Monday, September 19, 2011

Temari Japanese Cafe, Rockville MD

We used to go to Temari on a weekly basis when we lived in Rockville.  Now we're about 20 minutes away and there are other ramen choices, we only visit it occasionally.  After this visit, I think that frequency will go down to once a year or less......  The place is getting more and more expensive!!

Temari has always been on the pricey side, but they keep increasing their prices on the menu!  Given that the portions have become bigger, I still rather pay normal prices for a normal size meal rather than the 'super-size' Japanese meal.  Japanese entrees and 'super-size' just don't go together correctly....

For appetizer, I ordered a onigiri, this was about $3.95.  Nothing special.

seaweed onigiri

I ordered the katsu curry rice for entree.  It was priced at $15.99!  It was bigger portion than before but over-sized Japanese dishes just don't feel/taste the same.

katsu curry rice

He ordered the ginger pork donburi.  It was about 1/3 larger in portion, tasted pretty much the same and had more meat, but also about $3 more than before.  This dish was about $13.99.

ginger pork donburi

I'm not sure who decided on their new 'direction' on super sizing all their entrees and prices, but I for one did not appreciate.  With 2 entrees and a small appetizer, our dinner bill was about $35 without tip.  Pretty pricey for what we ordered!  I miss the old Temari with their regular sized entrees and above average pricing (not the expensive menu they have nowadays).  On a side note, I guess that's how they upgraded their old CRT TV over the bar to the new flat screen.....

FoodiePop's rating: 3/5

Temari Japanese Cafe
1043 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fu Shing Cafe, Gaithersburg MD

We wanted something good and fast on Sat for lunch, so we visited Fu Shing Cafe for their weekend Taiwanese dim sum.  They have all the Taiwanese dim sum ready in the hot bar, and you go through the line cafeteria style to pick up what you like.

We weren't very hungry so we ended up picking 5-6 dishes, totalling around $20 for 2 people.  Not bad at all! 

bean curd & broccoli cold appetizer

duck neck & parts (鴨什錦) - my favorite!!

The bean curd cold dish was so-so, but the duck neck & parts dish was my absolutely favorite.  There are some duck organs and duck neck marinated together, so if you're not big on organs, you probably need to stay away from this.  But I absolutely love the flavor!  A little bit spicy too I might add...

turnip cake

pan fried meat buns (生煎包)

pan-fried dumplings (鍋貼)

marinated fried tofu (油豆腐)

Out of all the main dishes, the marinated fried tofu and pan-fried dumplings were my absolute favorite.  All these dishes were under $5 or $4 dollars, so you get to try many little dishes without breaking the bank.  The beauty of their weekend dim sum is it's super fast, you pickup cafeteria style, pay and you're ready to eat!

FoodiePop's rating on weekend dim sum: 3.8/5

***** update *****  Fu Shing Cafe Gaithersburg has closed its doors in 11/2011
Fu Shing Cafe
576 N Frederick Ave
Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nando's Peri Peri chicken (revisited), Rio Gaithersburg, MD

We brought our pooch to Washingtonian Center (Rio) on family outing day and fortunately the newly opened Nando welcomed our dog by the lake view patio!  I was hoping they'd be more dog friendly since there aren't many dog friendly restaurants around the lake, and they turned out to be!  This made me so happy and probably up their rating by a whole point!  (yes I'm very biased....)  There are a couple restaurants around the lake that 'accept' dogs but they need to be outside the fence and with restrictions.  Nando gave a very friendly vibe when I told them I had a pooch and their staff even came over just to see my pup.

I was at their mock service before they opened (see previous post).  But this is the first time I sat by their lakeside patio, the view was absolutely gorgeous for a chill afternoon!  We were greeted by friendly staff and was seated right away.  Here's our view.

table 46

Since we tried the Portuguese roast chicken last time and we both weren't big fans.  We decided to try something else this time.  I ordered garlic bread for appetizer because we loved it when we had it for the mock service.

garlic bread (half gone...)

For main entree, I ordered a Caesar salad since I was not very hungry.  It was descent, nothing surprising though.

Caesar salad $5.95

He ordered a chicken pita with smashed peas and grilled corn on the cob (okay, I wanted the corn).

chicken pita

Chicken pita was wasn't bad but wasn't good either.  I loved the grilled corn, good flavors and the corn was sweet as well.  The smashed peas were nasty, the whole thing tasted like MINT, MINT, and ...more MINT.  I took a bite and immediately regretted it.  It's not for the faint of heart....

We also ordered a 'nata' Portuguese egg tart.  It was overly sweet, I've definitely had better ones elsewhere. 

Overall, the food was pretty mediocre this time around.  We weren't too impressed with the selection or the flavors, but loved their location and services.  I'm definitely going back again, just hoping to find something I like from the menu because I like the restaurant so much!

FoodiePop's rating: 3/5 (OK I added some points for dog friendliness)

Nand's Peri Peri
224 Boardwalk Pl
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A & J Restaurant 半畝園, Rockville MD

This review has been LONG overdue.  I've eaten at A&J millions of times (okay maybe not literally) but I never took any pictures until yesterday.  So here's the review on A&J.

When they first opened up (8-10 years ago?) they were famous for their delicious north-china style beef noodle soup (紅燒牛肉麵) and pan fried beef dumplings (牛肉鍋貼).  They were without a doubt, the best in the area in these dishes.  I have to admit though, either they changed the recipe over the years or got a different chef, these 2 dishes are not as good as they used to be back in the days.  They are still descent, but missing the sparkle nowadays.

What I love about A&J is the abundance of little dishes that you can order.  My favorite are the two dishes we ordered below, they're usually pretty reasonably priced at under $5 each.

bean curd & peanuts (香菜干絲)

spicy sliced pig ears (麻辣耳絲)

I ordered the hot and sour noodles, which has been my favorite for a while now.  It's simply hand made noodles (are they still hand made at A&J?) cooked and tossed with this special garlic hot and sour sauce.  It's the best!  Make sure you don't get it on a date though or you'll need a whole pack of gum afterwards....

hot and sour noodles (酸辣麵)

He ordered the beef noodle soup.  This was pretty good except we really miss the old flavor A&J had when they first opened up.  If you're the owner of A&J and you're reading this, please let us know if you can bring that flavor back!!

beef noodle soup (紅燒牛肉麵)

Oh, just a side note.  You can pick thick noodles or thin noodles when you place noodle orders.  The thick noodles are definitely hand-made noodles, I'm not so sure about the thin noodles.  We both ordered thin noodles on our dishes, but it's a personal preference....

I also ordered a side soup called shredded pork with pickled cabbage soup.  He often orders this noodle soup dish when we visit, it's also quit good there.

shredded pork with pickled cabbage soup (榨菜肉絲湯)

Last but not least, we also ordered the pan fried turnip cake (蘿蔔絲餅).  This came out piping hot and very flavorful.  The crust flaky and bit crunchy, pure yumminess.

pan fried turnip cake (蘿蔔絲餅)

Of course I'll go back to this restaurant again, we usually visit every other week or so.  Just keep in mind, the restaurant is cash only, so make sure you bring enough green! 

FoodiePop's rating:  4.2/5

A&J Restaurant 半畝園
1319 Rockville Pike
Ste C
Rockville, MD 20852

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Quick recent movie reviews part II

**** UPDATED 9/12

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

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

Limitless - 3/5: somewhat interesting movie.

Sucker punch - 4/5:  low expectations but blown away by the movie.  It's a little out there but the graphics are good and story is ...different.

Tron - 3.6/5: another movie that's 'out there'.  But graphics was awesome and innovative.

Source code - 4/5: I like Jake Gyllenhaal! and it was interesting when stuff was revealed.

Tangled - 4/5: yes I know this is kid's movie, but I thoroughly enjoyed it!

The Lincoln Lawyer - 4/5: good movie, good execution by Matthew McConaughey.

No Strings Attached - 3.8/5: good chick flick, Natalie Portman is always enjoyable to watch.

Black Swan - 4.5/5: award winning for a reason.  Good on many levels, amazing job by Natalie Portman.

Green hornet - 1/5: terrible, I couldn't finish watching the movie. 

The Fighter - 4/5: good acting, good story, the 'based on real story' part gets me every time.

Secretariat - 3.8/5: simple, down to earth movie.  I simply love Diane Lane, she brought the character to life.

Adjustment Bureau - 3/5: maybe my expectation was too high on Matt Demon.....

Eagle - 2/5: Channing Tatum was eye candy, that's about it....

Just go with it - 3.6/5:  I thought it was going to be corny and boring.  But I actually enjoyed it, Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston had good chemistry on screen!

Wu Xia (武俠) - 4/5:  This movie is pretty wack in a good way.  It's definitely not your 'traditional Chinese Kung fu' movie.  The plots are twisty and i can't decide whether it's more drama or action, but the action scenes are crisp and well carried out and the female actress (Tang Wei) had a moving performance.  Perfect Sunday movie!
Here's a trailer:

Enjoy your movies!

Coastal Flats, Tysons Corner VA

My sister picked Coastal Flats in Tysons Corner for my little niece's 6th birthday.  I've been to Coastal Flats several times already, but this is my first chance to write a review.

Coastal Flats is located in the new expansion in Tysons corner mall, near Barns & Noble book store.  The place is decorated very nicely.

Coastal Flats

I love their complimentary bread basket!  I especially love the little fried donuts.  They're always fresh and piping hot too when they come out.

complimentary bread basket

This was the best entree out of all of ours.  It was the kid's meal my sister ordered for the birthday girl.  Fried fish tenders with mashed cauliflower (yes, you heard it right).  The mashed cauliflower was a big hit amongst the adults as well!

half eaten kid's meal

I ordered a corn chowder, it was okay but a bit salty toward the end.  I think I'll skip the soup next time.

corn chowder

I also ordered a chopped house salad since I was not very hungry.  The salad was not worth mentioning.  Here's his 'drunken rib eye'.  It was good but a bit over cooked.

drunken (or blacked??) rib eye

Here's my sister's dish, she ordered rack of ribs.  These were also just okay.  We just had better juicy-fall-off-the-bone ribs at outback a week ago.

ribs & fries

Overall, the service was good but all the meats were cooked a little too well for our liking.  The rack of rib was a little dry because of the cook time as well.  The kid's meal was actually the best entree out of all of our dishes!  They were super creative on the mash cauliflower and I wanted to order one for myself.  On the other hand, the ambiance was great and service very friendly, I guess that made up for the food a little bit...

FoodiePop's rating: 3.2/5

Coastal Flats
7860-L Tysons Corner Ctr
Mclean, VA 22102

Oriental East, Silver Spring MD

We haven't had Cantonese dim sum for a while (maybe couple of months already)?  So in order to flush the thought out of my system, we visited the famous (and super busy) dim sum spot in Silver Spring called Oriental East.  We arrived around 12pm and the place was packed.  There were also many people waiting to get seats both inside and outside the restaurant.  I got a number and was told the wait was about 20 minutes.  After about 35 minutes, we were finally seated.

The food was descent but not overly impressive for the wait.  The staff was way too busy and careless for the most part.  We had to wave down a waiter to get water and tea for the meal after waiting around for a good 5-8 minutes.  Also, the food was not coming at a good steady stream due the fact the restaurant was super busy and they always push the dim sum cart from one direction.  Most of the time the food ran out before it got to us.  We still got what we wanted and the dishes were all pretty good, but I felt like finishing a battle when we were finally done with lunch.  In short, we arrived at 12pm and finished lunch around 2pm, most of the time waiting for food to come around in a cart.  If you're in a hurry, this is definitely a place to avoid on weekends!

On the other hand, all the dim sum dishes were tasty, so enjoy the pictures!

韭菜餃 (vegetable dumpling with shrimp)

蝦餃 shrimp dumplings

牛百頁 beef tripe

蘿菠糕 turnip cake

鳳爪 chicken feet

排骨 pork ribs

糯米飯 sticky rice

魚翅餃 fish fin dumpling (not made with fish fin)

燒賣 Shao mai pork dumplings

蛋塔 egg tart

FoodiePop's rating for dim sum: 3.5/5  (non-existent service and too crowded caused -0.5)

Oriental East Restaurant
1290 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910