Tag Archives: maryland


Post-Hike Lunch at the Irish Inn at Glen Echo

Before hiking the Billy Goat Trail at Great Falls, I made sure to pack an extra bottle of water and a pocket knife. Because if James Franco taught us anything in “127 Hours,” it’s that you can never bring too much water, and a knife can come in handy when it’s necessary to cut off your own arm.

Didn’t need either, thankfully. My friends Gary, Fred and I made it through unscathed, only stopping to take in the beautiful views.

Afterwards, we’d worked up quite an appetite and headed to the Irish Inn at Glen Echo. This is the pub area of the restaurant.

Fred ordered a lamb burger with goat cheese. Gary and I dove into the stick-to-your-ribs staple, Shepherd’s Pie.

An excellent Shepherd’s Pie, albeit on the smaller side. Probably enough for most people, but we were really hungry. If I could have licked the cast iron dish, I would have.

I liked the Irish Inn;  it’s casual and cozy, with Guinness on tap, regulars sitting at the bar and a menu of Irish pub comfort food. Just the sort of place to hit up after surviving the Billy Goat Trail.

Irish Inn
6119 Tulane Ave.
Glen Echo, MD


A Trip to Maryland’s Asian Supermarkets

When I first heard that D.C. didn’t have much in the way of Asian supermarkets, my heart sank. As silly as it sounds, finding one was a high priority, along with seeking out good running/cycling routes and a decent movie theater. In NY, shopping at the Asian supermarket, Kam Sen, was part of my regular routine. Almost every weekend I loaded up on Chinese vegetables, canned goods and staples like dry spiced tofu and noodles. Life without Asian groceries? That wouldn’t do.

So it’s with great relief to write this post about these three markets in Maryland. Each requires roughly a 25-minute drive, but hey, I’ll take it. At least I know I can get what I need.

Here are a few first impressions:

Maxim: (not the men’s magazine)

Some reviewers said that Maxim was dark and not as clean as the other markets. The owners must have read that and adjusted accordingly; I found the store to be well lit and adequately clean as Asian markets go. All the necessities were there: canned items, sauces, oils, produce, rice, noodles, frozen goods, meats and seafood. Meat prices were reasonable — for example, pork loin for $3.29/lb, flank steak for $5.29/lb — and I saw several customers ordering fish from the fish tank.

Shelves were well stocked, there was an adequate selection of exotic and unrecognizable items, and I even spotted durian and chow fun noodles (the one thing my NY market shockingly never seemed to carry. Either that, or no one could ever explain to me where they were.)

At the front of the store is a hot food bar.  To me, the food here didn’t look the freshest, like it’d been sitting for a while (this was around 3pm). But there were plenty of people queuing up to order, so I’m sure it was fine.

Finally, like every Asian market I’ve ever shopped at, the service was gruff.  The cashier barked at me to place my items on the conveyor belt, and my wide smile and enthusiastic “hello” were met with stony silence. Oh well, I tried. And I’ll continue to try until someone finally smiles back, dammit.

Kam Sam

This store appears to be Maxim’s rival. It’s only minutes away, and I believe it’s newer than Maxim. But actually, on the inside both stores look almost identical: about the same size with similar items, lighting and layout. Though Kam Sam’s seafood selection did appear larger and the meat case better stocked.

And the hot food bar looked more appealing and fresher to me than Maxim’s. I would have picked up some hot food to go if I hadn’t been making one more stop.

Korean Korner

The largest of the three stores, more like a regular supermarket.. And not just Asian goods here — Hispanic, African, etc. These corn tortillas looked good.

Big selection of kimchi.

And a serious assortment of sauces, pastes, condiments and oils.

There’s also a sit-down area up front where you can order Korean dishes.

Korean Korner had the largest selection of produce of the three stores, but from what I saw, many of the greens and herbs were wilted. They looked old and tired. Smaller meat and seafood selection too. And the store itself was the grungiest of the three. Definitely didn’t feel as clean.

My haul for the day: oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, spiced dry tofu, sesame seeds, rice vermicelli, Asian pears, bok choy, ginger, garlic and scallion cakes. Of the three markets, I liked Kam Sam the best. It was fully stocked, parking was easy, and the hot food bar contained dishes I’d definitely order.

From what I’ve read, there are even more markets to explore, both in Maryland and in Virginia. Eventually, I plan on making my way to all of them.  For Asian groceries, you go where to need to go.

460 Hungerford Dr.
Rockville, MD

Kam Sam
300 N. Washington St.
Rockville, MD

Korean Korner
12207 Veirs Mill Rd.
Silver Spring, MD


Quick Bites in D.C. and Maryland

I’m writing this post on the Bolt bus from D.C. to NY.  The bus has comfortable seats, outlets and WiFi — very nice.  I’ve fired up the Pandora tunes and am banging out some work/blogging. This is a surprisingly pleasant way to travel.

Did some decent eating while down near our national’s capital.  First, a block from Union Station (D.C.’s Grand Central) is a laid back and inviting coffeehouse called Ebenezers. (No pics — my camera was too deep in my luggage). Plentiful seating and a good stop-in if you have time to kill before catching a train or bus. Had a tasty pesto chicken sandwich with peppers and onions, and a “morning glory” muffin with carrots and nuts.

Last night I was in Silver Spring, Maryland, and after a quick Yelp search dicovered a little Vietnamese spot called Lotus Cafe.

These summer tofu rolls with peanut sauce got the appetite going.

It being a chilly night, I’d come specifically for a bowl of pho, the Vietnamese noodle soup.

So good.  Pho is all about the quality of the broth, and this broth was delicious, deep and humming with flavors of star anise and cinnamon. My bowl came with thin slices of eye of round, bean sprouts, basil, cilantro, onions, jalapenos and soft rice noodles. A good bowl of pho warms and soothes from the inside out. The customer at the next table summed the pho up best: “I have a cold so this was perfect!”

On the way back to the hotel, a quick detour into this ice cream shop, Moorenko’s.

They have some unique and interesting ice cream flavors, like creme fraiche, prune armagnac, and even Guinness.  Here’s my cup of peach melba — peachy with small pieces of fruit.

I would have liked the place a lot better had the sullen employee behind the counter not tempered my enthusiasm. This guy was icier than an Olympic luge track. Yeesh. If you can’t muster up a smile about ice cream, perhaps another profession is in order.

And now here I am on the bus coming home. We just pulled into a Delaware rest stop, and I ran in to get some food.  I’m munching on a Quiznos sub (first Quiznos ever) and Popeye’s rice and beans (didn’t get the fried chicken even though I really wanted to). Sure beats the cafe car on Amtrak.

201 F Street E
Washington, D.C.

Lotus Cafe
8077 Georgia Ave.
Silver Spring, MD

8030B Georgia Ave.
Silver Spring, MD