Home, Sweet, Home

I have been extremely busy with the research and statistics class I am taking, but I have a few free minutes this afternoon to share about the week I spent at home.

Again, mostly food pictures.  Not because all I did at home was eat but because the rest of the time was spent working, doing homework, and shopping.  There really wasn't a lot of reason to take pictures of anything else.  Going out to eat was my time to socialize with friends and family.  That was my most valued time at home.

My sister lives close by the train station so we decided since I was taking the train home that eating somewhere near here was the best choice.  We picked a place I used to go to often but haven't been to in years.  It's called the Papermoon Diner.  It used to be 24 hours but my sister said they no longer stay open all night.  This place is located pretty close to the Johns Hopkins campus.  It's always busy and their decorations and menu are pretty funky.  It's a fun place, as you can see from the outside.

One of the best things about this place is that they serve amazing breakfast all day.  As you can see, 3 of us went with tasty egg dishes.  It's hard to tell but I had the smoked salmon omelet.
Rachel got her omelet with sweet potato fries.
My mom even got breakfast too.
Joe decided to be different and got a salad with tofu.  Looks yummy!
Upon arriving to my mom's house I discovered my first Graze box.  They don't ship to APO addresses so I needed to send it to my mom and then she can forward it to me. 
I was definitely pleased with the random selection I was sent.  I have tried two of these so far and I really enjoyed both.  If you are interested in trying, here is my friend code: MELIND1MP.  This will get you your first and fifth box free.  Otherwise it is $6 a box and you can get shipments 1,2, or 4 times a month.  It's easy to cancel too if you aren't happy with it.
My first lunch at home was with my mom at one of my favorite restaurants to get my favorite salad.  My mom met up with me at Mari Luna.  The bonus here are the delicious pop overs.  So yummy!
Obviously I ordered my favorite salad.  This salad is topped with carrots, tomatoes, avocado, haloumi  cheese and crab.  Lots and lots of crab.  This salad is so good.  
These next photos are from dinner with my dad at a place called Earth, Wood and Fire.  Last time I was in town I went to eat there with my mom, but my dad likes this place too so we went there.  I made sure to have my dad try out the stuffed jalapeños.  They are baked, not breaded and fried.  These are so delicious and I love the idea of using fresh peppers.
For my entree I had a veggie burger.  It was made out of lentils.  It was fair and I was glad I tried it, but I am not sure I would get it again.
Must have been a burger kind of night because my dad ordered a burger too.
And my step mom tried out the pizza.
Later that night I took my sister to Sticky Rice for late night sushi.  They have a special on Monday nights.  My sister really wanted to try one of everything, but I did try and draw the line before things got out of hand.

These are the sticky balls.  This is tuna, crab and rice in an inari pocket and deep fried.  Definitely something to try!
We couldn't resist the tamago.
This is called godzirra. 
Then lots and lots of other rolls!  So much sushi!  There was no way we could eat it all, especially because this was my second dinner! (we went around 11 pm to take advantage of the special)
What's one thing I can't get in Japan?  A real Jewish bagel with lox and cream cheese.  Oh yes!  I met my mom for lunch at Goldberg's Bagels, which is by far my favorite bagel place.  And they ship anywhere in the US...just not all the way to Japan.

Dinner that night was with my sister and two of my closest friends, Mer and Jenn.  They picked the spot, Alchemy, which turned out to be an excellent choice because on Tuesday nights they run a special for a 3 course meal for $25.  Great deal!

The meal started with a popover.
Mer had the mussels for her first course.
Jenn had the crab bisque, which turned out to have some other meat in it so I couldn't even give it a try.
Rachel had the roasted pear salad, although she ordered off the regular menu because there wasn't a second course that interested her.  Instead, she ordered two appetizers.
And I had the house cured salmon plate.  Can you tell I like smoked salmon?  Yeah, that was twice for the day!  I think we all really enjoyed our first courses.
For the second course Rachel ordered the house cured fish plate, like my salmon first course but also had a second fish on it.
I believe Mer had the lamb bolognese.  I can't remember and from looking at the menu and the picture, that's my best guest.  Since I know she will read this she can clarify in the comments. :)
Jenn ordered the fish, which was a special for the day, I think. 
I couldn't resist and went with the crab mac and cheese.
I ended up not really liking anything on the 3 course menu for dessert so I ordered the carrot cake and  gave it to Rachel.  The icing was really good.  I think it was lemon based.
I ordered the Bailey's brownie, which was awesome.
And Mer had the bread pudding (again, I think...she can correct me if I am wrong).
Here I am with Jenn and Mer after our lovely dinner and a delicious bottle of wine.  It was a great night!
Next up was my Thursday dinner.  I taught until 8 pm so dinner had to be somewhere nearby.  My mom likes a Chinese place near her house so we went there.  She had a nice bowl of wonton soup.
Then we each had a spring roll.
My mom and Joe got the crispy beef.
I ordere shrimp and veggies, which was way too much food!
One thing I liked was that I could get brown rice.  That definitely doesn't happen in Japan.
At the end of the meal they brought out rainbow sherbet.  I had to laugh because at the Chinese place we go to in Japan they serve a tiny scoop of vanilla at the end of the meal.  It was funny to see a US place serve a small scoop like in Japan.
Friday night a bunch of us went to dinner after shabbat services.  My mom, Joe, my sister, my aunt, uncle and youngest cousin, along with 2 of my mom's friends.  We went to Joe Squared, which is a great pizza place in a terrible neighborhood (the MICA campus is there but otherwise not a great area and not safe to walk alone there).  Because it is so great, they had a wait.  Not just a little wait, but like an hour wait.  Thankfully we were able to enjoy some tasty drinks at the bar.

We started off with some potato skins.  These are topped with mushroom, onions and gorgonzola.  Yum! 
Rachel got a mushroom pizza with vegan cheese.  They can make any pizza on the menu with the vegan cheese, which is nice.
I couldn't resist this choice.  Just like when I couldn't resist the crab mac and cheese.  I am in MD so if it's crab, I want it!  This pizza has crab and a nice over easy egg, which was awesome!
I have no idea why, but I didn't take a picture of breakfast the next morning, but I did take a picture of the rainbow cake I ordered at the bagel shop before getting on the road to Philly to visit my friend Carolyn (who was recently married) and see some other friends too.  Rainbow cake is the cake of my childhood so when I saw this I had to get a slice.  It's been years since I have had rainbow cake.
The drive up to Philly was easy.  When I got there Carolyn and I walked over to a little Italian place near her house.  We started off with some bread, which was much needed after a few hours on the road.
I had a very tasty veggie wrap with chips.
It was pretty filling so I ended up only eating half.
That night I met up with Naomi and Laura, two camp friends that I have known for over 20 years.  I went to Laura's wedding in Spain back in 2012.  It was so nice to get to see them again and to see Laura's baby.  I was in town for Carolyn's wedding back in October and saw them then, but Laura's baby was only a week old then.  We ended up at a little Middle Eastern place for dinner.  I had a nice shrimp kabob with salad.
When I got back to Baltimore I picked up my sister and we went to the Charmery.  I by no means needed ice cream at that point but I was running out of time in Baltimore and we hadn't made it there yet.  They have really good ice cream in a variety of fun and unique flavors, but I really wanted to go so I could have the Berger cookies and cream ice cream, which is made from a local cookie (known as Berger cookies because the bakery is Bergers).  If you are from Baltimore, you know what I am talking about.
Dinner that night, which was my last night home, was at a Persian restaurant.  They offer a nice buffet, but there wasn't too many vegetarian options.  The highlight was the crispy rice.  Like the rice that gets burnt on the bottom of a pan.  It was awesome!
Rachel and I tried some of their appetizers.  Lots of yummy foods.  On the left are grape leaves, then an eggplant dip in the middle and hummus on the right.
Rachel and I tried a soup.  I think it was cilantro so that is why it is green.  It wasn't as good as we hoped, but it was good.
I ordered the grilled salmon.  It was amazing.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It was seasoned and cooked perfectly.  It was a great last meal before heading back to Japan.
That's it!  Like I said, it's all food because that was all I had to take pictures of that was of interest.  School work and shopping isn't that exciting!  But I had a great time at home.  I am back in Japan now and busy at work on my research project.  

I have a few more things to share, but otherwise things aren't too exciting here.  In March I have a weekend in Tokyo planned and then later in the Spring/Summer I have more exciting and exotic travel planned.  Looking forward to sharing that with everyone.

QUESTIONS:  What is the one food from your home that you couldn't live without?  Have you ever tried Persian food?