Hello!!! I’m back! Did you miss me? Actually, I got back last week, but [insert lame excuse here] got in the way of blogging. Hopefully, the following photos will more than make up for my lack of writing. Every time I look at these pictures, they make me very hungry. Without fail.
Anyway, here’s Part I, a.k.a. “the non-beachy things.”
TC and I spent half of our trip to the east coast under the warm hospitality of my sister’s care. We ate so many delicious foods!
Our first lunch out was at Bob’s Noodle 66 in Rockville, MD. It is one of the few Taiwanese restaurants I’ve been to that does a decent job with most of the traditional dishes. Ironically (and sadly), noodles are not the forte at this restaurant. Indeed, our ho fun (wide noodles) were bland and oily. On the other hand, Taiwanese specialties like oyster pancake and shaved ice (with condensed milk, sugar water, and assorted “toppings”) were very good.
Another of my sister’s family’s favorites are the chicken wings from China Taste. (They have huge portions, which I’ve written about before.) Anyway, the teriyaki wings are hard to beat in terms of taste and price — only $7 for a dozen wings. The California rolls were also delicious, though my 4 1/2 year old nephew claimed about 12 of the 16 pieces. What can I say? The kid loves sushi. The one disappointing dish was the eggplant and green beans – no one really cared for it.
After filling our tummies with fried food, TC and I headed for the beach. More on those culinary adventures in the next post. Our post-beach plan was to tackle the Washington DC Mall area: museums, memorials, and the Capitol/White House if we had time. Unfortunately, we got rained out (even more than what came down with Hurricane Irene) and ended up spending most of our time in the museums. The first day, we took a lunch break at Five Guys, the infamous burger joint. (Sorry, no photo.) TC had never been there before. How would Five Guys stack up to the In-n-Out animal style cheeseburger? It’s like an east coast/west coast showdown! I think the consensus was that Five Guys’ burger was slightly better (i.e., more gourmet). We were split on the fries. I made the mistake of ordering the Cajun ones (not great), but I do love a peanut oil-fried potato. TC did not concur, favoring those undercooked potato strings In-n-Out likes to call “fries.” Anyone out there with a strong opinion about Five Guys vs. In-n-Out? If so, please sound off in the comments section.
That night, my sister and bro-in-law treated us to the epitomy of Maryland cuisine: blue crabs, cooked and seasoned with Old Bay, of course. I always say that the true test of being a Marylander is whether you know how to eat a blue crab. Also, it’s definitely part of the fun of eating crabs… getting your fingers messy with Old Bay and crab goo, obtaining the rare big chunk of sweet crab meat, and washing it all down with an ice cold beer. Pure perfection.
On our last full day in DC, it rained SO hard. We didn’t dare venture out too far from the Mall, so we ate lunch at the Air and Space Museum. What a horrible idea that turned out to be. As the Air and Space Museum is the most visited museum in the world (so they claimed), it must also have a huge cafeteria… run by McDonald’s. Ugh. There was the usual McD’s fare, some Italian chain I’d never heard of, and Boston Market. We both opted for Boston Market — I got a dark meat platter, and TC got a chicken sandwich. Both were terrible… the worst food I’ve had in a long, long time. And to think that I used to really love Boston Market, like, 10 or 15 years ago. I felt gross, but luckily I did not get sick during the Hubble 3D IMAX movie.
Our last dinner in DC was shared with my dear friend JLK, who recently moved to Dupont Circle. We met up at a bar called The Mighty Pint, then headed to Szechuan Pavilion for dinner (thanks to my Yelp app). This place took their decor and their peppers quite seriously. When I ordered the kung pao chicken, the waiter asked, “American style or Chinese?” I automatically answered Chinese, even though I had no idea what that meant. As it turns out, “Chinese style” kung pao chicken has about 2 cups of chicken, 1 cup of peppers, and 1 cup of peanuts. Like so:
It had good flavor and wasn’t overly spicy, but we all agreed that we would’ve liked some veggies to break-up the chicken monotony. I bet the American style came with vegetables. We also got pork dumplings, which were good but a little oily. The presentation was the highlight:
Since the Yelp reviews raved about the dan dan mien, we of course had to order it. It came steeped in chili oil and had to be eaten in small doses. They weren’t kidding about the double asterisks (very spicy). JLK took home the leftovers and reported that the dishes got spicier over time. Diners beware!
Our favorite ended up being the simplest dish of all: bok choy with black mushrooms. I’m always skeptical of ordering dishes that I cook perfectly well at home, but I have to say that these mushrooms were really, really good. They were very savory without being too salty, and cooked to the perfect texture.
One final note about Szechuan Pavilion: TC reported that there is a photo of the owner with Donald Rumsfeld by the bathrooms. Do with this information what you will.
So that’s the end of Part I. Oh man, I’m so hungry now… wait ’til you see Part II! Until next time…