Monday, March 14, 2011

An Underground Dining-Inspired Meal

The other weekend, Mr. WC and I were in the mood to make a 'project' dinner for ourselves on Sunday.  We had found a local underground dining website, Dining Under the Table, thanks to a posting on Thayer Avenue, and we were inspired by a posting about some Maine shrimp ravioli they made for one of their meals.  So, using that for our inspiration, we set about making our homemade shrimp and lobster ravioli.  This isn't exactly Wheaton-related (it's closer to a Crash in the Kitchen post), but we did get alot of our ingredients from local stores, so I think this counts!

The first step was to make our own seafood stock.  To get really good stock from shellfish, you need the heads, which have alot of tasty fat in them.  While shrimp with heads on may be hard to find at some grocery stores, H-Mart always has them.  So, we picked up some raw shrimp from H-Mart plus a lobster for good measure.

Raw Shrimp w/ Heads

Lobster post-steaming

We shelled the raw shrimp, keeping the heads and shells, and cooked the lobster (I had to leave the room for that part).  We then removed the meat and retained the shells and heads.  We threw all of the heads and shells, plus some veggies and water, in a pot that we simmered for most of the day.

Our house smelled like seafood for days after making the stock!

Separately, we mixed the cooked shrimp and lobster meat with some shallots, basil, grated parmesean, and ricotta cheese.  Then, we put the mixture into a food processor, which produced a nice paste for our ravioli filling.

While the stock was going, we made the ravioli dough, which has to rest in the refrigerator for a few hours before rolling it out.  Our dough recipe comes from the cookbook 'Urban Italian' by Andrew Carmellini (I highly recommend the book, and it's on sale at Amazon for $14!).  It calls for type '00' flour, and the only place around here that sells it is Marchone's, so I stopped there to buy a few bags.  Eventually, we rolled out the dough, and using a ravioli mold, started to fill our ravioli with the shrimp and lobster filling.  We made a whopping 80 ravioli!

We put the ravioli we weren't going to eat into the freezer for a future meal, then cooked our fresh ravioli for dinner.  For the sauce, we sauteed shallots, garlic, red pepper and tomato paste, then added some of the seafood stock (the rest went in the freezer) and reduced it all down.  The final step was to add a little half and half for creaminess plus a cornstarch-water mixture to thicken it (we copied the sauce on the 'Dining Under the Table' website).  We topped the ravioli with shredded basil for the finishing touch.  It was fantastic!

Thanks to Dining Under the Table for the inspiration for our delicious meal!  If I promise not to compete with you for business, will you please keep posting info on the wonderful recipes you're coming up with??

p.s.  It was revealed last week that local blog SoCo Eats is part of Dining Under the Table.  Based on how our meal inspired by their website turned out, I predict great things for them!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

WETA show on Monday night to feature Wheaton

This Monday night, March 14, at 8pm, WETA will be debuting a new show called 'The WETA Guide to Mongtomery County'.  I got an email from a promotional person with WETA about it, and apparently this first show will include features on Wheaton's "culinary diversity", a tour of Brookside Gardens, and a visit to Antique Row in Kensington.  I'll be interested to see what restaurants they feature on the show.

Images from WETA

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Taste of Wheaton Set for May 15th

Mark your calendar!  This year's Taste of Wheaton has been scheduled for Sunday, May 15th, and applications are being sent out to start pulling together the restaurants that will have stands.  So, start asking your favorite local restaurants if plan to participate.  If they're interested, they should contact the events manager listed on the page that's still up from last year.  You can also read about the tasty food I had last year at the Taste of Wheaton here.

Here's a list of the restaurants that partcipated in last year's festival:
Ledo Pizza
Ming Tree
El Boqueron
Dunkin Donuts
Pollo Sabroso
Los Cobanos
Global Cafe African Grill
Noble Romans Playland
Hollywood East
Moby Dick

Who's missing from this list that you'd like see this year?

Here's my wish list:
Limerick Pub
Royal Mile (fish and chips showdown!)
Ruan Thai
Nava Thai (pad thai showdown!)
Paul Kee
Full Kee
Irene's Pupusas
Woomi Garden

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Safeway Demolition Update

The Gazette has posted an update on the anticipated schedule for demolition to start on Safeway.  It sounds like they want to get all of their building permits approved before they start demolition, and right now it's looking like those will come through in April.  So, we're looking at an April or May start for demolition.  So much for my guess of March 7th!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Limerick Pub Review

Apologies for my lack of posting lately.  Life has been busy!  I'm not going to post a clever limerick about it like Good Eatin' did, but I will share my review of our dinner there tonite.

We got there around 7pm and the place was packed.  There were only a handful of tables open and all of the waitstaff was visibly flustered (overwhelmed?) with the turnout.  My initial impression was that the decor was nice, but it lacks the coziness of the Royal Mile.  On the other hand, the bar (toally packed when we were there) certainly has a nice amount of space for both sitting at the bar and standing around behind it.  The flat screen TVs were all tuned to 'footie' and there wasn't any music playing, which made the place seem strangely quiet, considering how many people were in there.  Still, a band was in the process of slooooowly setting up when we got there.  Even when we finished dinner and left, there was no sign of them starting anytime soon, though.
Now, on to our meal!  Mr. WC and I decided to have our usual Royal Mile dishes to compare to those at Limerick - a burger with swiss cheese and mushrooms for me and fish and chips for Mr. WC.  My burger was respectable - the burger had a nice 'charbroiled' taste to it and the bun was toasted.  However, I give Royal Mile the win on this one - their burger is thicker, juicier, and just more tasty in general.  Still, this was a decent burger, especially for their second night open.  We both had some issues with the fries that came with our meals, though.  They were so dark that they almost looked burned, yet we found them soggy without any crispness at all when we started eating them.  They did seem to be fresh cut, so that's good, but the sogginess made these a no-go for me.  The fish and chips came out with a mountain of large, battered chunks of fish.  Mr. WC deemed these the equal of the Royal Mile - the fish was very fresh tasting, and the pieces held together well once you started eating them while the RM version kind of falls to pieces after the first bite.  The sogginess of a few pieces is probably the only thing that prevented Limerick's version of the dish to not surpass the Royal Mile's.
In general, the service was very friendly, even though there were issues caused by how understaffed they were.  That's totally forgiveable, though, on their second night of business.  The list of beers on tap was decent, and they also had a good selection of bottled beer (maybe a few less than Royal Mile) plus all sorts of specialty Irish options like half and half. The entree prices were maybe a little higher than Royal Mile, but not by much.  Royal Mile will be our first choice for pub food in the future, but Limerick Pub is a good backup option and it's worth considering if all you want to do is stand or sit at the bar with a beer.  Just for comparison, we walked by the Royal Mile after dinner and it looked like there was only one table with 2 people seated in the whole place (yikes!).

So, by all means, check out and patronize Limerick, but keep on supporting the Royal Mile too.