Nashville Sweets

Nashville Sweets
803 Woodland Street
Nashville, TN  37206

Tuesdays – Fridays, 11 AM – 6 PM
Saturdays, 9 AM – 4 PM
Closed Sundays & Mondays

I looked up some local bakeries around the Nashville area as I was going to be in town with my sister to celebrate her birthday.  I wanted to get something special for her, so I decided to contact Nashville Sweets to order some customized cake pops.

I emailed with my questions and pictures of the forms of the cake pops, and Sylvia answered in a timely fashion.  She was able to give me price points as well as how we can arrange this.

The bakery also offers cupcakes, cakes, dessert bars, and other customizable items for weddings and for corporate gifts.

Sylvia stated that since I’m ordering half a dozen, I could either get 1 flavor for all, or get a random assortment the day of (but, she wouldn’t be able to guarantee which flavor I would get) – however, I did work it out with her to see if she could contact me with the flavors for that day so that I could actually pick and choose from the assortment (so it all worked out!).

I had 2 strawberry, 2 lemon, and 2 red velvet.  It came in a stand up cake pop arrangement packaging, color/design of your choice (I chose the Tiffany blue), wrapped in cellophane and tied with a pretty colored ribbon (in Tiffany blue and gray).

My sister was very surprised and loved it!  The formation of the figurines were very cute and of a great generous size.  The flavor themselves?  Absolutely DIVINE!  I really think they were the best cake pops I’ve had, EVER!  Each one had a great taste – strawberry, lemon, and luscious decadent red velvet – all very moist and so lovely!

I think the only slight issue was that one of the cake pop was cracked in the middle, and the cellophane rubbed against some of the figurines where their details actually fell off and/or smooshed a bit.

Either way, I am satisfied and am glad to work with Sylvia, as she was very accommodating with my high standards and expectations!

Thanks, Nashville Sweets!

+ask for Sylvia
+customizable cake pops
+most delicious cake pops EVER!!!
+no delivery available
+no guarantee of flavor (unless you call 1 day or the day of) for flavor guarantee

Sushi Capitol

Sushi Capitol
325 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington, DC  20003
Mondays – Fridays, 12 PM – 2:30 PM, 5 PM – 9:30 PM
Saturdays, 5 PM – 9:30 PM
Closed Sundays

This is a sushi restaurant that is chef-owned and ran by Chef Minoru Ogawa.  He is a trained sushi specialist and he was in charge of all the sushi preparation/quality control/menu of the Mandarin hotels.

John, the awesome and most friendliest manager ever, gave us a brief history about the restaurant as well as how humble and wonderful Chef Ogawa is.

My husband and I first came in for lunch, literally the first ones through the door.  We were seated promptly, and we had a chance to look at the menu.  The server, Keegan, was super awesome as well – everyone had just a great sense of humor and just so unbelievably nice!   I wanted to try out the Chef Omakase, but the chef himself had to be there; I was so disappointed, and thought that we would probably just had to come back another time.  However, my husband, with his supersonic ears, overheard a conversation, mentioning the word ‘wagyu.’  He asked John and Keegan about it, and they said that they just received a shipment from Tokyo – yes, LEGIT Kobe beef!  Yahoo!  They were planning on serving it for dinner; so, we had a very light lunch (since we were there anyway).

My husband had the Chicken Karrage (deep fried chicken, Japanese style, on a bed of lettuce), and I had the Oo’toro nigiri (extra fatty tuna).  The chicken was fried perfectly and great with the soy sauce; I enjoyed my nigiri as I just loooove fatty tuna.

We made reservations for that same evening.  We were seated at the sushi bar, with Chef Ogawa himself, as well as two other sushi chefs.  We had the Chef Omakase (which is a minimum of 2 orders as you get a sampling of one each) – you basically trust the chef for him to serve a combination of sushi, sashimi, and rolls, based on the most freshest items he has.

The experience was unbelievably AMAZING.  Each item we received was so fresh, so delicious, and you don’t even have to use soy sauce (I have a habit of dipping everything into soy sauce – I am so glad I didn’t and was able to enjoy the freshness and loveliness of each piece); we had a chance to try out Sawagari, fried soft shell crab, flying fish, striped jack, amber jack, etc.  I couldn’t believe how delicious the Japanese tamago egg was – slightly sweet but sooooo good!!!

We ordered 3 differently-prepared wagyu – an appetizer where it’s generously-sliced, flamed in front of you, with lovely sauce; nigiri style (yum yum yum); as well as a a tataki style (just with salt and pepper) – the Kobe literally melted in my mouth, and it was just so unbelievably flavorful and delicious!!!  My husband literally died and continues to be in a state of bliss.

My favorite was the Oo’toro, as it was buttery and delicious, and I have always been a fan of the fatty tuna – nom nom nom.  I even ordered an extra oo’toro temaki, as it was just so delicious and the generous amount of the fatty tuna lined up throughout the temaki (and not just bunched on top).

The chef himself was so unbelievably awesome and soooo skilled – I could literally just sit there and stare at him make the sushi all day long – so peaceful!  I had mini crushes on him and the rest of the staff; I just am such a huge fan of this place!

I cannot wait to go back, and I can literally say that DC finally has a genuine and a legitimate sushi restaurant!!!  YAY!!! The restaurant itself is small, so reservations are highly recommended.

+Omakase with Chef Ogawa

Balkan Grill

Balkan Grill
5902 A N Kings Highway
Alexandria, VA  22303
Mondays – Saturdays, 10 AM – 8 PM
Sundays, 10 AM – 5 PM

The Balkan Grill has a nice menu with a variety of items, such as: appetizers (baba ghanouj, hummus, burek (homemade phyllo pastry dough filled with either beef/cheese/spinach/potato & zuchinni); salads; specialties (cevapcici, Bosnia burger (pljeskavica), adana burger, veggie/steak/grilled chicken sandwiches, raznjici (grilled & spiced meat with fries), pikata chicken schnitzel, fish of the day (such as trout and tilapia), and mixed grill platters.  They also have desserts, fresh ‘ayran’ yogurt beverages, as well as other Turkish cold beverages in bottles/cans.

The place is small and has about 9 seats; two sets of counters and one table that seats 2.  Mr. Byron was at the cashier, but he also helps out in the back – quiet, but very kind and friendly!  There seemed to be many carry-outs and some were dining in.

I ordered a spinach burek, an adana burger, and a beef donor sandwich.  I also saw freshly-made baba ghanouj and sauteed eggplant in the fridge and got those as well.  I was slightly disappointed with the burek, as it was cold (I thought it would be piping hot); I’m thinking that you need to be responsible in heating this up in the oven.  The adana burger was pretty good – the ground meat patty had a slight kick to it, but it was flavorful; it comes with a side of sliced onions and tomatoes, and there is a yogurt and a hot sauce that you can use to spruce it up.  The beef donor sandwich was also good – sliced thinly, like gyro meat, pretty okay flavor, and good with the yogurt sauce.  The sliced onions within made it nice and fresh.  I really really loved their bread – freshly-baked, right out of the oven, it was nice and soft, and was great in holding in all the meat and veggies.  I really enjoyed the sauteed eggplant, as it was tomato-based, but had great garlic/olive oil flavor to it (great with the bread!).  The baba ghanouj was pretty okay, and you can tell that it is housemade – it was ever-so-slightly bitter, but it was still okay with the bread.

They also have daily weekday specials that comes with a can of soda (Monday is for shish kabobs; Tuesday is for the mixed grill platter; Wednesday is for the pikata chicken schnitzel; Thursday is for the moussaka; and, Friday is the ‘fish of the day’).

I am so glad that I was able to check this place out, and I would love to come back and try out the fresh aryan yogurt drink, the Turkish tea, the mixed grill platter, as well as the moussaka.  Very cute place, definitely a great little gem in Alexandria!

+Mr. Byron is so kind and awesome
+carry-out or dine-in (limited seating)
+daily weekday specials come with a can of soda
+sauteed eggplant
+beef donor sandwich
+beautiful, fluffy, fresh bread

Di Fara Pizza

Di Fara Pizza
1424 Avenue J

Brooklyn, NY  11230
Wednesdays & Saturdays, 12 PM – 8 PM
Sundays, 1 PM – 8 PM
Closed Mondays & Tuesdays

It has been however many years since I’ve been trying to go to Di Fara, but it never worked out – until, at last, on our recent trip, we were able to make our way out there!

Owned by Mr. Domenico DeMarco (also known as ‘Dom’), he immigrated to NY from Italy back in ’59.  Most of his family members were bakers and master pizziaolos, and when he first arrived to the States, he worked as a farmer; eventually, in ’64, he opened Di Fara Pizza.

The menu offers pizza slices (regular, square, with topping, or with specialty topping), pizza pies (regular pie, square pie, or the DiFara Classic Pie (with sausage, peppers, mushrooms, and onions), and calzones.  Toppings selection include: sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, garlic, black olives, meatballs, anchovies, peppers, artichokes, porcini mushrooms, green olives, baby eggplant, broccoli rabe, prosciutto, sun-dried roasted peppers, sun-dried tomato, and semi-dried cherry tomatoes.

When we arrived (very convenient off, literally right across from the Q), there was already a line, but not too long.  I just put in an order of one Square slice of pepperoni and garlic, requested a ‘corner’ piece, and waited for about 1.5 hours.  Now, I didn’t mind waiting, as I was just so happy that I was finally able to try this place out.  I’ve noticed that other larger parties ordered either a small or a large square, which I will probably do, as I saw one that was extra well-done, and it literally came out sizzling (had similar toppings as me) – it looked AMAZING.

When I was finally able to try mine, I found it to be pretty tasty!  I wished I requested it to be extra well-done (which I usually do), but I think I got too excited and couldn’t think straight!  Either way, the dough was nice and crispy, nonetheless, and held the toppings well – the ingredients were quite generous – copious amounts of pepperoni and fresh garlic that you can actually taste, and I loved the chunky tomato sauce that tasted oh-so-fresh!  Loved that!  I also loved the automatic additions of the basil and the olive oil – definitely adds that extra pizazz!

I loved how Mr. Dom was there, assembling the pizza, cutting the fresh basil, drizzling olive oil, checking the temperature, checking the baking progress in the oven, and transferring it onto the tray for the patrons to chow down.

The restaurant itself is small (only seats 19 (and, yes, I counted the number of chairs; there are only 3 tables as well, so expect to share space!).  I’d love to come back again, but this time, I would order a whole Square pie, extra well-done, and gobble up them corner pieces!  Also, don’t be shy in asking for chili flakes as well as Parm cheese – the guy who takes the order is very generous in his pourings (also very nice and very efficient!).

I thanked Mr. Dom on my way out, and he gave me such a sweet smile and a wave – HEART HEART HEART.  Definitely check Di Fara out!

+seeing Mr. Dom in action!
+Square pizza – pepperoni and garlic; extra well-done (corner pieces will be fought over!)
+automatic addings of basil and olive oil
+lovely chunky tomato sauce
+19 seats, 3 tables; sharing will be inevitable
+across from Q station

Hillbilly Hot Dogs

Hillbilly Hot Dogs
6951 Ohio River Road

Lesage, WV  25537
Mondays – Thursdays, 11 AM – 6 PM
Fridays & Saturdays, 11 AM – 7 PM

Sundays, 12 PM – 5 PM

Hillbilly Hot Dogs has been on my list FOREVER, but due to its isolated location in WV, I just never had the opportunity to go (I couldn’t come up with a good reason to persuade the hubs to drive 6+ hours to a random place in WV AHAHAHA).  They’ve been around since ’99 and is owned by a husband-and-wife team, Sonny and Sharie Knight (Sonny is from the town, but Sharie is a CA girl!).

The menu is pretty overwhelming, as they offer a variety type of dogs (most, if not all, have their homemade chili sauce), burgers, sandwiches, poultry options, salads, sides (mostly fried), and desserts.  The place is also the home of The Homewrecker, where if you finish the 15-incher in 12 minutes, you get a free shirt.

Off on a long stretch of the Ohio River Road, this place is pretty nuts in terms of how it’s set up – the place itself is like a long shabby wooden ranch building, connected to two school buses where one dines on the seats (there are tables installed).  There is even a Wedding Chapel that supposed to open up soon, so I’m not sure if that is just another thing you can just take pictures in for fun, or if there really will be an officiant available to preside over marriages/re-new vows!

In the main building, there is writing all over the interior walls (Sharpies are even provided) where people write out their names to note that they’ve been there (just make sure you don’t write on their pictures/posters!). Finding the entrance was a little confusing, but it’s on the far west part of the whole structure.  Once you step inside, there is an extremely small little entry area where you can look over the menu to decide what to order.

The hubs and I tried the following: Strickly Business Dog (deep-fried dog, homemade chili sauce, mustard, onions, slaw, jalapenos, shredded cheese, and topped with fried Spam; the Spam was pretty magical, as they were cut into long strips and were fried well; the hubs was a fan of this dog); Thundering Herd Dog (beef weenie, strip of Habenero sauce, nacho cheese, homemade chili sauce, jalapenos, onions, and slaw; this was another favorite of the hubs, as he enjoyed the kick from the habeneros); Rahall’s Red Hot Weenie (grilled spicy mettswurst, nacho cheese, habanero sauce, hot mustard, sauteed peppers and onions, jalapenos, and sauerkraut in a toasted bun; this was just okay, but the kraut was a bit too overwhelming); and, the Ala Cheesy Beefy Weenie (American cheese, deep-fried weenie, nacho cheese, bacon, homemade chili sauce, and shredded cheese; this was supposed to have a mac wedge on it, but the supplier was not available and it did not ship; I was sooo disappointed! However, this dog was my favorite out of all of them as it was all about that cheesy goodness!).

For sides, we tried the Beer Batter Onion Rings (one of the best onion rings I’ve tried, they were super crispy and yummy!); Garlic Bleugrass Cheese Fries (fries with a bleu cheese sauce and some bacon bits (at an additional charge), this was a bit too overwhelming in bleu cheese; the sauce was also more on the watery consistency, so it wasn’t that appetizing); Deep Fried Pickles (these were okay); Deep Fried Mushrooms (large button mushrooms, these were a little underwhelming, as they were extremely bland); and Zucchini Stix (the zucchini was on the mushy side and not that crispy).  All the sides were served with ranch sauce, which didn’t really help enhance the flavors.  I really wanted to try their special Mama Sharie’s Tater Soup, but even this was unavailable!

Leandra was up at the front, taking the orders, and she was unbelievably super sweet and friendly!  A bell gets rung when you donate to the tip jar, so be prepared for an interesting little song sung to you to give their thanks!

The hot dog place is definitely a bit out of the way; however, it is an interesting spot to stop by to soak in all that over-the-top hillybilly pride and to chow down on some decent dogs!

+Ala Cheesy Beefy Weenie
+Beer Batter Onion Rings
+fried spam!
+Tater Soup/mac wedges runs out!
+ask for Leandra
+plenty of decor to take photos of
+write your name to make your mark
+plenty of parking
+avoid the bathrooms!