You Gonna Eat All That?

A fork in one hand, a pen in the other.

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Location: Virginia, United States

(Biscuit Girl)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Kotobuki - Review

When we take friends to Kotobuki, they always ask “How on earth did you find this place?” It’s located on the second floor of a building over a high end Japanese restaurant in a quiet section of DC. Biscuit Boy actually read about in the Washington Post. Their food critic, Tom Sietsema wrote about it a few years back. He found the place by accident and raved about it. And while we don’t always agree with his reviews, this one sounded promising. Since our first visit there, it seems a lot of people have also discovered the place. It’s always busy. One trip there and you’ll know why. Great sushi and low prices.

I’d wanted to review Kotobuki for my blog for sometime but each time we’d go, we’d forget the camera. I really wanted to include pictures so I waited. And after several camera-less trips, we finally remembered it! We got what has become our usual table, right alongside the sushi bar. It’s a great place to sit and watch the sushi chefs at work. Plus they’ve added another refrigerated case right alongside the same side of the sushi bar as our table. Right there before our eyes were slices of octopus, salmon, tuna, Toro (fatty tuna), and yellow tail.

Kotobuki serves very fresh, very good sushi at $1.00 to $1.75 per piece. Rolls range from under $3.00 to $6.75 each. A great bargain for such delicious food. They also serve a traditional Japanese dish called Kamameshi. It’s a hot rice dish served with eel, chicken or vegetables. It comes out in a hot steel pot resting in a wooden box. You also get a bowl of Miso soup and a bento box with sashimi and three other small dishes of Japanese salads or veggies. It’s a very filling and soothing dish. We like it as much as we do the sushi and sometimes have trouble deciding which to get.

We started out with some hot green tea and a bowl of Ohitashi, a cold salad made from spinach or watercress that is lightly boiled, drained and served with soy sauce and bonito flakes. It was ok but I think I prefer the seaweed salad they serve over this. Biscuit Boy eschewed the cold Sake this time. For $5 you are served a small square box shaped cup set on a plate which catches any spilled sake from the cup. It comes with a tiny little bowl of salt and a teeny little wooded spoon. You place a little dab of salt on one corner of the box of the sake cup and sip the sake and the salt together. Sorta like a Japanese margarita.

From left to right: Spicy Tuna Avacado Roll, Eel Roll, Salmon,
Masago, Tobiko, White Tuna, Scallop, Flounder, Toro

We usually order one plate of sushi then get a smaller one for seconds. Gluttony be damned, this stuff is good. Our first plateful consisted of Toro (also known as Fatty Tuna), Scallop, and White Tuna for each of us; salmon for me, masago and tobiko for Biscuit Boy. Plus an eel roll and a spicy tuna avocado roll.

The Toro was spectacular! It just melted in your mouth. The scallop was silky smooth and the white tuna was rich and flavorful. My favorite roll, the spicy tuna avocado roll, is a wonderful combination of the rich creamy avocado paired with the hot spiciness of the tuna with the added flavor of sesame seeds. It all melds in your mouth and tastes wonderful. Our other roll, the eel roll, was as always, delish. The eel was warm and wrapped in sushi rice with a nice drizzle of sauce on top.

We plowed through that plate with ease and contemplated getting a second plate. I don’t know why we had to think about it, we usually always get seconds. So we got another sushi list from the waitress and got tuna, eel, yellow tail and a rainbow roll. While we waited we watched in amusement as the party next to us tried to cut a birthday cake with chopsticks. They broke one in the process and guy slicing the cake sheepishly looked over at us. I looked at him, smiled and said something about making the best of what he had to work with. By that time the sushi chef had our second plate ready and handed it to us from over the sushi bar.
Clockwise (starting at the bottom left):
Tuna, Yellowtail, Eel, Rainbow Roll

We have never gotten the rainbow roll before and probably won’t again. It wasn’t that we didn’t like it; it was just too darn big and messy. We did enjoy the yellowtail and the eel but our taste buds had been jaded by the Toro when it came to the tuna. It was good but our mouths were looking for that richness found in the toro. Note to self: get the tuna first THEN get the Toro.

And as always, we left Kotobuki full and content. And it wasn’t too painful on the wallet. We had 26 pieces of sushi, three sushi rolls and two cups of hot green tea for $48. And that included the more expensive Toro and yellowtail at $1.75 each and the rainbow roll at $6.75.

Total biscuit rating for the meal: 4 biscuits.

4822 MacArthur Blvd., NW
Second Floor
Washington, DC 20007

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

VRC Roundup - Potatoes

Potatoes, taters, or spuds. Whatever you call them, they are one heck of a versatile veggie. Our round-up this week features a wide range of recipes. In some, the potato is the star of the show, in others it's the co-star. One creative recipe even includes sweet potatoes. Which just goes to show how easily it is to work with them. There were soups, stews, side dishes and main courses, including dishes with Greek, Indian, and Mexican flavors.

I'll admit that I was a wee bit nervous during the first of the week when I didn't get any entries. But sure enough, you all pulled through and sent me your recipes. So without any further ado, here they are for your reading pleasure.

Alysha from The Savory Notebook, and creator of the VRC, sends in these little nuggets of goodness, Roasted Potatoes.

From The Web Sorceress, a delicious looking dish called Mahogany Broiled Chicken with Smoky Lime Potatoes and Cilantro Chimichurri

Sweetnicks whipped up this Valentines Day heart healthy dish, Potato and Lentil Stew. (And get well soon Sweetnicks)

Christiane from 28 Cooks gave me this luscious dish called Greek Potatoes.

Ruth from Once Upon A Feast gets brownie points for including sweet potatoes in her dish, Potato and Sweet Potato Galette.

Joe from Culinary in the Desert sent in this Mexican inspired dish, Tortilla Española, also known as Tortilla de Patatas (potato and onion omelet).

A big WELCOME! to a new blogger, Kate from Pie in the Sky with this decadent looking recipe for Kitchen Sink Mashed Potatoes.

Sailaja from Sailu's Food Blog send this tasty dish from India called Aloo Tikki (Pan fried Potato Patties).

Alanna sent in this Turnip Potato Puree from her blog A Veggie Venture.

Patti from Adventures in Food and Wine sent a winning combination for a cold winter's night, Potato Soup with a ooey-gooey cheese sandwiches made with homemade bread. Hey, Patti, great way to support Kayln over at Kaylyn's Kitchen!

My brother who does Tasty Bytes sent me his recipe for a Potato-Leek Gratin

My sister (who is blogless, sad - isn't it?) sent me this recipe:
Potato & Crab Tamales

12 Corn Husks (soaked in cold water for about 1 hour)
2 cups chicken Stock
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp salt
3 cups finely shredded potatoes
5 cups Masa flour

1 1/2 lbs crabmeat or substitute chicken breasts
2/3 cup tomato sauce
1/3 cup chipotle sauce
1/2 cup crushed peanuts

3 tsp olive oil
1 cup whole kernel corn
1/4 cup Tamarind Paste
2/3 cup guava juice

In a 2 qt electric mixer, mix the chicken stock, vegetable oil, potatoes, baking powder, salt and maseca flour using the paddle until smooth, (about 6 minutes at medium speed).

Boil the crabmeat in 1 qt of water until tender, then cool and shred, mix the shredded crabmeat with the tomato and chilpotle sauce and peanuts. Spread about 3 ounces of dough on each corn husk and place 3 tablespoons of the crabmeat filling in the middle of each tamale.

Secure each tamale by closing and folding each end of the corn husk and inside of a 4 qt steamer, steam for 30 minutes.

For the sauce: In a 5” skillet sautee the corn kernels in the olive oil for about 3 minutes, whisk in the tamarind paste and the guava juice, cook for another 2 minutes and keep warm for plating.
Serve each tamale cut in half and spoon about 2 Tbsps of sauce on the side.

And finally, my potato recipe.
Potato Leek Soup
(gee, me and little brother were on the same wave length).

3 tbsp. butter
3 large leeks (white & pale green parts only), halved lengthwise, thinly
sliced, and washed well
2 large russet potatoes (about 18 oz.), peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 1/2 cups chicken stock

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks; stir to coat with butter. Cover saucepan; cook until leeks are tender, stirring often for about 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock, potatoes and celery. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Using a stick blender, puree the soup until smooth. A few little chunks of potato are ok. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4

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WDB #22 (& Virtual Recipe Club reminder)

While Sweetnicks is out on sick leave, Alicat from Something So Clever is hosting the latest edition of WDB (Weekend Dog Blogging).

Below is a picture of Biscuit Pup's cousins, George (the Schnauzer) and Java (the Boston Terrier). They seem to be under some sort of trance. Wonder who has their attention held so well?

Oh, here's the reason why. Biscuit Pup and her "look deep into my're under my spell........go fetch me some dog biscuits......."And don't forget to come back later tonight to see the VRC - Potato Edition roundup. I'm still collecting your entries so it's not too late to send one my way. Send the permalink to your recipe and I'll add it to the roundup. The email address is biscuitblog AT earthlink DOT net.

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Monday, February 13, 2006

Virtual Recipe Club - Potato Edition

Alysha at The Savory Notebook started the Virtual Recipe Club (VRC) a while back and asked for a guest Host for this week's edition. I jumped at the chance. I love reading new recipes and the VRC is a great way to collect recipes that share a common theme.

When I told Alysha that I would gladly host this week's edition, she asked me to pick the topic. I mulled over several things and decided upon potatoes. The other items I toyed with were chocolate, cinnamon, or biscuits (Imagine that, Biscuit Girl choosing biscuits).

But in the end, potatoes won. Probably due to a discussion at work about what our March Staff Soup would be. I offered to bring in my potato leek soup recipe since soup day would be right around St. Patrick's Day and what's more Irish than potatoes.

So guess what potato recipe I'll be using for this week's VRC? I'd love to have your potato recipes too. You can submit them by e-mailing them to me at biscuitblog at earthlink dot net. If you post your recipe (with or without pictures), send me the permalink. I'll gather all the recipes up and post them here on Sunday evening.

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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Corduroy Restaurant

Today is Biscuit Boy’s birthday and to celebrate, we went to Corduroy last night for dinner. And to sum it up in one word: Heavenly. Corduroy, in my opinion, is under rated. Hidden away in the Sheraton Four Points Hotel, it lacks street visibility. But that just makes it a hidden gem. It’s also easy to get to via Metro, just a short walk from either the McPherson Square or Metro Center Metro stations.

I met Biscuit Boy in the bar where he was sipping on a Guinness. I order a glass of a malbec whose name has slipped my mind but it was a very nice drinkable red. We finished our drinks just in time for our 7 p.m. reservation.

Each dish below has been rated on the biscuit scale of 1 to 5 biscuits with 5 being the top rating.)

After being promptly seated, we began to study the menu. The waiter let us know about an appetizer special, Lobster Salad with Basil Oil. There wasn’t much to decide at that point for me. I wanted to try the lobster. We decided that rather than get an appetizer each, we’d share one in hopes that we’d have some room left for dessert.
It was brought out to us on two separate plates, always a nice touch. A small circle of marble-sized bits of lobster sitting on very thin slices of cucumber and topped with radish sprouts sat in the center of a plate ringed with bright green basil oil. The dish was superb! The sweetness of the lobster, the slight bitterness of the radish greens and the peppery flavor of the basil oil were absolutely wonderful. I passed on the cucumbers. We have a mutual dislike for each other. But I’m sure it’s cool fresh flavor would have been great with the other flavors. This dish made me want to go back to Maine where we had some of the best lobster ever a few summers ago.
Biscuit rating= 5 biscuits

I ordered the Peppered Tuna cooked rare and served with Sushi Rice and Hijiki (a Japanese seaweed). Now one would think the tuna would be steak like in shape, maybe an inch thick and about the size of your palm, right? Nope, this bad boy was a 2-inch round by 3-inch tall block of tuna. It was set on top of a bed of sushi rice which only made it look taller as it was set before me. It was set in the middle of a square plate decorated with minced chives and I think some ginger and sesame oil. The sushi rice had the hijiki on top of it as well as some very thin slices of lotus root which added a nice crunchy texture to the smooth and almost creamy rice. The tuna was rare in the middle, very fresh and very tasty. I did encounter a little bit of a membrane in between some of the layers of tuna that made if hard to cut easily but it didn’t affect the taste at all. It was a nice well balanced, easy on the palate dinner. Almost soothing.
Biscuit rating= 4.5 biscuits (only because of the membrane issue).

Biscuit Boy ordered a dish that was making its debut on the menu. Pan Roasted Sardines served with a Black Olive Vinaigrette and potatoes. Four sardines about 1½ inches wide and about 7 inches long were served with the vinaigrette drizzled on the center of the plate. The potatoes looked like they were diced pieces set into a ring mold and plated, about ½ inch tall and 4 inches wide. The sardines being an oily fish really needed the balance of the vinaigrette. And they were delish. By the time he was done with his plate there was nothing left but four fish heads a small pile of bones.
Biscuit rating= 3.5 biscuits

To go with the meal, we ordered a bottle of Verget Chablis. A very nice, slightly flinty, slightly buttery wine that was a perfect match for the lobster and quite drinkable with my tuna and his sardines.

For dessert, I contemplated several of the choices on the menu. I narrowed it down to three, a Pistachio Bread Pudding, a Chocolate Tart with Caramelized Banana or a Baked Chocolate Sabayon served with chocolate ice cream. Being a chocoholic, I finally decided on the sabayon. Biscuit Boy chose the Apple Tart.My dessert took an extra 15 minutes as it was baked to order. This was nice because it gave us time to have a cup of coffee and relax, which wasn’t hard at all at this point. And before we knew it, our dessert arrived.

The apple tart was light and fresh. The apples had a nice little bit of crispness to them and the crust was light and tender.
Biscuit rating= 4 biscuits

The sabayon was out of this world. When I took a bite of the sabayon with a little of the chocolate ice cream I shut my eyes and savored the flavors. Biscuit Boy asked if anything was wrong. Not at all, it was just the opposite. The hot sabayon just melted in your mouth and melded with the cold ice cream to create a sensation of bliss in your mouth. This was by far the best dessert I have had in a long time.
Biscuit rating= 5 biscuits

The service was impeccable. We never felt rushed. Water and wine glasses were filled with little notice. Our waiter was friendly, offered advice when we had questions and made us feel quite relaxed over the course of the two hours we spent dining. We will defiantly go back to Corduroy again and not wait for a special occasion. The bar there has long been a favorite of Biscuit Boy’s and the dining room may soon become one as well.

Our meal, including wine, dessert and tax was $138 (and worth every penny).
Overall biscuit rating= 4.5

Corduroy Restaurant

1201 K Street, NW

Washington, DC 20005



Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Gamasot Restaurant

Biscuit was cravin' some seolleong-tang so he asked around online for some good places to go here is the DC area. Someone on Don Rockwell's suggested Gamasot, a small restaurant in a strip mall just off Backlick Road in the Springfield area of Northern Virginia. It had a limited menu and I was hesitant about going. Why? Well, I didn't know how limited and if any of the choices besides the seolleong-tang would sound interesting.

But I'm glad I decided to give it a shot. The place is very nicely decorated inside, clean lines with light colored walls, dark tables and a tan slate floor. There are a few traditional tables along one wall that are partially screened off from the rest of the place. These tables are low to the floor and require you to sit on cushions on the floor. And towards the back of the place is a glass wall that looks into a kitchen.

On the table is a table tent with the menu options with the Korean and English translation. But if you're like me and know a few things like Dol Sot Bi Bim Bop or Seolleong-tang, the lack of a brief explanation of the dish is needed. If that's the case, the waitress will gladly give you a bigger menu that tells you what is in each dish.

There were about two dozen choices ranging from soups to rice dishes. Biscuit Boy got the seolleong-tang and I got a bi bim bop that was served in a hot stone pot. After we placed our orders, the waitress brought out about a half dozen panchans, small dishes of tasty treats like kimchee, a pickled veggie, mini vegetable pancakes and soondae (a Korean blood sausage). A small pot of cabbage and radish kimchee was also brought out and cut up tableside. Biscuit rating for the panchan = 3.5 biscuits

Biscuit Boy's soup came out in a nice sized stone pot. It was loaded with noodles and sliced beef. It's usually garnished with salt and sliced green onion which were already on the table when we arrived. Biscuit rating = 5 biscuits!

My dish came out sizzling like crazy. A bed of rice with veggies and some ground beef placed on top followed by an raw egg dropped on top of everything. The heat of the pot and it's contents actually cook the egg. Two little bowls of hot bean paste were also on the table for me to add as I needed. And in addition to my hot pot, I got a small bowl of the seolleong-tang broth. Nice. Biscuit rating = 4 biscuits

The soup was the best that Biscuit Boy's had since he was in Korea many years ago. It was rich, flavorful and slightly thick. A little salt and a sprinkling of green onions completed the dish. The bi bim bop needed the hot bean paste to help perk it up but it was probably the best I've had of all the Korean places I've tried. Because the bowl is so hot, the contents stay warm down to the last bite. And the best part is the little bit of rice that gets stuck to the sides of the pot. Scrape them away and enjoy the crunchy goodness.

We did have to ask our waitress what one thing was on the table. She placed another stone pot at the end of the table that contained some rice and a warm liquid. Using a paddle like spoon, she scraped the rice away from the sides of the pot and left it. We looked at each other, then back at the pot. Hmm...... When she came back to see how our food was, I sheepishly asked her about it. She explained that it was for after we finished our meal. It was actually quite nice. The liquid tasted like a barley tea. It was simple, almost too plain in flavor but really helped cool off your mouth. After eatting a bunch of kimchee and hot bean paste, there was just a little heat still lingering when we finished our meals so this was a nice way to help clear things out.

We brought the camera but didn't take any pictures. There weren't that many people there when we first go there and didn't want to make a commotion. We decided to go back on a Saturday night when it may be a little busier so we wouldn't be so obvious.

Overall Biscuit rating = 4.5 biscuits for food and service

Our tab was $22. Not bad at all.

6963 Hechinger Rd
Springfield, VA 22151
Sun - Thur: 11 am to 11 pm
Fri & Sat: 11 am to midnight

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

WDB #20

It's the weekend so you know what that means.......Weekend Dog Blogging! This week I decided to use an older picture of Biscuit Pup. Sweetnicks mentioned that she loves closeup shots and have I got one for her! however, this week's WDB will be hosted by Alicat over at Something So Clever since Sweetnicks is out of town.

The picture above was taken by Biscuit Boy just after he got a new zoom lens for the camera. He was tinkering with it and got this great shot of just Biscuit Pup's nose (who was sitting across the room).

This next picture is probably one of our favorites of her. It was taken in Cape Charles, Virginia while we were staying at Pickett's Harbor B&B. She LOVED walking on the beach as you can tell by all the paw prints in the sand.

And finally, this one was taken last summer. She looks pretty comfy, doesn't she. And incredibly cute.