversation about whether the evils of Reisterstown Road suburbia or York Road Suburbia were worse.

A trip across Greenspring Vally Road to Falls again and then up to York Road.

It was destined to be a good day because I could a) cross York Road without dying and b) pull into a spot in the front lot at Andy's by the garage seats and not have to drive to the back and dodge the mass of humanity entering and exiting cars (those leaving smelling faintly of pork and heat).

We entered and the line moved quickly. No one wanted to be the jerk who held everything up. Quick, how can I maximize what I'm getting. Combo...nice. Ms. Vertical getting a similar (but not identical) combo so there's more to try. Pulled pork sandwich classic for The Quiet One? Okay, more to try. Sides looked good, though I was slightly surprised to no see mac n' cheese on the sides list.

Tables inside, picnic tables (covered and not, all with umbrellas) outside. And people everywhere trying to get their Q on.

...and now I shut up...

That's pork y'all. Rib meat. Not falling off the bone (which it shouldn't), but just holding on enough that a gentle tug will get you a mouthful of dry-rubbed rib-y goodness. I had three two-rib pieces in my basket. I was on my fourth rib by the time I felt the need to see what this tasted like with any sauce on it.

Ribs and pulled pork combo with coleslaw and potato salad. The ribs, as witnessed above, were amazing. I should have taken a rack or two home with me. My stomach was unable to comprehend that much more food when I polished off my plate, which looked like the above but with brisket instead of pulled pork and collard greens instead of potato salad. The brisket melted, the collards were vinegary perfection.

The classic pulled pork sandwich. Moist and tender meat, great sauces to add on your own (a smoky/sweet tomato base, a vinegar base, and a spicy mustard base). I tried the pork, but the sandwich disappeared way too quickly for me to get a taste of the meat, the sauce, and the bread all together. Next time...and oooooooh there will be a next time.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Road Trip: Point Lookout

An e-mail.

A phone call.

More interweb communicating.

And a plan.

Meet at Dad's office for a road trip down to Point Lookout, the southernmost tip of Maryland on the Western Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Mr. Johnson will be joining. As will Pocahantski. Worlds of food colliding. The DC and the Bal'mer worlds in one blissful trip with a start in Annapolis, and midpoint at Point Lookout, and an end back in Annapolis. Nothing else on the agenda.

And then Karl showed up with S-H-to-the-AUNICA. Snap! Car full of awesome.

Hungry at the start with a stop at Sin Frontieras Cafe so Karl can have tacos, and we can see Walter make guacamole tableside, and meet the papusa lady who will start the next day. Plans for outdoor seating and ceviche sometime in the future. Mint growing out back for mojitos now.

Full bellies and a road trip in front of us we headed south out of Annapolis over the South River and on to Solomons and beyond.

Even better when Pocahantski says "Hey, if we're really going to stop at random places on this trip you should make the next right and go to that winery."

Done. Perigeaux. Eight acres of grapes. All their wine made from their grapes alone. Cab Sav, Chardonnay. Classic Bordeaux blends. A rose Pinot Grigio. Literally in the garage/basement. All right there and all better than expected.

There area apparently several wineries in St. Mary's County that do weekend tastings. Been growing in popularity over the past few years. There were three or four other cars we noticed as we hopped on to some of the other spots.

Two more wineries (one literally in the home kitchen) and then hunger took over.

Is that a BBQ joint on the other side of MD 235 in Lexington Park?

"Hold on," I shout over the chatter and light House coming over the Sirius. Crossing four lanes to get to the turn lane at the light and hag a U-ey.

Smokey Joe's in Lexington Park, MD with three sliders from your choice of six meats as a sampler?

Okay. Carolina pulled pork, Memphis chopped pork, and shredded chicken for me. Good slaw for sandwiches (not as great for a side because it was a fine diced chopped slaw).

On the road again.

Toes in the water.

Some great shots of friends and fishermen and foam as the waves hit the shore on a hot Saturday in June.

Back on the road to get home.

Ice cream in North Beach and a walk on the boardwalk. Remembering the stories of Isabelle and the boardwalk that was no more.

Did that sign really say Calvert Kettle Corn?

Wait here, I'll be right back.

30 more miles.

Hugs and promises of more trips to come.

Sun setting over Spa Creek.

A pint at the pub and a regaling of the regulars with tales of Point Lookout while we munch on perfectly salty & sweet kettle corn.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Updates and Esoterica

There will be From the Inbox love soon. And there will be postings of foodie goodness soon too!

I'm dreaming up a missive on my hometown food scene after several boffo experiences in the past week...including two taquerias, a german deli/breakfast and lunch shop, and a new small plates joint on West Street that restored my faith in creative dining in Annapolis.

And I'm also about to get cleaned up (karljohn and Pocahantski will thank me) to hit the road and drive down as far south as you can in Maryland on the Western Shore of the Bay. We'll hit Point Lookout and then turn around and start eating our way back up Route 5 and Route 2. Stops for BBQ will happen. I expect I'll finally get to the Naughty Gull in Solomon's Island too.

Oh...and we're bring the camcorder.

On the kitchengeeking side, I also have some gorgeous mizuna, rainbow chard, creminis, shitakes, pattypans, and etcs. (I Love etceteras, they're my favorite). So the kitchen will also rock.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

24.3 Miles of Dim Sum (Oriental East & Asian Court)

That's the distance between Oriental East in Silver Spring and Asian Court in Ellicott City.

View Larger Map

They're worlds apart if for no other reason than there are 503,881 lanes of traffic between Silver Spring and Ellicot City. Oriental East is an inside-the-Washington-Beltway spot with metro access literally across the street. Asian Court rests outside the Baltimore Beltway and just west of Route 29 in Howard County and calls a newly-built strip mall with Giant, Home Depot, and Sears all close by its home.

You can get your dim sum on in either place and feel pretty good about your Authentico-Meter. Or at the very least, you'll eat incredible food that you'll want to talk about for quite a while.

Close to three-quarters of the clientele during Sunday cart-service were Asian. Both served beef tripe and chicken feet to every table without batting an eye (You came here, you get the full experience). Both had well-dressed paternal figures sorting out the waiting lines and seating. To give an idea of scale, Oriental East had between four and six carts out during the busy hours of 12-1:30. Asian Court was getting by with 3-4 from 1-2pm. Just a smaller place.

I hit Oriental East with the Seester Geek last weekend and Asian Court with The Quiet One, Pocahanski, and our pal Shack today. In both cases we started fast...really fast...and ended up picking and realizing small plates add up and there is dough or wrapper or noodle on almost all dim sum...and you will pay for it!

The Quiet One, Shack and I sat down and I immediately set my eyes on the cart that was going to arrive well before plates or silverware was set. Fah, I say! I will have dim sum! And at that point I didn't know the pace of carts at Asian Court and wasn't about to miss out. Shrimp dumplings? Sure. Shrimp wrapped in wide noodles? Yes, please. Beef with wide noodles, pork & peanut dumplings, pork buns in biscuit-like dough, and pork bbq in open-shell dough with sesame seeds...bring it! Pocahantski will get here when she gets here...

More, more, more...Those other pork balls look good. Yes, we DO want chicken feet (better at Asian Court with slightly less sweet and more heat to the black bean sauce they typically have smothered over them).

Seester and I had done it the same way, but had carts coming by less frequently in the crush. Shrimp eggs rolls and fried pork dumplings started us off. Then we upgraded to the taro dumpling with pork, shrimp and vegetable dumplings, and the fried shrimp pressed into roasted Japanese eggplant.

Both Oriental East and Asian Court had simple shrimp dumplings, shrimp wrapped in large flat noodles ladled with soy at service, shumai, beef balls, beef with flat noodles, chicken feet, beef tripe, coconut jelly, and pineapple rolls plus a dozen plus other dishes including greens, dumplings, and dessert 'rolls.'

Oriental East wowed us with its crispy shredded taro dumpling with chinese pork sausage and mushrooms and the fried shrimp with Japanese eggplant. Seriously...wowed. The Chinese Broccoli was also a hit not only for the salty-delicious oyster sauce that accompanied it but because it allowed me to legitimize the healthiness of the meal by eating close to a cup of real, live (or dead and steamed and sauced) vegetables without the benefit of dumpling or fryer or pork.

Asian Court's had a layer of what seemed to be taro/mushroom paste between the crispy shredded goodness and the mushroom and ground pork saute. We gobbled them up but I don't think we need the extra taro there. The winner here for me was the sticky rice wrapped in taro leaves with bits of chicken, Chinese sausage, and pork belly studded into the rice. That was followed closely by the flat noodles with beef and scallions and the pork and peanut dumplings. Shack was all over a pork dumpling that appeared to be bound with some egg and was definitely steamed and then finished in oil for a bit of texture to the outside.

Remember, I'm doing this after one long run at each, so if I missed something not only am I sorry, but I want you to correct me so I can go back and have more.

The Oriental East crowd was more frenetic and the people just kept coming...forever. I was number 28 when I arrived and by the time Seester and I were audi-50 they were calling number 105. Today was more calm (hmmm, more suburban I suppose) and in a smaller spot but the food was no less compelling.

At Asian Court we would have been able to relax a bit more had our mouths not been working overtime. I was at one point reduced to an interrupting babble of monosyllables to express my happy-happy-joy-joy at the ginger and hot chili-spiked black bean sauce smothering the plate full of small clams. SPICY BLACK BEAN SAUCE. Yeah, let's just say we'll be back.

On the advice of Mr. HowChow, I also did the two-mile loop drive out further west to Bethany 40 to check out the Korean spots, the Canopy, and the Soft Serve joint so I was prepared for a trip on a whim out Ellicott City way in the near future.

Oriental East on Urbanspoon

Asian Court on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Call and Answer (Jealousy and Retort)

Ms. Vertical and The Quiet One are at Peter's. I am not. And therefore, I receive this...

That's right.

A picture.

No text with it other than...

"Perfectly seared tuna nachos with wasabi aoli, beet and cucumber slivers and a hint of srirachi. Remember my face when eating the balsamic reduction... This was better."


The Ms. Adventures and I have good times.

Little do they know that I have Salvadoran Adobo Pork Chops with Vidalia Onions and Tomatoes simmering in a 350-degree oven, sofrito and black beans (as taught by the Juban ex-girlfriend) with rice, a sauted mushroom and asparagus salad with CSA-fresh mesclun and radishes from Waverly with a dijon/balsamic vinaigrette ready to serve to pops, and steps- mom and brother tonight.

Touche says what???

P.S. Ms. Vertical? You're welcome for the Sriracha spell-check. It's what I'm here for. B Bistro is going to be hit in FORCE tomorrow night!!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

From the Inbox: The Neglected Inbox

Just because we haven't been blogging, doesn't mean we haven't been eating. Trust me, my pants are no looser now than they were at the time we last saw you here.

No, really, we know you want to read about us and all, and modesty IS our only flaw...but we've been busy. Jobs, wine tastings, family, dinner parties, home improvement, other blogs. Yeah, the jobs, family, and home improvement didn't really happen or get in the way. But it's a nice thought.

It's Spring, and that means there are so many bright, fresh, new food things that are occupying our thoughts and time. Let me tell you about some of them through lurvely e-mails.

From Pocahantski we read in about The Burnt Food Museum. And we are intrigued...their motto is "Celebrating nearly two decades of culinary failure."

Road Trip!

On the drive, and when no one is looking, Fetz (Dear Lord Fetz) and I will tip back just a couple of Pabstmosas. Yeah, you read that right.

Rowley writes: "Deb assures me that Pabstmosas are good any time of day. I’m glad to have ordered one. I’m glad for the subsequent conversations it sparked in which I learned about Arkansas martinis and Monkeywrench martinis (beers with an olive or a maraschino cherry, respectively). I was even glad to see the same bartender serving more later that night. But mostly? Mostly, I’m glad that’s the last Pabstmosa I’ll ever order."

I think this story is especially timely, having just convinced one of my two watering holes in town to carry the P. The B. And the R. On tap, no less.

But no, Pabstmosa, you are too far for even me. I wouldn't want to ruin the beer. I'm actually glad the hipsters have decided to get PBR on the retro-cool list. Just means it's easier for me to find on the shelves.

Pocahantski's final e-mail (actually the first 'cause I'm that crafty on the reverse-chronological tip...thought I couldn't use words like that in a food blog? FAH. FAH I say.) is another to file away in the "Places we want to go eat and embarrass ourselves with gluttony" category.

Um. Well it's true!

Anyway. It's Amish Cheese people. You don't go light on the cheese. The Amish made it. They're nice people. It would be rude not to try...all of them.

But we can't yet, because Ms. Vertical got in on the e-mail action last week too. And it's good.

If you read the other blog (and really, why aren't you?), you'll know there were several dinner parties recently held at Chez Geek. The Ms. Adventures were there. Other friends were there. People who didn't know what city they were going to and who hadn't been mentioned to the host were there. It was righteous.


I made a Strawberry-Rhubarb Clafoutis. First time I'd ever held a piece of raw rhubarb and cut it and cooked it. Won't be the last. And here's a good idea from via Ms. Vertical:
Roasted Rhubarb Compote
By Kate Ramos

Both sweet and pleasingly tart, this rhubarb compote is a snap to put together. The rhubarb stays in nice big pieces as it cooks but then spreads like butter over cakey scones. We also like it spooned over thick Greek yogurt.

What to buy: Look for rhubarb that is free of blemishes. Remove any leaves, dried-out pieces, or brown spots before cooking.
Game plan: The compote will keep for 5 to 7 days refrigerated in a covered container.
This recipe was featured as part of our Mother’s Day tea party.
Total Time: 50 mins
Active Time: 10 mins
Makes: 6 to 8 servings (about 2 cups)

1 pound rhubarb
1 tablespoon orange zest (from 1 medium orange)
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Rinse rhubarb under cold water, trim ends, and remove any leaves. Slice each stalk in half lengthwise, then cut each half crosswise into 1-inch pieces.
2. Combine rhubarb, orange zest, orange juice, and sugar in an 8-by-8-inch glass baking dish; toss together until rhubarb is well coated with sugar.
3. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake until the rhubarb has released a lot of juice and the mixture is bubbling, about 35 minutes.
4. Remove the foil and continue baking until the juices are slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
After this I actually have a post on some real, live restaurant eating with the gang. Details when I've typed them. Enjoy the yummy Inbox...