Friday, September 24, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Don't you all want to see another video creation/post about me gleefully skipping through the kitchens at the Culinary Institute of America? Clearly I do. I'll even do a rendition of Jessie Spano's "I'm so excited" from Saved by the Bell (prior to the part where she loses it completely)whilst chopping ingredients in Napa Valley if I win. Now that would be a sight to see.
Huge thanks to everyone who has already "liked" my video!
Monday, September 20, 2010
Three Bean Salad (serves 5 or 6)
- 1 15 oz. can of garbanzo (chickpeas) beans
- 1 15 oz. can of black beans
- 1 15 oz. can of kidney beans
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 1 medium shallot, chopped
- Juice from one lime
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 1/2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. After opening all of the cans of beans, rinse them well in a colander with cold water. Then place in a large mixing bowl.
2. Chop the scallions and shallot and add to the beans. Add the EVOO, red wine vinegar and lime juice. Add the salt and pepper to taste (about 1 tsp. kosher salt)
3. Mix well and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving.
There are a ton of variations on bean salad, and chances are you've got some recipe from your Aunt Susan's for a bean salad that is probably similar to this one. This is one of those "recipe-less" dishes that you could very well just wing in the kitchen. But since I blog about food, I've provided you with one. If you are missing certain ingredients, try these alternative suggestions:
1. Replace the kidney beans with fresh string beans.
2. Replace the scallions with a bunch of chopped chives.
3. Replace the shallots with a chopped red onion.
4. Add a cup of cooked corn kernels (take the corn off of the cob after cooking it or you can use frozen) for flavor and color.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Here's what you need to do:
•Login or create an account on YouTube.com.
•"Like" or give my video the "thumbs up" between 11 am ET September 16 and 6 PM ET September 25. Tell everyone and their mother to do the same!
•Only one vote per person and per YouTube account will be permitted. Only votes made during the voting period will count.
Thanks in advance! KEEP ON GIVIN' IT THE THUMBS UP!
Oh and enjoy that peach, plum and blueberry crumble recipe.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Mango Peach Ice Pops & Mango Peach Strawberry Ice Pops
(makes 6-8 ice pops, depending on the size and shape of the molds)
- 2 mangos, peeled and sliced
- 3 peaches, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup of strawberries (optional; for this recipe I used frozen strawberries)
- 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
- Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
- 3 tablespoons honey
1. Peel and slice the peaches and mangos. Place in a blender. Add the yogurt, lemon juice and honey. Blend well, until completely smooth. (For the other variation, also add the frozen strawberries)
2. Pour into ice pop molds and freeze overnight. Then eat 'em up while it's still above 80 degrees outside.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Thanks to one of my not-so-new obsessions with group buying websites, I went out to Sticky Rice for dinner with a friend from college. I had forgotten she was a vegetarian, but as fate would have it, Sticky Rice has quite a vegetarian-friendly menu. Sorry there aren't many pictures; the dim lighting made everything look pretty indistinguishable and didn't do justice to how good everything tasted.
To start, we both tried the miso soup which was flavorful and the right amount of slightly salty. While I like seaweed in my miso soup, I was a little put off by the stringy purple seaweed that reminded me of the stuff that used to get stuck to my ankles when swimming at the Jersey shore. It just doesn't look appetizing, and it's weird to chew. By the way, don't take that last comment as an opportunity to hate on the Jersey Shore (the place, not the show. Hate on the show alllll you want, my friends).
The sushi, however, was really tasty and fresh. Sticky Rice has a good mix of the traditional sashimi and sushi fare, as well as more inventive rolls and dishes. The ebi (shrimp sushi) were thick and meaty, and fresh (definitely not some squashed crustacean that had been sitting around for a while waiting to be consumed on a bed of rice). I was in the mood for tamago (sweet egg) when I went, and this was also good. I like the tamago a little bit sweeter, but it was a nice balance of salty and sweet at Sticky Rice. Lastly the rolls: classic california roll and the tuna tempura roll. The california roll gets some extra bonus points for using real crab meat, rather than that amorphous, reddish pink "krab" from a can. The tuna tempura roll was truly delicious: tuna, cream cheese, cucumber, avocado, spicy sauce, tobiko and drizzled with ponzu sauce and scallions. Usually I run from any sushi dish with cream cheese in it, but this impulse order was the right choice. The slightly cooked tuna, hot crunchy tempura coating, cool gooey cream cheese with the crunch of the cucumber all made for a great combination. The one downside after stuffing my face with Kirin and sushi was that Sticky Rice didn't have green tea ice cream. Still the sushi options are inventive and tasty, and from what I could tell, everything was fresh.
Sticky Rice is one of those places where I want to get to know the eccentric staff and have them recommend funky new rolls to me. I want to throw back a Kirin with my tattooed waiter and partake in what looks like some good times, judging by their Flickr account. The service is laidback, in a good way--you can linger over your meal and you'll never feel rushed. If only the H St. NE corridor wasn't mired in constant construction, I might get there more often! Next time though, I'm definitely trying their tots and maybe a round or two of blingo.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
I have a friend who would not let up on me about this burger place he tried on Connecticut Avenue. Appeasing him and my craving for a burger, I wound up at Rogue States, stop #4 in my very own Battle of the Burgers.
The burger was probably one of the better seasoned ones I've had since the housemade seasoning was mixed into the burger. This good idea makes the burger a lot more flavorful than just dumping on a bunch of toppings. Bonus points: big, fat slices of dill pickle and the leaf of boston lettuce, my personal favorite. Also, the tomato on this burger was pretty fresh and not mealy (oh the mealy tomato, you are the bane of my foodie existence). The brioche bun was tasty, maybe could have been toasted some more though.
Rogue has fashioned a concept for its existence, and that's all fine and dandy. I get the impression that a lot of comfort food places are doing this, as if to say, "Look at us! We are mighty and different. We have a vision and that vision is being cooked up and served to you at only $14.95." I get it. You're new in town, you think you're hot and shiny, so you slap some phrases on the wall and expect me to feel like I'm partaking in some food revolution. To be fair, I think Good Stuff did this before Rogue. Either way, I don't need my burgers to have a mission statement, or be a "rallying cry," as Good Stuff puts it. I should want to feel like letting out a whoop and a holler after eating your burger; you shouldn't have to tell me to do it. Okay, enough snark. Maybe I'm being too harsh. From a marketing standpoint, I get it and it could be cool if it wasn't so...contrived.
Anyway, while the burger was flavorful, it was slightly overcooked. Rogue State has a motto of "pink or no pink" when deciding how you like your burger cooked. This overlooks the difference between medium and medium rare. So, I asked for my burger cooked medium (a little pink, please) and got a well-done burger. The fries are decent--thick, but not an overwhelming amount in comparison to the fries serving size at some other places. The four or so beers on tap are microbrews from the local Blue and Gray Brewing Company in Fredericksburg. The Fred's Red Ale I had was mild but it went really well with my burger. Unlike some of the other burger places I previously visited, there are no milkshakes here.
Rogue fell somewhere in the middle for me. It wasn't at the top, nor was it at the bottom of the list. One thing is for sure: the competition isn't dying down since a new burger place is set to open right across the street from Rogue, and Connecticut Avenue is slowly becoming known as "red meat row," according to Metrocurean. And so, I forge on in the battle of the burgers. Onto the next grilled pattie of ground meat...
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
The lobster rolls are really good--clean, tender, not-even-oh-so-chewy claw and tail meat, nestled in hot, buttered bread with just a little seasoning on it. Oh man, I'm already drooling. The meal is 18 bucks a pop, but for that you also get a soda and chips. The lobster roll alone is $15. Then again, I'm sure we've all paid the same for a completely mediocre lunch in the city. And come on, it's Maine lobster, and the portions are decently-sized, albeit one lobster roll might not be enough to satisfy your mid-day hunger. I've yet to try the shrimp rolls (please, I can't stalk this truck's location all day every day!), but I'd guess those are probably pretty delicious as well. The whoopie pies are a nice treat if you're craving some dessert. They're chock full of a rich cocoa flavor and the filling is just right and sugary sweet.
I get the feeling that the truck is still working out some of the kinks. The service is kind of slow, but they're getting slammed with lines that wrap around the block, they're new in town, and so I'd cut them some slack. However, the Red Hook Lobster Truck staff are incredibly friendly and sweet.
It's moments like when the truck rounds the corner and there is audible applause from Washingtonians waiting in line, that I wonder what the DCRA is thinking. For those of you who haven't been following this saga, the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs says these food trucks pose a threat to brick and mortar establishments in the city. I think it's like comparing apples and oranges. I go to a restaurant when I want sit down service and a two or three-course meal. I go to a food truck when I want some good eats on my lunch break, after a long day at work or during a midnight noshing session. I'm sure the local DC government thinks there is some sort of tax revenue they're missing out on from these roving trucks. And yes, I know there are nuances in this argument I'm overlooking (like regulating these trucks so you don't get served dirty food that makes you sick). But for me, it's strictly about the food--it's good, it's easily accessible, it's trendy, and I sincerely hope that all of the trucks that have come to DC recently will not be put out of business by whatever the local politicians decide. Now I'll get off my soapbox and go back to eating the cupcakes, burritos, tacos, pizza and more coming from those food trucks.
So next time you're feeling that cool breeze, wishing you were up in New England snackin' on a crustacean, go to Red Hook Lobster Truck. And don't forget to keep supporting all the DC food trucks!
Take a bite: www.bonappetitfoodie.com.
Friday, September 3, 2010
The most recent stop for burgers was Desperados Burgers and Bar on U St. I went with the cheese lovers burger, topped with cheddar, American and Swiss. The burger itself was really flavorful, albeit none of us at the table could actually put a finger on what the seasoning in the burger was. It wasn't spicy; it wasn't worcestshire; it was zesty, but not overpowering. I'm a big fan of mayo and mustard on burgers, which came standard with this one. The downside to this burger was that I ordered a medium burger, and got pretty medium rare. The dim lighting in the already dark wood-paneled bar made it harder to notice this, but the middle of my burger was practically mooing. Also, when I went it was later on a Sunday evening, and we were told they had run out of fries (vaguely familiar from my first trip to BGR...). I get it, we were the only people in the bar, it was a Sunday night, so my friends and I weren't too miffed about the lack of fried taters. Instead, we all got baked potatoes, which were pretty good. Bacon, cheese, sour cream and nestled in a starchy cavity made up for the lack of fries. I probably would have liked a some more toppings on the baked potato, but let's not get too nitpicky.
Overall, Desperados was pretty tasty. It's a good, no frills burger place and a good addition to the U st. area. And as an added bonus, all of Desperados' burgers are ground fresh daily, according to their menu. Go get your burger on, foodies.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Call it New Haven style, call it whatever you want, it is damn good pizza. Frankly, I think this style of pizza is really just New Jersey/New York style, and have never heard of New Haven being known for much other than a quaint little university I once tried to get into. I'm sure the owners would disagree with this assessment, but I think we can put aside this small difference and agree that it's really good pizza.
Overall, the pizza has great flavor. The crust is thin; thin enough to fold up and devour easily. On my second trip there, I noticed the crust was a little bit chewier than the pizza I've gotten back home, but this was a good thing. I am not big on eating pizza crust, but I essentially inhaled every bit of pizza here. The sauce is just a little sweet. The toppings are fresh and usually loaded on. I didn't have to blot grease off of my pizza. The restaurant even smells good when you walk in. The fact that I could easily run to either of Pete's Apizza's locations is dangerous for both my thighs and wallet, as I foresee ordering from here becoming a habit. Yes, the pies are a little pricey, but they are quite large and quite good.
Since Pete's says it's a "New Haven" style place, I opted to try the New Haven slice with white clams, garlic, pecorino romano and oregano. Seafood on pizza is rarely something I jump up and down for. It just seems...wrong, odd, confusing, not natural. However, I must say that the clams on the New Haven slice were pretty delicious. Their slightly chewy texture with the thin crust, cheese and garlic tasted great. The pizza was garlicky, but not in an overpowering way. I also tried the sausage and mushroom slice, as well as a pepperoni and artichoke slice. The mushrooms were thinly sliced and cooked through perfectly. I don't know if Pete's makes their own sausage, but this sausage is probably the best thing you can put on your pizza. So flavorful, not fatty, the right amount of fennel and saltiness. On the other slice (not pictured here), the pepperoni wasn't oily, and tasted oh-so-good with the soft marinated artichoke leaves baked on the pie.
Pete's has a pretty good selection of pies to choose from and they have great combinations of toppings, though you can always make your own. (Side note: Man, I wish they'd attempt a buffalo chicken pizza like my fave place back home.) For the make-your-own-pie, I got sweet Italian sausage and roasted peppers. I would have liked some more toppings on this pie, but still it was so so good with a nice, cold beer. And if beer or wine isn't what you're craving, Pete's serves good old-fashioned soda from Boylan Bottling Co. that is all natural and does not contain high-fructose corn syrup.
The one quip I have with the Tenleytown-Friendship Heights location is something beyond the restaurant's control. They've gotten some complaints about this on Yelp, but it's true: the kids there are a little out of hand. Combine that with a fairly tight seating arrangement, and it can be pretty bothersome. It's annoying to have children running amuck, standing at the soda machine mixing every possible flavor into one glass over and over. It's annoying to have a kid who's old enough to know better step on my foot with his bright crocs and not apologize. But hey, that's the clientele's fault, not Pete's. In my opinion, the pizza is worth it, and in some quaint way, I can try to convince myself that the Tenleytown location is a neighborhood family place and thus supposed to be overrun with children who can't sit still long enough to enjoy the pizza. And if you really can't deal with it, just opt for take out.
It goes without saying our fair city is not known for it's pizza. However, in a sea of mediocre or downright abysmal options for your pizza pies, there are a few good ones out there and Pete's is at the top of my list. By bus, car or pitiful wmata, get yourself to Pete's and eat some of that delicious "apizza."