Hello Georgetown Cupcake!

Hello Georgetown Cupcake!

Good Ol’ Georgetown! There are so many visits to visit in this historic town. Among the many sights to see are the Old Stone House, Kennedy Homes, Tudor Place, Historic Churches and Georgetown University. No trip to Georgetown however would be complete without a visit to Georgetown Cupcakes.

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The famous cupcake shop opened in Georgetown in 2008. Since then founders and sisters Katherine Kallinis Berman and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne  have expanded their cupcake empire to include locations in Bethesda, New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. Georgetown Cupcakes was also the star of the reality show enter of a reality  “DC Cupcakes” that ran on TLC from 2010 to 2013.

Soon after touring the historic sights of Georgetown, I went to M street where Georgetown Cupcake is located. Spotting the bright pink signs, I happily made my way into the cute cupcake shop.  There was an abundant of delicious cupcake offerings that day. Their most popular, the red velvet cupcake, was of course offered. They also had some delicious offerings such as double milk chocolate birthday cupcakes, raspberry lemonade cupcake, lemon blossom cupcakes and coffee cookies and creme cupcakes.

After having quite a time deciding what to get, I chose to get their green tea butterfly cupcake and their raspberry swirl cheesecake cupcake.

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The green tea butterfly cupcake is absolutely beautiful. It’s the perfect cupcake for springtime. It’s a green tea and citrus-infused cupcake with green tea-infused buttercream frosting. It is topped off with candy and yogurt-covered pretzel butterfly. I really liked the touch of the yogurt covered pretzels. The sweet crunchy pretzel went well with the green tea infused buttercream frosting.

My favorite however had to be the raspberry swirl cheesecake cupcake however. It is a raspberry swirl cheesecake baked with fresh raspberries and a graham cracker crust, topped with a Madagascar vanilla buttercream frosting and a pink fondant flower. This cupcake looks simple yet it is packed with delicious flavor. It was truly love at first bite when I bit into the crispy graham cracker crust at the bottom. The cheesecake itself was delightfully creamy and light. This truly was one of the best cupcakes ever.

In a town where there’s so many wonderful sights to visit, Georgetown Cupcake is a breath of fresh air. It’s a sweet place with sweet treats for locals and tourists. Their cupcakes are sure to bring a smile to anyone visiting Georgetown.

For more smiles, please read my Yelp review on Georgetown Cucpakes

Hello Bad Saint!

Hello Bad Saint!

The rain is starting to pour down hard in downtown DC but there’s already a line forming at 3226 11th St and the restaurant isn’t even open yet. The line grows longer by the minute till it reaches the corner and maybe even past the corner.

This is a typical scene that is in front of Bad Saint almost every night. Bad Saint is a very popular Filipino restaurant in Northwest Washington DC. Since it’s opening in 2015, folks from all over DC and beyond have lined up for hours to get in. The place is walk ins only and does not take reservations. There are only 24 seats inside. Being named on Bon Appetit magazine’s #2 New Restaurant in America, a seat is a most coveted spot for many.

I came to Bad Saint on a windy, rainy day in May. It was an hour before opening. The lady in front of me smiled when I said I was from California and she mentioned I came on a good day because the line wasn’t around the corner YET. I along, with the couple behind me eagerly counted the folks in front of us to see if we would make a cut in the first seating. Whew! It looked like we did but barely.

When 5:30pm hit, it still took a couple of minutes before they let folks in. I suddenly spotted a bunch of folks get out of a car and head towards the restaurant. It turns out they paid someone to stand in line for them. (Yes, you did read that right. I said “paid” and that is how crazy it is that people want to get in here). Despite the big new group, I likely was still able to make it through in the first seating. Thank goodness!

Walking in, the restaurant is dimly lit. Most of the seats consist of stools along counters, and there are only two tables that accommodate parties up to four. When I was given the menu, I was surprised to see the menu was small. It turns out they don’t have a permanent menu but instead a menu that changes constantly.  The menu consists of 3 portions: Gulay (vegetables and salads), Isda at Iba Pa (fish and more) and Carne (meat).

Braving the rain I decided to make the most of my visit by trying a variety of their dishes. From the Gulay section, I chose to get Adobong Dilaw. From the Carne section, I chose to get Adobong Puti and Pancit na Hipon.

Before the main orders came out, the folks at Bad Saint, gave complimentary green mangoes and bagoong (shrimp paste).

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I thought this starter was a nice way of introducing Filipino food to folks. The pungent and salty fermented shrimp paste along with the sour unripe mango is a very familiar Filipino side dish.

Soon after this, the two adobo dishes came out. Up first was the Adobong Dilaw (yellow adobo).

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Dilaw means “yellow” in Tagalog and this indeed was a yellow colored dish thanks to turmeric. Mixed in turmeric sauce was cauliflower and kabocha sauce. It had a curry like flavor to it and was unlike any Filipino dish I have ever tried. It was unique and delicious.  This dish was perfect along with their complimentary purple rice. I loved the turmeric sauce all over the rice. Tasting this, I knew already it was worth coming here.

The Adobong Puti (white adobo) was up next to hit the taste buds.

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This dish was more of a traditional Filipino tasting dish. It had chicken, pork belly ramps along with cane vinegar.  With its savory sauce of vinegar, garlic and soy sauce, adobo truly is a dish that has put the Philippines mark in international cuisine and Bad Saint knows its adobo.

The third course of the night consisted of Pancit Na Hipon (shrimp noodles).

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Bad Saint’s Pancit Na Hipon had glass noodles, pork belly and shrimp. I loved the long silky noodles that was mixed in with pork belly and shrimp along with peanuts. It had a bit of spice to it. The spice kick hits your palate instantly but is very delicious.

Last but not least, was dessert. Bad Saint doesn’t have a dessert menu but they do offer a complimentary dessert in the form of fried suman (rice cake).

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Their suman reminded of another Filipino dessert, turon (banana egg roll). This treat was a caramélized baked mini plantain with rice.

I was very happy to land a coveted seat inside the small restaurant that rainy night. The dishes at Bad Saint are excellent and it makes my heart truly happy to see a Filipino restaurant doing so well. It’s especially special to see it doing amazing at the nation’s capital. Thanks to Bad Saint for putting Filpino food in the forefront of the food industry. The long lines people see every night (even on rainy days, like the night I went), there truly is a good reason for it. 😉

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Bad Saint.

Hello Momofuku CCDC!

Hello Momofuku CCDC!

Fast cars in a rush. Busy people passing by. A chilly wind and slight rain. I’m in my black Hello Kitty hoodie at City Center in Washington DC. Cold and hungry on a busy day in DC, the answer to my prayers is right in front of me as I spot the peach logo of Momofuku CCDC.

Momofuku CCDC is one of the restaurants of famed chef David Chang. The original Momofuku is in New York City and there are also branches in Toronto and Las Vegas. Momofuku opened up in December 2015 at CityCenter DC. The Washington DC location has a somewhat personal significance in Chef Chang’s life. He is a Northern Virginia native and his is father once owned two bistros in Washington, DC.

The personal significance to Chef Chang’s childhood brought some special attention to detail in choosing the menu of this location. Momofuku CCDC ended up with some of the traditional dishes that can be found at the other Momofuku restaurants but it also got some creations exclusively made for DC. On this chilly day, I was blessed to try an array of Momofuku offerings.

My meal at Momofuku started off with their famous buns. They’ve got a quite a selection of buns ranging from shitake to brisket. I got the chicken meatball buns.

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The chicken meatball buns are amazing. This small dish consists of two buns filled with a gigantic chicken meatball that is smothered with paprika mayo and topped with spicy  jalapeños and crispy iceberg lettuce. The buns are so soft and practically melt in your mouth. They remind me of traditional siopao or steamed buns that can be found in Chinatown. These are not your classic Chinese steamed buns however because they have a special, unique twist with their fillings. The chicken meatball is super flavorful and there is a little bit of spice brought in with the paprika mayo and jalapeño. It’s spicy, savory and simply mouth watering.

Right after the chicken meatball buns, the pork ramen came out. This soup was the perfect response to the slight rain that was hitting DC that day.

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Momofuku CCDC’s pork ramen is a food item of beauty.  A feast for the eyes and a feast for the stomach,; the pork ramen is filled with pork belly, pork shoulder, poached egg and long noodle. One poke at the poached egg and the yolk comes oozing out into the warm broth and further enhancing the already flavorful soup. Along with the poached egg, there is the delicious pork meat adding to the texture of the ramen. The pork belly and pork shoulder are wonderfully tender and mix well with the long, silky noodles. This soup truly is the cure to the chilly DC day.

The pork ramen and buns are items that can be found at the other Momofuku restaurants but as I mentioned early in ths post, Momofuku CCDC has some special items that were created just for this branch. One of these items it their Braised Fried Chicken dish.

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The Briased Fried Chicken dish is not your typical fried chicken dish.  Crispy fried chicken is mixed in with scallions, cabbage and shallot with a sweet sauce. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever tried. I really enjoyed how the chicken remained crispy despite being in the sauce. It’s delicious and different and I’m so happy that it’s on the Momofuku CCDC menu. It’s a dish that was inspired from one of David Chang’s favorite Chinese restaurants, the now closed Wu’s Garden  in Vienna. Though Wu’s maybe closed, the braised fried chicken lives on and it’s all thanks to Momofuku CCDC.

Everything I tried that chilly day in DC was perfect. I absolutely loved the chicken meatball buns and both the pork ramen and the braised fried chicken were phenomenal.

There I was, a girl just cold and hungry at the City Center DC but thanks to Momofuku CCDC I became a girl warm, happy and just peachy ;). (Peachy just like Momomfuku’s famed peach logo. 🙂

For more smiles and to feel peachy like me ;), please read my Yelp review on Momofuku CCDC.

Hello Founding Farmers!

Hello Founding Farmers!

It is always a joy to travel to different cities and discover new eateries. I find that dining at different restaurants gives me a little bit of history of each city I visit. On a recent trip to the East Coast, I found myself at a restaurant with a unique story and foundation. This restaurant is no other Founding Farmers.

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Founding Farmers is owned by more than 40,000 family farmers. Their story began in 2005 when the members of North Dakota Farmers Union (NDFU)  were looking to see how the food they harvest could be brought directly to consumers. These farmers banded came together to start an upscale, farm-to-table restaurant chain and Founding Farmers was born.

Founding Farmers serves American inspired real food and drink. American classics are introduced in their own special farm way. Their most popular item on the menu is Spicy Fried Chicken and Jefferson Donut.

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This dish is for folks who really want to indulge. The fried chicken in this dish is served piping hot and there is indeed a bit of spice when one eats it. It is served with macaroni and cheese and green beans. The mac and cheese has large elbow macaroni that is coated in the creamiest cheddar cheese. The Jefferson donut is similar to a cronut in fluffiness and the interior is a sweet Maple cream. I really enjoyed this dish and can see why it is so popular.

For those looking for a healthier option, they do have various salad and seafood dishes. One such dish is the Campfire trout with Lemon Butter

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This seafood dish comes with sweet & sour tomato, spinach and mashed potatoes. It’s a light, healthy dish that is farm fresh.

Aside from the savory items on the menu, Founding Farmers has their own pastry studio where they offer homemade pies and macarons.

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As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, I love traveling to different cities and trying various unique restaurants. I love the story of Founding Farmers. The passion of the farmers to bring the best farm fresh quality foods to every one is inspiring. The quality of their entrees can definitely be seen and I’m very happy to have visited their restaurant during my travels.

For more smiles, please check out my Yelp review on Founding Farmers.

Hello Old Ebbitt Grill!

Hello Old Ebbitt Grill!

It was my first time ever to visit Washington D.C recently. I went all around the town visiting all the historic sites. I started off my day at the Washington Monument and then to the National WWII Memorial, followed by he Reflecting Pool, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Korean War Veterans Memorial, Tidal Basin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial,Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial and the Tidal Basin. After such an exciting time see all the historic sights, it seemed rather appropriate for me to dine at historic place as well, Old Ebbitt Grill.

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Old Ebbitt Grill is definitely a historic restaurant. It is the oldest restaurant in Washington D.C. It was established in 1856. The original Old Ebbitt Grill was a saloon and boarding house named Ebbitt House Hotel.

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Ever since it opened it has been a place frequented by politicians such as Presidents McKinley, Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Johnson, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, Warren Harding and George H.W. Bush.

Walking in one can can instantly feel the history and culture of Washington D.C. There is a Victorian interior with mahogany wood all around, beveled glass separating the bar areas and  velvet booths and marble, brass bar sets. Some of the original decorations from 1856 are still there such as antique beer steins and an antique clock over the revolving door. There is even a walrus head that was supposedly caught by Teddy Roosevelt still present.

The menu itself has a historic photograph of old Washington D.C.

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As for the food, one can find a menu that caters to the classic American saloon palate. There is an emphasis on fresh and seasonal ingredients. One can find the freshest salads, pastas, seafood and meat items.

Their raw bar is one of the most popular in the city. Folks can enjoy platters of iced clams, crab claws, shrimp and a variety of oysters

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A popular item on the menu is their  Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes that come with corn and tomato Chesapeake and Tom’s potatoes.

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Being so close to Maryland, Old Ebbitt Grill’s crab cakes are very much like the authentic Maryland style crab cakes. It consists of almost all lump meat with almost no filler added. There is plenty of crab flavor.

My chosen entree for this occasion was their Frittata.

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With smoked ham, Yukon Gold potatoes, Vidalia onion bulbs, cheddar cheese and sour cream, this entree was perfect for breakfast, brunch or lunch! I loved this egg dish. The texture was very fluffy. The smoked ham really enhanced the flavor of the frittata.

From the variety of their food that is classically American to the location of this place (across from the Treasury and steps away from the White House) to the amazing history of Old Ebbitt Grill, it is not surprising this is a favorite for locals and tourists.

For more smiles, please my recent Yelp review on Old Ebitt Grill.