Saturday, December 11, 2010

Noodles opening at Woodmore in Lanham (with a babe)

Who can complain about free food near your home, especially if you live in PG County? We weer invited to celebrate the opening of the new Noodles and Company at the Woodmore Town Center near the new Wegmans. Already a huge fan of the Wegmans, we were happy to combine a shopping trip with a free dinner!

We've been to many Noodles before, even many years ago back in Colorado where they originated. I've always liked the idea: I love noodles of all sorts, love the idea of fresh and tasty "fast food" and like the service concept of order at the counter but get food delivered on real plates with real cutlery. But somehow, it often falls short, and the opening was no exception.

It seems weird to say this nowadays, but I think their portions are too small. Now, I am a nursing mom, but I'm usually more than happy (or more typically overwhelmed) by portion sizes elsewhere. Secondly, they have WAY too few vegetables. My udon noodles with broccoli (and carrots) had only one teeny floret of broccoli. I want piles of vegetables with my dinner.

This dinner was no exception. But I would tend to just order a salad and a main course and this wouldn't be a problem-- but for the opening we just got a main course, so it was more obvious. All of that said, the food is tasty and it is made fresh. The real bonuses come in with you dine with children since this restaurant clearly caters to kids, with tons of great noodle options, plenty of high chairs, changing table in the women's room, and a good child friendly atmosphere.

All that and they are in PG County, which gives them some major bonus points. If you live in PG, you'll check them out sometime either way, just remember to order a bit extra.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Firefly feels ho-hum (with a sleeping baby)

It was already a bit of a frustrating night, thinking that we could get into either The Blue Duck or Westend Bistro early on a Wednesday night. Both were full. So, we wandered around a bit, looked at Ris (way too quiet for a baby)and then came to Firefly . Local ingredients? Child-friendly? American comfort food? Sounds great for a cold night with the babe.

It was a lovely, cozy space and they were able to seat us right away with a high chair. The lit tree in the center of the room gave it a fun and friendly feel. We started with the two soups, a vegetable soup and a matzo ball soup. Both were fine, if a bit over priced, and nothing I can really remember. My husband had gnocchi with a boar ragu, which he enjoyed. And I had the worst salad I have ever had.

Sigh...the "Roasted Squash" salad...It sounded great. Roasted squash, nuts, yum. Hearty, tasty, robust and delicious, right? What arrived was 4 tiny pieces of cold roasted squash, no flavors with the skin on. Topped with some wet, flavorless, leaves of lettuce. Then some almonds. Did I say it was $11? Need I say more?

Firefly has a great idea: a cozy, family-oriented fine dining restaurant. But until the food meets the mark we won't be back.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Minigolf on a cold dark night anyone? (With a baby?)

Yes, it's possible to have good food in a nice place in the winter time time and play minigolf afterwards. And heck, if daylight savings time just happened and you are trying to get your 7 - month old to stay up later, what better way than having dinner on a red faux-alligator skin couch he can scratch at and then play a round of mini golf?

It's all possible at the H Street Country Club , where upstairs there is a small, casual restaurant and a complete 9-hole mini-golf course featuring DC's landmarks.

The food was tasty, and some of their deals make it not too expensive, like their Sunday night pre-fixe. We enjoyed the duck and the enchiladas, although I would pass on the dessert.

Mini-golf was a blast, and in the winter time it will be even better. This isn't a serious course, but makes for a short diversion after eating. Best go and check it out yourself!

Zengo is delicious with a baby

There are so many restaurants in the Penn Quarter it can be difficult to remember which ones are there when you are hungry.

Last night we went to Zengo for dinner and it made us feel badly we haven't been for so long. We were greeted kindly with a baby and the waiter even brought him some extra chopsticks as a toy and inquired if he wanted or needed anything. At the moment, in this sitting but pre-crawling stage, he is as happy as can be to sit on a wide bench banquette and that is just what he did for the whole meal.

Everything was great. The food, the service, the baby. Highlights were the Thai chicken empanadas, the tuna wonton tacos, the vegetarian roll and the beluga lentils with taro root. Always the discerning customer, Alexander enjoyed the guacamole, lentils and taro root immensely. Since we are just beginning our food journey it was sweet to see him eat.

Zengo is a great place to take kids if they can at least sit still for a bit. The menu is good fun, there are gluten free and vegetarian and vegan menus, and the staff is friendly to children with plenty of high chairs. It won't be long until we are back.

Monday, October 11, 2010

6-months (the calm before the storm)

As Alexander turns 6-months (that's him with his first food there, harvested from our garden and made into a delectable carrot, garlic, breastmilk combo), we are reflecting that everyone has told us this is the "calm before the storm". Is it true? Is dining out with a crawling or walking 12-36 month old as difficult as they say? Sounds like it...

So, for now, we are going to enjoy these quiet times, Alexander happy in his highchair throwing beansprouts all over the place while we relax over our pho...

We'll let you know how it goes!

DaMoim mixes it up (with a baby)

We found ourselves out in Annandale, VA this weekend and decided to stop into DaMoim, a Korean fusion place I have been planning to check out for a while. While they were open on a Sunday at noon, we were the only folks in there other than a few patrons watching the game at the. But it was a friendly greeting and the waiter immediately brought over a cup for Alexander to have some water along with a highchair, which was sweet.

I had heard good things about DaMoim, and the first course of crispy and delicious house-made vegetable dumplings were a great start, although nothing I hadn't had before.

The next dish of Ddukbokki was something entirely new to me: gnocchi-like rice noodles with vegetables and a sort of fish patty thing all in a spicy tomato sauce. It was something I'll crave at some point on a cold day in the winter, and it was a huge appetizer. Definitely a hit with the whole family, a nice blend of east and west, kind of an Asian- American comfort food.

While a bit more standard, the chicken lettuce wraps were perfectly done and the crispy rice noodles were a good touch.

All in all, the best dish was the kimchi quesadilla-- it was like it was meant to be. Spicy cabbage and melted choose sounds...weird...but it really worked together. So much that I wondered when we will be seeing kimchi pupusas and the like (just ferment the cabbage and put it inside-- it's not really much of a stretch). It was a great dish.

DaMoim was a friendly place and the service was spot-on. They made the choice at some point to cater to the football crowd and turned off the music and turned up the volume of the telly, but at lunch on a Sunday I won't complain. The restaurant had the feel of a prosperous family place (perhaps there's also a bit of speculation as to who the 4 Mercedes parked out front belong to), and really, it should. I only wish it was closer.

Baby-friendly? Like most Asian establishments, it was very baby-friendly. The carpet on the floor was also so clean I wouldn't think twice having a little one down there. Children would have to be willing to try something new, and some of the food was very spicy, but I'm sure they would be accommodating as they seemed well prepared for children. It's certainly more friendly to little tastes (quesadillas and tacos, albeit with kimchi and the like) then the average Korean.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Back in town!

Here we are in Bristol, England, near the gorge enjoying a local cask IPA and a local pear cider.

We have finally surfaced after a steady month of work and play travel. Alexander visited the "homeland" to see his extended family and friends in Ireland, England and Scotland. You can assure there was much good food and drink to be had, but since this is a blog about dining around DC we'll just keep those experiences to ourselves.

However, there is one place where the UK is far ahead of us and I already miss it sorely. Everywhere you go, I mean EVERYWHERE there is a "babycare" room. Always with a sink, changing table, nursing chair, and usually a potty. In smaller places it is also the handicapped restroom, but it always is a great place to be able to change baby-- and it's easy for both parents to go into. It's also easy to strap your little one in and pee yourself, which was much appreciated. Anyways, I hope we head in this direction in the future here.