Tag Archives: korean

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Feeling Peckish After Lunch at the TaKorean Food Truck

I’m somewhat ambivalent about the whole food truck phenomenon. I get the attraction of fresh, out-of-the-norm food that pops up in your neighborhood like an ice cream truck on a hot summer day.  Food trucks are fun. They’re unique. It’s exciting to find out a particular truck is coming to your area.

However…

Shouldn’t the guiding principle of the food truck be that the food is inexpensive? As in, less expensive than a brick and mortar restaurant?

My co-worker Cindy and I stumbled upon the TaKorean truck recently when it was parked on 7th St. across from the Verizon Center. Yum. Korean tacos. I wanted one.

It being a nice day and the height of the lunch hour rush, a line was queued up.

Moved fairly quickly though, and gave us a chance to peruse the menu: a choice of meat (steak, chicken or tofu) and slaw (spicy kimchi slaw or napa-romaine), in a taco or a bowl. $3.50 for one taco, or $9 for three tacos. The bowl was also $9.

These are my three tacos, one of each meat, with the kimchi slaw.

Each taco gets a treatment of sriracha, lime crema, cilantro and sesame seeds, and the corn tortillas are doubled up to prevent the filling from falling through.

I liked the bulgogi steak the best, followed closely by the tofu. The chicken was the weakest of the three.

We gobbled up our tacos on the steps of the National Portrait Gallery. When we left I was still hungry. Like, barely-made-a-dent hungry. I realize I have human garbage disposal tendencies, but I could have eaten at least two, maybe three more tacos. At those prices that would have cost anywhere from $16-$18!  $9 for three tacos may sound like a bargain, but we’re not talking about an enormous amount of food here.

Compare these tacos and prices to the tacos I ate at Los Molcajetes in Norwalk, CT. More filling, and substantially cheaper. And Los Molcajetes is a restaurant, not a truck.

I know, I know, Norwalk is a small city, Washington is a big city and price inflation has to be factored in. I still think there could be a middle ground. TaKorean is a welcome change of pace for lunch, but next time I’m eating a snack beforehand.

TaKorean

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The Inaugural D.C. Food Post

Hello D.C.! My name’s Doug and I’m a food blogger. I moved to your fine city just over a week ago, bringing my blog along with me.  The blog formerly revolved around my eating experiences in Westchester County, NY. Now, I’ll be focusing on the food scene in D.C., Virginia and Maryland.

The key info: I’m fanatic about food, am an enthusiastic cook and have a slight obsession with mochi ice cream and banh mi sandwiches; I frequent all types of restaurants but am especially drawn to hole-in-the-wall ethnic spots; one of my high priorities is seeking out the best burgers and BBQ in the area; I’m picky about what constitutes good pizza; I adore Vietnamese and Ethiopian food and am fall-to-my-knees grateful to live in a city where there are multiple options for both (Westchester has no Vietnamese restaurants and up until last year, had no Ethiopian.)

What you’ll find on this blog are write-ups on restaurants, food finds, recipes and when I have time, food videos. The videos are what I’m most passionate about, so if you have an idea for a good one, or even want to be in one, feel free to get in contact with me.

Mostly, I try to keep the tone light and not take food blogging too seriously. If I can give you a few minutes of reprieve from the stresses of your day, I’ve done my job.

So let’s review what I’ve eaten so far.  Keep in mind, I’m fairly clueless right now about where to go; mostly I’ve been grabbing bites here and there while doing errands and making runs to the Container Store (my new favorite – I tweeted that it makes you become OCD about kitchen organization).

In Tenleytown, had a Latino chicken breast sandwich and fried plantains at Crisp & Juicy. The chicken was a little salty, but I enjoyed the messy sandwich, and the plantains were a treat.

In Cleveland Park, a chicken shawarma at Fresh Med (good shawarma but smallish), spring rolls and a bowl of pho at Nam-Viet (not the best flavored pho I’ve ever had, but still, Vietnamese in my neighborhood, how great is that?!)…

And my current addiction, Vace Italian Deli.

I’d say I’ve stopped in at Vace four times already. Can’t get enough of those slices. It’s simple pizza – no crazy toppings – but jeez do they do it well. Try the white onion or the spinach, and get them heated. The crust is nicely salted and has the thickness to crunchy balance down pat.

In my ‘hood of Woodley Park, the newly opened Frozen Yo.

Twelve (?) flavors of self-serve yogurt, assorted toppings, priced by weight.  Here’s my mix of mango and peach mango, sprinkled with fresh fruit.

Mmm. You will find me here a LOT during the summer.

Near U St., American Ice Co… went there last week for a DC food bloggers happy hour, which was a whole lot of fun. The food knowledge and passion of these bloggers is immense.

Try the dark, malty Duck-Rabbit beer – it’s a winner. So-so brisket sandwich, but it was much improved by the side of barbecue sauce.

After leaving American Ice Co, three of us headed to Mount Pleasant to the tiny Korean/sushi restaurant, Adam Express, where I ordered what I thought to be a small appetizer, but was in fact a meal in itself.

This seafood pancake was bursting with scallions and shrimp and served with a soy-vinegar dipping sauce.  We ate with gusto while perched on the stools at the counter. This was my kind of place – small, unassuming, inexpensive, with fresh, good food. A brisket sandwich followed by a Korean seafood pancake? Yup, that’s how I roll.

So that’s what I’ve eaten in my first week and a half in D.C. As I slowly discover more restaurants and hidden gems, you’ll hear about them. If you’ve got recommendations, please, keep them coming. That’s the beauty of moving to a new city: everything is waiting to be explored. I’m excited to be here. Looking forward to sharing my food adventures with you!

Crisp & Juicy
4533 Wisconsin Ave.
Washington, DC
202-966-1222

Fresh Med
3313 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC
202-244-3995

Nam-Viet
3419 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC
202-237-1015

Vace Italian Deli
3315 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC
202-363-1999

Frozen Yo
3000 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC
202-290-1277

American Ice Co.
917 V St. NW
Washington, DC
202-758-3562

Adam Express
3211 Mount Pleasant St. NW
Washington, DC
202-328-0010

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Sampling Korean at Asagao Sushi

You know a restaurant is brand spanking new when even the Yelpers and Chowhounders haven’t made it there yet. Those guys are fast on the draw to scope out the latest restaurants.

My friend Ron suggested taking a visit to Croton-on-Hudson, mentioning that Asagao Sushi, newly opened on November 7th, served both sushi and Korean barbecue. That’s all I needed to hear.

Asagao’s tucked into a small shopping strip (between the diner and Memphis Mae’s). Easy to miss if you’re not looking for it.

The menu is predominantly Japanese, with a smallish section of Korean barbecue items. Ordinarily, I’d be all over the sushi, but we were both interested in trying the Korean dishes.

They start you off with hot tea and miso soup. Then we shared a side order of kimchi.

Ron got the bi bim bop, a sizzling one-pot dish of vegetables, thinly sliced beef and egg over rice. Almost too pretty to eat.

Our server, noticing that Ron was digging into the bowl as is, came over to add in hot chile paste and stir all the ingredients together. Kind of ruins the beauty of the dish, but that’s the proper way to eat it.

Here’s my beef bulgogi.

The tender beef had been well marinated, making it full of flavor. I could taste the mirin, garlic and soy. Needed two bowls of rice to soak everything up.

Ron and I were both quite happy with our dishes, and I was impressed with the friendly and attentive service. As lunch goes, prices are maybe on the higher side; my bulgogi was $16, Ron’s bi bim bop a bit more. If you’re looking for a less expensive lunch, you may want to stick to the rolls and Bento boxes, and save the Korean dishes for dinner.

All right folks on Chowhound and Yelp, have at it. Let us know how the rest of the menu is. I’m curious about the sushi.

Asagao Sushi
8 Maple St.
Croton-on-Hudson, NY
914-271-0770

Stopping by Kalbi House for a Korean Fix

The food craving monster reared its ugly head today.   After an afternoon of sitting on my butt watching the incredible Wimbledon final (greatest match ever?), I went grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s in White Plains.  Afterwards, I was driving down Central Ave. checking out the people eating outside at Nico’s Greek Taverna… when Kalbi House caught my eye. Cue the Pavlovian response.  Maybe it was that kimchi pancake I had last week at the Fancy Food Show— all I knew was, I wanted Korean, and I wanted it NOW.

This is going to look like a lot of take-out, but keep in mind that A) I was hungry, and B) I didn’t know the main dish came with two sides.  This picture doesn’t do it justice, but the gyoza soup was a great way to start.

Clear broth flavored with ham, and three huge gyoza.  So basic and satisfying, even on a muggy, summer day.  Here’s my main dish, Kimchi Jae Yook Boceum.

Break out the tissues, this was one spicy dish!  But what I really liked about it was the contrast of textures: tender pork, crunchy kimchi, soft tofu, and the surprise on the bottom, chewy rice sticks. Bonus points to Kalbi House for throwing in these two side dishes.

That’s a lot of extra kimchi!  Underneath it were cucumbers and some crunchy yellow vegetable that for the life of me, I couldn’t identify.   Here was one of the best parts of the meal.

Baby bok choy, thin slices of pan-fried firm tofu (dubu-jorim?) and fried cubes of potato, mixed with a light, sweet sauce.  After all the spiciness, eating this was a welcome relief.   It was cooling and refreshing and really helped cut the heat from the pork and kimchi.

From what I’ve read, the two best Korean restaurants in Westchester are Kalbi House and Kang Suh in Yonkers.  What do you think?  I haven’t been to Kang Suh, but Kalbi House definitely did the trick.  The food craving was satisfied— at least for another day…

Kalbi House
291 Central Ave.
White Plains, NY 10606
914-328-0251