Wednesday, May 9, 2012

liberty tree

liberty tree
1016 H St NE, washington, DC 20002
tel: 202) 396-8733
hours: monday 5pm-10pm, tuesday-friday 11:30am-10pm, saturday 11am-10pm, sunday 11am-9pm

what was consumed
: new england lobster roll (with celery, mayo, griddled hot dog bun & garlic butter drizzle) served with housemade hand-cut fries, atlast burger (8oz angus beef, blue cheese spread & caramelized red onions) also with fries, old school hot fudge sundae (with vanilla ice cream, candied pecans, whipped cream)

i used to meet with a nice little girl named ines (i've mentioned her here before) through a mentoring program back in washington, dc (i really need to look back into volunteering opportunities!) and we used to meet for a nice sunday lunch. sometimes, it was really stressful because i didn't know what was open, what she liked, what i wanted to eat, etc. in the end, my conclusion was that we could go to new places, as applicable, and we wouldn't go to the same place again. this was also a chance for me to show ines parts of the city that she may not see otherwise. and a great chance for me to eat massive amounts of food. yay!

when liberty tree opened, what is now years ago, it was during the whole lobster roll craze (could we call it a craze?) liberty tree was really advertising their "true" new england lobster roll and, of course, i just had to try it. ines and i head over to liberty tree on one day just for that occasion. and boy, it was worth it! the bun was toasted in butter, just enough for me to get excited about the butter but not enough for it to be oozing with grease. the lobster was tossed in a bit of mayonnaise, and such, but not so much that all i taste is mayonnaise. the lobster was fresh and delicious. some have told me that their experiences were different, and that makes me sad. especially because my lobster roll was so delicious! of course, the fries that accompanied it were delicious. but i love love love fries, so there are very few that i will not eat. 

ines and i finished off our meal with a large ice cream sundae. that is, ines ate most of it and i just watched. a little spoiling of her on my part and great indulgences on her. hey, i was her mentor and saw her just a couple of times a month! i wanted her to like me (haha). 

and so, while on the expensive size, i'd go back to liberty tree just for the lobster roll. and maybe when i do, i'll get a chance to try some of the other things they have to offer as well. delicious!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

lola gaspar

lola gaspar
211 west 2nd street, santa ana, CA 92701
tel: 714) 972-1172
hours: monday-thursday 11:30 am-1am, friday 11:30am-2am, saturday 5pm-2am, sunday 5pm-11pm

what was consumed: bacon wrapped dates, mussels, flat bread, salted caramel mousse

i'd been wanting to try out lola gaspar for some time now. in fact, i remember trying to get reservations here for c's bachelorette party a couple of years back and instead of advising us to come early, told us (basically) to go elsewhere. which we did. and we had a great time. even still, i didn't totally take lola gaspar of my list. finally, as s and i were thinking of a place to meet, she suggested lola gaspar, and i was all in. turns out, i'd been here for drinks. a long time ago.

that's the other thing. i'd passed by lola gaspar many many times, mostly not intentionally. but this time, for the life of me, i couldn't find it. darn google maps! it totally lead me the wrong way. though, in google map's defense, the address is not really reflective of the actual location of the restaurant.

anyway, s and made sure to meet at lola gaspar early enough to beat the regular crowd. there was also just the 2 of us and neither one of us minds sitting at the bar (i, in fact, prefer it). and that's exactly what we did. i let s do all of the ordering, as i am want to do especially when people rave about places they'd been. we ordered a series of small dishes, to share. in short, the dining experience was marvelous! the dates were sweet and complemented by the salty and fatty bacon. the mussels tasted fresh and flavored the broth delicious (which we sopped up with bread). the flatbread had a delicious crust with fresh topping that went so well together. yum.

i've read that people were disappointed by the service at lola gaspar. s and i got great service. our server was attentive, but not overly aggressive to get us to eat or drink more than we wanted. he was also knowledgeable about both the food and drink menu when we asked, which is always welcome.

admittedly, i was a little skpetical about lola gaspar because of my past encounters with the staff there. i'm glad s and i had a delicious time (this time) at lola gaspar. i look forward to trying more of their menu next time!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

fojol brothers

fojol brothers
(of merlinda, of benethopia)
travelling food truck

what was consumed: from merlinda, chick peas and chicken; from benethopia, beef and collard greens

if my memory serves be correctly, the fojol brothers were the first of the blossoming washington, dc food truck scene. i remember people talking about a bunch of kids who got together and started selling indian food out of a truck (the story i heard was that they were a bunch of georgetown kids who learned how to make some of their favorite indian foods from a roommate/friend's mom. and they were really good at it. so good, in fact, that they took their talents to the public and started selling their wares to interested parties. thus the start of the fojol brothers!) i'd heard that the kids would wear irreverent (in that ironic way) costumes, play music loudly, and wave (almost obnoxiously) as they drove through the washington streets. i was immediately intrigued. most of all, i thought it a great idea and was super excited to partake it their wares myself. sadly, it took almost 4 years (and many other food truck encounters and an expanding fojol brothers fleet) for me to make their acquaintance.

finally, within a 2-day period (and just as i was about to head out of town), i had the joy of trying the food from both the fojol brothers of merlinda (indian) and the fojol brothers of benethopia (ethiopian). while the cuisines of the trucks are different, the idea is the same. you have a few meat options and a few veggie options. you can opt for a dingo bite (i.e., 1-item), a 2-item plate, or a 3-item plate. yay or nay on carbs (rice at merlinda, injera at benethopia). you also have the option for lossipops. in both cases, i opted for the 2-item plate with carbs. and, to make a totally general comment, i enjoyed both of the means immensely. the entrees were cooked well, with a successful inclusion of spices that made my lunch quite delicious. the rice and injera were cooked well and were proper accompaniments to the entrees. yummy.

i also love how, near the fojol brothers' trucks, they have blankets laid (on the grass at the location i was at) down for diners to enjoy the weather during lunch. i think we often get so caught up in our work (myself included) that we often need a reminder to take a break and enjoy the weather, enjoy the sites, enjoy good food, even if it's just for the 15 minutes it takes for you to wolf down your lunch. i will try to keep this in mind.

fojol brothers, keep up the good work. when back in washington, i will be on the lookout for you.

Friday, May 4, 2012

boundary road

boundary road
414 H street NE, washington, DC 20002
202) 450-3265
hours5pm–2am daily, sunday–thursday dinner 5:30pm–10:30pm, friday-saturday dinner 5:30pm–11pm, tuesday–friday lunch 11am–3pm
what was consumed: charcueterie and cheese plate (including a delicious pate), foie gras torchon PBJ (grilled country bread, homemade peanut butter, peach vanilla jelly), grilled hanger steak (chestnut purée, spicy kale, sauce charón), paprika dusted flounder over a spanish fishermen's stew), seared arctic char (wilted turnip greens, duck fat potatoes, salsa verde), pork (cooked medium with some sides that i don't remember exactly and isn't listed on boundary road's sample menu online), cocktails (such as the seelbach made with bourbon, cointreau, sparkling wine, peychaud’s & angostura bitters), apple pie for dessert
boundary road, i finally made it!
i'd been hearing about boundary road for some time, way before they even opened. bartender friend d told me about how he was helping his friend who was opening a place out on h street. friend d/j, on a separate occasion, told me about his friend (who also is a neighbor) who was opening a place out on h street. turns out, he was my neighbor as well! point is, i didn't put two and two together to realize that d and d/j were talking about the same person - brad who is the main guy at boundary road. small world!
and then, president obama visited.
good for boundary road, bad for me and the prospects for getting reservations (even with knowing people who know people who know people -__-). though, that didn't stop me from requesting boundary road as one of my last meals before moving out of washington. yay for c for making the reservations!
like most places, boundary road wouldn't seat us until our entire party was present (they also asked us to remind our party to be on time, that 15 minutes beyond our reserved time, they would give up our seat. i think that's fair - respect the reservation time and they'll respect our reservation). c and i were early, so we sat at the bar for drinks while we took in the place. c ordered a recommended drink (she says the seelbach was delicious, and totally perfect for the warming washington weather) and i proceeded to break a glass (with my bare hands! er, no. the glass tipped over and broke into some large pieces when my clumsy elbows knocked it over as i arranged the glasses to take a photo) during the 2 seconds we were at the bar. the rest of our party were right on time. and right as they arrived, we were seated. yay!
we were starving, so once seated, we quickly looked through the menu (which wasn't too large - good!) and decided to order a bunch of things to share, my favorite way to have a meal. the menu is supposed to be seasonal. while that should be the norm and anticipated, i realize that that's not necessarily the case. i'm as guilty as anyone else regarding this, though, as i often want to eat foods (especially veggies) out of season. i like that i can eat brussel sprouts and broccoli all year long, leave me alone! i know - first world problem -__-
we began our meal with a wonderful  charcueterie plate which included a wonderful pate. granted, i love love love pate and will eat almost all variations (from average to excellent) of it, but boundary road's was delicious. creamy, soft, and seasoned just right. we also had to try the foie gras torchon PBJ that everyone has been talking about. like pate, i love foie gras, so i was excited to read about it and see it on the menu. when i first heard about it, the whole pb&j idea seemed a little odd (though i love pb&j). if not for any other reason, i'd recommend trying it because it's different. my opinion? loved it. it's different and it may seem odd, but there's something about the foie gras mixed in with the sort of savory sort of sweet peanut butter and the fruity jelly that ... just works.
our entrees came out just as we finished with our appetizers (i was very happy with the service that i received while at boundary road). the portions were reasonably sized (which has grown increasingly important to point out, i've come to understand), but my large appetite really wished for more. no surprise there. anyway, the servers described the entrees well, and the food was seasoned well, cooked perfectly, and the flavor combinations were interesting and a twist on traditional american dishes. and that seafood stew! such a deep seafood flavor that also wasn't stinky.
all in all, i had a great experience at boundary road and recommend that you check it out whole heartedly. just make sure that when the chef comes around and asks how you enjoyed the food, be sure to remember that you're at boundary road (not boundary stone - long story). i hope it's still delicious and doing well when i am back visiting washington ... !!!