Thursday, October 11, 2012

Happy Birthday to Us!

Last Saturday, BJ and I celebrated our birthday by spending the whole day together being DC tourists.  Yes, we have the same birthday.

The first stop was Art and Soul for lunch, which is owned by the fabulous Art Smith.  We are big fans of Art, especially after watching him on Top Chef Masters.  Art tweeted that he was going to be in town that day, so we quickly made a reservation.  We arrived at noon, hungry for chicken and waffles!  As it turned out, Art wasn't there yet, so I didn't get to be a fangirl, but we know he was there in spirit.  We shared the pimento cheese and crackers to start, which was a little spicy and a lot delicious. 

We also shared the homemade biscuits and seasonal preserves, which tasted to be blackberry and lemon.  Very flavorful, though I would have appreciated some butter on the side as well.  Each table was also given cinnamon raisin biscuits with icing and they were excellent.  Not too sweet and the right balance of icing and raisins.  I ordered the chicken and waffles and it came dressed with a chicken maple gravy and a lot of roasted peppers of all colors.  The waffle was just a vehicle for the amazing chicken.  I have never tasted breading that good or that crispy.  It was perfect and just what I wanted.  I'm not necessarily a sauce girl, so I would have preferred the gravy on the side, but it had nice flavor and was a good compliment.  BJ had shrimp and grits, which he ate so fast I didn't have a chance to even see what it looked like.  I guess it was good!

Our next stop was the E Street Cinema to see The Master.  I hadn't been to E Street in a long long time and forgot how great it was.  They show indie/artsy films and sell alcohol!  That's a good evening right there.  The movie was good, but definitely something you'd study in film class.  Joaquin Phoenix needs to win some kind of award for his performance.

We moved on to Taste of DC, which I am sad to admit I don't have much to say about.  It was super crowded and the lines were incredibly long, even at 4:30 pm.  I suppose if I was inclined to stay all day and walk around with a beer, it would have been more fun, but I wasn't and it wasn't.

Since we didn't get much to eat there, we decided to hit up 2 Amy's for dinner.  I LOVE this place.  They have the best margarita pizza ever and the atmosphere is always fun.  Even though we didn't not have our little one with us, I am happy to say they are extremely kid friendly.  Our pizzas and suppli telefono were perfect as always.

Last stop was Washington DC Ghost Tours.  We are big fans of these kinds of things, having been on similar tours in Ireland and Scotland (and BJ claims he saw a ghost, but I'm still skeptical).  We ended up joining our tour at the last minute, which was very easy, and off we went.  I was so disappointed.  The tour guide makes or breaks the experience and our guide was pitiful.  Pitiful!  Every other word out of her mouth was "ummm" and she just did a poor job of actually telling each study.  We overheard another tour going on at the same time and seriously considered joining up with them, as they guy seemed to be an excellent storyteller.  Alas, we stayed with our guide and ended up leaving about 30 minutes early because we just could not take it anymore.  We still had fun though!

Despite the hiccup there at the end, we had a really great day and were reminded of all the awesome things we have to do in our own backyard!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Girls' Night Out in DC

Earlier this summer, three friends and I had a fabulous girls' night out in the city.  We got all dressed up, had drinks and a lovely dinner, and then splurged on a special dessert.  It was really nice to get together, as it was the first time we'd all been in the same place in probably ten or so years.  I would recommend both of our locations, so here are our thoughts:

Drinks and dinner were at PS 7, which is right by the Verizon Center.  This had been on my to-try list for a while and it could not have been any better.  We started with drinks at the bar, where our waiter was incredibly attentive and nice.  He brought us a little bowl of spicy popcorn on top of the martini, champagne and St. Germain, Smashberry cocktail, and pineapple sangria.  All were delicious and well constructed. 

We split 3 appetizers - the housemade hot dogs, tuna sliders and nutty goat flatbread.  I think we all agreed the flatbread was the best, but everything was great.  For our main courses, a friend and I both ordered the smoked gnocchi, which was one of the best dishes I have ever had.  It was totally vegetarian but the smoke made it seem meaty and hearty. 

Someone else got the pan roasted chicken, which looked so good I may order it next time. 

While we were enjoying our feast, we admired the table behind us, eating PS 7's fried chicken picnic, which comes with a number of sides, a dessert, and adult beverage.  I definitely will be back to try that!

The food was wonderful, service was excellent, and the company made it even better.  All smiles, we moved on to dessert at Coco Sala.  I'd been right when it opened several years ago, when it was almost strictly a dessert place, but now the menu includes savory entrees and appetizers as well.  Obviously, we were just there for the chocolate though.  We selected from the yummy drink menu, including a frozen hot chocolate and something that tasted just like a chocolate covered strawberry. 

My friends all ordered the Chocolate Onyx, which was described as"dark chocolate mousse / vanilla crème brulee / salted caramel / crispy chocolate pearls / brownie /dark chocolate sorbet / cinnamon toffee bon bon."
It looked very rich and decadent and no one was able to finish it!  I was the rebel and ordered the Sticky Situation, which was "warm sticky toffee pudding cake / chocolate shavings / brown butter toffee sauce / ginger caramel ice cream" and as much as I adore chocolate, I was really glad I got this.  It was so warm and sweet and salty and just awesome.  Our server, once again, was excellent, and the atmosphere was lots of fun.  It was almost like a dance club - they even have their own DJ! 

All in all, it was a really great night and everyone had a fun time.  We will definitely be doing this again and if we went to the same places, no one would be upset.  Both are worth checking out!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Another Trip to NYC

Long time, no post!  We've been on summer break and now that things are back to normal, we'll try to resume our regularly scheduled blogging. 

Something I've been meaning to post about for a very long time is a trip BJ and I took to New York way back in March.  He thought my trip in January sounded fun, so we booked a quick overnight trip so we could go see Once: The Musical, which happens to be based on one of BJ's favorite movies of all time.  Here's the quick version of our trip:

Megabus - wonderful, as always.  The pick-up place in the city had moved from the last trip and made life much easier. 

Shake Shack - this was on our must-list to try, even though we now have on in DC.  Go figure.  We loved it.  The burger was decadent and juicy and the crinkle cut fries were excellent.  We liked it better than Five Guys, Bobby's Burger Palace and some other trendy burger joints that are escaping me at the moment.

Laduree Macarons - We walked around the city and found ourselves nearby this little shop.  Having heard great things about these little cookie things, I waited patiently in the 20 minute line to try them.  It was hot.  And pretentious.  And insanely expensive.  And totally not worth it.  Not only were the macarons tiny and sickeningly sweet, the flavors tasted completely artificial to me.  I was seriously shocked.  With all the hype out there, you'd think they were made of gold.  I may get maimed for saying it, but they were just gross.  Avoid avoid avoid.

Colicchio & Sons Tap Room - this was our obligatory celebrity restaurant outing of the trip.  We love Tom Colicchio from Top Chef and his menu looked great, so off we went.  I had a squash soup with Brussels sprouts on top that was so creamy and silky, just delicious. 

If I remember correctly, BJ had bone marrow of some sort, that he also enjoyed.  We both ordered the ricotta cavatelli with a short rib ragout for our entrees, and as BJ said "it was good enough to weep over."  Also of note was the service.  Our waiter was fantastic, very attentive and gave great recommendation, and the manager even came over and chatted for a bit.  Everyone was so nice - highly recommended.

We ended the evening, after the show, with a slice of cheesecake from Juniors, which was fabulous as always.  I always have a good time in NYC and this was no exception.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Pretzel Bakery

I spent a recent Saturday morning with my friend and her son, as well as The Luce.  We strolled around Eastern Market for a while, which is always fun, and then took a longer walk down to the newly opened Pretzel Bakery.  I'd seen a couple articles about it joining the neighborhood the previous week and knew I had to try it.  It's roughly 9 blocks or so from Eastern Market, so its that's your starting place, be prepared.  It was a very nice walk though and we easily found the shop, which is really just a cute walk-up window across from an elementary school. 

We waited in line for a bit, as we arrived just as the window opened at 11 am.  The prices were reasonable, though they only take cash.  Maybe that will change in the future.  We ordered and then waited a bit longer for the pretzels to come out of the oven.  It was totally worth the wait!  These were the best pretzels I have ever had!  Warm, well salted, great flavor - I could have eaten the whole bag of 3.  I think this will be a stop for me every time I'm in that part of town.  Highly recommended!!

Pepe the Food Truck

Wow, it's been a long time.  That's certainly not for lack of trying new things, just slacking on the reviews.

Today I had the pleasure of introducing a friend to DC food trucks for the first time.  We checked Food Truck Fiesta and noticed Pepe, the new truck created by our beloved José Andrés, was near where we were planning to be, so we decided to give it a whirl. 

What a great decision!  Pepe serves Spanish sandwiches, soups and various other yummy bites.  I tried the Serrano Ham and Manchego cheese with olive oil.  The bread was very crispy and well-seasoned, the ham tender and salty, and the Manchego was perfection - but I'm biased, it is my favorite cheese.  A very simple sandwich, but a delicious lunch.  The others in my group tried the pork burger, the chicken club, and the daily special croquetas and everyone was happy, including our native of Spain.  We also tried the non-alcoholic sangria, which was also very good.  I would 100% go back, and want to try everything.  Thanks for an awesome lunch, Pepe!