DC Local Eats: OKI Bowl


Early Autumn is such a great time in the DC area. The weather is still warm, the late afternoon sunlight is pretty, and the streets are festive. It’s really fun to head into the city after work for a happy hour and dinner. 

On one recent Friday, we met up in Dupont Circle. We’d been wanting to try OKI Bowl, a ramen restaurant featuring inspiration from Thai, Korean, and Japanese flavors. Since we love all three of those cuisines, we knew we couldn’t go wrong. On a side note, since we’ve been back to the States, we’ve only had ramen once. 

First though, we started with a drink at the Irish Whisky Public House to remind ourselves of Ireland (yes, Ireland is still in our minds) Sean had a Smithwicks as usual, and I went for the Hard Cider sangria.


This place has a open big patio in front and we were lucky to get a seat out there. It’s got tons of atmosphere and so much more fun to watch everyone walk by on the street than being cooped up inside.


After unwinding a bit from the work week here and feeling famished, we headed over to OKI Bowl.


This place has a fun interior and don’t even get me started on the bathroom. (The walls are completely covered in mechanical parts and blinking lights). 

Honestly, we sort of felt like we were back in Japan, what with Hello Kitty girl and Orion beer and all…

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For starters, we ordered the gyoza which had distinctive thai flavors. They were different from what I’m accustomed to in Japan, but we enjoyed them nonetheless.


We both ordered ramen for our main course. Sean got the Thai coconut milk version which sort of tasted like Tom Yum soup. I went for traditional with miso pork broth.


Overall, this place felt like a Japanese izakaya and my ramen was a pretty good approximation of what I remember from ramen in Okinawa. We’re so happy we found a place that we can go to for our Japanese fix in the States.

Arcadia Farm Dinner for Veteran Farmers


This past Sunday, Sean and I attended a really special event in Alexandria, Virginia.

It was the Arcadia Farm dinner fundraiser for Veteran farmers.

We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day and setting! For several hours, we dined al fresco at long tables on the lawn. Much of the food was grown and raised on the farm; some of it was donated by local restaurants and bakeries. Several local chefs freely gave their time to prepare the delicious meals.

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Sean and I were some of the first people to arrive (not surprising, we’re always way early). We were welcomed at the entrance with our choice of two types of drinks. I never caught what they were exactly, but one had rum and the other champagne. Of course, we tried one of each.

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Drinks in hand, we strolled around the farm, eating a few nice appetizers that were passed on trays to guests including salmon on zuchinni fritters, bacon wrapped dates, and these shrimp with goat cheese on cucumbers.18IMG_3846



Soon, it was time for dinner and the Governor of Virginia, Terry McCauluffe, said a few words about this special program supporting Veteran farmers.


Ready for dinner, we took our seats at the long table and found ourselves next to the most interesting people. We actually had so much in common with everyone around us, since we all had some kind of military connection and some experience living and working overseas.

Now, on to the most important part. The food!

Our meal had 6 different courses, and I can’t even remember everything because it came out so fast and by then, the wine was free flowing into our glasses.

The food was presented family style on beautiful platters, and I managed to get a few shots.



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Not pictured are a Thai squid salad, sweet potato porridge, and the trio (yes, there were 3 of them) of desserts! The sweets included chocolate zucchini cake, apple pie, and peach pie.

As the sun went down, the staff brought out candles, and we dined with flickering lights all around us. It was the perfect evening and perfect way to round out the end of summer (sad face here)

Getting Our Shrimp Fix in Baltimore


Every year, we make a pilgrimage all the way to Baltimore.

The reason?

This Shrimp Bread from Amicci’s in Little Italy.

The concept is really simple. Take a round loaf of bread, slather it with garlic and butter and toast until crunchy, pour a creamy shrimp scampi sauce all over it. Eat!

Our friend Tom introduced us to this decadent dish a few years back and it’s become one of our favorites on this side of the country. They have outdoor seating too, so Quinn was able to come along.


In addition to the shrimp bread, we always go for green and something new each time. This year, it was the antipasto platter, featuring cheeses and a selection of tasty charcuterie.



After stuffing ourselves into a carb coma, we walked around the Fell’s Point area of Baltimore, admiring all the local scenes. With its vape shops, tattoo parlors, and colorful characters, Fell’s Point somewhat reminds me of Ocean Beach, San Diego, my old stomping ground.

I really wish I had gotten a picture of the drunken bachelorette party of 10 lumbering by in one of those Beer Cycles all singing “Say my name, say my name” by Destiny’s Child.

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This part of town is extremely dog-friendly as you can see. Kooper has his own tavern named after him.




All the bars and cafes lining this street had water bowls outside for the pooches and welcoming chairs for owners to sit in while people watching.



Thanks shrimp bread and Baltimore. You never disappoint.

A Little Whisky In Your Oatmeal?


You know it’s bad when even your husband says, “I’m getting tired off all the posts from Ireland.”

So this is the very last Ireland post. And it’s about food.

We’ve shown you fish in Dublin, fine dining in Athlone, lamb boxty in Killarney, and garlic cheese chips in Cork. 

Here are a few snapshots of other memorable meals. 

The top photo features the different whiskey shot choices for your morning oatmeal in Waterford.

We also had a traditional Irish breakfast there. While I appreciate the variety of proteins on my plate, it was a bit too much meat for me. (Sean, the carnivore, was in heaven)


This beautiful creation is a seafood pie we tried in Kinsale one rainy afternoon. It was the perfect weather for comfort food.


At this same restaurant, we had Beef Stew made with Murphy’s Stout. 

Imagine this scene: Sitting inside a small restaurant with a big window looking out at a gray dreary day in the harbor. (I could go for that right about now. It’s 90 degrees in DC!)


In Waterford, we enjoyed these meals. Sean had the ribs with Parsley sauce and I had the sausages on top a mound of mashed potatoes.ribs sausage

Our final meal, sad to say, was not Irish at all. 

On our very first day in Ireland, while wandering around Dublin, we walked by a charming cafe with outdoor patio seating and saw three women tearing through a beautiful cheese plate. 

That image stuck in both our minds during our entire trip- so much so- that on our last day, we HAD to have that cheese plate.

And here it is. And it’s French cheese from Chez Max, which I’m embarrassed to admit.

But it was beautiful and tasty.


Guinness Factory


The Guinness Factory in Dublin is one of our favorite tour experiences ever.

The tour consisted of five self-guided floors with informative displays, which were so interesting and interactive. Best of all, you got a free Guinness at the end!

The factory was packed on the day we visited. We didn’t think ahead, but you could buy your tickets online and pick them up when you arrive. (There’s a separate faster line)


The first level of the tour explained about all the special ingredients in a Guinness.

This photo shows a wall of the pristine water that makes Guinness so silky smooth. Every Guinness you drink anywhere in the world is made with this local water. 


One favorite part of the tour was an explanation about how to analyze the different notes of flavor within a Guinness. We practiced taking sips and focusing on the flavor sensations in various parts of our mouths. They gave you the cutest mini Guinness glasses to practice with!

The highlight was when we learned how to properly pour a Guinness. Yes, there is a special technique which requires concentration and a very steady hand.

One by one, each of us on the tour concentrated pouring the perfect pint while not spilling a single drop. Everyone watched. That was major anxiety … but we succeeded!

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Afterwards, you got to drink the same Guinness that you yourself proudly poured.

Even though this was rather touristy, it was really fun. Don’t miss it if you’re in Dublin! 

A Weekend in the Mountains


You’re probably wondering why we’re dressed up standing on top of a rock.

Sean and I attended a wedding in Dolly Sods, WV at the end of July. The ceremony was held on this spot overlooking the valley below. As you can, dogs were invited too!

We decided to make a weekend out of it, and stayed in nearby Davis, WV, a tiny mountain town with a river running through it. The whole place had a very laid-back country feel. We saw hunting dogs, hikers, country banjo players, lots of pick up trucks, mountain wild flowers, and random hiking boots scattered around. 

We stayed in the dog-friendly motel, the Canaan Village Inn. While this motel first struck us as a little creepy (our door was wide open when we came back to the hotel late one night- yes, we checked under the bed and in the shower stall before shutting in for the night), I can only say good things about the manager there, who was very accommodating with Quinn. 


The first morning we were there, we found this lone coffee shop open in town on the main street, or rather, the only street. The cute shop was filled with these wooden sculptures made from a local artist.

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They even had a wooden chair in front facing the main street so you could observe all the activity in the town. I think one car passed.

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Where is their owner? We’ll never know… 

After our breakfast, we wandered next door to the river and walked around a bit. We also headed to a nearby nature preserve to get some outdoor time before the wedding later that afternoon.


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It was nice to move our legs that morning because we had a long mountain drive to the wedding spot.

This drive was pretty (if not a little scary at times), winding up the side of a mountain in a single lane. It was worth it though because when you arrived, you got to see all this. Quinn approved.

IMG_2854 From the parking area to the wedding spot was another short hike and even the bride was wearing hiking boots under her dress!


I’ve never been to such a special and unique wedding venue before. This spot was gorgeous and while I haven’t seen any of the professional photos yet, I’m sure they’re great.

The fun thing? Quinn posed front and center in many of them.

After the ceremony, we drove back to Davis for the mountain themed wedding reception, complete with mountain flowers decorating the cake and trail mix gifts for guests.

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All river rocks were returned to their original nature resting place by our mountain loving hosts after the wedding.

The reception was really fun and we ate and danced for a few hours before we got a call from the manager at our hotel letting us know that Quinn was “howling at the top of his lungs.” We quickly returned and that was our weekend in the mountains.

A Day In Cork


Scone, market, church, and fish and chips. These are my favorite memories of Cork, Ireland.

We didn’t have much time in this city as we arrived a bit late and left early the next day.

But we did get a chance to do some late afternoon exploring and eating, of course.

Our first order of business for the 4:00 o’clock hour: scone with decadent fresh cream.

We found a small tea shop called Fellini and I ordered the best afternoon snack. Even Sean, who doesn’t really like sweets, enjoyed this one.


In keeping with its namesake, this tea shop was a little bizarre inside. There were all kinds of interesting painting and this unusual sculpture, right next to the cakes. 


After our break, we headed to the English Market, a famous market that’s been in existence since 1788. You could buy all sorts of interesting cuts of meat, cheeses, and more.

IMG_4910IMG_4915IMG_4914IMG_4918IMG_4907IMG_4911I love visiting markets like these. It’s always so much fun to see what kind of local specialties are available and they’re great for photos.

From there, we headed to St Finnbar’s Cathedral to admire the immensity of the structure and the architecture.

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 We got there near closing time and spent most of our remaining time outdoors taking photos.

I rather thought the priest might still let us have a little look inside too, but no. He came out with the iron church keys, locked the doors, and went on his way. 

After that, we headed to a famous Cork institution, Jackie Lennox Chip Shop.

This place came highly recommended by the daughter of a friend, and who doesn’t like fried food? Besides that, this chip shop has been frequented by Bono, himself (circa 1980s, as you can see in the photo below- he’s awarding the owner a gold record!)

You could have your chips with different toppings like curry or mushy peas, or if you go that way, curry with mushy peas together. But in case you’re wondering, we ordered the chips with cheese and garlic mayo.

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This hot greasy meal was delicious and there was a line out the door. Isn’t that the cutest little blue fork to spear your fries?

On a funny side note, Sean did the ordering and the kid at the register couldn’t understand what he said.

Sean: “We’ll have the fried haddock, cheese and garlic chips, and a Coke.”

Boy: “What was that last bit?” said looking to me

Mary: “Coke”

Boy: Okay fried haddock, cheese garlic chips, and a Coke”

I successfully translated!