Nearing the end

May 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

Oh god. It’s really starting to sink in, this whole graduation thing. Even though I am super excited about my plans for next year, a part of me is still coping with the fact that I’ll soon be leaving Georgetown. Goodbye beautiful campus and your ridiculous amount of stairs. Goodbye wonderful M and Wisconsin. Goodbye all the great people I’ve met over the past three years (though in this case, I don’t feel too sad because I know we’ll definitely see each other again soon). Goodbye all those case studies and group presentations I’ve done as part of the business school (honestly, I probably won’t miss you as much).

Of course, I’ve been trying to hit all my favorites spots before leaving for the summer. Last week, friends and I went to Hank’s at Dupont and had our fill of delicious raw oysters from Washington state, fried shrimp and calamari, crabcakes, and lobster rolls. The weather was gorgeous, so for the first time this semester, we were able to eat outside.

Midway through our meal, we saw some White House staffers pull up on their bikes, and I noticed an Indian guy in his helmet and sneaks. Turns out it was none other than Kal Penn, of Harold and Kumar fame, who is currently working at the White House as associate director in the Office of Public Engagement. Actually, a week before, someone had held him at gunpoint before taking his belongings, so it was nice to see he hadn’t been hurt enough to prevent him from going out. The rest of our dinner was spent debating whether or not to take a picture of him, but by the time we finally decided, he had already started eating and we didn’t want to annoy him.

After a week of paper writing and studying for finals, Erin, Jia, and I decided that enough was enough. We couldn’t take campus anymore and went downtown to the capitol, where we treated ourselves to an “end of the semester” dinner at Fogo de Chao, one of those epic Brazilian barbecue places. There’s a salad bar and delicious sides, but the focus of the meal is the beef. You’re given a placard with green on one side and red on the other, and when you leave the green side up, men dressed in funny gaucho pants walk up to your table with cuts of sirloin, ribeye, filet mignon, etc on giant skewers and slice you off a piece according to how you like it cooked. When you’re full and need a break, you turn the placard on the red side.

You’d think that a ton of beef and sides like fried polenta and grilled bananas would fill us up, and it did, but fullness didn’t prevent us from ordering three desserts: turtle cheesecake, a ridiculously rich and moist chocolate molten cake, and classic creamy flan. Afterwards, the three of us all had glazed over looks on our faces and decided that, no matter how painful it was, we’d walk back from the metro station.

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Old Glory BBQ

April 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

Georgetown has a good number of decent brunch options ranging from the classics at Clyde’s to Hook’s more modern takes on Eggs Benedict and French toast. Yesterday, Ameya came down from UMD and we finally went to Old Glory BBQ to partake in their whole hog brunch buffet with all the fixings.

Unfortunately, because we got there much later in the day, the roast pork was a bit dry (though saved by the tasty rub) and the once crackly skin was inedible. However, the delicious sides redeemed the disappointing pork. I helped myself to tons of home fries, sausage and gravy, and something that resembled grits. At $14.95 for the entire meal, it was a good deal overall, but next time I know I’d be better off ordering the hand sliced brisket with two sides.

St. Louis and Matsuri

April 11, 2010 § 1 Comment

On Thursday, I headed to the Midwest for the first time in my life. The point of my trip was to take a look at Wash. U. in St. Louis and make sure that I’d made the right decision about attending law school there. After spending my first night there wandering around the city with absolutely no idea where I was going, I’ll admit that I started feeling a bit anxious about going to school in a place so different from anywhere I’d lived before.

But, on Friday, after attending a 1L criminal law class, taking a tour of the beautiful facilities (funny thing actually, the law school building is called Anheuser-Busch Hall. Free keg Fridays anyone?), and talking to the admissions officers a little more about housing and career placement, I started to get really excited about next fall. Although the entire process is still a bit daunting (including the whole prospect of finding good housing), I’m officially ready to become a law student! Bring. It. On.

I got back to the apartment on Saturday at 2 AM, and about 9 hours later, I had to get up again so Jia and I could head down to the annual Matsuri street fair and visit the cherry blossoms. As always, the entirety of Pennsylvania Avenue was packed with strollers and tourists (it almost made me not understand why people would bring babies out of the house), and lines for the ATM and various vendors were at least 20 or 30 people deep.

Somehow, we managed to get giant skewers of grilled chicken teriyaki, veg. fried rice, and shrimp tempura udon before starving to death and sat on some moderately clean steps of the Pavilion before heading off to the Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial.

Now, every year, the cherry blossom society (or whatever you want to call it) lists the peak days of sakura bloom. This year, it was April 1 and 2, right when I left to go home for spring break. After those two peaks days, the blossoms start to wilt and die, hence the reason they’ve always been a symbol of the ephemeral-ness of spring. So basically, we should’ve known better than to expect anything when visiting a week late, especially after a week where the weather reached the low 90s.

No blossoms in sight. Green, all around the tidal basin. So disappointing, but I guess we couldn’t really complain since we were the tardy ones. However, the weather was still gorgeous, perfect for walking and not too hot, so we wandered around a little more to watch kids fly kites (albeit unsuccessfully) around the National Mall before facing the ridiculous crowds at the Smithsonian metro stop and heading back to campus.

So: lesson learned. When they say peak days, don’t think you can get away with waiting a couple extra days to see those cherry blossoms. They ain’t lying.

Restaurant Weekend

January 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

This past weekend was filled with so much good food, and there was quite a variety of it too. We had dimsum at China Garden, hearty Italian at Filomena, where I only managed to finish half of my entree and dessert (two meals in one!), and a light breakfast at Leopold’s Kafe down in Cady Alley.

Sunday morning, Ameya imed me asking to go to dimsum at China Garden, but because it was already 1 PM, I was a little reluctant since it would take him a while to drive down from UMD and get us to the restaurant. What ensued was probably the fastest sit-down restaurant meal of my entire life.

When we got there at 2:15 (because parking took a while as well), the cart ladies swarmed us, trying to finish off all the steamers they still had before they had to pack stuff away. So, in about 20 minutes, Ameya, Varun, and I devoured about 12 dimsum dishes – dumplings, har gao, egg tarts and all – and paid our check at around 2:35. In a way, it was a meal of perfect efficiency.

Restaurant Week at Filomena is probably one of the best promotions during that entire week. We had four courses of soup, appetizer, main course, and dessert (as well as a complimentary sambuca or amaretto), and the portions were absolutely huge! I went last year as well so I was able to plan my eating strategy more accordingly, and saved enough food for an entire extra meal the next day.

Everything – the homemade gnochhi, the delicious rigatoni in vodka sauce, the chocolate mousse cake and the raspberries n’ cream dessert – was so frikkin’ delicious and perfect for the cold day we were having. And as usual, the restaurant was decked out in decorations for the next closest holiday, which meant there were paper doves and shiny plastic red hearts hanging from the ceiling everywhere! So cheezy, but still cute.

The next day, we stopped at Leopold’s Kafe for breakfast/brunch and luckily, we got there before it became packed with patrons. I opted for the fresh grapefruit juice with the most amazing and flaky almond croissant I think I have ever had (my plate was completely covered in crumbs) and giant roasted baby red potatoes with caramelized onions seasoned with fresh thyme.

A perfect balance between the sweetness of the pastry and the savory heaviness of the potatoes. If I had to choose one brunch spot to go to for the rest of my time at Georgetown, it would be Leopold’s, hands down. The service is so friendly, the atmosphere is sleek and chic, and the food is amazing, especially the breakfast options. The giant pastry case near the bar isn’t a bad thing either.

RW 1 – Sushi-Ko

January 18, 2010 § 1 Comment

So many people visited DC this weekend! Tiff came by Friday night, and we had an amazing meal at Sushi-Ko, Washington D.C.’s very first sushi restaurant.

It’s actually Restaurant Week here, so we were able to get the three course meals for a lot less than what the usual price would be. Jia and Tiff both chose the smoked mussels and eggplant miso soups while I had the sushi-ko crab cakes with avocado, which were meaty yet light. They also came with the usual Japanese-style and zingy horseradish sauce that I’m absolutely addicted to. They were gone in about 2 minutes. I have no restraint.

Second and third courses were great as well. Tiff had a beautifully presented dish of salmon ceviche with giant glistening beads of orange ikura, salmon roe. It came dressed in yuzu vinaigrette, the citrus giving a perfect balance to the whole dish. Her final course was a spread of yummy sushi and a spicy tuna roll. Jia had rock shrimp and asparagus tempura which I didn’t try, but she seemed to enjoy it. Jia’s final course was the beef tenderloin, and even though she opted not to get sushi, it looked absolutely delicious.

My second and third courses came together: the chef’s assortment of the day’s freshest fish as well as a crunchy spicy tuna roll with avocado and scallions. So fresh, so packed with flavor. You could really tell that everything, including the pickled ginger and wasabi, were homemade because they tasted so vibrant and powerful. I’ll definitely be returning a couple times this semester to try the chirashi and other entrees. YUM!

Magic Berries at EFN Lounge

December 14, 2009 § Leave a comment

This past Friday was the first Flavor Trip party at EFN Lounge in DC. I’d heard about these magic berries ever since they were featured on notcot and in the NYTimes, and FINALLY got to see if they really worked.

For $12, you got a magic berry, scientific name: synsepalum dulcificum, instructions on how to eat it, and access to the Tripeteria, where there was only salty, sour, and bitter foods, including Sour Patch Kids, briny green olives, lime slices, and a bunch of condiments like Tabasco sauce and vinegar. Drinks were also on order.

According to the provided trip tips: “do not eat the berry. do not bite or eat the berry’s seed. remove the pulp completely from the seed with your tongue and teeth without biting the seed. swirl around your tongue for 2-3 minutes to allow the glycoprotein to bind to your taste buds.”

It was quite the experience. Some descriptions, like Guiness tasting like a chocolate milkshake, were lies, but limes really did taste like delicious, sweet candy and beer had a distinct flavor as well. Also, as someone who isn’t usually a big fan of olives, AMAZING. I don’t even really know how to describe them after eating them with the berry. Tabasco sauce and vinegar were the strangest because before you actually tasted the condiments, you could smell the spiciness or acidity. Yet, the taste was completely sweet. Even crazier was the huge kick once you gulped the Tabasco.┬áDefinitely very tricky.

So, if you’re ever in the DC area during the second Friday of each month, you can reserve your tickets here for $12 a seat beforehand. The party lasts from 7-9 PM, and it’s a pretty fun experience.

Eating on M and the Waterfront

December 11, 2009 § Leave a comment

A couple weeks ago, a friend from high school visited, and we head to Clyde’s for weekend brunch. I ate there earlier in the year and wasn’t really impressed with the food (my hanger steak that I ordered was a little dry). My impression didn’t really improve when we ordered to share a large fruit salad and got one of the ugliest piles of fruit I think I’d ever seen. None of it was fresh: the grapes had that over-ripe flavor and oozy texture and the melon was so hard and not sweet at all. Clyde’s fruit salad: FAIL.

But, they did redeem themselves with the pumpkin spice pancakes. The batter is made of whole wheat and oatmeal, which is probably why they’re still so fluffy even with the pumpkin weighing it down. They also included pecans, which added a good bit of crunch. Drowned in real Vermont maple syrup and accompanied with almost-entirely crisp bacon, and I was a happy camper. I only tried Jimmy’s potatoes (which I didn’t really think compared to my patatas bravas and rosemary roasted potatoes), but his Eggs Benedict looked delicious and he seemed pretty satisfied with his choice.

Afterwards, we hung out at the National Mall and went to the Museum of Natural History. I’ve been there at least 10 times through my Georgetown years, but this time they had the annual National Geographic Photo Exhibit up and some of those pictures just blow my mind. The patience and fearlessness some of these people have – there was a really close-up photo of a shark ripping some poor, inferior sea creature to pieces, no detailed spared. It didn’t even look real to me because it was so close. Oh yeah, we also saw an albino squirrel running around the trees getting picked on by the normal colored squirrels. Damn.

This past week, I also went with Amy to Agraria/Farmers and Fishers. I don’t really know what to call it anymore. Last year, when I considered going for Restaurant Week, it was called Agraria and it was actually one of those really fancy, tasting menu places where it was impossible to get a reservation. When I looked it up again this year, it was called Farmers and Fishers and the prices fit much more comfortably within my budget. I think it was bought by the same people who own Founding Farmers (a place located in the IMF building that emphasizes local and sustainable eating), and now you get to eat a hearty, American meal on the Georgetown waterfront.

One of the things they’re famous for is the fresh squeezed juices and homemade sodas. The lemonade I ordered was wonderfully tart and sweet, and I liked the little bit of pulp that they left. We then shared a Maryland Crab dip and ciabatta bread as an appetizer. Gooey, rich, fatty. It was so tasty, but I definitely regretted eating so much of it later. My entree was a HUGE pork shank, crispy on the outside and almost completely tender on the inside. Some parts were a bit tougher but the fact that the entire shank was seasoned perfectly made up for that oversight. Amy’s mahi-mahi was flaky and delicate and the pesto that topped it added the right amount of zing.

It was snowing/raining by the time we were walking back (the first snow of the season!) and it was really nice to just chill for the rest of the evening. Because the snow put us in such a holiday mood, we watched Love Actually, drank hot chocolate, and made paper snowflakes and green and red paper chains to decorate the apartment, like the elementary school kids that we are.

My final fall semester at Georgetown is almost over. Wow.

Eatin’ Good Stuff

November 14, 2009 § Leave a comment

It’s been such a good weekend! Last night was the Maroon 5 concert and this morning, Emily and I went to the Library of Congress today to do research in the reading room, and for lunch, we went to Good Stuff Eatery, the excellent burger and milkshake place helmed by Spike Mendelsohn, of Top Chef Chicago fame.

Even though it was Saturday near Capitol Hill, the place was busy with tourists and DCers. I ordered the Colletti’s Smokehouse burger with applewood bacon, sharp Vermont cheddar, and fried Vidalio onion rings with chipotle BBQ sauce, and Emily got the turkey burger with lettuce, tomato, cheese, caramelized onions, and mushrooms. We also got accompanying strawberry and chocolate milkshakes.

The patties were well seasoned (the last thing I want is something with no salt) and cooked a medium-rare, and the buns were squishy but toasted at the same time. Surprisingly, there was no burger juice soakage into the bun. I was surprised that the fried onion ring in mine managed to stay so crispy, and if Spike ever decides to bottle that chipotle BBQ sauce, I’ll always have one in my pantry.

I loved my strawberry milkshake. At first it was a bit too dense due to the custard, but after a couple swirls with the spoon, it thinned enough to be slurped by a draw. My favorite part was the HUGE dollop of whip cream that wouldn’t disappear no matter how times I smooshed it around in my cup.

I hope we can keep this little tradition. Since I most likely won’t have classes on Fridays next semester, we’re going to try to go to Capital South once a week and get to know the neighborhood better. Who knows, maybe I’ll even work there as an intern in the spring!

The Dancing Crab

November 3, 2009 § Leave a comment

Dad came down to Maryland this past week for a business retreat, and on Thursday, he decided to ditch his meeting to do work in the pretty new business building and hang out with me.

For the longest time, he’s been asking me to find a good restaurant in D.C. that serves Old Bay steamed crabs, and for some reason, I only discovered the Dancing Crab (located about a block away from the Tenleytown metro top, red line) this year.

We got the “all you can eat” blue crab deal for 29.95 each, and it came with hush puppies (now my new favorite carb source because they’re like savory, bacon-greased cornbread fritters) and less than mediocre fries.

It’d been so long since I’d eaten steamed crabs, and like the macho I usually am when it comes to food, I thought I’d be able to down 10 no problem. We ended up stopping at 20 total, and we only filled the giant bucket halfway. I was quite ashamed of myself. However, in my defense, these were pretty large specimens, filled with tons of meat and seasoned really well, so I guess less was more in this case?

Unfortunately, because I ate such an overwhelming amount during that single dinner, I think it might be a whole ‘nother year before I can experience the “all you can eat” crab deal again. Though, I think we might’ve started a Quan tradition. ┬áDad now wants to embark on another “all you can eat” journey, and we’re trying to decide what the next food should be. Hank’s Oyster Bar in Alexandria has “all you can eat” oysters and select artisan beers on Saturdays for $65, but sadly I can’t take advantage of that yet and I don’t think I’d be able to handle too many oysters anyway. Something about their slimy texture (though delicious!) would probably prevent me from eating too many in one sitting.

 

Parents’ weekend at Hank’s, apartment rearranging

October 28, 2009 § Leave a comment

The weekend of October 15 I got my LSAT results, and my dad and sister #3, Laura, visited me for parents’ weekend the very next day, which was a nice consolation. Laura had a bunch of extra credit places to visit for her AP US History class, so most of the day was spent traipsing around the DC monuments in the bitterly cold rain, including the Washington Monument, the Korean War and Vietnam War memorials, the Lincoln Memorial, basically everything you could think of.

On the plus side, we got a good amount of seafood at Hank’s. Laura got to try her very first oyster and lobster roll, both of which were as delicious as the first time I had them. But for some reason, I still feel very iffy about the fried oysters; something about their taste changes when they are cooked (they get this really strange bitter taste) and I don’t think I like it very much. I’d rather stick with their raw, deliciously briny and cucumber-y ┬ábrothers and sisters. yum. I forgot that the restaurant likes to leave really good dark chocolate as an after-meal snack, but this time, we had a leftover plastic bag from the oyster crackers and scooped up all the pieces to save for later.

While we were out during the day, my roommates Danielle and Quint went on a rearranging rampage. Now, the living room/kitchen space looks so much more open now, and we’ve got a little desk in the nook near the window. I love that there’s an extra light now too; one of the major problems we had before was the dimness of the living room, where most of us like to get work done in the evening.

Considering how much furniture moving we did that night, we held a spontaneous wine and cheese night. The brie and white wine were from dean&deluca (so delicious), and my dad just brought down a bunch of fruit (concord and table grapes, tangerines, bananas) so we had quite the snack. I took the baked brie with honey and walnuts out of the oven while we were still moving things around, and since it stayed on the hot plate for a while, it melted so much more than the first time I made it. It still tasted delicious with the toasted french baguette, though.

My dad’s in DC again this week for a conference in Rockville, MD, and I think tomorrow we’ll be going to the Maine Avenue Fish Market in southwest DC to have some tasty Chesapeake Old Bay Crabs before they go out of season. After that, I’ll be working on law school applications all weekend since deadlines are coming up, but I’m going to do my best to post about the crab dinner and recipes next week!

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