Tuesday, November 24, 2009

what crap to eat - LINK

okok, so i know the intention of this blog is to write about places i've eaten, but when c sent me this link, i couldn't resist (and had a few comments about fast food in general) - love the flow chart!:
(click on the image to see the enlarged image - it's worth it)
this is from 'eating the road' via grub street new york a la new york magazine.
i haven't tried all of the locations mentioned: tim horton's (but that's in canada - does it count? haha - just kidding), sonic, white castle, long john silver's, chick-fil-a (that's sort of a lot, now that i look at it. time to try! haha~). but i have tried things that are specific to the west coast (in 'n out and jack in the box) and wonder where some other locations are (i.e., popeyes, del taco, and five guys ... but i guess popeyes and del taco is representated via kfc and taco bell, respectively (on top of del taco being a predominantly delicious california establishment), and five guys is not a big as some of the other chains, though it is increasing in its presence). and what about places like chipotle? and wahoo's (yes, yet another california chain that while it's fast food, it sort of isn't ... is it?)? that's fast food too, right?
now, i love fast food. but i don't eat it as much as i say i do. in fact, there are a lot of places that some may consider non-fast food that i do consider fast food (of course, that doesn't deter me from eating there) and some fast food places that are more non-fast food. some food is junk (fast food or not) just as some food is marvelous (even the fast food kind). and maybe my thoughts on fast food derive from my childhood in california. there are so many fast food options in california (didn't it originate there? i read something like that in 'fast food nation' ...) - in 'n out, jack in the box, del taco, wahoo's (all mentioned previously), along with carl's jr., of course. interestingly, as questioned earlier, some of the fast food options don't really seem like fast food (though others are quintisential examples of fast food - haha. total extreme opposites may reside in one small shopping mall!). where do all of these stand? a spectrum of fast food? haha~
all of this reminds me of my sort of self-imposed experiment with mcdonalds (and coke). when i get the chance to travel (out of the US, that is), i make an effort to try their mcdonalds and drink their coke. totally tastes different! i feel as though it gives you a sense of how americans view (or how host country nationals feel americans view) the country where mcdonalds/coke is entering. what do the locals enjoy? what will sell? that sort of thing. and while i don't particularly enjoy the versions i've tried in asia, the ones in europe are fantastic! soft bread, yummy cheese, tastier beef, and a patty that is the size of my hand. this tells me that it is possible to make american fast food options better. or maybe americans don't want good fast food? or maybe americans don't care? all of these being gross generalizations, of course.
all of this talk of fast food is actually making me hungry. and you know what? sometimes all you want is a jack in the box deep fried taco or a carl's jr. pastrami burger, all washed down with some sugary soda accompanied by fries. yum~

Friday, November 20, 2009


5100 macarthur boulevard NW (between dana place & edmunds place), washington, DC 20016
neighborhood: palisades
tel: 202) 363-0620
what was consumed: caesar salad, pasta alla bolognese, mixed grill (marinated chicken breast, italian sausage and filet mignon medallion), fettucine carbonara, linguine with fresh clams
one thing about the dc/metro area is the lack of good, mid-range italian places (along with tex mex), which i find odd because that's usually something that is always around.
the meal began with bread. the bread was nice and warm and the bite i had was tasty. but i knew better than to fill myself up with bread when i knew i had other, more preferred, dishes coming my way (all this, of course, in addition to me not liking bread all that much. yeah, i know, i know). my meal then continued with a caesar salad before my large bowl of pasta alla bolognese(with linguini - my preferred pasta). i have a friend who judges italian restaurants by their bolognese. because i couldn't make up my mind, i decided to go with her preferences. i'll have to say that the bolognese was pretty good.
people i was with had a number of other dishes. a plate of grilled stuff (of which i had tastes and ate pretty much all of the veggies - who doesn't like veggies? i love them so much. and when they're grilled, they're oh so delicious!) and other pasta dishes. i got to taste each of them and get a sense of listrani's wares. and my conclusions? listrani's is a great place to grab a pretty low-key bite to eat especially if you are around or live in the palisades. it's also good for groups because they seem to have a lot of seating, but not the crowds (perhaps that's because of their palisades location? or ...) the portions are large so be ready to share (or, my preferred, ready to take home leftovers to enjoy the next day - yeah!).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


2444 wisconsin avenue (between observatory lane & calvert street), washington, DC 20007
tel: 202) 337-0004
neighborhood: glover park
hours: monday-wednesday 11am-10pm, thursday-saturday 11am-11:30pm, sunday 10:30am-11:30pm (note: while their hours as as such, their kitchen closes about an hour before the eatery closes)
what was consumed: chips & salsa, maui tacos, st. barts burrito
coming from so.cal, i've been spoiled with fish taco options, a la wahoo's, fins, etc. (omg, so delicious! i miss them all~). i've had some good fish tacos in the dc/metro area (try lola's in barrack's row - their fish tacos (along with much of the rest of their menu) is pretty good - yum), but you can never have enough options.
i had the maui tacos - yum! i chose to have the tacos on corn tortillas (i believe you can select flour as well) and while i usually split the 2-corn-tortilla taco serving, they wouldn't come apart, so i just ate it "regular." nice big chunks of grilled fish along with the veggies made them totally delicious. oh, and the two tacos were totally filling. the only downside (if any) was that there was some mayonnaise sauce that was a little overpowering (not to mention i don't like mayonnaise). i also didn't really eat the rice, but that's because i don't eat a lot of rice to begin with. what i did eat was pretty good, though (for those of you who have to have rice).
surfside also has a "fast food" feel - you walk in, write down your order on the order sheet, give it to the person at the counter, pay, then sit down. once prepared, they bring out your food, which is a non-fast-food part. but please don't get me wrong - surfside is NOT a fast food joint. they also do not have fast food prices; however, the food is good and i'm always happy to pay for food that's worth it!
surfside had been on my list for a long time. i'm happy that i finally got a chance to visit - can't wait until i can go again! yeehaw!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

cactus cantina

cactus cantina
3300 wisconsin avenue NW (between macomb street & newark street), washington, DC 20016
tel: 202) 686-7222
hours: monday-thursday 11am-11pm, friday-saturday 11am-12am, sunday 10:30am-11pm
what was consumed: tamales (my favorite) ...
how many times have i already mentioned tex mex? i love it. love love love it. so, on my quest to find good tex mex in DC, i ended up at cactus cantina. and because of my love of it (tex mex, i mean), i find myself willing to eat less than great tex mex options (in hopes that it might be goooood) and continue to eat less than average tex mex. sigh. what to do, what to do.
anyway, i was so hoping that cactus cantina would break my string of otherwise (less than) average tex mex ...
the meal began with some chips and salsa - good sign! double good sign because they were pretty good. when i begin to think about slowing down my chips and salsa consumption speed in order to better enjoy my ordered entree, then i know that i'm enyoing them. either that or i'm just really hungry. cactus cantina night? i recall it being a combination of both. to continue ... my tamales came in their corn husks (good sign!) with the sauce on the side (another good sign since i like my tamales with nothing on them. i guess i also can't imagine where the sauce would go since the husks are still in place. anyway~). and they were pretty good - not as mushy as so many other places are apt to serve them, but not as corn-y as i think tamales should be (and as i like). the rice that i tasted was all right, but far too dry (and i like my rice dry!) and lacking in flavor, despite all of the little things that were mixed in.
cactus cantina is, so i hear, in the same family as lauriol plaza, which i have mixed reviews on (it's really hit or miss, and usually miss for me (unfortuantely) because i want to like a tex mex place so much! haha). additionally, i have to admit that it's been some time since i've been to cactus cantina, so i have had to rely on my memory most of all. but seeing that i haven't been back since that first visit is a sign. perhaps i will give cactus cantina another shot. or maybe i will just make tex mex at home and just long for the authentic stuff (which i will probably consume when home in so.cal or somewhere else near mexico - haha). yum, tex mex ...


temari japanese cafe
1043 rockville pike, rockville, MD 20852
tel: 301) 340-7720
hours: monday 11:30am-3pm, 5pm-9pm; wednesday-thursday 11:30am-3pm, 5pm-9pm; friday 11:30am-3pm, 5pm-9:30pm; saturday-sunday 11:30am-9pm; CLOSED on tuesday
what was consumed: uni (for kristina), shishamo - grilled (for us both ... and my new favorite dish to look for at japanese restaurants!), tonkatsu ramen - ramen in the white pork broth (for the both of us ... and the reason why we made the crazy trek!)
yay for recent visits to great japanese restaurants!
so kristina and i decided to do a ramen and 'west wing' columbus day afternoon (regardless of the contraversy surrounding christopher columbus, i'm happy to have a day off! hee hee) - a nice way to end an otherwise event filled week and half between the dc apa film festival and visiting friends (thanks for visiting, friends!) on top of the regular hustle and bustle that is life. sushi taro used to do a great ramen lunch in the winter months that i would regularly frequent with co-workers. but since their renovation, i believe they have gotten rid of that as well. too bad! so, in our attempt to find good ramen in the dc/metro area, we made the long long LONG trek out to rockville (the super far distance is totally a deterrant ...).
we started off our meal with a few little bites - uni (sea urchin) for kristina and shishamo for me. uni - while each sushi piece is sort of on the pricier side, i can see why! kristina's uni was piled high; we were able to take tastes of the uni before pairing it with the sushi rice (and seaweed) it came on top of. now that is how sushi should be served! shishamo - i have never had shishamo before, but knowing my love for fish roe, kristina suggested (after her surprise that i hadn't had it before) it to me. and i'm glad she did! i will constantly look for it from here on out. little fishies that are (usually) grilled and a chock full of roe! delicious. kristina tells me that the ones she's had were longer, but that's all right. maybe temari's just were in the off season (you know how fish have seasons too) and are normally longer. point is, they're delicious and i can't wait to have shishamo again.
and ahhh~ the ramen. delicious! i've heard mixed reviews, but i will take what temari has to offer! the cloudy pork broth that was just a bit on the salty side (for and to my liking), but accompanied by personal favorites - veggies, seaweed, etc. the noodles (home made or store bought? i've heard mixed reviews. at this point, it's not a big deal as long as they're cooked well - and they were!) were not too soft and just chewy enough. kristina and i were sure to consume every last noodle (and fixin') and slurp up as much of the broth as our bellies would take in. what a great way to fill my belly on an otherwise cloudy day! oh, so satisfied~
i hear that there are other ramen options (e.g., ren's ramen. we tried to go, but it was closed! sigh) available and there will be others soon. can't wait! next time, i want to try temari's other japanese options. YUM.
online: nothing! nothing online! people have written about temari on the interweb, but that's it. which is fine. i guess. but then i saw the more seasoned (i.e., older) japanese women who, i'm assuming, own/run the restaurant and then it sort of made sense. i'm sure that they're thinking that their word of mouth and probably more traditional ways of advertising has gotten them enough clientele for their liking, so why think of ways to expand? still, as a self-proclaimed member of the n-generation (i think i officially miss it by, like, a year or something), a website would be nice. oh well~