Saturday, April 28, 2012

peter chang china cafe

peter chang china cafe

11424 west broad street, glen allen, VA 23230
tel: 804) 364-1688
hours: sunday-thursday 11am–3pm, 5pm–9:30pm; friday-saturday 11am–3pm, 5pm–10pm

what was consumed: scallion bubble pancake, steamed dumplings, steamed buns, peter chang duck in stone pot, boneless whole fish with pine nuts (fried whole fish in sweet and sour sauce), mapo tofu, hot and numbing beef brisket hot pot, shredded pork with bamboo shoots and shredded tofu

i guess this isn't technically in the dc/metro area, but i visited peter chang china cafe while residing in the dc/metro area on a day trip out to richmond, so i guess it's still sort of technically in the dc/metro area ... ?

here's how i ended up in richmond:
we were rehashing our weekend while sitting outside on a nice day at FSI. i mentioned that c and i had had dimsum over the weekend and that it was delicious. the bunch of us were commenting on various dim sum experiences when someone from a table next to us started giving us his take on dim sum places (a blog entry about that is to come). there was also conversation about peter chang (the former personal chef to the chinese ambassador) having opened his own place in the richmond area. this lead to the bunch of us deciding to head down to richmond for a weekend of fun.

we made reservations for an early dinner at peter chang's. after getting lost (i blame google maps!), we finally made it, a few minutes after 5. guess what: the place was already packed. luckily, people ate pretty quickly, so we were seated soon. this waiting time, though, was good as we got a chance to see what others were ordering. and lucky for us, there were 5 of us, so we had the option to get lots of stuff and share it all. of course, we ended up ordering too much, so we were STUFFED by the end of the night. but it was all worth it. i'd wished i had a larger stomach to eat more!

once we got seated, we immediately put in for our appetizers. the regulation pot stickers and steamed buns were in order (though t was a little irked that they only had chicken and beef buns, no pork). as we were enjoying our appetizers, the servers kept walking by with these large, ball-like, puffed things. taking f's lead, we ordered the scallion bubble pancake. delicious - light, flavorful, and also tasty dipped in the accompanying sauce.

soon after, our entrees began to arrive. stews, hot pots, fried chicken, sauteed meats and veggies, delicious tofus. yum yum yum. there was noticeable silence as we began to load our plates with duck and chicken and tofu and beef and pork and ... my mouth is watering just thinking about it. the duck in the stone pot remained hot thanks to the stone, the hot pot sat on top of a small burner keeping it warm, the fish was crispy but not oily even with the sweet and sour sauce dressing, there were lots of spicy and mouth numbing peppers in lots of these dishes, the tofu was hard when it was supposed to be and soft when it was supposed to be. wow. delicious. i can see why the chinese ambassador requested this particular chef to be the mind behind  all of his food!

all in all, i will say that this was a very satisfying and delicious meal. b said it right - why aren't there more places like this, and why aren't they close to washington? i'm sure that lots of people, including us, would be regulars, that's for sure. all of the szechuan flavors would permeate through  my body pretty regularly. i would always crave those numbing peppers in a crazy way. sigh, i already miss it. next time you're in and around the richmond area, be sure to check it out! i most certainly will ... 

Friday, April 27, 2012

super pollo charcoal chicken

super pollo charcoal chicken
550 north quincy street, arlington, VA 22203
tel: 571) 970-3421

what was consumed: peruvian chicken! with sides of fries, rice, lentils, and plantains. and inca cola

what is there to do during lunch at FSI when you're exhausted and overwhelmed with all of the language training you've received? our solution was off campus lunch. great idea! a great way to break up the day. in additon to that, living in washington, i found myself less likely to go head across the river to virginia (though i was always willing to when invited).

taking off campus lunches, then, proved to be a great way for me to enjoy while not combating traffic. a win win for me!so, one day, after t and b had a great meal of peruvian chicken (without me! :(... ) t suggested we make an off-campus trip out to super pollo. hurrah! great idea, t! and with t having had spent time in peru (it apparently is the most authentic peruvian food that t has had in the DC area), he knew what was good and with what (sides) peruvian chicken should be consumed. and i was more than happy to oblige when it came to ordering.

3 of us participated in this rendition of off-campus lunching.

quick story: t busted out all of his espanol, a la peru, when ordering at super pollo. m asked him how it felt to be so comfortable in a foreign language, especially compared to the arabic we were learning. t replied, saying that it was GREAT. i know the feeling - it's how i feel when i speak korean.

anyway, back to super pollo. lunch was DELICIOUS. the chicken was roasted deliciously (and the skin was so so yummy, with all of that seasoning). the fries would have also been delicious with that seasoning. the plantains were a nice and not-too-sweet addition to the plate. and the rice - there was something so delicious about it! i can hardly explain it. t tells me it's a peruvian variation of chinese fried rice (or something like that). i couldn't get enough of it. i think i could've gone without the lentils, but 01) it's authentic? and 02) i just love time in WDC, i will most definitely look forward to super pollo. i can also see myself getting super fat if i ever end up going to peru with all of this delicious food ...