26 Aug 2009, 6:03am
japanese snacks:
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Milk Pocky

milk pocky

I was pretty curious about this Milk Pocky when I saw it on the shelf. Milk flavor?? What IS that? Had to see for myself.

Tasting: It didn’t taste very vanilla or white chocolate, like I half expected. It’s actually kind of reminiscent of…milk. Sweetened milk, like condensed, but more subtle. What an odd flavor.

Verdict: Not sure I like it. But I’d get it again just for my own weird fascination. This must be a flavor geared for kids, judging from the anthropomorphic cow on the cover.

Close up photo:

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25 Aug 2009, 9:33pm
dinner:
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Okonomiyaki

okonomiyaki

Wiki describes “okonomiyaki” as Japanese style savory pancake, and that’s pretty much what it is. Literally meaning “fry it as you like it,” it’s one of the signature dishes from the city of Osaka, my honorary hometown. They have something similar in Hiroshima, but it’s piled high with noodles, which scared me a little.

The ‘pancake’ batter is pretty simple. A standard okonomiyaki has a base of cabbage (thinly shredded), flour, egg, water. Some people season the batter with salt and aji no moto (MSG, the source of all ‘umami’). Where you take it from there is “as you like it!”

This variant pictured above is made with squid, so it’s an ‘ikadama’ (ika=squid; tama=egg). Squid is the best kind, in my opinion, though pork works just as well! The key to making a good okonomiyaki is to be gentle with the batter. You don’t want to push it around too much. And once it’s on the grill, don’t press down on it, or you’ll flatten out all the texture.

There’s a special sauce that goes with it (called – surprise surprise, okonomiyaki sauce) that you can get at the Asian grocer, though you can mix up your own sauces if you like. Sprinkle on some ao-nori (dried seaweed seasoning) and katsuo (shaved bonito flakes) just before serving.

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21 Aug 2009, 6:50am
snacks
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So Yummi Cherry Pudding

so yummi box

I wasn’t even going to write about this product, but I thought I should pass on my experience to you, so you can benefit from my suffering. (X____o)

I came across this box of “So Yummi” cherry flavored whipped pudding at the Whole Foods a few days ago, and was totally drawn in by the cute exterior. Nevermind that it was described as “lactose/dairy free, gluten free, vegan, no trans fats, low in sodium, source of fiber, contains prebiotic, sweetened with beet syrup.” Obviously all these should’ve been indicators that this stuff was going to be horribly nasty. But the recent Top Chef Masters episode featuring vegan/gluten free cuisine had made me a tentative believer in this manufactured nonsense…so I gave this adorable package a go.

BIG MISTAKE.

“So Yummi”?? More like SO YUCKI. I should’ve read the ingredients more carefully, because there’s nothing cherry in this “cherry flavored” crap. I tasted a vague hint of cherry in the first spoonful, but that pleasant (if artificial) flavor was quickly replaced by an aftertaste of damp cardboard. It was so nasty I felt nauseated. I promptly tossed out the rest of the cup, and futilely tried to scrub the horrible memory of the flavor out of my mind. Seriously, this stuff robbed me of my appetite for the rest of my morning.

You have been warned.

14 Aug 2009, 6:50am
lunch:
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Banh Mi DC Sandwich

banh mi

Banh mi is a kind of Vietnamese/French fusion of a sandwich, deli meats served in a baguette with toppings like cilantro and pickled daikon. I’ve actually never had it before, so this was a first for me. X)

I got the “combination” sandwich, which I think was at least 3 different kinds of pork meat. Whatever it was, it tasted delicious. It went so well with the pickled daikon, slivers of cucumber and carrots, and that mayo that they slathered on. Mmm… Of course, cilantro added that extra burst of flavor that I always love.

This “DC Sandwich” place in Falls Church has a really wide selection. The deli also has a smallish kind of grocery, stocking snacks and interesting stuffed rice ball type things wrapped in banana leaves. The only downside is, they have no seating, so everything is take-out.

If you order more than one sandwich, they helpfully stamp them for you so you know what’s what:

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14 Aug 2009, 6:26am
japanese snacks:
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Lubera Cookie

lubera

Here’s part the second of the Boubon cookie posts. The first one was the Lumond Cookie (my brother emailed me to say that it’s probably supposed to be spelled “Le Monde”). I struggled with how to spell the “Lubera,” as I’m sure it’s supposed to be some kind of real word in French that I don’t know. Since the R’s and L’s get mixed up in Japanese, I did consider for a moment whether it could be “rubella.” Hahaha…viral cookies!

Lubera (whatever) are cigar cookies packed with butter. The package says it’s 12% BUTTER so you know it’s just a butter explosion. In French, these butter cookies are called “langue de chat,” which I understand translates to “cat’s tongue.” (EW?) The taste is so smooth and lovely that you instantly forget the cookie’s odd name and just scarf them up, one after the other. Happily, they package two together so you can indulge a little.

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Stella's Bakery

stellas pastry

Yay~ lovely pastries from Stella’s! I’ve been going to this bakery for years, and I really love it. I usually go here for special occasions such as picking up a birthday cake (the Grand Mariner mousse being the go-to flavor).

Of course, they’ve got plenty of other things besides cakes, from breads to flaky savory turnovers. I like their mini pastries because you can taste a bunch of different things without over-indulging. XD These are a few of them: mini eclair, mini cream puff swan, and mini napoleon.

They’ve also got cute fruit tart minis as well:

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7 Aug 2009, 6:17am
lunch:
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Spy Diner

spy diner

A few days ago, I found a tip from the Washington City Paper’s food blog on where to find some great lamb sliders for lunch. Naturally, I had to check it out. X)

The Spy Diner is actually a street cart, located across from the Spy Museum at 9th and F. They mainly serve a variety of sliders, but also have pastries and so on. There weren’t too many people ahead of me in line, but it nevertheless took quite a while until I finally got my food. It was well worth it, though! The lamb meatball sliders are served with romaine red pepper slaw and goat cheese aioli. At $6 for 2, they’re the priciest thing on the menu.

The sliders are really cute and small. I loved how dainty they were! I did have to stop in to Cowgirl Creamery to get a side of pasta salad to round out my lunch.

The other sliders they offer are as follows:

  • Roast beef melt: Emmenthaler sauce, carmelized onions, horseradish bun / $4
  • BBQ pork: Cole slaw, salt and pepper bun / $4
  • All American burger: romaine pickle slaw / $4
  • Tomato & brie / $4

Something Sweet

something sweet chocolate orange

Whee~ new bakery in town! \(^O^)/ And it’s down by 2 Amys Pizza in Woodley Park on Macomb Street, so I imagine they get a lot of the post-lunch/dinner crowd hankering for a little …well, Something Sweet.

Confession: I haven’t actually been there. Still, I am blatantly blogging about it anyway because I can! Fellow foodie Nevin stopped in there last Friday and picked up a few cupcakes, of which I got to sample two. ♥ Actually, these cupcakes were scarfed down in the car on the way to The Counter (see previous post). Me + eating + vehicle = not a good idea. I got icing and crumbs all over myself, but most of the tasty made its way into my mouth. o(^__^)o

Here’s the orange cupcake with chocolate ganache. The icing was not too sweet, in a good way. The cake had a hint of citrus, and reminded me of madeleines. Very good for a cupcake that was being consumed 2 days later, after some refrigeration. I’m sure it was excellent at its freshest peak.

Btw, the pirate thing is a plastic ring, which you can have stuck onto your cupcake. I think this is for the benefit of delighting little kids, and uh, Nevin.

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