Originally made July 22, 2008

This was another 残り物 (nokorimono) day. My father had made grilled-marinated-salmon a few days prior and eating fish plain after a few days is kinda… un-appetizing, so I made some sake raisu — salmon fried rice. The flavor of the salmon itself was pretty strong, so I didn’t need to add anything flavorful to the mix.

Sake Raisu

– leftover rice (not as sticky as fresh and works better in the pan)
– vegetables of choice (negi, onion, cilantro, peppers, etc) [carrots were used here along with the green onions that dressed the salmon]
– protein of choice (I used a big hunk of salmon)
– 1 egg
– little bit of soy sauce

Heat up a pan (I used a wok) and add vegetables until softened. Add salmon and break into small pieces. Add rice and toss until all ingredients are equally distributed. Add soy sauce to taste (optional).

Make an egg separately or make a well in the bottom of the wok and pour the egg (whisked) into the center. Allow to cook and mix into the rice. Sprinkle with pepper if desired.

Eat hot! (served with Green Tea soymilk here)

Aji Ichiban

Food Decor Service Cost
10 8 8 $10

‘Aji Ichiban’ means ‘Best Flavor/Number 1 Flavor’ in Japanese, but this is actually a Hong-Kong company.

I’ve visited two Aji Ichibans, one in New York City (Chinatown) and one in Rockville, Maryland.

The one in New York City seems to be always filled and can be brightly seen from the road (when you’re walking, not driving). It had a great assortment of candies and dried fruits (and other things that I couldn’t identify if asked). I was able to get Western and Eastern style candies and chocolates for my family as souvenirs and bring them home for a non-painful price.

The one in Rockville is connected to a in-the-back-room beauty salon, and we were asked if we were there for the salon the second we stepped in. There was a real lack of selection here, and our only other company was an old couple looking at the dried…stuff, and I have a suspicion that they were actually there waiting for someone in the salon. This Aji Ichiban is in a conformist, grey shopping center, and is very hard to see from the road if you’re not looking for it. I happened to be looking for Bob’s Noodle Shop/Shabu Shabu place, and I’m familiar with Aji Ichiban already, but even I second guessed myself thinking it was a lame Japanese steak house or a knock-off of the real thing.

Both places have items in clear plastic tubs lining the walls and in the center of the store. No massive drawers up the wall though, this place is simple and clean with wooden floors, large windows, and a single cash register. Items end up in clear plastic bags with pretty red/black/gold stripes and writing on them.

Good for kids or to sample something you’ve never tried, but I’d rather go to the Chinese bakery! Many of these things (or similar) can be purchased at Asian (or American!) grocery stores to boot.

La Tasca

Food Decor Service Cost
16 17 19 $36

Full Review Pending.

Paella Negra $18.95 – Squid ink paella with seafood
Fritura Mixta de Pescado $6.75 – For seafood lovers! Deep fried squid, scallops, and shrimp
served with lemon, sea salt and garlic mayonnaise
Patatas Bravas con Ali-Ali $4.25 – The best known tapas – deep fried potatoes in
a spicy sauce and garlic mayonnaise
Brocheta de Gambas y Vieiras $7.25 – Grilled skewers of shrimp and scallops wrapped in bacon

From Zagat:

These handsome hermanas (now including locations in Rockville, Alexandria and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor) “transport you to a Spanish fiesta” with walls that are “decorated from floor to ceiling”, flamenco dancers and a generally “lively atmosphere”; the “reasonably priced” “tasty tapas”, “huge selection of sangrias” and a “happy hour with free paella”, plus “friendly service”, make it “great for big groups”; the less enamorado, however, diss the “noisy” “Disneyland” vibe.
Food: 16, Decor: 20, Service:16, $30
Chinatown (722 Seventh Street NW & G/H Street, Gallery Place Metro 202-347-9190), Rockville (Row at Rockville Town Square, 141 Gibbs Street & Washington Street, Maryland 301-279-7011), Alexandria (607 King Street & St. Asaph Street, Virginia 703-299-9810), Arlington (2900 Wilson Boulevard & Fillmore Street, Virginia, Clarendon Metro 703-812-9120)

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McCormick & Schmick’s

Food Decor Service Cost
12 14 13 $35

I have visited McCormick & Schmick’s twice, and M&S Grille once. The scores may seem a bit harsh for a restaurant that has a pretty good reputation in general, but I don’t want to waste my time any more at this establishment in order to get a less biased score.

The first time I visited McCormick & Schmick’s was with a Restaurant.com certificate at the Mclean (Tysons Corner) location. We had never tried oysters before and thought it a great chance to sample a bunch by getting the 7-different-types-of-oyster sampler. Until recently, I have been turned off of oysters because of this experience (healed by a trip to Japan where I ate clams and fried oysters at Ceiba). The oysters were slimy, salty, and not fresh at all. There was no flavor to the oyster itself, just the taste of briny ocean (or bay?) water. All in all, a mediocre experience and they made us feel cheap and like little kids when we presented our gift certificate.

The second time (9/17/08) was at the Chinatown location, again with a gift certificate. [I think I’ve established that this restaurant is –not– worth paying full price for.] I ordered the Sea Scallops and Ginger Pink Lemonade; my boyfriend ordered Fried Oysters and a beer.

The service at the bar while we waited for our table was fine (reservations are a must), but the service at our table was horrible. Our waiter didn’t know anything about any of the drinks (I specified that I wanted a mixed drink with ice as opposed to a martini because martini’s are not as enjoyable for me because of their flavor singularity and strength) and then because of this explanation, I received a Pink Ginger Lemonade (pink lemonade and ginger vodka) that was very weak and basically a waste of $8.50. Not to mention the fact that he looked at my boyfriend’s ID for a good, solid minute before handing it back to him.

The food looked a little eerie when it arrived; small, rubbery, chewy and flat-flavored scallops spread in a circle around the plate with artichoke leaves and a pile of congealed, plain, and poorly spiced potato slices in the center—all atop a thin, flavorless sauce; Crispy-looking but slightly mushy inside fried oyster strips with tartar sauce and thick steak fries and coleslaw. The scallops actually seemed to have bits of grit in them as I was chewing them and I couldn’t finish the five small scallops I had and the artichoke leaves tasted like buttery grass. The first oyster strip I had (with tartar sauce, mind you) tasted like a low-class version of it’s Ceiba cousin but the second strip I had tasted horrible and I ended up spitting out the green-ish gray mush onto my plate and ate a couple out-of-the-grocery-store-bag-tasting fries to get the taste out.

Before dinner, we had hard, stale bread (but were starving so scarfed it down) with cold, plain butter and at this point, I was getting sick from the horrible food. Not to mention that the waiter never checked on us, and when he brought the food said ‘Excuse me’. Usually that just means the food is here and he’s going to pause our ongoing conversation while he sets the food down and asks us if we need anything, but no, he kept the plates hovering and when I looked at him, he said ‘Move your plate please’, in a condescending voice I would use when talking to a six year old child who didn’t know any better. (Which is particularly offensive to me since I went to etiquette school). So I moved my plate out from in front of me, to the other side of the 4 person booth table. He also looked down at us when we tried to give him the gift certificate, saying he would ‘get it later’, and when we were done with our food, we had to ask the bus-boy to get our check for us. The waiter dropped the check off as he walked by, not even giving us a chance to tell him about our horrible experience or ask if we wanted refills or dessert.

The decor is also bad here. We sat at a too-high table with a picture of a trout at it, but the wall-paneling and clunky lights + fish shaped bronze sculptures ‘swimming’ up the walls was still better than the slightly lower-class Mclean location.

From Zagat:

The “daily fresh-catch offering can’t be beat” say habitués hooked on this “clubby” chain “classic” where the “plethora of choices” “cooked as simply pr as complicated as one would like” and “knowledgeable servers” make it “a safe bet for a biz lunch” or “excellent for a family celebration”; though the “dissapointed” suggest that the “overpriced”, “uninspired” “fish factory” fare is a “let-down”, barflies insist that “great specials” during happy hour deliver “real value”.

Food: 21, Decor: 20, Service: 20, $41

Penn Quarter (901 F Street NW & 9th Street, Metro Center Metro 202-639-9330), Golden Triangle (1652 K Street NW & 16th/17th Street 202-861-2233), Bethesda (7401 Woodmont Avenue & Montgomery Lane, Maryland 301-961-2626), Arlington (2010 Crystal Drive & 20th Street, Virginia 703-413-6400), Reston (Reston Town Center, 11920 Democracy Drive & Discovery/Library Street, Virginia 703-481-6600), McLean (Ernst & Young Building, 8484 Westpark Drive/Leesburg Pike, Virginia 703-848-8000)