La Limeña

One of my favorite restaurants is a Peruvian gem on the Rockville Pike called La Limeña.  I was there this past Saturday evening.  This is a small restaurant that does an insane amount of business and has a very limited number of tables.  Every time I go with my family there has been a wait.  Never more than 10-15 minutes.  When you walk in the door right away you can smell the fresh rotisserie chickens.  Then you see them.  In an eye level case designed to make your mouth water while you wait.  When we were seated I noticed nobody stands around not doing anything like you see so many places.  Everyone is doing something every minute.  They have to. It is so busy.  We ordered the chicharrones appetizer and it comes with fried yucca.  It came quick and was hot and tasty.  Every time we go to this restaurant we order these and I will keep ordering them every time.  The pork always has the perfect tenderness and an amazing flavor.  Juicy on the inside and crisp on the outside.  We ordered 3 dinners and some sides.  I tried some of everything.  The cubano sandwich, the rotisserie chicken, and the bistec encebollado.  The sides were, more yucca of course, black beans, rice, and some plain old French fries because I wanted some.  I know the cuban sandwich is not Peruvian whatsoever but I love them.  I used to eat them in Florida every chance I got.  It was pretty good but when I eat a cuban sandwich I like a good amount of pickles and mustard on it.  That’s how it is supposed to be.  On mine there were 2 pickles and no mustard at all.  I asked for more pickles and it took them 15 minutes to bring them “because they couldn’t find them”.  That was the first of a couple of disappointments for the evening.  The rotisserie chicken was very tender and juicy.  The flavor was very good.  You can tell it is not the average rotisserie chicken.  Next time I go, I will order that.  The bistec encebollado was good.  It is probably great if you like that cut of meat.  I do not.  The white rice they serve is out of this world.  Yes, it is white rice but whatever they do to it makes it seem so much better.  It is always perfectly cooked, has a great flavor, and there is definitely something special about it.  On our way I out I asked the manager on duty what about the rice made it so good? How did they make it? Unfortunately the answer was that it was a secret and even other people have asked but they don’t tell.  He said I will have to just keep going there to eat it.  Disappointment #2.  I felt like saying “ C’mon mister, it is rice not a military weapon”.  Instead I just said “Ok, thank you.  I did not take many pictures because like I said, it is small and packed.  Picture taking could be bothersome to the people around us. 


Paul Bakery

I had the pleasure of visiting Paul Bakery at the corner of Connecticut and K Street in DC this week with my dad.  Paul bakery comes from Europe.  The moment you step in, it is like a piece of France brought to the hurry and hustle of DC.  The aroma of freshly baked bread and the sound of soothing music immediately bring you out of DC and into a French café.  The café was immaculate.  The customer service was excellent except for when they gave me a chocolate filled beignet (a French version of our donut as the menu states) instead of the red fruit purée that I ordered.  I bit into it, realized it was wrong and my dad took it back to the counter to tell them it was the wrong one.  When he told the lady, she said it was the right one and that it was fruit filled.  He turned the donut to her and said it looked like chocolate to him.  She agreed that it was chocolate and then said the kitchen must have made a mistake by powdering the top of the chocolate donuts when they were only supposed to powder the fruit ones.  That is why she thought it was fruit filled.  I was just happy to get my fruit filled beignet by then.  The pastry case is constantly being straightened up and restocked.  I noticed that when the new pastries are put in, instead of the older ones being sold to customers first like normal, they are taken away completely.  I wonder where they go? Do they donate them? Eat them? Make us think they are getting rid of them but bring them back later? I should have asked.  Baguettes are shown off in wonderful baskets on top of the case.  I had a strawberry tartlet, a chocolate éclair, a chocolate croissant and a red fruit purée beignet.  The strawberry tartlet was out of this world.  The pastry shell was made in their bakery, the light pastry cream was spread inside the shell and perfect strawberries stand high on top of the cream.  The berries were at the perfect ripeness and they were glazed with that clear glaze they use at Whole Foods on the fruit tarts and it makes me think of a compote flavor.  It is delicious.  The tartlet is also available in raspberry and mixed fruit.  Paul Bakery is supposed to have amazing éclairs.  I was not a fan of it.  The chocolate cream inside, I did not like.  If it wasn’t for that I would have loved it.  My red fruit filled beignet was great and would beat out any American donut at Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts any day.  Too bad there is a Krispy Kreme 1 mile from where I live and Paul Bakery is 23 miles away.  The beignet was so fresh and soft, the purée filling outrageously delicious, I could eat it by the bowl.  The chocolate croissant did not disappoint either.  It tasted like it had just cooled and was perfect.  I am already looking to return as soon as possible.   



Happy 4th of July!

When you think of the 4th of July, do you think about ribs, a snack platter, watermelon, fireworks, grilling and outside fun? That was my 4th of July.
My 4th started at 10:30am when I woke up! Hey, it's summer, sleeping in is good! First we visited Starbucks for coffee and scones.  Just a vanilla shake for me.  A great shopping trip to Rockville Whole Foods Market followed.  Whole Foods hardly ever disappoints.  Whether your in a hurry to get in and out or to shop for awhile and enjoy a nice lunch from their wide selection of fresh, prepared foods.  This trip was hurried, no lunch for me! We picked up all the ingredients for an amazing day of food and fun there.  Whole Foods baby back ribs are the best! Hard to get wrong.  Ours were dry-rubbed, fall off the bone, goodness.  We have purchased ribs from other places but the competition is non-existent.  You get what you pay for!
When we got home from Whole Foods with all our items for our celebration, my mom wasted no time and started slathering our ribs with her special dry rub.  She makes it herself with a long list of seasonings.  Watermelon went in the fridge, lobsters (not from Whole Foods) to the steam pot, and the ribs to their foil packets for oven roasting before finishing on the grill! The Maine lobsters my mom bought would soon be lobster rolls and not only that but my mom undertook the task of also making her own baked macaroni and cheese.  
Last year we went to the Washington D.C. fireworks but last year it was not 105 degrees.  
Normally what could be 3 dinners was 1 glorious feast and we enjoyed it all while watching the D.C. fireworks on our flatscreen TV in our 72 degree house.
Check out some of the pictures I took below.

Happy July!

I'm 12, What Do I Know?

Well, I know good food from great food and great food from not so great food.  When in a restaurant, a few of the things I notice? Presentation, service, atmosphere, and of course, the food.  I have lived in this area for 3 years September 2012.  My mother is from Boston and my father from Orlando.  We settled in the middle.  Coming from Naples, Florida, yes it is a gorgeous place with white sand beaches, but not quite the culinary capital of America.  Turn your head and it is a chain place on every corner, like Outback or Olive Garden.  Most of the amazing restaurants that would be considered top notch are private owned.  Like a beautiful river side restaurant that has a long history, bobcats roaming outside the windows table side, and the menu is spectacular, is The Bay House.  No celebrity chefs, no Eater and definitely no weekly food chats! Crazy, huh? 

Moving here has been a graduation, food and restaurant-wise, and here are just a few of the places that come to mind that I have been to since moving here:
Oyamel ~ Founding Farmers DC & Potomac ~ Graffiato ~ Ben's Chili Bowl ~ La Sandia ~ La Canela ~ Shake Shack ~ Taqueria La Placita ~ Michael's Noodles ~ Cava Rockville ~ BGR ~ Bobby's Burger Palace ~ Vidalia ~ Bistro Bis ~ Jaleo ~ The Daily Grill ~ Mussel Bar ~ Clyde's ~ Capital Grille ~ Gordon Biersch ~ Pho 75 ~ Bourbon Steak ~ Freddy's Lobster ~ Rosa Mexicano ~ Matchbox ~ Masa 14 ~ Ping Pong Dim Sum ~ La Limena ~ Black's Bar & Kitchen.

Restaurants I have been to elsewhere? Boston, Atlantic City, Rehoboth Beach and all over Florida  Stay tuned.