Joanne’s Grill

Joanne’s Grill
6 East Preston Street
Baltimore, MD  21202

Joanne’s Grill is a small casual fast-food grill place that serves both American and Korean eats.  Items such as cold/hot subs, breakfast platters/sandwiches, club sandwiches, bulgogi platters, and cold/hot beverages are available.

The hubs and I came here for a quick dinner before attending an event in the area, and I’m so glad that we did!  We tried: the Bulgogi Platter (this came with a side of white rice and a cup of kimchi; the bulgogi itself was just way too sweet for my taste; while cooked perfectly, I was just not a fan of how overly sweet it was; the rice was also a bit too mushy and overcooked, but I did enjoy the generous cup of perfectly-fermented kimchi!); a Bibimbop (this came with little bits of bulgogi and a generous mix of Korean vegetables – the chojang sauce was okay and not too spicy; the hubs actually thought both items were decent); an order of pan-fried Mandoo (not housemade, but these are smaller in size and pan-fried really well; the side of a soy sauce mixture was just way too sweet, so regular soy sauce or just eating on its own is advised); and, a Kimchi Quesadilla (this was SO BOMB!  The thin tortilla was crispy and ‘fried’ perfectly; in between nestled just copious amounts of sauteed kimchi with the perfect crisp on its edges (the kimchi was perfectly well-fermented, which made this dish even more awesome!); the cheese was not overwhelming, but it was a great ratio to the kimchi; the quesadilla is definitely on the spicier end, but this was just super delicious!!!  Definitely the best kimchi quesadilla I’ve had!).

The place is known for their Bulgogi Sub, but I’ve never been a fan of this concoction, and knowing how overly sweet the meat is, I’m glad I didn’t order it.

The owners are super friendly, super welcoming, and oh-so-cute!

There are some counter seating available, but most locals seem to take their orders to-go.

I’d love to come back and try out their other menu items, such as the wings and the hot subs.  Their storefront was also featured in House of Cards (Season 4), so I thought that was pretty cool!

+Korean and American eats offered
+super friendly owners
+some counter seating available
+featured on House of Cards (Season 4)
+limited metered street parking

Gaijin Ramen Shop

Gaijin Ramen Shop
3800 Lee Highway
Arlington, VA  22207
Tuesdays-Sundays, 4 PM – 10 PM
HH: Tuesdays-Sundays, 4 PM – 7 PM
Closed Mondays

I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE Gaijin Ramen Shop!!!  A new addition to Arlington, they just opened back in July.  Co-owned by two best friends, Tuvan and Nicole (who are the most sweetest, the most loveliest, and the most genuine individuals everrr!), all the broth is made on the premise, all fresh, every single day (that is why they open at 5PM!) – you can really taste the LOVE, the complexity, and the depth.  Let me tell you, it is DIVINE.  These folks don’t play around!

I had the Spicy Miso Ramen (make sure you get the true Osaka-style with the sesame oil), made with their Gaijin original spicy paste.  I added kimchi (prepared Japanese-style and is a little sweeter, and complements really well with the ramen (I highly suggest in purchasing a tub to go, as it’s great to eat with bulgogi/K-meats)), bean sprouts, and the Nitamago Boiled Seasoned Egg.  The broth was on the slightly thicker end (which I absolutely LOVED) and just filled with pure yumminess.  That kimchi?  Made on the premise and it is LEGIT!  That Nitamago Egg?  Yeaaaaa!  But, most importantly, how about them noodles?  OMG, one of the best CONSISTENTLY prepared fresh noodles I’ve had – springy and al dente – it was heaven!  In addition, the spiciness of the broth wasn’t overwhelming, but interwoven with such expertise, that you get the pure flavor without feeling that you’re just eating spices for kicks!  The hubs had the Spicy Tonkotsu, also made with the Gaijin original paste – the beautiful pork bone broth was creamy – one of the BEST tonkotsu broth I’ve had in a very long time!

We also tried their Oishii Oishii Steamed Buns (you can choose either Sesame Beef Burger, Spicy Fried Chicken, Pulled Pork, Pork Belly,and Tofu Veggie; we tried the Pork Belly (mannn, that pork belly was cooked perfectly!), one of their specials, the Fried Chicken Curry (beautifully-battered fried chicken with a zippy curry sauce – yum!); the Spicy Fried Chicken (little cutlet of battered chicken, but I did prefer the Fried Chicken more); and, the Pulled Pork (a generous amount of pulled pork, jam-packed in the bun; great flavor, but I prefer it in the Tater Takoyaki!) – the buns were nice and soft and filled with fresh lettuce, cucumbers, and sliced scallions!  The Tater Takoyaki, which were hot-off-the-fryer tater tots, are perfectly crisp; they’re topped with a mound of delicious and juicy shredded pork, spicy mayo, and green onions – the sauce was beautiful and not overwhelming at all – the pulled pork with the tots and the sauce makes this a really addictive starter!!!  They had Osaka Wings, so I had to try those babies out – freshly-cooked chicken wings (always fresh, never frozen!), perfectly glazed with a spicy black pepper sauce – it had a lovely crispy exterior with this lovely sweet/slightly spicy kick, and it was finger-licking good (I’ve also tried the sweet Thai chili, which is sweeter, but I prefer the Osaka version more!)!

Other items on the menu include Tonkotsu/Chicken/Curry Chicken/Veggie/Curry Veggie/Double Miso ramen, cucumber salads, edamame, wakame salad, and various ramen toppings (chashu pork shoulder, minced pork, garoti bbq chicken, bamboo shoots, pickled seasonal veggies, etc.).

They also serve red/white wine, sake/flavored sake, plum wine, beer, and other specialty drinks (mojitos, etc.).  I’ve also tried Nicole’s special housemade Avocado Smoothie with housemade whipped cream – SO DELICIOUS!!!  Their sparkling lemonade is also sooo refreshing!

We’ve always had either Michael (!!!) or Diana, and both are very sweet and makes sure that we are checked upon constantly!  The stars have aligned as we now have literally one of the best Osaka-style ramen shops, right in our backyard (I wouldn’t be surprised if NYers have already begun making special ramen pilgrimages to VA for this joint!)!  Totto fans (same mentors behind this joint) – you’ll HEART it; followers of Santouka & others (#sorrybutnotsorry, but I have to roll the eyes) – this will be an automatic permanent replacement.  Check them out and support this great local business – you will NOT be disappointed!  I personally cannot wait to go back (you’ll probably find me there tonight) AHAHAHA

+best ramen everrrrrrrrrrrrrr, Osaka-style and made with LOVE!!!
+no MSG!!!  All-natural and fresh!!!
+Spicy Miso Ramen (true Osaka style with the sesame oil; add the kimchi, the Nitamago egg, and the bean sprouts!)
+Spicy Tonkotsu/Tonkotsu Ramen
+Tater Takoyaki
+Sparkling Lemonade drink
+Housemade Avocado Smoothie with Housemade Whipped Cream
+Oishii Oishii Steamed Buns – Pork Belly
+Oishii Oishii Steamed Buns – Fried Chicken Curry (special)
+Osaka Wings
+ask for Tuvan and Nicole
+ask for Michael
+friendly service
+free street parking after 6PM
+HH Tues-Sun, 4-7PM ($2 off apps/drinks)