Choong Hwa Won and Ja-jang Myun

Sorry about that title but this great experience comes from K-town, one of Washington DC metro area’s greatest densities of tasty food (aka Annandale).

I was gratefully introduced to Choong Hwa Won by Sang Han (shout out to you Sang) and have never been disappointed since. When going there, I have only ordered two things, ja-jang myun and dumplings, an awesome location for both. And I shared this specific experience with a college friend, Kevin Kusunoki.

Choong Hwa Won

Ja-jang Myun tastes like total Korean comfort food and boy does it feel like comfort. Not only is it incredibly affordable ($4.99) for a huge amount, but it really is so good and satisfying! It also comes with some traditional Korean kimchi and side veggies. Here are those sides:

Kevin

 

IMG_5848 IMG_5833And here are the noodles with my buddy Kevin modeling the food for me:

Noodles

 

IMG_5840 IMG_5844And here are their dumplings which you can order fried or boiled; how do you not get fried?

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And anyone who knows me, knows that when you go to Annandale to eat, you have to finish the night off at Shilla Bakery. Shilla is not only a place for their baked goods (which are quite good) but also for the amazing Bing Soo!! Bing Soo is a solid dessert; it includes shaved ice, ice cream, flavorful sauces, mochi, fruit and more depending on what flavor you get. Although I do really enjoy the Green Tea Bing Soo, Strawberry still seems to be my favorite.

Shilla

 

IMG_5862 IMG_5863And here is the Bing Soo; really trying to let you appreciate the size. Try and bring someone along to share. I’ll be the first to admit that it is hard to finish by yourself, especially after Ja-jang myun… But then again, everyone has those days. πŸ™‚

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IMG_5857And like I said, Shilla does offer a few other things, including some pastries for really good prices. You can also sample almost anything while there! πŸ™‚ One of my favorite pastries is a Strawberry Cream croissant type of thing… It is quite buttery and sugary, great combo. πŸ™‚ You can buy them in individually wrapped packets for $1!

IMG_5850Here are a few other great items!

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These are just two spots in Annandale which also happen to be in the same parking lot as each other. πŸ™‚ However, there are so many other wonderful places that I have tried and have yet to try there so if anyone wants to make a trip down there? πŸ™‚

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Food Trucks – Captain Cookie!

DC now has a good reputation for food trucks, at least I definitely think it does, and one of my favorites is Captain Cookie, & The Milk Man. The summary of this truck is,Β “a mobile bakery and dairy bar serving fresh-baked cookies, local milk, and made-to-order ice cream sandwiches!” My favorite part being the ice cream sandwiches… πŸ™‚ Check out their website for more history and background and a “day in the life” for the truck.

Here is the lowdown… Captain cookie is in L’Enfant Plaza (my working hood) every Monday and this usually isn’t forgotten. A co-worker of mine, Christine Chui and I, both have strong affinities for this truck and have to hold ourselves back or else we would get one every week.

Here is a shot of the truck in action in L’Enfant:

L'Enfant Trucks

Cookie Truck closeup

So after lunch, we queued up for our cookie experience. Christine “grudgingly” helped out by ordering her own ice cream sandwich for the sake of more pictures.

Cookie Truck Queue

Also of note, is that Captain Cookie has a loyalty program; this day officially marked my entry into the League of the Cookie. I had purchased 10 cookies so my next one was free. Now for an ice cream sandwich, it only counts as a discount since you have two cookies, but a big day none the less.

League of the Cookie Card

They have a variety of cookies and ice creams. They have their standard variety then each day has its own special ice cream flavor and cookie which varies. My favorite cookies still happen to be the Snickerdoodle (softest cookie best for ice cream sandwich) and the Chocolate Chip. I usually get those two cookies with Black Cherry and Chocolate Ice Cream in the middle. You can pick two flavors! All for only $4. The cookies are all laid out in the front for you to see and you are welcome to sample the ice cream flavors.

Cookies

Display

Look at that great ice cream sandwich. And here is Christie obviously excited about her purchase, I feel the same way…

Excited cookie

And here is what you’ve been waiting for, the ice cream sandwiches upfront. Christie got the uush (usual)… chocolate chip, snicker doodle, chocolate and vanillla ice cream. I got the cookie of the day and the ice cream of the day since I wanted to try both of them. The cookie of the day happened to be a whoopie pie, so I asked if I could somehow combine that with the ice cream and Kirk said, sure of course. So I had Banana cookies with a Lemon Chiffon flavored ice cream. Both were pretty good but the mix wasn’t optimal… I’d go back to my other mix!

Christie’s:

Christie's Cookie

Mine:

My Cookie

And some side by side cookie modeling… πŸ™‚

Side by Side

You have to try this place if you get a chance! It’s a truck so it will be all over DC, and you can follow him on twitter @captaincookiedc, and they’ll update their location live, or just check out their schedule on the website.

14th Street Diaries – Le Diplomate

It has been FAR (acquisition pun if you happen to work in procurement) too long since my last blog post. I don’t know what could be better to revive the blog than with Le Diplomate, easily one of my new favorites in DC. The title of this post is 14th Street Diaries because I intend to have a lot of entries based on new restaurants popping up on the 14th Street corridor, in northwest DC. Just when this neighborhood couldn’t get any more awesome, you start to see a new eatery every time you walk down the block.

One of those new places was Le Diplomate. I had been waiting to try this place for months, since it opened. But, since you know French food can be pricy and generally stuck up :), it took me awhile to finally make it there and it was SOO worth it. This place impressed in every way, except they messed up our bill a little but that was forgivable after the amazing food.

So like all the other outings, I tried to make a group outing out of this visit. I was able to convince three friends to come up this way and they serve as the main characters in the story:

Becca,

Becca

 

Nico,

Nico

 

David,

David

 

Any myself,

Me

 

As you can see in the photos (particularly David’s photo), we were ready for a great food experience! The menu lookedΒ quite appetizing as expected:

Menu

 

I was sent with one tip, to order a Mushroom Tart. This tip was provided by my DC mom, Michelle, who is not only one of the best cooks I know but is also of French-Canadian descent, so I held her preferences in high regard. πŸ™‚

And here it is:

Mushroom Tart

 

It was awesome! If you like mushrooms (pioppini mushrooms to be exact)… it tasted amazingly fresh and the crust was tasty and flaky like a pastry! Or a tart! πŸ™‚ The cheese was great too.

Me Eating Tart

 

So since I ordered the tart, I thought to go with another lower dollar item but also something else that I really wanted, French Toast! Probably the best french toast I’ve had, figures…

French Toast

 

Becca ordered Poached Eggs Basquaise:

Becca's Poached Eggs

 

Poached Eggs make anything look great. And Nico ordered their Eggs Benedict, also a good choice!

Eggs Benedict

 

David and Becca also got some good looking drinks.

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Ok, now that we got those commoner food items out of the way, time for the best dish of my life (alright, exaggeration I know, but a serious possibility of being the best fish I’ve had!), the Trout Amandine. I highly highly recommend it. It was so good, we were all enthralled by it.

Trout Amandine

 

Yes! It tastes as good as it looks. It was so good, we all vowed to order it the next time we went. So to give you an idea of how good it tasted, we let David take a bite and I took a series of fast shots I’d like to share with you. I wish we could create a flip-book of the shots but alas that is not possible for now; you’ll just have to look at the pics below. πŸ™‚

His first bite and then what followed:

First Bite

 

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This clearly displays the accuracy of the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” No more needs to be said. Notice Becca’s hand reaching over for another bite herself before I even finished photographing…

We thought it to be a very successful outing.

Le Dip Outside

 

So why not finish it off with a nice coffee outing? We headed over to my new favorite neighborhood coffee shop, The Coffee Bar (TCB). It was the first time I ever had a Cortado and I really enjoyed it!

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So if anyone is up for some more French food, or let’s be honest, any food, and a trip to TCB, hit me up!

An Afternoon in Georgetown

Anytime you mention food in Georgetown, every person will want to share their opinions with you about all the amazing places. The reason is that there are SO many places to choose. And usually, you can have a pretty reliably good experience as well as it being pretty reliably more expensive than usual. πŸ™‚

A popular favorite, especially among my friends is the Tackle Box, on M Street, close to Wisconsin. I’ve heard about this place for years and Groupon (there is actually one for sale right now, here) began offering deals to go visit so I thought it was high time to make my way over there!

Let me also say that I don’t really remember eating a lobster, straight from the shell. I grew up in Arizona so that is not something we did that often and I honestly don’t remember thinking that much of it anyway. But this being a famous seafood place, I thought I’d go for the lobster and I had half off thanks to Groupon. My lobster was actually just ok, the butter sauce really made it great. I’m not sure if I just expected more from it but it was good. The mac and cheese was above average, good! And the sweet potato fries were successful.

Lobster Dish

 

Mac & Cheese

 

Sweet Potato Fries

 

Here’s the inside of the lobster!

Lobster Inside

 

You can get all kinds of seafood and in many different forms. Below you can see a sandwich as well as grilled fish. I think we all came to the conclusion that their best stuff is on the grilled menu.

Seafood Sandwich

 

Grilled Fish

 

Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the bottom level. One other good thing about this place is that it is really easy to order. You make your order at a register downstairs then pick up your food and sit wherever you want. If there isn’t enough room downstairs, you can take it upstairs. We found a good amount of space for our group which happened to be somewhat large this day. Here’s a good pic with a lot of good faces.

Group Shot

 

Some of us continued from here to try another place I had been waiting forever to try, specifically because of their Deep Fried Oreo Sundae! Serendipity! Serendipity comes from New York City but it has quickly found a home here. They definitely got some prime property right on the corner of M and Wisconsin and they have a pretty sweet old-time look inside.

Lamp Shot

 

Bar shot

 

A couple of shots to get an idea of the menu:

Menu Heading

 

Menu Content

 

Here are Cassandra and Becca displaying a Strawberry Milkshake:
Strawberry Milkshake

And here is the winner of the day, the Deep Fried Oreo Sundae. I experienced my first Deep Fried Oreo at a fair in Pittsburgh and was never the same. To have it in a sundae is a great idea; they even breaded with corn flake-type crumbs. It was SO good!

Deep Fried Oreo Sundae

 

And that included this afternoon in Georgetown.

Love With Food

This last Christmas, one of my favorite gifts came from Tanisha (friend from post above for reference). I was sitting at work one day and got an email stating that someone has purchased several meals for me through Love with Food, so I would receive a box of different food items to try once a month for 3 months! I forwarded the email to Tanisha saying, Are you Serious??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? I think it looked just like that.

I had no idea that things like this existed but it was a really good gift! And not only that, but you should check out the website; it’s a charity. For every meal purchased, they donate a meal to a hungry child. On top of all my joy and excitement at receiving delicious food items, it is that much more increased knowing that someone is benefiting from it in a very meaningful way.

Well this definitely seemed blog-worthy. I received my January shipment recently and thought I’d share it with you (in words, can’t share the food sadly)! Here is the box it came in.

Love with Food Box

It was so exciting receiving it in the mail! What comes inside is a complete surprise. They do provide a small menu of the items.

Open Box

Exciting, right? All kinds of good looking snacks. I also laid them out so you can see each item.

the spread

My favorite item: the Turbana Plantain Chips – these things were so good. They market them as a healthy alternative to potato chips and they were right, I think I enjoyed them more.

Most eccentric item: The chuao firecracker chocolate. It was dark chocolate but combined with pop rocks. I don’t know if there were actually pop rocks in it but that was the feeling you got in your mouth while eating it. I think it was more nostalgic then anything, pop rocks were very exciting childhood candies…

And on that dessert kick, I want to share another food item with you that I recently experienced, the Fried Banana and Nutella Cheesecake at Mad Fox Brewery in Falls Church. If you did not already see the picture I posted on instagram or facebook, let me tell you: this dessert changed my life. It is the best dessert I’ve had in a long time. The outside was a fried tortilla, with cinnamon sugar; inside was the cheesecake with bananas and Nutella and it was hot! A friend (Mario Martinez) described it as an American sopaipilla. I concur.

Dessert

Dessert Open

It was as good as it looks, if not even better. Little did I know when we went to celebrate Tiffany Barran’s (Shout out to Tiffany) birthday that we would be experiencing so much good food. I expected decent pub food but this was so much more. IF anyone wants to go, let me know, I will go with you!!! So much more to try…

And in closing, let me leave you with this video, Ray Lamontagne’s Let It Be Me. This song is so good. What’s funny is that I always thought I wanted Ray Lamontagne’s Trouble to be my wedding song but I think this song may just come out on top; the man went up against himself and won.

Marriage Proposal and Chicken

One of my best friends decided to propose to one of my favorite girlfriends of a friend this past Christmas weekend, on what happened to be the coldest day of the year so far. Yet, that did not hinder the decision making, it ended positively.

Here are Mario and Jenny, soon to be Martinez…

Mario and Jenny

So this happened in Old Town Alexandria, which apparently has its own Yelp Entry, so there you go. 4-5 stars! Really nice waterfront though, with the above seen gazebo. And, if you live in DC, or the DC area, you can take a ferry from Old Town up to Georgetown for only $12. It’s a nice trip, but only available during warmer months.

Really nice background…

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So after all the excitement, and excitement there was…

Martin

Juli

… We got to go eat at Nando’s Peri Peri, which has incredible chicken, always leaving you wanting more, literally, because the size of the chicken is kind of small but it tastes really good!

And the location in Old Town just opened in October, following a pattern of so many other chains opening in Old Town; I guess they make good money there. Β Old Town has a long row of all kinds of restaurants – chains and originals, including a Vietnamese place that we just discovered that I want to go back and try.

Nando's Menu

The chicken is all the same, you just pick your sauce. My favorite sauce, barely seen in the photo, is the Lemon and Herb. But no matter the sauce, the chicken is really good, and you can add any sauce of your choice on top anyway. And with the chicken, you have a choice of some really good sides.

Potatoes Chicken

The mashed potatoes were very correctly described as “off the hook.” Very nicely seasoned and the texture is awesome. And those aren’t just plain rolls, they are “Portuguese.” Actually doesn’t mean that much but all of their bread items are pretty good, worth adding to the plate.

The restaurant does have a 2nd floor with full service food, bar and the amazing self-serve Coke machine so I can get some Cherry Vanilla Coke; I’m not sure why I didn’t get a picture of it. You’ve seen them before right? They are very exciting…

coke-freestyle-machine-590

Bar

But all in all, the food was not really the focus of the day and this blog post is hereby dedicated to Mario and Jenny. Here’s to chicken and a happy life together! πŸ™‚

Georgetown Scavenger Hunt

This did take place a couple of weeks ago but it is worth its own post. I co-lead a Life Group at my church, Capital Life Church, with Angela Guida. For one of our many fun events, we put together this scavenger hunt in Georgetown. And as one participant noted, “So this is one of those scavenger hunts where you just embarrass yourself.” Well, yes and no… haha.

It allows you to go around the neighborhood and photograph/video tape yourselves doing quite hilarious things. It makes for a lot of fun afterward which you will soon witness. I’ve included some of my favorite videos at the bottom.

Anyway, Angela and I played a different role from the rest of the group. We walked around Georgetown, shopping and eating; and if one of the teams happened to run into us, they could get extra points by having us participate in a couple of the “quests.”

So naturally, for our walking around time, I wanted to eat. Georgetown is the source of so much good food. Our food experience that day was minimal but still fun. We happened to be by Sprinkles when we started, which is a newer cupcake shop in DC. I previously had a coupon for a free cupcake from Sprinkles but when I went to go use it they were all sold out of cupcakes! 😦  So I thought I would go now to try one.

These pics were taken in their front lobby which is like 5 feet by 5 feet with about 50 people stuffed inside. People joke about living or walking into a shoe box, well this is the real deal, an actual shoebox, literally (like my incorrect usage of literally? I thought so).

However, if you happen to go to Sprinkles, try and take a peak into the room behind the counter when the door opens. It’s HUGE! And it is all white; and all the people are dressed in white, like some kind of Elf-like factory or maybe a FoxConn plant… but with better working conditions…

After I patiently waited in line, I chose the Dark Chocolate Banana cupcake. It was successful, possibly better than Georgetown Cupcake, definitely better tasting that Crumbs, but not as good as Baked & Wired; so there’s the scale… But oh man, I love bananas and chocolate, that is kind of hard to mess up for me.

Here is the packaging and cupcake.

Angela provided the hand-modeling for this pic with her furry coat. I do appreciate that the frosting was a little more solid so it wasn’t as messy allowing me to walk and eat!

So after stopping at some shopping destinations, we proceeded to Thomas Sweets, introduced to me by Sara who always wanted to go in college. I think I was more nostalgic about it though because it wasn’t as good as I remembered and was kind of pricy. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by good frozen yogurt though. I opted for the cookies and cream ice cream which was good. T Sweets is kind of a Georgetown icon so worth a visit.

We then proceeded to dilly dally around Georgetown before dinner with the whole group at Johnny Rockets. This was after everyone had completed the scavenger hunt. My co-leader, Angela, kept commenting about how crazy it was that I could still eat dinner after a cupcake and ice cream. That is not that much food, do I have any support here??? haha

So my first time to Johnny Rockets was actually in Amman, Jordan; it was where all the Americans went to get Dr. Pepper, an oasis of sorts. I don’t remember ever going to one in the US so I thought why not take some pics??

I proceeded to order to the County Fair Burger which was responded in kind with a large gasp from Angela, but look how small it is! It had fried pickles and bacon on it which made it pretty appealing to me.

And you get a small plate with a ketchup smiley face, very welcoming.

It wasn’t bad. I’d still rather head on over to BTS which is a 15 minute walk down the road.

So now for the good stuff! My favorite challenge that the teams videotaped was to pretend like a dramatic earthquake had hit the area. These videos are priceless with my favorite one on the bottom, Vanessa winning the award for best actress in my book.

Enjoy!