Food Adventure Collage.

carnitas snack shack. c-level. world famous. woodstocks. terra american bistro. buddies. corbins. casey's cupcakes. mandarin beijing. nazca grill. eiffel tower restaurant. gordan ramsay burgr. in-n-out. bankers hill bar and grill. los primos. bistro sixty. ruth's chris.


... to a place I like to call my very own. *waving hello*

I invite you to enjoy reading about the food adventures that I have with friends, family, and colleagues.

I adore food and I cannot just choose one particular food that is my fave.

Food is really is my favorite. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Otello - DuPont Circle, Washington, D.C.

I took a mini trip with my older sister's family (S) to Washington DC and we met my younger sister (L) and her hubby (MK), in DC, as they are Philadelphia residents.When there was confusion whether someone made a reservation at Founding Farmers, we ended up being "reservation-less" on the Saturday night we arrived in the east coast.  Luckily, L found Otello on Yelp.  

The entrance of Otello is so unassuming and if we were not paying attention, we would have passed it.  Right up the stoop, we were taken to a cute, Italian restaurant in the Dupont Circle area of Washington, DC.  The tables were clothed with the familiar checkered tablecloth.  The restaurant had icicle lights inside, a full bar, and a larger banquet room in the back.

Our large group was served some fresh bread with olive oil.  Because we had a really large group, I was only able to take pictures of food for half of the table. We all were starving, so I wanted to dig in, too!

L and MK shared everything they ordered and the kitchen was nice to put them on separate plates. They both started with a simple romaine and tomato salad (not pictured), Insalata Mista ($8.50) and the Tortellini Al Basilico ($13.95).  The dish was a plate of multi-colored cheese-filled tortellini in a light tomato sauce that is seasoned by basil.  

They also shared the Mozzarella In Carrozza ($9.50).  Oh, man... crispy, deep fried mozzarella topped with a garlic and parsley butter.  It was not your typical mozzarella sticks... this was the real deal.  The cheese was warm and gooey and I loved the crunch from the breading.

S's boyfriend, A, ordered the Rulata Di Pollo ($19.75), which is a roulade of chicken breast stuffed mortadella, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese.  It came with a nice, rich sauce and roasted potatoes.  

This was my dish!  I was so hungry from the lack of nutrition from flying all day (we were at the airport at 4am!) so I decided to get something pretty darn delicious and blog-worthy... because it's not your usual Chicken Parmigiana ($24.95).   This was listed on the chalkboard list of menu specials and not on the regular menu.  The dish also has eggplant under the hot, melty mozzarella cheese.  The eggplant added another depth of flavor.   The spaghetti noodles were a bit thicker than the usual spaghetti noodle, and I absolutely loved it!  The tomato sauce was surprisingly light and it just went well with the chicken and the pasta.  I just kept eating, eating and eating.  It was so good!

The other half of the table enjoyed Fettucine Alfredo ($16.50) and Capesante Alla Diavolo ($22.95), which was sea scallops in a spicy tomato cream sauce, served with angel hair pasta.

All in all, we loved our experience here.  The staff was so friendly and the ultimate vibe of the restaurant was wonderful.  One day, we'll make it out to Founding Farmers, but we were very happy to have found Otello.

1329 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 429-0209

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Grove Steakhouse at the Viejas Casino & Resort - Alpine

M and I celebrated nine years of marriage bliss in August this year. We absolutely love steakhouses, especially those at the local Indian reservation casinos. We also enjoy going to steakhouses on our anniversary because steak is one of my favorite foods, and is considered a special treat.  We have not tried the Grove Steakhouse at the Viejas Casino & Resort in Alpine, so we were pretty excited to go.

The Grove is located near where the buffet used to be in the non-smoking area of the casino.  There is a small check in stand where one host/hostess stays behind.  She led us in to a small door on the left through the dining room.  

We were started off with a complimentary sliced baguette and different spreads.

From the top to the bottom, salted butter with olive oil, sun dried tomato spread, and pureed white bean.  All spreads were delicious and were a great start to the meal.  The white bean reminded me of a hummus. They sure were a nice surprise with the bread, as opposed to those cold small packs of butter.  

Executive Chef Yadira Perez brought us an amuse bouche consisting of salmon tartare.  It was a perfect, fresh bite.  Our server told us that they were all excited to have Chef Perez in the kitchen, as she started earlier this year.

Next, as a palate cleanser to get ready for our delicious entrees, we each received a tiny dish of lemon sorbet with a raspberry coulis.  Yum!

M does not eat red meat.  His go-to dish is the Chilean Sea Bass ($35.00) whenever we go out.  The succulent fish was served with enoki mushrooms, bok choy in a soy broth.  The fish just melted in my mouth.  

For the first time ever, I did not want a big ol' rib eye steak, my absolute favorite cut of steak.  I love, LOVE steak.  Instead, I ordered the 6 ounce petite filet mignon ($28.00).  It was cooked to a perfection (medium temperature) and it was impressively delicious. 

The filet came with a carrot puree, caramelized onions and a garnish of bone marrow, which I tried, but could not eat (boo, guess it truly was for garnish, haha).  The carrot puree was sweet and, yup, tasted like carrot, which is not my favorite thing.  The onions were a perfect, crispy accompaniment to every bite of my filet.

Steak frites (aka steak and french fries) is my favorite dish ever, so I had to order the truffle pomme frites ($7.00) to eat with my filet.  They were crispy and light.  The truffle oil was just a perfect touch and did not overpower the taste of the fry.  

We ordered the steamed broccolini ($6.00) for an additional side and to round out our meal.  It came with shaved garlic chips.  Steamed veggies, anywhere, are a hit and miss -- these did not disappoint, as they were still a perfect crisp, but not underdone.

For our anniversary dessert, they gave us a complimentary chocolate cake with vanilla bean ice cream.  They were so sweet to do that for us.

Once we received our check, we were served these two cute white chocolate truffles.  They were the perfect end to the a great night to celebrate our nine years with M.  Between the bread, sides and the filet, I did not miss the rib eye at all.  I did not feel overstuffed and I had my craving for steak frites satisfied.

So far, the Grove Steakhouse at the Viejas Casino is our new favorite casino steakhouse, not only for their fabulous food, for for their diamond customer service and little surprises (amuse bouche, the palate cleanser, and the truffles at the end).  Also, like most casinos, if you have a players card, there is a dining discount.  For us, it was 20% off (not on alcoholic drinks, though).

It was a very nice and romantic celebration for the hubby and I!

The Grove Steakhouse at the Viejas Casino & Resort
5000 Willows Road
Alpine, CA 91901
(800) 847-6537

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Big Kahuna's - Imperial Beach

This is a mini post for the single meal I had at Big Kahuna's in Imperial Beach.  We had family in town and they wanted to go somewhere that was not a fast food restaurant, that was close to their house in IB, and good for groups and children.  I found Big Kahuna's on Yelp and told everyone where to meet.  

Big Kahuna's is located in the shopping center to the left just before you enter the 75 highway onto Coronado Island.  Given that my parents (and my son) are picky when it comes to dining out, this was the perfect place to go since they have an array of Hawaiian plates and dishes.  Hooray for steamed rice and saimin (ramen noodles)!

I love Hawaiian plate lunches, mainly because they remind me of the plates my mom used to make us when we were growing up.  We always had steamed rice, a meat (like chicken adobo, beef steak, lumpia), and macaroni salad or coleslaw.

At Big Kahuna's, I ordered the Chicken Teriyaki and Kalbi Ribs (short ribs) combination Hawaiian plate ($10.95) so J and I can share.  What I loved about this plate is that the chicken teriyaki came with bits of sweet pineapple.  The addition to the scallion (green onion) makes every dish even better to give it that mild onion bite.  Both meats were grilled really well and they were so flavorful.  The macaroni salad was good and not overdressed with mayonnaise.  Three scoops of sticky rice were more than enough for one person, but because J and I were sharing, it was a good portion.

If you are ever in Imperial Beach, I suggest coming here for a plate lunch before hitting the beach and pier.  It's also near Stardust Donuts (if you're lucky that they are open, you have to get the best glazed yeast donuts in San Diego!).

Big Kahuna's
600 Palm Avenue
Imperial Beach, CA 91932
(619) 429-5224

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Bubba Burgers - Hanalei, Kauai [Hawaii]

Burgers.  Wait, what?  In Kauai, there is a burger there that I still crave for its simplicity and flavor.  Bubba Burgers!  There are three locations on the island of Kauai -- Hanalei (north), Kapaa (central), and Poipu (south).   We rented a house in Hanalei and we were lucky that the Bubba Burgers was located a short walk across from our house.  I will be the first to admit that we ate there twice during our trip.  Yum!

All Bubba burgers are made from Kauai grass fed beef and served in a toasted bun, Bubba relish, and diced onions.  The patties are thin -- they start off with a 1/6 pound patty (Bubba Burger), 1/3 pound (two patties - Double Bubba), and the Big Bubba (1/2 pound - 3 patties).   Bubba suggests that you do not get lettuce and tomato on your burgers because since 1936, they have never served the burgers with them.  But, for a $1.00, you can order lettuce and tomato (but they cannot guarantee its freshness since they have them shipped from the mainland).  They also have chili burgers, hot dogs, fries, onion rings, taro burger, and a grilled chicken sandwich on their menu.

Here is my Double Bubba ($6.00) -- this is the standard burger for an "adult".  The single Bubba burger ($4.00) is perfect for kids, like my little boy, as it comes with a tiny 1/6 pound patty.   Each burger is pretty simple - cheese was extra ($0.35), relish, fresh onion, ketchup and mustard.  It was so good. It reminded me a homemade burger that my mom would make  The beef was seasoned well and I loved the tang from both the relish and mustard.  Both M and I ordered Double Bubbas with cheese.

We shared an order for french fries ($2.75) and onion rings ($5.00).  

The french fries, I can tell, were of the frozen kind, but they were still pretty good.  Especially when you have to have french fries with burgers!  

The onion rings were super crispy on the outside and soft and sweet in the inside.  I liked them better than the french fries.  

Bubba is a good place to get something quick in paradise.  They make simple, good food and they make food pretty well.  The staff was really friendly, too!  

Bubba Burgers (Hanalei)
5-5161 Kuhio Hwy
Hanalei, HI 96714
(808) 826-7839

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