Animal House and Diving for Pearls

Hey ya’ll! Two for two. I’m on a roll with this whole blogging thing. Gosh how I feel great when I keep to my new year’s resolutions. So what do I have in store for ya’ll today? The second day of my trip to Washington DC. It was a pretty good one. The weather was a little chilly, but nothing like how it was near the end of the trip. The one thing I really wanted to do on the trip, besides eat a ton of good food, was go to the National Zoo. I remember going as a little girl with my grandparents and I loved it. In general I just love animals (seriously, I want to go on an African Safari), so this was a definite on the trip. Before we could go though, we had to have a delicious brunch. We ended up going to Pearl Dive oyster bar. This was also on Eater’s guide to the 38 essential restaurants to eat at in DC, so you know us foodies had to go to it.

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We ended up getting the wood grilled east coast oysters, which were served hot. I mainly consume oysters cold, so this was a nice change to my typical seafood meal. These oysters were simple with garlic, red chile butter, and gremolata. They were amazing. We got two orders, so that each of us could have two or three oysters. My brother and I ended up getting three each. I would have loved to try the bacon wrapped ones too, but these were so good. You could taste the butter as you scooped out the meat in the oyster. I definitely would have been happy if I just had these as my meal because they were that fresh and tasty.

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Are you seeing a trend here? We love consuming mussels and clams. I think we had them at every single meal we ate in DC, except for our lunch the day we flew out. These mussels were heaven in a bowl. They had garlic, shallot, fumet, butter, and lemon. Also it came served with grilled baguettes. Ummm yes please. The best part was that once my brother and I were finished dipping all those baguettes into the sauce of the bowl, the waiter brought us more to finish the sauce with. Seriously such an amazing waiter. He was really on top of his game. The mussels were such a simple preparation, but it was melt in your mouth good. The best part was the garlic wasn’t super overwhelming so none of us had nasty garlic breath.

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Anything with a fried egg on it is pretty much one of the best things you can ever eat. Seriously, you cannot go wrong with a fried egg. This sandwich that my brother ordered was no exception. This was the C.E.B.L.T. Po’Boy. I love Po-Boys, as does everyone else in my family. This may be a result of living in New Orleans, but hey I’m not complaining at all. The sandwich was fried catfish topped with a fried egg, bacon, lettuce, and tomato. My brother let me have a bite of this, so that I could experience the greatness of this dish. The catfish was fried perfectly, so that it was light and crispy on the outside. The fish was fresh and flaky. The farm egg was cooked so that the yolk ran a little bit down the sides and it soaked into the catfish, which added a nice flavor to the simplicity of the dish. The bacon gave a smoky flavor, which was a nice addition. It gave the dish a sort of breakfasty feel, which was perfect for brunch. This is a good choice if you ever end up here for brunch!

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This was definitely the star of the meal. My dish. Oh how I am so good at picking the best thing on the menu. I ended up choosing the wood grilled gulf coast redfish. My oh my how a delicious piece of fish you were. The top of the fish was grilled, so it had a nice char and blackened taste. It was crispy on top and the fish underneath was incredibly flaky. The fish tasted like butter and it fell apart in my mouth as I took in every single bite. It was cooked in a pecan butter, topped with pecans, and served on top of grits. The grits were mindblowing. I love a good bowl of grits and these were no exception. They were cheesy and buttery. They served as a perfect medium with the fish. Everyone agreed that this was the best dish of the night.

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This photo is just average because my dad took it with his phone because I decided I wanted to eat my fish instead of take more pictures. He got the Ponchartrain. It was pretty much egg’s benedict. It was two poached eggs, an english muffin, blue crab, tasso ham, crawfish, and cayenne hollandaise. My brother and dad said this dish was amazing. I tend to steer clear of egg’s benedict because it is packed with tons and tons of calories. I love crab and crawfish though, so it was a bit hard to resist. Overall it was an amazing meal. I was seriously happy that we chose to go here for brunch. Even if we had to waste time walking around for a long while until the restaurant opened. We were always early for every place, so we had to figure out things to do.

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Finally we got to go to the zoo. I was so excited. The best part of this zoo, besides having tons and tons of animals, is that it is free. You know how Jewish I am and I can’t resist when there are amazing things for free. This place was awesome. It was also ginormous. I got in 10,000 steps on my fitbit. Plus I got to see pandas, tiger cubs, and zebras. The panda was so cute. He was nomming on so much bamboo. Literally had snacks for later on his stomach.

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So cute. The zoo had baby cubs that were born back in August. They were so cute. The only downside was that because it was pretty chilly outside and there was just a massive snowstorm, not all of the animals were out to be on exhibit. I will definitely want to go back if a friend and I go down to DC for a long weekend or so.

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After we went to the zoo, we went to a few museums. We ended up at the Natural History museum and the National Gallery of Art. Just another great thing about DC. The museums were all free. I love free things. I definitely need to go back, so I can go to all the museums that they have to offer. Since we were still a little early before dinner, we ended up having to go figure out something to do. We decided to drive around and go to monuements. We went to the capital, the Lincoln memorial, the Jefferson memorial, and the Washington monument. Overall it was a really great day. I will be sharing the dinner meal with ya’ll another day, so stay tuned for more drool worthy pictures.

What is your favorite seafood dish?
What is your favorite animal?

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A Taste of India: Rasika

Hey ya’ll! I know technically I didn’t blog for three days, which breaks my resolution, but I had no wifi or internet connection where I was, so I’m not going to count it! The weird thing is that I was in Washington DC, so you would assume that I would have wifi, but nope. They charged you a lot of money to access the hotel wifi, yep not doing it. Ya’ll had to live a few days without my awesomeness, which I know is pretty hard. So for the next few days I’m going to recap my trip to DC (which I love btw). Seriously I think I could live there. It would be a great place for a registered dietitian and there are sports teams (did I mention that I have an insane crush on the super sexy John Wall). So we got in around 4 to Baltimore and had to drive to DC. We didn’t have dinner reservations until about 9:45, so we tried to figure out what to do in the meantime.

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Say hello to my little friend. Lets stop lying to ourselves because this is actually HUGE. We ended up going to Moe’s Seafood in order to get a little snack to hold us over till 9:45. My younger brother and I ended up splitting an order of crab cakes. I was totally expecting some small dinky thing, but no these were enormous monsters of crab. Delicious succulent crab that is. The crab was so fresh, duh its Maryland, and it was packed with flavor. There wasn’t an overwhelming amount of breadcrumbs, which was nice because you mainly tasted the herbs and the crab. I was in heaven. I am a sucker for good seafood, especially crab cakes!

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My dad ended up getting an order of clams with some type of parmesan crust on top. They looked really good, but since there was only three I didn’t have any. That didn’t stop my little brother from taking one though. He seriously will take all your food even if you are in the middle of eating it. Happened multiple times throughout the trip. After our quick seafood snack, we hopped in our rental car and drove towards DC.

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Our 9:45 pm dinner reservations were at an Indian restaurant called Rasika. I had found this place on Eater’s guide to DC and from reviews on yelp. This was the best place to go. If you are ever in DC, I would definitely recommend going here. I want to ride the train down from NYC just to go here (lies because I also want to explore Georgetown more). Anyways this dish was Mango Shrimp. It was simplistic, but packed with tons of flavor. I love the hint of the mango in the glaze on the shrimp. The vegetable medley that came along with it went well and provided a more cooling effect with the hot shrimp.

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Oh you sweet potato samosas, how I love thee. You can’t really go wrong with anything that is wrapped in a fried wonton like wrapper. This was no exception. The sweet potato was a creamy mixture inside that went well with the crunch of the fried outside. The sweetness from the cranberry chutney was a nice addition to the dish. It provided a bit of a sour acidic flavor that balanced off the sweetness from the potato.

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Oh Palak Chaat, you are what dreams are made of. Really though. I have been craving this ever since. I can’t wait to look for this in NYC. That is how good it is. The spinach is crispy from being fried in hot oil. There is yogurt, tamarind, and dates in the mixture. There is also chopped tomatoes and red onion. I don’t think I can really explain this dish good enough to give it the justice that it deserves. The crunch of the spinach provides a good texture to be paired with the creamy smoothness of the yogurt. It was the most amazing thing. I am definitely going to try to remix this recipe into a healthier version (although the only bad thing is that it is fried).

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Hello Cauliflower Bezule. This was fried cauliflower. Hmmm there seems to be a trend here of fried food. What can I say? We southerners love to consume some fried foods. I do love cauliflower, so this was a definite thing that I had to get on the menu. It had mustard seeds, curry leaf, green chiles, and lemon juice. I liked the dish, but I thought it was just okay. I would have rather had more bowls of palak chaat. My brother seemed to really enjoy this though. It was a little too spicy for me.

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This sort of looks like green throw up set in small clams. Well it was really good tasting vomit. Hahaha. No I didn’t actually eat vomit. These were clams caldine. SO GOOD. There was coconut, green chiles, and cilantro. I think the coconut calmed down the spice from the green chiles because I didn’t get any kick from these. Instead it was more of a sweet tasting broth and sauce in the clams. They were amazing. We threw these back so quickly. When the bowl was empty, we all were pretty sad. I would definitely order these again.

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You need a good portion of naan bread at any meal that comes with a variety of stews, sauces, and broths. We used the naan to dip into the clam sauce, the curry, and the masala. It was such a good vehicle to get all that delicious food in my mouth.

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This was the chicken tikka masala. Oh how the naan tasted so good dipped into the sauce. This was a pretty great dish. It was packed with a ton of flavors from the Indian spices and the herbs. The chicken was cooked perfectly. It was tender and not overcooked. I felt like I was slowly disappearing into an Indian food coma.

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Oh shrimp curry, how sweet you are to me. It actually was really sweet, but in a good way. It was the Shrimp Kerala Curry. It had coconut milk, cumin, and black pepper. This was definitely my choice over the chicken dish because of the thick creamy texture from the coconut milk. I loved the sweetness that the dish had and it went perfectly with shrimp. Of course I dipped my naan into this.

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My oh My. I don’t remember the name of this dish, but it was amazing. It was pork chops with a mint leaf sauce to rub on top of it. The lamb was so tender and just fell off the bone. I actually picked my bone up and started eating off it in the restaurant. I’m gonna get all the meat possible. The waiter loved this dish so much that he told us on his days off he comes to Rasika to enjoy a malt and these lamb chops. We all loved the lambchops so much. Get these along with the palak chaat and you won’t regret it.

Now comes for the time when my brother decided to order four desserts. I really only wanted one or two to share, but no he thought that it would be a good idea to get four desserts. He pretty much ate most of all of them, which I was pretty impressed with.

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These were apple doughnuts, which I really enjoyed. They were thick instead of airy and light. It was a good thing though, which you normally wouldn’t want or expect with your doughnut. The plate was covered in pistachio crumbs and a vanilla ice cream. It was definitely a good choice for dessert. Oh if we only stopped at this one.

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This was the dessert that I had wanted to get. It was Shahi Tukra, which may be the best dessert. It was a bread pudding type of dessert. It came along with apricots, figs, mangoes, and cherries. I was in heaven. It even came along with some edible foil on the top. If you only get one dessert, which is probably the smartest idea, I would definitely get this one.

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This was Gulab Jamun. Another interesting Indian dessert. I was really excited to try this once I googled on my phone what it was. It was a sort of dumpling like dessert. It was served on top of a tropical fruit curd and with a scoop of nutella ice cream. I would definitely like to try this dish at another Indian place because I feel like it was really good, but I was so full and only had one or two bites, so I didn’t get to really taste the full potential of this dessert.

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I thought this was disgusting. My brother and dad enjoyed this a lot, so at least someone got some pleasurable tastes from it. The reason I didn’t like it was all the different textures and flavors mixed in one cake. This was the baked kulfi. It had a rose cream on top of orange saffron cake and topped with baked marshmallows. That is too many different things in one for me to enjoy. I did like the fruit on the side though.

Overall I definitely give this restaurant a five star. Our waiter was amazing, the food was delicious, and the atmosphere of the restaurant was so cute and whimsical. It was the perfect way to start out our food adventures in dc.

What is your favorite Indian dish?
Have you ever been to DC?

A Foodie Adventure

Hey ya’ll! I hope everyone had an awesome weekend. Mine was pretty good. I went out to celebrate my best friend’s last weekend in Austin (I’m seriously depressed about this since we have been friends since freshmen year of high school). Anyways lets go on to happy thoughts like fun foodie adventures. My family and I love trying out restaurants in Austin, so when my brother suggested that we go to Perla’s on South Congress, we were of course all down to go eat some good food.

The decor of Perla’s is so cute. It has an aquatic theme with a boat atmosphere on the outside (unfortunately not caught in the picture). My brother blended right in with the theme of the restaurant with his blue hair. They were packed full of reservations, but somehow we snuck in a table as long as we were out by 7. No problem.

We decided to order three appetizers for the table to share. One of our first appetizers was mussels. Oh god, they were so good. The mussels were soaked in some kind of sauce with peppers and other chopped up bits of yumminess in the bowl. The toasted bread was perfect to dip deep into the bowl and soak up the liquid. Thumbs up for this dish!

This picture is a little blurry, boooo. Who cares though? This was probably my favorite appetizer of the night. Fried oysters. Really you can’t go wrong with anything fried. They were crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The oysters were served with this spicy thick sauce that took it to that special place in food heaven. I would seriously go here just to order about ten plates of these. I couldn’t eat ten plates, but I would so go down trying.

The last appetizer we ordered was a crab cake. It was really good. I liked that the restaurant placed some fresh arugula on top of the cake because it gave it some extra flavoring. I didn’t care for the large amount of onions they placed underneath it, but it was still delicious and the crab cake disappeared within 30 seconds of it being placed on the table.

For my main entree, I ordered the lobster roll with a side of fries. Good choice on my part. The lobster was extremely fresh and mixed with the perfect amount of mayonaisse. The bun was toasted to perfection and had a sweet taste to it. This definitely hit the spot on my lobster roll craving. I have been missing lobster rolls ever since I left Boston in August. The french fries were just okay, but then again I’m not going to a seafood restaurant to focus on their quality of french fries.

We decided to order one side, which was asparagus in Bearnaise sauce. They were actually really good for just a side. The asparagus was grilled and super crispy, which is my favorite way to eat them. Then they weren’t overly drenched in sauce, which I appreciated a lot.

We did end up ordering a dessert, which was a salted caramel pudding with coconut cookies on the side. Somehow I forgot to take a picture. Probably because my camera kept dying. Oh well. It was really delicious anyways. This is definitely going on my recommendation list of restaurants in Austin. If they have happy hour specials then I will definitely be there because those appetizers are so good.

Hope ya’ll have a great Monday!