Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Burger Bros., Towson, MD

I went to the new hamburger place in Towson, MD, Burger Bros. to see how their burgers stood up to the main local chain, Five Guys.
All in all, I might like this place better.
Someone in my party was able to order a portabella burger, which was pretty darn delicious, especially with some jalapenos on top.

I ordered a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, jalapenos and onions. The patty was made with fresh ground beef, and one thing I liked was it was pretty even all around and you could actually get your mouth around the burger.
We also got the fries, which were done boardwalk style, and the onion rings, made with real onions.
All in all, Burger Bros. is a nice addition to the local hamburger joints around town.

14 Allegheny Ave.
Towson, MD 21204

Monday, May 26, 2008

Woodberry Kitchen, Baltimore

Went this weekend to one of the new hot restaurants in Baltimore, Woodberry Kitchen, located in the renovated Clipper Mill area of town. The restaurant specializes in local and seasonal food of the Chesapeake region.

We started with a snack of popcorn with butter and sea salt. The item was simple, but just right.
I also got a soup of stinging nettle as a starter. The flavor was interesting- nice- reminded me of the taste of fresh spinach (before it is cooked). It was light and delicious.

My date, Kelly, got the vegetable with dumplings entree. It had some seasonal asparagus, mushrooms, bok choy, and nice delicious dumplings.

For my entree, I got one of the specials, braised lamb shoulder with bread pudding and an orange rhubarb compote. The lamb was cooked so it was moist and flavorful, and the bread pudding was a pleasant side to the dish.

For dessert, we shared a chocolate pudding topped with whipped cream- again simple, but just right to end a great meal.
I look forward to going back to try more items from their broad menu including flatbreads and oysters.

2010 Clipper Park Road, No. 126
Baltimore, MD 21211
(410) 464-8000

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Headquarters Lebanese, North Brunswick, NJ

I'm not sure why the Lebanese family who owns this restaurant decided to name it Headquarters, but whatever the name, it was a warm, homey place with great food. We sat sandwiched between a fake potted plant, a highchair, and a couple of dusty gumball machines.

We started out with a few appetizers: the Mazza platter - hummus, baba ghanoush, stuffed grape leaves, falafel and taboulli; fool - which is a fava bean salad with parsley, tomato, and onion; and kibbeh -- ground lamb mixed with bulgur wheat.

For our main dishes, I got vegetarian kibbeh - which was potato and spinach with spices baked with crust.

Tricia got kofta over fatoosh salad, Frank also got the kofta except with hummus, and redneckhunter, meat-eater that he is, got the mixed grill - chicken kabob, kofta, and shawarma.

647 Georges Rd.
North Brunswick, NJ 08902
(732) 247-5454

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Mother's Day Brunch at Petit Louis

For Mother's day, I took my mom to eat at Baltimore's Petit Louis restaurant in Roland Park, a French bistro that is part of Baltimore's Charleston group.

We started with the foie gras a la mode Landaise served with toast. It was nice, not heavy.
We also got escargots in garlic butter. They were delicious.

For our entrees, my mom ordered the pan seared sea scallops in a beurre blanc sauce served with asparagus and an asparagus flan. The scallops were prepared very well, and the flan was very unique, reminding you of tofu.

I opted for the classic steak frites- the meat was great, and the fries had a lot of flavor.

We finished the meal off with a sweet crepe filled with creme, topped with fresh raspberries.
This was actually my first time at Petit Louis, but definitely not my last.

4800 Roland Ave # 100
Baltimore, MD 21210
(410) 366-9393

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hill Country, NYC

We were up in NYC for BrookLEn's art opening in Chelsea, so afterwards we took a cab due east to Hill Country for Texas-style BBQ. They bill themselves as a "barbecue market" meaning when you walk in the door, you are handed a meal ticket. You then take your ticket up to the meat line and the sides line.

From the meat line, we got Moist Brisket and Pork Ribs, served up as you can see above in brown paper. The ribs were Texas-style, meaning dry rub, and had a nice strong smokiness, attributable to the oak wood they have specially shipped up from Texas. The dry rub was peppery. The brisket had great flavor and was so tender it fell apart when you forked it. We had plenty of meat leftovers that lasted for days...

For sides, we got the Campfire Baked Beans - made yummily smoky by the burnt ends of meat; White Shoepeg Corn Pudding - sweet and spicy and comfort-food mushy-good; and the Longhorn Cheddar Mac & Cheese. I had heard great things about the mac & cheese... so I was a little disappointed that I wasn't orgasmic about it. Good solid mac & cheese, though, very creamy. And, because 1000yregg has a dangerous affection for deviled eggs, naturally we had to get the Smokey Chipotle Deviled Eggs.

There was plenty of other stuff I'd love to go back and try -- Kreuz Market sausage shipped from Texas, regular flavor and jalapeno cheese; Beer Can Game Hen; Ancho Chile Cherry Brownies. They actually have Green Bean casserole, 50s style, with Durkee fried onions on top! But the weirdest thing on the menu was got to be the Tequila milkshake... talk about a hurl waiting to happen...

Hill Country Barbecue Market
30 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10010
(212) 255-4544

Monday, May 12, 2008

Moksha, Edison, NJ

We went up to Edison, which is the Little India of New Jersey. We ate at Moksha on the famous Oak Tree Road.

We started off with the Thenga Manga Pattani Sundal (Mango & Peas Salad), which was recommended by NY Times NJ critic Karla Cook. It was kind of bland and tasted too healthy for my taste. The complimentary poppadums and chutney were a much better starter.

Our main dishes took forever to come out. Brownie's husband wasn't happy with his Kodi Vepudu (Chicken cubes in spicy dry masala), but the rest of us really liked it. The restaurant was kind enough to make him something else and let the rest of us keep and eat the first dish without charging us.

Our favorite all around was the Iguru Mamsam (Lamb Hot Pot). By the end we were sopping up the sauce with leftover bits of naan. We also got Sukka Bendakkai (Okra Crispy Fry), which was pretty good as far as okra goes - not slimy at least -- and Guthi Vonkaiya Koora (Baby Eggplant with Sesame).

The dosa, however, was disappointing. Our Khara Dosai was small, and the pancake wasn't crispy. I prefered the Idiappam (String hoppers made of rice dough). These were like Vietnamese bun noodles, and I liked them with the lamb sauce over them, instead of rice.

1655-200 Oak Tree Road
Edison, NJ

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Floating Market Noodle Soup at Nava Thai

Been reading recently about a dish called the Floating Market noodle soup, so I found a place called Nava Thai in Silver Spring, MD to try it.
The restaurant is modest, in a small parking lot shared with a Thai grocery, but inside the food was incredible.
The floating market noodle soup had the highest spice rating on the menu, 3 lightning bolts. The waitress even cautioned us on the level of spice, but we elected to pull no punches.

The soup was beautiful- the broth had a brown color- likely from cow's blood- it had initially a sweet taste- lime?- but then the heat was very obvious. My friend Mike had 2 spoonfuls and he proceeded to turn flush, start sweating, and his eyes turned red and he started to blow his nose.

Visible in the soup were pieces of pork, meatballs, bean sprouts, and pork rinds. The noodles, which I read are homemade, were simply delicious- holding the flavor of the fiery broth.

After the soup, we tried some other dishes: pineapple curry with chicken, a delicious crispy duck kaprow with holy basil, and sweet rice with mango. Everything was a postscript to the soup, but still pretty darn great.

Nava Thai
11315 Fern St
Silver Spring, MD 20902
(240) 430-0495

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Girls Cooking Night: Dips

For our last Girls Cooking Night we focussed on dips. We started with skordalia, a Greek potato-based dip with a ton of garlic and some lemon juice, guacamole, mango salsa, white bean tip, and grilled flatbreads with caramelized onion and figs.

We had a variety of meat skewered on the grill:

chicken satay with 2 kinds of sauces - a peanut sauce and a spicy cucumber vinegar sauce;

grilled chicken and grilled shrimp with tamarind sauce;

and lamb with tsaziki.

For dessert, we made mini pecan tartlets with an Earl Grey caramel sauce.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Brunch at Elmo's Diner, Carrboro, NC

Had brunch at Elmo's Diner in Carrboro, a really good local diner that stays open until 11 pm most nights. I ordered the special of pumpkin pancakes with apple butter & whipped cream. It tasted like pumpkin pie!

200 N. Greensboro St.
Carr Mill Mall
Carrboro, NC 27510
(919) 929-2909