Category Archives: Carmen

C foods for Carmen

The other day while riding the train home, I got on the train in Wrigleyville. The specific stop is Addison for those who are familiar with the Chicago train system. Wrigleyville is known for being bro central. Go there if you want to have a broey good time, otherwise stay away. I had to go to Wrigleyville for a meeting, and got my monthly dose of broiness. I thought I experienced enough broiness till I overheard a group of bros’ conversation.

“Today we’re only going to eat foods that begin with B: burgers, brats, beer … and bananas

– random bro on the train

What? Bro, you’re only going to eat foods that begin with the B? B foods for Bros. Thus if a bro is only going to eat foods that begin with the letter B, I am only going to eat foods that begin with the letter C. C foods for Carmen.

It is quite hard eating foods that begin with C. I am not the type of person to binge on junk foods, and it just so happens that a lot of junk foods begin with the letter C: chocolate, cookies, cake and chips. C for junk food catastrophe. Luckily eating C foods was not so bad. Here is a list of C foods I ate this week.

C is for Chicken Salad (Thai)

My family and I went to Panera for lunch one afternoon. I got the Thai Chicken Salad. It was surprisingly quite spicy. I wasn’t expecting it to be spicy. When it turned out to be mildly spicy, it was a lot to take in especially for someone who cannot handle her spicy foods. This salad came with a bed of romaine lettuce, a mix of vegetables, edemame, chicken, crunchy asian crackers and a spicy, peanut dressing.

C is for Cheesy Fried Mac and Cheese Wedges

Kind of cheated with the C foods here, but I really wanted to show you guys these Mac and Cheese Wedges. What a brilliant idea! Mac and cheese dipped in batter and fried, so the outside is crispy and the inside is filled with mac and cheese goodness.

C is for Cake

I love cake! Here are three different types of Chinese cakes. The white one is a white chocolate cake. The second one is a chocolate mousse cake. The third one is a chocolate cake with jellies in the middle. Chinese cakes are usually a lot lighter than American cakes. The cake part is definitely less heavy and more airy. The frosting is not as sweet and not as rich. Sometimes American cakes are too much for me. Chinese cakes are the perfect, light dessert without pushing you over the edge into a sugar high.

C is for Cheeseburger

Cheeseburgers make for a solid meal. This cheeseburger came with fries and an orzo salad. Yum!

Ending this C foods for Carmen post with a punny sign. Harharhar

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Leopold’s Kafe

Carmen here! I came here with my really good friend J.S. after watching Eat, Pray, Love. Eat, Pray, Love is a movie starring Julia Roberts where she travels all throughout Italy living life to the fullest through food, friends, men, new places, and fun. After watching this movie we decided we needed to carpe diem and take advantage of our young college lives. It was 10PM at night, and we wandered Georgetown looking for an open Italian restaurant that would serve us some pasta. We were desperately craving some pasta after watching Julia Roberts devour plates and plates of carby goodness on the screen. J.S. reocmmended Leopold’s Kafe, and that’s where we ended up that night.

Leopold’s Kafe

3318 M St NW
Washington, DC 20007

Leopold’s Kafe is a German cafe that serves food, coffee, and dessert. Personally I would only go there for the dessert, because the actual food is overpriced and just average. The dessert… oh man! some of the best desserts you will ever taste. They sit ever so tempting behind the glass display as if they are just asking to be eaten. Well I won’t say no to dessert. I won’t say no to Karamell-Grey or Sacher Torte.

Karamell-Grey cake and Macaroons

Karamell-Grey – Belgian dark chocolate cake layered with Earl Grey Tea caramel chocolate ganache.

Sacher Torte – Dark chocolate cake layered with apricot preserves and chocolate glaze.

I like my dark chocolate. I like them less on the sweet side, and more on the richer, chocolaty, bitter side. Yes, that’s the way I like my chocolate cake. Give me some Leopold’s Kafe desserts, and I’ll be your best friend forever. I only say this, because the desserts there are just delicious. The cakes are just the right size. Not too overwhelmingly large like the portions at Serendipity, and not too tiny that after just a couple of bites it just vanishes. The portions really make you appreciate and taste each and every bite to its fullest. The rich flavors melting in your mouth like a warm bubble bath after a long tiring day.

Not only is this a go to place for desserts, but a place that takes you to an entire world outside of Georgetown, outside of U.S. of A., and into a world where lounging and long conversations over tea candles is the norm. A place that just oozes comfort and warmth.

From the street level you might just pass by Leopold’s Kafe without even knowing. That’s because Leopold’s Kafe is not on the street level. You have to take a flight of stairs to get to the entrance of this cafe. Go down these dark, mysterious stairs and you see a fountain surrounded by well lit outdoor seating. Walk inside the cafe and enter into the world of German kafe magic.

Stars 5/5

Angel’s Share

Carmen here! Another lounge review. This time a speakeasy styled lounge in the heart of NYC. After our dinner at Ippudo NY D.L. and I skidaddled over to Angel’s Share.

Ippudo NY blogpost

(https://foodifyme.wordpress.com/2011/08/22/ippudo-ny/)

Angel’s Share

Village Yokocho
8 Stuyvesant St
New York, NY 10003

Speakeasy styled places originated from the Prohibition period where people needed places to secretly get their drink on since drinking alcoholic drinks were illegal during that time. To decrease the chances of getting caught speakeasy places were hidden, secretive, and exclusive. This New York Times article accurately captures the essence of speakeasies.

New York Time article Bar? What Bar?

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/03/dining/03speak.html?pagewanted=all

“There’s no sign out front. The facade, an artfully casual assemblage of old wooden slats, gives the place a boarded-up, abandoned look. It does have a street number, painted discreetly on a glass panel above the front doors, but that’s it. Like a suspect in a lineup, it seems to shrink back when observed.

There are a lot of bars like this right now. They can be found all over the United States, skulking in the shadows. Obtrusively furtive, they represent one of the strangest exercises in nostalgia ever to grip the public, an infatuation with the good old days of Prohibition.”

Bar? What Bar? 

Though the speakeasy lounges available now are not illegal in the idea that they are serving illegal alcoholic drinks, but they try to imitate the mysterious and secretive qualities of a real speakeasy. And that is exactly what Angel’s Share did.

secret door that leads to Angel's Share

One would not know how to get to Angel’s Share unless they knew where it was located, and what door to take to get there. Angel’s Share is located inside an unmarked door of a Japanese restaurant. There are no signs or advertisements that  tell you that awaiting behind the door is the magic of a place that will take you far away from real life and into the world of imagination and fantasy. A world where things are hush hush and classiness is the norm.

Angel’s Share definitely delivered. There are 3 simple rules to Angel’s Share.

1. No more than 4 people.

2. No standing.

3. No screaming. No shouting.

Summer Breeze cocktail - Sorry for the bad quality. I didn't want to use flash in Angel's Share

Break these rules, and you will be kicked out. These rules keep the quiet, conversation friendly ambiance of Angel’s Share. Go there not to get wasted, but to have a good time, sip on delicious drinks, and engage in conversations with good company. I had the Summer Breeze cocktail, and D.L. had the Earl Gray Infused Vodka. Both were very delicious! The Summer Breeze cocktail captured the essence of a tropical island vacation equipped with miles of beaches and crystal clear waters. Though a little on the pricey side (drinks are around $14) they are extremely well made and so good. For these types of places you are not just paying for your drink, but paying to lounge in an atmosphere that is unlike any other.

Mural above the bar. What whimsy...

The appeal about such a place is the secretive quality of it. Half the fun lies in actually finding and getting into these places whether it is opening secret doors, entering in through sketchy alley ways, or saying the password to the person at the door. What is more attractive than the idea of something that is illegal or forbidden? There is a speakeasy where you drink cocktails from a teacup and beer in a brown paper bag to disguise the fact that what you are drinking is indeed alcohol. How whimsical.

On the quest to find more speakeasies.

Stars – 5/5

Ippudo NY

Carmen here! Greetings from NYC. The city of millions of people, of thousands of restaurants, hundreds of different train stations. A place filled with energy, life, fun, and most importantly food!

Ippudo NY 

65 4th Ave
New York, NY 10003

Ippudo NY is a Japanese Ramen Noodle House. I came here with David on a rainy Friday night. We arrived at Ippudo, and the hostess told us that the wait would be 1 to 1.5 hours. But not to worry from a Yelp review we learned that even if you come after your assigned dining time they will still seat you. Knowing this we obviously did not want to wait 1 to 1.5 hours at the crowded restaurant waiting area that also had a bar. We took advantage of our newly acquired Yelp knowledge and headed to Rubin Museum of Art: Gateway to Himalayan Art. Free admission on Friday nights. A great way to kill some time before our dinner time at Ippudo.

Arrived at Ippudo about an hour late. The hostess told us we were past our time, but said we will be seated soon. And within 5 minutes we got two counter seats right in front of the kitchen where all the magic happen. Whenever someone would get seated the waiter would yell out something in Japanese. A big, energetic hurrah. The waiters would then yell out the customers’ dishes to chefs who would loudly call out an order when it is done. An atmosphere of organized commotion, thrilling fun, and endless sounds.

We started off with the asparagus tempura like appetizer. I don’t remember the actual name of this dish nor is it listed on their website. It was really good! The freshness of the asparagus was captured inside a tempura like batter served with a side of what seemed to be tangy mayonaise sauce with soy sauce. One complaint about this was that the asparagus was hard to chew through. I only wanted half of an asparagus piece, but was left with eating the entire piece. Perhaps it would have been better if the pieces were cut a little smaller.

And of course the ramen. When you come to a Japanese Ramen Noodle Shop you have to order the ramen. You order what they are known for. We ordered two different ramens: Shiromaru Hakata Classic Ramen for me and Tori Ramen for David.

Shiromaru Hakata Classic

Shiromaru Hakata Classic    
The original “Tonkotsu” noodle soup topped with pork loin chashu, kikurage, menma, memma, red pickled ginger, sesame, and scallions

Tori Ramen    
Ippudo’s “Chintan” clear chicken and pork noodle soup topped with pork loin chashu, menma, spinach, shiso leaf & daikon radish

The ramen was flavorful with just the right amount of noodles, soup, and toppings. The Shiromaru Hakata Classic was delicious. The soup base was rich and creamy like. The pork loin chashu was tender and seemed to just melt into your mouth when you bite into it. David’s Tori Ramen was good too, but a different type of good. The soup base was a lot lighter and tasted like a chicken broth bursting with flavor. Both delicious in different ways. The noodles themselves were good, but I didn’t find them extra special. The thing that really made the ramen delicious was the soup.

This place definitely deserves the long wait for a seat (though you can always skidaddle to check out the places nearby and come back for your dining time). A ramen house packed with excitement that fills the entire place with a vibrant glow and with ramen that leaves you delightfully happy and satisfied.

Stars 5/5