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!
Now that I am settling into my new place, and Melissa has welcomed her baby daughter to the world, we are getting back into our lunch schedule. We started with this gorgeous Spring inspired egg salad. This is really customizeable, and you can add whatever you find fresh in your area.
We started by finely dicing some celery, scallions, chives, parsley, and dill while we boiled some eggs. You can use whatever combination of herbs you prefer. We also separated the greens from a bunch of radishes.
To that, we added chopped eggs and avocado, caper, garlic, lemon zest, mayonnaise, and dijon mustard.
You guys. This is my FAVORITE movie. Ever. Seriously. And it is the January pick for Food 'N Flix! I am so excited that I can't even... wait... wait a second... how is this a foodie movie? I mean they do eat food in it, but... whatever, I don't even care. A brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal thrown together for one day of detention - it's The Breakfast Club!
Mad props to Eliot's Eats for choosing this movie, but what a tough one to get a recipe inspiration from! In the end, I decided to make what I would want for lunch if I was stuck in detention. I mean, sushi would be great (looking at you, Molly Ringwald), but I can't make that at home yet. So instead I present to you the best sandwich in the world! To me, at least. Turkey, bacon, avocado, and a fried egg on toasted whole wheat bread slathered with roasted garlic aioli. Everything I want and nothing I don't, this is sandwich perfection. I'm calling it The Breakfast Club Sandwich because it has breakfast food like bacon and egg, and is kind of like a club sandwich. It's so clever, I'm dying.
I don't have a recipe for you (cuz it's a sandwich), but I want you to bust out your copy of The Breakfast Club and tell me what your detention meal would be. A classic pb&j, perhaps? Or something more exotic like cereal and pixie sticks with mayo?
Ugh - sorry folks, I've been bad about posting this last week! And this post is going to be pretty short, too. We are finally on our way into Fall, but the transition has been slow and there is still some stone fruit to be had. I am still really into tartines at the moment, so I paired sliced nectarine with goat cheese, prosciutto, and basil for a quick lunch.
Then the store finally had some burrata in (this is a seriously random occurrence, you never know), so I paired that with some ripe peach, basil, EVOO, balsamic, and sea salt.
Kanikama is the imitation crab meat you find in cheap sushi rolls. It is made from white fish (pollock usually) that is formed and colored to look like crab. Sounds gross, but is actually pretty tasty - and way cheaper than real crab. Kanikama salad is a pretty typical way to prepare imitation crab outside of sushi rolls. It usually involves kanikama, shredded vegetables, and mango in a light mayonnaise based dressing and is sometimes topped with tobiko.
My version is kanikama and mango over lettuce, served with avocado (I meant to get tobiko, too, but I forgot!) This is really light and refreshing, and a little bit sweet - perfect for summer. It's important to realize that Japanese mayo is different from American - it is lighter, thinner, and made with rice wine vinegar. For my dressing, I bought Yum Yum sauce thinking it would be good as is (it's a mayonnaise based sauce that they use at Hibachi grill restaurants). But when I tried it out, it was a bit too sweet and bland. So I added a splash each of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, mirin, and toasted sesame oil (easy on that last one, it is very strong).
I don't really have a recipe - it's more of a play with seasonings til you like it kind of thing. You could add in julienned carrots, cucumber, even summer squash. You could dice the avocado and fold it in with the mango (which I did on subsequent days). You could toss the lettuce in the dressing as well, instead of setting the dressed kanikama on top. There are lots of ways that you can make this your own. Leave a comment telling me how you like your kanikama salad!
The new Mosaic Shopping Center in Merrifield, VA is super cool. There's a Target, an indie movie theater, a gym, boutiques, and cafes. Sea Pearl is one of the larger, less casual restaurants in the center. The website describes it as "Asian inspired modern American cuisine." The main focus is seafood - they have both cooked dishes and sushi - but they also have some meat dishes and a pretty good brunch (on Saturday, too, which I love). It's quite large and the decor is really lovely. It's a little on the feminine side, which would make it perfect for ladies' brunch or girls' night out (the drinks are good, but with DC prices). I've never seen it packed, so large groups could be seated easily.
Let's start with Brunch, because that is what I go for most often.
Cinnamon churros with warm chocolate dipping sauce: these are super awesome - hot, fresh, crunchy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. Love it.
Ricotta fritters with honey and seasonal fruit (this time it was apple): these are good too, fluffy and rich. If you had to choose only one pastry though, I'd go with the churros.
Halloumi is a salty, dense Greek cheese that is super amazing when grilled. My friend Melissa, from Smells Like Brownies, is a big fan so she was pretty excited when I showed her this recipe. Hearty quinoa mixed with lettuce and veggies and topped with warm cheese - delish!
We didn't end up having the cucumbers the original recipe called for, so we used tomatoes instead and they were great. I do really like cucumbers, though, so I would say to use both. The more veg, the better, right? The dressing includes red wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, mint, and scallion - yum!
We also discovered (by oiling one side and not the other of an electric grill) that the cheese gets better grill marks when the grill is not oiled. Don't worry, though, it won't stick!
This is a very satisfying (and light!) vegetarian lunch that is sure to make even meat eaters happy.
Here is a dish that is simple, easy, healthy, and totally delicious.
All you do is mix together cooked quinoa, wilted kale, caramelized onions, eggs, and cheese; then bake until set.
It sets up a bit like a frittata. So simple!
Quinoa and Kale Crustless Quiche
adapted from Food 52
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch kale, stems removed and cut into ribbons
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese (or whatever you like)
3 oz reduced fat cream cheese (or Laughing Cow), cubed
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare a 9" pie dish (either butter the dish thoroughly or spray with baking spray).
Rinse the quinoa. Combine the quinoa and water in a pan. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat and then reduce to a simmer. This will take about twenty minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, start to caramelize the onions. Heat the olive oil in a large saute on medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onions. Slowly cook until the onions are soft and browned. Remove the onions from the pan, and place them in a large mixing bowl.
Add the kale into the hot onion pan. On medium heat, cook until the kale is wilted and bright green, about two minutes. Allow the greens to cool. Squeeze out any extra liquid using a sieve or a clean dish towel.
Add the kale, quinoa, garlic, cream cheese and cheddar to the mixing bowl. Stir the ingredients so that they are evenly distributed.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs so that they are well combined. Pour over the quinoa/kale mixture. Stir until the egg clings to the greens. Add salt and pepper.
Pour the mixture in the prepared pie dish. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden and the pie has started to pull away from the edge of the baking dish. This dish is delightful hot, but even better at room temperature.
I have been going to Maple Avenue Restaurant (located on, you guessed it, Maple Ave) for lunch pretty regularly the past couple of months. I am so sad that I didn't discover this place sooner, because it is awesome! It is super tiny (like 20 seats max) and not much to look at, but the food is super fresh and seasonal and local and just great all around. I don't know much about the chef, I haven't been to one of their "meet the farmers" events, and I haven't even been for dinner, but I just love this place. They have a super awesome lunch deal of 2 courses for $20 which, considering a main is like $22 usually, is a pretty good bargain. The menu changes all the time, so it's likely that dishes I post about here won't be on the menu any more, but they can give you an idea of what you can expect.
The baked mac and cheese - this is one of their most popular small plates, and for good reason! Really good pasta, cooked to the perfect al dente, with gruyere and cheddar, topped with an herbed panko crust.