My absolute favorite thing about food is sharing it with people. Food to me is about community and spreading joy. My friends know I love to host people for dinner and parties so I can experiment with new recipes. I also love to go to good restaurants with my friends to share a wonderful culinary experience.
Last night was no exception. I would actually say it was one of the best dining experiences I have ever had. A group of eight of us went to Q, a restaurant by Peter Chang in Bethesda. Peter Chang is a Chinese chef who specializes in Szechuan food. He has a series of restaurants in the DC area, but I like this one in particular because it is right by my apartment. The food is also out of this world. You can check out the menu here.
I have dined at this restaurant once before and have ordered take out a few times. This, however, was my favorite experience there by far. The food was fantastic. We had a great atmosphere sitting outside on the patio. Plus, I was in good company. I loved having a chill evening to hang out with my friends while we enjoyed amazing food. My favorite part about this experience was passing our food around to try everyone’s dishes. I loved being able to try so many different things on the menu.
We each picked out a cocktail to sip outside while we waited for our food. I tried the Mai Tai, which was so fruity and refreshing. We ordered a few appetizers to share: dry-fried eggplant, crispy pork belly, hot & numbing beef, and scallion bubble pancakes. I have had the dry-fried eggplant before, and it is indescribably delicious. I can’t go to Q without getting this appetizer. Last night, we absolutely devoured this dish, so quickly that we ordered a second one before we even ordered our main dishes. The other appetizers were new to me, but I loved them all. The bubble pancake came with this scrumptious curry dipping sauce. I wanted to take a quart of that sauce home to have in my cooking arsenal. Each dish during the appetizer course brought unique textures and flavors. I honestly could have eaten a meal of just appetizers. I didn’t take any pictures during this course. I was so hungry that we just immediately dug in and made those appetizers disappear.
Although we filled up pretty well with the appetizers, we also each ordered a main dish. In total, we ordered two of the Szechuan double cooked pork belly, and one each of the hot and spicy fish in clay pot, the Cumin shredded chicken, the crispy diced beef with peanut, the fresh chili prawn with vermicelli and zucchini, the Emperor’s fried rice, and the Szechuan pepper beef tenderloin.
I personally ordered the fresh chili prawn. It was labeled a level three spice, which is their highest spice level. It was definitely spicy. My mouth was a bit on fire, and I was sweating. I loved it though. It was a visually appealing dish, and the flavors were on fire (haha, sorry). Everything about this dish was light and fresh. I also find if I order a really spicy dish, I am more likely to eat less because I eat it more slowly. That happened here, and I had a huge portion to take home.
I also tried most of every other main dished ordered by the group. My favorite main dish I tried was the hot and spicy fish in the clay pot. This dish was fully bodied both texturally and flavor-wise. The sauce was spicy and packed full of warm, delicious flavors. The fish…I need to take a pause to compose myself because this was the most divine fish that I have ever eaten. It was absolutely succulent. Both myself and my friend sitting beside me said the exact same thing about this fish, that is melts in your mouth. I don’t think I have ever eaten a savory dish that fit that description so well. I am going to have to try very hard to not pick up this dish every day on my way home from work. (I pass by Q everyday on my walk home from work).
The other dishes were also fantastic. It can still be said that I have never tried a dish from Q that I didn’t love. Peter Chang really knows how to develop a flavorful menu that keeps you wanting to come back for more. If you live in the DC/Maryland area, I highly recommend checking out this place. I promise you will not regret it.
We absolutely devoured our food and greatly enjoyed our dining experience. The service was excellent; we really liked our waitress. Overall, it was an excellent dining experience. I really have no complaints. I honestly cannot say enough great things about this restaurant. There is nothing else like this in Bethesda.
After we paid the bill, we went back to my apartment for some dessert and drinks. You can read more about my dessert here. We started out with a round of Campari spritz to drink with our pie, and then we moved to just wine. It was a gorgeous night out, so we decided to head to the rooftop to enjoy our wine. We grabbed several bottles of wine, went up to the roof, and had the perfect end to this lovely evening. The rooftop on my building is a fantastic place to hang out. There are nice lounge areas with a beautiful view of Bethesda, and you can even see a bit of DC in the distance. I swear one time I am actually going to remember to take photos of the view from the rooftop. I forgot again last night.
I absolutely loved sitting on the rooftop last night with my friends. It gets nice and cool at night up on the roof. It is relaxing and peaceful. The company was lovely, too. It was an excellent chance to catch up and enjoy each other’s presence. I feel so lucky to have so many great friends. When I first moved to the area, I only knew one person. To be fair, that person is my best friend. We can spend countless hours together and still not run out of things to talk about. However, I appreciate how many new friends I have made since moving here. It is what keeps me from feeling lonely being here by myself with all of my family back home together in PA. I have an extended family here in DC. I know I have so many people I can count on here.
I also appreciate that they entertain my food obsessions. They let me take pictures of their food, and they go along with all my food experiments. I don’t think it is a huge sacrifice for them, because they get to eat amazing food, but I do enjoy them all being here. This is what my blog is all about. I love sharing good food with people I care about. I plan on dragging all my friends in on this adventure at some point in time.
I had a fantastic night with my friends. I will call this my second favorite evening of this summer (because nothing can possibly top going to see Hamilton at the Kennedy Center). You know it was a good night when you wake up to seven empty bottles of wine in your kitchen. I think I will call this night a success.
Bonus: What to do with leftovers
I had a significant amount of leftovers from my main dish. I ended up turning it into two different meals. For breakfast this morning, I made an omelette with the hot peppers and scallions. I scooped a few spoonfuls of those vegetables and sautéed them in a a frying pan with some vegetable oil. When making omelettes or even fried eggs for myself, I find it best to use a small frying pan because the eggs fit perfectly and spread through the entire pan.
I like to use the milk and whisk method when making omelettes or scrambled eggs. I took two eggs in a small bowl and added a nice splash of almond milk and whisked them together with some salted and pepper. I don’t drink dairy milk, but for an even fluffier texture I would use regular milk. Once the peppers and scallions were cooked down nicely, I poured the whisked eggs into the pan, and it filled the pan. The secret to making good eggs is to cook them slowly over low heat. To get an omelette to cook all the way through, it is a good idea to lift up the outer edge of the eggs once it has been cooking awhile and allow the runny part of the eggs on top to pour under the cooked part. This way you don’t have to worry about flipping that thick omelette and won’t ruin the structure. Once the omelette was mostly cooked, I added some shredded cheddar and folded the omelette in half and let it melt while the eggs finished cooking for another minute.
This was the spiciest omelette I have ever had, but the flavors were amazing. The eggs and cheese toned down the spice a little bit. This dish certainly woke me up and got me ready for the day. As for the rest of the leftovers, I simply heated them up in the microwave for lunch. I was pleased to get a total of three meals out of this one dish.