luckyfatima's Profile

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New Taco In Town - Taco Bamba (Falls Church)

Tried this place recently. I loved the grilled corn (elote). That was delicious. but I'd say Tacos El Costalilla and La Mexicana Bakery in Alexandria, as well as a few places in Manassas are better in terms of meats. I mean, with a taquería it's really all about the meat when it comes down to it. I mean, fresh hand made tortillas are awesome, but I have had plenty of great tacos on outsourced tortillas. But they have good options for vegetarians and also they have some cool 'modern concept' hipster tacos which we have a lot of in my hometown of Austin, so I was happy to see that on the menu---sometimes the hipster tacos can surprise you with unique flavor combos that really work well together. I had a chicken taco arabe, which is cool bc that is traditionally made of pork, which I don't eat. It was okay, but nothing must-try. (Actually it is traditionally made of lamb because it was brought by Lebanese immigrants to MX who introduced shawarma/meat on a revolving standing spit...but it evolved into being mainly available in pork in MX.) Also, no lard in the beans, and vegetarian tamales available. I would give it 3.5 stars overall for the general meal based on my daughters' and my tacos, but 5 stars for the corn itself. My lower rating is cuz the meats were dried out. I like them moist and greasy in the right way. Even the birria I ordered was dry. And my daughter's carne asada taco was tough and with no seasoning or smokiness to it. Good carne asada is heaven, bad carne asada is just tough squiggles of meat. I liked the TnT taco, though (tongue and tripe). It wasn't was good as those other places I mention above, but it was a good taco. The tripa wasn't just fried, but was also seasoned, and the tongue was good and soft. Worth exploring more, though. I liked their orange salsa. I presume it's habanero salsa.

Jul 29, 2014
luckyfatima in Washington DC & Baltimore

US online source for Indian yellow chilli powder

I have ordered some special spices that are hard to find in the US from this place:
http://spicesonline.info/indian-spice...

They don't have yellow chilli powder but you could contact them and see if they could get it for you.

Jul 23, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics

Gateway Foods(dishes) to introduce foreign / ethnic flavours

I would say just go straight for what you would normally eat and delve right in together. Just explain what everything is to make the person feel secure.

If it's someone you can have a little fun with, order something and tell her it's beef, then later elaborate that it is beef tongue. Or say it is a medley of seafood in a Chinese dish. Later the person notices some things they can't identity. Then you say, "That's abalone," "that's rehydrated dried squid," or what have you.

Jul 22, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics

Mang Dedoy or other Filipino?

Thanks, kabayan. If I am ever in that direction, I will make it a point to try!

Jul 19, 2014
luckyfatima in Austin

Taco Cabana

Now that sounds goooood.

Jul 09, 2014
luckyfatima in Austin

Taco Cabana

I love Taco Cabana brisket tacos and barbacoa tacos. Nice and salty. (Have you ever noticed that quite a lot of places make completely undersalted barbacoa? I love salty food, so this is a disappointment.) In a pinch for a quick meal, I'd much rather go through the TC drive through for those tacos than go to McDingle's or whatever. However, IMHO TC plates are dog food. Oh, but their tortillas are awesome. Hahaha I have some relatives who go through the drive through to get Taco Cabana tortillas and take them to a barbecue restaurant to make tacos instead of eating the sliced bread. That's the kind of thing that would have embarrassed the heck out of me when I was younger, but now I think it's smart!

Jul 09, 2014
luckyfatima in Austin

Easy Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Guess what I made today! I used whole wheat pasta and a combo of some cheapo shredded cheese in a bag so the kids would like it. (2 cups cheddar, 2 cups Mexican 4-cheese blend, 1 cup mozzarella.) It came out very well. Thanks for posting this recipe. I have always wanted to make not-boxed homemade macaroni and cheese and you made it look so easy I just had to give it a try! Very true about lots of dry/soggy, under-seasoned and clumpy versions at potlucks and such. The thorough recipe and video here helped circumvent any issues.

Jul 07, 2014
luckyfatima in Recipes

Good Lebanese food in the DC area?

Also some friends had recommended Raouche Cafe.

Jul 07, 2014
luckyfatima in Washington DC & Baltimore

Good Lebanese food in the DC area?

I haven't been there myself, but several of my Arab friends have recommended the Lebanese Butcher in Falls Church when discussions on good restos come up. It has a restaurant inside.

Jul 07, 2014
luckyfatima in Washington DC & Baltimore

Easy Baked Macaroni and Cheese

What other cheese combos might work well in this? Something sharp and savory for flavor, but no aged cheese under-taste or the kids will reject it.

Jul 05, 2014
luckyfatima in Recipes

When making Turkish Coffee for guests....

Actually they sell several sizes of vessels for making Turkish coffee, so one can make several cups at a time in the larger vessels.

Jul 05, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics

Kenyan Food at Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Oooh. Sounds good. I do mean to try Swahili Village.

Jul 05, 2014
luckyfatima in Washington DC & Baltimore

i have mango powder

You can use it as a base for homemade chaat masala. For that you probably have the other chaat masala ingredients at home except for black salt, which you will have to buy from a South Asian grocer.

You can sprinkle khatai on fruit along with salt and red chile powder to bring out the flavor.

But it is really the chaat masala that will be most useful if you make it.

I add amchoor in my pakora karhi and my Sindhi biryani masala just to give a tang. I also put it in my stuffed vegetable masala. Other than that, I don't use it that much on its own that I can think of at the moment.

Jun 28, 2014
luckyfatima in Home Cooking
1

San Antonio: lard free tamales

Do you any place that uses oil and not lard in their tamales?

I am looking for traditional tamales like one would get at a tamalería or a MX bakery. Not looking for health food quinoa kale tamales or restaurant tamales covered in sauce.

TIA

Jun 26, 2014
luckyfatima in Texas

Manassas MX: La Jarochita

Went there for lunch today.

Another great MX in Manassas. They have tacos, quesadillas, huaraches, sopes, gorditas, tortas, caldos, and more. They also have a bakery and a deli.

Their fresh cheese (queso fresco) is AMAZING. Made onsite. In the deli they also have chicharrones, rendered lard, and a selection of butchered meats.

I had a gordita stuffed with tripas. Tripas were simultaneously tender and crunchy, as they should be. The gordita was a bit oily, but I gobbled it down. It was great.

I also sampled their style of barbacoa...yet another variety of barbacoa, going from my tejana beef cheek barbacoa as what is "normal" for me. I mentioned elsewhere on the board before that Taquería Tres Reyes and El Garage have different varieties of barbacoa (goat and lamb, respectively), while Tortillería El Molino serves beef cheek barbacoa. So...La Jarochita has a type of beef barbacoa which is beef stewed with chiles into a dry-ish (as opposed to soupy) shredded consistency and you can get the flavor of the árbol chiles and see their slight red tint in the meat. Really good.

They also have cabeza, which is like the TX-norteña barbacoa.

So I had tripas, cabeza, and barbacoa. All great.

They had chile de árbol salsa, which was really spicy and good, and a salsa verde based on tomatillos which I think was okay.

My friend ate a torta cubana and raved about it.

The tortillas did not have the made-by-abuelita feeling of those of El Garage, but were pressed fresh to order and seared in the fat from the meat for serving, so they were good.

Once again, another awesome MX find in Manassas.

Jun 17, 2014
luckyfatima in Washington DC & Baltimore

Knorr & Other International Products - which ones do you use?

Th Knorr tamarind soup base can be used to make the Vietnamese soup canh chua. A lot of people use it. I had forgotten about that.

Jun 17, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics

Knorr & Other International Products - which ones do you use?

Addingto DiningDiva's list, it's even added in salsas. It's in *everything,* it doesn't matter if the dish is based on another protein (beef, goat, lamb, etc.) and even in long cooked meaty soups filled with collageny, flavor giving ingredients like bones and shanks and all, there will be some sprinkled in.

I also have some norsuiza, Knorr Suisse caldo de pollo from Costco and have taken to using it.

Jun 16, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics
1

Favorite dessert by nationality?

US: NY cheesecake
Mexico: pastel de tres leches
El Salvador: flan de leche
Peru: alfajores
Italy: zuccotto
France: chocolate mousse
England: rhubarb tart with almond crumble top
Egypt: kunafah with 'ishta
Levant region: baqlawa and asaabi zainab (that's a handful of countries, so I'm naming two :)
Gulf Arab countries: lugeimaat
Kenya-Tanzania kaimati (^same thing as this above)
Iran: bamieh
Afghanistan: firni
Pakistan: gulab jamun
India: qalaqand(^interchangeable)
Bangladesh: roshomalai (^interchangeable)
Thailand: sticky rice w/ coconut milk with fresh mango
Vietnam: banh cam
China: dunno what it is called in Chinese languages but it is banh bao chi in Vietnamese, both this and banh cam are from either country

Jun 15, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics

asian market free fish frying service

Asian fish departments? Can you be specific? Do you mean at a Chinese supermarket?

I would think it would be best to have the market clean and prep the fish, but then you steam or fry at home. Freshly cooked fish is always best.

I like red snapper and grouper. Oh, and deep fried pomfret.

Jun 12, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics
1

Texas Hound coming to town for 3-4 days. Correct my itinerary . . .

That's disappointing. Had heard it was good from a few friends, though. What did you order?

Jun 10, 2014
luckyfatima in Washington DC & Baltimore

Texas Hound coming to town for 3-4 days. Correct my itinerary . . .

Well, Austin does have Persian restaurants.

If you do choose to try Afghan, PMD669, since there is some overlap in the menu offerings of typical NOVA Afghan and Persian restos, as the two cuisines overlap a bit depending on ethnic group and region, you may want to try something distinctly Afghan. Selecting from typical local menus, have mantoo (dumplings dressed in yoghurt and meat ragu, similar to aushak, which will likely also be on the menu, and I believe the main difference between them is that aushak have leeks in them). Also, try bolani (fried flat stuffed bread, kind of like a lightly seasoned flat samosa). Some places have appetizer samplers with small amounts of both of these items on the plate. And you gotta try qabili pullao. It's considered one of the iconic dishes of Afghanistan. It's basmati rice cooked in meat broth with tender meat, and garnished with raisins and carrots. Sounds weird but tastes good. And choose a kabab that one would not also see on a Persian resto menu, like try a chappli kabab.

Pardon the lengthy recs if you already know your way around an Afghan menu.

If you are interested, I guess you could look on Yelp and try a highly starred resto with 100+ reviews if no one puts forth a suggestion here.

Jun 10, 2014
luckyfatima in Washington DC & Baltimore

Texas Hound coming to town for 3-4 days. Correct my itinerary . . .

Austin has loads of great Vietnamese options...although I'd say IMHO ATX best VN offerings excel compared to NOVA's VN, the best Thai in Austin is not as good as the best Thai here, plus there is no Lao food in ATX, so Bangkok Golden is a must.

Trying to think of what ATX doesn't have at all: Afghan. Any recs for good Afghan in the vicinities mentioned in the OP?

Also, Peruvian chicken...pollo a la brasa. Being from ATX myself, one of my absolute favorite meals in the universe is the chicken from El Pollo Regio/El Pollo Loco. The Peruvian chix meal here in NOVA looks similar and even has a green sauce, but it is nothing at all like the Monterrey, MX style rotisserie chix or renowned green salsa we have all over Austin. However, even though the plate you get looks similar, one shouldn't compare since Peruvian and MX cuisines are extremely different. So, if you like exploring, def. try pollo a la brasa and other South American plates. ATX has dozens and dozens of varieties of MX and TX-MX, plus Central American, but zero Peruvian since that place in Highland Mall didn't re-open after the mall closed. And ATX has a few Latin-Caribbean places, but limited South American, so it's worth exploring Bolivian food, too while you are here. You have some recs in posts above, but what are the best places for pollo a la brasa?

Also, the Jerusalem Resto rec from Steve piques my interest. ATX has several Palestinian owned places that serve a generic Levantine menu (mezze, gyro, shawerma, kabab, IMHO mediocre places) but no place that has stuff like ma'looba and musakhan...if Steve recs it, I trust it will be a good meal, too.

Oh, and there is a Sri Lankan place in Springdale (I think) called Shakthi...string hoppers, curry, sambal, not available in ATX, and reputably a good place.

Jun 10, 2014
luckyfatima in Washington DC & Baltimore

Caterer for a Small Event

We had an event at work catered by this place, Caribbean Corner. http://www.yelp.com/biz/caribbean-cor...

It's very well made Jamaican food. Our menu was beef patty ("jamaican beef pie"), tender oxtails, gorgeous jerk chicken, goat curry, rice and peas, and cabbage salad. They also have hearty vegetarian options. It was a spectacular lunch, so much better than the usual dry sandwich wraps or whatever. Clicking through the pictures on Yelp makes me want to go there right now!

Jun 08, 2014
luckyfatima in Washington DC & Baltimore

Kimchi help!

Oh no! I hadn't made this in a long time and now the link doesn't work. I had printed it out but have no idea where the print out is. :( What I liked about this recipe was that it came out well, but the recipe itself contained pictures of the required ingredients and the process. :(

Jun 08, 2014
luckyfatima in Home Cooking

help! self doubt about lamb tacos for tomorrow's party

You can just add salt and pepper to the lamb, then serve it with a couple of salsas, onions, cilantro, and lime wedges. It becomes borrego asado.

You could also try this Monterrey style of taco: flour tortillas, grilled lamb (nuthin but salt and pepper), once the lamb is grilled, slice pieces, stuff it into a taco with queso quesadilla or queso oaxaca or melty mozzarella, and some avocado slices. Then put the tortilla on the grill for a few moments so the cheese melts and the tortilla warms through. Serve with lime wedges and two options of salsas.

Jun 07, 2014
luckyfatima in Home Cooking

Suggestions for simple Vietnamese dish?

Another idea, a dau hu xao recipe, tofu stir fried with some vegetable. You could be adventurous and use something like ridged gourd/Chinese okra/loofah vegetable (called muop in Vietnamese)...see this recipe:

http://www.phamfatale.com/id_2728/tit...

Here is a pic of ridged gourd so you will know what to look for at the grocery store: http://www.padhuskitchen.com/2009/09/...

Or use the same recipe but sub a vegetable that you might be more familiar with like zucchini, eggplant, asparagus, whatever.

Also, if you use this recipe, you can skip a step by purchasing pre-fried Chinese tofu cubes. Soak them in warm water to remove the oil.

Also, you can use the translate feature on your browser and google "mon an chay" (veg food) to get loads of Viet veg recipes and select one and read the translation...translate feature gives very odd translations but at least you can see the ingredients and get the basics of the recipe. Por ejemplo, click on any of these 'xao' recipes and hit "translate" http://monanchayvn.blogspot.com/searc...

Jun 05, 2014
luckyfatima in Home Cooking

Suggestions for simple Vietnamese dish?

I would suggest a "xao" noodle dish, or noodle stir fry.

With rice noodles you could do hu tieu xao chay or hu tieu xao ca ri chay---stir fried vegetable rice noodles, use fine or thick and flat, and optionally use a Vietnamese brand brand of ca ri or curry powder.

You could also choose to do mien xao chay, or stir fried cellophane noodles.

Here are some recipes to explore:

Use tofu instead of shrimp, and water or VN/Chinese veg stock powder for the chicken broth (don't use a Western brand cuz it will have herbal flavors like parsley in it) http://vietplaza.com/recipe/Noodles/B...

Here Pham Fatale has used wide fresh noodles, but you can use dried fine bun for this dish:
http://www.phamfatale.com/id_3087/tit...

Alter your hu tieu xao by adding a teaspoon of ca ri powder like this: http://wanderingchopsticks.blogspot.c...

You can also add 1/4 cup tbs coconut milk to a fine rice vermicelli hu tieu xao curry dish.

Soak the noodles, do not cook them first, then allow them to cook in the stir fry liquid. It will happen fast and you will achieve the best texture this way. If you cook the rice noodles before you xao them, they won't absorb the flavor as well and will turn to mush.

Jun 05, 2014
luckyfatima in Home Cooking

Why do people find it so strange to take photos of your food?

I love food pics, though sometimes I see pics of people's home cooked burnt weird looking stuff and I feel embarrassed for them that they shared. But good looking stuff, yum! I love looking at food pics on Pinterest, too. I do take food pics sometimes, too. Especially of stuff I have cooked or of favorite meals. I don't always post what I snap, though.

People are too pedantic about what they see in their various social media feeds. If someone posts something I am not interested in, I just scroll on down. But I don't think it is weird or rude to take pics of one's food.

Hahaha once I posted a pic on Facebook of home made matzo eggs and some friend (who frequently posts food pics himself, not always beauties) commented that it looked like vomit.

Jun 02, 2014
luckyfatima in Not About Food
1

Indian cooking/frying paneer without non stick pan

Some people mix milk with milk powder (like Nido or Carnation) when they make homemade paneer to get it to be firmer.

Jun 01, 2014
luckyfatima in Home Cooking

Southeast Asian Fried Shallots Are So Very Awesome

So today I tested the Thai fried onions to use in Indo-Pak cooking as "birishta" or red fried onions. I knew they wouldn't be that great straight from the container, so I flash fried them to refreshen them. This brought their sweetness and they tasted absolutely fresh as if I had gone through the 25-30 min process of making fresh birishta at home. This is definitely a good find for me.

I used them ground into a qeema/spiced ground meat dish.

I also made Lebanese red lentil soup with them.

Very useful item, but depending on one's intent with them they should be very quickly dipped in hot oil to wake them up.

May 31, 2014
luckyfatima in Features
1