Tag Archives: lunch

When the brown bag just doesn’t cut it

13 Jul

I have a love/hate relationship with food trucks. I love them, really, because of all the delicious food that comes out of them. But I hate that they make my sad leftovers and wimpy sandwiches just that – sad and wimpy. I’d rather have a fresh deep dish pizza made by some dudes in a truck for $8 than a homemade egg salad sandwich.

I don’t actually eat lunch from food trucks all that often, maybe once a week. I start to feel guilty if I’ve eaten out for lunch more than that, because I know it’s healthier to eat something you’ve prepared yourself as often as possible. Plus, it can get expensive to pay for lunch often. But on those days when I have enough cash on hand and I really can’t ignore that hankering for something different, Lindsey (a.k.a. The Internationally-Minded American) and I will take a long lunch break to walk, get some fresh air, and break up the monotony of bagged lunches and leftovers.

We’re suckers for the macaroni and cheese from CapMac, but here are some highlights from recent lunchtime ventures:

Dangerously Delicious Pies: The pie shop originally from Baltimore with a DC location has it’s own truck, much to my sheer happiness because I loooove their Baltimore Bomb pie. It’s made with Berger cookies, which I’ve never actually eaten outside of this pie but are probably the thing that makes it awesome. Oh and their SMOG (Steak, Mushroom, Onion and Gruyere) is rich and hearty and tastes like a feast on a crust.

BasilThyme: This truck is one of the newer ones that has recently started running around here in DC. They churn out freshly-made pastas like the meat lasagna above. It tasted pretty darn authentic and home-made, which is a feat considering they don’t use dried pastas and uh, it comes out of a truck and not a standing kitchen.

PORC Mobile: The Purveyors of Rolling Cuisine specialize in BBQ dishes like pork sandwiches and sausages, but what I find pretty inventive about this truck is that they try to cater to the vegetarians out there. I tried their veggie bar-b-que dish one day, just to see if they could pull it off, and I was pleasantly surprised. It had that bar-b-que tanginess with some spiciness but there were other flavors that gave it a more exotic twist (unfortunately, I couldn’t actually discern what those flavors were). It had black and red beans with peppers and onions, on top of a bed of couscous and served with a side of coleslaw (which I’m happy to say wasn’t drenched in mayo).

There are always new trucks popping up here in DC, so I’m looking forward to trying even more new dishes for lunch. AND, the next Truckeroo, DC’s monthly food truck gathering, is this Friday. You know where I’ll be that evening…

Any food trucks rolling around in your ‘hood? If not, what would you want to be served from a truck?

 

 

 

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Not that kind of “biker” joint.

3 Jun

I don’t know what it is about this week, but I am tired! And it’s not even Friday evening yet. I’m looking forward to the weekend, which I wish was another 3-day one, because everyone seems to be throwing plans into the open, left and right. There’s a big food truck gathering tonight that looks tempting (though I’m weary about massive crowds after 5pm). I’m also running a 5k tomorrow and am hoping to try a new restaurant at some point during the weekend.

I did get a chance to try DC’s new (and only as far as I know) ramen joint, Toki Underground. I had some time to kill before a late gathering with friends in the Atlas district, so I decided to hit up Toki for a solo dinner. Toki is small, with very limited seating, but the food was very affordable and absolutely delicious. I’m hoping to come back and take some legit photos at some point but here’s a look (via my iPhone) at the Miso ramen I had last night:

That ain’t your typical dorm-approved, microwaveable ramen, folks.

I know this is jumping my timeline backwards, but I did want to tell you guys about Bikes, Beans and Bordeaux in Orlando, FL. I had wanted to take The Bf to The Ravenous Pig, which has been lauded by many a blogger and Yelper alike, but lunchtime was pushed into the 1pm hour and with the 30-minute drive to downtown, we wouldn’t have gotten there in time. So I opted for another highly-rated spot in Winter Park, Bikes, Beans and Bordeaux. Upon reading the name of the place, though, I assumed that this was some sort of fancified biker bar. Turns out the “Bikes” part of their name refers to bicycles. Much less intimidating.

Yet again, another cute spot in Winter Park. I guess you could say Winter Park is the Brooklyn of Orlando: more local & mom-and-pop cafes with unique concepts and really great food occupy space here than do Olive Gardens and McDonald’s. Obviously I like this area a bit more then my own neighborhood.

B3 does lunchtime foods well. I can’t vouch for their salads because I didn’t have one, but I really enjoyed my soup and sandwich combo:  The Messenger sandwich, plus a bowl of corn bisque. The Messenger has red apple, red onion, Swiss cheese, and honey mustard, and I added sliced turkey for a little extra, all on wheat and hot-pressed. Sure it’s a super simple, but I wouldn’t have thought of apple and onion and cheese as a delicious combo. It was. Dipped into the bisque, which was creamy yet chunky and had a distinct curry tang in it, the sandwich tasted even better.

And yes, you get a little bag of jelly beans on the side! Plus chips and a pickle or carrot sticks (I went with chips & a pickle – I looove pickles).

I liked the concept of this cafe. I didn’t really experience any of the Beans or Bordeaux part, as it was too late for coffee and too early for wine. But including both along with a wide variety of food choices is a cool idea, as well as tying it all together with the cycling theme. They played video of past cycling races on a flatscreen tv and the staff wears those caps that cyclists often wear (I have no idea what the actual term for those are). Plus, all the dishes are named with some sort of connection to bicycles and cycling. Never mind that I haven’t sat on a bike in probably over a year. I’d come back to B3.

Now if someone would just open up a restaurant with a running+coffee+baked goods concept…

Little Victories

30 Mar

I’m a big believer in noticing the little things that you achieve every day. I think it helps me remember that life is a blessing and that I should be grateful for everything (good and bad) that happens. I don’t shout out loud and jump for joy for every single little thing, but every now and then I feel better knowing that accomplished something, big or small. Things like, “I completed my homework early for Illustrator class! Woot! Now I can spend my evenings relaxing.” or  “I pumped out 3 miles on the treadmill – sweet! My heart will pump stronger and I’ll be a better runner.”  “I made a sandwich!!” Wait…what?

You guys probably know by now that I’m not a naturally talented home cook by any means, and that the novice in me continues to live on as I struggle to not burn my toast. But I think of little things that I haven’t really tried making before without a full recipe, and I try them, and they actually turn out good! Well, in my opinion. Hey – at least The Bf tried this as well, and he did enjoy it.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like sandwiches in some form. And anyone can appreciate the ease of making them, plus their portability, if the occasion calls for it. I’m especially a lover of warm sandwiches, the kind with melty cheese. So after a long dance practice one Sunday, with the rest of the afternoon and evening ahead of me and a couple of ingredients that I realized would go well together, I made this spicy Chicken & Chipotle Mayo sandwich. It’s probably similar to something you’d find at Wendy’s or some other fast food joint, but healthier. Quick, healthy, and tasty? Like I said, I’m all about the little victories.

Chicken & Chipotle Mayo Sandwich (for 1)

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast or 2 chicken tenderloins
  • Pepper Jack or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 slices of whole grain bread
  • 1/4 cup mayo (I lean toward light/fat-free and it doesn’t take away from the taste)
  • 1-3 chiles in adobo – depends on how spicy you like your mayo
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • chili powder
  • salt and pepper
  • optional fixings: lettuce, tomato, red onion, avocado

Directions

Preheat the broiler on your oven at 400 degrees and place a rack on the 2nd level to the top. Meanwhile, season the chicken with salt, pepper and chili powder generously on both sides. In a skillet over medium heat, add a little oil or spray with cooking spray and cook the chicken until no longer pink in the middle. Remove from the pan. With a food processor or blender, combine the mayo, chiles in adobo (with a little bit of the adobo sauce), the lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Lightly toast the bread in a toaster. Arrange the sandwiches by placing the chicken on top of 1 slice of bread, and then the cheese on top of the chicken. Place this and the uncovered slice of bread on a baking sheet covered in foil and place that in the oven. Allow the cheese to melt, about 3 or 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread the chipotle mayo on the uncovered slice of bread, and top the chicken and cheese side with whatever fillings you choose. Enjoy!

If you haven’t checked out my video of Seasonal Pantry’s Underground Dinner, check it out here! This is another one of my little victories that I’m proud of putting together, so I hope you enjoy it.

Do you notice little accomplishments that you achieve in your everyday life?