Saturday, January 22, 2011

taylor gourmet

taylor gourmet
485 K street nw (city vista), washington, dc (there are multiple locations; this location is the only one i've visited)
tel: 202) 289-8001
hours: daily 11am-9pm

what was consumed: 9th street italian hoagie (with genoa salami, capicola, prosciutto, sharp provolone), broad street chicken cutlet sandwich (fried with broccoli rabe and sharp provolone), rocky's risotto balls (arancini - served with marinara sauce)

i didn't really grow up eating sandwiches (i'm korean. we eat rice). i'm also not a connoisseur of fine breads and other baked goods (i mean, i can tell between good and bad, but i have a hard time between great and greater ... it's all great to me!) when i eat it (bread) at all. but i will say that a really good sandwich is always welcome. always. after all, i do love all of the rest of the ingredients that go into sandwiches, meats, veggies, cheese. a combination of all of those things sounds wonderful!

so, after some contemplation, j and i decided on taylor gourmet for dinner (ok, so it was more me saying "this is what i don't want to eat" and j saying "what about this, what about this, what about this" ... thanks for the ideas and suggestions! hee hee ... i'm so bad about thinking about/suggesting where to go to eat when i'm not 'in the mood' for/craving something. sigh. food is all so good! nom nom nom ...). yay sandwiches! ... which is the bulk of taylor gourmet's options. their location also has a number of other options for sale (beer, wine, pastas, etc.) of which i have not enjoyed, but maybe i will. one day. maybe. anyway, we opted for sharing 2 different sandwiches (yay! sharing is caring!) and risotto balls. yum yum yum ...

the sandwiches at taylor gourmet are delicious. made to order and on crusty bread with wonderful things filling the middles (see previous personal comment about bread and sandwiches). the 9th street italian hoagie was a cold sandwich filled with lots of meats. and veggies. and cheese. and onions (blech) which flavored the sandwich wonderfully after i took out the onions (no offense, onions). i could've gone for more veggies, but that's just my schtick. yum. the broad street chicken, a hot sandwich, had fried chicken with cheese and ... broccoli rabe! i love broccoli rabe. i could eat it all day, in lots of different forms. and it's definitely a delicious addition to the combination. the cheese was nicely melted into the sandwich and the mixture of flavors was delicious. one cold, one hot. a wonderful sandwich dinner combination.

oh, and risotto balls! taylor gourmet's risotto balls are delicious. delicious. delicious. fried on the outside, savory, and cheese in the middle! you can't go wrong with cheese in the middle of a fried ball of risotto. of course, like many fried things, these are best eaten warm so that the cheese oozes out when you take a bite of it. oh, and dipped in marinara sauce is awesome. yum. i imagine dipped in marinara sauce mixed with sriracha sauce is even better!! i will have to try that next time (the sriracha sauce combo is a mix of my own, not offered at taylor gourmet. but it should be!! haha).

j said something about that night not being taylor gourmet's best work (our risotto balls were really fried, as was the chicken). of course, that didn't prevent sandwich enjoyment.

i dissappointedly did not finish my half of the sandwiches we purchased (my stomach has shrunken! shucks!). i did, though, polish of the leftovers for lunch #1 on the following day. despite my laziness that prevented me from even contemplating some sort of microwave for heat/water to restore moisture, the cold sandwiches were still delicious (and i wish i hadn't eaten all of the tomatoes on the 9th street italian hoagie the night before). but that's a good sign, right? delicious that day, still delicious the next day. yay! i will have to go back to taylor gourmet and try the other options on their menu. and many many more risotto balls. YUM.


Friday, January 21, 2011

arlington cinema 'n drafthouse (& old arlington grill)

arlington cinema 'n drafthouse
2903 columbia pike, arlington VA
tel: 703)486-2345

what was consumed: nachos! and wine and beer and ... bar food genre~

it might be more accurate to say that this blog is about both the arlington cinema 'n drafthouse AND old arlington grill as the food comes from old arlington grill, but consumed (at least by me) before (and during!) film screenings at the drafthouse. but really, to me, they're one in the same.

now, what's better than a good movie while eating yummy food? very little, if you ask me. i think that's why i enjoy the arlington drafthouse so much and keep saying that i want to visit more often (and w, this is ideal for drunken movie night as you have the option to grow increasingly intoxicated as the night goes on (increasing my likelihood of staying awake ... and helping me remember the movie altogether ... whoops ...) as opposed to being totally sloshed prior to the start of the flick - yay!).

the first time i visited arlington cinema 'n drafthouse was to see 'the hangover'. that was totally fun! both the flick and the drafthouse. again, there's nothing better than eating and drinking while watching a fun flick. most recently, k and i decided to catch 'social network' while enjoying lovely bar fare. we had a GREAT time!

a few words on the food. according to their website, old arlington grill "specializes in old-fashioned american grill classics with a modern twist." that's a good way to put it! k and i had their nachos - chips, baked, topped with cheese, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, and jalapenos (they could add more jalapenos, but i'm a fiend when it comes to spicy stuff - i love it!). at first, she was trying to 'conserve' the cheese (to make sure it would last), while i just stuffed chips into my face ... but then we noticed that there was more cheese waiting for us on the next layer of chips. we immediately proceeded to throw out thoughts of conserving cheese. haha ...

i didn't get to try, but look forward to trying, the fried mac 'n cheese triangles. i wish they came with fries (as is the case at red derby), but so be it. is there a limit to how much fried food one may take in? i'm not willing to test it on my own, but sometimes i wonder if i come pretty darn close - ha!

there's also something to say about the ambiance at the drafthouse. i get a sort of "dinner theatre" vibe from the place (which is totally a good thing), so i had no qualms about making comments about the film to k sitting next to me (of course, quietly) ... and it was ok! that definitely added to the fun of the drafthouse in that the conversation is often interesting and hilarious at the same time - yay!

arlington cinema 'n drafthouse has some live programming as well as "deals" (e.g., $1 monday, $2 tuesday movies). fun stuff! be sure to check their schedule on their website to see what movies are coming. and when you decide, let me know! i can't wait to go back. yay yay yay!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

redrocks firebrick pizzeria

redrocks firebrick pizzeria
in columbia heights:
1036 park road, NW, washington, DC 20010
tel: 202) 506-1402
hours: monday 5pm-11pm, tuesday-thursday 11am-11pm, friday-saturday 11am-1am, sunday 11am-11pm
in alexandria:
904 king street, old town alexandria, VA 22314
tel: 703) 717-9873
hours: monday-thursday 11am-11pm, friday-saturday 11am-1am, sunday 11am-10pm

what was consumed: everything ... the list of things i've had at red rocks is ... a lot. here are a few (of things i currently remember. i'm sure there are others that i've had that are no longer on their menu): italian olives (marinated and warmed, with house-baked bread), broccoli rabe (with aged balsamic dressing and hot peppers), asparagus salad with prosciutto bites, mixed greens salad (with aged balsamic vinaigrette), margherita pizza (tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, basil, olive oil, sea salt), rugola pizza (arugula, fresh mozzarella, ricotta, cherry tomatoes), baked calzone (fresh mozzarella, ricotta, spicy marinara, parmesan), meatballs al forno sandwich/panini (meat sauce, parmesan, house-baked bread), tiramisu. my current favorite is the rugula pizza with pepperoni added.

i totally thought i'd written about red rocks before. silly me, turns out that was all a part of my imagination. so, here goes!

i love pizza. but these days, i find myself eating most of my pizza at redrocks (and no no no, it's not because of m and her connection to that place - i loved redrocks way before that!). here's the thing: redrocks is currently the only place where i will eat the crust of pizza. crust is usually not a big deal and i usually leave it by the wayside, but at redrocks, i will eat every last bite. as much as my stomach will hold, anyway.

redrocks is known for their neapolitan 'style' pizza - you know, individual size, thin crust deliciousness. they have pizzas with preset toppings for you to choose from, but you also have the option to make your own creation as well ... and are all deliciously cooked in their firebrick oven. their meats are cured deliciously (esp. out in alexandria - they cure their own meats! ahhh!!) and their cheese is always fresh and delicious. in fact, all of their ingredients are fresh, following with what's in season (i can't wait for their fava bean appetizer at the alexandria location to come back!). redrocks also has a series of delicious antipastas (love the marinated olives - a frequent starter for me. and their veggies! the balsamic dressing they use is plentiful, but not overwhelming ... and whatever dressing is left over makes for good bread dipping sauce), salads (i love their beet salad, even though i'm not a super huge beet fan. i think the combination of the dressing works well), lots of things with arugula, as well as other options for the non-pizza lover (if they even exist!). e.g. their paninis - so delicious! the bread is the same dough they use to make their pizza crusts. yay! seriously, i can't get enough.

i also really enjoy the tiramisu at redrocks. it's not overly sweet; rather, it's super creamy, but super light. i'll barely have a bite of dessert at other restaurants, but will eat a good portion of the tiramisu at redrocks. so delicious, so worth the extra few bucks to end a meal that is already so so so wonderful.

and don't forget about their drinks! at both of the redrocks locations, they have wonderful beers on tap (though my go to beer is the brooklyn lager - love it!), great wines, and an array of special (and standard) cocktails. during the thanksgiving season, they had this amazing pumpkin cocktail that was literally pumpkin pie for adults (i.e., alcoholic), in a glass. definitely worth considering. or just be like me and enjoy tasty beers. yum.

the first time i visited redrocks: a couple of years ago (back when i was working as a server at domku), i heard about redrocks' opening in columbia heights from some of the locals who were "in the know" about places opening in columbia heights. i was meeting with ines at the time, so we decided to visit redrocks on one of our meetings. we walked over (red rocks is conveniently located just a few blocks from the columbia heights metro) and enjoyed our pizzas outside. ines ate her entire pizza (as did i, of course) which was sort of a feat because she, at the time, couldn't have been more than 8? 9? something like that ... and i couldn't wait to head back.

i've since returned to redrocks on quite a few occasions (i celebrated my birthday here!). most recently i participated in a redrocks + brooklyn brewery food and beer pairing dinner. i love so many of the beers that come out of the brooklyn brewery, and it was awesome to have redrocks favorites with some awesome brooklyn beers. i wish i had a bigger stomach (and an even higher tolerance) as we left, stuffed, with take-out boxes of leftovers, feelin' really really good. hee hee ...

redrocks has since opened an old town alexandria location, which i've been to as well. the menu (and ambiance) is slightly different, so if you've been to one location, be sure to visit the other! it'll be worth your while. all of this writing is making me hungry. again. pizza anyone? let's go to redrocks! yay yay yay!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

tacos impala

tacos impala
1204 H street NE, washington, DC 20002
tel: 202) 375-0537 (call tacos impala directly! don't call erik! haha~)
hours: sunday-thursday 12pm-10pm-ish, friday-saturday 12pm-3am-ish

what was consumed: carnitas taco, steak taco, beans and cheese taco, red sauce, green sauce, chips and salsa

so, erik (a key person behind tacos impala) is a friend so you may say that this review is biased. but it's not! seriously, only good things about tacos impala - here goes!

the toki underground website (which looks great and delicious) went up, so a bunch of us got all excited and set a date to go. turns out, toki isn't open yet (hurry up!!), but their sort of related taco stand has been up and running for some time now and we decided to try only their wares instead (this turned out to be better as our original thought was ramen, then tacos. i.e., waaaay too much food. per usual.)

i got to tacos impala before the rest of my group, so after some foolish waiting, i decided to walk over to 'the pug' to grab a beer while waiting (a few notes about the pug: 01) they have a great beer selection (and a full bar, of course); 02) toki underground is above it; 03) they used to have cheese balls, but didn't see them when i was there last; 04) i love this bar). i walked in and saw erik there ... who let us know that when we were ready to order, he would help us out with getting our food (and some how finagled it so that we could eat at the pug. or maybe we were just the rude customers who brought in 'outside' food to the bar. oopsie poopsie!). we put in our orders and waited with great curiosity about what was ahead of us ... a bit later, erik came back with our fares - one of each of the three types (steak, carnitas, and bean & cheese (veggie)) of tacos for j and me, and just the veggie taco and cheese quesedillas for m. just in time! i was famished.

let me tell you about these tacos. these delicious, delicious tacos. the steak and carnitas were cooked perfectly - tender and seasoned wonderfully. the bean&cheese one was surprisingly filling and while i usually opt for black beans, the pinto beans used here were flavorful and delicious. the corn tortillas, made in-house, that the tacos came in were probably the softest corn tortillas i've ever had. and then, topped with just a few little fixin's, the tacos were simply delicious. while i had 3, i probably could have easily ordered (and consumed) 3 more. easily. the tacos were served with both a red and green sauce - a bit different in flavor, both with a bit of heat, both delicious. i tried each of them and prefer the green tomatillo sauce over the red, if i have to choose one. but the best is, per erik's recommendation, is the green sauce topped with a touch of the red. yay combos! i seriously think we gobbled up the tacos in what couldn't have been more than 5 minutes. sigh. the deliciousness was so ephemeral ...

chips and salsa rounded out our meal (thanks, erik!), but i didn't get a photo because by the time i remembered, we had pretty much demolished the crispy (homemade!) chips and fresh pico de gallo, while saying things like, "i don't know why i can't stop eating these chips!"
as we concluded the night, we all contemplated getting more tacos (after all, there was no line - maybe that was our destiny!), but refrained. for now. ... i could go for some tacos impala right about now.

tacos impala is in the philadelphia water ice space, being used while philadelphia water ice is closed for the winter (brilliant!) ... and it is literally just a stand. order up at the window, pay for your food, wait for your food (you won't have to wait long, but keep in mind the tacos are made to order. imo, part of the deliciousness of the tacos is due to this face. totally worth it!), get your food, try to eat while walking/standing (i probably would not make it if i were to wait to eat the food "at home"). so, be sure to get out to tacos impala before they close for the summer - spread the word! i guarantee it will be worth your time and effort. i will surely be going back. can't wait!

online: no online website for tacos impala (though there are lots of people talkin' about 'em!), but check out the toki underground website: ... hurry up and open guys - we can't wait! ^_^

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

american ice co.

american ice co.
917 V street NW, washington, DC 20001
tel: 202) 758-3562

what was consumed: pork and turkey platters (with cole slaw, baked beans, and pickles), chili con queso, beer

i have some friends who are always in the know when new things (and awesome!) things that pop up around time. periodically, they will take me along when they go to visit these places (i should just invite myself otherwise! haha).

so, for new year's eve, friends and i decided that american ice co. was going to be where we ended up. apparently, american ice co. used to sell ice in the summer and coal in the winters (thus the name) ... ??? it's also super close to the 9:30 club - yeah! anyway, j and i decided that (in anticipation of midnight craziness) that we'd head out there a bit earlier for some eats and to grab a spot, as necessary. a couple of comments about our decision: american ice co. is still pretty new, so there wasn't too much crazy traffic, but am glad that we head out there early-ish; american ice co. is the worst place to anticipate a count down as there are no TVs there and none of our phones have second hands readily available (i think); i had a GREAT time!

j and i ordered our wares - pork platter for me, roasted turkey platter for j. i'm not sure where they do all of the bbq-ing, but it is surely delicious! the pork was cooked deliciously with bbq sauce drizzled on top. the turkey was cooked well, so juicy and not at all dry. i think, though, the turkey was roasted as opposed to bbq-d ... ??? i'm not sure. no matter. the platters were served with delicious cole slaw (more creamy than mayonnaise-y, not too much celery salt (which i find often overwhelms other cole slaws) and seasoned very well) and baked beans (in a delicious sauce and peppery which made it great!). and the pickles! i admit, i like the spears better than the disc-like slices (the spears are more salt based while the others are more sweet), though that did not prevent me from gobbling up each piece). there are jars of a sort of spicy vinegar based sauce as well that went well with literally everything on the plate (haha). the platters are served on paper plates with plastic utensils, totally reminding me of bbq cook outs - fun stuff!

we also had the chili con queso, served with a paper bag of tortilla chips. meaty chili + warm cheese + slices of spicy jalapenos = YUM. the cup that it came in seemed a bit small, but j and i couldn't finish it! that is, we spent so much time enjoying our platters that the chili con queso got sort of neglected, despite its deliciousness. the cheese cooled and got a bit hard (as it is known to do), but it made it really hard for us to eat. for a split second, i thought about asking our server if she would heat it up, but couldn't fit anything else into my belly, so i refrained.

american ice co. has an interesting array of beverages (of course including a full bar). j made a comment about how all of their beers on tap were pilsners, making her wonder about their choices for precious beer tap real estate (haha). they also have a series of "metals" (aka beer in cans) that sort of better rounds out their beer selection. the drinks are a bit pricey, but the ambiance totally makes up for it! well, it did for me, anyway ^_~

quick comment about their service. we started in a booth (yay booth!) and had an awesome server who was totally on point. on top of that, she genuinely looked like she enjoyed being there. they are the best kind of servers who make the dining experience awesome-er. yay yay yay!

i can also see american ice co. being really awesome on gorgeous dc days (though they are few and far between). the bar opens up into a patio, separated by a garage door-esque wall that i'm sure will go up as the weather gets warmer. can't wait!

online: no website i can find ... yet! but lots of people are talkin' about it!