Thursday, August 18, 2011


I'm pleased to announce!   Although blogger has been a wonderful platform for the last four years, it was time to for a change.  I've officially graduated to the big leagues.  I purchased a domain name.  I'm relaunching my blog with a new look and new features.  It's still a work in progress but I'm thrilled with the results.  You can now search for homes (an important feature in a real estate blog).  You can catch up on my Twitter feed.  You can subscribe.  I hope you like the new look.  Feel free to comment about the new site or anything you think I should add to the design.   See you at the new site!        

*from this point forward you'll be directed from this site to

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Gemma Redux Sample Sale

Gemma Redux is one of my favorite jewelry designers.  I first glimpsed her pieces on Gossip Girl.  (Don't judge...I love the clothes.)  Then I received a necklace for Christmas from my Mom.  Then I discovered her sample sale.  Yea.  I'm obsessed.

The latest sample sale is happening this week.  Go now because the inventory sells out quickly.  FYI- she also adds new creations throughout the day.  Check out what my hubby (kisses) purchased for my anniversary present below. 
Mixes chains with Kambaba jade
*photo from Gemma Redux website

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Riveting Rooms

Sissie Jonassen's office nook via Design Sponge
When I saw this office nook yesterday on Design Sponge, I was instantly jealous.  My home office doesn't remotely resemble the photo above.  It's full of paper, pens, and books.  It isn't polished or well lit.  My husband also shares half the office because he works from home too.  I guess if one room has to look like a disaster, I'd rather it be the office vs. the living room.  Yet I'm envious of this clean space with perfect accessories. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Moment of Truth

We're in the midst of refi and we just received our appraisal.  Before I opened it, my heart was racing.  I was hoping (with fingers crossed) our lovely abode had appreciated.

You never know in today's market.  The last couple of years in real estate have been crazy.  Half of DC is under water and losing money by the bucketful on their homes.  We bought in 2007.  I was nervous for good reason.

I am thrilled to report it's valued at 116K over our purchase price.  That's right people.  I'm doing a happy dance around the living room.  That doesn't mean jack diddly if we decide to list our place in the near future but damn, it feels good. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

First Friday

2220 Q St, NW
2220 Q St, NW family/game room
2220 Q St, NW living room with view of kitchen and dining area plus loft
2220 Q St, NW roof top poo
2220 Q St., NW is one of the most remarkable houses I've viewed in a long time.  It is unusual, beautiful and really expensive!!  It's a four bedroom plus an office and den, five bath house listed for $4,995,0000.  It's 5,525 square feet and the yearly taxes are $16,020.  It features the standard amenities like hardwood flooring, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and beautiful bathrooms.  In addition, it has an elevator, a roof top pool and over 2,000 square feet of finished outdoor area.  In the middle of DC!

Sorry this is such a late post.  My internet has been down most of the last two days.  It's been very frustrating.

*photos via MLS

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hood Happenings

2213-2217 14th St., NW is slated for redevelopment
U St. Girl noted earlier this week that Mercadito Ramos had closed.  Curious, she confirmed that the building had recently purchased.  It's now slated for redevelopment.  Let the speculation begin about what type of new retail will arrive!
Jamica Joe's Jerk Chicken
POP reports that Ketcha Fire has been replaced by Jamica Joe's Jerk chicken at 928 U St, NW.  I can't be more thrilled.  For some reason, my husband took delight in repeating "Ketcha Fire" every time we passed that place.  We pass it often.  It drove me crazy!
Resdesign for corner of 14th and Wallach Pl., NW
The new building proposed for the corner of 14th and Wallach Place has been redesigned according to DC MUD.  A month ago, the initial building plans for the corner were rejected. 

I just noticed there's two new blogs about the 'hood:  U St. Beat and U St. Dirt.   Welcome!

*photos (in order) via U St. Girl, POP, and Urban Turf.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Summer Obsession: Tuna and White Bean Salad

Tuna and White Bean Salad
This is one of my all time favorite summer recipes.  It's light, refreshing and you'll want to eat it again and again.  I made this for lunch when my girls and their new babies came to visit.  You can serve it as a sandwich but I like it on a bed of arugla that's been drizzled with olive oil and red wine vinegar.  Bon apetito!

Tuna and White Bean Salad

2  6 ounce cans of albacore tuna.  One in water, one in olive oil
1  15 ounce can of cannelli beans, drained and rinsed
1  cup grape tomatos, halved
2  lemons
3  tablespoons fresh basil
2  tablespoons red wine vinegar
3  tablespoons olive oil
1  garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Drain tuna.  In a large bowl, add tuna, rinsed white beans and grape tomatoes.  Cut lemons in half and squeeze lemon juice over tuna, white beans and tomatoes.  Stir.   Add basil, garlic, red wine vinegar and olive oil.  Stir again.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Chill for at least an hour but preferably over night for the best flavors.  Enjoy on a bed of arugla or in a sandwich. 

*recipe adapted from

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Riveting Rooms

House in Merida, Mexico via HGTV's "House Hunters International"
The first study abroad program I attended was in Cuernavaca, Mexico.  While I lived in Cuernavaca, I was fascinated by the Mexican tile.  It's utilized in every room in warmer climates to keep the house cool.  It led to a life long love of intricate tile patterns and indoor/outdoor living.  Although I'm partial to blue tile, I love the floor featured above.  The neutral colors compliment the decor and add an elegant design element.  

Monday, August 8, 2011

How's the neighborhood?

Washington Circle
One of the most popular questions that home buyers ask in DC is "how's the neighborhood?"  It's a logical question.  If you're not familiar with an area, surely your real estate agent can give you the low down about safety.  Except we can't due to Fair Housing Laws. 

What are the Fair Housing Laws?  Laws that "prohibit the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings and in other housing related transactions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody) and handicap (disability)."   That's the definition of the Federal law.  Each state has additional categories as well.  DC, in particular, also prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Buyers find Realtors inability to tell them about the schools, neighborhoods, and safety frustrating.  I understand but I can't violate any of the Fair Housing Laws or else I get in big trouble.

There are a number of ways for a buyer to discover the information they seek.  My favorite sources are neighborhood blogs.  (See my Daily Obsessions).  Most neighborhood blogs aren't written by real estate agents.  Therefore, they can discuss crime, schools and the residents.

The Washington Post real estate section is another valuable resource.  Their "neighborhood" section allows a buyer to search all the pertinent topics. 

Buying a home has many intricate steps.  Doing research on neighborhoods is part of the process.

*photo via The Murphy Team website

Friday, August 5, 2011

First Friday

This week, several houses hit the market that caught my interest.  Normally, August is a slow month for real estate in DC due to Congress being out of session/people going on vacation. Not this year!
923 French St, NW exterior
923 French St, NW living room
923 French St, NW kitchen
923 French St, NW is a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath row house listed for $699,900.  It's 1,890 square feet and the yearly taxes are $4,419. The house has been recently renovated.  It has hardwood floors through out, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, a spacious living room and dining room, sunny bedrooms and updated bathrooms.  There's a backyard (currently overgrown) with a lot of potential for a patio or a parking spot.  French St. is located in Shaw.  The house is several blocks to the Shaw Metro, the new library at the intersection of Rhode Island and 7th St, NW.  It's also a short walk to U St., NW.
1517 Kingman St, NW exterior
1517 Kingman St, NW living room
1517 Kingman St, NW roof deck

1517 Kingman St, NW is a historic 6 bedroom, 3 bath row house for sale at $980,000.  It's 3,168 square feet and the yearly taxes are $6,794.  It's a four level row house located on a quiet street behind the Studio Theatre.  It has hardwood floors through out, many original architectural details, three fireplaces, a private garden and a roof deck plus rental unit.  There's also a separately deeded garage that conveys with the house.  It's minutes to the Whole Foods on P St. and other Logan Circle amenities.  If you'd like to see if for yourself, it's Open on Sunday 8/7/11 from 1-4pm.

*Note:  Houses this size in Logan generally go for over a million.  I think it's priced aggressively because it doesn't have central a/c and the kitchen and baths need work.*

*photos courtsey of Matrix

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Real Estate Round Up

Update on the mandatory 20% down debate via Urban Turf.  Hoping ardently that this bill doesn't pass.  I can't imagine what it will do to the real estate industry.  As it is, buyers are often frustrated by the loan current loan process.  The stories I could tell!

Real estate apps that deliver by The Washington Post.  For all of you addicted to your iPhone and Android.

Singles dive into the real estate market from  It's good to have your own assets.

Sorting through lending fees from the NY Times.  This is why a GFE (good faith estimate) is important.  Once you have one, ask questions.  Know what fees your lender charges.

DC Council fixes foreclosure law.  As I mentioned in the last Real Estate Round Up, two of the largest title insurers in the US had decided to stop insuring foreclosures in DC due to foreclosure legislation.  Thankfully, DC Council realized what a huge problem this would be for the DC housing market and revised the legislation.  Whew.

*image via Urban Turf

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

oh joy! workshop

On Monday afternoon, I took a quick road trip (up and back) to Philly for a blog workshop by Joy Cho of oh joy!
Although I've done tons of research on blogging and what makes one successful, I've wanted "hands on" advice to make this blog more polished.  I love the aesthetic of oh joy! and she is very successful.  It sounded like a win win situation to me.   

Joy had a lot of good advice.  My two biggest "light bulb" moments?  I need to learn Photoshop *stat* and I need to get my cameras working again.  My blackberry and my husband's iphone cameras aren't good enough.

Cards galore
Overall, it was a fantastic experience.  The room was brimming with people with interesting ideas.  Look at those cards...creativity everywhere. 

I also had a quick glimpse of my cousin Josh, who lives in Philly.  You might remember me mentioning him in this post.  Nice man that he is, he brought me a delicious turkey, brie and caramelized onion sandie from Termini Bros. (holy Italian cookies! *swoon*) plus this lovely confection below.  Wasn't that thoughtful?  I brought an apple for dinner.  Needless to say, my sandie and chocolate/cashew treat were tastier than the apple. 
Termini brothers chocolate cashew confection

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Riveting Rooms

Rue Magazine feature "750 square feet in Stockholm" pg. 124-137
Today, I'm focusing on good design in a small space.  Condo living in all cities=small spaces.  This is true whether it's DC or in this example, Stockholm.  My favorite features in this layout are the use of color and space saving ideas.  I also love the rustic floors with the modern dining room/kitchen.  It's a phenomenal contrast.  Check out the new issue of Rue for more international design.

Monday, August 1, 2011

DIY in the DMV

Chic Cottage Charm house
I stumbled upon this delightful blog, Chic Cottage Charm, about a couple in Arlington documenting their first home transformation.  As a real estate agent, I love blogs about older, dated houses being converted into something modern.  A lot of buyers can't "see" the potential in these types of properties.  Take a peek and check out the wonderful metamorphosis of this cottage.  It's impressive. 

*photo from Chic Cottage Charm

Friday, July 29, 2011

First Friday

This week, a condo at the Sonata at 301 Mass Ave, NW caught my eye.  The seller took a cookie cutter condo and added unique details.  Take a look.
301 Mass Ave, NW #607.
#607 kitchen view to entrance.
Living area with two balcony's and arched door.
301 Mass Ave, NW #607 is a 2 bedroom/2 bath condo with a garage parking spot.  It's listed for $469,900, the yearly taxes are $3,779 and it's 816 square feet.  The condo fee is $609. 

The unit has many unique design features which I adore.  The Sonata was built in 2006 and embraced the industrial look.  It has exposed duct work, concrete ceilings, hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, and granite counter tops...all of the prerequisite elements in a newer DC building.  The seller went a step further and added amazing light fixtures which unfortunately, don't convey.  If I was the potential buyer, I'd negotiate that the lights remain  because they're gorgeous.  I also LOVE the arched door to the master bedroom the seller added.  The original door to the master bedroom was a sliding glass door.  The enormous arched door way is a fantastic focal point and emphasizing the ceiling height. 

If you'd like to take a peek for yourself, it's Open on Sunday, 7/31/11 from 1-3pm. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The ins and outs of getting a deal to closing

1718 Harvard St, NW living room
In yesterday's post, the house on Harvard St, NW hadn't closed although it's been under contract for months.  I speculated there might be lender or tenant problems and that's why the closing had been delayed.  These days, getting a deal to closing is the hardest part of any real estate transaction. 

The recent article in the Huffington Post "Can a dying deal be saved?" also focuses on this problem.   Although the author concentrates on the market in NY, many of his points apply to any real estate market.

1.  Don't be surprised about how much paper work is needed for your loan.  Underwriting these days is no joke.  More than likely, there's going to be some "conditions" on the loan that are going to cause a major panic.  For example, previous clients had been pre-qualified by several different lenders, including some of the big boxes.  We found a place, it was under contract, and then WHAM.  The bank starting giving us problems about one of the sources of income.  Although my client worked for the Federal Government, it was through a contractor.  This contractor was considered a "temporary employer."  If you work for a temporary employer, you have to work with them for three years for your loan to be approved.  My client had been with the contractor for close to a year.  So much for those pre-qualification letters.  This caused all sorts of problems.  We had to find a new lender, do another appraisal and scramble for paper work mid deal.  We did close but it was an awful experience for my clients.

2.  If you're buying a condo or coop, make sure the building doesn't have a high investor ratio BEFORE you write a contract.  Having a high investor ratio wreaks havoc on your interest rate and your down payment.  The interest rate and down payment will be higher.  Also make sure the building meets Fannie and Freddie guidelines.  They're ever changing.  If the building doesn't meet their guidelines, your loan won't be funded.

3.  If there are tenants, make sure the listing agent is following the TOPA laws.  Has the listing agent given the first right of refusal?  When?  Has the second notice been given?  Are the tenants moving out as they're supposed to if they aren't going to buy the house?  If not, your closing could be delayed indefinitely.     

The moral to this story:  Be prepared.  Be ready for headaches.  Be patient. 

*photo via MLS

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

First Friday-Did they sell?

In April, I featured two houses that caught my eye.  Let's see what happened to them. 
606 14th St, NE was a 2 bedroom, 1 bath rowhouse in Capitol Hill within walking distance to H St. Corridor.  Listed for 349K, this is an excellent condo alternative.  Although it's narrow, it's 1096 square feet, has hardwood floors, a fireplace and off street parking.  The taxes are $3160 a year.  It went under contract in 10 days and sold for $348,000 with a $9,000 seller subsidy. Somebody got a good deal!
1713 Harvard St, NW is a 3 bedrooms, 2 bath town house located near the zoo for 619K.  Designed by modern architect Joseph Abel, it has an open floor plan, a lovely patio with a hot tub (!), and two car parking.  It's 1248 sf and the taxes are $4298 per year.  It was reduced to $599,000 and went under contract after 44 days.  It's still under contract in the MLS although it says the closing date is 6/30/11.  Maybe there's been problems with the loan or there were tenants.  Those are the two most common problems when the closing date gets delayed.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Riveting Rooms

Master bath in Nantucket from Elle Decor
I need to relax.  Heat and stress are making me one cranky lady.  This beautiful bathroom with the enormous tub overlooking sand dunes in Nantucket fits my needs.  I can feel myself unwinding as I look at the picture. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Blackbyrd Warehouse

Blackbyrd Warehouse
Blackbyrd Warehouse, the latest Hilton brother's venture, opened a week and a half ago.  POP has a great preview of the space which I read avidly.  You know I love a new restaurant in the 'hood especially one by the Hilton brothers as their food is always high quality.

My husband and I went last week and enjoyed the experience.  It's a raw bar so if you don't like seafood, this is not the place for you. 
Oyster happy hour
For the oyster lovers out there, they have an oyster happy hour from 5:30-7pm.  Oysters are $1.  I don't eat oysters but my husband loves them.  He said Blackbyrd's were fresh and delicious.

We also tried the heirloom tomato salad, the steamed shrimp, a special of red mullet stuffed with ratatouille and the crab cake sandwich. 

We were not impressed with the heirloom tomato salad.  Reviewers on Yelp! loved it but it needed more acid.  (I know I just went "Top Chef" on you.  But it did..a splash of lemon or vinegar would have made the dish outstanding.) 

Red mullet stuffed with ratatouille
The highlight of the meal was the red mullet stuffed with ratatouille.  I'd never eaten red mullet before and it was yummy.  The ratatouille was well seasoned and I loved the micro greens.  It seems the specials at Blackbyrd will be a highlight. 

The shrimp was what we expected:  steamed shrimp served cold.  I enjoyed them.  I also loved the finger bowl that they brought to the table after we finished with the shrimp. 

The crab cake sandwich was delicious.  It was rich, the slaw was a nice touch and we ate every bite. 

We'll visit again.  I loved the atmosphere, decor and as always, the music was excellent.  

*top photo via POP

Friday, July 22, 2011

First Friday

1335 R St, NW
I'm so excited to feature this listing today!  I drive down R St, NW a lot and I've been watching the progress of this place for months.  Several months ago, 1335 R St, NW was an empty lot.  The builders have been busy and today, it finally hit the market.

1335 R St, NW is two condos not a house.  Only 1335 R St., NW #1 has been listed in the MLS.  #1 is a 3 bedrooms/3 bath duplex unit (basement and first floors), it's 2,100 square feet.  It's listed for $1,200,000.  The condo fee is $241.79.  The taxes are TBD since it's new construction.  It has top of the line finishes (Sub Zero, Wolf and Bosch to name a few), a wine refrigerator, marble counters, Brazilian cherry hardwood floors, a gas fireplace, surround sound, outdoor space and secure parking.  

#2 is the exact same except it's the top two floors and it's listed for $1,400,000. As you can see from the top picture, they're completing the details.

Since there's no interior pictures posted, I can't wait to check out these condos myself.  Both are Open this weekend on Saturday and Sunday from 12-5pm.
1335 R St, NW rendering

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cool it

It's too hot for me to think or write anything substantial.  I have brain melt.  I told my clients the wrong time for my closing!  I never get that mixed up.

I am focusing on staying cool today but I know it's going to be impossible.  I have to run around town.  I can't hide in the AC. 

I'm also dreading showing property this weekend.  I can already imagine how sweaty I'll be and that's such a horrible impression.

I went swimming yesterday at Vida (Endless pool.  My first experience.  I really enjoyed it even though I smelled chlorine for hours after I showered) and it was fantastic.  Hopefully, at the end of the day I'll be able to dive in the pool and cool off.   

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hood Happenings

U St. Vida has finally opened and it's bad ass.  I went on Monday and I'm impressed.  I've been going to Vida for 3 years.  They took the "mistakes" from the Verizon and Metropole branches and improved everthing.  The Spin room is huge.  The class studio is enormous and so is the Inner Fitness studio for yoga/pilates.  There's tons of cardio equipment and weights.  There's a TRX station plus the roof top pool.  Well done. 

Blackbyrd Warehouse opened last Thursday.  The latest endeavor by the Hilton brothers has an industrial vibe:  concrete floors, exposed brick and duct work, and vaulted ceilings.  I peeked into the front on Saturday morning on the way back from the Farmer's Market.  We'll be trying it this week.

Lost Society opened July 4th weekend.  I've heard the food isn't great but the bar and roof top are fantastic.  I'm hoping to sample both myself this weekend too.  (Sounds like I'm having a big weekend, huh?)

DDOT is revamping the U St. sidewalk.  Although I'm excited we're getting a face lift, I am not excited about the traffic problems this will cause.  The reconstruction project in Adams Morgan is hell on wheels.  I had a fab time showing property in AM earlier this month.  (pull out hair now).

The Wallach Place project on 14th St, NW  hit a snag.  Their design was rejected by the Historic Preservation Review Board.  Uh oh.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Riveting Rooms

Living Room via July/August Lonny. 
We're having a heat wave in DC.  It leaves me longing for a cool room like this living room from Lonny's latest issue.

I love the mural on the wall that adds visual interest but doesn't overwhelm the decor.  The organic elements (tree root table, hunk of blue glass) meld the indoor and outdoor.  The couch would be perfect for reading the latest summer thriller.  I could enjoy the sunshine but not sweat buckets.  I feel refreshed already.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cherry-Ginger Cobbler

Step 1:  Pit the cherries

I love to bake and I love the farmers market.  Yesterday, I combined those two loves and made my first cherry cobbler.   I know it's not rocket science but it was a lot of fun plus it was delicious.
Step 2: Bring cherries, sugar, vanilla, lemon and cornstarch to a boil.
The recipe, which I adapted from, is really easy.  The most arduous part was pitting the cherries.  I strongly recommend a cherry pitter.  I didn't have one and used a more traditional method which ruined my manicure.  Silly me. 
Step 3:  Once cherries come to a boil, remove and pour in a pan.  Add slivered, crystallized ginger.
In total, the recipe took about an hour and a half.  Thirty to forty minutes to pit the cherries and make the recipe, fifty minutes to bake.
Step 4:  Add the cobber topping.  Bake 45-50 minutes.
It was a huge hit at dinner.
Cherry-Ginger Cobbler
Cherry-Ginger Cobbler

4 cups cherries, picked over, rinsed, and drained well
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup brown sugar + 1/3 cup regular sugar plus 2 tablespoons sugar (brown and white)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup slivered crystallized ginger
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Working over a bowl, pit the cherries, discarding the pits and reserving the cherries and any juices in a bowl.

In a heavy sauce pan, stir cherries, cornstarch, 1/3 cups brown and white sugar, the lemon juice, and vanilla extract.   Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 3 minutes.
In a small bowl stir together the flour, the baking powder, the salt, the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and the butter.  Blend the mixture until it resembles coarse meal.
In an 8"x8" square pan,  pour cherry mixture.  Sprinkle slivered, crystallized ginger along top of cherry mixture.

Add topping.  

Bake the cobbler in the middle of a preheated 350°F. oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top is golden.


Friday, July 15, 2011

First Friday-Glover Park

Once again, stellar design details caught my eye in this weeks First Friday property.  I covet!
2218 Hall Place, NW
Living Room
Open floor plan into dining area with view of living room
2218 Hall Place, NW is a stunner.  The property has three bedrooms, three full baths and it's listed for $1,245,000.  It's total square footage is 2,121 square feet and the yearly taxes are $6,683.  Features include hardwood floors through out and an updated kitchen with an open floor plan.  (The kitchen is gorgeous! I love the tile back splash.  Plus I'm a sucker for nice appliances.)  The baths have been updated and the back yard is lovely.  It's a couple blocks to Whole Foods and restaurants on Wisconsin Ave, NW.  Accordingly, it's appointment only. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Korean BBQ at home

Dinner last weekend
I'm loving the Korean BBQ trend that's appearing in the latest cooking magazines.  I've been enjoying this type of food for years since my husband is half Korean.  As you can see from the picture above, he whips up a fantastic version of Beef Bulgogi.

This particular evening we had a Tex Mex/Korean night.  He made the Beef Bulgogi mentioned previously.  He also grilled pork that he'd marinated in chili powder, lime and Montreal Steak seasoning (I know that seems random but it's delicious on everything).  We had lettuce leaves for the beef and corn tortillas for the pork.  He also made a black bean, corn, and tomato salsa.

Our sides were absolutely delicious as well.  First there was a carrot, cilantro and chile slaw. My friend brought a green bean salad with an Asian Style dressing.  Sounds like a hodge podge of items but the cold veggie sides with the lettuce wraps and tacos was a delicious combo. 

If you haven't indulged in this trend yet, give it a whirl.  It's fantastic!

Beef Bulgogi

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil
1 tablespoon mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
1/4 Asian pear, coarsely grated (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 medium onion, coarsely grated (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted , plus additional for garnish

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound beef sirloin, trimmed of excess fat and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 red leaf or bibb lettuce leaves, for serving
1 cup cooked white rice , for serving
1/2 cup kimchi, for serving
1 cup fresh enoki mushrooms, trimmed
4 teaspoons hot bean paste
In large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, mirin, pear, onion, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, and pepper. Let marinade stand 30 minutes at room temperature, then add beef and toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, 1 hour.

In large skillet over moderately high heat, heat oil. Remove beef from marinade, draining it very briefly over bowl to remove excess liquid, and then cook until browned and done medium-well, 6 to 7 minutes.

Remove beef from heat and serve by filling each lettuce leaf with about 2 tablespoons Korean sticky rice, small handful of beef, 1 tablespoon kimchi, about 8 enoki mushrooms, and about 1/2 teaspoon hot bean paste. Serve immediately.

*recipe via