Sunday, March 23, 2014

Delicious experiments with Hainanese Chicken Rice

I have wanted to try Hainanese Chicken Rice for quite awhile now, after seeing it on lots of travel shows and reading about it on lots of food blogs. Since there are approximately zero restaurants anywhere around here that serve something like that, we decided to go ahead and make it ourselves.

We used this recipe, in combination with some other recipes we found around the internet, and the results were great. Hainanese Chicken Rice seems like such a simple dish, but just under the surface it is more complex and delicious. We used lots of ginger flavors--in the chicken, in the rice, in the dipping sauce, and everything was kind of permeated with this gingery goodness. The gingery rice was so good that I was eating it with everything, and I used all the leftover ginger dipping sauce finding new and exciting things to dip it in. Plus the different preparation helps guard against any Roast Chicken Fatigue that we local eaters might have experienced in a long winter of lots of meat and not many vegetables.

Our finished product (garnished with some raw turnip slices). Deeeeelicious.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Squash soup

Just a short post to share a recipe and a few pictures of a squash soup we made last month. We used a recipe from Laylita's Recipes, a blog that I have been following for years. The only substitution we made was that instead of using tomatoes we used a bunch of tomato sauce that we had made in the height of summer and froze to break out in the dreary winter months.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Woodberry Kitchen (Baltimore, MD)

I've lived in Maryland for almost my whole life, and I've now lived in the Baltimore area for about 3 years. While I spend plenty of time discovering new restaurants in the counties adjoining Baltimore, I hadn't spent a lot of time looking at restaurants in Baltimore itself--it just never seemed worth it to venture out to the city, and even though Baltimore is rejuvenating itself over the years, it's a hard place to go on a casual visit. The neighborhoods with great restaurants are spread out just enough that in order to get between them you sometimes have to go through places you really, really don't want to go through. For awhile, I only had one restaurant I really liked to go to in Baltimore, and I didn't have much desire to branch out.

Last year, Noah suggested that we try someplace new for our anniversary. He'd heard a lot of great things about Woodberry Kitchen, and it was certainly in demand--the wait time for a reservation was more than we were used to. We managed to get a late-night reservation, which we still had to secure several months ahead of time. I don't have a record of that visit for you, but suffice it to say that we loved our experience at Woodberry Kitchen and decided to go back for our 1-year wedding anniversary this January. This time we were able to get a slightly earlier reservation, but at the cost of coming in at a much busier time. We also sat in an area with heavy traffic, which didn't have anything to do with our reservation but certainly made me miss the more secluded room we had been placed in last time. Because there was a wait, we sat at the bar and enjoyed some snacks and cocktails. I'm incredibly partial to the Gov't Mule cocktail, a ginger-based vodka drink. From what I gathered by looking at our neighbors at the bar, this is one of Woodberry Kitchen's most popular cocktails. Noah drank a Snake Charmer, a spiced rum drink with lots of delicious apple flavors.

Our snacks at the bar included popcorn (not only my favorite snack, but a Woodberry Kitchen mainstay that should not be missed), smoked rockfish fritters, and house made chips and sour cream and onion dip. There was not a misstep in anything we had, and the snacks paired perfectly with our cocktails. We were seated a bit after our reservation time due to a busy night (we were stunned to look up at one point and see Bill Cosby exit the restaurant with a group of his friends; at that point, you don't begrudge the staff for being a bit swamped), where we were given more chips as a consolation. Woodberry Kitchen's menu has changed as of this writing, so I don't have as many details on our dinner, but we had some boudin sausage, an incredibly smooth and delicious beef tartare, barbecued oysters, and a pasta with egg sauce.

Woodberry Kitchen is often crowded, loud and busy, but it's easy to see why. The restaurant specializes in making the most of local food and does it spectacularly well. The attention to detail in each area of the food and drinks is excellent, and the staff is busy but attentive and pleasant. There are a couple of spin-off restaurants associated with Woodberry Kitchen that are at the top of our list when we are in town again.

Woodberry Kitchen
2010 Clipper Park Rd. #126
Baltimore, MD