Thip Khao

I’m fairly certain everyone around me is relieved that I’ve now been to Thip Khao, so I’ll stop talking about it. What they don’t realize, though, is that now I’ll talk about it even more. On a bustling still gentrifying strip of Columbia Heights, this new-ish Laotian restaurant doesn’t jump out at one on an initial cursory glance. Once the food arrives, however, it’s an entirely different situation.

Laotian food is seemingly quite similar to Northern Thai–lots of fresh vegetables and fragrant herbs, mounds of sticky rice, and meat that many Westerners would find esoteric.

Chicken wings, which I would not have initially ordered, were lacquered in a most addictive sweet chili sauce, and caramelized-crispy outside. My #1 wings as of right now (a big statement, I know.) 

 

This fabulously named dish: “Awk”, is a Southern Lao curry, packed with veggies and plenty of herbs (we ordered it with pork). It’s much soupier than a traditional curry, but the flavors are gorgeous–and I was surprised particularly by the widespread use of dill, which I don’t usually associate with South East Asian food of any type.
Poured lavishly over lots of purple rice: 

 

I’d heard about the grilled pork neck, which was very tasty, though not mindboggling. It was slightly caramelized and charred on the outside, and served with a super piquant sauce. 

 

Next to the chicken wings, which reduced me to a primal being–literally licking the plate (back in the comfort of my own home, though–lots of leftovers to be had), this rice salad with pigs ear, pork, herbs, peanuts and much more was simultaneously so savory and fragrant, with texture in spades. I need it again.
Sadly we were far too full to sample the mango with sticky rice (which is one of my favorite desserts in any cuisine), but luckily we had enough food to supply dinner the following evening. Go to Thip Khao, NAO!

Thip Khao
3462 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20010
http://www.thipkhao.com/

Lunch Al Desko

I spend a fairly significant amount of time working from home, and am always looking for tasty (but healthy-ish) ways to satiate myself while hammering away on the computer. After a recent Trader Joe’s trip (the D.C. branches are infinitely less hellish than the NYC ones), I crafted quite a tasty and very quick lunch for myself:

Toast with ricotta, pesto and prosciutto and a salad with chickpeas, TJ’s smoked trout, lettuce, cucumber, oil and vinegar.

Tasty and consumed in about five seconds.

Pineapple DC at the Capital Area Food Bank

IMG_9692Whew, it’s been a busy few weeks (new nephew, working hard, family in town…), but I wanted to share a very lovely experience I had last week. Since arriving in DC, I’ve been thrilled to meet a fabulously inclusive and innovative group of people in various parts of the food industry–particularly women. Through a chance meeting, I got involved with Pineapple DC, an organization of Washington-based women within many aspects of the food world.

IMG_9695 IMG_9693Last week, we were lucky to visit the Capital Area Food Bank in Northeast DC. In addition to admiring their magnificent veggie garden (and enjoying snacks and Cava in it afterwards), we toured the facility and even helped pack up a few boxes of pantry goods.

Hearing about the struggle between wanting to end hunger but also being proud of the number of people fed really resonated with me, as did the desire to have shelf-stable goods while providing healthy food options for those in need.

Without further ado, some (sub-par iPhone) photos of this delightful evening spent chatting and exploring.IMG_9697

Abbott’s Lobster, Noank CT

IMG_9488The best way to celebrate the wedding of a lovely couple is by gorging on lobster rolls the day of their nuptials. I was truly excited to attend the gorgeous wedding of some friends, and also visit a lobster haven I’d heard about, in the town of Noank, Connecticut. We prioritized lobster over scoping out Mystic Pizza, and I have no regrets. Continue reading

College in a bite

IMG_9445…well not really. I just returned from my five year college reunion, and if I were to sum it up in one bite, it would probably be a combination of the best bagels and sandwiches ever, all washed down with some Keystone light. However, the Ithaca farmer’s market is one of my favorite in the country (the world?), and I made a point of visiting it on Sunday, even in my somewhat worse for wear state.

During college, my friends and I would frequent the Farmer’s Market on weekends, and became obsessed with the Cambodian stall. Ithaca has many immigrant communities,  and the market also boasts Ethiopian and Sri Lankan cuisines alongside local farmers and artisanal handicrafts.

The Khmer pancake, or Num Banh Xeo, is a rice flour pancake filled with a choice of chicken or pork, thin vermicelli noodles and fresh veggies. It’s topped with a limey sauce, fresh mint and peanuts, and it’s one of my absolute favorite tastes in the world.

I happen to think it tastes even better while the hippie music plays and the sun glistens on the Finger Lakes…Make sure you get the mango with coconut rice for dessert!

Where Else to Eat 
Although it’s been a long time since I lived in Ithaca, here are some of my favorite haunts:

1. Collegetown Bagels (amazing sandwich and homemade bagel spot with a few locations in Ithaca) Locals call it CTB.

2. Taste of Thai After years of living in New York, my friends and I were scared that Taste of Thai wouldn’t live up to our expectations, but it was just as good as ever.

3. Hazelnut Kitchen Although we didn’t make it this time, as Hazelnut Kitchen is outside Ithaca in Trumansburg, this is a wonderful locally sourced restaurant that uses thoughtful ingredients in very delicious preparations.

Healthy Meatless Nomz

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So, you’re not supposed to eat meat every day, it seems. In America, it’s almost a rarity to have a meatless meal, but sometimes I try. Although this photo isn’t quite as aesthetically pleasing as I’d like, it does depict a super easy, healthful dinner that I basically threw together from what I had in the fridge. This time of year my appetite really does decrease with the heat, but this left me satiated in a seemingly healthy way.

1. Couscous (boiled and topped with some chopped mint and basil)

2. Tofu (cut in tiles, briefly marinated in some soy sauce and rice wine vinegar and roasted on a lightly greased sheet pan at 375-400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Flipped in the middle.)

3. Cucumber, mint, and yogurt salad.

4. Trader Joes frozen veggies. I know I know! But seriously, these are great and sometimes I just need them.

5. A random piece of tomato. Yep.

This took maybe 20 minutes (and about 5 of prep) and was consumed in about the same amount of time.