Tuesday, March 9, 2010

rustico

rustico
827 slaters lane, alexandria, VA 22314
tel: 703) 224-5051
hours: monday 4pm-10pm, tuesday-thursday 11:30am-10pm, friday-saturday 11:30am-11pm, sunday 11:30am-10pm
what was consumed: pei mussels fra diavolo (grilled bread, chorizo), home-made thick-cut fries (tossed in your choice of caesar or ranch dressing), creamy marscapone polenta (wild mushroom ragù, truffle oil), salt roasted beet salad (goat cheese fondue, blood orange vinaigrette, pistachio dust), duck confit & cracklins pizza (brie & sautéed onions pizza with chick pea crust), roasted mushroom pizza (mushroom cream, goat cheese, sauteed spinach pizza), bbq pizza (bbq braised pork, caramelized onions, cheddar)
there is never a dearth of eating options in old town alexandria. there are lots of different kinds of food, in a number of various locations, with a slew of clientele to suit your fancy. BUT, if you're ever in the old town alexandria area and in the mood for some yummy woodfire grilled pizza and a nice cold brew to wash it all down, i recommend visiting rustico. a bunch of us headed out to old town on a cold wintery day to see friends play a little concert. so, after the little usaf chamber group (?) performance at the masonic temple, a group of us head out to rustico for bites to eat.
rustico is known for their pizza and their great beer selection. for those reasons enough, i am enticed to visit rustico time and time again. for those who like options, not to fret! rustico also has a number of other options on their menu. delicious mussels, a most definitely creamy polenta plate, salads, antipastas, etc. they also have the option to select from their cheese/cured meat plates (there's a fancy name for this and for the life of me i can neither remember nor look it up - argh!). i haven't tried it yet, but it looks really good and can't wait to taste for myself.
friends in the group ordered a slew of things, so i got to try a variety of different things. the creamy polenta was definitely one of my favorites and something i'll have a super hard time not ordering the next time i'm at rustico. and the mussels! delicious. i could take bread and dip it into mussels broth all day long. yum.
and, of course, pizza.
with the slew of other things that friends ordered, by the time my pizza came, i was less than my usual voracious. nonetheless, the beautiful pizza pies places before me incited my salivary glands. they have a number of different pre-set topping options as well as the option to create your own (which is always fun as well). while the crust isn't anything out of the ordinary, sometimes that's just what you need to highlight the combination of the crust with the toppings. yum.
on the menu, i saw the option for the gluten free chick pea crust. intrigued! for some reason, i thought it'd be more chick pea-y, but it just felt like another crust (probably made with chick pea flour as opposed to anything else. i don't really know why i thought it'd look any different, but i did. i don't know what i was thinking). my pizza, unfortunately, was a little overdone, so the crust was a little dry and almost burnt. luckily, the duck confit and cracklin's toppings saved the pizza (i pretty much just ate the toppings ... which is what i often do regardless of the pizza crust). despite the chick pea crust disappointment, the meal was delicious and the group left with full bellies AND leftovers for the next day's lunch (yay doggie bags!).
pizza is getting fancier and fancier. and while i will periodically enjoy the quick delivery and convenience of fast(er) food joints that delivery right to my door, i will still fondly and often think of delicious options at places like rustico. just until i can visit to enjoy again. yay!

Monday, March 8, 2010

rubino's

rubino's
26012 marguerite parkway, mission viejo, ca 92692
tel: 949) 582-1166
what was consumed: antipasto salad, small (i.e., 12") cheese pizza, small vegetarian pizza with pepperoni
i love pizza. i've said it before (yes, i know, numerous times), and i'm saying it again. just in case you forgot. I LOVE PIZZA.
i didn't go home for the christmas holidays. instead, i made sure to go home when airplane tickets weren't through the roof, but more importantly, when my extended family from seoul would be in town. my cousins and their kids (i.e., nieces and nephew) were in town for their winter holiday (they get 2+ months in the winter. sort of like our summer vacations) going to school here in the states, getting the "american" experience, learning a bit of english. when it comes to places to eat, i've been trying to think of places that were memorable to me, but also sort of representative of so.cal (i.e., so.cal food that i've been missing so much!). so when the kids said they wanted to eat pizza, i searched through the annals of my mind's memories to find a pizza place i used to super enjoy when i was a kid ... rubino's!
in h.s., we had these things called "gold cards." these gold cards were good for a year and had discounts to local businesses. the sale of these gold cards were for fundraising purposes and a sort of advertisement for the local businesses. point is, rubino's was on that list, so i ate a lot of their pizza when in h.s. so many good memories of eating super yummy rubino's pizza - i wanted to share such memories with my family.
rubino's pizza is great. everything is made from scratch, their pizza is hand-stretched, all of that good stuff. but the cheese! 100% mozzarella cheese! and the toppings! so fresh! the entire combination is so delicious. when a hot pie sits in front of you, the delicious scent of the flavor combinations abound. and then, when you take a slice, the cheese is all stretchy and delicious. rubino's doesn't have the culinary creations that some of these new pizza places have. instead, they take those pizzas that we consider "ordinary" and regular and make them super duper delicious. that's a sign of a great pizzeria, eh?
according to their website, rubino's has been there since 1976 (that is, they've been around beginning with their santa ana location. who knows when their MV location opened ... no matter). not a surprise, then, that 13 years after my own h.s. graduation, the pizza there is still fresh and delicious. be sure to visit the people at rubino's if you're ever in the suburbs of south o.c.! YUM.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

modern times coffeehouse

modern times coffeehouse (in the politics and prose bookstore)
5015 connecticut avenue NW, washington, DC 20008
tel: 202) 362-2408
hours: monday-saturday 8am-10pm, sundau 8am-8pm
what was consumed: coffee! prosciutto, basil & mozzarella panino (prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, and olive oil on mini-ciabatta loaf, served warm); turkey, apple & brie (sliced turkey breast, granny smith apple, brie, and honey mustard on baguette, served warm)
i love bookstores. i could sit in bookstores all day long. reading, browsing, watching, sitting, spending money (and it is for this reason that i try to avoid bookstores if i can). and now that bookstores have coffeeshops attached (or has that always been the case?) all the more reason for me to spend hours and hours there.
in DC, there are a number of 'famous' bookstores for their guest authors, special events, and overall coolness. politics and prose is one of them (they always have lots of events and stuff that, yes, i've been meaning to go out to). what's more, i heard friend anna was working the affiliated coffeeshop. with that, i took the opportunity when meeting with ines to enjoy the bookstore, visit anna, and try out modern times coffeehouse.
located in the basement of 'politics and prose,' modern times offers a lot of the standard coffeeshop favorites - drip coffee, lattes, etc. additionally, they have a nice list of delicious soups, salads, sandwiches, baked goods, and breakfast options for one to choose from to go along with their delicious coffee.
ines and i visited on what had intended on being a sunday of good eats and reading. books in hand, we were ready for all that modern times had to offer. just as we walk in, we are greeted by a hustling and bustling cafe with not an empty table or chair. what to do? luckily, a nice young lady who was just about to leave offered us her table. thanks!
after quick glance at the menu, ines opted for the turkey, apple, & brie sandwich while i asked anna about her favorite (and/or popular) sandwich option and went with the panino. all of this, of course, to accompany my coffee (iced tea for ines).
our sandwiches came out not too much later. they were nice and warm, toasted, and oozing with cheese. so delicious. and a pickle on the side! the sandwiches were neither overly large nor ridiculously small. ines and i went halvsies and enjoyed bites of both sandwich types. delicious.
ines and i had a great time (and i finished the book i was reading at the time - hurrah!). i look forward to my next visit to modern times for some good reads and great eats!