Three Things

To finally blog for The Baby Whale, I actually have to be a baby whale and so I thought I’d at least give you a little something to work with by showing you the favorites on my food radar as of lately. Also,  it’s a great way to get a sense of my rating scale. Here’s what’s been in and around my body: all the things I like, the things I love, and the things I’ve gotta have.

 

the standard - bbqI know you probably like to imbibe from their copious beer selection, but have you ever indulged in their BBQ? Every time I go, I try to avoid it. Every time I go, I fail. It’s just too good! These Pulled Pork and Brisket BBQ Sandwiches from Garden District (formerly known as The Standard) are paired with Onion Rings and Frickles – have you seen anything crispier?- to make for a solid day of day drinking with excellent snacks. Note on my preferences: I typically like my frickles as medallions and not spheres, but I also am not one to complain about delicious fried creatures. (Garden District, 1801 14th Street NW. Like it. $)

taco bambaBut seriously, I’ve been hunting for the realest of real tacos in the District and it’s a shame that I had to trek all the way to Taco Bamba in Falls Church to find them. I went when Spencer from Whiskey and Soba came to visit a few weeks back, and hazed my body/soul in so many ways with these flavor-filled guys in Carnitas, Al Pastor and Shrimp varieties.  Find your car and get there this weekend, it’s worth the adventure into the depths of VA. (Taco Bamba, 2190 Pimmit Drive, Falls Church. Love it. $sushi capitolI literally hate that I am sharing this wealth of information with you, but it has to be done. I have discovered the most unbelievable sushi place and I can’t keep it a secret for much longer. I have been filling my belly with the freshest fish I’ve ever encountered in DC at Sushi Capitol on Pennsylvania Avenue SE, and I can’t/won’t stop. If you’re into super crazy rolls they have those too, but honestly gtfo because this ish is reserved for my sashimi lovin’, nigiri bumpin’ amigos. They have excellent, seasonal specials that are truly unique (i.e. these teeny tiny crabs that were flash-fried and served as chips…weird but amazing), and it’s all perfectly and traditionally prepared. More on this one later. (Sushi Capitol. 325 Pennsylvania Avenue SE. Gotta have it. $$)

I just drooled a little while writing this, so I hope that’s an indication that I’ve satisfied the baby whale within you too. Embrace it.


It’s Whale Wednesday

It’s the humpiest of all days and for some reason I’m feeling super inclined to start writing again. Perhaps it’s the disappearance of summer swimsuit weather and the beginnings of fall getting me excited to layer my body up in all of the calories and extra LB’s.  Perhaps it’s the fact that despite the fact that I’ve been the worst blogger for about half of a year and running, I still get a ton of clicks (where they come from? I have no idea, but I thank you for them. My peeps are a diligent one.)

To be perfectly honest with you, it’s 195% because the domain renewal just hit for Daily Love Affair, and  now that I’m no longer fiscally bound to it, I’m taking the artistic liberty of running as far away from that cheesy domain name as I possibly can. One can only become so awkward about hating their very own blog’s name, and I definitely hit that point.  I will never fully understand why I started my blog being under such a lame name. Maybe I was drunk.

Regardless, like the obnoxiously drunk girl you just made BFF’s with in the bathroom at a bar on a sloppy Saturday, Daily Love Affair, Bye Felicia.  I really hate to see you go, but I love to watch you leave.

Welcome to the world of The Baby Whale. My spirit animal and alter ego. Here’s what I promise: more food, less bullshit, more fun. At least for me. All you have to promise is that you’ll stick around with or without the drag that was Daily Love Affair

xoxo,

KQ


Rose’s Luxury

Before I continue with my wild goose chase around the world, I thought I’d put something on the table that brings you to more recent times, and also back to DC. And while I’m throwing great things your way and buttering you up (both literally and figuratively), I figured I’d make things even better by featuring the holy grail of all DC foods, the glory and honor that is Rose’s Luxury in Eastern Market.

We made two previous attempts to dine here over the past six-or-so months, and each prior visit was shut down by a wait that my delicate, sensitive whale-body could not withstand. I’m a hungry girl in a hungry world. But finally, on the lucky third try a week or so ago, armed and ready with an early Friday arrival time of 5PM, we were seated immediately and at the chef’s table nonetheless, with a direct line of vision straight into the belly of the beast, a bustling open kitchen in all its glory.

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I could’ve cried. This was for many reasons, the primary reason being that I had actually prepared my aforementioned whale-body for a long wait by having a later lunch that day, so I wasn’t ravenous as one should be when encountering such scenarios of fine food. Major FML. But also because I had not prepared myself for how inviting the whole experience would be, despite the horror of a hype. Furnished like your cool best friend’s apartment with your great aunt’s vintage dishware, every piece of Rose’s puzzle welcomes you in like you were home.

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Upon entering, you’ll notice the homiest of smells, and it’s because these guys are being baked by the batch. Piping hot and nicely crisped, these rolls were served with shallot butter. I can’t exactly remember what kind of ash it was covered in, but the smoky flavor paired with the savory butter was an excellent tease to what was to come. I’m typically an advocate of “softer” rolls, but the flavor in these was hard to look past, and so hot-n-fresh-out-the-kitchen, it worked for me.

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If I’m eating at the best restaurant in DC, I’m obviously drinking.at the best restaurant in DC. Feeling frisky, I ordered from the gin-based offerings- the hibiscus water, cava and bitters – which was a nice balance of both floral and herbaceous, and extremely refreshing without being overly sweet. Pictured behind it is Logan’s Bourbon, Peach, Dill tincture and lemon concoction, a grown-sexy version of Peach Snapple, also supremely refreshing while light on the saccharine.

roses luxury 4I absolutely loved this dish of pork sausage, habanero and lychee, and so did the rest of the world. Accented with red onion, some sort of whipped coconut cream, peanuts and cilantro, there were so many flavors and textures, with each bite varied from the one before with a new balance of savory/sweet/crunchy/soft/creamy/tangy. We were instructed to mix it up as much as we could – “the uglier the better”. So, ugly it became, until it hit my tongue and my tummy. This was my favorite of all the dishes!

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To mix things up a bit, we ordered Marco’s Gnocci, made to order in a simple creamy sauce with black pepper and salt. While extremely simple on paper and to the eye, this dish was extremely complex, predominantly in texture.  This is by far the pillowiest, softest gnocci known to mankind, and this recipe is definitely homegrown. You can just feel the familiarity of it, both in sensation and in flavor  as you make your way through the plate.

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Also well reviewed and highly spoken of, the caramelized cauliflower with greek yogurt “and other stuff”.  Another healthy mix of sweet and tangy, serious yum yum in my tum tum. If I could cook cauliflower like this for myself every day, I would.

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And now for the big she-bang, the crowning glory, the moon to my stars. Also, the point of the meal where I ran out of space in my stomach/brain/soul to eat and still enjoy it. A heaping serving of smoked brisket, white bread, horseradish and pickled slaw served on a giant silver platter to make you feel like a king and an animal at the same time. Slay me. I literally and figuratively died at this point, but at least it was in the company of well done brisket and a good-looking boy. There was so much of it, I brought it home for leftovers and had it for lunch every day the rest of that weekend. This day I keep gazing sadly and helplessly into my fridge, hoping it will reappear.

dessert

 

I know I said I was disgustingly full, but I couldn’t NOT get dessert. That would be sinful and a decision full of regret!  So, I ordered the goat’s milk stracciatella with strawberries and spicy meringue (pictured to the right), and our lovely waitress threw in an additional dessert of smoked celery root mascarpone with chamomile-honey ice and brown butter walnut crumble. Her selection was better than mine – much lighter and easier to digest after a hefty meal with really one-of-a-kind flavors.

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And if that wasn’t enough, our parting present from this godly establishment was a little, house-made jelly treat sprinkled with a bit of sugar. So you leave with something sweet, just like the whole meal you just experienced. There’s really only one way to describe this place. Rose’s Luxury is…

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No but actually, there are hundreds of ways to describe it here. I can’t believe a place like this exists in DC, and it’s even harder for me to believe it’s right around the corner in Eastern Market. It’s my favorite meal experience in DC thus far, and with a clear crystal ball showing me many, many visits in the future, I can’t wait to see how the menu changes over time. With enormous portions you’ll certainly need to share (but only with your favorite people), I’d give it two-$$. If you haven’t been yet, you’ve gotta have it. It’s no joke why it’s received to-die-for-reviews from the best in the city.

 

Rose's Luxury on Urbanspoon

 


SF: Mama Ji’s

OK, last San Francisco post before I move on to bore you with my gluttenous adventures in another city. We spent our last morning crying about our eventual return to the frigid, snowy easy coast, and doting over the expansive Dim Sum wonders Mama Ji’s in the Castro had to offer. This series of events can be loosely translated into the following process:

a) Ordering way too much food because it sounded delicious

b) Eating way too much food because it was delicious

c) Regretting eating so much delicious food

d) Walking across to Philz for a Mint Mojito “cleanse”

then finally,

e) Laying around all day in Dolores Park, bloated in gluten coma and anxious about the cleanse’s potential effects (it was all good in the end, we all seemed to have built up our tolerance at this point in the week).

God, I’m such a sick woman with a sick group of friends, but if that’s not an ideal last day in San Francisco, then I don’t know what is. Here are some lovely images of our tasty adventure at Mama Ji’s, the far and the few I was able to capture because I ate these dumplings almost as fast as they hit the table.

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As depicted above, we ordered a shit-ton of food and I don’t remember what was what because I ate it so fast, but it was all fresh to death. I have no words, just a very serious question: Why can’t Asian food be this fantastic in DC/surrounding my body at all points in time?

mamaji 2 mamaji 3 mamaji 5 mamaji 4 mamaji 1

Mama Ji’s was effing awesome,  quaint in size so only the die-hard Sunday Dim Sum crew can make it in at the right time (or endure waiting in a long line), and only one-$. If you’re obsessed with dim sum like I am, you’ve gotta have it.

And with that, I can formally bid my San Francisco adventures adieu. Shoutout/special thanks to the hostess with the mostess, Sir Cameron Chen for all his sexual food choices and adventures – it was seriously the fabbest time with all my bests!
MaMa Ji's on Urbanspoon


SF: Izakaya Goku

Don’t mind me, just taking my sweet time on a long and dragged out journey across America. I’ve got two more features for you in San Francisco before I leave the city be (for the now, at least), the first is a lovely ramen shop called Izakaya Goku in the Mission.

My dumpling Cammy-boy sure does know his ramen, so when he highly recommended we go here for a hot bowl, there was nothing stopping my big and I. Nine times out of ten, when I’m with Karin, we are eating some kind of hot soup, so finding acceptable ramen in San Francisco was basically mandatory.  We three ditched the rest of our crew to indulge in our bad selves and the libations the West Coast has to offer.

izakaya goku 3

izakaya goku 4Understated and quiet when we arrived and were easily seated, but the whole place quickly filled to the brim as the time passed. Excellent and casual, Izakaya Goku was the ideal venue for us to catch up in a different ambiance than with the large posse we had rolled with all weekend.

Izakaya Goku 1

We split the yummy takoyaki, a must-have teaser of fried octopus balls. I mean, don’t they look fabulous?

izakaya goku 2Behold, the Kakuni Tonkotsu Ramen. This bowl featured Kakuni braised pork (Of course this is what I ordered), a boiled egg, bean sprouts, Kikurage mushrooms, homemade bamboo shoots and green onions in a moderately spiced broth. The braised pork was incredibly tender and flavorful, falling apart in my mouth and melting perfectly along the other fresh flavors this bowl had to offer.

I just like, don’t even know what else to say at this point. It was fabulous and I loved it. And as far as ramen goes, you’ve gotta have it. While I’ll stick to Daikaya to get my fix here in DC, Izakaya Goku’s was by far the best bowl I’ve ever consumed.

Ramen Izakaya Goku on Urbanspoon

 


SF: Philz Coffee

philz shot

Top of the morning, boys and gals. I hope you enjoyed your Fourth of July! I certainly did, and am still feeling the repercussions of poor decisions I made in the name of freedom and the land that I love so dearly.

While I sit here on my couch, sipping my sub par Starbucks (OK it’s an iced Starbucks Oprah Chai so it’s not terribly sub par – more on this later), I’ll dote on this image of this refreshing elixir I’ve been missing for the past few months : the mojito iced coffee from Philz Coffee in San Francisco.

All you SF folks are probably rolling your eyes at me, “GOD. This girl is a noob. Philz Mojito Iced Coffee is such an obvious coffee selection for the city. You can’t just blog about it.” Well, move along, you crazy hipsters. There is no room for your side-eye here.

This particular recommendation is a staple for my life muse and guru, Cameron “Sacagawea” Chen. Refreshing, heavy on the caffeine but light to the taste buds, and incredibly “detoxing” if you know what I mean, it is, as you guessed, an unexpected pairing of freshly muddled mint leaves into a well-shaken, iced coffee. These two flavors are seriously perfect together, and make me want to start mashing some mint up in my morning Dunkies to bring me back to the good times.

Freakin’ love it. Gotta have it. And super on the cheaps at only a single-$.  Hit it up!

 

 Philz Coffee – Castro

4023 18th Street

San Francisco, CA

 

 
Philz Coffee on Urbanspoon
 

 

 


SF: The Mill

 

 

I mean, this place has been reviewed at least 8 billion times, probably especially so in my three month lapse of neglect, but alas I loved it, I’ve been dreaming about it since we left, and I happened to snap a few socially acceptable images so here we are.

While I’m not so well-versed in the foodscape of San Francisco, my research yields that The Mill is the love-baby and brainchild of the city’s toast-and-roast favorites, Josey Baker Bread and Four Barrel Coffee. The internet procures an interesting but healthy mix of “OMG expensive toast” and “OMG this toast is so delicious”. If that wasn’t enough to spark my intrigue, as a recommendation from a few people near and far, I knew I had to hit it up, especially for a day of hefty trekking across the city that required the energy only a nice layer of carbohydrates could provide.

The Mill has a fresh, bright ambiance that, in true San Francisco fashion, felt super productive and only mildly hipstery in a very non-obnoxious way.

I am a toast aficionado and I am bougie, so I had no qualms in purchasing these $4 slices. To be fair, each piece was approximately the size of my face, so it was well worth the value. In true baby whale form, I ordered two to indulge in my cravings for both something sweet and something savory.

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As depicted in the image above, I ordered the cinnamon raisin bread topped with cinnamon/dark brown sugar/butter, in addition to the multi-grain slice topped with a salt and pepper cream cheese. As a carb-queen and expert in all things glutenous (I come from a long line of expert home bakers), the bread quality was top of the line – extra thick, flavorful, perfectly chewy and toasted in all the right ways. Paired with the perfect topping to accent the bread without overshadowing it, each toast was very effing phenomenal.

If you like toast and you are bougie, then you have gotta have it at The Mill. Just kidding, no bougie-ness required to enjoy it. Size + quality to dollar ratio, I’d say this was only a one-$ establishment, as I left full and ready to tackle the day. If you go, could you ship me back a loaf of that Josey bread?

The Mill

736 Divisadero Street

San Francisco, CA 94117

 

 
The Mill on Urbanspoon