Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Nike Free" sneakers

My first review on something other than food, I'm here to review sneakers!  I love wearing sneakers for many occasions: workouts at the gym, running errands, and also hiking/walking with my puppy dog.  I bought a pair of Nike Airmax about 6 months ago but they're not very comfortable, so I've been searching for a more comfortable pair ever since.

John forwarded me the link for a new line of shoes called Reebok Realflex.  These are really cool shoes!  They try to imitate natural movement of the feet by installing 76 rubber pellets on the bottom of the sole, so instead of having this uncomfortable semi-hard rubber sole (sometimes filled with air bubbles?), you have this close to bare feet feel when you walk/run.  The reviews for Reebok realflex is pretty good considering it's a fairly new technology, but it is somewhat pricey.  For a pair of running shoes, I could be paying around 90 dollars.  So I started looking for a cheaper alternative.

That's when I came across Nike Free technology.  It is similar to Reebok's realflex where it simulates running/walking bare feet by changing the way sneaker soles are made.  I love the flexible soles!  For more information, check here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nike_Free

Another main reason I went with the Nike Free is because I found a pair at Kohls.  I'm a big fan of Kohls since they have this great return/exchange policy where you can return at any time.  So I purchased a pair online right away with discounts and free shipping.  After all that's said and done, it only cost me $48 for a pair of Nike Free cross trainers!  I love the colors as well, it's white and baby blue, I think it really suits me :)






















http://www.kohls.com/kohlsStore/shoes/brandsforshoes/nike/womens/PRD~724938/Nike+Free+Walk+HighPerformance+CrossTrainers.jsp

What type of sneakers do you need?  If you're in the market of a new pair of sneakers, I recommend that you take a look at Reebok realflex or Nike Free, try them to feel the difference!

FoodiePop's rating on Nike Free: 4.2/5 
(worn 3 days so far on trend mill and walk around the neighborhood)

Bistro Sensations, Montgomery Mall Bethesda

I rarely post food court reviews, but bistro sensations (newly opened) in Montgomery Mall made really yummy Thai chicken salad!  Ever since I had Thai chicken salad from Panara bread, I've been in love with this light yet delicious entree.  So when my sister and I were looking for lunch ideas in food court, I decided to pick bistro sensations.  It was a pleasant surprise!

Bistro Sensation, food court MM
















They have so many different salads, but I picked the Thai chicken salad.  The salads are made as you walk through the line to the cashier.  All the ingredients in the bowl were very fresh!  You can customize the salad down to every single ingredient, but since I'm the #1 meal type of person, I just picked the Thai chicken salad and let them handled the rest....

fresh ingredients















Thai chicken salad, a little pricey at $8 but yummy!
















FoodiePop's rating: 4/5 on Thai chicken salad

Bistro Sensations
Food court, Montgomery Mall
7101 Democracy Blvd
Bethesda, MD 20817

Monday, April 25, 2011

O'Donnell's Sea Grill, Gaithersburg MD

On a rainy Friday afternoon, what's better than a happy hour seafood joint?  We decided to spend a couple of hours at O'Donnell's Sea Grill in Kentland to wind down for the week.

Happy hour at O'Donnell's is strictly in the bar area to the right of the entrance.  We've been there numerous times because they have good food on the happy hour menu.  Also, they give you bread baskets that are complimentary!  Their rum bread is extra delicious with a couple of beers...

We started off with couple of beers (Guinness, $3 and Yuengling, $2) and ended up ordering 6 plates of  happy hour items.  They were so delicious and the seafood items were so fresh!  I love going back to this place time and time again.  Pictures are worth a thousand words so take a look at our happy 'happy hour' food & beer items!

the foam and water fountain effect ++!




















half eaten complimentary bread basket, we had 2 baskets!















fried calamari, a steal for $4















fresh steamed mussels, another steal for $4!















steamed shrimp for $8, cost more but i LOVE them! 2 orders















burger sliders, $6, not cheap but yummy!















crab dip, $6 absolutely DELICIOUS!


















Thanks to my 2 partners in crime.  It was another happy beginning of a wonderful weekend :)

FoodiePop's rating for happy hour: 4.2/5 stars

O'Donnell's Sea Grill
311 Kentlands Blvd
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

Thursday, April 21, 2011

IHOP, Gaithersburg MD

Since I took the car to the shop and had to wait a few hours.  I decided to walk over to IHOP and have a breakfast feast by myself!  The new trend is to list all the calories on the menu, which I got to say, ignorance was SUCH a bliss.  After looking at all the calories, I was scared to order anything off the menu.  So I ended up doing the unthinkable, I ordered the 'simple and fit' version since everything else was in the 1000 calorie range!


got to have coffee
















I ordered the simple & fit blueberry harvest grain 'n nut combo.  It turned out surprisingly delicious!  It was made with whole wheat flour and had lots of nut pieces all throughout.  I loved the fluffy texture of the pancakes and the nuts added the perfect touch.  The best part was, it was only around 400 calories!


blueberry harvest grain 'n nut
















FoodiePop's rating on wheat pancakes: 4/5

IHOP
206 N Frederick Ave
Gaithersburg, MD 20877

RedRocks Firebrick Pizzeria, Clumbia Heights, DC

On a sunny Sunday, we took our little dog and empty stomachs to a restaurant in Columbia Heights neighborhood for some patio brunch dining.  It was a gorgeous day and many restaurants in the area had outdoor dining.  We arrived around 11am and the wait was about 20 minutes, so we walked our dog around the neighborhood.  It was a little scary to walk in an unknown neighborhood so we tried to stay on main roads, even so, we quickly circled around and got back to the restaurant just in time for seating on their roomy patio.

patio seating @ RedRocks Pizzera





















I read pretty good reviews on Yelp before we picked the restaurant, so I already knew what to order.  There were pictures of  'breakfast pizza' that I had to try since I never had a running egg on a pizza!  The pizza was pretty good, even though it lacked some meat on the topping.  Some bacon and sausage bits would be nice....!  I absolutely loved the pizza crest though, it had a rustic (brick oven) taste to it and it was the right thickness.

sunrise pizza, with egg and potato
















He ordered some type of calzone.  It was good and ooozing with cheese, again, we should have added the sausages for $2.50 extra because it would have made it that much better and meatier!  The crust was the same as the pizza, so I loved it as well.

calzone
















They also had the 'unlimited mimosa' for $8 which is awesome for brunch.  I bet I could sit there for hours and get OJ & champagne overdose!  Let me close this entry with my doggy's happy smiley face, I think she had a wonderful time brunching Sunday!

see the smiley face?





















FoodiePop's rating for patio brunch: 3.8/5

RedRocks Firebrick Pizzeria
1036 Park Rd NW
(between N New Hampshire Ave & N 11th St)
Washington, DC 20010

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wine Harvest, Gaithersburg MD

After dinner Friday, we wanted a bottle of wine and a place to get chatty, so we drove down the street to 'Wine Harvest' wine bar in Kentland square.  This was our second visit to the store since we had a pleasant visit the first time around.

The wine selection was plenty and they opened til 11pm on Friday nights, which was convenient.  We were greeted with a high-school-kid looking waiter that showed us a couple of wines.  The deal was to pick any wine in the store plus $7 cork fee to drink them, very typical of wine bars.  Compared to some of the other wine bars we've visited in the past, Wine Harvest has more down-to-earth and cozy setting.  The wine prices were average and selection was plenty.  Our waiter was acting a bit strange toward the end of the night though, so we were guessing he was drinking on the job.  Other than that, we had a good time chatting and chilling!

plenty of selection




















picked a bottle of Merlot





















FoodiePop's rating: 3/5 (for wine)

Wine Harvest
114 Market St
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

Vasilis, Gaithersburg MD

We were looking for a small restaurant for our girls night out date, so we picked a mediterranean restaurant called 'Vasilis' in Kentland, Gaithersburg.  The wait was about 20-30 mins, I'm guessing typical of a Friday night?  The restaurant has a small and cozy feel to it, but some of the girls said the decor is 'not very mediterranean'.  Either way, it worked for me :)

paper menu - guessing it changes often?




















interior decor, lively and cozy





















Two of my friends ordered the kabob item with pita bread and rice.  Those dishes looked very mediocre.  In fact, one of my friend stated Moby Dick has better kabob meat dishes....  The other two of us ordered pasta, which was somewhat confusing because they both tasted very ...Italian?  Not sure where the mediterranean touch was, but the pasta was sub-par if you don't care which cuisine you're ingesting? haha.

greek salad, complimentary with entree, not bad
















chicken pasta - tasted Italian!
















FoodiePop's rating: 3/5 for food (good ambience for wine & chill though)

Vasilis
353 Main St
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

Thai Square, Arlington VA

Based on our friend's recommendation, we visited Thai Square last Friday for lunch.  The place was not hard to find, but if you get there around lunch rush hours, it might be hard to find parking.  The restaurant looks real shabby outside, but the inside probably has been re-renovated, so don't be scared.  Just look at the contrast of exterior vs. interior.

outside of restaurant





















nice and clean interior





















I had a list of recommend dishes but we were both in the mood for noodle soups..... so we both deviated from the plan.  We ended up ordering exactly what the table next to us had, one pork noodle soup and one floating market noodle soup.  We both ordered the 'fat noodles' which I loved! 

3 types of peppers on every table















pork noodle soup with fat noodles
















The pork noodles soup was pretty average, tasted like 台南旦仔面's soup base.  The noodles were good though, 又Q又彈牙.  Make sure you order the fat noodles if you're going to order this.

floating market noodle soup
















Floating market noodle soup, I definitely liked this one better since it had more meat and it was spicy as well.  This is one of the more authentic dish in Thailand I believe.  The version at Thai Square was slightly more sweet than spicy though.  If you like spicy dishes, give it a try.  Again, I do recommend the fat noodles with this dish.

We will probably head back to try the list of recommended dishes.  I'll put up more reviews if we do!

FoodiePop's rating: 3.7/5 (based on noodle soups)

Thai Square
3217 Columbia Pike
Arlington, VA 22204

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Agrodolce Ristorante, Germantown MD

One of my favorite lunch places in Germantown if you want a little piece of Italy and you have ample time to sit and chill!  One of my coworker that left the company years ago called us for a lunch get together.  He is a good friend of mine and he loves Agrodolce!  So of course the five of us gathered in this small Italian restaurant and since the weather was beautiful, we sat in the outdoor patio area.

I wish I had taken more pictures today, but we were too busy chatting most of the time....Speaking of time, it took me all but 10 seconds to decide on a blackboard special of the day while all the guys read the menu for a good 5 minutes before they picked something! (yes Don, you know the ones I'm referring to).

I ordered the farfelle with crawfish and shrimp.  It was awesome!  The bread that came with the meal was also toasted and very delicious.  I can't wait to go back again!  The lunch at Agrodolce is not cheap since it's high quality food, my pasta dish was about $13 but I received a discount of 10% for showing my badge.
They also have specials like half bottle wine Mondays and pizza Tuesdays.  Maybe we should go back on a Monday night, anyone? :)

farfalle with crawfish & big juicy shrimp
















FoodiePop's rating: 4/5 star for lunch.

Agrodolce
21030J Frederick Avenue
Germantown, MD 20876
http://www.agrodolcerestaurant.com/

Vegetable Garden, Rockville MD

I was browsing restaurant.com and saw a new merchant called 'vegetable garden' offering $25 certificate for $5, so I grabbed it with 80% off (paid $2 for $25 certificate).  Since we were going to Rockville Monday night, we stopped by Vegetable garden to use the certificate.  The minimum required spending was $35 on the requirement and each dish is about $13, so we ended up with 3 dishes and a soup.  Given the name, all the dishes are vegetarian in the restaurant. (I know, I know, not sure what I was thinking....)

The restaurant is not well decorated.  It looks like a traditional Chinese restaurant with round tables and booths, but the curtains are dark green and ....should I say, pretty ugly.  Anyway, the interior decor is definitely a 'fail', let's move onto the food.

They delivered a small plate of complimentary wheat bread when you arrive.  The bread is okay, reminds me 'elf bread' in LOR (lord of rings).  If you're curious, please refer to the movie.

complimentary bread
















I ordered vegetarian wonton soup.  The soup itself was not bad, but there's no meat in the wonton (DUH..) so I didn't like it very much.  They used some interesting spices in the soup though, something different.

vegetarian wonton soup
















We ordered 3 dishes.  Satay vegetables, tofu hot pot (三杯豆腐), and some mushroom dish.  The satay vegetables was a failure.  The whole dish tasted like vegetables stir fried in tomato paste.  The safest dish was the tofu hot pot because that tasted okay.  The mushroom dish was average, tasted like mushrooms stir fried with oyster sauce and soy sauce.....

satay vegetables















hot tofu pot















mushroom dish, oyster mushroom and ...other mushroom
















As a meat eater, I really didn't like the dishes at Vegetable garden.  I admit this review is probably very biased.  But on the other hand, I do think the prices are too high for dishes with only vegetables or tofu and the decor was ...way below par. 

FoodiePop's rating 2.3/5 stars for dinner.

Vegetable Garden
11618 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852

Monday, April 11, 2011

Baked & Wired, Georgetown DC

My favorite cafe in Georgetown DC!  Well that's not a very fair statement since I did not visit all the cafes in Georgetown.  But I absolutely love their coffee bar and interior decor.  I had my little pooch with me so we sat outside on my last two visits, and the spot turned out great for people watching! 

baked & wired, store front




















cup cake display begins here!





















We both ordered quiche since we're big fans.  The spinach quiche is slightly better than the bacon and ham for some unknown reason (I'm usually a big meat fan).  The quiche is warm and fluffy because the staff warm them up for you while you wait for your coffee. 

spinach quiche
















bacon & ham quiche
















I also ordered the latte and cappuccino.  Loved them both!  The coffee bar is unique and the bartender is always friendly.  I believe they use intelligentsia coffee as well which is a plus.  Take a look at the cute coffee art for both!

latte















cappuccino





















I'm usually not a big fan of cup cakes, but I like their cup cakes!  I bought a box for a friend for her birthday and had to get one cup cake for myself.  Look how pretty it is, this is a cherry blossom cup cake (seasonal).  It has little bits of real cherries baked in as well!

cherry blossom cup cake
















Overall, baked & wired is a very nice and relaxing place to chill, have a good cup of coffee, surf the web (free wifi), or just meeting up with friends.  Or if you're tired from walking all the C/O canal trail or sightseeing, have a cup cake here!

FoodiePop's rating 4/5 stars for coffee & pastry/cup cake.

Baked & Wired
1052 Thomas Jefferson St NW
Washington, DC 20007

Friday, April 8, 2011

Carbón Peruvian Chicken & Grill, Rockville MD

One of my foodie friend gave me some tips on good eats, so we picked a closest one to start experimenting on a Wed night. (thanks for the information!)  Since we had our puppy dog with us, we got carry-out instead.  So this entry is based on their 'carry-out' food experience.   

Carbón is located in Rockville town center square.  It is on the same strip as Five Guys Burger but farther down toward Middle Ln.  I believe the place is fairly new.  It is a cafe style where you order at the cashier and pickup your food when it is ready.

store front, very clean and new




















simple menu posted in the window





















We order the "Rachi" which is beef stripes (牛百頁) marinated then grilled.  This dish sounded very good but tasted just okay.  The beef stripes turned out a little too soft for both of our liking.  But being true Asians, we couldn't resist if any organs are on the menu, we had to try!  There was also beef heart on the menu, but we were only brave enough to venture on one new item this time.....


Rachi, $7
















This is the pork sandwich my foodie friend recommended as 'legit'.  It was the most delicious item we ordered that day!  Good recommendation!  The pork is slow cooked, pulled apart in big chunky pieces, and topped off with a fried sweet potato slice. It was a very yummy sandwich!

pan con chicharron $8
















Next up, we also ordered the "sandwich de asado" which is sliced top sirloin with lettuce and mayo.  This was a so-so sandwich.  The beef is a little dried for my taste.  Probably won't order this again next time...

sandwich de asado, $8.5
















Even though we already ordered enough food for the family (family of 2), we couldn't resist ordering the Peruvian chicken since the place is a Peruvian grill.  So we ordered one whole Peruvian chicken.  The chicken made the grade, but I've had better Peruvian chicken at 'Kickin Chicken' located across from Wintergreen Plaza.  I'll write an entry if we visit the place again.  What I love about Peruvian chicken is their special rubs on the chicken and the spicy & mild green sauce.  These sauces are so good!  I could put these sauces on anything and it will probably work!

whole Peruvian chicken, $12

















Overall,  Carbón has very delicious pork sandwiches, and the grilled Peruvian chicken is above average.  What I love about the place is the location, I love walking around town center just people watching on a nice day.  Now, if they have outdoor seating area where I can take my puppy dog, I'd probably visit it more often!

Carbón Peruvian Chicken & Grill
100 Gibbs Street
Rockville MD 20850
(301) 251-1944

Sunday, April 3, 2011

pho nam

hands down, best pho in the area.  they also give the most amount of meats and have super fast service.  sometimes i even think they beat mcd in service time!  price is very reasonable as well, 6.95 for regular bowl i believe?  they do add 75 cents per bowl for carry out orders though, just something to keep in mind :)


#1 regular with raw meat (extra good!)
















Pho Nam
15942 Shady Grove Road
Gaithersburg, MD 20877

*composed on android phone


X.O. taste, falls church Va

i found some descent reviews on a cantonese restaurant near john's work, so we met up for lunch on a friday.  the place is about 35 mins from gaithersburg but only 15 mins from where he works, so the location worked out for both of us.

the service was quick, typical of chinese restaurants, and the food was descent.  the bbq pork and duck over rice (雙拼) is one of the best i've had for a while.  roast pork was juicy, not dried up like some other cantonese restaurants in the area.  the duck was very tasty as well, i think they fry the duck before roasting it, retaining all the juices very well!

he ordered the roast pork lo mein, which is a very 'american' dish and not worth mentioning.  we also ordered an extra dish called marinated varieties (滷水什錦) to share, it was a waste of money!  the portion was rather small and it only tasted okay, definitely not worth the $7.95 on the menu.  on top of that, they put a thick layer of steamed bean sprouts on the bottom of the already small dish as a filler.... tsk tsk...
i would probably go back for the bbq pork, duck, and chicken.  maybe even peking duck (whole duck for $26.95)  it might not be worth the drive, but if you are in the area, give the meats a try!

 
marinated varieties 滷水什錦
 















bbq pork and duck over rice 雙拼





















x.o taste
6124 arlington blvd
falla church, va

*composed on android phone