Saturday, June 10, 2017

Milkboy Arthouse - College Park, MD




What recently opened up a month ago in College Park, features live entertainment, and has an odd name? The answer to all three questions is two words: Milkboy Arthouse.





Featuring a performance venue as well as a craft bar in addition to the eatery, Milkboy Arthouse is not just a typical American type restaurant (an understatement to say the least).

The restaurants's two different sections are separated by floor. The second floor is where  MilkBoy arthouse hosts their back room live entertainment (some events may be restricted to individuals 18 years or older or 21 years and older). On the first floor, there is the restaurant and bar section - which I'll be describing for this review.
The bar in the back of the restaurant
Each table receives a bottle
for refills. I just love this
charming aspect! It reminded me
of the restaurant customs in Italy.
Right when I walked in, I was surprised with how spacious the lower eating area was (trust me, this picture is deceiving). Also, the restaurant is extremely cozy, especially on nice and warm summer days when you seek refuge from the blazing heat outside.






Although the current menu lacks a substantial list of options to chose from, keep in mind that the restaurant has just opened and that this is their tentative menu; they'll be expanding their menu throughout the summer and the fall. However, this doesn't mean that their existing items aren't worth your money (far from it). With that being said, Charles selected the turkey sandwich (as a more health conscious option) while I selected the hangover burger (definitely not a health conscious option).


turkey sandwich
 The turkey sandwich consisted of bourbon honey roasted turkey breast, lemon thyme aioli, anjou pears, cherry pepper relish, bacon, and baby greens as well as a side of fries (all sandwiches come with a side of fries). The bread was toasted, and moisted down with the lemon thyme aioli to perfect texture. The turkey combined with pears, and sweet relish packed a powerful punch of flavor. Soft turkey, crispy bacon, delectable greens, subtle pears, and light relish added up to one of the best turkey sandwiches I've ever had. On a side note, the fries were tasty but too brittle for my liking.


hangover burger









The hangover burger was comprised of brisket blend patty, fried egg, smoked bacon, pickled peppers, cheddar, and chili mayo. The first thing I noticed was incredibly soft the burger (as well as every ingredient) was. This burger literally melted in my mouth every time I took a bite. Plus, all the ingredients complimented each other to produce a taste - characterized as an almost tangy flavor - that is the epitome of delicious. What really completes this burger is the fried egg. I can ramble on about how the yolk only slightly oozes when you bite into it, how the fried egg is not too overpowering and doesn't detract from the overall flavor, and how the fried egg contributes to the texture of the burger as a whole. But, you have to actually try this burger to believe me. This is how a burger should be, bravo Milkboy Arthouse!

One happy dude who loves food

Overall, I am infatuated with Milkboy Arthouse! From the atmosphere to the food, I love it all. Caution to any college students in the area though, it is on the pricier side in the $10-$20 range. However, regardless of price, I highly recommend trying Milkboy Arthouse's entrees if you're in the area. Even if you're not in the area, you won't be disappointed if you decide to stop in. 

Also, if anyone decides to try Milkboy Arthouse in the future, let me know what new menu items they have. I would love to come back and give this place a second review!


- Thomas








Monday, May 29, 2017

Big Fish Grill 2.0



Yesterday, we returned to an old time 2 dudeswholovefood favorite, Big Fish Grill, located in Rehobeth Beach Delaware!


I ordered a delicous Alaskan
Pecan Crusted Halibut
topped with lemon cream
sauce with a side of regular mashers,
sweet mash potatoes and
tropical fruit salsa. This generous
piece of Halibut was tender,
savory, and overall scrumptious. In
contrast, the sweet mashed potatoes
as well as the tropical fruit salsa
were a little too sweet for my taste.


My dad ordered the Big Fish Combo, a mixture 
of scalloops, tender cod and stuffed shrimp, 
with a side of homemade tartar sauce. 
The cod was a bit overcooked 
but the scallops and stuffed shrimp
were both cooked to perfection. This 
plate was on the smaller side but my 
dad believes the tasty quality of the dish
made up for its size.




Thomas ordered the Scottish Salmon, grilled with dijon cream and a choice of two sides. The dish comes with two
sides (of which my brother ordered french fries and mushrooms). According to him, the delectable fries combined with mushrooms and tangy salmon were absolutely fanastic together. He would've preferred the dijon sauce to give the Salmon a little kick to the dish but the Salmon was rather tangy instead. 
Also, my brother was saddened to learn the restaurant doesn't offer shoe-string fries anymore.




My Mom ordered the carmelized Scottish
Salmon topped with parmesean cheese.
This dish came with an option of two sides
(of which) my mom selected the mashers
and creamed spinach. "One of the best
pieces of Salmon I've ever had"
- Mama Regnante. The Salmon was tender,
smooth and loaded with a perfect
balance of sweet yet savory
flavor. This set up complimented the thick
creamy spinach and rich buttery mashed
potateos.
  







Big Fish Spotted






Make sure if you eat seafood such as crabs, shrimp or lobster
to use Old Bay! If you live outside of Maryland, you get a pass.
Apparently every Wednesday is Lobster Night!



The 2 Dudes are back and bigger than ever, 

Charles 

Friday, October 14, 2016

The White House Kitchen Garden, Washington, D.C.


Charles and Thomas overlooking the South Lawn
Last week, Charles and I visited Mrs. Obama's White House Kitchen Garden.

As foodies and food bloggers, we have been following the Garden activities since its inception, which dates back to when I was in 5th grade. It was such an honor to see it up close.

                                                                                                       Come along as we share this
extraordinary experience          with you.  
After we passed through security, we walked up the steep South Lawn hill towards the East Wing of the White House. I soon realized that I seriously underestimated its size: the space between the White House and the nearest avenue resembles a park. 

Jacqueline Kennedy Garden
                                                                           


According to the White House Garden Tour book, the grounds were purposely designed that way - "molded into a series of hills that give the impression of a sprawling rural landscape".

Our walk to the Kitchen Garden took us passed the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden located between the First Family's residence and the East Wing. 

This is the stunning view from the South Portico. Look closely
- can you see the Jefferson Memorial dome?

Charles and Thomas in front of the Truman Balcony



















 



We continued our walk passed the South Portico where we enjoyed the sounds of a military band playing on the balcony. To the left of the South Portico sits the Rose Garden located just outside of the Oval Office.

President's podium 

Rose Garden and Oval Office


Adjacent to the Rose Garden, the Oval Office windows look out to the First Kid's play set. I wonder when they were younger if Malia and Sasha Obama ever knocked on the window to say "Hi" to their dad?

We continued walking, passed the Japanese Maple tree planted by President Cleveland and the fountain, then we saw it.


The White House Kitchen Garden!!!


The Garden is a symbol of Mrs. Obama's efforts to raise a new generation of healthier kids. Just days before our visit, Mrs. Obama unveiled new wooden, stone and steel features that will enable it to be a permanent fixture for future presidents.

Mrs. Obama established the four-season Kitchen Garden in 2009. It is believed to be the first White House vegetable garden since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden during World War II.


Last week Mrs. Obama unveiled this beautiful engraved stone
In its first nine months, the Kitchen Garden "yielded over a thousand pounds of produce," according to the tour book.  The harvest is used to feed the first family and guests at White House functions. A third of the garden's produce is donated to Miriam's Kitchen, a local organization that supports the homeless.




As you can see, the garden boosts an eclectic array of veggies, herbs and fruits. From the picture above, you can see the eggplant and tomato plants, but this is only about 10% of what the garden has to offer. There are over fifty varieties of seeds including many heirloom seeds.  


Although there are several raised beds, one in particular stood out. The raised bed named after President Thomas Jefferson contains seeds from his famous Monticello estate garden in Virginia, including lettuce, brussels sprouts, beets, kale and artichokes. 

                                                                                        

The best part about the Kitchen Garden is how Mrs. Obama designed it: an interactive, hands-on place to learn about food.

Every year, Mrs. Obama invites students from around the country to help plant seeds and harvest produce.

From its inception, former White House Chef Sam Kass and now Current White House Chef Cristeta Comerford have been instrumental in using the Kitchen Garden to teach kids about the benefits of gardening and eating whole foods.



Bee Hive - located near the Kitchen Garden





The Obama's aren't the only family who reside at 1600 Pennslyania Ave. A family of bees - approximately 35,000 -  also call the White House home.

First Beekeeper Charlie Brandt and former White House Chef Sam Kass brought the bee colony to the White House lawn in 2009. Since that time, the bees have helped pollinate the Kitchen Garden and provide honey for the Obama family and state dinners.


To learn more about the Bee Hive click on the video.









Just before we exited, we noticed these farm machines parked slightly out of view. A nod to the reality that keeping up all the White House gardens and grounds is an enormous job.


Our visit was an amazing experience. I'm still in awe that I got to see the White House Kitchen Garden! I hope Mrs. Obama's new garden features will enable it to be a permanent addition to the South Lawn, so that others will have the same opportunity, as we did, to visit and learn from it.

Growing up in an Italian-American household, eating fresh, whole foods is a daily part of our lives. It is the reason we started this food blog five years ago. This tradition allows our bodies to operate with more stamina and strengthen our immune system. We plan to continue this tradition when we have families of our own.

We see the difference Mrs. Obama and other health advocates are making to improve the health of the next generation. We see our friends making better food choices. The Kitchen Garden and other health programs like it are making an impact.

Much thanks to the First Family and Mrs. Obama's organization Let's Move for leading the charge.

Here's one more cool video I found that demonstrates how the White House utilizes the Kitchen Garden for State Dinners.

- Thomas





Monday, October 3, 2016

Booeymonger - Washington, D.C.

Window seating overlooking Wisconsin Ave.












Booeymonger is a delicatessen that specializes in overstuffed creative sandwiches. Conveniently located just steps from the Friendship Heights metro stop on Wisconsin Avenue in Washington, DC.

Although Booeymonger prides itself on speciality sandwiches, its operating hours (7 a.m. to midnight) provide all day eating opportunities from breakfast to late night desserts.





Booeymonger has 3 main areas of seating: the main open space near the register, a raised section, and atrium seating overlooking Wisconsin Avenue.









During our visit for brunch, the interior was extremely well lit and peaceful. There was a steady flow of customers but it wasn't crowded or noisy.



Veggie special sandwich

Charles selected the veggie special sandwich - grilled mushrooms, spinach, tomato,
salad veggies, alfalfa sprouts, grilled
onions and melted provolone cheese with
mayonnaise on a French baguette (he substituted the baguette for whole wheat bread).








behind the scenes
It was love at first bite -  packed with veggies held together by gooey cheese on a toasted whole wheat bread. From time to time, the ingredients fell out of the bread, but Charles didn't seem to mind.


I ordered The Ace: all natural turkey breast, grilled onions, tomato, melted muenster cheese with Russian dressing, and lettuce on a French baguette. What really makes this sandwich is the baguette that its served on - big, not too bready, soft on the inside but has a crunchy shell.
The Ace




What really makes this sandwich is the baguette - big, not too bready, soft on the inside but has a slightly crunchy shell. The only down side is its large size which made it difficult to get my mouth around. It also made for a sloppy eat. Despite these issues, the meat and toppings were a great combo and very tasty. The turkey was sliced thin - just how I like it. And the Russian dressing just makes this sandwich sing.
Yoga breakfast



My father chose the Yoga breakfast -
egg whites with sautéed spinach, tomatoes
and mushrooms served with fresh fruit
salad, and one piece of whole wheat toast. This is a great health conscious choice. It's not only a healthy breakfast, its a good hardy portion.






We all wanted to try the pancakes but didn't want an entire order. So we decided to share one pancake. The large size made it easy to do. It was fluffy, thin, and incredibly sweet. If anyone is craving pancakes, I would recommend ordering the pancake entree that comes with 3 buttermilk pancakes.



Booeymonger is a cross between a diner and a deli. Nothing fancy just quick, good eats. It was easy to order at the counter and the food was brought out in record time. It's casual atmosphere and reasonable prices are a welcome contrast between the fancier, high priced alternatives next door at Mazza Gallery. Since the place has been in operation since 1979,  we're not the only one coming back to this joint. Oh, and I really like the funky name....Booeymonger.

Check the Booeymonger website for a location near you.


 - Thomas









Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Cava Grill Comes to Columbia, Maryland!

I’m so happy that one of my favorite restaurants has opened up a new location in Howard County! Cava Grill is a Mediterranean and Greek restaurant chain (essentially the mediterranean version of Chipotle) with locations in Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C, California, and soon to be New York on August 25th. Cava Grill in Columbia had its grand opening yesterday at 11 am. The restaurant chain does a special deal where from a designated time (11 am - 2 pm) on opening day, the new restaurant location gives out one free meal to customers. Who could refuse a deal like this?

The line extended from Cava to the next store over





When Charles and I arrived at around 12 pm, the place was mobbed. You can see from the picture that the line to get food spanned from Cava to the next store. After waiting for more than 40 minutes in the sweltering heat, we arrived at the counter and ordered our long anticipated free meal.
map with all East Coast locations






Compared to the Cava location we always go to in Tenleytown, Washington D.C, this one is way more spacious; a variety of seating options including booths, tables, and high tops are spread out and organized so that you don’t feel crowded or cramped. In addition, I like the organic vibe to this restaurant. From the pictures of veggies and fruits on the wall to the sign that highlights how Cava’s items are, “whenever possible”, sourced from local farms, the emphasis here is healthy eating.
You place your order here and move down the food "assembly line"


Mixed greens salad with a huge range of ingredients
I ordered a mixed greens salad (super greens, arugula, spinach, romaine, and mesclun) with tzatziki, hummus, crazy feta (costs extra normally), roasted red pepper hummus, chicken, braised lamb (costs extra normally), cabbage slaw, tomato and onion, diced cucumbers, tomato and cucumber, kalamata olives, pickled onions, crumbled feta, and gordy's pickled banana peppers with yogurt dill dressing and a side of lemon herb tahini dressing. From its immense size to its aesthetically pleasing appearance, simply put, the meal was divine. All of these different flavors and combinations, from the smooth and thick hummus to the spicy and creamy crazy feta, mixing together was like having a party in my mouth.There is one caveat about this dish you should know: it’s extremely addicting and you won’t be able to stop eating it.



Charles' mixed greens salad
Charles ordered the mixed greens salad (super greens, arugula, spinach, romaine, and mesclun) with lentils (costs extra normally), tzatziki, hummus, roasted red pepper hummus, braised lamb (costs extra normally), cabbage slaw, tomato and onion, diced cucumbers, tomato and cucumber, pickled onions, crumbled feta, and gordy's pickled banana peppers with a side of yogurt dill dressing. Likewise, Charles praised the heavenly dish. His only wish is that they mix all the ingredients in the salad together instead of just putting the glob of hummus in one spot and the tzatziki in another. However, you can mix up the salad yourself with your fork so this really isn’t a concern.

Watermelon mint
These 3 are Cava's more sweet selection of housemade drinks

The watermelon mint beverage (simple syrup, watermelon, water, and lime/limeade) has a unique taste. One word perfectly describes this drink: funky. As one of their sweeter selection of summer housemade drinks, it had an initial sugary and distinct watermelon flavor but the aftertaste changed to a sharp lime/limeade flavor. 


Yes, indeed flavor is





I absolutely love every single piece about Cava: the interior decorations, food, and everything else. For just around $9, you can get such a large salad portion that you might not even be hungry for the next meal; the pita is also filling but doesn’t come close to the amount of food you get with the salad. Cava is meant for people who love to load up their plate with an eclectic array of food items. If this sounds like you, you’ll get the most out of Cava’s huge variety of healthy options.


- Thomas