Sunday, September 27, 2015

My Week In Food

Saturday, September 19:  Our staple pizza spot lately has been Kora.  While Sachin's been sticking to his duck confit pizza, I keep trying out new ones.  So far, my favorite has been the sausage pizza; you just can't beat the pools of creamy ricotta baked into the pie. This time I tried the chicken pesto pizza,  it was good, but not one I'd get again.  I did enjoy my whiskey sour though! 

Sunday, September 20:  To get back into the football season, Sachin and I met up wtih his friend at Bar Louie to watch the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins games. I had a hankering for some tater tots, so we down a big basket of perfectly fried tater tots and deliciously spiced buffalo-style boneless wings.  

Monday, September 21:  Since I'm a huge fan of the Chef Isabella restaurants in D.C., I had to try out Kapnos Taverna.  I went to happy hour with a couple of friends from law school. Chowed down on marinated octopus - with eggplant, red pepper and olives; marinated mussels - with celery, preserved lemon and pomegranate seeds; raw oysters - served with freshly grated horseradish, and crispy eggplant - with spicy honey and an orange pith puree.  I ordered the spit-roasted lamb which was served with grain salad and tzatziki. The flavor on the spit-roasted lamb was fantastic.  Charred edges, but with tender meat - it tasted so buttery.  

Tuesday, September 22:  I use to live in Cleveland Park, but it was only after I left, that Medium Rare popped up in the neighborhood.  This establishment touts its fixed menu, priced around $20, which offers customers bread, salad, and two servings of steak frites.  A pretty great deal I'd say, but I wanted to know whether the food was actually that good. Sonia, Mirona and I went there for dinner, and we were sold.  This is going to be a repeat spot!  The sauce poured over the steak frites is ridiculously good, it's almost like a gravy - creamy with peppercorns - just fantastic!  

Wednesday, September 23:  Chicken Tikka Masala for lunch, because listen, you work at least an 8-hour day, you might as well enjoy your meals!

Thursday, September 24:  I head off to San Francisco today for 6 days.  I'll be back on Wednesday, the 30th you guys, but of course follow our Instagram or Twitter account and I'll likely feature a lot of what I eat on the trip on this blog.  

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

#333: Salmon Thoran

I'm sure many of you have not heard of 'thoran,' but if you've had South Indian food (specifically food from Kerala), it's likely you've eaten this dish.  

Thoran is a dry stir-fried dish, usually made with vegetables, so this variation with salmon is quite unique.  The vegetables are cooked with a mixture of coconut, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and turmeric.  The vegetables are chopped and cooked quickly over high heat. Traditionally the recipe doesn't include garlic.  With time, Malayalis/Keralites, have modified the traditional recipe to include fish and sometimes garlic.  

We have posted quite a few thoran recipes on the blog in the past.  Here are a few other variations:
We grew up eating all variations of these thorans! 

While the vegetable thorans are absolutely delicious, this week we decided to make a Salmon Thoran, because why not?  I'm consistently trying to incorporate salmon into my diet, and this spicy flavorful change is just the ticket. Try this out, and serve it with raita (yogurt and cucumbers), rice, or roti (Indian bread), or even on top of a mixed green salad.  

Salmon Thoran


1 1/2 lbs salmon, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tbsps plain yogurt
2 tbsps lemon juice
1 tbsp Fish Curry Masala (I used the Nirapara brand, but any brand should work)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ginger/garlic paste (or grated ginger and garlic)
2 tbsps oil
2 tbsps grated coconut (or unsweetened coconut chips/flakes)
2 onions, chopped fine
3 green chilies, chopped
1 stem of curry leaves, leaves removed from stem
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1 split red chili 

  1. In a bowl mix together the yogurt, lemon juice, fish masala, chili powder, turmeric powder, black pepper, salt and ginger/garlic paste.  Add the salmon to the marinade and coat the salmon in the yogurt marinade.  Marinate for 5-6 hours in the fridge.
  2. Place a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat and add oil.
  3. When the oil is hot enough, add mustard seeds and red chilies.
  4. When the mustard seeds splutter, add curry leaves, chopped onion and green chilies.
  5. Now lower the heat, and saute the mixture until the onions are lightly brown in color.
  6. Increase the heat to medium-high and quickly add the marinated salmon along with the marinade.
  7. Watch the heat and do not let the mixture burn too quickly. Do not stir aggressively, because you don't want the salmon to break up.  
  8. Cook on high heat tossing lightly until the salmon is cooked and the water is dried, brown.  Add additional salt if needed, and you're ready to serve. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

My Week in Food

Sunday, September 13:  Salted Caramel Blondies while watching the Redskins play their first game of the season.  

Monday, September 14:  Lunch today - slow cooker chicken cooked with kidney beans, onions, garlic and enchilada sauce; super easy and quick.  This was added to a quinoa bowl with roasted cauliflower.

Tuesday, September 15:  On The Border catering at work today means, taco fixings on a plate :) 

Wednesday, September 16:  Protein filled lunch today, Sprouted Mung Bean Salad(with carrots, radishes, and cucumbers) and Grilled Greek-Style Chicken on the side.  

Thursday, September 17:  Met up with Sonia for dinner at Rustico tonight.  We shared the delicious Mushroom Pizza and Caesar Salad.

Friday, September 18:  After a run this morning I had a quick Turkey Sausage & Eggs breakfast, of course with a half an avocado.  I put a thick slice of butter in my eggs, hence the pools of butter here and there - but, hey, it was delicious!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

DC Eats: Agora Brunch

A few weeks back Supreet, Shelly and I went to brunch at Agora, a Turkish restaurant in D.C.  I have not been to too many Turkish restaurants, but I once went to a smaller deli-style Turkish spot in northern Virginia, and it had the most lovely, soft pitas I've ever had.  Supreet has been to Turkey and while she thoroughly enjoyed the food at Agora, she recommended that I check out  Yayla Bistro, which she says has quite a few dishes that she remembers from Turkey and they serve you a nice shot of Raki, a licorice flavored Turkish drink. 

But, I digress, so, on this particular Saturday we went to Agora and unanimously decided to go with the bottomless brunch, because we wanted to try out all the different spreads, and hot and cold mezzes that they had to offer on the brunch menu.  

My absolute favorite was the Baba Ghanouj, probably the best eggplant spread I've had.  It was perfectly seasoned and had this wonderful garlic flavor - and we all know I love garlic, I put in two orders and sure enough they came served with this wonderfully soft, fresh out of the oven bread.  Delicious!  Here are a few of the other highlights from our Turkish brunch.  

Beet and Orange Salad - I almost want to try making this at home.  Red beets, oranges, fresh thyme, and onions, tossed in an orange blossom vinaigrette.

 In the middle of the table we had one cheese and one spread.  Goat Cheese mixed with black caraway seeds and served with honey.  This was ok.  The spread was Labneh, strained yogurt with garlic confit and zaatar (a Middle Eastern spice mix of dried herbs, sumac and sesame seeds). But, my absolute favorite was still the baba ghanouj. 

At the bottom of the picture is the Imam Bayildi - baby eggplant stuffed with onions, tomatoes, fresh oregano, pine nuts, and garlic.  I really enjoyed this hot mezze.  The eggplant was so soft it was easy to cut through and the filling was so full of flavor. 

While most of the menu was vegetarian, we did order the Turkish Pastirma - imported cured loin of beef with olive oil drizzed over the top.  The cured meat had such a unique flavor.  The three of us sat around trying to figure out exactly what it was, the best we could come up with is that it had this pickled flavor that is common in Indian aachaar, which is so strange, because that's like saying the cured meat tasted like pickled vegetables.  I think it may have been the particular spices used in the curing process.  The meat is so thin that the spices permeate the entire meat. 

In all I would rate the brunch a B.  No complaints, but not completely wowed. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

#332: Mushroom and Bok Choy Hakka Noodles

Large scale Asian grocery stores are increasingly becoming common place, and I am not complaining.  These stores always seem to have the freshest produce, lower prices, and aisles upon aisles of chili sauces and noodles...two things I love.  So, on a recent trip to Lotte Plaza, my local Asian grocery store, I stocked up on a ton of greens and these mushrooms which I added to a dried noodle mix I found at the store.  

The array of greens can be a bit overwhelming, but I'm always one to try them all out.  This time I picked up the Shanghai Bok Choy.  It's green from stem to leaf, but a more muted green than on the usual Baby Bok Choy we are all so familiar with.  The flavor is fairly similar, but with a little less crunch in the Shanghai version.  

Really this dish is just about incorporating the vegetables at your grocery store that are the most appealing, and making a great vegetarian dish for your "meatless Monday."  Or, in the alternative, add chicken (or a poached egg on top of the dish). 


2 tbsps coconut oil

1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp ground all spice
6 cups chopped Shanghai Bok Choy(but seriously, any of these Asian greens would probably work just as well: A Visual Guide to 10 Varieties of Asian Greens)
8 cups sliced mushrooms (baby portobellos or shitake)
2 tsps fish sauce
2 tbsps soy sauce
Ching's Secret Veg Hakka Noodles

To top for added heat:  Sriracha (or Rooster Sauce)


  1. In a wok on low heat add 1 tbsp coconut oil, ginger and garlic.  Let the oil melt and the ginger and garlic start sizzling a bit.  Turn the heat to high, add the all spice and stir into the oil.  Then add the mushrooms and mix into the spice mixture completely.  Let the mushrooms cook for 5 minutes.  Then add the other 1 tbsp of coconut oil and baby bok choy.  
  2. Let the veggies cook until they are cooked through, this should take about 10 minutes after you've added in the baby bok choy.  
  3. Then stir in the fish sauce and soy sauce.  
  4. Break up the dry noodles in your hand right into the wok.  There should be enough liquid in the pan to cook the noodles through and take on all of the flavors from the vegetables and sauce.  Once the noodles are cooked and the liquid is gone turn the heat off and serve.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

My Week in Food

We had a short week with Labor Day and all, I'm sure everyone was as happy as I was!  

Tuesday, September 8:  N was home this week and weekend, so our mom was in full effect cooking a ton of Indian food.  So, after a weekend full of dosas, biriyani and Indian sweets, I started today with a green juice (spinach, apple, cucumber).  For lunch I had vegetarian hakka noodles (look out for the recipe on Tuesday).   

Wednesday, September 9:  Lemon Chicken with Rice for lunch today.  

Thursday, September 10:  A visit to Pedro & Vinny's tonight for a chicken burrito with guacamole.  What I love about this place is the multitude of vegetable toppings and sauces they have (georgia peach is a particular fave).  

Friday, September 11:  Enjoyed a delicious Caramel Cupcake from Georgetown Cupcake today.  It even had bits of caramel in the batter and on the bottom of the cupcake. 

Saturday, September 12:  Today we went to dinner at TNR Cafe.  Sachin's been feeling under the weather, and the best cure is always some Pork Sichuan Pickle Noodle Soup from TNR Cafe, and maybe a side of General Tso Chcken to share ;)  Come on, I just finished watching The Search for General Tso and it had me craving some seriously American-Chinese food.  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

DC Eats: SER

Rating: A+ One gorgeous Friday summer night, Mirona and I decided to catch-up over dinner at SER.  We have both been dying to check out this Spanish restaurant.   Since the night was so nice we decided to enjoy our meal outside over glasses of delicious Spanish white wine. We ordered a number of dishes to share, and they were all absolutely delicious.  My favorite was the grilled vegetables - it had such a unique citrus vinagrette and goat cheese on top, the shrimp and the pan catalana.  I'll describe these all below. 

Mirona started off with a delicious cocktail before joining me with the wine.  But, we both absolutely loved starting off with this Pan Catalana, a garlic bread topped with olive oil and tomatoes, so simple and so delicious.  I could've have multiple orders of these!  We enjoyed them with Puntillitas, crispy mini squid with jalapeno and lemon aioli; a great dish with such a unique and complimentary blend of flavors.   Loved them both!

Parrillada de Verduras, assorted grilled vegetables with caramelized goat cheese and citrus vinaigrette.  My favorite dish!

Steak tartare toast topped with an organic quail egg.  Mixing the egg into the ground beef made for a creamy topping on small pieces of toast.  I like topping my toast with the mixed frisee on the side to lighten up the flavor of each bite. 

Gambas al ajillo, shrimp with olive oil, garlic and cayenne pepper.  This dish was full of flavor and the shrimp were perfectly plump and cooked deliciously.

By the time dessert rolled around we were so stuffed, but absolutely couldn't walk away from trying out the Arroz con leche Asturiano.  This caramelized rice pudding was so amazing!  The caramel sugar bowl was completely edible, and with the fruits and the milky, cinnamon flavor of the rice pudding was fantastic.  

The best way to end the meal!  I can't wait to go back to SER.  This is one of the best restaurant's I have gone to in the northern Virginia area in a very long time. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

#331: Strawberries and Kiwi with Cardamom Cream

On summer weekends a fruit salad can be the perfect snack or end to a meal.  This variation takes up the dessert-feeling of a simple fruit salad with the inclusion of a sweet whipped cream.  I love the taste of cardamom (it's the Indian in me!) and adding just a bit to the cream gives the dish another level of flavor.  Trust me, after you have the cardomom cream you'll be adding a dollop to pound cake, shortbread and any other treat you can think of.  

Strawberries & Kiwi with Cardamom Cream 

1/2 tsp ground cardamom
3/4 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp sugar

  1. In a bowl or standing mixer, combine the cream, sugar and cardamom.  Whip until stiff peaks form.  
  2. Cut as many strawberries and kiwis as you would like (this isn't super technical).  I'd say half a kiwi and four strawberries per bowl would be perfect.  
  3. Layer the strawberries, then a spoonful of the cream, followed by a layer of kiwis and a dollop of the cardamom cream on top.  

Sunday, September 6, 2015

My Week In Food

Saturday, August 29:  Sachin and I finally tried out El Paso Cafe.  The restaurant is about 5 minutes from his house and I can't believe it has taken us this long to go.  It was sooo good.  We ordered a plate of Chicken and Chipotle Salmon Fajitas to share.  

Sunday, August 30:  Sunday fun-day right?  So, we had to have a little sparkling rose!  

Monday, August 31:  For lunch today I took a quick trip over to Harris Teeter to get a sushi tray.  I just had a sudden craving that needed to be satisfied.  Tuna and Salmon Nigiri and Salmon + Avocado Roll.  I absolutely have a huge distaste for imitation crab in rolls, and soon discovered the roll on the left covered in sauce was hiding imitation crab underneath!!   (I ate it anyway)

Tuesday, September 1:  I bought some food from home.  A quick Lemon Chicken, Quinoa with Broccoli, and Roasted Potato Salad.  Here's the recipe for the potato salad, trust me the roasting gives it incredible flavor!  

Wednesday, September 2:  Sachin and I had dinner tonight at California Pizza Kitchen.  When we were walking in we were talking about how long it had been since either of us had been there.  We enjoyed a Chicken Tinga Quesadilla and Garlic Chicken Pizza.  The pizza has the strongest garlic flavor and caramelized onions.  So good!  I forgot this place can be pretty decent! 

Thursday, September 3: My mom grew her first eggplant in her home garden.  So she plucked it, sliced it into thick slices and roasted them in the oven.  Absolutely delicious! I don't think I've ever had homegrown eggplant.  The outer skin was so thin and the inside was absolutely buttery!

Friday, September 4: Mirona and I had dinner at SER.  I've been wanting to try this Spanish restaurant for a while, so we made a trip!  I'll be doing a full review this week (with more pics), so keep a look out. I posted a zillion pics on our Instagram account of the food I ate.  This has to be one of my more favorite restaurants in the DC area.  I know that's a pretty big claim to make, but I stand by it!  

Thursday, September 3, 2015

DC Eats: Central Michel Richard

Sorry guys the past week has been crazy with moving, and I hadn't planned out too many blog posts and didn't want to just throw something up here without good content.  In any case, things should be a bit more routine now.  

August came and went (sad), and with it came two of my dearest friends' birthdays.  Both Rabia and Mirona decided to have a birthday brunch at Central Michel Richard - not jointly but about two weeks apart.  I had been before when the restaurant first opened its doors, and I must admit the brunch isn't quite as delicious as it was then.  But, all in all, an enjoyable brunch. 

This review is from Rabia's birthday brunch.  They have a $27 Fixed Price menu with three courses.  For the first course I ordered the Chopped Salad, which came served with chopped salami, cube mozzarella and chickpeas. It was mediocre at best.  Last time I was there I ordered the Blueberry Pancrepes, which were better, but still nothing that impressive. 

For the second course I stuck with my favorite choice!  The Fried Chicken and Waffles.  The waffles are a bit dry, but the cinnamon butter they are served with does sort of help that problem.  The fried chicken isn't your typical southern fried chicken, but a delicious chicken breast coated in panko crumbs that leaves the fried chicken so perfectly crunchy and ridiculously juicy inside.  Absolutely delicious!

The final course is the dessert course - yes, you heard me right, it's dessert at brunch.  No one is complaining over here!  Don't order the French Toast; I had a bite of a friend's dessert and it was just not good.  I wish they would bring back the Creme Brulee French Toast that they use to offer on the menu; that was usually the highlight of the meal.  

In any case I ordered the Chocolate Mousse, which has a surprise raspberry filling when you get to the middle.  It's a dark, rich and smooth mousse.  

The birthday girl ordered herself the Lemon Eggceptional and a cappuccino.  I think she was more impressed with the cappuccino than the actual dessert.  The dessert is a lemon tart served in a hazelnut shell.  I had a bite; also wasn't impressed. 

In any case...Rating: B-

Me with the birthday girl (on the right) post-brunch :)  Side note: they do have bottomless mimosas, bloody marys and bellinis for $10!

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