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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mandu - Korean Food - DC

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My friend Holly originally introduced me to Mandu when I was living in DC.  I have a great love for Korean food, especially bibimbap, it's delicious.

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What is bibimbap you ask?  Well I'm glad you did, because you're going to want to run out to your closest Korean  restaurant and try it out.  Bibimbap is a bowl of rice with veggies, beef, and a raw egg cracked on top.  The dish is served with a hot sauce that you pour over the top and then stir everything around.  The hot food helps to cook the egg as you stir it around creating a kind of fried rice like dish.  

What I love about Mandu is that I can get a Dolsot Bibimbap which means they serve my bibimbap in a hot stone bowl.  IMG 1233This means that my rice is getting crispy on the bottom and it typically keeps everything a lot warmer for the entire time you're enjoying your meal.  You also get a side of a collection of Korean appetizers, accompaniments to your meal like: kimchee, spicy zucchini, bean sprouts, and a potato/bean combo.  The kimchee at Mandu is pretty good, not as spicy as I would have liked, but still delicious.

The restaurant is small, with a few tables outside so you can enjoy the weather when it's great.  (It was really hot and muggy while I was in DC, so I sat inside with the AC.)  The service is good, and the price is reasonable.  

If you're going to be up near Dupont Circle in DC you should definitely check out Mandu.  Get everything extra spicy, it'll clear your sinuses.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Eating Better, Pedometers and the all amazing FitDesk

So, in case you haven't noticed yet, I've been trying to eat better.  And by better I just mean that I'm not stuffing myself until I'm so full that I need to take a nap to recover from the amount of food I've consumed.  (Although I still can't help myself when it comes to Indian food - I absolutely must always eat the entire garlic naan, it's too good to waste.)  Anyway, the point is I'm eating proportionally-ish, so I've been using a food diary, MyFitnessPal.  

I'm not trying to lose weight per-sey, but I could definitely stand to fit into some of my clothes that are becoming a bit snug.  I bring this up because I looked at a couple of different options when it came to recording my daily intake of food.  I tried out the WeightWatchers app, but to be honest I found it rather confusing and not very user friendly.  A points system doesn't make sense to me, especially when I cook at home a lot and need to add my own recipes.  I also checked out the food diary on my FitBit (more on the actual FitBit later).  The FitBit has a nice selection of foods, but doesn't quite have everything I need.  I've found that MyFitnessPal is easy to use on both my iPhone and in a browser, has a large database of food, and has an easy to add food item option.  Not to mention I can store and save my recipes which is super handy.  You can also use the app offline, and it'll sync everything the next time you have an internet connection.  I'm currently using the "lose a pound a week" option on MyFitnessPal, but you can use it to maintain or to watch your intake of carbs, fats, etc.  I'm mostly using it to stay within a normal calorie range.

To go with MyFitnessPal I purchased a nice little food scale.  It's just little and only measures up to about 12 pounds.  It's got multiple measurement options, and is about the size of small plate.  It's battery operated, and super easy to use.  I've been measuring out my healthy snacks, and all my recipes ingredients.  Having the food scale has also shown me what supposedly normal portions look like - I don't know about you but this has always been a mystery for me.  I've read that your fist is roughly the size of what you'd want as far as meat/poultry goes, but everyone has different sized fists, what if mine are abnormally large or small?  I bought the Ozeri Pro Digital Scale on Amazon.

And finally, I have a FitBit. It's a little pedometer thing that tracks your steps, distance, stairs you've walked and the calories you've burnt.  There's also this "active" number but to be honest I'm not really sure what that is and I don't use it for anything.  I did some research and while the FitBit is not 100% accurate it gives me a good idea of how active I've been.  It unfortunately does not track bike riding, but there is a handy little timer on it so you can record how long you performed and activity and then add it later.  Both the iPhone app and the online system work great.  There's a number of activities already in the database so I can easily ride my stationary bike for an hour and plug in my activity.  AND the FitBit syncs with MyFitnessPal which is awesome because it'll let me know if I've burned extra calories so I can eat more! (Or not, but typically I go ahead and eat more.)  The FitBit comes with a usb dock that you hook up to your laptop and every time you're within about 10ft it will automatically sync, you can also use the little dock to charge your FitBit.  In my experience the FitBit can go for about 5 to 6 days with out being charged.  

Lastly, Bob bought me an awesome stationary bike.  It's called the FitDesk.  And as ridiculous as it sounds and looks, it's pretty awesome. I've used my laptop while riding a couple of times, but really it's just a nice quiet stationary bike.  I have used the desk bit to hold my knitting while I work on it.  It's easy to wheel around in the house and folds up flat.  I will sometimes move the FitDesk out to the back porch and look out at the city while I enjoy a little ride.  Before you say anything, yes, I know I could just ride my bike, but (and honestly I'm a total wuss about this) there are hills everywhere!  I love riding my bike, but just thinking about having to go home up the gigantic hill in front of my house makes me want to take a nap.  The FitDesk is great because I can ride it any time, day or night, and it has an adjustable pressure gauge to make me work harder.  The distance counter that came with it doesn't work, but I haven't tried to fix it because really as long as I'm using the FitDesk I feel like I'm doing pretty good.  (You can check out an awesome video of my sister showing off the FitDesk here.)

There you have it, it's not a huge step towards living a healthy life, but it's something.

If anyone is wondering, I kicked off my health extravaganza with a lovely bout of food poisoning.  On our last night in Moscow Bob and I ate at the Hotel National on Red Square and the next morning was wretched.  We were sick for a week and I lost 7 pounds.  I figured it was a good way to kick-start me being in better shape and eating like a normal person.  It also helped that some of my pants fit me better. 


Drawings of Food: CROISSAN'WICH

I could really go for a somewhat nasty Croissan'Wich from Burger King. The website says it has creamy, American cheese. That's what I look for in a good cheese.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Drawings of Food: Hamachi

My buddy Kevin Lee sent me a picture of a large sashimi plate to draw. I decided to draw the part I really cared about. I'm really wanting some hamachi right now.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Spicy Veggie Scramble - It's What's for Breakfast

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I'm growing yellow squash and lettuce in my backyard, in a large barrel.  And my first squash of the season was ready and waiting to be eaten yesterday, so I obliged and cooked it up real good.  Now before anyone thinks I came up with the idea to put squash in my scramble all by myself, I'm sorry but you're mistaken.  I had a delicious omelet at Beretta with zucchini and squash in it, and have been thinking about making one at home for quite a while.  While this is not the same recipe, it's pretty damn delish. (That's me with my squash on the left.)



1/2 cup thinly sliced squash, or zucchini

1/4 cup diced onion

Garlic (as much or as little as you'd like)

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

1/4 cup diced tomato

1/4 cup shredded cheese

1 large egg

2 eggs worth of egg whites (I use Lucerne 100% liquid egg whites)

1 tbsp half and half (or milk, or whatever you like to make your scramble fluffy)

Habenaro Sauce (or whatever hot sauce you like, as much as you'd like)

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/2 tbsp butter

Okay, so go ahead and get all your veggies sliced up, I recommend starting with the squash, onion and garlic.  Turn your skillet on to low and butter it up with your 1/2 tbsp of butter and toss in your squash, with a little salt and pepper.  After about 5 minutes add the garlic and the onion and stir everything around.

In a bowl mix your egg, egg whites and half and half together.  

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Once your garlic and onion start to look a little translucent toss in the mushrooms.  Give the mushrooms a minute or two to get nice and warm and then add the egg mixture.  

Let the scramble start to form and then add the cheese, tomatoes and Habenaro Sauce.  Cook until it's ready to eat and then enjoy your spoils.

I was quite pleased with my scramble.  It was very flavorful and delicious, the only thing I would have changed would have been to add more habenaro sauce.  Oh well, there's always next time.

This breakfast was approximately 368 calories.  And you can of course not use cheese or half and half to make this even healthier, but really then it wouldn't be as good.



Spicy Shrimp and Broccoli

I'd like to just say that every time I eat shrimp I love them more and more.  Really, it's absurd how much I like shrimp.  Okay, now that my love for those little sea creatures are out of the way….

Spicy Shrimp and Broccoli-

For some reason I've felt compelled to always have about four different dishes per home cooked meal.  Main dish, salad, veggie, some kind of extra whatever - like garlic bread or something.  But I've realized that this is really rather silly and just results in my having to use more cookware than I'd like to clean.  So I present to you a one wok/pan meal.  (Portions are based on my eating habits, with extra info about this at the bottom of the recipe.)


Shrimp - 1lb (uncooked, shelled)

Broccoli - 1 to 1 1/2 bunch

Spicy red pepper - 1

Garlic - 1 clove

Onion - 1/4 cup 

Chili Garlic Sauce - 3 tbsp

Olive Oil - 1 tbsp

I like using a large deep skillet for this meal.  (You can really use whatever you'd like, I just suggest that whatever you use have a top.)

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Step one - Wash and chop up broccoli.  Put in the skillet and pour a half cup of water over the top of the broccoli.   Add the 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Salt and pepper the way you'd like, and then stir the broccoli around to get everything coated.  Place the lid on the skillet and turn on low heat.

Step two - While your broccoli is getting soft, you can chop up your garlic, onion and red pepper.  I like to dice up the garlic and onion so it's nice and small but really it's up to you as to how large you'd like your onion and garlic chunks.  I like to slice the red pepper into long pieces, almost like shreds.  I leave the seeds in the red pepper because that's where the spice is, and if you like spice you'll want the seeds.

Step three - After your broccoli has been simmering for about 15 minutes go ahead and add your chopped onion, garlic and red pepper.  Toss in 2 tbsp of the chili garlic sauce and stir everything around.  Place the lid back on the skillet, still on low heat.

Step four - Wash your shrimp.  Ten minutes after you've added your onions, garlic and red pepper you can add your shrimp.  I like to clear a spot in the middle of the skillet and dump the shrimp in, then I toss in one more tbsp of the chili garlic sauce and stir the shrimp around.  After the shrimp get a little color go ahead and stir all the ingredients in the skillet together.  You can turn up the heat a little if you'd like, it'll help crisp your broccoli.

Step five - EAT!

You can of course have your Spicy Shrimp and Broccoli with rice, and I often do, but you can also eat it just as it is, and it's damn delish.

Typically Bob and I will split this mean into two servings, but really you could feed 3 people with the amount of ingredients if you weren't super hungry.  According to my food/nutrition journal this meal (split three ways) is approximately 350 calories.  

I honestly don't know how I forgot to take a picture of the final product.  You'll just have to trust that it looks good.


Drawings of Food: Corn Dog

I like corn dogs.

Monday, July 23, 2012


My friend Erica Jones put up a picture of a BLT she had for dinner the other day. I decided to draw this piece of food. That piece of bacon on top of the sandwich looks delicious. I tried to get the glistening oil just right, but may have fallen short. It may be impossible to truly capture the beauty of bacon in any artform other than actually putting bacon in my mouth.

Friday, July 20, 2012

San Marzano - New York City

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 San Marzano - On a recent visit to New York Bob and I got to experience this great pizza place not once, not twice, but three times!  That's right, we liked it so much that we ate there three times and loved it each and every time.  On a previous trip to NYC we'd come across San Marzano, but we'd only stopped in for a drink.  

The restaurant is on the corner of Rivington and Clinton in the Lower East Side.  Like many NYC establishments they have floor to ceiling windows that they can open up on warm summer days to get a nice cross breeze.  The restaurant seats about 34 people, including the 4 seats at the bar.  There's typically one waiter, and some awesome cooks.  This is important because while the place is small, you should probably not go here if you're in a rush.  This is a leisurely paced meal kind of place, and the corner location is great for people watching.

But what about the food you ask!  So all together we tried: the antipasto platter, the brussel sprouts, the arugula salad, the buffalo chicken pizza, the finocchio pizza and the caption pizza.  That's right, we totally went for it when it came to eating.  We paired all our delicious food with Strawberry Abita in frosty mugs.  YUM! 

We discovered that one pizza, and an appetizer (salad, antipasto, etc) was enough for the two of us to be nicely satisfied with out being stuffed.  You can eat one pizza all by yourself, as it's thin crust and about 13 inches, but you'll be completely full.  I do recommend this if you want to try a bunch of different pizzas, and you're going out with a group of friends.

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They have a nice deal during lunch for a Margherita Pizza for super cheap if you're just looking for an easy lunch.

Overall our favorite thing at San Marzano was the buffalo chicken pizza.  The chicken is shredded so it's covered all over the pizza, and it's just the right amount of spicy.  If you like buffalo wings, and you like thin crust pizza you should definitely try this place out.