Welcome to FamilyStyleDC: our occasional recommendations of places to eat, play & go! around Washington, DC. Today we’re featuring a family favorite for Korean-style barbecue in Annandale, Va., and local dessert spot.
It’s no secret that Honey Pig is the place to go in Northern Virginia for Korean barbecue, but we’ve had good luck avoiding a long wait — even on a Friday night — by arriving on the early side for dinner service. This is truly a family-style meal, as you choose your meats to be cooked on the hot plate in the center of the table. Each family member gets a bowl of rice, and an assortment of hot pickles, kimchi and other sides is quickly placed on the table. We usually start with an order of pan-fried dumplings while waiting for the meats to cook. Our go-to order is bulgogi beef and sliced pork belly, although the foodie boy recently asked to try beef tongue and loved it, too!
Loud K-pop music videos play throughout the restaurant, keeping it lively and giving the kids something to watch while waiting to eat — although the food moves very quickly, so the wait isn’t long.
And as for dessert…
Just across the road in the back of the K-Mart parking lot you can find dessert served out of a colorful vintage school bus — SnoCream Company makes shaved ice-style ice cream with toppings ranging from traditional mochi, boba and lychee to your usual cereal, cookies, and candy. The girl and I shared a honeydew snocream with mochi, Pocky and condensed milk, while the boy went for mango with oreo and m&ms. Delicious! And, you get to sit on glowing “ice” cubes while you eat, for added entertainment value.
Where to find it…
Honey Pig Korean BBQ eathoneypig.com 7220 Columbia Pike Annandale, VA (other locations: Ellicott City, Centreville & Germantown)
Soccer, ballet, back-to-school nights…. Back-to-school often means back to rushed family dinners on weeknights, but at the same time, it’s even more important to make the effort to connect as a family during this busy season. Anything that can make meals happen a little more effortlessly is welcome this time of year! Enter these flavorful prepared broths from Nona Lim, which we received to sample. I swooned over the Thai Curry & Lime Bone Broth at a trade show, and decided to make a quick shrimp noodle soup to share it with the family.
Simply bring the broth to a simmer and cook the shrimp until opaque. I added in noodles, also from Nona Lim, and veggies and cooked just another two minutes or so, until the greens were tender. Noodle bowls are also a tried-and-true way to load up on vegetables in my house, so this time I added bok choy and shredded carrots for an extra burst of color. Served with fresh limes for garnish, and sriracha for the younger foodie tot would loves to spice things up!
If you have choosy eaters, setting out the vegetables separately is a great way to let kids create their own bowl — and maybe even encourage them to try something new. Any Plants vs. Zombies players out there? That was the nudge that inspired my boy to try bok choy — and now he loves it!
Recipe: Thai Curry Shrimp Noodle Bowls
20 ounces Nona Lim Thai Curry & Lime Bone Broth
1 package Nona Lim Laksa noodles (or other rice noodles, prepared according to package instructions)
1 pound peeled frozen shrimp, thawed
1 bunch bok choy
1 large carrot, shredded
1 lime, cut into wedges
Bring broth to a low boil and add shrimp. Cook 3 minutes. Add noodles, bok choy and carrot and cook another 2-3 minutes, until bok choy is tender and shrimp is fully opaque.
Serve with lime wedges for garnish, and sriracha if desired.
Note: If not using Nona Lim broth, add lemongrass and lime juice to your favorite broth and simmer for 20 minutes before proceeding.
I really love the whole-food, all-natural ingredients Nona Lim broths are made of. Simply vegetables, herbs, and bone broth without hard-to-pronounce additives. You can find Nona Lim products in Whole Foods markets; let me know if you’ve tried them!
Disclosure: I received product samples for review purposes; as always, all thoughts and opinions are our own.
Do you remember the first time someone put a hot, angry red steamed crab in front of you and expected you to crack it open? Perhaps this a distinctly DC area rite of passage, but I’m sure the foodie tot will be telling this story to her children one day far, far in the future. It wasn’t actually her first crab, but let me back up.
Last Mother’s Day, I had a craving for beach air and fresh crabs, as I tend to do when the weather heats up in May. Back in my carefree kid-free days, a coworker and I would play hooky on the first warm day of spring and head down to Annapolis for a little day-drinking. With kids in tow now, we hit the road for a day trip to Kent Island, just over the Bay Bridge from Annapolis. (Also, the spot where we were married, many, many years ago.)
After playing on a small sandy beach we found just down under the bridge, we headed over to Harris Crab House and put our name on the rather long list for a table. We were armed with books to read and settled in to a shady spot on the docks. We may also have treated the kids to ice cream before dinner, because, well, we were hungry. Fortunately they were still hungry when we were eventually seated on the upper deck, in a spot perfect for watching the nearby drawbridge over Kent Narrows. So hungry, perhaps, that when I read the kids menu options the girl didn’t really hear anything except the side items that came with the kids’ crab platter. Eagerly anticipating her corn-on-the-cob and applesauce, you can imagine the shock when she was suddenly face-to-face with a big, red crab, claws and all.
If you’re looking to get your steamed crab fix this summer, here are three of our family favorites. They aren’t all on the True Blue Maryland seafood list (yet), though, so you may wish to search their directory for other options near you.
Harris Crab House, Grasonville, Md. A True Blue Maryland spot, this Kent Island crab spot is large, loud and popular. As long as you’re prepared for the wait, you’ll enjoy delicious crab overlooking the waterway. And, be sure to visit their adjacent ice cream counter after. Just be warned that the kids’ crab platter does, in fact, contain crab. 😉
Abner’s Crab House, Chesapeake Beach, Md. When we need a beach fix, fast, we head to the little town of North Beach in Southern Maryland. Just over an hour’s drive south, there’s a city beach with a protected shallow water area that’s perfect for younger kids looking to splash and build sandcastles. (The pricey out-of-towners admission is worth it for clean bathrooms and showers/changing stalls, in my opinion.) After a day on the beach, we head to this no-frills creek-side restaurant for crabs. (There is a gaming room, so be prepared for questions about why there’s an “arcade” that kids can’t go in. We try to eat outside on the deck, anyway.)
Quarterdeck, Arlington, Va. Okay, so this spot is decidedly lacking in seaside air, but does offer a view of planes taking off and landing at National Airport from its popular outside patio. And, it gets the job done when you need a crab fix without a long drive. Plus, the piping hot cheesy crab dip is full of YUGE lump crab meat and will help keep you sated while waiting for your crab order to be steamed.
Crab houses do often require a fair amount of waiting time; it’s important to bring a few light reads…
Of course, they also tend to have brown paper in place of table clothes, so kids can get their art on too. And, it’s hard to beat a meal that you get to whack with a wood mallet!
What’s your go-to spot for summer seafood? Please share! And yes, she may still be a little skeptical of the crab experience… but she eats them.
April 29th, 2016 · Comments Off on Georgetown French Market Weekend
Have you ever heard Washington referred to as Paris on the Potomac? I don’t know where that comes from, but it is true at least one weekend out of the year — Georgetown French Market weekend! Extended to a third day this year, the festive open air market takes place all along Book Hill and Wisconsin Avenue from Friday, April 29 through Sunday, May 1.
It’s no secret that the foodie tot is something of a Francophile. Here she is lunching with a friend at a Parisian cafe last summer …
… okay, so that was just the American Girl cafe, we haven’t made it to the real Paris just yet. But we did have a terrific girls’ day at the Georgetown French Market last spring, despite a chilly, gloomy day. (Much like this year’s weather — but don’t let it deter you! There are plenty of shops and cafes to duck into if you need to warm up. Or, find a band playing and dance to keep warm!
This charming video shows some of the fun from last year — watch closely and you’ll catch the foodie tot, twice!
Our top French Market picks:
Crepes from the Cafe Bonaparte stand
Beautiful dishes from MK Porcelain
Pastries from Patisserie Poupon
Designer kids clothes — and hair bows galore! — from Little Birdies Boutique
If You Go: kid-friendly entertainment (face painting, performers and more) takes place Saturday and Sunday afternoons, noon to 3pm, in the TD Bank parking lot at 1611 Wisconsin Ave. The DC Circulator is offering free rides uphill, so walk down from the top and catch the bus back, or vice versa. Get all the details on the Georgetown DC website.
Confession time. Have you ever been tempted to “forage” from a restaurant’s herb planters? See, there’s a local salad chain near us that has fresh herbs planted outside. I had been at the grocery earlier in the day and was unimpressed by the state of their oregano. I picked up the better of the meager offerings, but as I headed to lunch at the salad joint, I couldn’t help but notice how much healthier their oregano looked. No, I didn’t pick a sprig this time — but it was seriously tempting!
Herb envy aside, as I planned this recipe for mini quiche I knew I wanted to include feta and herbs. I wasn’t sure what vegetable to include — we are so close to asparagus season here in Virginia, but it’s not at market yet — and decided to go with leeks for a lighter flavor. A couple years ago, we had the chance to create a “foodimal” inspired by Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 for the movie’s release. Have you seen it? A line the kids still repeat, frequently, is “There’s a leek in the boat!” And it just so happens that created the perfect opening to get the kids to try leeks. They’re really quite mellow in flavor, but describing them as similar to onions can be a turn-off. Instead, we eased into them in soup form, and the kids discovered they weren’t anything to be afraid of. Of course, baking anything in a cheesy egg dish is also a good enticement to try it — and these individual quiches are just perfect for an easy and kid-friendly meal. I prefer quiche with a buttery pastry crust, but you could easily make these crustless for a faster and weeknight-supper-friendly version.
After preparing the pastry dough, I prepped the leeks and other ingredients while waiting for the dough to chill. Take the leek, rinse it well, trim the ends (you’ll use just the light green and white stalk, trimming the leaves and reserving for another use) and slice it lengthwise. Place the halves cut-side down on the cutting board and thinly slice them crosswise. Add the sliced leek and olive oil to a small sauté pan and cook them down until tender.
You’ll then set aside the leeks, chopped oregano and crumbled feta. Whisk together the eggs and milk, and you’re ready to assemble.
To cut pastry the right size for a muffin tin, I used the rings for a wide mouth Mason jar. A biscuit cutter isn’t quite big enough, but the Mason jar lids are a perfect 3 inches. Cut the dough into circles and gently press into oiled muffin tins, creasing gently.
From here, simply spoon the cooked leeks, feta and oregano into each pastry shell. Fill with the egg mixture and it’ll bake for about 25 minutes — before emerging puffy, lightly golden and delicious!
Recipe: Mini Feta Leek Quiche
Makes 12 individual quiche
Pastry for one pie crust (or prepared pie crust, thawed)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup whole milk
salt and pepper
Heat olive oil in small sauté pan over medium low heat. Add leek and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until tender. Season with a pinch of salt and couple turns of freshly-cracked black pepper. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil a muffin tin and set aside.
Roll out pastry dough and cut into 3-inch circles. Gently press circles into muffin tin.
Add a teaspoon of cooked leeks to each pastry shell. Sprinkle with crumbled feta and chopped oregano.
Whisk together eggs and milk. Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. (Note: feta is often quite salty, so taste first to adjust salt in egg mixture accordingly.)
Spoon egg mixture over leeks in pastry shells, being careful not to fill above the pastry edge.
Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Let cool for 5 minutes, before gently removing from muffin pan. Serve warm or chilled.
The Sunday Supper tastemakers are making finger foods into a supper-worthy feast this week. Check out the other great sounding recipes below!
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