Posts Tagged restaurant

NoVACon 2011 Recap

I finally took the time to go through the photos from my trip to D.C. for NoVACon and post them to my Albums site. I had a great trip and was happy to finally meet Cissa and Metalmom, as well as getting to hang out with Rachel, Bellaventa, Bubblewench, BlondeBlogger, Shiny, Poppy and Dawg again. Plus, several non-bloggers who were somehow still able to attend. I kid, it was great to meet them as well!

After my late arrival Friday night, I went into the city and met up with Cissa and her minions (aka kids) to watch the Cherry Blossom parade. We were eventually joined by her friend Courtney in time to watch an engine fire break out on one of the (under-powered) tow vehicles in the parade.

After a 30-minute delay for the fire, we watched the parade for a bit longer until we decided to head to the nearby Japanese Street Festival. We got some lunch there and Shiny met up with us to tour the festival for a while.

Eventually, we all went our separate ways and did our own things until the official meet-up in the evening. I accompanied Cissa and her kids on a quick tour of a couple of the exhibits at the American History Museum. Then, I walked around D.C. for a bit before heading to my (new) hotel to get ready for dinner.

Not Cherry Blossoms

As it happens, several of the other attendees were staying at the same hotel, so we got together before dinner and had a blast.

Eventually, it was time for dinner and we made our way to Otani Japanese Steakhouse where we met up with the rest of the attendees and had fun with fire. The group-agreed highlight of the event was when Wayne almost magically converted from a video image via Skype to an in-person appearance! Surprise! I’d been hiding Wayne’s presence in town until this moment.

Fire Demon - Not Wayne!

Back at the hotel after dinner the fun continued, though occasionally tempered (Think of the children!). A short rest later, much of the group met of for a last hurrah at the local Silver Diner for a late breakfast. Most of the remaining group headed home after breakfast; all good things must end, after all.

I, however, wasn’t headed home just yet. Instead, I accompanied Cissa and her kids to the Cherry Blossom Kite Festival on the National Mall. There, we met up with more of Cissa’s friends along with Shiny and his family. While I was walking around the festival taking pictures, a group of four international college kids asked me to take their picture in front of the Washington Monument. Without “any annoying kites”. With my camera. They were in high spirits and I can only assume it was some sort of prank, but I was happy to play along. I took a few shots including one I particularly liked, so I showed it to them. This resulted in a request to use their camera to take the same shot, which I gladly did. I have no idea what the point of the prank was.

As always, I’m already ready for another trip!

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Spring Break Ski Trip

We spent Spring Break skiing Copper Mountain with Travis and his two sons. Despite some minor injuries, we had a great time. Read on for my summary, journal-style. Also, in case my account is too long and boring to get through, I’ll point out that there’s a pretty cool 90-second video at the end of the post. Read the rest of this entry »

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BK Stuffed Steakhouse

Based on the appeal of a coupon (with a picture), and possibly a TV ad, I decided to try Burger King’s new BK Stuffed Steakhouse for lunch yesterday. I honestly wasn’t expecting much, apart from 600 calories (not counting the onion rings and sauce that I also had – yikes!).

Here’s how Burger King describes it:

When you take a flame-broiled patty, stuff it with jalapeños and cheddar cheese on the inside, top it with spicy poblano sauce, ripe tomato and crisp iceberg lettuce, and put it all inside a toasted, corn-dusted bun … well, you’ve got yourself a fire hazard. What we’re saying is we had to get the fire marshal’s permission to sell this thing.

Here’s how I describe it:

Yum!

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Roaring Fork

I’m sitting in my car watching Bridget Jones’s Diary on my iPad waiting for the buzz from my last margarita to wear off. I just finished enjoying a nice happy hour at The Roaring Fork.

I’m writing this post to praise the Green Chile Pork Stew, which is, in a word, delightful. Spicy and savory, it is served with flour tortillas and I eat it as fajitas. Yum! Happy Hour price is $6 (normally $10) and a portion fills all six tortillas that are served with it.

As the stew was shared among three people, I also had the Tortilla Soup. I was happy to discover that they serve it by pouring the base of the soup over the chicken, avocado, etc. at the table. The soup was also delicious, though I was a flight of three 2-ounce margaritas in at that point, plus a portion of a full-size one, so my opinion could have been slightly suspect. 🙂 Once I have a slight buzz, I think I tend to really enjoy food.

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New Burger: Elevation Burger

elevation-burgerI happened to notice a new burger place the other day and decided to give it a try today. I’d never heard of Elevation Burger before, and a little post-lunch research reveals why. They’ve only been in the franchise business since last year and this is their first location that’s not in Virginia or Maryland.

The claim-to-fame of this chain (sorry!) is their organic, grass-fed beef. They also use olive oil to cook their fries and offer two types of veggie burgers. My understanding is that grass-fed beef is less greasy than traditional (well, traditional these days) corn-fed beef.

Upon entering, I was happy to discover that this is one of the apparently trendy burger places where there is a long list of available free toppings. I really like this style as I like to have a bunch of toppings on my burger. For this test, I chose pretty much what I’ve been getting at Five Guys lately, except that sauteed mushrooms were not offered, nor was any hot sauce. Jalapenos were not on the list, but were offered to me and brought out separately.

They also have shakes and malts, with a choice of ingredients that can be added. Depsite the inevitable impact on my diet, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a vanilla shake blended with fresh strawberries. Because of this, I skipped the fries on this visit, though I did try a few of my lunchmate’s fries. I thought there were good and reminded me of old-style McDonald’s fries, though fresher and with less salt.

The burger itself? Quite tatsy. I definitely enjoyed it more than Mooyah, but probably not as much as Five Guys. It certainly seemed like I was eating a healthier burger, though I was unable to find any nutritional information, so I’m not really sure. As with Mooyah, I would credit the toppings more than the burger, but I did try a plain bite of meat and found that it actually had a pretty good flavor.

I really liked the fresh strawberry taste of the shake, but I found it overall to be not very satisfying. I’m hopeful that that’s an indication that the 16 oz. is at least slightly on the lower side calorie-wise. I doubt I’ll get a shake again — certainly next time I’m more likely to get fries.

I’ll definitely try Elevation Burger again some time, and it’s quite a bit closer to work than my still-favorite, Five Guys. Although, Five Guys’ web site indicates that a new location is coming soon, very close to where Elevation Burger is.

Elevation Burger on Urbanspoon

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New Burger: Freddy’s Frozen Custard

freddylogoBased on a recommendation from my father, I stopped by the new-to-our-area Freddy’s Frozen Custard to try their burger. I had the Single Steakburger without cheese (still watching my calories). Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much. To my surprise, however, it was quite tasty.

I wasn’t in the mood for ice cream at the time, so I didn’t try their Concrete. Plus, the 651 calories advertised on their web site for their Mini Heath Concrete scared me away. Not much “Mini” about that! I will need to try it at some point so that I can add it to my mix-in-ice-cream spectrum, formerly topped by Dairy Queen’s Blizzard until surpassed by Wally’s Wallybanger (local place). Not sure when that will be, as there aren’t many days when I have as many available calories as I did that day, having done 20 miles cycling beforehand. Oh, well.

Anyway, back to the burger. The key to its taste was that the meat patty itself was very good. The rest of the ingredients were fresh and good as well, but it’s the meat that sold the burger. This is in stark contrast to my experience at Mooyah. I wouldn’t put Freddy’s on the same level as Five Guys, but then, Five Guys doesn’t have ice cream….

Freddy's Frozen Custard on Urbanspoon

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Mooyah

logo-mooyahI finally got around to making a return visit to the Mooyah Burgers that recently opened in our area. I had been there once, but honestly couldn’t remember what I thought. Plus, it was before my first visit to Five Guys. Along with the local Mighty Fine Burgers (owned by the wonderful Rudy’s “Country Store” and Bar-B-Q), these are apparently fairly direct copies of In-N-Out Burger, though I’ve never been to one of those and none of these have drive-thrus.

Anyway, based on the lack of a memorable first visit, I didn’t have high hopes, but the Mooyah is so much closer to work than the Five Guys, I felt that I needed to make a more direct comparison. Like Five Guys, there is a large list of free toppings from which you can choose (with bacon and cheese being the only extras with a price). I was able to order the same toppings I generally get at Five Guys, so it would be a pretty direct comparison.

The result? Well, the bun is good, the topping fresh and tasty and the fries are fine. But the burger just didn’t quite do it for me. I tasted a bit of the patty alone and confirmed that the problem was there. It was bland. It tasted exactly like the ground beef I fry at home for spaghetti sauce, before adding any seasonings.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t say that I disliked the burger, just that I wasn’t impressed with it. Also, they offer A1 in their topping list, which could make a huge difference. Five Guys is a long way to drive for lunch, so if I’m eating with others that want a not-quite-fast-food burger, I’d be happy to try Mooyah again with some A1 sauce.

On the other hand, I see from their web site that Five Guys is opening another location that is much closer to my office. Happy, happy, joy, joy! 🙂

Mooyah Burgers and Fries on UrbanspoonFive Guys Burgers & Fries on Urbanspoon

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