Saturday, December 31, 2011

Founding Farmers, Potomac MD

**** Updated based on 12/26 afternoon tea social experience ****

A couple of girls friends and I went to Founding Farmer's again for their attractive afternoon tea social menu.  This time, we were very happy with the food and the service!  Their afternoon social menu consists of various sandwiches including several vegetarian selections.  You can pick the type of tea from the six different kinds listed on the menu and also pick three tea sandwiches. The rest of the platter is a set menu (or whatever the pastry chef decided to include for the day).

I picked the chamomile with lavender.  The tea had beautiful aroma and the tea sets were clean and new.  There were not a lot of details on the tea set but I actually preferred the simpleness.

My Chamomile and lavender tea

I picked the chicken salad, pimento and thin green tomato, and deviled egg tea sandwiches for my selection.  They all tasted moist and fresh!  Instead of these tiny finger sandwiches most places serve, theirs is a bit bigger and in a round shape, but equally as good!  The platter also came with one freshly baked scone that's about the best I've had in a while.  There were two dipping sauces for the scone, one being the usual lemon tart, and the other was a blackberry/raspberry type sauce.  I loved them both.

There was also a caramel rice crispy treat that was delicious, a small red velvet cup cake sampler, one piece chocolate truffle, and two pieces of delicious dark chocolate farm animals.  I absolutely enjoyed everything on the platter!

Afternoon social platter

closer look at dark chocolate farm animals *drool*

The afternoon social cost $18 per person plus tip.  Our service was excellent this time, the waiter was friendly and attentive to our needs.  Filled up our water glasses and tea pots when empty.  Needless to say, we left a much better tip on this visit :)  I'd definitely come back for this delicious afternoon platter again in the near future!

FoodiePop's rating on afternoon tea social: 4/5

**** Original review based on 12/22 7pm dinner reservation ****

A girl friend of mine picked the newly opened 'Founding Farmers' in Potomac MD for a girls night out venue.  The place is new and hip, decorated gorgeously and with taste.  So I had high hopes going into the restaurant.  I made a 7:30pm reservation and we were seated about 10 minutes after, which was pretty good for a busy restaurant.

veggie rack at the lobby

beautiful revolving door

As soon as we were all seated, our waitress greeted us and gave us the daily special run-down.  We ordered our drinks and entrees and just started chatting away.  The food came in a reasonable time frame, I would say about 15-20 minutes.

My friend ordered the fried shrimp.  It came with some fries, corn bread, two types of dipping sauce and a Cole slaw type of vegetable side dish.  The fried shrimp looked a bit over-cooked to me but she loved the dish, so I'm going to give this dish an A based on her rating.

Fried shrimp platter

I ordered the slow braised beef short rib.  It was a bit pricey at $26 but I decided to give it a try after our neighboring table had it.  It was just mediocre, definitely not worth the price.  The beef short rib came with overly sweet honey glazed carrots and mashed potato.  The beef rib, even though taken apart easily, was a little dry inside.

slow braised beef short rib

The third girl ordered the Shrimp Louie Cobb salad which consists of romaine Hearts, Avocado, Mango, Potatoes, Louie Dressing.  The salad looked very pretty and tasted good according to her.

Shrimp Louie Cobb Salad

Another dish my friend ordered was the four cheese wild mushroom ravioli.  The dish didn't look too appetizing but she liked the flavor.  It was a bit sour but she loved the intense goat cheese flavor.

Four cheese wild mushroom ravioli

By this time, we were not entirely happy with the service.  Ever since the waitress delivered our entrees, she had been out of sight and had not checked back with us whatsoever.  They give these short little glasses for water and couple of us ran out of water for a while by now.  So we finally flagged her down and asked her if we could have some water.  She proceeded to bring the water pitcher for our table but did not fill the glasses.  Later on, we ran out of water again but she did not come back to refill the pitcher nor the glasses.  Our friend who ordered an ice tea was sitting with an empty glasses for half of the night without being offered a refill or another drink....

We were almost done with the meal so we decided to get the dessert we wanted and get out of the place.  We ordered the Uncle Buck’s beignets since it was recommended by my friend.  It came piping hot with raspberry, caramel, and chocolate dipping.  They were pretty good!  Of course they weren't as good as New Orleans Cafe Du Monde beignets, but they were different and very tasty anyhow.

Uncle Buck's beignets

The check for dinner came in these cute little mailboxes.  It was kind of cheesy but cute.  We quickly paid the bill and got out of there, I would say our rating probably reflected on the tip because I'd like her to know the service was definitely not great!

check in the mail

I understand the restaurant is still new and it needs time to work out all the kinks.  I've also read many reviews on yelp that complained about the service (or the lack-of-service).  Hopefully they will work out these issues and perfect the flavors a bit more.  I'm willing to give the place another try then!

FoodiePop's rating: 3.8/5 (adjusted based on both afternoon social and dinner experiences)

Founding Farmers
12505 Park Potomac Ave
Potomac, MD 20895

Monday, December 19, 2011

2118 room, TPC at Avenel Farm, Potomac MD

We were invited to TPC club house private restaurant for my husband's company Christmas party.  The TPC private golf course at Potomac hosted numerous PGA events throughout the years, and the clubhouse is simply gorgeous and stunning in all its glory.  We privately dined in the '2118' room which is features a temperature controlled wine vault for 2118 wines and a gorgeous fire place.

TPC Potomac

hallway with PGA tour event pics

wine & hors d'oeuvre station, 2118

gorgeous fire place, 2118

tasting corner and wine vault, 2118

We had a beautiful customized prix fix menu crafted for the private party.  We each picked wedge salad and chicken noodle soup for appetizers.  The soup was pretty mediocre, the salad slightly above average with excellent vinaigrette dressing and good grade blue cheese.

customized menu

wedge salad with blue cheese

chicken noodle soup

For the main entree.  He picked the new york strip steak cooked medium.  This was delicious and cooked to perfection.  The char on the steak was done just right with a hint of bitterness, and the internal temperature was perfect with some pink.  The side items were shredded seasonable vegetables and baked potatoes.  They were both excellent and seasoned well.

new york strip steak

I picked the sea bass entree.  It was very very delicious.  Probably the best sea bass I've had in a while.  It was served with a buttery squash sauce on the bottom which accompanied it perfectly.  The fish flaked easily but not over cooked at all.  I had the same two side items and I loved them as well.

sea bass entree

We both picked the chocolate souffle for dessert.  The souffle was good and the vanilla ice cream was the icing on the cake.  But after a few bites, we both found the souffle to be a bit sweet and rich.  So neither one of us finished.

chocolate souffle

Private dining at 2118 was a definitely a memorable and lovely experience.  The service was great and the place is simply gorgeous.  Of course, it is members only so we wouldn't be able to dine whenever we wish (also very pricey), but I absolutely enjoyed our time there!  Great party!

FoodiePop's rating: 4/5

2118 room, TPC at Avenel Farm
10000 Oaklyn Dr
Potomac, MD 20854

Bua Thai Cuisine, Washington D.C.

We actually planned to visit Sushi Taro on 17th street for the last day of their ramen special: Tonkasu ramen.  The picture looked soooo appetizing that I decided to drive 40+ mins to DC to meet up with husband.  When he arrived before 12pm, he was told at least 30 min wait, and at 12:30pm there was still no tables or bar seats available.  So since we were out of luck with the ramen, we strolled down the street and found this Thai restaurant called Bua for lunch.

Bua is a small but cozy restaurant, the interior decor makes you feel at home with brick walls and simple decor.  The tables and settings are clean and elegant.  We were immediately seats and placed our orders for lunch.

I order the Thai stick appetizer, it is a grilled beef appetizer with a variation of satay sauce.  The dish was excellent!  Maybe we were just too hungry after waiting 45 minutes for lunch at Sushi Taro, but this was juicy and had all the right flavors.  I'd definitely order this again, maybe two orders next time :)

Thai stick

We were both cold from walking up and down the street and finding parking.  So we both ordered noodle soup from their menu.  He ordered the beef stew with rice noodles, it had some asian herb flavor to it.  Although not his favorite, he said it was descent... 

beef stew noodle soup

I ordered the tom yum chicken noodle soup.  It was just okay as well, not very 'tom yum' like.  I think the restaurant adopted more American flare due to its location, but the flavors were there nonetheless.  It was good enough that I finished the whole bowl.  Even though I'm not Thai of origin, I could tell the tom yum flavor was not very authentic.

tom yum chicken noodle soup

Overall, it was a satisfying lunch.  My conclusion is: excellent appetizer and average entrees.  It was a bit pricey though, the noodle soups were both on the small side (about a regular size bowl in Pho) and they were $9 each.  But the service was great and the owner was courteous (he exchanged $5 worth of change for me so I could fill meters before I sat down to eat).  I had no complaints and went home with a full tummy.

FoodiePop's rating for Thai food: 3.8/5

Bua Thai Cuisine
1635 P Street
N.W. Washington, DC 20036

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

*updated* Yoyogi Sushi - Kentland Gaithersburg MD

****** updated 12/14/2011 ***********
Just had a horrible lunch experience at Yoyogi sushi, now I don't know if I can recommend the place anymore (that's the nice way to say it, I would definitely NOT recommend this place for weekday lunch).  The three of us girls wanted to grab lunch together at Yoyogi on a Wednesday.  We figured we'd get there around 11:45am so we can get seats because the place gets busy.  We spent a good amount of money on lunch, about 30 dollars worth.  The food was served within 5 minutes, which was good.  But after we sat down for about 25 minutes, the waitress and the female manager kept coming to our table every 3 minutes to look for empty dishes to take away, etc.  We were very distracted because we were still eating and chatting away (you know how girls are).  But then after checking on us 3 times (about 2 or 3 minutes apart), the female manager came with the waitress again to ask if the 3 of us can fit into the small table (usually a two seater) because they're 'busy'.  We complied so another two plp could take the table, but even then, the waitress and the female manager wouldn't let up and kept checking our table and basically hinting for us to leave.  So my friend who has not finished her lunch at the time had to stuff the rest of the sushi and we quickly got out of there.  The manager did thank us when we left but the whole incident was just plain RUDE.  We sat down around 11:50am and we were basically rushed out of there at 12:20pm, I don't think we'd go back for lunch again!  ...  Oh and their seafood udon tasted terrible today, too salty as well.


I had mixed feelings about Yoyogi Sushi for a while because our last visit was terrible.  The chicken teriyaki was not only not authentic, it tasted kind of bad.  We decided to give it another try for lunch, and it turned out to be much better experience.


We learned our lesson and just ordered California rolls and udon this time.  Neither one of them failed and they were both really cheap for lunch, I think they were $5.99 each.

seafood udon - lunch special $5.99

California rolls - lunch special $5.99

The California rolls were impressive, lots of fresh crab meat and fresh roes.  Udon was a bit on the salty side but the noodles had the right degree of chewiness and shrimp tempura was good.

Overall, I would recommend Yoyogi sushi if you're looking for a cheap casual lunch.  If you're opting for more authentic Japanese cuisine, I still recommend Yuraku in Germantown.

FoodiePop's rating: 2.2/5, 3.2 minus 1 star based on new experience on 12/14/2011

Yoyogi Sushi
328 Main St
Gaithersburg, MD 20898

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bob's Noodle 66 台菜 - Rockville MD

This Bob's noodle review has been long over-due.  If anybody asks me about Taiwanese cuisine in the area, Bob's noodle is no doubt on the top of the list.  I've eaten there so many times, but never once did I bring my camera with me until this past weekend.

They have awesome weekday lunch special deals where you get three dishes and a soup for about 20 dollars.  The portion is enough to feed 3 people so it's a great bargain. Unfortunately, the deal is only Mon-Fri like any other establishment, so on a Saturday for lunch, we ordered individual dishes.

I order the pork chop over rice.  This is undeniably the best Taiwanese fried pork chop over rice in the area.  It's a great deal too, for $6.95 you get a huge plate with sour cabbage and minced pork over rice, veggies, one marinated egg (my favorite), and TWO big pieces of Taiwanese fried pork chops!  This is definitely the five star of the pork chop over rice in MD hands down!  The portion was large for me, so I actually made two meals out of this, hey, that's $3.50 for a meal, not bad :)

He ordered the combination ho fan noodles.  This was good as well, not overly greasy like most of the other Chinese restaurants.  The portion was descent as well, we finished all of it! *burp*.

I am really not doing real justice to Bob's noodle since we didn't order the Taiwanese dim sum on this visit.  They make awesome oyster pan cakes, stinky tofu, chicken egg roll, and so many other dishes.  When we visit the place for Taiwanese dim sum again, I will definitely append to this review!  I did order a soup and marinated bean curd for appetizer on this visit.  They were both good as well.

sour cabbage and pig stomach soup - yum!

marinated bean curd

Bob's noodle has always been the best of the best in Taiwanese cuisine in MD.  There are many items I have yet tried from their new menu though, I need to go back more often!  One word of caution before you head down there, the only thing I don't like about the place is they don't take credit cards.  Who doesn't accept credit cards in this day and age?  Anyway, make sure you bring plenty of cash for the goodies.  Oh, and they also serve bubble tea as well!

FoodiePop's rating: 4.5/5

Bob's Noodle 66
305 N Washington St
Rockville, MD 20850

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ruby Tuesday - Lakeforst Mall Gaithersburg

My sister and I were planning on getting some food at food court in Lakeforest mall, but since I wanted some chicken wings, we ended up at Ruby Tuesday instead.  It was a good choice!

Ruby Tuesday is a good choice for lunch because you can add $2.99 to almost any meal and get unlimited salad bar.  I have to add though, their salad bar selection dwindled since the last time I visited.  But for $2.99 additional, I guess I can't complain much.

$2.99 additional for salad

After we placed our orders, waiter delivered the complimentary herbal biscuits, these were a bit sweet but nice and warm.  We even requested a refill for the toddler to munch on!

complimentary herbal biscuits

I had my heart set on buffalo wings, so buffalo wings I ordered.  These were descent, nothing extraordinary but they were good nonetheless.  The kid really enjoyed the celery sticks, hehe, but that's another story ...

buffalo wings

Sister ordered Parmesan chicken pasta.  She said it was good, mostly white sauce (Alfredo?) but came with marinara sauce on the side for the chicken.  It was a big plate so she ended up taking most of it home.  She got grilled squash as side item, they were freshly grilled and seasoned just right.  I had a couple of these...

Parmesan chicken pasta

side item: grilled squash

I really enjoyed our lunch at Ruby Tuesday.  We had good service, descent food, and everybody went home with a full tummy without breaking the bank.  I'd definitely come back again for another meal!

FoodiePop's rating for lunch: 4/5

Ruby Tuesday
701 Russell Avenue
Gaithersburg, MD

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Michael's Noodle Restaurant 小金華, Gaithersburg MD

Michael's noodles was our favorite spot for years.  They used to have the best beef noodle soup and Hainanese Chicken Rice in the area.  I'm not sure if they got a new chef or if they wanted new flavors, those two dishes are not what they used to be anymore.  With that said, we still visit the place sometimes since it's close to home.

interior of Michael's noodles

We ordered two appetizers.  Marinated bean curd (拌豆干) and spicy beef lungs & tripes (夫妻肺片).  The marinated bean curd used to be our favorite appetizer dish as well, but it hasn't tasted the same in the recent months.  The spicy beef lungs & tripes tasted pretty good, not real spicy but it had good flavors.

marinated bean curd

spicy beef lung & tripes

For the main entrees, I ordered the pig intestine rice noodle soup (I know, I know, a lot of animal organs for this meal...).  It was actually pretty good!  It tasted pretty authentic with finely chopped Chinese celery in the soup.  I finished the whole bowl minus all the pig intestine pieces because there were so many.

pig intestine rice noodle soup (大腸米粉)

He ordered the minced chicken with lettuce (洋蔥雞鬆).  The dish was descent, the chicken and onion were salty and a little sweet at the same time.  The most common variation of this dish is minced chicken and shrimp with lettuce (雞蝦鬆), that one is pretty good as well.

minced chicken with lettuce (洋蔥雞鬆)

The whole meal ended up around $30 dollars plus tip.  Not bad for what we've ordered.  I do wish they can bring the good flavors back in their signature dishes such as beef noodle soup and Hainese chicken over rice.  Hopefully their chef will see this post and fix the flavors! *wishful thinking*

FoodiePop's rating: 3.9/5

Michael's Noodle Restaurant
10038 Darnestown Rd
Rockville, MD 20850

Monday, November 21, 2011

Niwana Hana, Rockville MD

I've been to Niwana Hana many times in the past years, it is not the most authentic Japanese restaurant but the location is convenient.  It is situated right in the middle of Rockville.  On a sunny Friday, a girl friend and I decided to visit the place for its lunch menu.

The lunch menu was quite simple, you can pick sushi rolls, bento boxes, or entrees like udon noodle soup or soba noodles.  We both opted for the bento boxes because they look like the best deal for your money.

bento box: spider roll & shrimp tempura, $11.99

She picked the spider roll and shrimp tempura bento box.  Spider roll is fried soft shell crab in sushi roll, you usually can't get away with paying less than $8 for this.  So this was a very good deal!

bento box: California roll & shrimp tempura, $8.99

I picked a popular combination, California roll and shrimp tempura.  This was descent as well, not a lot of surprises but it was pretty cheap for the amount of food I got.  I especially love the broccoli and carrots, they put a little sesame oil and Japanese soy sauce to give it just the right amount of flavor.  The shrimp tempura only came with one shrimp, but I enjoyed the vegetable and crab stick tempura anyhow.

Overall, Niwana Hana is good for business casual lunch on weekdays.  As far as other menu items, they look somewhat pricey.  I would probably still opt for Yuraku since it is more authentic than Niwana Hana on regular menu items.

FoodiePop's rating for lunch: 3.2/5

Niwana Hana
887 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ziki Japanese Steakhouse, Gaithersburg MD

We haven't visited a Japanese tappenyaki for a while.  Even though our favorite tappenyaki place is Benihana in Bethesda, we decided to opt for something closer this past we ended up in Ziki Japanese steak house near Washintgonian center.

It was odd that we were the only tappenyaki customers during the entire lunch hour on a Saturday, but we enjoyed it nonetheless.  We were disappointed that they didn't have any specials for lunch, maybe that's why there were so few lunch customers?  He ordered the shrimp and steak tappenyaki combo and I ordered the chicken and steak combo.

Each entree came with salad and soup.  They were just okay, I was surprised that they didn't use traditional Japanese ginger dressing for the salad.  Indeed, they used ..thousand island dressing.  The soup was ordinary, maybe a little below average.


mushroom soup

I also ordered a bowl of fried rice for additional $3 because I love tappenyaki fried rice.  This one was just below average, Benihana makes much better tappenyaki fried rice.

tappenyaki fried rice

Then the show started!  We weren't really interested in the cooking show since we've seen it many many times.  But we tried to act interested, ...most of the time.  The chef was very professional and entertaining, even though we weren't paying close attention to him.

chef putting on a show

cooking main entree *droool*

The main entree portions were big.  I love the amount of veggies they cook with your meats, plus he made these tappenyaki fried noodles with our meals.  The noodles were delicious!  The steak was cooked to the order and he also put in some garlic with it.  What's not to love?

ta-da!!  My steak & chicken

complimentary tappenyaki noodles, yummy!

In a quick summary, we enjoyed our tappenyaki meals at Ziki.  It was a bit pricey but the food portions were big.  As far as the the overall quality, I still favor Benihana in Bethesda, but Ziki is a good alternative that's right around the corner.

FoodiePop's rating on Japanese tappenyaki: 3.7/5

Ziki Japanese Restaurant
10009 Fields Road