Friday, January 7, 2011


The main reason for my travels over Winter Break was my cousin's wedding. Her wedding took place in the general area of northern Virginia. While I was on the east coast, I visited friends and family in Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, and took a few trips to DC and NYC. And I ate... a LOT.

1. Wedding Food
2. Wasabi
3. Uno Chicago Grill
4. Bombay Tandoor
5. Magnolia Bakery
6. Shezan
7. Sugar Cane Juice
8. Nutley Diner
9. Nuts for Nuts
10. Chicken Kabob Sandwich
11. Mamoun's
12. Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant
13. Creperie
14. Cafe Eclectic
15. Pizza Roma
16. Harris Crab House

1. Wedding Food 12.18.10

This plate of food was from the wedding reception. I always go for the butter chicken first because it is one of my favorite Indian foods. I also took some kabobs and a little bit of mattar paneer (which literally translates to peas cheese). At weddings, I always have the dilemma of choosing between rice or bread.. in this case, the choice was easy because all 3 of these dishes, I love eating with naan :)


At the valima (which is basically a 2nd wedding reception, thrown by the groom's side of the family), as you can tell, I was starving. I don't remember what we did all day that I didn't get time to get breakfast or lunch, but in any case.. the food was great! They served Afghani food and they even had the menus from the place they catered from but I didn't think to grab one (still getting the hang of food blogging.. or maybe I was too hungry to care).

This picture is a bit deceiving but this little bottle of Coke was about the size of my hand! So cute.

2. Wasabi 12.21.10

I had always wanted to go to one of those sushi places where they have the sushi served on a conveyor belt. My BFFFFFFF Shadiya (pictured toward the end, I caught her a little off guard) made my wish come true. People always have their reservations about these places because they think that the sushi has been sitting around all day.. This may or may not be true but we got there right at 6 o'clock when they reopened for dinner and the belt was empty.

We had the:
  • shrimp, cucumber, with Asian pesto, topped with some kind of fish - This roll was okay, nothing too special.
  • California Volcano Roll (kanikama, masago, avocado, cucumber, tempura
    batter & spicy mayo) - This one was my favorite of the three! It had the most flavor with added crunch (I loooove tempura)
  • Crunchy Shrimp Roll (with cucumber, asparagus & masago spicy mayo) - This one was also pretty good, averagely delicious sushi.
I very much enjoyed the ambiance of this restaurant and was in constant awe with the conveyor belt. Although the sushi doesn't compare to my ultimate favorite, Kabuki in Dearborn, MI (I practically DREAM about their sushi.)

devoured in: Washington DC

3. Uno Chicago Grill 12.22.10

My younger cousin Zinia (who will probably kill me for putting her pic up here, as any teenager would, without their consent... damn, maybe I should ask her.. nahh) is from California, and had never had a deep dish pizza. I was appalled at this confession, so we had a "girl's day" and I took her straight to Uno's for lunch! We had the cheesiest mozzarella sticks ever!

I have come to the conclusion that I'll eat this pizza with any kind of filling/topping. That day, we ordered the Chicken Fajita, which had chicken, salsa, onions, peppers, and a few different cheeses. I don't have many words for this one, it was great.

P.S. if you like Mexican style pizzas, I suggest you try the Chipotle Chicken (even good without the chicken for you zabiha eaters!) pizza at California Pizza Kitchen (be sure to order guac on the side).. uhh-ma-zing.

devoured in: Bowie, MD

4. Bombay Tandoor 12.22.10

This is my aunt's (Dad's sister) go-to place in northern Virginia. And I'm glad about this decision of her's. It's a fancy Indian restaurant, with Indian people who actually eat there! (I always make sure that the type of restaurant where I'm eating, that there are people of the same ethnicity eating there... That's how you can tell if you are at a good ethnic restaurant.)

We got about 20 of our family members together to meet at this restaurant.. It was supposed to be a 6:30 dinner, but the majority came at around 8, #FAIL. My cousins and I got super hungry and we ordered a Naan Quesadilla. It was awesome! Basically naan bread (my favorite) wrapped with chicken tikka (which is chicken marinated in spices and yogurt, usually baked in a tandoor oven, like this picture I didn't take). It was a bit spicy for me, but I had it with imli chutney, which is tamarind sauce.

I think I mistook this Chicken Tikka Masala for Butter Chicken (I know, how could I??) but it was equally as good! It's "a delicious preparation of tandoori chicken cooked in a creamy tomato sauce with red and green peppers."

This (Tandoori Chicken) was my favorite dish of the day (I could be lying, I had Uno's earlier for lunch.. OMG how good would tandoori deep dish pizza be?!?). This is what the restaurant is famous for, and credibly so.

We ordered 3 tables of food but these were the only one's I took pictures of. For dessert, we had Kulfi, which is Indian Ice cream. It was pretty good, but does not compare to the Kulfi on a stick from Lahore Tikka House in Toronto, CA (my absolute favorite desi (Indian subcontinent) restaurant.)

devoured in: Vienna, VA

5. Magnolia Bakery 12.24.10

This bakery is a famous one in New York City and my sister-in-law was kind enough to bring some back for us to eat at home in New Jersey. I'm a huge fan of cupcakes but when it comes down to it.. I think I'm actually quite picky. I have been to quite a few cupcakeries in my time and I have to say.. this is definitely top 2. #1 would have to be Cupcake Station :)

location: NYC
devoured in: Nutley, NJ

6. Shezan 12.24.10

This is my other aunt's (Mom's sister) go-to place in New Jersey. Again, great choice!

To start off, I mooched off my cousin's Mango lassi. This is a traditional Indian/Pakistani drink that is made by blending yogurt, a thinning agent like water or milk, and flavor. I would recommend having this smooth, refreshing drink after you have eaten heavy Indian/Pakistani food. It really calms the stomach


drum roll please.......... This was the best thing I ate during my vacation.. LAMB CHOPS!!!! My favorite lamb chops reside at once known as La Shish, followed by Mediterranean Cuisine, and currently known as Palm Palace in Ann Arbor, MI. But this is VERY comparable! Oh man, I can't even tell you how great it was; juicy and tender, with the right amount of flavor, just like a good lamb chop should be.

At Shezan, the goat Biryani is also superb! It's my family's favorite.

After dinner, we had Kashmiri Chai. This is a type of tea (that ends up being pink) that is brewed in all sorts of spices and as weird as it may sound, a pinch of salt. It is among my favorite types of tea, and is very satisfying after a meal like that. Maybe it was good to have the Mango Lassi in the beginning.

devoured in: Edison, NJ

7. Sugar Cane Juice 12.24.10

After dinner, we went to an Indian sweet shop. There, we had  ganne ka ras aka sugar cane juice. Above, I have pictured: how the juice is made, a photo of the sugar cane in its original form, a photo of the frothy drink, and lastly, my brother happily chewing on a piece of sugar cane. Never swallow sugar cane. Nothing compares to the sugar cane juice served on the streets in India (it's not completely sanitary, but I feel it adds to the overall experience). But this

devoured in: Edison, NJ

8. Nutley Diner 12.25.10

It was Christmas and we had just gone bowling.. One of the only other places that was open was the town diner. Now, I've been to the Nutley Diner about 2 times and both times, it has been mediocre. This time.. it was still mediocre. We ordered quite a bit of food but the main "course" was this huge plate of nachos.. My cousin Areeba's, face says it all. womp womp. I have to say, though, service was great.

devoured in: Nutley, NJ

9. Nuts for Nuts 12.28.10

One of the first things I ate in the city was... Nuts 4 Nuts!!!! There are quite a few of these candied nuts stands all over the place. They have an assortment of peanuts, cashews, almonds, and a variety to choose from. I had the peanuts and they were yum!

devoured in: NYC

10. Chicken Kabob Sandwich 12.28.10

After having Nuts 4 Nuts, we went to the MoMA and it was one of the coolest museums I've gone to, hands down. But it made me really hungry.. The kinda hungry where I wanna eat before I eat. So we came to another stand that they have all over the place. I don't think this one had a name but they had chicken and lamb kabobs on a stick (I had mine in a bun, as you can see) and they were just about the greatest thing I could have eaten at that cold, frigid moment. It was warming up my heart :

devoured in: NYC

11. Mamoun's 12.28.10

After visiting the MoMA, we went to Greenwich Village to eat.. My sisterinlaw (who is from New York) tells me to go to Mamoun's EVERY single time I go to the city and EVERY single time, it slips our mind or it's just not convenient. Well this time, I couldn't miss out on having the "greatest falafel of my life." Truth be told, I'm more of a shawarma kinda girl, falafels ain't my thing.. But this falafel was reallllllly good. Especially with the white sauce that was in the sandwich as well. The falafels were cooked to perfection, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside

devoured in: NYC

12. Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant 12.28.10



After I ate my falafel, we ate at this Ethiopian restaurant that was right across the street (MacDougal Street). I had tried Ethiopian food once before in Ann Arbor, and to me, it tasted like bland Indian food.. But then I realized that was because  we only ordered vegetarian food that day. Here, at Meskerem, I had a totally different experience! I only ordered an appetizer because I was full from the falafel moments before.. So I got something with a silly name, Timatim Fitfit (pictured first). This was pieces of injera (the crepe-like bread which all of our dishes were served on) with veggies and vinegar, served cold. It kind of tasted like gazpacho in a not soup form - pretty decent. My cousin Areeba got the Special Chicken Tibs which was chicken, cooked with awaze sauce (mild red chili pepper paste). This was pretty good also. But my favorite (not pictured) was Madeehah's dish.. She got the Yebeg Wat.. now I can't remember what the spices or flavor was.. Just that it was lamb, and it was GOOD.

devoured in: NYC

13. Creperie 12.28.10

Finally, the last place we ate in New York City was Creperie. If you haven't noticed already, all the places we ate at in the city were all on-the-street, hole-in-the-wall kind of places, and all above average to amazing. This place happens to be more on the amazing end. The 4 of us mooched off of 2 crepes, one was dark chocolate raspberry, and the other was "The Famous Crepe" (pictured below) which had strawberry, banana, nutella, ice cream, and whipped cream, aka heaven on a paper plate.

We didn't realize this until we came inside, but this place was challenged to a Throwdown with Bobby Flay this past Summer! And Creperie won with this scrumptious crepe. Probably the best crepe I've ever had.. Yes, even better than Good Girls Go to Paris Crepes.

devoured in: NYC

 14. Cafe Eclectic 12.29.10

It was the 2nd time that day that my cousin Areeba, and I had gotten lost. We weren't in a very happy mood, but once we got settled we started to lighten up a little.

Just kidding, I lied. We both decided to be adventurous and ordered Italian Soda.. BAD idea! This stuff does nottttt get along well with my tastebuds. I think it's because I don't like sparkling water.. or flavored water for that matter. And this was basically flavored sparkling water. YUCK! Actually, mine was tolerable, Areeba's was not. She got bubblegum flavor (I dunno), mine was Summer Breeze or something. It had flavors of passion fruit, lime, and something else. Anyway, no more Italian Soda for me...

My panini sandwich, however, rocked! It was so good, that I didn't really mind my not so great beverage. It had chicken, arugula, roasted red pepper, mayo, and a pesto sauce, if I remember correctly. Very easy and simple sandwich, all the while pleasing.

The restaurant definitely lives up to its name, Cafe Eclectic. If you take a look around, each piece of furniture is different. There are paintings for sale along all the walls, there are vintage mirrors and ambient lighting all around.. It really set the mood... It was very romantic... As I asked Areeba trivia questions (which were in the sugar container) and kept my little cousin Amani, entertained.

devoured in: Montclair, NJ

15. Pizza Roma 12.31.10

Pizza Roma is definitely not a place that I would go to, if someone hadn't raved about it on multiple accounts. When my brother and I drove up to the place, I didn't even know where exactly it was. The restaurant was the corner store in a strip mall and the sign read "Pizza." We walked into the restaurant and we saw lots of Muslim people -families, students, couples.. It seemed like the spot to be after Jumma Prayer (Friday Prayer). It's located in College Park in Maryland.


I had a Philly cheesesteak sandwich and it was deeeeeelish! I wouldn't say it's the best (The best, in my opinion, is at Mr. Spots, in Ann Arbor, MI), but it's definitely up there. The cheese was melted perfecty with the steak, and the lettuce still kept its crunchiness. (If you know me.. you know that I kept the tomato in there just for the picture).

location: College Park, MD
devoured in: Glenn Dale, MD

16. Harris Crab House 1.1.11

It has become a recent tradition of ours that every time my family goes to Maryland, we go to this specific crab house. The place is two stories high and it's right on the Chesapeake Bay. The best time to come here, or to any seaside restaurant for that matter is during the Summer when it's nice out, but the food will always be just as fresh.

I am extremely happy about the fact that the first place that I ate in the new year was at Harris Crab House, where I revisited my favorite crab cake..


Now these crab cakes were about $12 each and although you may think that's a bit steep, and especially for something about the size of your hand... you're wrong. With the side dishes and the lemonade, this crab cake is sufficiently satisfying. You are left with a VERY happy stomach.

devoured in: Grasonville, MD