Monday, March 16, 2009 | , , | 5 comments »

I made the best Red Velvet Cupcakes ever


…well, almost. The very first Red Velvet cupcake I ever had was from the historic Reeve’s Bakery when it was located on G Street, near my old office building. Sadly, after serving the community for over 200 years, Reeve’s closed its doors on June 8, 2007. It was a sad day. I remember walking over to the bakery from across the street to purchase my last dozen Reeve’s cupcakes and a couple orders of their awesome home fries (they served breakfast and lunch too!). The lines for their cupcakes and pies were nearly out the door on that last day.

Reeve’s popularity extended beyond the District lines and well into the mouthwatering circles of suburbia. There were some days when my old next door neighbor used to come home from work with chocolate cupcakes and crispy fried chicken for his kids. On those days, I became one of his kids too.

I had a craving for some Red Velvet cupcakes this week, and although I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to replicate the tasty goodness of Reeve’s cupcakes, I figured it’d be fun to bake them myself anyway. I was a little worried that they would turn out too dry and dense, which is what happened the last time I made cupcakes (they were vanilla cupcakes). But these turned out amazingly good! Seriously. So good! So good that they’re pretty much gone now (I had 28 yesterday).

Here’s the recipe… you try eating just one… Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Saturday, March 07, 2009 | , | 2 comments »

TOAN Soup in Silver Spring

Pho, a traditional Vietnamese soup dish, is a favorite among my friends and Valina. It’s great on cold, wintry days and absolutely perfect for hangovers. It seems like pho restaurants have proliferated in the area over the last couple of years, setting their existence and the Vietnamese culture on the forefront and a step further into the mainstream dining scene.

Valina is regular pho consumer and if you’re lost somewhere and craving a steaming bowl of beef noodle soup, she could probably tell you where the nearest pho restaurants are if you called her.

There’s a new one in Silver Spring, and the owner is none other than Kim’s new lover’s brother (did you get that?). The restaurant, Toan Soup (named after the owner) opened only a few weeks ago, but has already seemed to have established a regular customer base. When the girls and I walked in a couple Sundays ago, I overheard some people saying goodbye to Toan, and telling him they’d be back again soon. With so many pho restaurants to choose from in the area, developing regulars is not always easy.

The menu is simple, consisting of just a handful of soup options offered in two sizes: small and regular. I ordered a small bowl of the meatball pho and decided to upgrade and get the combo, which included a summer roll and soda. I can see why Toan Soup is quickly gaining popularity in the area. The broth is flavorful and everything tasted great. The décor in the dining room is clean, simple and inviting, which are traits that also exemplify the atmosphere of the restaurant.

Valina has yet to visit Toan’s, but as soon as she does, I’ll let you guys know what she thinks… seeing as how she is the pho expert after all.

TOAN Soup

736 Cloverly St.
Silver Spring, MD 20905
301.879.8626
www.toansoup.com

Monday, March 02, 2009 | , | 1 comments »

I Got a Free Lunch in THIS Economy??!

A couple weeks ago, the girls and I were out for a bike ride in Bethesda. We were teaching Kim how to ride a bike (it’s on her list of things to do/accomplish before turning 30). After about an hour of showing Kimmy the anatomy of a two-wheeler and the proper way to balance yourself without falling over, we decided to ride somewhere for lunch.

We were on Bethesda Ave. trying to look for the non-existent Louisiana Express (I knew it closed down, but I thought it had reopened recently… and I was right, it did, but in a different form and by different owners… more on that later). So, the four of us were looking around for a suitable spot to dine, when this man tells us that we should come eat at his restaurant because they were serving free food. Roman thought he was joking. But it turned out that he was not joking at all.

The restaurant was Nest Café, located where Louisiana Express used to be. The former Cajun joint had been transformed into a cozy dining room adorned with small wooden tables and had the scent of Mediterranean cooking lingering in the air. That weekend was their grand opening, and the owners offered complimentary 3-course lunch and dinners on Saturday and Sunday. The menu included a Caesar salad, various brick-oven pizzas, a chicken sandwich, rosemary-seasoned French fries (which the girls thought were amazing, but I thought they were just okay), and vanilla and chocolate ice cream for dessert. The girls enjoyed lunch, and honestly it’s hard to complain when everything is on the house. We’ll definitely be back. You can check out their menu here: Nest Café Menu

Nest Café
4921 Bethesda Ave.
Bethesda, MD 20814
301.718.6378
http://nestwinebarcafe.com

Friday, January 23, 2009 | , | 0 comments »

Sushi Damo in Rockville Town Center


I’ve been dining around Rockville more frequently these days, mainly because Rockville is a city that’s located conveniently between Jeremy and me…and also because Jeremy hates Bethesda, which is usually my “go-to” city for restaurants.

Neither of us were feeling D.C. the other evening so we decided to check out Sushi Damo, a trendy and attractive little sushi place in Rockville Town Center.

We had drinks at the bar as we waited for our table. The bartender double charged me for my drinks, which wasn’t really a big deal, but what was annoying was that another bartender charged me as well, and there was this whole ordeal to get the charge taken off my card.

After that had been settled, the hostess showed us to our table. We ended up being seated next to Jeremy’s former co-worker, Mike, who was out with his girlfriend. It was an entertaining evening.

Jeremy and I ordered a several different rolls, including the Dragon and Spider rolls and the special of the evening: spicy tuna slices, rolled with seared tuna and spicy mayo. The tuna special was our favorite.

After dinner, the lights dimmed and the music got louder. People started gravitating toward this small area in the middle of the room to dance. We stayed a little while to people watch.

All in all, it was a fun night. Food was decent. Dining service was good (bar service could use a little work). And atmosphere was great.

Sushi Damo
36 Maryland Ave # G
Rockville, MD 20850
301.340.8010
http://www.sushidamo.com/

Appetite Stimulus Plan in Washington, D.C.

Kim mentioned this event to me the other day… similar to Washington, D.C. Restaurant Week, restaurants in the District are offering discounted lunch and dinner meals starting today, November 17 through November 21. Find out more info here…

Friday, October 31, 2008 | | 1 comments »

Happy Halloween!


* Photo courtesy of a friend of a friend of a friend on Facebook. . .

Photos from the 19th Annual Taste of Bethesda

The Taste of Bethesda was a hit this year… as it is every year. The weather was gorgeous, the food was delicious, and the crowds were great. I don’t usually have any complaints when I attend this event, and this year was no different.

My friends and I have been coming to this event for several years now, and we’ve finally gotten to the point where we know exactly how many vendors we can visit and how much we can eat without feeling like bloated pigs by the end of the afternoon.

There were a few new guys on the block this year, including Visions Restaurant, The Burger Joint, and Doraku.

Here are some photos from this year…