Grace’s Mandarin If You Love Chinese Food

I stopped eating Chinese food 10 years ago, after my vacation in China. Not because I had a bad experience, but because I had such a great food experience, that after that eating  broccoli and pieces of something that might have been chicken, beef or a shoe sole, covered in soy sauce, didn’t seem appetizing at all. And unfortunately this is what most of the Chinese food outside of China tastes like.

One of my memorable dinners in Changchun was at one of the city’s top 3 restaurants, where you could pick the lobster or the fish from the aquarium and they would cook it for you right away. Yeah, this type of restaurant, with marble tables and chairs looking like emperor’s throne. It was also where I first tried glass noodles, frogs’ legs and some of the cuisine’s finest sauces. My other memorable dinner was in Beijing, where we found a hall-in-the-wall type of place, with sticky tables and personnel wearing stained aprons and not speaking a word of English. Up to the day I remember how delicious their Beijing duck and sweet aubergines were.beijing_modern_city_920x500

However, yesterday I finally broke my 10 years long Chinese food fast and didn’t regret it one bit. Before seeing Sting at MGM National Harbor last night we had a dinner date with my husband at Grace’s Mandarin. I can say with absolute confidence that it was the best Chinese food I ever have had outside of China. Continue reading

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Boatyard Bar and Grill: Annapolis Must Eat

America is known for big things. Houses, cars, distances, shopping malls, highways. But nothing annoys me more than big food portions.big-portion

When I was growing up, it was considered rude to leave anything on your plate – even if you are about to explode from all the food you’ve consumed. Between you parents sending you on a guilt trip reminding you about all the starving kids in third world countries and your party host driving you nuts with the question “Was the dish so bad that you don’t want to finish it?” you learned to eat up whatever was on your plate just to avoid all these interactions.

This habit played a bad trick on me when I moved to the US. It wasn’t until quite a few pounds later and all of our overseas guests, who were steadily shocked seeing the size of the plates in the restaurants that I realized that it’s time to drop the childhood habit of finishing whatever is on your plate, otherwise the consequences might be irreversible.

Yesterday we drove to Annapolis, MD for the change of scenery, fresh oysters and for allegedly the best crab cakes in the country at Boatyard Bar and Grill. Continue reading