Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Banh Minis, Then the REAL Thing

I am late to the banh mi table. I had never had one of these tasty-sounding Vietnamese sandwiches, so I scoured the internet for ideas and recipes to make some at home. There were resources galore, and from these my banh "minis" happened...
Cute, huh?  I took the easy route and used ground pork and tweaked a Vietnamese-style meatball recipe.
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 TBS finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 TBS roasted chili garlic paste (contained fish sauce & other yummy flavors)
  • 1/2 TBS sugar
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Form into small patties & cook on grill or griddle until well-done.

The minis, from the bottom up:
  • Trader Joe's mini french roll (toasted & rubbed w/garlic clove)
  • mayo mixed w/roasted chili garlic paste
  • thin sliced English cucumber
  • cilantro leaves, left whole
  • Vietnamese-style pork pattie
  • thin sliced jalapeno
  • quick-pickled carrots & radish (1/2 c rice wine vinegar + 1/4 c water + 6 TBS sugar, boiled until disolved then poured over julienne veggies) 
I figured they probably weren't even close to authentic, but they were still quite delicious. 

A couple weeks later I had the opportunity to try a real-deal banh mi sandwich at Pho Nom Nom in Rockville, MD.  I ordered roast pork, and for a little more than $4 I had proof that while their bread was much lighter, the flavors of my faked sandwich were right on point with the legit one (pictured below)...nailed it! 

Also, Vietnamese iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk is out of this world...it's soooooo creamy and sweet with a nice strong, but smooth, coffee flavor.  I'm craving one as I type.  And I definitely want to go back and try Nom Nom's pho...the orders around me looked fresh, hot and flavorful.

So, when you don't have easy access to a restaurant item...do a little research and try to created it yourself!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Slider Barron

A new food truck on the Montgomery County scene is The Slider Barron.  New, as in a little more than a week old, very exciting!  Today's menu offered PB&J and banana sliders, Nutella marshmallow sliders, cheeseburger sliders, grilled chicken sliders, and what I ordered...the spicy Korean pork sliders.

While I waited for my order, I grabbed a bag of kettlecorn from a vendor in the nearby farmers market. 

Crunchy, buttery, sweet and salty all at the same time...perfect when eaten in the sunshine.

Sliders come 3 per order, and for the meat ones an order is $8.  The tender pork seemed to be marinated in a spicy, but lightly sweet, sriracha or kimchi-ish marinade.  The pork was topped with fresh & crunchy pickled diakon and carrot.  I think there was some kind of mayo-based sauce on the slider as well, but I couldn't pick out the flavor.  I have one mighty big suggestion, and that is to toast the rolls.  The bottoms got pretty soggy pretty quick.

Nonetheless, I devoured 2 of my 3 sliders before I even considered snapping a picture.  One lonely slider.

Being  new enterprise, there are a few kinks the Barron needs to iron out like taking names with orders, speed of preparation, toasting the rolls, and handing out napkins with orders, but the service was sweet and friendly and my sliders were super flavorful.  I can't wait to see what kind of gourmet sliders are added to the menu, because the Korean pork was a homerun.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Corned Beef King's Classic Reuben, Best Ever!

Sammich Shaman...

...Monarch of Meat...

...Sovereign Head of Steak...

...these will only get worse as I keep going.

I sing praises of the glory that is the Corned Beef King food truck!  Oh my gosh, where do I even start.

This mobile sammichery run by 2 super cool dudes comes within blocks of my office every Thursday, and at 9:30 on this particular Thursday morning my stomach began to growl at the thought of biting through buttery toasted rye to a delectable filling of tender corned beef, sauerkraut with the right amount of tang, creamy & sweet dressing, and a little swiss/provolone to hold it all together.  After my 10-day no animal product challenge, the King's Classic Reuben was all I could think of. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cinco de Crab-o

I met with a couple gals at Bo Brooks in Canton for some crabs this past Saturday. 
I loved the waterfront location, and the menu was huge.  After being seated on the patio at a brown paper covered table, we ordered a few appetizers to share.  Warning, their onion rings (O Rings) are the size of donuts...we missed the key word "colossal" on the menu.  I prefer onion rings with much less batter, these required a knife & fork and could have been a meal on their own.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race

Today In Baltimore...how fun does this sound?  It's free for spectators!


"Kinetic Sculptures are amphibious, human powered works of art custom built for the race. Each May, the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) hosts the East Coast Kinetic Sculpture Race Championship on the shore of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in central Maryland.  The eight-hour race covers 15 miles—mostly on pavement, but also including a trip into the Chesapeake Bay and through mud and sand."

The AVAM is an incredible place...I love the "shiny happy thing" tree outside (and all the other blinged-out things around the place), and their gift shop has wacky and unique things.  If you haven't been yet, it's totally worth a trip.

I have yet to try out their restaurant, Mr. Rain's Fun House, which looks like quite a place.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Kiwi Doodad

Check out this nifty little kiwi-eating tool that came in a package of kiwi fruit!  One end is a knife to slice your kiwi in half.

The other end is a little spoon to scoop out the juicy, tangy kiwi flesh.

Cute, right?  And dishwasher safe! 

I recycled the kiwi box before I realized how awesome this little tool was, so I don't remember which farm or producer packages it...but I bought it at the Columbia Palace Giant on Centre Park Drive and it was one of those clear plastic shell packages with about 10 pieces of fruit in it.  Don't even think about stealing one of these from the package without buying the kiwi!

Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Day

Wednesday is Prince spaghetti day, at least in the Greater Boston area.  Does the rest of the country know about this?  This commercial is a classic to anyone who grew up in the area.