Sunday, June 1, 2008

My Free Empanadas at Julia's

Picture from here

My friend and I decided to hang out at Dupont Circle after work. This was our second try to eat at Dupont Circle because it was raining cats and dogs the previous night and we sort of got stuck at Metro station waiting for the rain to stop. We had no umbrella. Those who know me well know that I don't like waiting. Ok, I admit I'm impatient. But there was no sense in waiting for the rain to stop. It could have taken 15 minutes to forever. So we decided to go back to Bethesda. Hey, but today seemed different because once we got out of the Metro, things were looking good. Since we didn't have any particular restaurant in mind, we decided to check the area and decide where to eat later.

Of course we had plans but well, we saw Filene's Basement and that's that. I ended buying a pair of black comfy rubber shoes (aka pang-travel na sapatos) that actually look good but wasn't too expensive. I actually saw the same pair at Jersey Gardens and didn't buy it because I was trying to save some money. It was cheaper in Jersey but I couldn't help but buy it in DC. I felt that it was fate. My friend on the other hand bought a pair of heels. By the time we got out of the store (it was closing), it started to drizzle. Then the drizzle got stronger and eventually became a downpour. So there we were, no umbrella, trying find someplace to seek shelter. Running into the empanada shop was the best we could do. There was a bar right beside it but I don't think that 2 dishevelled and almost rain-soaked ladies would be attractive. Not cool at all, I know.

Julia's Empanada's a hole-in-the wall type of place was our refuge for the moment. It was warm inside, comforting in a way. I decided to order the Saltenas (chicken, potato, green peas, hard boiled egg, raisins, green olives and onion) empanada and a large coke. I think it's a steal for $3. The dough that holds all those delicious ingredients is thicker and more bread-like compared to the crusty empanadas here in Manila. It's size is similar to a good-sized russet potato. The empanada is stuffed to the brim. This was dinner and I couldn't complain about it. It's really filling. After chowing down every last bit of it and waiting for the rain to stop, Frank, the cashier/owner, motioned me to go to the cashier. I guess he noticed that I was enjoying my empanada so much. He said, "I'm giving you and your friend another empanada for free so choose what you want." Wow, was I surprised. Happily surprised. I chose one of the fruit empanadas. "Hey, do you want more? I can give you more", Frank added. Was I feeling blessed at that moment. Me in DC being given empanadas on a cold and rainy night, this was truly a night to remember. Economists would always say, "There's no such thing as a free lunch". I agree but I did get free empanadas at Julia's.

You'll find Julia's empanadas at
Dupont Circle1221 Connecticut Ave NW Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 861-8828Open Fri-Sat till 4am

***This happened sometime in June 2008 when I visited my beloved Home Office.***

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Bouchon Bakery & Cafe - A French Boulangerie in NYC

I ate at the Bouchon Bakery and Cafe about three times, once for lunch and twice for merienda. You'll find this at the Time-Warner Building in front of the Columbus Circle in NYC. It’s basically a boulangerie that specializes in pastries but also serves soups, sandwiches and salads at the cafe area. Located at the leftmost area of the third floor, you can order pastries and sandwiches to go at the bakery. Meanwhile, the cafe area is in the middle, right across the 150 ft. curtain glass wall. Although the bakery has a seating section, it's basically self-service. If you want to be waited upon, try sitting in the cafe (not sure though if the prices at the bakery are the same). You also get a great view of the historical Columbus Circle as passers by and cars go round and round the monument. Named after Christopher Columbus, this is the point at which distances to and from New York City are officially measured.

Anyway, the cafe is always full of people unless you go at an odd hour in the afternoon. The moment you sit down they will serve you some bread and butter which is just perfect for someone tired and looking to chow real food. It keeps you pre-occupied while waiting for your order. My friend and I split the wagyu beef sandwich and the tomato soup which came with a grilled cheese sandwich. The wagyu beef wasn't as tender as I expected it to be. However, I did enjoy the tomato soup. For dessert, I ordered a chocolate chip cookie and vanilla ice cream. Now the vanilla ice cream was the best I've ever tasted. So creamy. Not too sweet. A close inspection of the ice cream will show you the vanilla speckles. Believe me when I tell you it was a great way to end a late lunch. The chocolate chip cookie was not too chewy and not too crunchy. How can you go wrong with that combination?

What I failed to try were the macaroons. I found it to be too expensive as they were selling it at $2 each if I'm not mistaken. Well maybe next time. So far the best macaroons I've tasted was at the Sofitel in Hanoi for .90c each. And they were really heavenly.

Another reason why I frequented Bouchon was that it was only two blocks away from where I was staying. The "ate" of my friend so kindly took me in for five days. Isn't she just wonderful?

Try it if you're around the area and let me know what you think.

Bouchon Bakery New York
Ten Columbus Circle,
Third Floor, Time Warner Building
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212.823.9366
Fax: 212.823.9399