Bullet Train Bento

Aah, the train bento. I don’t think I’d ever done it before, on my other trips to Japan. This time, I intended to get a proper bento, especially since I’d be traveling in the Green Car of the Shinkansen. I found some really great bento packages in a Kyoto Station grocery shop, so we bought a whole bunch of stuff and set off for our next destination: Atami.

Pictured above is lemon tea, which I actually get at the Japanese grocery store in Maryland if I’m lucky. It’s so sweet but oh so good.

Corn salad, apple juice (sort of), and chawan-mushi (a savory egg custard). Yum!

The rest:

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Red Hook Lobster Pound

The Red Hook lobster truck has been around for a while by now, but I did have occasion to try them a few months back. I took an hour out of my lunch break to wait in line on a cold winter’s day in a queue that went down the length of a city block. What was I thinking? But I suppose that the blogger part of me felt somewhat obligated to give it a go! By the time I got to the front of the line, I ordered practically everything on the menu, just because I doubted I’d be back again very soon. I got one Maine style lobster roll ($15), New England clam chowder ($7), apple cider ($3) and a whoopie pie ($3.50). The service was really nice, and I think they appreciated that you’d waited in line for so long.

I think I made a mistake when I ordered the Maine style. Actually, I didn’t even know there were two different kinds of lobster rolls, which was an oversight on my part. I don’t remember if they asked me what kind I wanted, because I would’ve asked them what the difference was and would probably have ordered the other kind had I known. Anyway, the Maine style is served cold, with mayo. The Connecticut style is warm, with butter. Clearly the Connecticut style sounds superior! I was expecting it to be warm, so was very disappointed when I bit into the cold lobster meat. I think the flavors are more robust when they’re warmed up. The bread was nice and buttery though, so that was good.

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Yellow Bulgogi Truck

A few weeks ago, I was walking back from lunch when I spotted a yellow truck parked at the corner of 12th and G that I had never seen before. Naturally, I had to get a closer look, and it turned out to be a bulgogi truck! They seem to keep a low profile both on the street and online. I found their Yelp page and rather sparse Twitter account, which isn’t very helpful in pinning down where they’ll be everyday.

They have a short and sweet menu, bulgogi, bibimbap, or chicken teriyaki. You can also choose between medium or spicy on the spiciness scale. I got the medium beef bulgogi, pictured above, which came with sticky rice and sides of kimchi and iceberg lettuce with citrus vinaigrette. I thought the portions were pretty good for the money. The kimchi’s spiciness was a nice addition to the relatively muted flavor of the beef. Apparently the bibimbap is a better deal because you’ll get more veggies with your meal.

They don’t tweet their location on a daily basis, but it seems like they try to hit the same spot on the street everyday…at least, for a month. Their last tweet seemed to indicate they’d be on 12th street for a few weeks. The last I saw them, they were at 12th and F, by the metro entrance.

1 Jun 2010, 10:55pm
lunch:
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El Floridano

OMG an update. (o____O)!! It’s been a lazy month, what can I say? I think once you get out of the habit of posting, it’s easy to just put things off until the next day, and the next day. Pretty soon, you end up giving up the month for a lost cause. And now here we are in June. (What?) June 2009 is actually the month I started this blog, though I’m too lazy at the moment to go back and figure out exactly which date it was. So, happy 1st birthday, blog! XD ♥

Today I saw on Twitter that El Floridano (on Twitter @FLmeetsDC) was around my neck of the woods, so I decided to give them a go. They are one of the newer food trucks to hit the streets of DC, and I don’t think they’ll be the last, either.

I tried their “Turkey Bahn Mi with Pickled Green Mango and Tamarind BBQ Sauce.” As you can see from the photo, it’s like a turkey meatloaf type thing, and it also had arugula, cilantro and julienned carrots. My first bite was excellent! But then…I’m not sure what happened, but the flavors didn’t quite come together again for me. Perhaps there wasn’t enough cilantro, which (for me, anyway) adds that extra something. I think the tamarind sauce could have used some more punch, especially since the turkey was a little subtle (or under seasoned). Something needed to counteract the sweetness of the pickled mango.

However, this was a pretty big sandwich, so you definitely feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. Sandwiches are $7, and the other two kinds are: “Classic Roast Pork and Ham Cuban Sandwich” and “Chicken Chiang Mai with Charred Tomato Salsa, Avocado and Pickled Onions.” They also have soup, but I didn’t try any.

On a non-food related note (re: Floridano’s Twitter feed): It’s a pet peeve of mine when I click on a link in Twitter and it takes me to a Facebook update that just reiterates what was just posted on Twitter. Ah, a petty critique, I know. XD;;;

Captain White’s Seafood

Captain White’s Seafood City is located on the Southwest Waterfront, right on the water. It’s pretty chaotic getting in there, and trying to find parking is pretty tricky business. However, it’s worth the effort if you’re a seafood lover! My friends and I checked it out last Saturday afternoon, and the place was swamped with people. We waited for seemed like forever to get our food. (O____o);;

I got the clams and fries box, pictured above. It’s a lot of food for a good price! I should have gotten some packets of cocktail sauce, but I was too lazy to walk back there from the seating area to fetch any. XD;;

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sâuçá

Out of all the Twittering food trucks of late, I’ve been most impressed by the branding and marketing of sâuçá. Take a look at their awesome website and you’ll see what I mean! I was very excited about the launch of this truck o’ food, as their menu looked so diverse and intriguing. Their dishes are inspired by cuisines from several continents, with a minor twist in that they’re served as “sâuçá” – their term for a flatbread sandwich. Their multi-colored logo is a reflection of that global concept, with each color representing a different region of the world.

They’ve been coming by the Chinatown area for a while now, and last week I finally got the opportunity to check them out. And it was great timing too! Not only was the weather sunny and fabulous, but it also happened to be the same day that NPR (I think it was NPR, anyway) was out by the truck interviewing folks on their sâuçá experience. I got to chat with the owner of sâuçá, who was very enthusiastic and pleasant. I asked him how they came up with the name, and he explained that their concept was based around sauces and having a great variety thereof. Originally, they wanted to call themselves “Sauce,” but they were told that they couldn’t trademark a real word. Thus, they changed it to sâuçá, adding a few accent marks here and there for added flair. Their abundant sauces are incorporated into their dishes, but you can also add extra if you want (they have a small fixings area next to the pick up window).

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Crepes on the Walk

Crepes on the Walk is a cute little crepes stand by the Verizon Center (which I still call the MCI Center sometimes), and it’s part of the Crepes a Go Go family of creperies. Their website has mysteriously disappeared, so I can’t link you, but hopefully they’re still around?

I imagine that this stand gets a lot of business because of its prime location, and also because crepes are the ideal sort of streetfood. Sweet or savory, whatever suits your fancy, they’ve got it. It comes folded up and tucked neatly inside a paper cone for easy handling. X) They have a nice menu of items, but of course, you can select your own combination of ingredients as you like, which is nice…if a little daunting. (You can check out their menu over on The Thrillist).

I popped over to pick up a crepe (or two) during my lunch hour a little while ago:

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Sweet Green

sweetgreen yogurt

Mmm…lovely Sweet Green! Among the latest in food trucks to hit the streets of D.C., Sweet Green serves up some tasty frozen yogurt and salads, Tweeting their location as they go. They’ve recently started coming to Metro Center on Fridays, so I finally had a chance to try them out.
The yogurt came in a couple sizes, with three toppings included in the standard cup size for a total cost of $5. For toppings, there was a pretty good selection of fresh fruit, nuts, coconut shavings and mint. I got mine with baked apples, strawberries, and mint. (*____*) Soooo good. The yogurt was very fresh, and had a little tartness to it, but not too much. (I always found the popular froyo’s too sour for my taste). Loved it!

I also got a salad:

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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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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
30 Jul 2009, 10:45pm
lunch:
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Fojol Bros of Merlindia

fojol chicken masala

I’ve wanted to try Fojol Brothers of Merlindia ever since I read about them in The Washington Post a few months ago. Fun! Music! Street food! It sounded like a quirky bunch of everything, and having to track their whereabouts via Twitter made it all the more fun.

Today they hunkered down on a corner of Farragut Square at 17th and K, and I was there right as they were opening up for business for the lunch crowd. They had to prep a little before service, including a quick dash to a nearby bank to make some change. (I’m sure the guy didn’t look at all suspicious walking into a bank in his fabulous getup, curly mustache and all).

I got a ginger lassi pop while we waited for change, and it was amazing! Just the icy refreshment I needed to brave the suffocating D.C. humidity. The guy told me they were experimenting with different flavors, so was eager to hear some feedback. Obviously, I love ginger and I love sweet, so uh…this is a no brainer. LOVED it! Can I buy a lifetime supply please? Much appreciated. I won’t mind at all if they come wrapped in ghetto sandwich bags like they were today. X)

On to the food! Pictured above is the pick-2 size, which comes with rice doused in delicious sauce. Today their selection included two chicken dishes (chicken masala and chicken curry) and two vegetarian options (spinach & cheese or cauliflower & potato). I got the chicken masala + cauli/potato twosome. Very good indeed, especially for street food!

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28 Jul 2009, 5:59am
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Yaki Udon

yakiudon

Yup, you heard me, fried udon. (^O^)v As a non-cooking type person, I just love pan fried anything. How else can you make a quick and easy meal with very little culinary skillz?

Yakisoba is one my favorites, a pretty standard fried noodle dish that can be whipped up in 5 minutes. I’d never even heard of fried udon before, so when I spotted a package of it at the Japanese grocery, I had to give it a try. I tossed it together with shredded green onions and fresh shitake, then topped it off with beni-shoga (red pickled ginger). This was not bad at all! The noodles weren’t stiff and nasty like I half expected them to be. Impressive, for an instant variety.

5 Jul 2009, 9:36pm
dessert lunch:
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Summer BBQ

bbq turkey burger

Yaaay~ barbecue! Had a fabulous time at my friends’ BBQ partay this afternoon! o(^___^)o The highlight – aside from the charming company, of course – was definitely this turkey burger. It was juicy, flavorful and utterly flawless. I jotted down the ingredients in it for future reference: panko, egg, onion, tomato, beer, Worcestershire sauce and cayenne. Yum!

I was informed that there was already going to be pasta salad, so I had to rethink my plan this morning on what to bring. I used my handy new Whole Foods iPhone app to look up a recipe for corn salad. I found a pretty simple one with tomatoes, green bell pepper and red onion, mixed in with a dressing made from extra virgin olive oil, lemon and lime juice and cilantro. Easy, colorful, and tasty!

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