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some of our favorite(maryland)things: chick fila breakfast

we’ve been traveling(at least in the blogosphere) so i thought i would share a few places that we like to eat at not in nyc. again, not necessarily the best or whatever superlative…just places we go to regularly when we are in your town.

this one will be an absolute pleasure to write!


my in laws new home is walking distance to chick fila but because of the winter storms where the baltimore area got the most snow in their recent history, i had to drive the 40 seconds up the block to get my family the most desired breakfast in the tsang family. i have been dreaming about this since i did a walk through of the home with them. i approved this baller place just based on chick fila.


the best item on the menu is this……a chicken, cheese and egg omelet on a multigrain bagel. we realize that it’s mom and baby…but its so good. just a hint of sweetness to go along with the savory everything else.

another favorite are the mini chicken biscuits. mmmmm….buttermilk. mmmmm……chicken. mmmm…..buttermilk and chicken. the chicken at chick fila has a hint of fried chicken southern spiciness.


i think i like the mini’s more than the (much)bigger big brother version but then the chicken biscuit is a bigger cutlet so it just depends on your appetite. theresa’s mom and grandma split the mini’s! and everyone in theresa’s family loves the tater tots.


i grab a bunch of the extras to accompany the chicken and give different takes on the grub above…..tabasco and texas peter hot sauce; some honey roasted bbq mustard sauce, a nice dipping sauce.


….mints for grandma and some table toppers for zoe so we can put food right on a table……


we wound up using our more sturdy permanent version…but zoe had a yummy time nonetheless! i had a grand time(shock!)

this place and the breakfast will have my daughter clamoring to go to grandma’s!!!! my daughter meaning me.

my in laws think i am a nut.

Posted under some favorite non-nyc things

some of our favorite(maryland)things: crisp and juicy

we’ve been traveling(at least in the blogosphere) so i thought i would share a few places that we like to eat at not in nyc. again, not necessarily the best or whatever superlative…just places we go to regularly when we are in your town.

here is one of our absolute favorite places in maryland but we rarely get to eat here because our schedules never work out. but getting snowed in and then freed with a lax schedule, crisp and juicy was on the agenda. in fact, it was the top choice. once again, zoe was regulated to baby food and did not get to feast with us.

here she is looking kind of boyish despite the headband with extensions that theresa’s la aunt got her.

we usually go for chicken. their sandwiches and salads are good….but we are here for peruvian rotisserie. its magical…moist, flavorful, smoky, savory.

its also the best deal..the meals come with sides including my beloved rice and beans and theresa’s beloved yuca. then’s there’s the great hot sauce that comes in limited supply depending on which meal you get. when we order sandwiches, it is the latino chicken sandwich which is topped with this sauce.

oh how we missed you, crisp and juicy…located at leisure world, md

or what my sister calls it….big and juicy….located at pleasureworld.

Posted under some favorite non-nyc things

some of our favorite(los angeles)things: korean bbq/park’s bbq

we’ve been touring with the boys….and eating well…here are some of the places we went in the early fall…and love.

to the delight of my korean friends from college, i now eat korean food almost daily and have had korean food in all the major gathering places for koreans including chicago, new york, md/va area and los angeles. i have also been to korea and had korean-korean food….so it is with confidence that i can say the best korean bbq is found in of course korea but tied for first would have to be los angeles. price wise, it is a steal and that might put it over the top in terms of value.

taste is the game. and for us park’s bbq is the place for the best meats and best marinades. with the pictures of stars and celebrities that line the walls, it seems like the cultural elite agree with us. seek it out.

we make a trip once a year here when we are in the la area for our big family meal and is a highlight in our family life. we like pork belly, la kalbi, the lean beef cuts and anything kobe.

i would suspect that its a bit expensive but we rarely get to pay as there are a few nuclear  families fighting for the bill. but i’m sure its still worth it.

also on the wall at parks……

we also went to this seafood bbq place near knottsberry farm but neglected to write down the name of the place….anybody recognize this amazing pre fixe package?

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some of our favorite(los angeles)things: max’s of manila

we’ve been touring with the boys….and eating well…here are some of the places we went in the early fall…and love.

big ups to my filipino friends…seeing czarinna this past weekend and also going down to maryland to do a filipino wedding next weekend..makes me reminisce about our big meal at a real chain from the philippines. czarinna and jodi played host for us  for a place we would never have known to go to.

the place was packed with filipinos…a great sign of authenticity and flavor. there was even a bit of a wait with the lobby filled with the dinner crowd but no worries as we were catching up after a few months of not seeing each other.

we let them order for us but we asked for a sampling ala some food show. i don’t know all the real names of these dishes but everything was richly good:  including fried chicken, fried pork, a fried appetizer plate with egg rolls and onion rings, a peanut butter soup with pork and eggplant, flan and a jelly dessert with cream. a feast that we did not finish. we could not finish.

this is a chain that actually cares. service was like getting served at your friend’s family home. the food was super savory; it is hard to beat fried meats! i loved it but don’t know how a culture can eat so richly on a regular basis.

a joyous reunion over food we get once a few years…but we better get some this weekend!

max, please come and build a restaurant in nyc.

Posted under some favorite non-nyc things

some of our favorite(phoenix)things: chino bandito

we’ve been touring with the boys….and eating well…here are some of the places we went in the early fall…and love.

once upon a time in san diego on our way back to phoenix, i asked folks what there that was distinctive to eat. some named some soul food places or italian places but i was hesitant because i get plenty of that in nyc. then stephen said, we do have chino bandito…a chinese mexican fusion. i was really hesitant. steven added that it had been featured on the food network. still apprehensive but a good enough recommendation to try the place. also, the restaurant would be able to accommodate our large post retreat crowd.

i loved it. i got my wife a semi-racist t-shirt and was wondering when i would be able to bring her in person.

a u2 tour stop gave us that chance.

the place was started by a chinese lady…so the legend is shared. the gimmick actually delivers with really good chinese flavors delivered in mexican wraps and styling. there also mexican meats and toppings.  that day we got emerald chicken in a quesadilla and a burrito form, pollo diablo(a spicy chicken) also in quesadilla, jade red chicken in burrito with beans, white rice and the super duper great jerk fried rice. topped off by their snickerdoodle cookie that comes with each combo meal. everything i’ve tried has been magical. you can’t go wrong but we ordered our most favorite items.

make sure to get the sample tour before ordering if you’ve never been there before.

and of course, its the company that help make the meal. thanks to christine, herman, joan and john, brad for coming out. and of course, rebecca for coming out to the supermarket to meet us beforehand because she couldn’t join us for lunch. i love phoenix people!

now theresa is wondering when we can come back again. so am i.

Posted under some favorite non-nyc things

some of our favorite(los angeles)things: ruby’s

we’ve been touring with the boys….and eating well…here are some of the places we went in the early fall…and love.



our annual trek to los angeles includes our annual trip to ruby’s burgers…specifically this location in newport at the end of a long pier by the water. and usually we are on the roof but renovations left them without the umbrellas temporarily so we settled for the dock which had the majority of the appeal….burgers, shakes, fries and rings by the water.

the okholms from my wheaton days treat us every year and were delighted to meet zoe!


we chowed on jalapeno laced burgers, said rings and fries…as well as previously unmentioned fried fish platters and chicken salads…and sucking down peanut butter chocolate shakes and home made cherry cokes. everything is hearty and all american in the best sense of the word. sun, breeze and eating outdoors makes everything taste even better.

the burgers specifically taste fresh and like real meat. and  not like frozen pucks from a box.

zoe will have to wait til next time for her first taste.


we love it here! even grandma did!

seek out this location!

Posted under some favorite non-nyc things

some of our favorite(los angeles)things: Hae Jang Chon Korean BBQ Restaurant

we’ve been touring with the boys….and eating well…here are some of the places we went in the early fall…and loved.


back in la…a place we travel to every year since the start of the decade to see theresa’s family; mostly to see theresa’s grandmother…she now lives with us, helping us raise zoe but there are still other relatives in valencia and orange. so while the 90’s were my san francisco years, the early 2000’s take me back to southern california over and over.

foodwise, that means korean. and good korean. new york won’t do it if you have access to the west coast version. this stuff almost makes me almost like korean. of course, at the center of the scene is korean bbq….and at hae jang chon, its endless all you can eat korean bbq.


the big question with all you can eat is the quality of the meats. sometimes big portions means eh standards. we are usually exclusively park’s bbq people in la but this place will have us back.  the thin sliced meats are great with both pork and beef options as good ways to start. for 16.99, you have 19/20 or so items. you get a few selections at the beginning and when you are done, more is brought out as you wish.

i had grandma and theresa with me so we also had seafood which i am only ok on. shellfish rarely appeals to me…i’m like a pork eating jew.  i wound up eating most of my table’s meat while the ladies ate more of the other items. we were too stuffed with our first round to get anymore.

but i wanted to eat more…a  good sign.

this is a great alternative to some of the ultra busy places in town. the only downside is that the wait staff is a little uptight with their weird, awkward watchdog vibe. it felt like a new york place rather than a west coast one.


the night was not really about bbq though. it was about reunion with our good friends, liz and leonard and their baby lina. and having zoe meet their whole family. we’ll go join them for dinner anytime and not just because they paid….they are so asian, snatching up the bill before we could start counting. how does this work? leonard pays when we’re in his town and when he’s in our town!!! i did help them get some u2 tix for the next leg at angels stadium….i’m sure they count that as even.


at the end of the night, proud fathers smelling of smoke and meat.

i need a haircut.

Posted under some favorite non-nyc things

some of our favorite(charlottesville)things: mas tapas

we’ve been touring with the boys….and eating well…here are some of the places we went in the early fall…and loved.

post concert, we were wondering what charlottesville munchies were available. tiffany suggested this topless bar. i reminded her that i was a pastor…but i was open minded.  tiffany tried again: tapas. not topless.

we called it the topless place the whole night.

this was one of our favorite post u2 experiences because we were able to walk down the street and get picked up. no crazy lines of traffic. no soul wearying trek home. instead, we were off to mas for spanish tapas still with the buzz of the concert in our soul.  i remember a day trip to chicago i did once…flew in one night, concert the next day…eat at a tortas place…then out the next morning…sleeping at the airport.

this was not as nuts but here we are at our victory party….ravenous.

yes…we are eating with members of tim be told.  i coached some of them the night before how to get a good spot on the railing…and they executed to a t.

enough of their free plug. onto the food.

its all about appetizers, small dishes to snack and pass around….we had sausages, figs in bacon, potato cake, shrimp, a pork chili, sliced meats and cheeses….also some ham sandwiches not pictured. all pretty tasty but we were also pretty delirious after another night in the pit. i would order everything we got minus perhaps the potato cake.

part of the fun and charm of the meal is the sharing and community which continued the vibe of the trip.

i am not sophisticated enough to know if these were good tapas or just ok tapas. they are the best in this town….but i likely need to do some more research. any recommendations?

finally, on a whim, i decided to have a guiness. a toast to my irish friends. i almost never drink beer….i don’t get it. i’m more of a wine guy or learning to be. but for some reason, i get guiness..i’ve read its the coffee and chocolate thing…and asian guys dig guiness?

anyway, see you in phoenix.

Posted under some favorite non-nyc things

some of our favorite(hoco)things: bob evans

we’ve been traveling so i thought i would share a few places that we like to eat at not in nyc. again, not necessarily the best or whatever superlative…just places we go to regularly when we are in your town.


don’t judge! don’t hate! we like some chain places and this is one is not a howard county or even a maryland exclusive…but we’ve always liked bob evans. my parents, theresa’s family, me and more and more, theresa…we are boosters. the breakfasts are pretty solid and every non-breakfast plate we’ve sampled has been pretty comforting. good solid comfort food…….even if i did not grow up with this comfort food……plus the prices are reasonable. a bit of a time trip experience with the time machine landing in a different era.


some of our menu this fall morning: an egg skillet mashup, an omelet with sausage and home fries, gravy and biscuits, pasta primavera and a veggie omelet.

the southern tinged breakfast foods were the best. anything fatty and sausage-y or pork-y is recommended.


also get the pretty decent unlimited coffee.  this is a good wakeup place and also a little ole place where my mother in law’s sister can meet zoe for the first time. this is not my mother in law with glasses. this is theresa’s aunt!

bob evans is a place we normally get to go to only when we’re on vacation…adding to the mystic and anticipation. we’ll be back, probably on a cold, frosty day.

Posted under some favorite non-nyc things

some of our favorite(dc)things: heidi’s

we’ve been traveling so i thought i would share a few places that we like to eat at not in nyc. again, not necessarily the best or whatever superlative…just places we go to regularly when we are in your town.


its no exaggeration to say that we have not fully moved to ny with maryland being our other home. some of our doctors are in the dc area including our eye doctor…who is also one of theresa’s bridesmaids and lifelong friends, julia. after grandma, theresa and i had our eyes checked for new prescriptions, dr. lee took us out for lunch. originally, i thought theresa might like potbelly’s since she hadn’t had that in a long time but julia said that this place was better.

with a disclaimer of birth in brooklyn(same here)and raised in dc(partially true), i was down.


this place is looking to franchise but it is the only one of its kind according to the literature.

look at this menu! this is the story here. its a winner! there were a lot of choices of things we wanted to eat. and of course, the prices…..everywhere we go outside of ny is a bargain!

i got the transplanted new yorker for fun….and it sounded good.


it also tasted great! the sandwiches were jumbotroned. and very flavorful. everybody was very happy and very full. my gut was busting. grandma could only finish half of hers.

and zoe could only watch.


but zoe had a fun day with her aunt julia….hoping to see her this week!

Posted under some favorite non-nyc things