So this particular recipe is really more like half recipe, half review. I do not, and unfortunately never have, made Japanese Curry from scratch. It’s just far too easy to use the curry starter you can purchase in any grocery, and I put a lot of trust into Japanese products (their food regulations are VERY strict). There are many curry brands to choose from, but my favorite has always been Golden Curry. I rarely use anything other than this brand, and I recommend you use it for this recipe too.
I first had this tart a few months ago after having discovered it on one of my many long Trader Joe’s visits. Ah, Trader Joe’s, you’re aisles could keep me entertained for hours… Anyways, their pre-made desserts are pretty amazing, so I highly recommend perusing the aisles yourself and finding something delicious-looking to try.
I don’t always make fresh pasta dough, but there is a difference. Homemade pasta is nuttier in flavor and has the most delightful, doughy texture to it. If it didn’t take an hour for me to make and didn’t make me fat, I would home make pasta dough 3-4 times a week.
Unlike many of my dishes, this one really doesn’t have much of a story. One day, I was craving Chinese food, but I had recently moved and didn’t know the local restaurants. So what is a poor college student to do? Dig through the fridge and find a recipe that suited both the contents of the kitchen and the craving. The original recipe can be found here.
I got this recipe from a friend of mine about a year and a half ago. The original comes from a book, but it’s been posted all over different blogs as well. If you want the original, search “Jim Lahey” and “Crusty Bread”; you will get plenty of hits. Jim Lahey is a baker at Sullivan Street Bakery and the original creator. The original recipe is NOT rye bread; it’s a standard no-knead white bread. However, there are several different variations of the recipe available all over the internet (I’ve also experimented with variations, and this bread is a lot of fun to play with).
Miso Salmon is one of my favorite dishes to make at home. It’s healthy, takes less time to make than it takes for the rice to cook, and is finger-licking good. I’m getting hungry just thinking about those miso-carmelized onions and the tender fish… Nommmms. Well here is the recipe, please enjoy!
It’s been a wonderful weekend and I have a list of local restaurant reviews for everyone. Let’s start with Saturday…
Centreville, VA 20121
- High Quality Meat Options – The menu consisted of predominately an above average meat selection. We had the delicious beef bulgogi, beef brisket, and pork neck. The one thing I do not recommend here is the beef tongue, as they don’t trim the outside off the tongue.
- Excellent Lunch Specials (These are only M-F during specific times of day) – The most high value options on the menu; this is a set meal including meat and sides.
- Atmosphere – This could be either a pro or con depending on the person, but Honey Pig’s atmosphere is what you would expect of a good Korean BBQ place. Loud K-Pop plays in the background while you sit at a round, metal table, grill in the center. The smell is intoxicatingly delicious and sticks to the clothes, and the sound of sizzling meat permeates the room.
- Authenticity – This is genuine Korean food in all it’s spicy, sweet, garlicy goodness. It’s served with many sides, including my favorites, pickled Daikon and steamed egg (which is heavenly here). Lettuce leaves and kimchi are also already on the table, but you do need to ask for the miso paste.
- Price – I didn’t find the value here at Honey Pig that I have found at other places. Although, I have to admit, I’m a woman that likes to eat, so all-you-can-eat places tend to be my preference. I don’t think HP is the most delicious K-BBQ I’ve ever had (although it’s easily in the top 5), but it is definitely the second most expensive (only second to a place in Annandale called Sorak Garden that has the best K-BBQ I’ve ever had this side of the Pacific Ocean)
- The servers cook – This is another personal preference issue. I like to caramelize my meat and cook it in small batches, but at HP they don’t even leave tongs for you at the table. The servers do all the cooking, even to the point of actually serving you from the grill. I ended up throwing a few pieces back on the grill with my chopsticks to get more color before finally eating them.
- Service – The servers are kind and it’s relatively average service for a Korean place. However, A server knocked our kimchi plate off the table, practically into my lap. Not only did they not bring us more kimchi after that (much to the dismay of my fiance), but they didn’t even wipe up the mess beyond picking up the plate and a few scraps of cabbage. I had to step around the gochijang-smeared floor on my way out.
Bethesda, MD 20814
- High Quality Food – You cannot go wrong here. Everything on the menu is imaginative with a hint of that “Mom’s cooking” comfort-food type feel. The proteins are cooked to perfection and the veggies are wonderfully seasoned with the highest quality spices (can you say truffle bechamel and freshly made spicy ketchup?).
- Excellent Service – My Bellini was absolutely bottomless. Our server was knowledgeable, attentive, and positively delightful to speak with. It’s the perfect balance between letting you eat and making sure you have everything your heart desires.
- Value – I think that for the price, you are getting a great deal. The food, service, and location are all top-notch for an average $20 per dish on the brunch menu. Dinner will cost you closer to $25 per dish, which is normal for the area.
- Alcohol Selection – If this is important to you, Mussel Bar is a great choice. There is an excellent selection of craft beers, a long wine list, and our Prosecco was wonderful.
- Price – Honestly, I don’t consider price a con here. But being the stingy young professional I am, I had to add it. This isn’t your weekly brunch place; it’s definitely a special occasion type of meal. However, like I said in the Pros, the value is there and I think it is worth every penny.
- Portions – Their portions are definitely European style so don’t expect a feast. For example, the Chicken and Waffles was three palm-size waffles, two drumsticks, and a chicken breast. It’s enough to get 80% full on one dish, but not enough to become stuffed to the gills.
- The Patio is Narrow – Due to it’s location, the outside patio for Mussel Bar is on the street side of the sidewalk. It’s not really a patio and tends to be cramped, loud, and hot (all that concrete). If you’re looking for a brunch place to eat outside, this probably isn’t the right location.
Bethesda, MD 20814
- Imaginative and Adventurous Food – Yes, the food is so good you will want to lick your plate; but paired with that deliciousness is an opportunity to try something you’ve probably never eaten before. Unfortunately, I cannot vouch for the authenticity of this Spanish-inspired cuisine (I’ve never been), but I can tell you, it is an experience you will not regret.
- Cute Servers – The service will range from above average to excellent here, as expected of any high class restaurant, but I have to say, their servers are very attractive (both male and female). The reason I note this is because my girlfriends and I have specifically gone to Jaleo just for the cute waiters, something we’ve never done for any other restaurant. It might be a good location to start a Bachelorette party.
- Tapas – I love tapas style food, despite the expense, because it gives you the opportunity to try everything. A solid meal is somewhere between 3 and 6 tapas plus dessert (for two people). Imagine ordering your 4 favorite things on the menu and eating it all in one meal! It’s like having a mini potluck in a top notch restaurant.
- Price – Mussel Bar can be expensive, but Jaleo’s prices are truly up there. Again, I think it’s worth it. However, it takes so many tapas to fill you up, that you will be looking at around $50 per person. This is that anniversary dinner place you love, but only eat at once a year. One way to cut down on the price is to combine a paella (maybe the Rossejat that we had) with your tapas. The downside is you’ll be full faster, so fewer chances to experiment with new dishes.
- Patio – Again, the patio suffers from sidewalk syndrome, as does every other restaurant in this particular stretch of Bethesda row. Don’t go here to sit outside, go here for the delicious food.
- The Dish Names – This is one of those personal issues again; I don’t speak Spanish. As a result, I can’t pronounce a single dish on the Jaleo menu… not one. This creates an anxiety for me, am I ordering the right dish? Did the waiter(tress) understand me? I’m always worried I will receive something I didn’t order (which wouldn’t be an issue if I didn’t have food allergies). To get around this, I point to the menu when ordering. I may look like a thick-headed amateur, but at least I get the right dish every time.
So it’s a little early for a second post, but a friend of mine has a very similar blog called Jake the Foodie. Please don’t skewer me for the shameless plug because I’d like to highlight his article on the Chinese comfort food, scrambled eggs and tomato. This is a dish I was introduced to while working in a Chinese restaurant called “Hunan by the Falls” (this place is amazing, by the way, if you happen to live in Cleveland, OH) as a young woman. We ate it for dinner on occasion, and it was by far the most comforting food I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying. This dish is simple, deceptively simple, as Jake describes in his article,
Confused, my mother asked me why, of all things, I wanted to learn to make that. She gave me many reasons for why she should teach me something else: the dish was simplistic, too easy to make, not that complex in flavor profile, and so on. Not to put words in her mouth, but she may have been thinking to teach me more difficult things that would automatically cover the simpler dishes such as this. I had no response. I just wanted to know how to make it–and how to make it well.
Jake, if you read this, please tell your mother that although simple, I’m envious that she can create this dish so flawlessly, as I cannot and never have been able to replicate the correct texture and subtle flavors of this meal. I have searched high and low for a recipe that does this meal justice and have failed, utterly and repeatedly.
I’ve heard that the key is a very, very hot wok, or that the ingredients must be added in the correct order. I have tried a number of different techniques and still, my egg isn’t quite fluffy or runny enough, my tomato isn’t juicy enough, the dish just runs… flat. There is something about this meal that can only be taught, not learned second-hand. The wisdom of a technique and family recipe passed down from generation to generation.
All the more reason for us to share what we know.
It occurred to me recently that food is a very important part of my life; and as such, I like sharing it with other people. Food in modern America has become simply a way to maintain nutrition or stave off boredom; but for some people and cultures in the world, it is a social necessity and ritual. I happen to be one of those people; food is integral. It both creates and prevents mental instability (the irony of cooking a good meal), and it can be an utterly euphoric experience.