Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ma Duke's, Germantown MD

Wing stop in Germantown has been replaced by a small ordinary looking restaurant called "Ma Duke's".  Since I was running errands in that shopping plaza, I decided to give it a try.  As soon as I walked in, I smelled wonderful fried chicken and the menu read "Soul Food Menu".  My first thought was, they must make great fried chicken!

very simple menu

simple but clean interior

With no hesitation, I ordered the 8 pc fried chicken wing.  I asked for old bay seasoning but there were many different sauces and seasoning that you can order.  But once you try the fried (anything) with old bay, you'll fall in love with it.

I did wait for a good while.  I want to say about 8-10 minutes for my to-go order to be completed.  But man o man did these wings smell fabulous!  While I was driving back to work, I couldn't resist the temptation and started munching on a wing, it was super juicy and good!

I can't say much about the other menu items, since I've only been to this place once.  But as far as the fried chicken wings go, they definitely made top of my list!

part of the order, I already ate some!

Weather has been too hot lately for greasy fried food.  But once the weather cools down a bit, I'm going to head back and try some other items on the menu!

FoodiePop's rating for fried chicken wings: 4.3/5

Ma Duke's
13015 Wisteria Dr
Germantown, MD 20874

Clyde's Tower Oaks Lodge, Rockville MD

Tower Oak Lodge has always been one of my favorite restaurants.  The restaurant is close to home and it is very elegant with reasonable priced and delicious dishes.  On a girls night out occasion, me and my 2 girl friends got a chance to visit the restaurant one more time!

grand entrance

entrance to lodge, valet parking offered

hallway to hh lounge

All of us ordered seafood dishes.  I ordered the crab cake special which was $18.95 for 2 crab cakes.  The crab cakes were descent size and didn't have too much fillings.  I'd say they were definitely above average and a good deal for $18.95!  Needless to say, I finished every last bit on the plate.

July special: 2 crab cakes for $19, credit T. Lee

My two girl friends ordered Parmesan Tilapia and some type of cod fish dish.  They both loved the food!  The seafood was fresh at the restaurant and the seasonal sides were cooked perfectly as well.

Cod fish dish: credit T. Lee

Parmesan tilapia, credit T. Lee

We all enjoyed the dinner at Clyde's Tower Oak Lodge, the food was good and the place had great ambiance.  Make sure you also check out the 4 dining rooms with different themes and decorations if you go there!

FoodiePop's rating: 4/5 for a casual dinner out

Clyde's Tower Oak Lodge
2 Preserve Pkwy
Rockville, MD 20852

Monday, July 25, 2011

Updated: Sushi-ko, Chevy Chase MD

New updates 10/13/11 **********

We re-visited sushiko again, this time sat outside with the pooch.  We scored another social living deals where we paid half price for $40 certificate, woohoo!

I ordered the lunch special again with seaweed salad (yummy!) and tempura, but I got the chicken teriyaki for main course this time.  It was delicious!  I especially loved how they used dark meat instead of white meat because white meat tends to be dry sometimes.

chicken teriyaki - lunch combo

He ordered the rib eye steak, it was cooked perfectly and seasoned well.  It came with some type of red wine sauce (Jap-fusion?) and 3 cute little side items (string beans, tomato, and potato).  We both loved the tomato side salad!  Needless to say, we cleaned both plates.

rib eye steak

I'm definitely going again when I score another half price deal from social sites! 

7/25/2011 ******************

My brother in law bought several certificates for the restaurant Sushiko to use in July.  So he gave me one, free of charge!  John and I decided to go check it out since Saturday was too hot to golf.  And we thoroughly enjoyed our experiences there!

Fair warning, ladies if you are going to visit Sushiko, lock your wallets at home because it's in the neighborhood of fancy stores (Gucci, Tiffany, Cartier, LV, etc...)  Did I just give you a reason to visit the restaurant?  Oops :)

The restaurant looks pretty fancy from outside and the interior was modern.  We were led to a booth overlooking the sushi bar. 


I ordered the lunch special which was awesome for its value.  It's a 20 dollar lunch set which includes salad or soup, appetizer, and main entree.  I picked seaweed salad, shrimp tempura for appetizer, and sushi combo for main entree.  Both the salad and appetizer were full portion sized!

seaweed salad, lunch set first dish

shrimp tempura, nice and crispy!

my sushi combo main entree

John ordered the sea bass entree, which was an absolutely five star dish according to him.  It was grilled to perfection and the flavor was just right.  Even the rice that came with the meal was cooked perfectly!  This was a bit more pricey, $20 for the entree.  But definitely worth it if you ask him.

grilled sea bass entree

We also ordered 2 hand rolls, they were just mediocre.  I would say steer away from these.

Our total check was $54, given the amount of certificate, we only ended up paying $4 then plus tip.  Much thanks to my sister and brother in law for the certificate!

FoodiePop's rating: 4.5/5 for lunch set value & grilled fish entree

5455 Wisconsin Ave
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hunan Palace, Gaithersburg MD

A few friends sent a msg for Chinese brunch on Sunday before golf.  So the group of us went to Hunan Palace in Gaithersburg.  This has become our favorite Taiwanese dim sum spot on weekends!  I have to claim it as a favorite because we also ordered takeout when John's family visited on the weekend after, and they all seemed to like the food as well.

dim sum menu

Their Taiwanese dim sum menu is full of goodies, you just need to know what to order!  My must haves are turnip cakes (蘿蔔糕) and 蛋餅 (Chinese omelet).  These are so delicious!  The turnip cakes have the special soy sauce on them plus some crushed garlic.  And even though we can make Chinese omelet at home, they make pretty good ones at the restaurant.  They also have the Chinese hamburgers (掛包) and meat pies (肉圓) that are better than most places in the area.  We devoured those so I didn't get pictures...

turnip cakes

Chinese omelet

We also ordered some miscellaneous dishes like fried crispy squid.  This was pretty descent as well.  The pan fried peanuts and green onions were real tasty in the dish!

crispy squid

This is our chicken over rice dish.  The chicken was tender and I loved the meat sauce on the rice.  We might have to order this again next time.

chicken over rice

Hunan Palace just recently re-opened by original owner.  So far, it's been pleasant experiences every time we visited.  We'd definitely go back again. 

FoodiePop's rating on Taiwanese dim sum: 4/5

Hunan Palace
9011 Gaither Rd
Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Royal Bagel Bakery, Germantown MD

We were in Germantown for an appointment Saturday.  So we stopped by Royal Bagel Bakery for a quick bite before our Sugarloaf mountain hike.  The bakery was packed at 11am in the morning!  We had our puppy dog with us of course so we sat outside.

My coworker loved this place.  We used to come here for lunch at times and get these huge sandwiches that I could barely finish.  One of them is called the "Hot Stoney Bottom".  I have to guess it's because the sandwich is so heavy it feels like a stone wrapped in foil!

Hot Stoney Bottom

We ordered one "hot stoney bottom" sandwich: Hot Roast Beef, Grilled Onions and Peppers and Provolone Cheese on a Sub Roll with Lettuce, Tomatoes and Mayonnaise.  Also ordered the "Coney Island": Corned Beef and Pastrami on Rye with Mustard and Cole Slaw.  I definitely preferred the "hot stoney bottom" sandwich since I thought corned beef in the other sandwich was a bit salty.  But overall, they have good sandwiches for reasonable prices.  The "hot stoney bottom" was $7.95 and the "Coney Island" was only $6.95.  They are not stingy on the meat as well!

Coney Island

They also have variety bagels and donuts.  And they are very famous for their specialty bagel spreads.  Next time you're in the area, visit the shop and you might fall in love with it!

FoodiePop's rating on sandwiches: 4/5

Royal Bagel Bakery
19725 Germantown Road
Germantown, MD 20874

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cafe Nola, Frederick MD

A friend of mine kept raving about Cafe Nola in Frederick at our recent outing.  So on a sunny Saturday, we decided to take our little dog there for lunch.  I called up my friend and we met up at the spot, which worked out perfect since we waited a little before they arrived.  I had no idea Cafe Nola takes reservation for outdoor seating!  Next time I'll definitely make a reservation ahead of time.

My first impressions of Nola Cafe were good ones.  I loved the bright colors and the down to earth furniture/interior.  I also loved the hand-written-chalk-board specials behind the barista at the coffee bar.


inside Nola

♥ the wall

So the 4 of us sat outside with our dogs.  The service was pretty slow throughout the meal.  We were guessing because people were out celebrating mother's day early?  Anyway, we placed our orders and the food came slowly but surely.

original croissant, nothing special

his steak wrap with seasonal fruit, pretty good!

My delicious burger with mango salsa, LOVED it!

We also ordered some drinks, nothing worth mentioning.  My friend's white tea latte on the other hand, was pretty yummy.  I snuck in a sip, thanks girl!

Overall, I would probably try the place again on a less busy day.  Let's see if the service improves on the second try!

Here's a picture of the happy doggy at the cafe, free of charge :)

credit: MT

FoodiePop's rating: 3.7/5

Cafe Nola
4 E Patrick St
Frederick, MD 21701

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Le Pain Quotidien, Bethesda MD

I've always love taking my pup to Bethesda for an afternoon stroll.  There are so many good restaurants in the area plus there's capital crescent trail to walk around with a full tummy.  So on another sunny Saturday morning, we arrived at Bethesda row with our pup and a lab.

both for sale? heck no :)

We arrived before 10am so restaurant choices were limited.  We randomly picked this European cafe style restaurant situated on Bethesda row and ended up loving the place.  The restaurant is called Le Pain Quotidien and featuring many healthy and organic dishes.

healthy & organic menu

I absolutely adore their outdoor patio dining area.  Here's a picture to prove how much I loved the scenery from our table.  On top of that, our waiter absolutely loved our puppy since he also has a Bichon at home.  He wouldn't leave our pup alone!  Of course I wanted to tip him extra for making that smiling face every time he walked by :)

outdoor patio area

We started out with a couple coffee drinks, they are a must to start the day right.  He ordered regular coffee that came in this adorable set and my soy latte came in a mere ordinary cup, talk about opposites, ha!

regular coffee

my lonely soy latte

We picked french toast and omelet for entrees (in many of their fancy words of course).  They were both made with fresh organic ingredients and tasted awesome.  The dishes are somewhat pricey in this cafe though, as you may have guessed.  The average dish for breakfast item is about 10-12 dollars.

popping colors on french toast! yum!

chicken chorizo omelet. good!

The dish portions are small and the price isn't cheap, but if you want to get fancy a bit and chill with your dogs on a nice day out, this would be a good choice!

FoodiePop's rating: 4.2/5
(okay I added 0.5 star because they all loved our dog...*ashamed*)

Le Pain Quotidien
7140 Bethesda Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814

Pho-Hiep Hoa, Silver Spring MD

We went to the new theater in downtown Silver Spring last weekend for Transformer Imax 3D.  The Silver Spring theater turned out to be a great choice!  The theater was only about half full with very comfortable tilt back seats and plenty of leg room.  The movie was awesome with jaw-dropping CG effects!  We were starving after the movie , so we hopped on the ever-so-great smart phone and found a Vietnamese restaurant on the same block with 4 star rating.  So we decided to give it a try.

Our dining experience at 3pm in the afternoon was very pleasant!  The food was great, the price was reasonable, and the service courteous and prompt.  We ordered 2 main dishes and an appetizer.

We ordered the grilled beef wrapped in grape leaves.  It's basically ground beef stir fried with some onions and garlic, wrapped in grape leaves and steamed for a bit.  It was a delicious dish!

grilled beef wrapped in grape leaves

For main dish, we had to order a bowl of pho of course.  It's a must for Vietnamese restaurants.  Even though they don't stack meats up to the sky like Pho Nam does, the quality of meat, noodles, and the soup base were all very good.

#1 pho

For the second dish, we tried the imperial fried rice with grilled chicken.  It was very yummy!  I love their creativity with the 'edible bowl' that held the fried rice.  The fried rice had good flavor but not overly salty, and the grilled chicken had nice grill flavor.  I also added spring rolls for extra $3 and those were crispy and delicious as well.  Almost forgot to mention, it came with a fry egg on top.  Who doesn't love a fry egg with fried rice?

imperial fried rice with grilled chicken and fry egg

We will definitely try this place again when we're in the area.  They have a very extensive menu so there are many dishes I still want to try.  Maybe we'll visit again very very soon!

FoodiePop's rating for Vietnamese restaurant: 4.2/5

Pho-Hiep Hoa
921 Ellsworth Dr
Silver Spring, MD 20910