The HITW Chinese Restaurant

You know that little hole in the wall (hitw) Restaurant that you go to and you know it definitely doesn’t get enough kudos? For me that place is Chiantown Express in Chinatown, DC.

I remember the first time I ever saw this place. There was this big old green structure sticking out of a building and I saw a Chinese man in a white chef outfit with these big old white noodles in his hands just stretching and tossing them, making them bigger and bigger. I was probably in high school and it was certainly intimidating but also fascinating. I could have watched him all day. 10 years later, you can still find chefs in the window pounding and stretching out the same hand pulled noodles in the window. And it brings back tons of memories of the old Chinatown, when you could walk to any corner and find delicious authentic Chinese food. 

Alright, I’m done being long winded, even today they consistently serve delicious handmade fresh noodles in soup or fried, with a variety of meats. You can also find your traditional American Chinese dishes and some dishes that are traditional Chinese dishes. Just about anything here is delicious.

But the soup will always be my first love and will always be the first thing I think of when I think of DC’s Chinatown.

Chinatown Express

746 6th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

(202) 638-0424

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Pho in Washington D.C.

So it’s not a big secret that there isn’t really many places to go for Vietnamese food in D.C. One of the most known places is Pho88 in Chinatown. At roughly $13 a bowl, it’s kind of on the steep side.

I took my girlfriend on her actual birthday, since she had been wanting to try it and she loves Vietnamese.


These are pan-fried dumplings. They look delicious don’t they? They could have been a little crispier but I was satisfied.


This is Pho #1. It has rare beef, well-done brisket, meatballs, tendon and tripe. Don’t be afraid for those of you who have never tried pho! The rare meat continues to be cooked by the broth as it comes to the table, causing it to be fully cooked by the time it gets to you! And tendon and tripe is delicious, try it!

For the non-adventurous people, they have less crazy toppings too.

Pho 88

608 H St NW, Washington, DC 20001

202-735-5282

Celebrating a birthday: a restaurant and bakery

So, July is a special month because both my special loved one and I have July birthdays. We celebrated hers this past weekend by going to our favorite bakery, ButterCream to get a cake and having all our friends out for dinner at Old Ebbitt Grill.

 

Just look at this cake! Purple water color, red velvet in the middle, it’s delicious!


And a cream cheese filling too??? Oh yes, please! Needless to say, I am a huge fan of this cake. They’re also a favorite for the great way they handled an Interesting situation earlier this year. 

And their breakfast pastries! My partner I come here often come here on Sunday mornings for breakfast and cofffee!
Another place that is quickly becoming a favorite is Old Ebbitt Grill. Old Ebbitt has been around for years and is a well known restaurant in DC, being right across from the White House. Look at those beautiful Kusshi oysters, yum!


Being that this place pretty much specializes in seafood, I had to get the scallops and they were delicious. This is Maryland Dayboat Scalloops, with summer squash, zucchini purée, farro, tomato chutney, and salsa verde.

Old Ebbitt is quickly becoming our go to place to eat for both special and casual occasions.

ButterCream Bakery

1250 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

tel:2027350102

Old Ebbitt Grill

675 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005

tel:202.347.4800

Fagers Island @ Ocean City

The family goes to Ocean City in October almost every year so that we can take our dogs to the boardwalk and the beach. It’s a beautiful time for the family to bond and laugh at our dogs. This year, my oldest sister decided we just HAD to go to Fagers Island to see the sunset. Too bad it was raining so we didn’t see the sunset at all.

Fagers has two sections. There’s the fine dining section and the lite fare. The lite fare has sandwiches, a raw bar and other regular bar food that you would expect to see in Ocean City. The fine dining section is truly fine dining in prices, nicely dressed servers and food.

Anyway, now for the important part of any restaurant, the food!

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My family and I made reservations for the fine dining section. We started out with two appetizers, Fresh Crisp Calamari and Fresh Eastern Shore Fried Oysters. The oysters were my favorite. The calamari on the other hand, I’ve had better. But the three sauces that came with the calamari would delicious!

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The meals were all delicious. I had the prime rib and it was just divine. It was the tenderest, juiciest, best prime rib I have ever eaten and the fresh shaved horseradish was a treat. Although I think I prefer grated horseradish. I got to eat a bit of the duck and that was my favorite dish of the night. It was so succulent! Mm, still dreaming of that duck!

If you are ever in Ocean City for a special occasion, go here!

Fager’s Island
201 60th St
Ocean City, MD 21842
(410) 524-5500

Homemade Korean BBQ

New Grill and Pork Marinade

We just got a brand new grill for our portable butane burner a few days ago. I couldn’t wait to try it out, so we bought a Pork butt (it’s cheaper and leaner than pork belly) and tried it out the very next day! I was so excited I took a picture of the box! It’s really easy to do Korean BBQ at home too!

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The bowl is there to catch the grease and runoff. We did find that the difference between cooking it at home and getting korean bbq at a restaurant is we have to clean the grill between each meat.

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Above is all the ingredients used. We ate:

2 Green squash

1 Yellow Squash

1 Baby Eggplant

1 Homegrown Cucumber

1 Red onion

Potatoes boiled and sliced

3 New York Strip Steaks cut length wise (so they were thin)

1 Pork Butt sliced to 1/4 inch slabs

All of our meat were seasoned in salt, pepper and garlic powder.

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Doesn’t it look beautiful? The problem with 1/4″ pork is that it takes so long to cook. What we did was cook 1 round of steak first, then some veggies. While we were eating that, we cooked the pork. It helps to cut up the pork as it’s cooking so that it cooks faster.

Bring Cooking scissors to the table to cut the meat fast.  And tongs.

This was one of my mother’s best ideas, to buy this grill. I was so excited that we had to use it pronto! The marinade we bought from the local H Mart (Asian Market) and it wasn’t bad at all!

Of course, it wasn’t strictly Korean bbq the Korean way. There wasn’t any banchan, I used oyster sauce on my meat (I love oyster sauce), we forgot the lettuce and my family wanted potatoes over rice. But it was totally Korean bbq Homestyle!

On The Road – Showboat Branson Belle

I have been amazed how good the Showboat Branson Belle is! It has blown away my indifference towards variety shows especially show boat cruises. This was magnificent!

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Branson Belle Stage

So first, we get there and are shown to our seats. We got pretty good seats too, only 4 rows from the front. This turned out to be perfect so that we didn’t have to crane our heads.

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We then got to look around the boat while waiting for the show to start and for dinner to be served.

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Finally dinner was served. Now, I admit I forgot to take a picture of my salad. But really, do you need to see a picture of yet another salad?

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The food was good, not fantastic, but, you don’t come to a show boat for the food do you? I got both beef and chicken and it was simple and filling. The food wasn’t bland nor over-seasoned and so it was just fine to me. The biscuit was way too crumbly and the dessert was an ice cream cake. Not that ice cream cake is bad, I just didn’t want to use more than one sentence…oops, there’s two sentences.

Next came the show, there was plenty of variety. There was the host who was also a magician and comedian. The Showmen, who sang everything from classic american songs to boy band hits. The main attraction was Janice Martin, the World’s only aerial violin player.

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The Band

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The Showmen

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Janice Martin

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Blurry picture of aerial violinist

Janice Martin was beyond describing! There were parts of this performance where she was playing the violin upside down suspended from the silk and playing awfully fast. This woman is a one woman show. She can sing, play violin and piano, act (a little), and fling around on silk like it’s easy! There were definitely some people who were not impressed, but I was! This is definitely something to come see. Maybe Branson isn’t so bad after all.

Showboat Branson Belle
Categories: Performing Arts, Restaurants
4800 State Hwy 165
Branson, MO 65616
(417) 336-7050

On the Road – Cantina Laredo Branson

We have moved on to Branson Missouri. Home of a million theaters. I honestly think this tourist town is no different than Ocean City, MD or any such tourist town with the exception that there’s a million theaters rather than a giant beach. We decided for our first dinner to go to Cantina Laredo on the Branson Landing.

Top Shelf Guacamole

Top Shelf Guacamole

$9.99

We started out with the guacamole, which was prepared at the table fresh.  Our waiter prepared the guacamole very nicely and it tasted great with just the right amount of salt and other addings to it.

Half of the Cantina Laredo Plater

Half of the Cantina Laredo Plater

$17.79 – Full dish

I find when it comes to Mexican food, the portions are just much too big for me. So I shared with my mother and the kitchen nicely cut it in half for us and served it in two portions so that we didn’t have to do it ourselves. The platter comes with Oaxaca cheese chile relleno, tamale, chicken enchilada, and a fajita beef taco al carbon. The best food on this plate was the chile relleno. There’s just something about a pepper stuffed with cheese that makes me shiver with happiness. And the Oaxaca cheese was just superb!

Combination Fajitas

Combination Fajitas

$17.29

My sister E, loves Tex-Mex, Mexican, anything that comes south of the border is her favorite. But her favorite go to dish is combination fajitas. The portion was too big as is usual with fajitas and she had to take half of it with us. It looks awesome though and she gave it a 7/10 rating which about average for her.

Tacos Al Carbon - beef

Tacos Al Carbon – beef

$17.99

The tacos were by far the best I had eaten in awhile. My dad’s only complaint was that his tacos were “too charred” but honestly, looking at this picture, I think they look awesome. But as a visual eater, and many people tend to be, because of the way it looked, it took away from the taste. The queso was delicious though!

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I have to say that the price was a bit steep for the food quality, but seeing as how this restaurant was on the Landing, and that picture above is the view you get from the restaurant (there is outdoor seating), the prices are pretty understandable. I would suggest getting a reservation for outside on the deck though, to fully appreciate those prices. If you are a walk-in, expect to eat inside.

Cantina Laredo

Category: Mexican, Tex-Mex

1001 Branson Landing Blvd
Branson, MO 65615

(417) 334-6062

On The Road Food – Cracker Barrel

When on the road for vacation, there comes time when you get sick and tired of fast food and want some real food without the cost of going to an expensive restaurant. Chains are inevitable. And so, we pick Cracker Barrel. This is my first vacation of the year (and probably only), so we like to take our time. Cracker Barrel gives you just that, slow but friendly service, comfort food (albeit kind of bland yet fixable) and entertainment a la store while you wait for your food.

Beef Stew

Beef Stew

Country Style Green Beans and Fried Apples

Country Style Green Beans and Fried Apples

I got the lovely Beef Stew with green beans and fried apples. My lovely computer keeps wanting to auto correct fried apples into friend apples. And perhaps they were my friend, since they were the only thing that didn’t need a little salt to liven the taste up.

Country Friend Steak, Hash brown Casserole and Mac n Cheese

Country Friend Steak, Hash brown Casserole and Mac n Cheese

Country Fried Steak was on the menu for my Dad and sister, while my mother got the salmon patties. The salmon patties were not appetizing in the least and thus do not get a picture. They looked dry and were dry. But Craker Barrel is most definitely better road food than McDonald’s. Am I right?

Birthday dinner at Amalfi Italian Restaurant

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Eggplant Parmesan with Sausage and Linguine (pictured above and below) Price: $21

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Linguine with Marinara Sauce

Amalfi Ristorante Italiano has delicious food and a great atmosphere. We came here for my birthday and they were really friendly! Our waiter explained the family restaurant aspect, it was cute. If you are big on organic foods, then this is the place to go. The prices are organically priced too, unfortunately. But as the saying goes, you get what you pay for.