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Food Shopping: Number 1 Sons Kimchi, Kraut & More

16 Apr

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Ever tried Korean kimchi before? Kimchi is a spicy, pickled, hot-as-all-heck mixture of fermented (read: pickled au naturel) cabbage that’s frequently a garnish, condiment and all-around addition to Korean cuisine.

It’s also delicious.

Which is why, when I ran into the Number 1 Sons booth at this past Saturday’s Silver Spring Farmer’s Market, I stopped, tasted, and purchased some kimchi-licious goodies.

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A Toast to DC: District Wine Festival and Cherry Blossoms

11 Apr
Oh my gosh, love this. This was right before we bought gigantic cups of bubble tea. #Mmmmm. #nomnomnom

Oh my gosh, I love this. This was right before we bought gigantic cups of bubble tea. #Mmmmm. #nomnomnom

This weekend, one of my absolute favorite people — my college bestie Laura — came to DC for a packed weekend of cherry blossom-visiting, belated birthday celebrating, city-exploring, Metro-riding, and … wine drinking! While she was in town (from all the way in an unnamed Southern city — gotta keep a little anonymity in this Age of the Interwebs, kids), we hit up a great combination of touristy good times and foodie fun.

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DC Dining: Horace & Dickie’s

3 Apr

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The Washington Post had a somewhat Lenten-themed feature a few weeks ago — and while we’re officially post-Easter, my love of all things meatless most definitely has no expiration date.  The Post decided to highlight a DC institution, Horace & Dickie’s seafood on H Street NE.

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Food Shopping: Trohv in Takoma Park, MD

20 Mar

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Fun times on GKG today! A few weeks ago, I visited one of my favorite stores in the DMV, and took a slew of pictures to capture my adventures. THT was good enough to come along and explore Trohv in Takoma Park, MD (their sister store is in Baltimore, for any Charm City readers out there!) one afternoon.

Trohv is something of a hipster / mid-century modern / stylish & contemporary home goods store. Some items are high-style. Some items are cheeky and fun. Some are for kids, some are for a grown-up’s inner kid. Overall, the vibe is funky and fun. And the kitchen goods? Delightful. While there isn’t any actual “food” in this food shopping post, their decor de cuisine is just plain fun.

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Food Shopping: World Market & Williams Sonoma

8 Feb

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Time for another food-venture in shopping! This weekend, to prepare for a Mardi Gras-fest with some DC friends (details and Jambalaya recipe pending!), I ventured to the foreign land of Friendship Heights — which really does sound like a foreign land — to hit up two favorites. First, World Market supposedly had a killer collection of Mardi Gras goodies. Secondly, Williams-Sonoma is always worth a perusal.

And, thankfully, I took my camera! Here’s a fun round-up of what I found at both stores. Let’s laissez les bons temps roulez at two fun chef-friendly outposts.

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Restaurant Reviews: The Hill’s Good Stuff Eatery and DC-3

10 Sep

Mmm! Hey, beautiful! Say hello to the Bulgogi & Kimchi dog at DC-3. Scroll down to read more!

 

Pennsylvania Avenue is home to more than just, y’know, that little White House at good ol’ 1600. When you take Pennsylvania Ave. in the opposite direction of the White House, heading southeast, you hit the heart of the Hill.

Image courtesy of cloud9living.com. City on a Hill! Heh heh, I kill myself.

Er, Capitol Hill, that is! One of my favorite neighborhoods in town, the Hill is home to many a fun food shop, fresh market, and tasty restaurant. Hill’s Kitchen and Eastern Market are in this neck of the woods, as are two restaurants I’ve recently tried – Spike Mendolsohn’s Good Stuff Eatery on Pennsylvania, and DC-3 Hot Dogs, just off of PA Ave on 8th SE.

While these two foodstuffs establishments are a few blocks apart, they epitomize – to me, the not-quite-native-but-not-a-newbie resident – the fun flavor of Capitol Hill. It’s business in the front, party in the back: a kind of mullet-of-a-neighborhood with great bars and restaurants in the shadow of the seat of one of the most powerful governments in the world. Fun, hip, down-to-earth  – what’s not to like?

Image courtesy of foursquare.com. Just a few stops on Capitol Hill’s 8th street SE.

For starters, Good Stuff is likely the wider known of the two, mostly due to its founding chef’s celebrity pedigree. Spike Mendolsohn competed on Top Chef in a former life, and now spends his time opening DC restaurants, including Good Stuff and its pizza-serving twin, We The Pizza (I know – THE PUNS!) next door. Good Stuff focuses on what Spike sees as just that – the good stuff, a.k.a. juicy burgers, homey & dressed-down fries, and a milkshake or two (or more).

Image courtesy of eatworkplay.com. And their logo has a cow. Lurve it.

While their impressive mayo and sauce bar may get a lot of publicity, along with sandwiches featuring fried eggs or those named after a certain Mr. Obama (featuring bacon, horseradish and Roquefort cheese), it’s the unsung heroes of the menu that got my attention. On a visit to Good Stuff with my visiting sister, I sunk my teeth into a Michelle Melt (the Mrs. Obama burger, featuring “Southlawn Herb Garden Mayo” and Swiss cheese) and was surprised to note the patty’s protein of choice: turkey.

Now, normally, turkey burgers have a reputation for being culinary hockey pucks. Still, I order them on a regular basis, in an attempt to eat less saturated fat and out of the erstwhile hope that the turkey burger won’t suck. This time? To quote the Good Stuff motto: Goodness. Gracious. The juices dribbled down my chin. The spices tickled my taste buds. The combination of mayo, cheese, turkey, lettuce, tomato & bun so perfectly married in my mouth that you’d think divine intervention had a hand in the union.

Image courtesy of mindbodygreen.com. Confession: I didn’t have time to take my own picture, because I was too busy inhaling this bad boy in far fewer bites than Miss Manners might deem ladylike in her most generous mood. NOM NOM NOM.

My sister’s standard turkey burger, topped with creamy avocado and a slew of veggies, was just as delicious. I think we both said, “Excuse me for a minute; this burger and I are having an intimate encounter” at the same time.

In short, when you check out Good Stuff, don’t just hit it up for the touristy benefit of Spike’s endorsement (or the fact that the place has been featured everywhere from the Food Network to the pages of “Every Day with Rachael Ray,” which prompted my mom to ask, “Honey, have you gone to that … Good Stuff place?”). Go for the turkey burger. (And maybe one of those toasted marshmallow milkshakes.) Your taste buds will thank you, even if your cardiologist has a few choice words for your arteries.

Image courtesy of Seriouseats.com. Oh, what’s that? Yup, it’s drool on my keyboard.

The second Capitol Hill joint I hit up recently was DC-3, a humbly outfitted hot dog joint right on 8th street, in the mini-neighborhood known as Barracks Row. 8th SE is a quick right turn from Pennsylvania, and features some of the city’s most interesting and quirkiest restaurants. DC-3, with its old school, pilot-and-plane-themed décor, proves no exception.

Cuuuute, right? I dug it.

I had previously scouted the place through Yelp (always a risky move – you never know who got paid to say “the roach on my salad really added to the experience” or whose hyperbolic praise masks real-life health code violations), and discovered that their 16-item “Regionals” menu focused on famous dogs from around the U.S., including the rarely seen outside of Arizona “Sonoran Hot Dog.” They also reportedly had a classic Chicago-style hot dog on the menu, and this former Midwesterner was too intrigued to pass up the place.

More cute decor — a map of each hot dog’s region of origin. Cooool.

No waiters, no muss, no fuss: at DC-3, patrons simply order up a dog at their vintage-style counter, and dogs come in a red plastic basket lined with wax paper. DC-3 does indeed sport both Sonoran and Chicago-style dogs, as well as their most popular and most legendary frank: the Q’s Seoul Bulgogi & Kimchi.

This monstrosity is a testament to the Korean-American story in the best heartburn-on-a-bun way possible. A crisply toasted, simple white bun is topped with the ubiquitous dog; then, a hefty serving of bulgogi, a classic Korean beef dish; and finally, the spicy, funkalicious kimchi. The kimchi gleams with fluorescent orange and muted green, and the ends of the dog just barely peek through below the monstrous toppings. It is, in a word, delicious.

Other DC-3 highlights include the Maine Red Snapper (with white sauce and onion relish), the Seattle Pike Place Ultimate Fish Dog (just fish, no fish-and-dog combo, which is probably for the best), and a falafel-fest known as the California Left-Winger.

If you find yourself on the Hill and feeling a bit noshy, check out either Good Stuff or DC-3. Both are delicious, and both are shockingly wallet-friendly for a town that seems to prize itself on pricey dinner menus. Both places make for a great take-out lunch, too – after ordering from both establishments, I ate my lunch in the shadow of the U.S. capitol, sitting on a park bench and enjoying the summertime sun as it made that majestic white dome gleam.

Pretty cool.

“Food” Shopping: DC’s Hill’s Kitchen

21 Aug

As much as I love me some Target-scoping or Home Goods exploring, big box stores have their limitations. One, they tend to be low on quirks. (Fun fact: small business owners are just quirkier people.) Two, your neighborhood friendly sales rep is just as likely to hate their job (“Angst. Angst. Angst”) as they are to know the answers to your queries. And three, they’re often less aesthetically pleasing. (At least on the outside. Can’t say I envy the look of concrete blocks topped by … concrete blocks.)

Hot stuff right there. Ow-OW.

Which is why, in restaurants and in shopping, my bias is often in favor of the “little guys” – the small businesses, the locally owned joints, the places whose owners could just as easily be your second cousin or high school buddy. When it comes to kitchens, cooking and foodstuffs, these sorts of establishments tend to be fiercely local. Can’t say I mind that.

My favorite kitchen-stuffs establishment (and I say “kitchen-stuffs” specifically – this is a food-free establishment, and I’m only just beginning my tours of DC’s gourmet food shops. Review of the Cowgirl Creamery is pending – a mini-review in two terribly punny words? Holy Cow!) in the District is Hill’s Kitchen. Hill’s Kitchen (heh heh, get it? Love.) is located, not-so-surprisingly, in Capitol Hill. Specifically, it’s just across Pennsylvania from the entrance to Eastern Market, in a strip of D Street shops between 7th and 8th Streets SE. Easily accessible by Metro, Hill’s Kitchen is open Tuesday through Sunday, and their wares have served me well.

“Come on in!” said the cute & gigantic doorway.

My first purchase – after a few scouting trips, during which I spent most of my time drooling over what hey had to offer – was none other than my cast iron skillet. The salesgirl I spoke with was super-knowledgeable about the ins and outs of cast iron, instructing me in how to care for my new friend and season it properly. [She also warned me about its flesh-frying properties, which – in hindsight – I probably should have remembered better!]

Regardless, knowing that the proprietors are affectionately familiar with their wares gives me confidence in buying from them. It’s the opposite of my experience in most big box stores, which – while this frugal gal loves her some chain-store-sized discounts – can sometimes lack a human element. When Target gives you the option of scanning your own merchandise to figure out prices when no red-wearing employees are to be found, I start to feel like our devolution into cyborg-osity is only that much closer.

Or we might all just turn into Bender from “Futurama” in 100 years. Can’t say that’s a bad thing.

My second purchase, then, was a SWEET silicone cover that’s designed for the handle of – you guessed it – my cast iron skillet. In addition to devices that will save me from future scarring, they carry pretty much anything you’d want in your own midgie (or not-so-midgie) kitchie at respectable prices. Highlights include specialty honeys, oils and vinegars; an excellent array of cookbooks; every possible decorating tool for frosting a cake, cupcake or even overly-decked-out-s’more; and a great collection of cute and cheeky tea towels.

Here’s a shot of their wares from a feature on Apartmenttherapy.com. Lots to explore!

Could you find the same item for less on eBay or Amazon, or even in the hallowed fluorescent aisles of Target and Wal-Mart? Maybe, but if you shopped there, could you have a chat with your salesperson about the exciting prospect of taking the store’s own knife skills class? Nope.

Yep, that’s right – on the Hill’s Kitchen web site, they list a number of cooking and kitchen-based classes that you can take right on their property. If you check this page, you’ll see one-session courses in knife skills, farmers’ market-based menus (how fab does THAT sound?), and no-cook pasta sauces. Sounds like they’re right up this girl’s alley.

Here’s a short from one of their classes featured in a recent Washington Post story. Dig in!

So if you find yourself in the vicinity of Eastern Market and are looking for fun shopping diversions, head to D street and poke through Hill’s Kitchen. Who knows – you might find your next big culinary adventure.