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Posted on Jun 28, 2012 in Food | 2 comments

Honey Pig Izakaya

It’s been a little heavy in these parts lately (but thank you all for your awesome and supportive comments!), so how’s about we lighten the mood on this hot and sunny Thursday, hmm?


All photos taken by Taylor!

That’s the spirit!

Last night, the fam, Sean, and I headed out to Honey Pig Izakaya for dinner. I went in full of boastful pride about how I knew aaaaall about Honey Pig from the one time I’d been there before. I was going on and on about how it was a hot-top-style Korean BBQ place, about how we’d have to get there crazy early because there’d be a huge wait, etc, etc.

Well, evidently, Honey Pig Izakaya, while run by the same people, is a completely different restaurant than Honey Pig. (Mind you, they’re like, down the street from each other as well, so you can see how I would have gotten confused.) Instead of offering raw meats cooked on the hot top in front of you, it’s more of a general Asian fusion restaurant. Whoops! Oh well, at least the Living Social deal that my dad had was definitely for this place, so I hadn’t led us all to the wrong restaurant!

Alas, it wasn’t quite the experience I think we were all hoping for, but the food was still quite tasty. It was pretty unique, too, getting to order all manner of cuisine: Japanese, Korean, you name it!

We mainly feasted on yakitori: Japanese-style skewers of meat and vegetables (the fried vegetable skewers were my favorite, hehe). We also nommed on one of their sushi samplers (not bad!) as well as their bulgogi. You can’t have Korean food without bulgogi, no matter if it’s eaten hot pot style or not!

Ben and my dad also got giant beers. What is it about Asian beers that make the serving size so huge, despite the fact that we can’t hold our alcohol for squat? Seriously, if I was to drink one this size, well, you’d probably be carting me home in a wheelbarrow, hahaha.

All in all, the food was good but the experience is much better at the original Honey Pig. That said, if you’re ever craving some Asian flavor in the Annandale area, but don’t feel like dealing with the line or the noise of the other one (it was seriously crazy when I went before!), why not give this Honey Pig a try?

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Posted on Jan 26, 2012 in Food, Recipes | 24 comments

Healthy Bulgogi

There is a little Korean deli on the first floor of my office building. They have a pretty good selection of standard fare: sandwiches, a hot bar, snacks, drinks, etc. When I fell off the wagon with my eating at the end of last year, it certainly didn’t make things easier by having “bad” in-house options so easily accessible, with one item in particular. I was, and still am, obsessed with their bulgogi sandwich.

For those of who who are unfamiliar, bulgogi is a Korean dish that generally consists of specially marinated beef, and it is frackin’ delicious. You can usually get it at any Korean BBQ restaurant, and the downstairs deli had the brilliant idea of slapping it in a white roll (also delicious) with cheese (I can’t handle flavor of this magnitude!) and basically single-handedly killed my diet. I think you know where I’m going with this.

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Naturally, now that I’m trying to clean up my eating again and get back on track, I’m finding myself battling some serious bulgogi cravings! And since the cuts of meat generally used for this dish tend to be very fatty, and the marinade is made with liberal amounts of soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar, it’s not really something I can justify as a regular menu item. Plus, this particular dish is notorious for using MSG to make it so banging. But instead of resigning myself to a lifetime of bulgogi-less misery, I remembered that I’m a semi-decent cook, and I could create my own, healthier version!

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By using lean cuts of shaved beef, measuring out specific amounts of the marinade ingredients, and loading this mother up with veggies (well, I just used onions this time around, but I bet peppers would be a great addition too!), I’ve managed to limit calories without sacrificing flavor!

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Admittedly, this doesn’t replicated traditional bulgogi exactly, hence the “healthy” qualifier. But the flavor profile is similar, and the guilt is gone. So I’m counting that as a win in my books.

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It’s not the prettiest dish in the world, but served up over some rice and something green on the side (brussels sprouts in this particular instance, what else?) it still looks pretty good. And it tastes damn delicious, which is the most important thing here, right?

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Healthy Bulgogi
Print this recipe!

Makes 4 servings.

Seasoned with traditional ingredients, minus the MSG, this healthified version of the Korean classic is sure to satisfy your taste buds without breaking the calorie bank! Enjoy over steamed brown or white rice, or in lettuce wraps. Feel free to swap out the beef for another protein — this dish would also taste great with pork, chicken, or even tofu!

Ingredients:

1 lb. thinly shaved steak (Trader Joe’s carries one that is perfect)
1 medium white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions:

1. Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, sugar, and sesame seeds (if using) in a bowl. Add shaved steak and coat thoroughly. You can add a splash of water if for any reason the sugar is not dissolving or if you are not getting enough coverage on the meat. Cover bowl and marinate in the refrigerator at least 20 minutes, up to 2 hours. The longer the better!

2. Spray a large skillet with nonstick spray and heat to medium heat. Add sliced onions and cook until they begin to get translucent and soft, about 2 minutes.

3. Add marinated beef, and cook until meat is no longer pink, about 5 – 7 minutes. Serve over rice and enjoy!

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Nutritional info per ¼ serving: 256 calories, 14 g fat, 8 g carbs, 24 g protein. Add 100 additional calories for ½ cup of rice.

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Posted on Oct 10, 2011 in Food | 35 comments

K-BBQ (or, That Time I Ate All the Meat)

Abby & John-Paul’s wedding was absolutely beautiful, but the recap will have to wait due to me having to edit roughly twenty zillion photos of the amazingness. Good thing I have today off from work to get through them all, eh? [/brag]

In the meantime, let’s talk about last night’s family dinner!

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Sorry sis, I just couldn’t NOT post this pic.

The whole gang got together, minus Steve, but including my unpictured brother who served as co-photog for the night (I’d say the photo cred split goes about 50/50 for this post.)

Famiry

My uncle, aunt, and cousin (different relatives than last week, haha) were visiting from Boston, and my mom picked out Korean as the cuisine du jour.

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Hi Aunt Martha, Uncle Tommy, and Tomas!

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Oe Gad Gib is in Annandale, VA, and offers an All-You-Can-Eat Korean BBQ special that my mom had seen advertised in the Chinese Newspaper. So what did we do, friends?

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We All-You-Can-Ate, of course! Boy, oh boy, did we eat.

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Thin strips of beef, marinated tenderloin, and pork belly – whoosh! I’m pretty sure I ate all the meat there ever was, ever.

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With some salad and kimchi in between, of course! Korean food is notorious for being especially spicy, so even with my spice-lovin’ tastebuds I was, er, a little hesitant at first:

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Phew, not that spicy after all!

With so much red meat in one sitting, my stomach certainly wasn’t thanking me, um, later on (tmi?), but in the moment it was delicious. Sometimes we (non-vegetarian, non-vegan people) just need to be a little carnivorous, y’know?

Again, stay tuned for a full wedding weekend recap to come tomorrow, but in the meantime I’ll leave you with this little nugget from the big day:

Photog at Large

What, you don’t go to weddings toting thousands of dollars worth of your brother’s camera equipment? Bahaha.

Are you working for The Man this glorious Columbus Day, or do you have the day off?

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