Archive for June 6, 2012

Food truck roundup

Here’s the latest in my food truck adventures.

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Lamb platter from Tasty Kabob

I tried Tasty Kabob’s lamb platter, which came with rice, side salad, and chick peas.  The portions were generous.  I liked the chick peas.  I was a little disappointed with the lamb which was actually gyro-style meat, cut into cubes so as to look like pieces of regular, non-compressed lamb.  On the positive side, it had good lamb flavor but was very salty.  Overall, it was solid especially if you like your food salty. I will warn you that after eating this meal, I was in a food coma for the rest of the afternoon.

 

Souvlaki Stop’s Gyro

Gyro from DC’s first Greek food truck — The Souvlaki Stop — was ok but also on the salty side and I think the feta was to blame. I can’t believe I’m about to say there can be such a thing as too much feta, but there can be.  The feta used was too salty to begin with and threw off the whole balance of the sandwich.  (When I tasted the gyro meat by itself, it was well seasoned but not salty.)  Overall, though, the gyro meat, pita, and tzatziki satisfied my gyro craving.

Of course, what’s better than a caramel popcorn chaser to a salty gyro?  Stella’s Popkern hit the spot and brought my taste buds back into neutral.  The popcorn was good and reminded me of my childhood snack Cracker Jacks, except Stella’s was way better.  Stella, where’s my prize??

Caramel popcorn from Stella’s Popkern

 

Last but not least, I checked out the Big Cheese.  My top two choices quickly sold out so I went for the Mt. Fuji — Mt. Tam brie, fuji apples, and honey, on multigrain bread.  It was good but a mushed mess.  I’m not sure there’s a way around this problem — other than eating the sandwich right on the spot — since anytime you wrap up a piping hot grilled cheese sandwich, soggy ensues.

Tune in next week for more food truck adventures.

Economy gives local restaurants pink slips

Today is the last day to check out Current as they are shutting their doors permanently! Times are tough as reflected by the number of restaurant closings in the last month – Casa Nonna, Heritage India, and Fruit Bat, to name a few. Eater DC has been compiling a list of closings taking place since late May including the surreptitious closing of Buddha Bar this past weekend. Apparently, DC peeps just don’t get the concept and the restaurant’s Paris base won’t let the DC location adapt the concept. Eater also reported the following upcoming closings:

Capital BBQ (July 14)
Potenza (July 30)
Zola (August 18)

It’s getting ugly out there. I need some wine.

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Event: Take Flight with Bourbon Women

(Courtesy Mixdrinkipedia)

Are you a bourbon girl?

That was the question posed to me by Peggy Stevens, founding member of the Bourbon Women Association. Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking to Stevens about Bourbon Women Take Flight, the Association’s bourbon-tasting/networking event being held at Jack Rose on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 (5:30-8pm).  The event includes signature bourbon cocktails from Jack Rose’s Master Mixologist, Rachel Sergi, a formal bourbon tasting presented by Beam, bourbon-inspired appetizers from Jack Rose, and a gift bag.  All the above are included as part of the registration fee ($50), along with a 1-year membership to Bourbon Women.

 

 

 

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Pepe Food Truck

I have to hand it to José Andrés and his Pepe food truck for making one hell of a sandwich even though it felt wrong to pay $14 for a food truck sandwich.

I’m speaking of the Pepito de Ternera, made with seared beef tenderloin, sweet caramelized onions, piquillo pepper confit and blue cheese. All these simple but quality ingredients are piled into a ficelle, which is a long thin baguette provided by Panorama bakery in Alexandria.

The bread is just as important as the filling in terms of making the sandwich so delectable – it’s crusty on the outside, spongy on the inside, and almost the same width as the pieces of seared tenderloin within it.

All in all, the sandwich gets high marks for its bread-to-filling ratio and contrast of textures. It also hit the right salty-sweet balance – the blue cheese is very instrumental in this regard. I warn you that the sandwich is a bit greasy. In the 10 minutes it took me to walk back to my office and inhale my sandwich in privacy, I narrowly averted decorating my business suit in oil dripping through the wax paper. I will also suggest you eat the sandwich soon after purchasing as it tends to cool down rather quickly.

Next time, I might give in and order the Iberico, which seems to be the priciest, single item ($20) available from any DC food truck due to its main ingredient — Iberico ham, which commands a hefty price on its own.

Tasty forkfuls!

I’ve had some tasty treats on my fork lately.  Check them out!

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Cheese plate at Boqueria (with pan con tomato)

I love the simplicity of Boqueria’s pan con tomato that comes with the cheese plate and other dishes.  The albondigas are exceptional as is the tomato-based sauce in which they’re nestled.  The only thing missing was a huge hunk of crusty to mop up all that sauce.  The bacon wrapped dates are amazing, but can one ever go wrong with bacon wrapped dates — most likely not.

 

Every time I visit Graffiato, I find one or two new dishes that I like.  On my last two visits, I thought the roasted cauliflower, octopus and crispy lamb were beyond solid.

El Centro‘s queso fundido with chorizo topper is too good for words.  Make sure to ask for extra tortillas as there are never enough!  It’s a great dish to share especially when enjoying 1/2 price sangria carafes on El Centro’s patio (every Sunday, starting at 5 pm).

I just tried Cleveland Park’s Medium Rare for the first time.  I’m probably the last one to check it out, I know.  For the (still) uninitiated, the arrangement is simple.  You pay $19.50 (plus tax & tip).  In return, you get crusty bread, a nice salad, and two servings of frites and sliced steak with secret sauce.  It’s not fancy, but it satisfied my steak cravings without the large bill or that overstuffed, gluttonous, sleepy feeling afterwards.

 

For dinner, Mintwood Place’s duck with sauerkraut was the perfect synergy of salty, rich, sweet and tangy. For brunch, I was impressed by the bacon and onion flammekueche with a fried egg topper.  I think I love this place a little more each time I visit.  Every dish I’ve tried has been well-executed and expertly composed.

 

 

Speaking of fried egg-topped brunch dishes, I also enjoyed Belga Cafe’s Mais Wafels:  Cornbread waffle, pulled pork, and fried eggs.  Delicious!