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Noe Todorovich is a Washington, DC based lifestyle photographer, and this is her blog. She shares musings, travels, photographs, tips, suggestions and more.

Filtering by Tag: foodphotography

FOOD: Toki Underground

Gina Todorovich

I crave ramen...probably more frequently than any other food. Somehow, despite growing up in Hawaii with all of its Japanese influences, I think I discovered this love for ramen later in life. I mean, if you count Ichiban, I was an addict from a very young age. But let's be real. That instant stuff can't even begin to compare with the REAL stuff, even with substantial at home doctorings and add-ins (lemon juice, hot sauce and veggies, what's up?!).

I'd long heard about Toki Underground, but it took me years to finally make it there myself. I'll be honest that hearing about wait times upwards of four hours had me a little bit afraid to even try, yet determined I should. It must be THAT good, right? I just hate excessive waits though. Well, I was trying really hard to find a way to squeeze it in to plans last month when I stumbled upon this little tidbit: they offer limited, early reservations on some days. SAY WHAT?! Well, in that case...

We found our way (after a little H St. exploring) up the stairs to the little delight that is Toki Underground (and yes, I made some cheesy joke about this not being under groun, ba dum bum...hello? Guys? GUYS?). If you haven't been yet, note that the address is shared with The Pug, and there is a door with a blue sign on it just to the left of The Pug that leads the way. Very unassuming. (Win.)

Most of the seats are side-by-side, like a bar that wraps around the restaurant walls and windows and, if you're lucky, the kitchen. Oh, and the foot rest is definitely made of skateboards without the wheels layered upon each other. (Yes, I initially wondered if the guy I was sitting next to was a skateboarder...) to the real crux of it all: the food!


We started with the fried pork dumplings and pickled cucumbers. Both were delightful and addicting.



Patrick ordered the red miso ramen, which was topped with chasu pulled pork. The broth was infused with soybean paste. It was delicious. I mean, look at it...


I ordered the Taipei curry chicken ramen. I knew it came with fried chicken, but for some reason didn't realize that meant substantial pieces of fried chicken. Pieces that I may have struggled slightly to eat due to my fading chopstick skills (I take full responsibility here.) :) The curry infused broth was really my favorite, something different from what I typically get. I love curry and ramen, so I figured the combination was worth a try.


I definitely enjoyed my meal and will be returning to Toki Underground sooner rather than later. I think it's an experience best shared with a smaller group (of two, maybe three tops) given the space and layout. Definitely consider planning in advance to get an early reservation if you want to avoid the wait. Although, the H Street area definitely provides a lot of options for killing time before, or even after. 

Austin FOOD&WINE Festival 2012

Gina Todorovich

The picture that started it all...I had a very pleasant surprise last month...I won Hipstamatic's #HipstaAustin contest with my picture of a frittata at Nick's on Broadway from my trip to Providence. The loot: two free VIP passes to the Austin FOOD&WINE festival! I got in touch with Andi immediately and booked my plane ticket that very night (at the Nationals' baseball game, mind you). 

This was the first year of the festival, and I am so grateful that I got to attend (Thanks again, Hipstamatic!). Each day was full of sessions to choose from as well as grand tastings, book signings, and more. I was also pleasantly surprised with how much I learned about cooking, food tips, wine pairings, etc. Maybe that shouldn't have surprised me, but apparently I was just there for the food.

Here's a brief recap of the weekend, heavy on the pictures (which you may also view on Facebook if you prefer)...

Chef Morimoto: Mastering The Art of Sushi

"This will be easy...for me." Chef Morimoto

He showed us how to make sashimi and sushi. And we learned that you put the wasabi on the fish, varying amounts of it depending on the fish.  

Andi and I managed to get him to autograph our badges. Then I even got a picture with Morimoto!

Marcus Samuelsson: Birds of a Feather

We got to the tent quite early for this session. Marcus was setting up and preparing for a bit, so I decided to edit food pictures on my phone from the grand tasting. Naturally, this is when he decides to come down to shake hands and tells Andi, "I'll shake your hand. She's on Facebook..." BUSTED! 

Marcus made some fried chicken and taught us to fry chicken multiple times. How did I not know this already? At least twice, preferably three times. Mind: blown!

He also made some delicious sides and even brought a man up from the audience (sitting in our row) to try a plate. See below. I want to eat that all RIGHT NOW. 


And then Tim Love dropped by and switched hats on Marcus! Look at these two!

David Bull: Savory Chocolate

Savory? Yes. Chocolate? Yes. SAVORY CHOCOLATE? Well...okay! David Bull showed us how to pair cacao nibs with perfectly seared scallops, accompanied with a jicama-mint salad, coconut cream and chocolate mint. If only I actually ate scallops. Because it looked AMAZING.


Rock Your Taco Showdown

Saturday night, nine chefs created their take on a taco, and we got to try them all and then the judges declared the winner...

Austin's own, Tyson Cole!


And Mayer Hawthorne & The County provided musical entertainment all evening. A perfect April evening in Austin I might add. 

Michelle Bernstein: Spanish Tapas

Sunday, Lilly and I decided to check out a session that we hoped might have some vegetarian fare. And Michelle did not disappoint. She made an amazing cauliflower dish that we managed to sample. 


Well, there you have it. A taste of my weekend in Austin for the FOOD&WINE festival. And speaking of are some pictures from the various tastings. (Hipstamatic's FoodiePak FTW!) WARNING: pictures may make you hungry...


Again, you can view all these pics (full size) on Facebook.