Friday, October 28, 2011

Table for 1: Bobby's Burger Palace

So I don't really eat beef. Any of my friends would tell you, I rarely order steaks and when I go for a burger its usually of the turkey or veg variety. But lately I've been all about a good old hunk of ground red meat. Maybe it has something to do with the iron supplements I never take or maybe its just my new culinary obsession - who could forget the DC Noodles phase? I would've given them my first born.

For my weekly date, I decided to check out Bobby's Burger Palace on K Street at 21st. For weeks now, I've been passing by this place and shaking my head at its gaudy, colorful sign thinking it was a cheap food court style buffet not our city's newest celebrity chef locale.

Once inside, my mistake is made obvious as the swanky interior and mouth watering menu is far from anything a food court would offer. The menu is deep , starting with the basics - burger or cheeseburger- followed by an array of specialty choices that use high end ingredients (like goat cheese and watercress) to spruce up the common burger. Each option is available with angus beef, ground turkey, or chicken breast. BBP also offers a few sandwich and salad options, sides, and malted milkshakes. The part that really got me excited was the short but solid beverage list that includes beer, wine, and adult milkshakes.

For my first attempt at the palace, I decided to go for the Dallas Burger with angus beef - a spice crusted patty slathered in BBQ sauce and topped with coleslaw, jack cheese, and pickles. For a beverage I chose a bottle of Anchor Steam beer and I had to get a side of fries (to review of course!). The burger was tasty but very messy. My beef craving was satisfied, but all of the toppings and fixins really hid the taste of the beef. The fries were nothing exciting - thin cut like I like them but not enough flavor of their own. I had to make heavy use of the sauces at each table.

The one thing I can say really got me excited on my date was the pickle. Holy mackrel, what a pickle. I have spent way to much time and money trying to buy "the perfect pickle". Salty, garlicky; fat with a distinct crunch... Bobby Flay has my pickle! With God as my witness I will hunt down this pickle supplier like I hunted for the maker of my favorite TJ's discontinued veggie bruschetta (I wept for that bruschetta).

Evaluation: Cool atmosphere, exciting menu, but not awe-inspiring fare. I will have to visit again before I can judge accurately.


So I went back, this time with the boyfriend so I got to try two burgers. He went for the Burger of the Month for September - the Caroline Burger which was an angus patty topped with onion rings, Applewood bacon and smoked cheddar. I ordered the turkey version of the Napa Valley Burger - we're talking Meyer lemon honey mustard, watercress, and a huge dolop of goat cheese.  We also got a side of sweet potato fries and a couple beers to wash it all down.

This time, BBP really impressed me. The Napa Valley burger was practically MADE for me. I eyed it on the menu during my first visit but I was all about the beef and thought the Napa's toppings would better suit the turkey or chicken options. The combination of oozy cheese and the tangy mustard went perfectly with the turkey burger, but it would certainly complement the angus beef too (as we learned when my boyfriend starting dunking his burger in my sauce). The sweet potato fries were much better than the regular fries (also great in the mustard sauce) and the pickles are always and forever divine.

EVALUATION 2: If you like a burger just for it's beefiness, you're better off visiting Elevation Burger, but if you want yummy toppings and a beer to go with it, BBP is for you.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Table for 1: Founding Farmers

So I'm dating myself.

No, I am not suddenly single, but I am learning to spend as much time (and money) on going out alone as I do going out with friends or the Mister. Julia Cameron of The Artist's Way says artists must date themselves... Take their inner artists out on the town to spark imagination and that's just what I'm doing.

Last week I took myself to the Museum of Natural History to see an exhibit on race I've been eager to see. This week, its a swanky dinner for one at the acclaimed Founding Farmers. I've trudged through the torrential rain to find out there's a 45 minute wait for a table, so the bar it is.

The plan is as such: A huge glass of Sauvignon Blanc, a big bowl of mac n cheese, the NPR broadcast of Obama's jobs speech and some SERIOUS people watching.

Now if I have any trepidation about dining alone at one of the busiest bars in DC, the headphones are not helping. They are like our generation's version of eating out with a Danielle Steel novel or a coat covered in cat hair. These headphones scream "I'M ALONE. DON'T TALK TO ME. SERIOUSLY" but that's okay because I am alone and fine with it, thank you very much. I hold my head high and enjoy myself, despite the impatient looks from the seat vultures circling around me.

The wine I choose is the Mohua from the Marlborough region of New Zealand. A pretentious man at Whole Foods once told me "Just ANYTHING from Marlborough country" and I'm embarrassed to admit he was right. I've tried many over the course of the summer and this Mohua might be my favorite. It's crisp, fruity and super refreshing (makes me wanna say ahhhhhh like a Sprite commercial).

There's some confusion at the bar - plates are being thrust in my face and then withdrawn before I can examine their contents thoroughly. Flatbreads, colorful salads... Stop teasing me people!

Finally it arrives: my mac n cheese. Not as cheesy or macky as I hoped, but tasty nonetheless. This dish is loaded with ham, gruyere cheesy, peas and apples (yes apples) but it kinda works. I have recently been on a mac n cheese kick, trying it at Brookland Cafe in NE and Commisary in Logan Circle... both renditions were surprisingly good. Especially Commisary's which managed to be unconventional, heart warming, and a true meal. Founding Farmer's take is really just penne pasta with a bechemel sauce... not quite enough soul for me but I still have to stop myself from trying to eat it all. The bread was fresh and buttery but after a few bites I turn it over to discover the bottom was burnt black as tar. I do what I'm sure you all expect me to... I eat it anyway.

So my Founding Farmers dining experience has been mixed... great atmosphere, delicious wine, friendly (if confusing) service, but lackluster food. But I shall reserve my judgement for a later date. There is no way that after the rave reviews I've heard from friends that this is the best they have to offer. For now I'll just give up my seat to the eager beavers lurking behind me and step out into the rain, alone but with a to-go box of pasta that will make a decent lunch tomorrow.

The next date can only be better.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Birthday Treat: Summer Restaurant Week 2011

Thanks to my amazing boyfriend, my last two birthdays have been spent "fine dining" in DC - Ceiba in 2009 and Acadiana in 2010. With such a high bar set, I expect to spend this year chowing with the chiefs once again. Luckily for him (and his wallet) my birthday once again falls within the ever anticipated Restaurant Week.

This year's event (which runs this year from August 15-21) includes a slew of restaurants in the city as well as in some of the neighboring suburbs. A set price (lunch: $20.11 per person; dinner: $35.11 per person) will you get a 3 course meal that usually includes an appetizer, main course, and dessert.

Here's my advice on how to do it right:

1. Choose somewhere you haven't been. RW is the perfect time to try a new cuisine or a restaurant you wouldn't usually go to. Maybe try some Japanese barbecue at Kushi or refined Indian at Rasika...

2. Make your reservations NOW. The most popular restaurants fill up quickly, especially for weekends. You can make your reservations using the VENGA app (which I love) or at OpenTable.

3. Start saving up. While this is a steal by any standards, dropping over $20 for a meal more then once a week can add up so start saving now. Same goes for calories... go easy on the fries for a week before and def hit the gym. It's worth it.

4. Expect to pay for drinks and tip regularly, not on the discounted amount. NO ONE wants grouchy servers so think about the table after you and tip like you paid full price.

I'm looking forward to sharing my picks (and my surprise birthday meal) with you all *wink wink*

Friday, June 24, 2011

Bad timing, great pizza

For the last three years I've worked as a school librarian for a charter school here in the city, and for two and half of those years our school was located just east of North Capitol Street in a part of town that didn't have much to offer. Big Bear Cafe and a corner deli were the only options and if we wanted to do happy hour, we had to hop on the bus and head downtown.

Picture this: it's 3:45 on a Friday which means it's almost time to get the most alcohol we possibly can for the least amount of money. Estelle and I, being vehicularly challenged, are going from classroom to classroom, trying to gauge who's coming out, but more importantly who's driving. We know what it feels like to take two buses and walk 5 blocks to just miss the end of $1 happy hour at Nellie's. We have to find a ride! Some weeks are easy: everyone's coming out and getting out and even home is a breeze. Other weeks, we find ourselves doing the Metrobus two-step or just walking and calling it "exercise".

One week, while making the trek to the bus stop, we noticed a newly renovated brownstone with papered over windows that reeked of gentrification. It was clearly a new restaurant or bar and we couldn't wait to see what it would be. But we did wait. By the time the place opened, I was elbow deep in boxes, packing tape, and book dust because the school was moving over winter break. The place, that arrived too late to be my default but that I'm happy for all the same, is Rustik, an aptly named restaurant and bar that serves up cold beers and delicious brick oven pizza.

I recently paid Rustik a visit, with the intention of writing a review and drowning my stress in a Yuengling and some piping hot pizza. Rustik feels rustic, but not in a woodsy way. The exposed brick and a rich wood bar are warm, while the wall murals that remind me of the graphic novel Coraline lend a sense of fun that is creative and certainly hipster.

My friends and I arrived just after 5, and took a seat at the high tables near the windows where we were served room temperature water (the ice delivery hadn't arrived yet) by our very apologetic waitress. The ice soon arrived, our water was chilled, and we proceeded to enjoy some cold beer with little to no distractions as the restaurant was nearly empty until about 7. When people did start to come in, I was amazed by who came in the door: young edgy families and intrepid home owners, pushing their blond babies in strollers and greeting each other familiarly. It felt like I had entered a secret sanctum, where the white people of Bloomingdale shed the invisibility they used on the streets and magically appeared to one another. My friends and I found ourselves in the racial minority for the first time in that neighborhood (but certainly not in the city) and we wondered where else in the area this strange magic took place.

As I was dining with vegetarians, I tearfully passed on the Christina, a pizza topped with pear, goat cheese and prosciutto and opted for the Going Green, an intensely flavorful pizza with roasted garlic sauce, watercress, and mozzarella. I cannot exaggerate how much this pizza blessed my spirit that day. When it was put down in front of me, the smell that reached my nose was mind-blowing, so much so that the fact that it was fresh out of the oven and the cheese was literally bubbling did not stop me from diving in. My friend ordered the Margherita that was good, but no match for my choice. They say sharing is caring, but I had a hard time sharing that day.

Visit Rustik during happy hour, where beers are $2 and small selection of pizzas are available for only $4. Go early if you want the place to yourself, or come a little later to people watch. A dime for every plaid shirt or barefoot child will make you a millionaire.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jah Guide...

As many of you know, I am off to Jamaica for three weeks where I will be a teacher on one of Learn-Serve International's summer trips. I will be one of three adults, travelling around the island with eight hard-working and deserving students from the DC area.
On this trip we will be volunteering our time tutoring under privileged students in Kingston and a small town in the Blue mountains with KBC Learning. While service is the official mission of this trip, the chance to experience a new culture and share our own is just as important.
With this in mind, I will be invading kitchens whenever I can, to hear the stories that can only be told over a steaming pot, to try some island recipes, and to learn more about Jamaica than can ever be learned from a book (or a Sean Paul video).
So I will try to find some wi-fi and check in, but if not "Jah Guide" and see you soon!
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Today's Special: Air with a side of sunlight

I don't usually discuss dieting. Instead I prefer to believe that diets don't exist and the number of calories I consume has NOTHING to do with how I look in a swimsuit or how hard stairs have become... but I recently read an article that has me outraged and dying to share the insanity with you all.

Published in the May 2011 issue of Marie Claire, "I'll Have What She's Having", is a look at the eating habits of five of the most successful nutritionists in the business and if they heed the advice they give their body-conscience clients. Of the five blurbs , the stand-out, by far is the first section, on detox guru (and obvious anorexic) Natalia Rose.

The first thing we read about Rose is that she is 5'7" and 117 pounds and that she works out daily. I cannot fathom someone of her height and weight being able to hold their head up, let alone manage any physical exertion. Her diet consists of a disturbing mix of raw fruits and vegetables (all eaten at dinner time) and a daily dessert binge that makes up almost half of her daily calorie intake.

The real kicker is Rose's explanation of her regiment:

"I believe that we take our vitality predominately from the air, sunlight, and clean water,
so I don't take anything but this 'life force energy' until the sun goes down..."

Life force energy? Are we to believe Rose is recommending that we conduct photosynthesis for sustenance? Rose is clearly not ashamed to tell the world that she doesn't eat ALL DAY, but she works out 45 minutes a day. How am I supposed to read this as anything but an excuse for her anorexia?

A look at Rose's website, Detox the World, and the Life Force Families section make this all the more disturbing. The content is only available to registered members, but I can only imagine what kind of advice she is offering parents: "If your child complains about hunger, give them some water and have them run laps until they're too tired to eat. Remember, they are full off of solar energy AND your love, even if they don't know it!"

To be clear, I recognize that eating disorders are a major issue that should be treated with sensitivity and sincerity, but the fact that this woman makes a living telling people how to be healthy is seriously disturbing. Furthermore, it is a travesty that Marie Claire had the audacity to print this nonsense with the title "I'll Have What She's Having" like Rose's diet is something to be emulated. Interestingly, the online version of the article is published with the title "What Nutritionists Really Eat". Maybe they got the message that their promotion of this anorexic nonsense could lead to some seriously negative press. Or little girls eating air for breakfast.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Holleration! Examination! Publication!"*

I'm officially an examiner y'all! I'll be looking at ethnic restaurants in the DC area.
Check out my article, leave a comment, and spread the word.

Watch out DC, cause I'm coming for you!

*Title inspired by Roderick. Nothing better than a corny rhyme.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I Truckeroo'd! You should too.

Friday night was amazing. Estelle and I arrived at Truckeroo around 6 and found a moderate crowd gathered at Das Bullpen. The lines were manageable, except for the ultra popular TaKorean and Red Hook Lobster trucks. We were able to get our first round of margaritas, play a few rounds of corn hole, mull around, and then get some beers before we even decided what to eat. But I'm glad we got food when we did because by 7:30 when we found a comfy spot under the tent to perch and gorge, the place was jumpin' and the lines were super long. My friend Kelly waited in line for 45 minutes to choose from the 2 things left on the BBQ Bus menu! She opted for ribs that did not meet her Texan expectations (or my lowly Northerner ones either!)

I tried two new food trucks and loved everything I ate. Eat Wonky has hot dogs, grilled cheese and whoopie pies, but the "wonky" is poutine - a French dish that consists of fries, covered in cheese and gravy (in Jersey its called Disco fries). Estelle and I shared the "Wonky Dog" which is a hot dog topped with poutine. While fresh cheese curd and brown gravy doesn't make the most appetizing looking meal, it was delicious. Salty, fattening and very satisfying, especially with a cold beer.

Dessert was a slice of the Baltimore Bomb pie from the Dangerously Delicious Pies truck. The creepy all-black truck with its lazily scribbled menu screams Bal-ti-mo with a capital "TI" and the pie went right along with the image. It was a scary thugged out slice of pie - all rough around the edges and perilously unrecognizable - but just like Omar from the Wire when his lover was killed, it turned out to be sweet and lovely. I want to marry that pie. The main ingredient in the Bomb is Baltimore's "famous" Berger cookies that I somehow missed when I was living there. These chocolate covered sugar cookies were crushed and mixed with custard and then baked in an insanely moist and buttery pie crust.

Trust me, that was not my last encounter with the Baltimore Bomb, so help me God.

- you need to go to the next Truckeroo
- get there early so you can actually eat
- wear sunscreen
- try some disco fries - Churchkey near Logan Circle has them on their bar menu as does the Black Squirrel in Adams Mo.
- RUN to your nearest DD Pies and get a slice of the Baltimore Bomb. Heck, buy a whole pie and then invite me over for some. Or else...

The bar, and the talented Tico from White Loafer who had everyone shakin it to the beat.

I had to stop and say hi to those crazy kids at Merlindia.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Truckeroo, and Me too!

This Friday, June 3rd, come out to the Biergarten at Das Bullpen across from Nationals Park to enjoy what I call heaven: all of the best food trucks in DC in one place!

Last year's Curbside Kickoff was awesome and taught a valid lesson to event planners and food truck owners - if you park it, they will come and if you park all of them in one lot, there is ALOT of money to be made. So Bullpen owner Bo Blair has invented Truckeroo - a monthly food truck party with live music, free admission, and beer from, where else but Das Bullpen. Genius, no?

A whoopie pie (missing a big bite) from Red Hook Lobster Truck. They'll be there!

The Nats are away this Friday, so the crowds will be all about the food. Stop in for lunch or make it dinner with a beer. I arrived at the Kickoff last year around 8pm, and most of the trucks were already sold out, so the earlier the better.

I'll be there so tweet me if you come too!

Truckeroo at Das Bullpen
Right across from Navy Yard Metro Station
Friday 6/3

Those crazy guys from Fojol Brothers should be there.


The Trucks:

  • TaKorean
  • Sweet Bites
  • Sauza
  • DC Empanada
  • BBQ Bus
  • DC Slices
  • Sabora Street
  • Red Hook Lobster Truck
  • PORC
  • Dangerously Delicious Pies (so excited!)
  • Big Cheese
  • Eat Wonky
  • Pleasant Pops
  • Fojol Bros
  • El Floridano
  • Curbside Cupcakes
  • CapMac
visit for details.

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SAVOR the beer

For those of you in town who love fancy craft beer, check out the extensive list of events and specials for Capital Beer Week. The main SAVOR event is sold out, but there are lots of other chances to taste some of the best beer in the area

My favorites are the deals switch like at Iron Horse last night where craft beers will be $5 but lite staples like miller and bud will cost you $9. Really puts bland-brand loyalty to a test!*

*don't worry, I'm not hating on Miller. Unfortunately, I love it...

photo courtesy of

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

America Eats Tavern and Geeking out at NARA

As of June 12th, Café Atlántico is taking a break from serving up table side guac and scrumptious Latin fare. Beard Award winning chef José Andrés has a whole new concept for this Penn Quarter restaurant: the temporary America Eats Tavern.

Debuting on the 4th of July, this new restaurant is the birth of Andres' involvement in the new National Archives (NARA) summer exhibit "What's Cooking, Uncle Sam?" The Government's Effect on the American Diet". It all makes complete sense: a top celebrity chef, with a restaurant literally across the street from the Archives and a string of successful concepts ranging from polished Greek to Spanish tapas. According to the press release, Andrés is serving as the Chief Culinary Advisor for the exhibit (AKA, my dream job) during which time he will make contributions to the exhibit recipe book and help create a related public programs series .

An event like this is too good to be true for a history geek/foodie like me. Some of the more exciting events include a discussion and book signing with Andrés (Fri, June 10 - 7pm), "High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America" (Wed, June 15 -12pm), and "The First Kitchen" (Fri, June 10 - 12pm)

The menu at the America Eats Tavern will consist of classic casual American fare on the ground floor and a fancier menu upstairs. For those of you bougie enough to know and love the famed Minibar, fret not - it will continue to serve it's wealthy clientele (someday, y'all, someday...)

So what will become of Café Atlántico? Word is, Andrés is looking for a new location for the restaurant and a new permanent concept will be put into place after the Tavern's 6 month stint is over. Perhaps an expanded Minibar that will allow more diners to enjoy his artfully designed gastronomic wonders? Andrés is capable of almost anything so I'm excited to see what he comes up with.

"Uncle Sam says, Garden to Cut Food Costs."
National Archives, Records of the Office of War Information.

So pay NARA a visit and while you're down there, pay Café Atlántico one last visit before the doors close for renovations.

Keep an eye out for my review of the Tavern this summer. I will be out of the country when it opens, but when I get back I'm there. Downstairs. In the cheap seats.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Holy Guacamole!

I seriously love guacamole, but I didn't always. For years, I would have easily passed on the guac for some hot queso or a spicy salsa, but this is because I only had it at cheesy chain restaurants or family functions (side note: Liberians don't really make guacamole. They buy it. From Costco.)

A couple years ago I started to notice that at some houses, like that of my best friend Jessica, guacamole looked completely different. Their guac was not pureed but chunky, with every component easily recognizable; crunchy onion, zesty lemon juice, sweet cilantro... I loved this new fresh guacamole. With wide crisp tortilla chips or in Jessica's chic guacamole bruschetta, topped with pico de gallo.

This past Wednesday, my co-workers and I decided to make our way down to the teacher's lounge to watch Oprah's farewell episode. To make it a party, we brought drinks and snacks and I wanted to make mine gluten free and vegetarian so everyone could enjoy. What better choice is there than guacamole?

So, here is my recipe for my summer guacamole, just in time for the Memorial Day holiday. This is my first recipe, so please give me some feedback! Let me know if you make it!

Summer Guacamole

You will need:

  • 4 avocados, roughly chopped
  • 1 mango, peeled and chopped
  • 1 ear of corn, boiled and cut off the cob
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • juice of 2 limes
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • black or green pepper
In a bowl, combine the avocado, mango, corn, onion, cilantro and jalapeno. Squeeze in the juice of two limes and season with garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. **Place the pit of one or two of the avocados in the bowl to keep it from turning brown.**

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Blog Hoppin'

I just found this on twitter and I'm super excited, now that I'm cookin'!

Erin Hutton, of Community Cucina, is starting a new blog hop that will be a community challenge. Participants are asked to make something new, using at least one ingredient that is grown or produced within 100 miles of home.

Since there are a million farmer's market's in DC, this shouldn't be too hard!

The dishes can be original creations, or borrowed recipes and we just link the resulting posts to her original creating a blog hop!

My only question is, do wine cocktails count?

To participate or to read the Blog Hop, check out the link below:

Community Challenge Blog Hop

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

GLEEful Baked Eggs

Tuesday night was the season finale of Glee so my good friend Estelle and I decided to get together, cook a great meal, and glue ourselves to the TV for an hour. Estelle is a patisserier in the making and she's been spending loads of time searching blogs for new things to bake (and share!). Recently, she discovered the trendy and insanely enviable world of La Tartine Gourmand, written by French expat Beatrice Peltre. Peltre's blog is chock-full of gorgeous photos of her food and family, as well as some seriously tempting recipes.

So while Glee was a big disappointment (original songs? UGH!), dinner was fantastic. I can highly recommend Bea's site as well as her recipe for Baked Eggs, found here. We found that it was perfect with some over-toasted French bread and an extra sprinkle or two of Parmesan cheese. Because of the size of our ramekins, two eggs would have been better to completely cover the other ingredients and really fill the dish out. Having two eggs may also keep you from eating two whole servings like we did...

The cheese and creme covered asparagus was definitely the star in this dish, so you could do without the watercress. I think this could be made with almost any seasonal veggies... I think I will try tomato and shallots next.

Let me know if you make it and give Bea a shout out if you like it!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Eat. Write. Retreat. (post-report)

What. A. Weekend.

This past weekend, I attended my first food bloggers event here in DC. From Friday to Sunday, we ate and drank like kings and laughed and learned like kids. I met some amazing new people and discovered a confidence I didn't know I had.

In a session on writing, the prolific Monica Bhide shared her story inspired me to work as hard at my craft as a pianist or triathlete. She stressed the importance of using all of the five senses to describe food, and to not neglect the story. Monica also talked about finding and writing with your own voice.

I started out scared to put my name, let alone my photo on this blog. My need for anonymity was really fear that if people saw me, if they knew who I was, they would have no interest in what I had to say. Well this weekend I met people who said, "Oh, Girl Born Hungry? I've been reading your blog!". And get this... they were happy to meet me! ALSO, if the story is just as important as the food, then sharing my story will only help people get me and why I love food so dang much!

In a panel discussion on going beyond the blog, the ever inspiring Shauna James Ahern asked us all why we keep a blog. For some it was about their love of food, others wanted a book deal; In that moment I realized that for me, blogging about food is the beginning of a new life. A life in which I do what I love and not just what will pay the rent. A life where I am a writer. That realization almost knocked me on the floor! I am a writer!

I want to offer my sincerest thanks to the event organizers Robyn Webb and Casey Benedict. This retreat was life changing for me and it lit a fire under me to give my all to this work. Thank you both so much.

Here are some photos that I took along the way... I know they won't qualify for any awards, but they'll give you taste of what I was tasting!

Clean plate club

I couldn't get my camera out fast enough!

My top 3 from "Cocktails and Confections":

Deconstructed "Banana Split"

Super tangy "Hibiscus Margarita". The smoked lime salt was a crunchy surprise.

" Don't mess with my tutu" Deliciously tart cherry mousse with super sweet cotton candy.

'tis art!

My group's attempt at food styling (shot by Renee Comet!)

Lunch at McCormicks & Schmicks

1st course: Anchovy and roasted beets

2nd Course: Wild Alaskan Halibut with Maitake, Enoki and Cremini mushrooms, swiss chard, baby bok choy, and a miso sauce. Wow.

3rd Course: Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake

Cooking Course at CulinAerie

The ingredients

The Chef (with Lara and Dan busy in the background)

Capitol Hill Food Tour

1st stop: Anglo-Indian
Some of the best naan I've ever had...

2nd Stop: SOUL FOOD. This is from Levi's Port Cafe on 8th St, SE. I made sure to get the name because I WILL be back for more. That mac n'cheese is worth going under the bridge to the "other side of the tracks". Expect a full review to come...

3rd stop: comida Salvadoreno. I was entirely too full to enjoy this, but it looked good.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Meals on Wheels, Lunch on the lam.

The line for lobstah outside of the NatGeo.

Downtown DC at lunch time is full of busy, rushed people looking to get in and out of one of the many casual dining restaurants that are all over the city. What they get: a three-piece meal (entrée, side, drink) for under $10 and a seat at a shared table after waiting for anywhere between 5 and 20 minutes. One alternative to the norm is the not so revolutionary food truck. Street food has fed the working masses everywhere from New York to Mumbai for generations, providing a quick option for workers with not a minute to spare. Hot dogs, falafel, crepes... the options are endless and DC has certainly joined the street food party. The list of DC food trucks is extensive. Among the most popular choices are the Fojol Brothers' duo of trucks offering Indian (Merlindia) and Ethiopian (Benethiopia) cuisine on the go, DC Slices with its super fresh pizza, served with or without basil and with super crunchy crust, and Curbside Cupcakes with... well you know what they're hocking.

The "Meal Deal"

One truck that goes against the very principle of the quick work lunch is the Red Hook Lobster Truck. Lines can go on for blocks and the signature lobster roll is $15 ($17 with chips and a fresh homemade soda). But, the lines aren't just for the buzz, the food is genuinely good - fresh lobster, in daily from Maine, tossed with mayo, celery and spices and topped with fresh scallions and served on a buttered and grilled roll. (wipe your mouth... you're drooling) The good news is the lines are destined to get better because Red Hook is debating their 2nd truck tomorrow which is destined to lessen the wait! To enjoy what these trucks, and the many others, have to offer it's simple: check out (on Twitter it's @foodtruckfiesta) or follow the trucks you're interested in. Lunchtime locations are usually announced by 10am and sell outs, line updates, and rain warnings are tweeted in real time. @lobstertruckdc
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Eat. Write. Retreat: The Prequel.

This weekend I am proud to say I'll be joining my fellow food bloggers for a weekend of one-of-a-kind food experiences, like custom cocktails by the mixologists of PS-7 and a evening food tour of Capitol Hill.

I'm ecstatic to get to know people who are as obsessive as I am about food, some heavy hitters with years of experience and sponsors with lots of goodies to share!

The thing I'm most excited about is taking part in a specially designed cooking seminar at CulinAerie, DC's leading cooking school.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Still love the old, but in with the Brau

I love Natty Boh.

For those of you who don't know, National Bohemian is considered Baltimore's local beer, although it is now brewed in Milwaukee, and purports itself to be "From the Land of Pleasant Living". I've been drinking it since I made the purely economic decision to embrace brewskies and at anywhere between $1-3/can, it was a logical choice (also see, PBR).

If I really think about why I Natty Boh, I must say it's
not necessarily the taste and more about the feeling of drinking what generations of "Marylanders" have enjoyed - most likely for next to no money and with a great bag of Utz Salt and Vinegar chips.

That being said, there may be a new beer to find a place in my heart... the District's first brewery in almost 50 years, DC Brau Brewing Company has released it's first brew: The Public. Described as an "easy drinking pale ale", it sounds like it would fit right into my Natty Boh/PBR niche.

I'll most likely be giving it a try at Marvin or Little Miss Whiskey's, but check out the complete list of w
here you can find it at DC Brau's website.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Right food, Wrong city

If you'll be in NYC April 27-May 8 you will have the exciting chance to preview what may very well become the place I spend ALL my money... Rogue 24, is set to open in Blagden Alley (the rear of 9th Street) right here in the Crossroads (that's the amazing neighborhood located between Shaw/Mt. Vernon/Logan Circle for those of you not in the know) sometime this spring, but Chef RJ Cooper will be previewing the cuisine in a 16 course progression tasting for $100/person. Check the deets here. Catch me on the Chinatown bus. I'll be the one counting her pennies in the rear.
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lincoln takes Washington

150 years ago Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter, kicking off the Civil War and the bloodiest four years in American history. But by that April day the lines had been drawn for months; ever since Lincoln was elected President and Southern states fled from the Union to protect their precious slave society.

So I know you all are thinking: "what the heck does this have to do with food" but if you know me personally how can you be surprised that I've finally found a way to talk history! But alas, there is a point because today, Lincoln is taking Washington again - although this time the rebs are invited to the party.

Located at 1110 Vermont Ave, walking distance from the Farragut North Metro, Lincoln focuses on locally-grown seasonal American fare - think squash in the winter and sweet summer corn. They also pay tribute to President Lincoln's favorites... oysters, gingerbread, and chicken frickassee.

The restaurant is also filled with modern and POP culture friendly nods to the Prez, like cool paintings and a bar decorated with pennies. Lincoln is open for lunch, dinner, and late with a bar menu. Brunch is "coming soon" and I'll be checkin' for happy hour prices. (shocker)

Review coming soon. ;)

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Monday, March 28, 2011

The Hot Spot (or le point chaud)

Point Chaud Cafe and Crepes located on 14th St, NW may be my new quick-brunch go-to.

For a very reasonable price we got one sweet crepe (avec nutella, bananas, et strawberries) and one savory (the DC brunch special with eggs, tomatoes, avocado, turkey, and cheese). Try your choice of savory crepe made with whole wheat flour... it has a tanginess akin to Ethiopian enjera.

*please note the photo, taken AFTER we devoured the brunch special- I had to act fast to get the shot before someone cleaned his plate (my half was long gone... SMH)
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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bougie Chicken

In DC Michel Richard is a god. God of Citronelle. God of Central. God of the new Michel Richard at the Ritz-Carlton. But I had NO IDEA he was the God of Fried Chicken.

Check out Central's lunch-to-go menu for the bougiest fried chicken you've EVER had... Michel's Fried Chicken Bucket includes 6 pieces, 10 nuggets, dijon/mayo sauce, and a side of mashed potatoes for $29.95.

Richard's chicken and mashed potatoes is also available on the dinner menu (portioned for one) for $23.

So the price isn't exactly a deal, but you've had Popeye's. Now try Poulet!

Photo courtesy of Metrocurean

Love and Corduroy

Valentine's Day 2011 I did the unthinkable... while sharing a wonderful night with the man I love, I met someone else! His name is Tom and I think he may be the one!

Okay maybe that's an exaggeration, but that night Tom did sweep me off my feet... first with the scallops, then the venison, but what really did it was just one dollop of his chestnut puree.

Tom is in fact Tom Power, the executive chef of Corduroy, a cozy modern restaurant that just oozes class and service. Corduroy is located
in a rescued row house just across from the Convention Center on a stretch of 9th street that out-of-towners usually speed through with their windows locked. But being a block from my house I can vouch for the safety of the neighborhood and I encourage you to give it a try (plus they have valet!).

Here are some photos to entice you further.

1st Course:

The special for the 1st course -- tuna tartare that the waiter assured us was "swimming this morning"... supposedly Tom's friend catches the fish off the coast of NJ and buys it a one-way ticket on a Greyhound bus. How cool is that? The heart-shaped watercress was a nice touch.

The creamiest scallops I've ever tasted. What more can I say. I didn't order them, but I pulled Valentine's Day privilege and ate most of them!

2nd Course:

2nd course special: braised short rib over cabbage. Yummy but the only thing I wasn't crazy about... probably because my mom does it better than anyone.

My favorite thing of the night (and of course again it wasn't my order)... venison medallions with not a hint of gaminess served with brussel sprouts and chestnut puree. Now this chestnut puree business really is something special - made with chestnuts and potatoes, it was rich and creamy with just a bit of sweetness at the end that complimented the bitterness of the sprouts.


For the dessert course we ordered the bread pudding and a very interesting pumpkin pie that was less of a pie and more of a pumpkin and marscapone cheese souffle in the shape of a slice of pie. I don't know how they did it, but I loved it. But the best part of dessert was the house-made honey ice cream and the crispy wafer. Delicious!

Jealous? You should be. Make a reservation, meet Tom, and fall in love for yourself.

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