Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ren's Ramen - Silver Spring MD

Our beloved Ren's ramen finally re-opened after closing its doors last Sept!  After the initial crowd died down a little, we managed to try Ren's ramen for dinner around 8:30pm on a Friday.  We were fortunate that we got seats right away and there was no line waiting to be seated (or staring us down while we were eating).  Since we arrived after rush hour, we managed to find a street meter spot.  From all the reviews I read, be prepared to circle around to look for parking since there are only a few dedicated spots for Ren's ramen parking.

Ren's ramen, Silver Spring location

The interior decor is very simple, but clean.  The banner that was used at the Bethesda location remains and there are a few additional pictures on the wall.  After a brief glance at the new (old) menu, we ordered the miso ramen and shoyu ramen.  After about 5-8 minutes wait, the ramen bowls arrived at our table!

inside Ren's ramen

Miso ramen

shoyu ramen

Both ramen were pretty good.  The noodles tasted fresh and a bit chewy, the broth is on the salty side, but they both mimic authentic Japanese ramen.  The ramen comes with couple small pieces of fatty pork, some bean sprouts, and a piece of seaweed.  Of course I also added the soft boil egg for additional $2 since it's a must with the ramen (plus I don't know how to make it yet). 

Overall, we were pretty happy that the new location maintained the taste and still imported the good noodles from Japan, price even remained the same at about $10 for a regular size bowl.  Even though I secretly wished the new location will come with easier parking, we will definitely go back again!

FoodiePop's rating for ramen: 4/5

Ren's Ramen
11403 Amherst Ave
Wheaton, MD 20902

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fogo de Chao - Brazilian Churasco, DC

For my husband's birthday, I took him to a famous Brazilian Churasco restaurant in DC called Fogo de Chao.  We've had many Brazilian Churasco experiences before but never tried this one since the place rarely gives discounts or coupons.  But for a birthday celebration, I figured we could get fancy a bit!


The restaurant sits right on Pennsylvania Ave, so it was nearly impossible to find parking.  Luckily, they have valet parking for $7, so we took adavantage of that.  We arrived super early for dinner since his work is nearby.

I didn't take any pictures of the food since we were busy visiting salad bars and devouring endless meats the moment we sat down.  So this is going to be a short review.  Overall, I like Chima better since they have special pricing all the time and they definitely wins out on the salad bar selection.  Also, I find Fogo de Chao's meats a bit salty.  The filet magnon was a nice touch on the all you can eat menu though.  The lamb chops were tasty, but the lamb leg was dry and mediocre.

Of course, by the end of the night we both felt like we've had our meat portion for the whole week.  While it was well worth it, be ready to shell out 100+ for two if you're going to visit for dinner!

FoodiePop's rating on Brazilian Churasco: 3.7/5

Fogo de Chao
1101 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20004

Monday, June 13, 2011

Green Cactus Grill, Gaithersburg MD

I didn't have the slightest idea on what Green Cactus restaurant is about.  But since it opened up near me, I wanted to give it a try.  It was actually a pleasant surprise!

green cactus

As we walked in the door, the mystery unraveled.  Green Cactus is a fast food style Mexican restaurant.  The inside is brightly decorated and very clean.

refreshing interior decor

everything is clean and new

We ordered 1 steak burrito and 3 tacos.  The steak burrito was about 1/4 smaller than chipotle but it definitely packed more meat.  There were no fillers like beans & rice inside the burrito, only some roasted peppers, onions, and lots of yummy steak!  The burrito was around $8, which is a steal since you're getting a real steak fajita platter wrapped up in fresh tortilla shell.

steak burrito and my 3 tacos

I ordered one fish taco, one asada taco, and one shrimp taco.  I loved them all!  These little guys were about $2.75 each but they packed great flavors and ingredients. 

asada taco

shrimp taco

fish taco

We both concluded the steak burrito is our favorite in the area for the price.  If you're in the area and want some Mexican food, give it a try!  Don't forget to try the different salsa from their self help salad bar as well!

FoodiePop's rating: 4/5 tacos & burritos

Green Cactus Grill
818 Muddy Branch Rd
Gaithersburg MD 20878

Friday, June 10, 2011

Labrasa, Rockville MD

Sometimes I look for different cuisines when I'm in adventurous mood.  After browsing on yelp for a bit, I found a Latin cuisine restaurant in Rockville that had awesome reviews.  So we stopped by Monday after work to give it a try.

bright and simple exterior

We're not experts in Latin food so I went with recommended dishes from yelp.  We ordered Carne Asada and Lomo Saltado because we both love beef!

carne asada, $9.50

lomo saltado, $9.50

I personally liked the carne asada better since it's grilled perfectly and had a charcoal grill taste to it.  The beef was very tender and juicy.  Lomo saltado was pretty special since the fries underneath soaked up a lot of meat juices and tasted good.  The rice was made with some herbs and lime, pretty refreshing as well. 

Overall, both dishes were pretty good.  If you're a Latin food fan, you'll probably love the place!

FoodiePop's rating for Latin cuisine: 3.6/5

LaBrasa Latin Cuisine
12401 Parklawn Drive
Rockville, MD 20852

Monday, June 6, 2011

Famous Dave's BBQ, Kentland Gaithersburg

Who doesn't love a good plate of delicious BBQ (vegetarians excluded)?

We went to Dave's Famous BBQ in Kentland after being out all day in the sun.  What's better than BBQ wings, ribs, briskets, and beer!  Nothing else came to mind.....

We've been to Dave's Famous BBQ on several occasions.  The place never disappoints!  For the second time in the row, we got the all American BBQ feast which includes: A full slab of St. Louis-style spareribs, a whole chicken, 1/2 lb. of either Texas beef brisket or Georgia chopped pork, coleslaw, Famous Fries, Wilbur Beans, four corn-on-the-cob, and four corn bread muffins.  (I think I drooled on my keyboard while typing this).

It was D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!  A picture is worth a thousand words, so here are my thousand words :)


FoodiePop's rating: 4/5 for BBQ goodness!

Famous Dave's BBQ
917 Quince Orchard Rd
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

Quick recent movie reviews

It's been a while since I did movie reviews!

Here are my recent movies and their reviews, enjoy :)

R.E.D. - 2.8/5: Entertaining but story sucked.

Bounty Hunter - 1.8/5: The movie sucked.

Life as we know it - 3.5/5: Sweet story, even though predictable.

Knight and Day - 3.8/5: I thought I was going to hate the movie, but it's so corny that it actually made it very funny.

Love and other drugs - 4.2/5 LOVED IT.  Good story, makes you think, visually entertaining & it's JAKE, need I say more?

127 hrs - 3.7/5: I liked it.  One of those think movies, I thought I'd be bored but surprisingly not so.  I must admit I closed my eyes for the bloody gruesome parts though.

The Greatest Game Ever Played - 3.8/5:  True story made it that much better.  Amazing story!

Burlesque - 4.5/5: LOVED IT.  Christina Aguilera is mesmerizing.  Story is corny of course, but I'd watch it again for the singing, dancing, stunning choreography.  And did I mention she looks so hot in the movie?

X-men First Class - 3.8/5:  Entertaining since I've always liked the X men series.  A must watch for any X men fans.  There are many 'ah-ha!' moments in the movie.

Hokkaido Seafood Buffet, Falls Church VA

My friends found this new seafood buffet Hokkaido in Falls Church.  After looking up the name, I found out Hokkaido is a big Japanese seafood buffet chain from California.  Since we like Todai (another Japanese seafood chain), we tried Hokkaido on a Friday afternoon for comparison.

Hokkaido for lunch was not very impressive.  The hot food bar was at best mediocre and sushi/cold bar was not up to par.  The dessert bar had very poor selection and the ice cream looked nasty (from people scooping it themselves).  We did not try dessert for that reason...

I did LOVE the teppanyaki section though.  The steak tasted good and the teppanyaki 'chef' did a great job cooking the meat to order.  I went back twice since I liked it so much (plus I didn't like the other food from hot/cold bars).  Overall, I guess I can't complain much since the buffet was only 12 dollars in change.  I simply had too much expectation going in.

crabs were not fresh....gummy meat, yuck.

soup was bland, I like their plates and bowls though.

yummy steak teppanyaki!

Even though I was semi-disappointed for lunch.  I'm willing to try it again for dinner since the price is pretty reasonable and they have snow crab legs.  Maybe I'll post another review after!

FoodiePop's rating: 3/5 for lunch buffet

Hokkaido Seafood Buffet
5900 Leesburg Pke
Falls Church, VA 22041

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

YumBurgers Grill, Rockville MD

On a sunny Sunday, we took the dogs for brunch in Kings Farm town center.  Since I bought the groupon deal for YumBurgers Grill, it was my number one choice.  I'm all about saving a little dough while eating good!  The outdoor seating was very spacious and relaxing, and the food was appetizing both to the pellet and the eyes! 

They have 3 big tables outside, we grabbed the corner table and settled ourselves in.  The waiter quickly came with the menu and we placed our orders.

For puppies? lol.

I got the Cujo Chicken sandwich for $7.99, it's a grilled boneless chicken thigh in burger buns.  It was yummy!  I always prefer dark meat over white meat since it's more juicy in my opinion.  Oh and I absolutely LOVED the fries, they were soooo good.  I finished all of mine and stole a couple from his plate.

cujo chicken sandwich

He ordered some type of Greek burger.  Although there was nothing 'Greek' about it, it was a very delicious burger.  It was a bit pricey at $12, but definitely bigger than most average size burgers.

Greek burger (my dog was trying to steal it)

We also ordered coffee, I was a bit surprised that they don't carry specialty coffee (Latte, Cappuccino, etc) , but their regular coffee tasted okay.  He ordered an ice tea, nothing special there.

coffee: i love the mug set

Overall, service was good and the food was delicious.  I will definitely come back with our dog on weekends!

Just look at these happy dog faces!  I think they had a good time as well :)

my pup

cute chowbiebie

FoodiePop's Rating: 4/5 for lunch

YumBurgers Grill
800 Pleasant Dr
Ste 160
Rockville, MD 20850