I wanted to give a quick shout-out to a couple of my favorite local establishments in Chantilly, VA.
First up is 5T*Ice, an Asian dessert shop at Dulles Landing. I used to frequent Tutti Frutti, owned by the same people, but 5T opened much closer to where I live. Yay! In addition to frozen yogurt and gelato (including hard-to-find durian), they serve Patbingsu - shaved ice topped with ice cream, fruits, and syrups. I really like the coconut and ube bingsu with coconut shavings, sweetened condensed milk, and ube ice cream.
They also have bubble tea, smoothies, milkshakes, and other various similar drinks. I really like the Che Thai - a Vietnamese drink with coconut milk, grass jelly, coconut jelly, pomegranate jelly, lychee, jackfruit, and toddy palm. It is crazy good. If sweet is not your thing they also have steamed pork buns, sticky rice with Chinese sausage, and other goodies. And, no, I don't know what the name means - no one I know does!
You guys, I have been in such a writing funk since I have gotten back from vacation. I don't know what is going on! But I do want to tell you about the restaurants we visited while we were in San Francisco, and I will try to post more frequently from now on. Kailey, my sister-in-law (who we were visiting), is a chef in SF (here; that's her at 0:35 and 1:35), so we let her take us on a culinary tour of her favorite spots. But I determined on our first day that I was just going to enjoy the vacation and not worry about taking photos. So I don't have any food photos to show you, sorry!
Before we get to food, I should mention that we stayed at the Hotel Drisco and really enjoyed it. We had a corner room on the top floor and the views were amazing - we could see Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and most of the city. All the windows really helped because, like many older buildings in the city, Drisco has no air conditioning. Opening all the windows made for a lovely cross-breeze, though it was too noisy to leave them open at night. The hotel includes a continental breakfast, and I am not talking about just cereal and muffins. They have all kinds of pastries with homemade jams, spreads, and toppings. Also fresh juices, cereal, yogurt, bagels, fruit salad, hot oatmeal, smoothies, salami and cheese, hard boiled eggs, and antipasto style veggies. In addition to various coffee blends, they will also make espresso drinks to order. It is a very nice perk. They also have a wine tasting every evening with cheese and salami, coffee all day, free wifi, free bikes, and the staff are very friendly and helpful.
So, I'm kind of obsessed with the new shopping area called Mosaic District, I spend a lot of time there. It has a lot of restaurants, but not many of them are sit-down type places. Of the few that are there, I like Matchbox the best. The food is good, the drinks are decent, and it's right next to the movie theater. For these reasons, it tends to always be crowded. But don't let availability on Open Table fool you - every single time it has claimed to have no reservations, we have walked in and been seated in less than 15 minutes. It's billed as a pizza joint, but more than half the menu is other types of food. I'd say it's pretty comparable to Chef Geoff's, but in a better location.
One thing that is pretty cool is that they have wines on tap, so you can order by the glass pretty easily. But what's even cooler is a deal with Swirl and Sip where if you buy a bottle of wine from them, Matchbox will waive the corkage fee!
This is one of my favorite pizzas - the prosciutto and black mission fig with black pepper, arugula, and honey.
Another favorite (for Jasper, as well) is the chicken pesto pizza.
This is the crab and avocado salad with roasted corn and tarragon aioli.
In addition to our awesome holiday meal (read more here), we also ate out a lot while we were in Bend, OR last week.
We ordered breakfast from room service at our hotel, The Oxford, a few times and it was really good. The french toast with berry compote, in particular, was awesome. Right next door to the hotel is a brand new doughnut place (as in they opened their doors for the first time the Saturday after Thanksgiving) called Luvs Doughnuts. They make small batches and sell the day-old doughnuts for 50 cents! I had a glazed-yeast raised and Jasper had a chocolate-dipped blueberry cake doughnut - they were pretty good! I also enjoyed my chai latte from there - nice strong flavor.
We also ate at a local breakfast/brunch institution - Chow, which is open every day from 7-2. They focus on local vendors and sustainability and accommodate pretty much any diet. They are happy to make up a unique dish just for you if nothing on the menu suits you. They also have some killer guava mimosas (or man-mosas if you want a bigger drink). This is the only restaurant I thought to take pictures at, so enjoy!
Bagel with cream cheese, pickled veg (celery, carrots, green beans), salmon, and sprouts.
Chow has a number of signature egg dishes. This one is the blackstone - with poached eggs, cornmeal crusted tomatoes, spinach, bacon, and bearnaise over polenta. Super yummy.
This was the omelette of the day with house potatoes. They make their own hot sauces here, and from what I heard the Carrot-Habanero was amazingly hot and tasty.
The Cosmopolitan Hotel has lots of great food options which was a nice bonus for staying there. My favorite has to be Holstein's Burgers, which has a huge selection of glam burgers and adult milkshakes. They also have a good bar with a whole menu of drinks based around my favorite liquor - St Germain.
This was my first meal at the trendy burger spot (yes, I went back) - The Billionaire Burger with Kobe beef, foie gras, port onion marmalade, frisee, and truffle mayo. Fan-freaking-tastic. I got it with sweet potato fries and the Drunken Monkey Shake (Reese’s, banana, malt, Frangelico).