Have you ever made new friends who seem perfectly normal and laid back at first, but when you mention food, that you enjoy cooking and trying new restaurants, or someone drops the “F-Word” (aka foodie) they completely loose their mind? Where they start raving about a particular restaurant or one of their favorites, you casually mention that you haven’t been, or you keep meaning to try that, and you can see the husband getting duct tape and ball gags out of the mini-van while the wife has the chloroform ready because it’s their life mission to introduce and take people to Restaurant Crack because they are convinced it’s THAT GOOD!?! Of course you have…to some degree at least. In this day of online food porn and 24/7 food-o-rama TV, this “foodie” phenomenon is spreading faster than Katie
Crusie Holmes run back to Catholicism.
Setting aside the ball gag for a moment, this happened to me about six months ago. I mentioned to a co-worker that I have never tried Peking duck. That I kept meaning too, and I really wanted to try Peking Gourmet Inn, despite it’s location in Narnia or some far away nether-region of Middle Earth (it’s actually in a Northern VA suburb about 10 miles from DC…but that’s far man). I could see the build up in her eyes, it was similar to the twinkle that children get on Christmas morning, except is was filled with sinister foodie outrage. I half expected my limbs to be torn from my body as she is of Asian-decent, and come to find out, Peking Gourmet did bring just Peking Duck and only Peking Duck to her wedding. Therefore I was calmly surprised when she eloquently described the amazing process, the table-side carving, the flavors, the accompanying tasty bits, and from what I could hear from my hiding spot under the desk, this sounded amazing.
Alas, a few days later, my very tolerant girlfriend and I (she gets dragged on an unholy amount of food excursions with me) loaded up with supplies, rations, maps, smartphones, and a compass, and embarked on our journey from the Georgetown neighborhood of DC to somewhere in Falls Church, VA that I could not even tell you how to get to right now. As you can see, I am adverse to leaving DC unless it is in the name of food.
As I mention in other posts, all ethnic restaurants in the suburbs must meet two criterion before I will even sit down, not to mention consider them worthy of a nine day excursion to the ‘burbs. One, the must be in a shopping center, shopping complex, strip mall, etc. Two, upon walking in, I better be the minority. If I see over 50% American born Caucasians, my white ass is out of there. So as you can imagine I thanked my lucky stars when we pulled up to the Peking Gourmet Inn. It was in a strip mall, there were mad Asian folks in there, and, side bonus, it had some Secret Service grade bullet proof glass. I was like, “Holy shit, this Peking Duck is good enough to kill for!?! Bring me 15 of your finest duck’s at once!” I shouted as my company had already walked away. They didn’t seem amused. I thought it was funny as hell. I was however informed the glass was due to all of the dignitaries, royalty, Members of Congress, and even Presidents who frequent the establishment. Even better I thought.
Enough back story. We sat down, ordered three ducks for five adults and waited. All of sudden we see carts of Peking goodness being rolled to our table. The duck is presented table-side and is carved artfully for you and your guests. The skin is separated and placed on a plate for your crispy, salty enjoyment and the meat is carved much better than Uncle Drunky does every Thanksgiving. The wings and legs and also removed and placed on a separate plate (note: I took mine home and made duck stock with them…that recipe to come later).
Along with your duck and crispy duck skin, you receive 12 homemade pancakes (much thinner and delicate than the breakfast variety), hoisin sauce, spring onions, and these little hot peppers. You combine your preference of ingredients into your pancake, top with sauce and crispy skin, and chow down. I cannot understate how amazing this was. The duck was cooked perfectly. The meat was tender, flavorful, juicy, perfect in every way. The skin was so crispy and thin it was almost translucent, and the other accompaniments were spot-on perfect.
This was seriously one instance where I would have gladly been kidnapped in the name of food to experience, and I cannot wait to go back. Now I just have to remember how to get there.
Where: Peking Gourmet Inn, 629 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA. Website.