Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Akosombo, Ghanian food in DC

This past weekend, I went to see M. Ward to play in DC, so I wanted to try a new place to eat. It was DC restaurant week, so all the well know places were pretty booked. While eating at Elfegne cafe a few weeks ago, crowsonguy mentions Ghanaian food, and by chance I happened upon a yelp listing for Akosombo, a block away from the concert venue.

The description was definitely gear to unafraid eaters- I was sold.
First off, the location has no sign and looked to be in slight disarray (view-bldg left of tree). There were plenty of cabs parked outside- a good sign. Cab drivers know good food.
The inside was modest to say the least, but welcoming. With no menu, I went to the back of the place where a server basically makes you plates from a 10 foot long steam table.

Since it was late, some of their dishes were already gone for the day, but I got a sampler plate of Ghanaian cuisine. I started with a groundnut/peanut soup with goat- really nice flavor and the goat was tender.
I then got a plate of rice with a slow cooked chicken with sauce and spinach with flecks of egusi, a seed of some sort.

Lastly, I got a fufu, a starch ball of cassava and plantain. With it, they gave me a spicy soup with a whole fish thrown in. At first, I picked the fufu and dipped it into the soup, but after awhile it was much easier with the whole ball in the soup.
Amazingly, everything totaled to only about $11. I was told I need to come back in the daytime to try other dishes like waakye and red-red. I will.

613 K St NW
(between N 6th St & N 7th St)
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 408-1133

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Don Panchito's Mexican and Salvadoran Grill, Cockeysville, MD

My folks and I were out in my hometown of Cockeysville, MD when we saw a restaurant in the Cranbrook Plaza shopping center advertising Mexican and Salvadoran food. I convinced my parents to give it a try and it turned out great.
We started with an appetizer of Yuca con Chicharron, fried pork bites with cassava.

We also ordered a Pupusa Revuelta (above), filled with cheese and pork. It was really nice. They seemed to include a small cabbage salad with each appetizer as well.
We tried the Tamales de Pollo, chicken tamale, which was surprisingly light and fluffy.

For entrees, we ordered a plate of Tacos de Lengua and the Bistec Encebollado, or beef stew. They were served with corn tortillas and refried beans that were clearly made with yummy lard.

Another time we went, we tried the Don Panchito Shrimp, a spicy tomato based shrimp dish, and the Guisado de Puerco, or pork stew, which was my favorite.
I particularly liked the family atmosphere to the restaurant which clearly catered to the local community of Mexican and Salvadoran transplants.

558 Cranbrook Rd
Cockeysville, MD 21030
(410) 628-1164

Monday, February 23, 2009

The General Greene, Brooklyn, NY

Before seeing the band Beirut play at BAM a couple weeks ago, Fougoo, Brooklen, LBT, and I went to the nearby Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn to have dinner at The General Greene. It's a no-nonsense place serving New American cuisine in an unpretentious and laid back environment.

We started by order a set of items from the restaurant's bar snacks. We got lardo toast with apple chutney. Fougoo really liked these.
We tried their bacon dates, which we would have preferred to have a little more bacon than date. My favorite dish was the radishes with sea salt and anchovies. The combination was just right.

Our salad was butter lettuce, grapefruit, curried almonds, and fines herbs.

For our warm dishes, we got dirty rice with chicken liver and andouille sausage.
We also ordered the chicken pot pie, topped with a buttermilk biscuit crust.

The salt and pepper pork ribs topped with a sweet chili sauce reminded us of Chinese spare ribs. They had a little snap when you bit into them.

The ham and gruyere bread pudding was really nice and rich, cooked with a lot of butter.
We really enjoyed the small plates aspect of the dinner because there was opportunity to try so many items from the menu.

To top off a great meal, the desserts were great as well. We got an apple tart, chocolate pudding, and pretty incredible warm chocolate chip cookies.

229 Dekalb Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11205
(718) 222-1510

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Da Mimmo's Veal Chop, Baltimore, Little Italy

BigFatLar, Kwan and I went to Da Mimmo restaurant in Baltimore's Little Italy during their 25th year anniversary month to try their specialty, a butterflied T-bone veal chop. It was huge and delicious.

217 South High Street
Baltimore, MD 21210
(410) 727-6876

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Vegetarian Dishes at A & J Restaurant, Rockville, MD

I met up with my friend, Hy about a month ago in Rockville, MD and we went to Taiwanese/Chinese restaurant A & J for dinner. Since Hy is a vegetarian, we ordered exclusively vegetarian dishes off the menu.
We started with a set of appetizers: boiled peanuts, spicy cabbage, cucumbers, and tofu with mustard greens and soybeans. I think Hy loved the peanuts.
For our main dishes, we got a scallion pancake, vegetable dumplings, and noodles with sesame sauce and peanuts.
One dish, Hy did not try was the tofu with 1000 yr egg- which I personally loved, but I understand why he was hesitant to try.

1319-C Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852
(301) 251-7878

4316 Markham St
Ste B
Annandale, VA 22003
(703) 813-8181

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Elfegne Cafe: Ethiopian in Baltimore

This past weekend, I met up with some local Chowhounds at Elfegne Cafe, a small Ethiopian place in the Pigtown neighborhood of Baltimore.
Once I saw the specials board, I knew what I wanted to try.

We decided to try several of the half & half options to try more of the items available on the menu. The Dulet, lamb tripe, liver and meat, was nice and spicy, and was ground up fine enough that you probably could not tell it was tripe. We got the Kitfo, beef tartare, which was served with a nice light housemade cheese, and the Tibs beef. We were nicely surprised by the Doro Wot, the chicken stew cooked in a red pepper (berbere) sauce and onions.

We also tried the vegetarian platter, which included lentils, spicy lentils, yelllow split peas, greens, and tofu.
To drink, I liked my ginger iced tea.
I am planning on heading back to Elfegne because they also have breakfast dishes that look really interesting.

821 Washington Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 637-3207

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

DeLorenzo's Tomato Pies (Hamilton Vs. Hudson)

In the past few months, Fougoo, Redneckhunter and I have been trying DeLorenzo's Tomato Pies locations in Trenton, NJ. The story has it that two brothers had a bit of a falling out after opening the original location on Hudson St., so one brother opened a restaurant on Hamilton Ave.
I first went to the Hamilton Ave. location (above). We were greeted by a nice older gentleman at the door and given menus.
The crust to the pie was great- crisp, thin, with nice layer of semolina underneath. The tomato sauce was delicious.
We recently went to the Hudson Ave. location (below). It was geared more to regulars- no menu, slightly more blunt service, and no bathroom. The crust as similar in style, but actually a little better- slightly thinner, and more crisp. Again, the real tomato sauce was incredible.
I don't think it's necessary to pick sides. Both places are worth the trek into Trenton for tomato pie done right.

1007 Hamilton Ave.
Trenton, NJ 08629
(609) 393-2952

530 Hudson St.
Trenton, NJ 08611
(609) 695-9534

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Domini's, Spokane, WA

You know how there are those great local places where you either know the drill or you don't? Redneckhunter and Gallup spent their early years in Spokane, so they knew the drill at the institution Domini's Sandwich Shop.

Only meat and cheese on bread. Don't bother asking for lettuce or tomato. They'll give you a pickle on the side if you want one. And popcorn - as much popcorn as you can eat.

703 West Sprague
Spokane, WA
(509) 747-2324

Friday, February 13, 2009

Conley's, Spokane Valley, WA

Had a great stick-to-your-ribs meal in Spokane last month. Exactly what you'd want to fortify you for trudging through 7 feet of snow.

The pictures pretty much speak for themselves. I even grabbed extra soda bread for breakfast the next day.

12622 E Sprague Ave
Spokane Valley, WA
Phone: 509-924-5411

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hangawi Restaurant, NYC

On her birthday, Kelly and I went to Hangawi, a Korean vegetarian restaurant near the Empire State Bldg. in NYC.
The restaurant is a Buddhist place specializing in a Korean vegetable called Codonopsis Lanceolata, or Todok, which has similarities to ginseng.
We started with an cup of Korean royal green tea from Mt. Jilee- it had a nice clean flavor. Our first appetizer was Spicy baby dumplings- small vegetarian dumplings in a nice sauce.
We then had the Todok salad. The todok itself has a fibrous texture which reminded me of burdock root.
For our entrees, we shared an order of braised tofu and kabocha pumpkin pancakes.
Everything was really good, and we both felt very healthy after our meal.

12 E 32nd St
New York, NY
(212) 213-0077

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Gooldaegee Korean B-B-Q, Annandale, VA

Northern Virginia is the home of good Korean food, and one of my favorite places is Gooldaegee Korean B-B-Q, aka "Honey Pig", in Annandale, VA.
Their specialty for the BBQ is pork belly which you can get straight up or in a spicy marinade. It goes well with the salty sesame oil dip.

The last time we ate there, we also got Kalbi as well.
In addition to the meat, the servers also throw kimchee and sprouts on the grill, which I haven't seen done a whole lot. It was nice to have the option of heated kimchee witb the tasty meats.

We also ordered the Bibimbap with pork and baby octopus. Also special to Honey Pig is that they place a large cast iron pan on the BBQ and cook up the bibimbap on the grill. While not as crispy as when they use the stone bowls, it was still really delicious and spicy.

7220-C Columbia Pike
Annandale, VA 22003
(703) 256-5229

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dick's, Spokane, WA

I totally miss the old fried apple pies at McDonald's. When I was little, I didn't like the apple pie filling, so my dad would eat half a pie, eat out the rest of the filling (usually with a coffee stirrer), and let me have just the leftover crust.

Sucks when they switched over to a more healthy baked version -- it was never the same.

But luckily the divey Dick's Hamburgers in Spokane, WA still has deep-fried pies! Oh yeah, they have great burgers and onion rings, and malted milk shakes too (where you don't have to explain ask specially for a "black and white" (vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup), that's just how they make them). But the pies, oh, the pies....

Monday, February 09, 2009

Yakitori Taisho, NYC

For my birthday, my cousins and I went to St. Mark's Place in NYC to Yakitori Taisho, a Japanese restaurant specializing in various items grilled on skewers.
We ordered the Party platter which included chicken, beef, meatballs, gizzards, shrimp, smelt, tongue, pork, bacon wrapped asparagus, and peppers.

We ordered a few other dishes, including tako wasabi (raw octopus with nice spicy wasabi), okonomiyaki (a fried pancake of veggies and meat topped with sauce, mayo and bonito), and deep fried onigiri (rice balls) stuffed with salmon.

5 Saint Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003
(212) 228-5086

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Roast Suckling Pig at Amada, Philadelphia

Last weekend, Fougoo, Redneckhunter, our Jersey friends, and I went to Jose Garces' restaurant Amada in Philadelphia. We planned on trying his Cochinillo Asado, the whole roasted suckling pig.
It was served with grilled green onions, herbed fingerling potatoes, garbanzo beans & spinach, and, Redneckhunter's favorite, rosemary white beans.
They brought out the whole pig to present to our table, head and all, and then proceeded to carve the meat and skin for us. When asked by our server, if we wanted the head, our group said, "Of course".
The meat of the suckling pig was delicious, much more tender than that of an adult pig, and I fear I might have eaten a square foot of the skin.
However, the meat from the pig's cheeks and head was even more tasty- our table ate the head clean.
Before the pig was served, we also tried a large variety of the tapas dishes offered at Amada.
They started with flat crackers with a really nice tuna dip.
We ordered a mix plate of cured Spanish meats, marinated olives, and some nice Manchego cheese.
One of my favorite tapas dishes is Boquerones, or white anchovies. Other highlights from out meal were, the Almejas con Chorizo, clams with chorizo in a nice saffron broth, and the Mollejas con Guisantes, sweetbreads with a nice chestnut parpadelle.

Hands down, the pig was the highlight. Amada's atmosphere was a bit too trendy for me- there were definitely some hot chicks & douchebags dining on small dishes. The roast suckling pig felt more real and unpretentious to us, and definitely warrants a return again someday.

217-219 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia PA 19106