Aug 27, 2013

shella makes: cioppino and mentaiko spaghetti

i rarely post anything that i've made on this blog. i love to cook...well not all the time. i remember a friend telling me - cooking is not your passion. i was a bit taken aback but then i realized she was right. food/eating is my passion but not cooking! i started cooking at a young age maybe 10, i can still remember the first dish i've ever cooked. then i'd cook/bake anything i've discovered until i'm so tired making them that i move on to the next - i was making mocha bars, food for the gods, beef with brocolli practically every week until new recipes come along. i never follow recipes to a T. as i've heard biba once said on tv, a great cook never measures. and that's how i've been cooking. 

it's been weeks since i started craving for mussels so finally i bought a pack in the grocery. i also bought some squid since i didn't want the mussels to be lonely hehe. i could have added more seafood like shrimps but it was just too much, i'd end up eating that for an entire week if i did. i know i was making an italian seafood stew that up to this point i cannot recall the name. then i posted it on instagram and a friend mentioned seafood cataplana and that's portuguese so finally, i googled italian seafood stew and voila it's - cioppino,  how can i forget?! 

the ingredients i used were garlic, onions, celery, canned italian tomatoes, italian parsley and lemon. one of the recipes i saw included bay leaf and dried oregano, so i guess i was just missing out on a couple of herbs. for me it was nearly perfect, if only i thought of putting in some chilli flakes...i will when i reheat my leftovers. i'm on this pseudo diet so i ate it with rye crisps, but this is better with some crusty bread lightly toasted which you can use to mop the yummy sauce. 

another one of my creations which is long overdue is mentaiko spaghetti. inspired by cake club's.

here's what i did. saute chopped onions in butter, add the mushrooms and then some cream. the mentaiko was "marinated" with a light japanese soy sauce - i used yamasa and lemon. add cayenne or chilli flakes for some kick. once the cream has the right consistency i mixed in the spaghetti noodles and the mentaiko. topped with shredded nori.

well that's it. just got inspired to write this post since i just cooked the cioppino this morning. happy eats!

dc: five guys burgers and fries

five guys and fries were a bit under my radar since i've been seeing it on maps and posts about food finds in the east coast. then v and c talked about it and said it was like in and out. i've never been to in and out so i had nothing to compare it with.

luckily, there's a branch at the dulles airport. in terms of the patty this one tops shake shack. the patty was juicy and beefy, i guess that's what you'd expect from fresh ground beef. you can choose all the toppings you want and they are free.

i chose the standard condiments for my little cheeseburger, (little is one patty, regular serving is double patties) i added grilled onions as well. 

the bun was very soft and as i've said the patty was beefy and juicy, however, my burger was bland. i think they forgot to put salt. if they did it would have been perfect. and i also like my onions to be more soft and nearly caramelized.

i also opted to order fries, i've been noticing that their french fries bags indicate the source of the potatoes (saw it in other branches too) so i thought they must be good - natural, organic or handcut whichever they are. it was worth the calories! the fries were crispy and yet soft in the insides. the fries still have skins and it's fried in peanut oil so it's a tad healthier compared to others. the fries are more than the ones in the cup they actually spilled over inside the bag.

pardon the crappy photo, i was famished needed to eat asap.

five guys burgers and fries
multiple branches in the us

Aug 24, 2013

dc: famous cupcakes

used to religiously watch dc cupcakes, then i dunno why i stopped watching or maybe because i don't see it on tlc anymore. i wasn't really too keen on trying out cupcakes in nyc (magnolia cupcake and probably crumbs). but i was going to the taste of georgetown and two of the famous cupcakes stateside will be there so i thought might as well get them during the food fest.

we had time to kill in georgetown even after going around and v said we should line up at georgetown cupcakes' store front instead of getting them at the fest since the line was pretty short (it was still closed). we got just 4 cupcakes to try. luckily there was a free table in the small cupcakery that we opted to eat them inside and i even saw katherine!!! and her baby and mommy! ok if you don't know or haven't realized it yet this is georgetown cupcakes and they have a series on tlc entitled dc cupcakes. 

anyway here's what we got, didn't realize that we mostly got the saturday flavors/ flavors of the day since the menu rotates on a daily basis except for some core flavors which are available daily.

salted caramel (saturday) - i am a caramel fan so anything salted caramel is a must. i loved this. this was my favorite. the cupcake was moist but not too crumbly. the buttercream had the right amount of sweetness. though the best among the ones we've tried it wasn't an out of this world experience still.

red velvet (everyday) - my reaction? my red velvet is better than this! (di naman nagyayabang, but you know what different strokes for different folks, but a friend said the same thing, that her red velvet is better than theirs) yeah, the cupcake was a bit dry. and the frosting wasn't that tangy or cream cheesy at all. i was disappointed.

mint cookies and cream (saturday) - i guess we all like mint and we got intrigued by this one. the cupcake was like the salted caramel cupcake, moist and not overly sweet but the frosting? ohemgee it was so sweet, i can feel the sugar granules grinding between my teeth. i do hope that this was because someone screwed up the frosting big time, because i cannot believe how dismally sweet it was. this was hard to finish we forced c to eat it hehe.

pb fudge (saturday) - as i recollect my thoughts on this flavor, there's nothing i can recall. it was okay, just okay. i think this one lacked the you get what i mean? like it boasts of using valrhona chocolate but it wasn't that chocolatey at all and the pb frosting only had a mild peanut flavor. 

ok after having dessert as our appetizers we headed to the taste of georgetown. and that's were i got sprinkles. sprinkles originated in LA and it's the favorite of celebrities like oprah. they only have two flavors at the fest. i got the red velvet.

the hit, it was moist and chocolatey like my red velvets ;) waaaay better than georgetown cupcake's. the miss, the frosting i've been thinking it wasn't cream cheese frosting but i double checked and it was. it didn't taste like cream cheese though. it was too sweet and had grains of sugar that it didn't even dawn on me that it was cream cheese oh well either i got a bad batch again or that's really how they tasted.

so i'm still thinking on whether these cupcakes are really worth it. maybe for georgetown cupcakes it's not worth lining up for 30 minutes to an hour. just pre-order them online and pick it up at the store if you want them fresh or better yet have them ship it to you. i haven't tried other flavors of sprinkles so i cannot assess it further but the cupcake itself was perfect for me very moist and flavorful. i guess the novelty of the flavors and the presentation of their lovely cupcakes add to the lure of these famous cupcakes. money's worth? they're 3.50 USD each me thinks and  that's like 150 PHP which i deem is still ok. aren't manila based cupcakes almost a hundred bucks each? and those are small, these cupcakes are big.

georgetown cupcakes

3301 M st. NW cor 33rd
washington, dc


3015 M st. NW
washington, dc

Aug 7, 2013

dc: super chicken

tagging this under dc but it's technically in virginia just like ihop which was in maryland. anyway, i can probably say this was my best meal. not that it was better than manzo's but because it was a remarkable meal for less than 10 bucks so my vote is on this one.

we saw the sign of peruvian chicken and v having had peruvian chicken mentions it's good. so i said we should try it out. and i'm glad we did! the chicken was so tender and flavorful and the skin roasted with nice crispy parts. i had it with yucca as i was curious what it was. i think it's just really cassava. there were two dips given and both equally good, i remember the green being spicy and the yellow one is a mustard based sauce or was it garlic...i forgot.

it was good...the only regret i have was not trying a traditional peruvian corn drink because i didn't see it!

super chicken
tyson marshall center
leesburg pike
tysons corner, va

Aug 5, 2013

dc: ihop stateside

so i have never been to ihop despite several visits to the us before and i haven't been to manila since it opened so it was really a must for me during this trip.

luckily v obliged to bring me to ihop for our sunday breakkie before going to mass. when we got there, there was a line! well not really a line but it was quite a wait. you need to request for a table and just wait for your name to be announced. c said, sundays are usually packed because families have their breakfast at ihop and yeah i can see that it was mostly families dining there.

there were so many choices i really couldn't pick one but since v ordered the healthy wheat blueberry pancakes i knew i don't have to order them i can just pick on her plate hehe.

so i just decided on the 3x3x3, 3 regular pancakes, 3 eggs over easy and 3 turkey bacon. as usual i kept complaining that the servings in the us are huge that's why people can't keep their diets! excuses! gheez i didn't realize there was a 2x2x2 why didn't i see that?

i had brewed coffee as well it was meh, they usually give a pot but it was so bland i'd rather have coffee from mcdo.

the various pancake syrup, i liked the blueberry if i remember correctly. surprisingly the fruit flavored ones don't taste too much like just artificial flavourings. the butter pecan which i was excited about tasted meh. and the maple, forget about it. well i'm actually spoiled because i do have authentic maple syrup at home so i've been used to the real thing for quite sometime now and nothing can top that.

there's really nothing special about ihop maybe except for the variety. but in terms of food quality, they can be had in similar places. if you ask me, i think i'm happy with pancake house's pancakes, they are lighter and fluffier not like ihop's which seems to be too crumbly so to speak.

rockville pike
rockville, maryland

Aug 3, 2013

dc: hill country barbeque market

when i saw a post from divasoria about hill country i was drooling. i wondered when will i get to try those mouthwatering meats. unfortunately, my nyc itinerary did not permit me to eat there. so it was a must for me in dc. 

i didn't know what to get. i've perused their online menu several times before but didn't decide on the final "configuration" of the meats i will order. though divasoria noted the jalapeño sausage i was trying to be healthy and gear away from processed meats. one thing i was sure of was to get the moist brisket, i eventually ended up getting a lunch special which has 2 ribs, cornbread and a side and then i ordered extra quarter pound of moist brisket. here's my meal.

not for the faint hearted or rather those avoiding a heart attack haha, too much meat! the moist brisket was perfect, a little salty for my taste but got fixed by some tangy bbq sauce. it was moist and tender and not fatty at all, basically looked like a lean brisket. the ribs on the other hand are a bit dry for me, it wasn't the meat falling off the bones bbq. and because of that, i really didn't finish the ribs :(.

for the sides, i only took a bite of the cornbread. that was it! i then regretted having to order the set because i wasn't too keen to try the cornbread especially since it didn't have great reviews. but the white shoepeg corn pudding which was ordinary for most, was love for me. i liked the slight kick, the spiciness if i'm not mistaken comes from jalapeño or some other chili, thick and creamy but with bits and pieces of corn.

i also had mexican coca-cola, it's coke in a bottle and still made with natural cane sugar so it was a little healthy ;).

hill country barbeque
410 7th St. NW near the corner of D St. NW
washington dc

Aug 2, 2013

nyc: john's pizzeria

what's a visit to nyc without trying out a new york style pizza which i still can't understand what exactly. well it's practically like an italian pizza but bigger me thinks. i almost forgot to write about this, can you believe it? anyway, glad i was able to meet up with j and because of that i can eat an authentic new york style pizza (good pizzerias don't serve pizza in slices only whole, so what am i supposed to do with one whole pizza if i decide to eat alone?)

i was limited with pizzerias in manhattan, they say the best ones are in brooklyn. but lombardi's which is supposed to be the original is actually in manhattan. but that's not where i ate =), another famous joint is john's of bleecker though doubtful that john's pizzeria in midtown is a branch because they have two different websites, both were established in 1929 and based on the yelp reviews is it a branch so i opted for the one in midtown.

it's in an old church/chapel and they retained the murals and wood finishing, too bad i didn't get a picture it was actually dark inside. from what i've read the plain margarita is really good with added fresh garlic so that's what we ordered. it was a nice brick oven pizza, you can see the charred crust. but in restrospect i wonder why it was not piping hot when served on our table. was it too cold that night? or did j and i chatted for quite sometime before we tried out the pizza. anyway, if it was piping hot and really straight out of the oven it would have been really good. nothing beats pizza fresh out of the oven and even domino's tastes so much better (i live across domino's my deliveries take 10-15 mins tops hehe)

judging from the photo i think the pizza was pre-made. and yeah i took one slice before realizing i haven't taken a photo yet.

we also got pasta, i love italian sausages so we got an aglio olio type of pasta with salsiccia and brocolli rabe it was also good.

it was a good meal but nothing truly remarkable and what's lingering in my head now is that the food was just not as hot as i wanted them to be. but the the night was perfect - catching up with an old friend capped with my first coffee love - white chocolate mocha =).

john's pizzeria
260 W 44th
new york, new york