Monday, August 30, 2010

Registry Envy...


Earlier this month, I attended a beautiful wedding shower for a friend. Through an afternoon of deliciously refreshing mojitos and delectable mini-cupcakes, there was one thing I could not get enough of: The mountain of cream and green wrapping paper signifying a treasure-trove of Williams-Sonoma gifts, hot off the registry.

Now I have never been one to fawn over expensive cookery (my IKEA paring knife is my favorite thing in my kitchen), but I had to work hard to 1- keep my jaw off the ground and 2- refrain from shouting envious comments at the bride-to-be, as she unwrapped a variety of high end bowls, pans, and spoons from W-S and Crate & Barrell.

So while there is no wedding, house warming or any other event that requires a registry in sight for the time being, I decided it is best to be prepared when it comes to these things and spend some time online, compiling a list of my must haves. Believe me when I say there has been some budget rearranging done to insure I get a few of these items ASAP.

And for my friends out there; I am still accepting birthday gifts **wink wink**

Bake-it-up-now!

I don't know how I've managed to bake anything in the last few months without the proper measuring utensils. I find myself choosing between 4 different sized teaspoons to measure out salt or "guestimating" what a 1/2 tablespoon of baking powder looks like. I recently learned that I don't even know how to use my measuring cups which are equipted with a spout... am I supposed to fill to the brim or is the line inside the cup the "fill line"? Who knows, but as I try more challenging recipes I need to be able to measure accurately!

Silicone Counter Mat

After attempting to roll out sugar cookie dough on my old-dingy counter-top this past Friday, this little mat really appealed to me.
French Bread Pan

I will never consider myself a real cook until I am able to make a real baguette francais and I won't be able to bake une baguette with the pan... duh! I WILL make Julia proud.

Great Eggspectations!

Poachpods



Heart-Shaped Egg Fry Rings
I'm so Eggs-cited about these finds! (yeah, I went there) The Poachpod is a heat-resistant silicone bowl that float in boiling water to poached eggs without the fuss. The pod can also serve as a double boiler, miniature baking pan, or a mold. The heart -shaped egg rings are pretty self explanatory but is there anything cuter in the world? How romantical!

Viva la cocina!

La Chamba Colombia Clay Casserole Dish

Mocajete


These two items come to us from south of the border... the mocajete is a kind of Latin American mortar and pestle used to grind herbs and spices while the clay casserole dish can be used just like any dutch oven. Can you say a juicy roast, slow cooked in that pot, seasoned with fresh herbs, ground with olive oil in that mocajete? Amazing!


This list is by no means exhaustive, as there are a few things, like a HUGE wooden cutting board or a pot rack, that just don't make sense in my current apartment but that I've mentally noted for the future. Is there anything else that I haven't considered that is a must have?
Let me know!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Don't sleep... it's Restaurant Week!

Twice a year the DMV becomes a wonderful place where the average schmuck can eat like a king. Well mazal tov because your time has come...

This year's summer Restaurant Week is August 16-22, meaning this weekend is the perfect time to try that restaurant you always pass but have never been to or revisit an old (but expensive) favorite. Most participating restaurants offer a three-course meal, chosen from a limited menu for an EXTREMELY reasonable price (about $20 for lunch and $35 for dinner). Some spots, like the delectable Acadiana on 9th and New York Avenue in NW, allow customers to chose their entree from the full dinner menu.

On the 16th, I was treated to a FABULOUS birthday dinner at Jeff Tunk's Acadiana, a Louisiana style restaurant that is all a girl could ever want for her 27th. Acadiana is magical, with its beautiful dining room, great service, music that I had to fight hard not to sing along to, and a bottomless helping of the BEST biscuits I've ever had served with butter and a spicy homemade jelly.

From the special restaurant week menu, we ordered the trio of deviled eggs and the sweet corn and blue crab soup as appetizers. Since it was a special occasion we also got the charbroiled oysters which were not part of the limited menu but oh, so worth it. Each oyster was topped with garlic butter and parmesan romano cheese and broiled until bubbly. They are then served with fresh french bread that leaves no doubt that you will sop up every last bit of butter and cheese.

Next we enjoyed the
"grillades and grits" - sauteed veal served over cheesy grits in a wild mushroom gravy - along with the New Orleans style barbecue shrimp. By the time this course arrived, we were thoroughly stuffed, but we tried are hardest as it was too good to waste. Doggy bags were ordered almost immediately so that we could save room for dessert: vanilla bread pudding and almond creme brulee.

This wasn't my first trip to Acadiana and it definitely won't be my last. If you're in town I HIGHLY recommend this restaurant for restaurant week. If you can't get a table before Sunday, check out the happy hour which includes decent drink specials and a stellar bar menu (you must have the "gas station" park boudin balls... trust me).

Other sure bets for restaurant week are Capital Grille in DC or Tyson's Corner, 701 Restaurant and Ten Penh downtown and Hook in Georgetown. For those of you in MoCo, there are a few participating restaurants in Bethesda (including Jaleo, Persimmon, and LIA's), Gaithersburg (Pasha Lounge in Kentlands), and Rockville (La Tosca and Againn Tavern).

Now, go eat like a King you schmuck!


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