Mama Rosa Rotisserie & Grille Review

Don’t feel like cooking but want something good?- Don’t worry Mama Rosa located in Middle River, MD certainly comes to the rescue!!

Mama Rosa’s offers authentic Filipino food and they have an active Groupon for  $8 for $15 worth of food. This is one of the few places that I would say I would pay to eat at regular price. While this isn’t a fancy place to dine- it has a nice casual, clean atmosphere and also features a lot of different Filipino treats like baked goods, candies, and drinks for sale.

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Being me, I went with something I recognized- pork BBQ on a skewer served with garlic rice. The dish did not disappoint!!!

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but……

My boyfriend ordered Lyempo with garlic rice- sliced pork belly marinated and grilled with Filipino taste as described on the menu. IT WAS AMAZING!!!!!!!!! I next time I go, that’s what I’m ordering!!!

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Anyone have any Filipino dishes they recommend?

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Birthdays, Hotels, and Brunches Oh My!!! Part III

Here’s the last post from my bff’s b-day weekend in DC. Part II ended when my bff and I were almost ready to check out of The Embassy Row Hotel.                                                                      I decided to wear a red dress from Fashion to Figure, with red and grey studs, necklace from JCPenney, sandals from K&G, and a clutch from Coach. I moisturized my hair overnight and twisted it in order to rock a twist out that day. My makeup was topped off with my Laura Mercier lipstick that came in my goody-bag from the Project Runway event I attended a while back.  

 Once the bill was fixed, checkout went smoothly and we didn’t have a long wait to get our car from valet. There were several things that I wanted to do that day so I was very eager to get on our way.

This would be our first time experiencing the #kitchencray brunch in DC and I had high expectations. The event was held at Cities Restaurant and Lounge in mid-town. One of the things that made the brunch different is that you had to make reservations. I liked this idea because it ensured that you had adequate seating whereas in Baltimore- you had to get in where you fit in unless you knew the right person to make reservations with (still don’t know where to get that info….). The Cities brunch was also more expensive but you also got unlimited bellinis in addition to mimosas. We lucked out with free parking and had time to spare so we decided to go to Nordstrom Rack around the corner. We made our reservations early and were one of the first folks to get there. We were seated at the bar which had a huge top separating you from the bartender. While it looked nice, you definitely had to stretch in order to reach your drinks.  

    

 The menu was pretty much the same as Baltimore’s and while it was good, I realized that I was growing tired of the menu.   

 Nevertheless I shamelessly stuffed my face and didn’t have room for an omlette although I wanted one so bad. Had I overindulged, I would have had to have been wheeled out- besides there isn’t enough spanx and sucking in that would save me from the inevitable result and I wasn’t willing to ‘let it all hang out’. The consequence of arriving so early was that we had no patience to wait for the day party to start at 4:00. Besides, we had adventures to go on!!! 

 One of the really cool things about The Embassy Row Hotel is that they share really exciting things going on around the city. Cool thing #1 was ‘The Beach’ exhibit at the National Building Museum. This cool exhibit is made out of balls and even has beach chairs for you to lounge in. I found groupon tickets for general admission and called to find out we only had to pay an additional $8.00/ticket in person for The Beach. We left our car by Cities Restaurant and hopped on the metro.  

 As soon as we entered the exhibit I saw a big fat sign that said THE BEACH IS SOLD OUT!!!!! Can you say pissed.com!!!! I was really looking forward to it and didn’t realize that it was limited access. The exhibit ends on Labor Day so hurry up if you want to check it out!!!   

    
   
We turned right around and got back on the metro (after we just wasted money to get off) and headed to Cool thing #2. DC based artists created one of the coolest visual teasers I’ve ever seen on IG called The Synth Series. The series could be found in a vacant building and you had to DM the artists for directions. After getting lost for almost 30 min (blame my GPS), we found the place only to find others standing outside talking- I overhear a guy getting ready to leave say that the exhibit was just taken down the day before!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! At that point, I was pissed, sweaty, hungry (yes- again shamefully), and tired. I wasso disappointed to have missed this but I guess that’s the added part of the excitement of exhibits like this. This is RAW ART!!!!! If you live in the area- def keep an eye on these artists because I’m sure they will create another masterpiece soon.

My final thoughts from the day is that the brunch was decent but in retrospect, we should have made a reservation later in the day. With The Beach- I def would have done more research on if it was something that could sell out. The Synth fiasco also could have been avoided had I checked the latest hashtags on IG. You live and you learn and I still regret not being able to take all the amazing pictures that I know I would have gotten that day!!!! Check out some of the ones I came across on IG.  Just search #synthseries for more!

    
    
 

Birthdays, Hotels, and Brunches Oh My!!! Part II

Let’s cut straight to the chase and start this off with my review of The Embassy Row Hotel.

When it was time to book the hotel, it was a little annoying because the folks at the hotel didn’t know about the Gilt.com deal. I was not surprised because that happened to me before when I got tickets from Gilt to see the Nutcracker ballet in DC. There is often a lack of communication between who handles promotions and other staff members but I digress. We pulled up to the hotel’s small driveway and I immediately spot the angel’s wings that I’ve saw on the hotel’s IG post. It reminded me of the wings I saw in another part of DC near Busboys and Poets back in September. Looks like it might be done by the same artist. 

    
I decided to finally wear my jumpsuit from Fashion to Figure with my mustard belt and sandals. I also wore some earrings that I got a while back but never had a chance to wear.  

 The outside of the hotel is average but it’s what’s on the inside that counts right? We pulled up to valet and went inside and up some steps to the lobby and front desk area. The hotel touts itself as a hip fun hotel with lots of activities for not only their guests, but for the public as well.

I can tell you that I really liked the lobby area, it was full of artsy decor with lots of fun colors such as blues, yellows, and golds.  

    
    Check in was a bit of a wait because they had to make sure our room was ready but we didn’t mind because we took time to explore the lobby.
    
    
    
 

I was a little hungry so I went to the cafe and stopped  in my tracks once I saw how expensive everything was. 

   That small bag of apple chips was $5.00!!!! U.S. currency!!!!! Sorry- not today.    
Once we got our keys we went upstairs to the room. The hallways were even nicely done.   

   

  One thing that I later realized is that they don’t have ice machines. I did see a nook for a freezer (although I neglected to look for an outlet), but hotel guests have to go to the first floor cafe to fill their buckets with ice. They need to stop serving that expensive food and invest in ice machines.                                        Moving on, I love the room, especially since the headboard and wall is done in my fav color.  

   
I LOVE nailhead so it was really spot on for me. The walls were done so well that it took me a while to realize that the nailhead on the wall was painted.  Only the headboard has real nailhead. 

 Our view wasn’t bad and we were across the street from several embassies. One of the flags hanging proudly outside was the gay pride flag. If you’re very conservative, then this may not be the place for you. The hotel’s website even features a section on it’s commitment to the LGBT community so we weren’t surprised about this.  

    
    
 The bathroom was small and average but at least it was clean. I preferred the design of the sink area to the shower.  It was so tight, I couldn’t get a good shot of the shower. 

Here are some shots of the rest of the room.  

  

 It was full of detail and I entertained myself with the neat door security lock (ok might have had a few shots first).   

  

 We lounged a bit on the first floor’s balcony area which was really chill and perfect for people watching.  

  

  

 My bff and I decided to head upstairs to the rooftop pool and bar. We put on the wristbands that we got at checkin for entry. When we got upstairs we were taken aback…. it was SMALL!!!!!!! The pool was TINY!!! I then realized that all of the pictures of the pool on IG were really tight shots and were taken at angles that made it seem bigger than it was. In my mind, I increased the width and length of the pool by at another 10′ ft+.  

 Orders are taken at the bar and we decided to pay in cash and use our $50 dining credit at dinner. The guy at the grill was really nice and my bff chatted it up with him while I waited in line to order drinks. I’ll say that the line moved really slow with only one person mixing drinks and he tastes a bit of each drink he mixed using a straw like a dropper. When I finally made it to the front of the line I asked him to hook my bff’s drink up because it was her birthday. He seemed a little tipsy and worked in slow motion but I will say that he made a really good STRONG but tasty drink.  

   
The rooftop was so crowded, there wasn’t anywhere to sit. Also we thought that it was odd that everyone just sat around the pool. We only saw 1-2 people actually go in it while we were up there. We decided to wait a bit before coming back up to use it because I didn’t want everyone around me like I was some freak show. 

We went upstairs ate our food, and relaxed a bit. My gf had the crab cakes and I had the burger. No complaints there although I felt like mine could have been $2 cheaper.

Then it was time to change into our swimsuits, I got mine from Asos in a size 18 last year for $28.58 on sale and this was my first time wearing it. I was a little worried because my bust size went up since then and I wasn’t about any wardrobe malfunctions. I wore it with a pretty coverup that I picked up from Pennies on sale for $10, denim shorts, same sandals and belt from earlier, gold jewelry, and I finished the look off with my grandmother’s necklace which seems to go with so much in my closet!!! I picked out my hair for some sass and I was ready to go!  

    
 Let me just say that we didn’t stay long upstairs. It was still crowded and the temperature had dropped a lot since. It was too cold to swim and I was disappointed. We sat down for a few min on the lower level. I realized this must’ve been the same place where they featured their rooftop yoga.  

    
    
 At that point we went downstairs and decided to order dinner. We decided to play Connect Four while we waited for our food. A brotha of the Asian persuasion came by and complimented us on our outfits. He kept telling us how much he liked our looks over and over. The guests downstairs were more chill and friendly than the ones upstairs.  

   
Not long after we tied 2-2, it was time to eat. The rice was ok but the chicken was REALLY GOOD!!!  

 The bartender found out it was my bff’s birthday and gave us free shots of what tasted like an Oreo cookie in liquid form. IT WAS SO GOOD!!!  

  

 He asked us about our plans for the evening but we told him that we were turning down….. as in going to bed. We can’t hang like we used to and although I had party clothes ready- I was glad my bff was on the same page. It was time to investigate how ‘cuddly’ the beds were. 

We had a good night’s sleep although it was a bit noisy like some of the reviews I read online stated. I was tired so it didn’t take me long to go off to la la land. They messed up my bill in the morning so I took it downstairs to fix it and got my complimentary coffee while I was downstairs.

My overall review is that it’s a nice hotel but they fall short in two areas:

1) They sell tickets to the public for rooftop access but it isn’t even big enough to accommodate most of the guests let alone the public. This needs to be reevaluated. At least have certain hrs that are blocked off for hotel guests only. I think they are trying to do too much.
2) The food in the cafe is TOO EXPENSIVE!!! It’s all health food and that doesn’t fit everyone’s taste buds or wallet. Had I known, I would have brought some snacks etc with me.

To be fair, they made up for it in these two areas:

1) Decor
2) Staff Customer Service

Most of the staff members were so nice that I quickly let the minor annoyances I encountered go. I might not have felt the same way though had I paid full price. My suggestion is- if you want to party, be seen then this may be the spot for you. Also if you’re really big into photography- I would def suggest that you check this place out.

Bottom line check out the hotel’s IG and also search the hashtag #embassyrowlove. If their philosophy and vibe mesh with yours then you’ll have a good time.

Stay tuned for Part III for my brunch and adventure review.

Birthdays, Hotels, and Brunches- OH MY!!!! Part I

This other weekend was one of my best friend’s birthdays. We have a tendency to spoil each other and we both share a love for deals, steals, and luxury whenever possible. Here are some pictures from past shenanigans.  

  

 She surprised me for my birthday last December with tickets to go see Justin Timberlake in Philly.  

 I hadn’t seen him since N-Sync (I am dating myself here lol) opened for Janet Jackson when I was in college.  Here’s a picture from way back when with one of my besties from college. 

 
I wrecked my brain trying to figure out what to do for her this year and over a conversation about the brunch day parties we attended- we found out that the same team also does brunch in DC at Cities Restaurant. We figured that it would be even better in DC and decided to make a weekend out of it. I looked at many hotels and narrowed it down to Sofitel for ~$300 for the night. I chose it because it was ranked in the top 5 for Trip Advisor’s DC business hotels. While searching for hotels I noticed two things:
1) Not so many hotels had government discounts 2)Valet parking prices seemed to have increased across the board. Most prices I saw were $40+.

A few days before our trip my bff told me about a Gilt City deal for The Embassy Row Hotel for $169. The deal included one night stay in a deluxe room, $50 food and drink credit, 2 free coffees, and access to the rooftop pool. We later found out that Living Social had the same deal but valet parking at a $45 value was also included. The only hitch was that the Living Social deal was only valid during the week. Thankfully the room I booked at Sofitel had free cancellation within 24 hrs. I’ll get back there one day.

The Embassy Row Hotel gets its name from being located along Embassy Row. If you’ve never been I urge you to go. You’ll find impressive architecture and mini mansions with huge price tags. If you’re a culture junkie like me- you can check out the Meetup Group Embassy Events for Young Professionals. They often have parties at the embassies and which include greetings from diplomatic personnel. One of their past events was held at the Embassy of Slovenia for $42 pp which includes Slovenian food, Slovenian open bar, a musical performance, and more. I went to one of their events two summers ago and ended up meeting an awesome friend.  

 So now that you have the backstory, on to my experience and reviews. Stay tuned for Part II

Best Finds: Macy’s Edition

Disclaimer* Not all Macy’s are created equal. I went to White a Marsh Mall near me which is like Walmart (exaggeration) compared to some other Macy’s like the Pentagon City Fashion Center (my fav).                                                                I really liked the Blu in this top. It really popped.  

 I thought these were cute for fall.  

 I was in complete LUST with this dress!!! They had it in diff patterns but this was my fav variation. The others were more summerish and you can get more wear out of it. Looks like it only goes to a size 14 which was too small for me (it’s really slim fitting). So since I couldn’t have it, someone else I knew had to have it!!! I bought it for my mom!!! It was on sale for 50% off and I used a coupon.  She wants me to find shoes and accessories to go with it now lol. 

   Then there’s this super cute Jessica Simpson dress. The 2x was too big on me and it’s def made for someone with a smaller chest. I love te price! Great for the few summer events that we have left before fall fashion takes over!!!  
   I can’t leave the fellas out! I thought this was perfect for the upcoming Raven’s football season!!!!  
   And last but certainly not least, in the spirit of back to school- I’ll leave you with my boo Michael Kors. Love the jewel tones!!! I just wonder how hard it is to keep clean…..  
   Until next time! 

Inner Harbor Brunches and Things

The big rage right now are brunches featuring bottomless drinks. Growing up, brunch just meant eating after church let out lol. Well the #brunchkingz and @Kitchencrayemire put on brunch/day party events in the DMV  

 This past Sunday I attended my second brunch with this group and I had just a good a time as I did the first time. My only complaint is that they need more seating. Most of the tables are reservations only (they don’t state that in their flyers) so get there early to grab a spot at the bar!  

    
 The good is buffet style and it’s really good. We realized the last time that you can request a whole pitcher of mimosa so you don’t have to go back every time (don’t a big deal if you sit at the bar).  

 I wore a top, necklace and earrings from target, maxi skirt (that’s actually long enough) from Marshall’s, and Miu Miu bag (that I’m about to sell on eBay). 

 The party starts at 4 but the bottomless drinks stop at 3 so if you want to keep that feeling going, you’ll have to spend more $$$.                     The nice thing about Anastasia’s location is that it’s by the water. Parking can be a pain and ladies- you can hurt yourself on the cobble stone so leave the stilettos at home! I left the party around 6 and enjoyed the views of the water, went into a cute hat shop and stopped at a bar (don’t judge me) and had some yummy peach flavored beer.                                                                 Next weekend I’ll be brunchin’ it in DC!!!! See ya!!!!

    
    
    
   

Baltimore Restauraunt Week Ends Today!

You can get $15 for lunch and $30 for dinner. Most restaurants don’t do dinner on the weekends though, Rusty Scupper (a seafood place with an AMAZING view of the harbor) only participated on week days. There were many restaurants to choose from but I think that the variety has gone down. I have not seen Fogo de Chao on the list for several years. It’s very convenient that you can make reservations on open table but I think it’s silly not to have the restaurant week menu offerings posted there. Some places I checked out didn’t even have the restauraunt week menu on their website!!!                                                         Typically for lunch you’ll get an appetizer, entree, and dessert like we had at The Oceanaire back in February  

    
    
    
   
 My girlfriend and I decided to go to La Tasca, a spanish tapas restauraunt. Their special lunch offering was two tapas and a dessert for $15 and 3 and a dessert for $30. The restauraunt was right on the inner harbor with views of the water.  

    
    
 Yes I ate it all, don’t judge me! The steak w/ potato and mushroom purée (and that white sauce- mmmmmm) was my favorite fillowed by the shrimp and scallops wrapped in bacon, but the paella wasn’t bad at all! I also had white peach sangria with a booster shot. It served it’s purpose haha. For dessert I had the Crema Catalana but I forgot to take a picture. It was ok but I realized I’m not a fan of custard. The carmelized top layer with the raspberries tasted really good though. The clock is a belated birthday gift and it actually works lol. Until next time!!!!