D.C. Photos 4/16-4/23/22

A few more photos from our DC trip a couple of weeks ago.

We ended up having dinner in the hotel bar a couple of times, and the food was actually pretty good. The crispy pork belly bao were great, as a matter of fact. The charcuterie board was nothing amazing, but it was our last night in DC, we were tired, and everything was tasty if unremarkable.

That same day, we also had lunch at Mikko, a little Scandinavian cafe that was a short walk from the hotel. From that website, I was sort of expecting a fancy European restuarant, but it was a small walk-in with a couple of tables inside and on the sidewalk. We sat outdoors, since it was a very nice day. I had the Skagen, an open-faced shrimp salad sandwich. We also shared a bowl of the mushroom soup. The soup thoroughly exceeded my expectations. It was a thick puree rather than a creamy or brothy soup, full of deep mushroom flavor and almost nothing else.

We had a hard time finding food tours in DC. I don’t know if the pandemic killed hem off, or if it’s just not a thing there. There were only a couple we could find online: one that took people through the U Street neighborhood and focused on the Black ethnic cuisines there (Ethiopian and Jamaican, mainly), and one in Georgetown. We opted for the Georgetown tour, though I am sure we would have enjoyed either. We met up at District Doughnut and then very briskly walked through the gorgeous neighborhood, stopping at several spots that were involved in JFK’s time there pre-presidency. We enjoyed an excellent falafel from Falafel Inc., had the meatloaf special at the famous Martin’s Tavern, and a creme brulee at a newer restaurant whose name I now forget. Overall, the tour did not live up to some of our previous food tour experiences, but it was nice to walk around the neighborhood and sample some local favorites.

Somehow, when I posted the photos from Albi last week, I managed to forget to include the dessert tray, so I have added it here. Tiny little bites of wonder to finish off such a memorable meal. The baklava was especially good.

Lunch 4/9/22

Chicago-style hot dog

Not a great photo by any means, but on Saturday we had lunch at The Scotty Dog in Beverly for the first time this year, and it needed to be commemorated. The Scotty Dog makes a legit Chicago-style hot dog – they use Vienna Beef hot dogs, sport peppers, and even that weird green relish. There’s a hot dog place in Salem that purports to make a Chicago dog, but they put cole slaw on it, and that is just WRONG.

Lunch 3/30/22

Fried chicken sandwich with tater tots

Fried chicken sandwich places are popping up all over the North Shore. There’s a small local chain called “Flip The Bird” which has several locations, but this sandwich comes from a new place in Lynn called “YAS Chicken”. While our duaghter was home for spirng break a couple of weeks ago, she wanted to try YAS Chicken, and it was very good, so Bridget and I got lunch from them last week.

This is the “Yas O.G.” sandwich – fried chicken breast, pickles, lettuce, and house-made mayo, but they also have a couple of spicy versions, one topped with their excellent mac & cheese (which I think I will try next time), and even a chicken & waffles combo. The tots are great, too.

The night we went with our daughter, the place was slamming, and it’s only been open for a few weeks, so I think they’ll do quite well. At least until the fried chicken sandwich craze passes.

Lunch 3/26/22

Grilled cheese sandwich

Our beloved local cheese shop does grilled cheese sandwiches to order on Saturdays, and we finally remembered to go and get them. This is Alpine Swiss, Vermont Cheddar, and balsamic onion jam on sourdough (freshly made by the bakery around the corner) slathered with butter. They make the sandwiches in a grill press, and you can order ahead or have them make it while you wait. it is worth the 10 minutes or so of waiting. Because, damn, it was gooooooood.

We each got a sandwich, but neither of us could finish a whole one in one sitting, so another time we’ll split one. I reheated mine in the convection toaster oven the next day, and it was *almost* as good as it was fresh.

Lunch 3/9/22

Hot pastrami sub with mustard and Swiss cheese

Just a good-looking pastrami sub I had a couple of weeks ago. I usually have mustard and Swiss. The cheese is totally optional. The mustard is mandatory. I would rather have grilled rye bread than a sub roll, but sometimes you have to go with what you can get. Nevertheless, I thought this looked pretty good, and it hit the spot that day.

Lunch 3/19/22

Spicy soy noodles with fried egg

I’ve been buying these “instant” noodles online from Momofuku. After trying all three varieties, I’ve settled on the Spicy Soy flavor as the best of the three. They are a step up from your supermarket ramen noodles, but still pretty quick and easy. I didn’t eat breakfast on Saturday morning, so by the time lunch rolled around, I felt like I wanted some protein, but I couldn’t be arsed to do anything involved. So instant noodles topped with a fried egg it was!

The runny yolk from the sunny-side-up egg is key. That yolk oozes into the noodles and coats them, giving them a silky texture they don’t have on their own. The spicy soy and sesame sauce pairs perfectly with egg. I considered adding a quick squirt of sriracha for color, but the noodle sauce is spicy enough on its own. You could scatter some very finely chopped green onion if you wanted a pop of color.

Lunch 3/4/22

Grillked SPAM, egg, and cheese sandwich

SPAM is a divisive food. I like SPAM just fine, but I know a lot of people who would not eat it if you paid them to. I suspect that they have never actually tried SPAM, they are just put off by its processed nature. The actual flavor is unquestionably ham/pork-like, but a bit saltier (although you can buy low-sodium SPAM, if so inclined). It’s best when it’s browned a bit on the stove. SPAM musubi is also okay, as long as it’s not the only sushi you’re having.

I like a grilled SPAM-egg-cheese sandwich for breakfast or lunch, but most recently have made them for lunch a few times. I don’t really want to have to cook when I get out of bed in the morning, and it requires just enough effort to cross that line most days. I put a couple of slices of SPAM in the pan to brown, and then crack an egg into a silicone egg ring that makes the perfect round fried egg for sandwiches. I shoot for over-easy on the egg, because I like a runny yolk, and I put a lot of freshly ground black pepper on it. Once those elements are ready, I butter a couple of slices of bread, and combine the browned SPAM, the fried egg, and a slice of American cheese and grill until the bread is golden and the cheese has metled a bit. It is incredibly satisfying when you are hungry, and fills you up.

Lunch 3/1/22

Empanadas

A trio of empanadas from a sandwich place near my office that also has some Latinx dishes. One of my co-workers swears by their Cubano sandwich, and apparently they make excellent tostones. I got one beef, one chicken, and one pork empanada. Thew chicken was the best of the three. The meat was nicely seasoned and juicy. The pork was my second favorite; again, well-seasoned, but it was dry. The beef one was unexceptional. I was disappointed that there was nothing other than the meat as the filling in them. I would have expected some of the other ingredients that often come in empanadas like olives and/or raisins, or even some peppers and onion. As you can see, they were deep-fried and quite crispy, which I liked. I’ve made empanadas at home a few times and bake them.