Thursday, April 22, 2010

We Moved!

Hi everyone!  Just wanted to let everyone know that we finally moved our blog over to http://www.iflipforfood.com/!  We're still the same food-loving monsters, we just look sexier.  Please come visit us at our new home!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New York City: Le Bernardin

*Post by Angela.
If you read our last post, you know that Mark and I decimated New York this weekend with our monstrous appetites (think Godzilla).  While eating at Ippudo and Grimaldi's (soon to be posted) were both fun experiences, I couldn't wait to write about the crowning moment of the weekend, a surprise belated birthday present from Pam and Jason: Dinner at Chef Eric Ripert's Le Bernardin in mid-town.  Le Bernardin is one of five NYC restaurants with 3 Michelin Stars, and Chef Ripert is known as a seafood god. While I didn't take photos this time around, believe me when I say we had an incredible experience there - the  beautiful decor, the impeccable service and the exquisitely presented, creative and delicious food added up to one of my favorite dining experiences in my life thus far. 

Click below to read more!

New York City: Ippudo

*Post by Angela.
This weekend, Mark and I were in New York for a quick visit with my sister Pam and her fiancee Jason.  We were also in town to eat as much as we possibly could, and we absolutely succeeded (if you know us at all, you know it was a ridiculous amount of food in a very short period of time).  We started our epic eating journey with a fantastic Mexican meal in Brooklyn on Friday night (which we'll post about in a few days), and after a fun-filled night, woke up late Saturday morning raring to go.

The day began with Lunch #1 at Ippudo Noodle Shop in the East Village.  The restaurant is the first and only American location for the Japanese chain, and Pam had been dying to try it out; unfortunately, every time she had walked by, it had been either packed or closed.  We showed up super early to guarantee seating (and to accommodate our very busy eating schedule for the day), and I'm glad we did.  Ippudo's rich broths, mouthwatering toppings, and house-made noodles combine to make a very satisfying and tasty bowl of ramen, the ideal fuel for a day of exploring Manhattan. 


Click below to see what we ate!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Date, Goat Cheese & Mint Flatbread w/ Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

*Post by Mark
Eager to try out our new camera, my lunch yesterday was more about making something I could take a picture of than it was about putting food into my body.  So I scraped together a 'kitchen sink' flatbread pizza using only the random items I found in our mostly empty refrigerator.  The pictures turned out pretty fantastic, but I was shocked that the flatbread actually came together as well as it did.  Hell, I even popped another one in the oven for lunch today.


Click below to see what all went onto the Flatbread!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Policy

*Post by Mark.
Policy is the kind of place you walk past.  I'd actually walked by the eatery's storefront a hundred times before I even realized there was a restaurant behind the poor signage.  Once I finally did become aware of its existence, I was quickly surprised to discover it was a trendy lounge; a pre-concert hot spot, even. Then full awareness dawned on me, as I received a Living Social coupon offer (half-off a $50 dollar gift card) and realized that they had more than just a lounge menu.  So, let me get this straight... this little storefront that looks like it should be a housewares store is actually a lounge that is actually a restaurant that may actually serve some pretty decent food?

Screw it.  The only way to find out for myself is to just go, right?  On a recent Wednesday night, Angela and I booked an early reservation.  We brought a pair of empty stomachs and wiped our slate of expectations clean.


Click below to see what we ate!

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad with Tahini

*Post by Angela.
Two vegetarian recipe posts in two days?  The world has gone crazy.  I actually made this beautiful salad from Orangette a couple of weeks back for my annual Easter/Passover dinner (a dinner I didn't end up posting about because as the wine started flowing, I quickly forgot to take photos of what I was cooking).  Cooking dinner for my friends can sometimes be a challenging (but rewarding) task - in my little group of lovable maniacs, I have a couple of vegetarians (and those who oppose them, which means EXTRA meat), a couple of celiac sufferers (no gluten!), those who won't eat pork, those who won't eat seafood, and one who is so particular about food I maintain an actual physical list of things he won't eat.

This meal around, I wanted to make some kosher-for-Passover food that my Jewish vegetarian friend (who will normally eat anything, as long as it doesn't include meat) could enjoy as the rest of us were busy chowing down on the roasted lamb.*  While it did require the extra step of finding kosher tahini, this salad was well worth it - everyone loved this earthy yet bright, slightly sweet and tangy salad, and it's something I'm looking forward to making again in the near future.


Click below to get the recipe!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Potato and Leek Flat Bread

*Post by Angela.
Lately, the stuff we've been eating at home I haven't felt was worth posting about (or am kind of embarrassed about eating) - pasta with store-bought pesto, sandwiches thrown together from leftovers, frozen goods, canned sardines and rice...sigh.  But last night, even though I was feeling super lazy, I wanted to eat something I didn't heat in the microwave.  With a little assist from some refrigerated pizza dough, I threw together this tasty potato and leek flat bread from Real Simple in virtually no time at all. 


Click below to get the recipe!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

PS 7's

*Post by Angela.
Here's a question for all you foodies:  When entertaining guests, either visiting or new to the area, do you take them to tried and true favorites?  Or do you seek out hyped-up hot spots you've been meaning to try yourself?  Mark and I tried the latter approach on Friday night, when we headed to PS 7's, on the corner of 8th and I Street in Chinatown to meet an old buddy of his who had just moved back to DC after a long hiatus.

PS 7's is number 66 on Washingtonian's 100 Best Restaurants List for 2010, and has recently been getting a lot of press for its creative cocktails, so we thought it would be a fun place to hit up after a long and stressful week...The service was good, the company was great and the drinks were fantastic.  But the food - while pretty creative in theory, and not necessarily bad in practice - could have used a little help.  Bottom line?  I'd go back for Happy Hour in a heartbeat, and I might be convinced to give the food another try, though Mark and I would both order very differently.  But I think I may just take my next guests to Oyamel.


Click below to see what we ate!

Monday, April 12, 2010

BGR The Burger Joint

*Post by Mark.
As a screenwriter, I'm often crafting ridiculous stories that have titles and log lines but will (for obvious reasons) never be written.  One such idea is an action-comedy called 'Take Out' and is the bitter story of rival Chinese delivery joints whose delivery men may or may not be experts in the arts of Kung-Fu.  While my mildly-offensive script will most likely never make it past the one-line description written above, I think my subconscious is seeking out alternative means of expression.  I've recently managed to create a fictional rivalry between two real life Dupont Circle burger establishments that can and must be settled in some elaborate burger throw-down that only takes place in my head (and I suppose in my tummy, too).


A few weeks ago, I reviewed Dupont's Rogue States- a happening new burger stop a few blocks south of the circle.  Today, in all fairness, and to avoid the all-out North Dupont vs. South Dupont gang riots (that could only be conjured up in a bad screenplay) that would surely ensue without equal treatment, I'll be taking a look at the north-side's BGR: The Burger Joint .

Click below to see what we ate!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Singapore Bistro

*Post by Mark.
Sometimes a secret can tear a good relationship apart.  But before that 22-year old cocktail waitress goes and posts about our affair on her myspace page... let me assure you that this secret actually brought Angela and I closer together.  We've been together for about a year now and little did I know, she's been keeping a big secret from me (though it's probably more fair to say that she's told me a hundred times and I just haven't been listening).  After a year of listening to me whine about DC's non-existent Asian food options, Angela finally broke down and let the classified become clarified.  After a recent happy hour in the Farragut neck of woods, she took me to one of her old stomping grounds- Singapore Bistro, on 19th Street between L and M.


Click below to see what we ate!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Zaytinya special: lamb sandwiches

* Guest post by Calypso

Okay, two preliminary items to disclose:

1) The Satan's Ashes spices have already arrived, and they are sitting on my table on home. Well, levitating over my table demonically, glaring at me such that my mouth burns even to gaze upon its fearsome countenance. You get the gist.

2) I am not yet ready, my training requires more time.

So, there will be more Rocky-esque spicy-food-training montages to come. But god, it's 85 degrees outside. And, speaking of god, it's Greek easter!!!! Or something, I'm somewhat confused by exactly what Zaytinya is celebrating, but oh lord, do I love the way they celebrate.

I was tipped off that Zaytinya does an annual Greek Easter celebration featuring lamb pita sandwiches. Being a good little guest food blogger, I trekked all the way out there to make sure it was up to our strict standards.

Zaytinya's patio section includes a number of small tables and a large picnic table set aside just for the occasion. There's a lamb on a spit, I assume for tomorrow's sandwiches:


The small structure busting into the left side of my frame here is the service cart (my inner photographer is whining about composition, but he knows not what the smell of roasting lamb does to my inner-but-increasingly-outer foodie's brain). I didn't get a pic of the whole setup, because I'm far more self-conscious about snapping photos in restaurants than my gracious hosts here at IF4F. I watched them set up for a while, nervous about strolling onto the patio sans hostess, and finally struck up the nerve to ask the man with the cart what the story was. He assured me that the chef was just inside getting the bread, and to come on over.

Oh, I should mention, the man behind the cart, at least for a while, was some "Mike Isabella" character. Some people seem to know him already, or something. I think he was the first person to cook through the interwebs or something.

So, I forked over my $9 for a lamb sandwich and iced tea and a minute later, I was sitting down on a beautiful "spring" day with my grub. I was tempted, in a continuing effort to ruin this blog, to post a full three pages reviewing the iced tea and then maybe a sentence about the sandwich. I then realized I'd be pretty bored by paragraph two, and no one likes to hear me talk more than I do, so that'd be hell on y'all. The iced tea was exactly what you'd expect, nothing mind blowing or disappointing. I don't particularly care for iced tea, but on a day like today it was welcome.

Now, on to the sandwich:

It's hard to get scale from the photo, but the sandwich is not huge. Readers with big stomachs will walk away wanting a little something extra, but the portion was perfect for a hot summer day. The sanwich is served on a warm pita (I'd swear it was freshly made, but I didn't actually see it come out of the oven), topped with some lettuce, a heaping portion of lamb, tzatziki with diced cucumbers, (marinated, I think) red onion slivers, and green onions. While the sandwich is just a medium on the size scale, it's not because they skimped on the lamb. Forks are handy to pick up the loose bits that fall off, and you'll want each morsel. The meat is tender and flavorful, though it didn't have as much of a char taste to it as I expected. It did, however, practically melt in your mouth. Greek food, especially lamb, is a little tough for me, because tzatziki is something I've learned to tolerate but not love. Perhaps it was the super-hot weather, or maybe this is just really really good (I lean to the latter), but this sauce was light, cool, and very mild. I didn't get a blast of cucumber or a strong yogurt taste, though it still had a wonderful yogurty texture. The onions added good texture, though I didn't taste mine much through the lamb.

So, for $7, you get a fantastic lamb pita sandwich, I'd say it's a great deal.

Now, as I said before, the sandwich may not entirely fill you up. Never fear, good readers, guest poster Calypso's lunch guest, let's call him, um, Carol. Yeah, Carol. Not because he treasures his privacy, more because he seems like a Carol. Kinda judgy, and always up in your business. You know the type. So, Carol says "Let's go get some frozen yogurt!" Readers, nobody loves a frozen yogurt more than this man, but I was raised on the real stuff. The good old frozen yogurt, that was essentially just low(er) fat ice cream. Soft, sweet, and probably just a slight label change away from soft-serve ice cream. These days, everyone is all about Tangy-Sour this or Mr. Roboto's Yogurt Distillery that, places where the yogurt tastes sour and nasty and you find flavors like "pro-biotic" and "miso." No. Thank. You. I made these feelings abundantly clear to Carol, who assured me that this place was "the good kind." And yea, though Carol has a silly name, he knows his fro-yo.

Enter "Fro-Zen-Yo," or possibly "Frozen Yo," a (new?) little joint at 10th and F NW that still has a tarp for a sign. You enter, grab a bowl, serve yourself from the sixteen flavors available, add toppings, and then pay a measly $0.39 per ounce at the weigh in. Toppings included lots of fruit, crackery things, M&M type stuff, and, I kid you not, crushed peanut butter cups. Those things are more than 39 cents per ounce at the vending machine! I will start going to Fro-Zen-Yo for bowls of peanut butter cups now, me thinks.

The sixteen flavors are presented in pairs, using the good ole machines with three levers: left, right, and SWIRL. SWIRL, being vastly superior to anything regardless of the flavors involved, must always be capitalized. The pairings range from the predictable (chocolate and vanilla) to the bizarre (cheesecake and cappucino) to the awesome (peanut butter and cookies n cream) to the sad (pistachio, unpaired, for nothing ever goes with pistachio). Carol went with a swirl of chocolate and cheesecake. "swirl" there must be lower case, even at the start of a sentence, for it was not a natural SWIRL but a hand-swirled abomination unto the Greek gods (who like nasty tangy yogurt anyway, it seems). It tasted, unsurprisingly like cheesecake. He loved it, I was respectful of its authenticity. I had a chocolate and vanilla SWIRL with peanut butter cups and gummi bears. the bowl o' goodness pictured above was about $4.50. And awesome.

So, there you go, foodies, two big thumbs up all around.


Zaytinya will be serving the lamb sandwiches at lunchtime (starting around 11:45, it seems) through April 16th. (google map)


And when you're done with that, go stock up on some SWIRL at Frozen-Yo. (google map)


Postscript: When I told Carol he'd be mentioned in the review, he insisted that I say the sandwiches were, his emphasis, "TOO SMALL." I think they were perfect for a light lunch, though certainly not if I was normal-hungry. In weather like this, I don't know that I would've been able to eat two, but I would've gotten close. That was Carol's only added criticism here, though at that point he didn't know what his pseudonym would be.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Potenza

*Post by Angela.
Expectations are funny things.  Whenever I go to a restaurant with low expectations, I often find myself giving the thumbs up to dishes I would have merely tolerated at a "better" restaurant.  The reverse is also true - whenever I go to a restaurant with high expectations, I tend to be more quick to disappointment with dishes that I would have loved somewhere else.  We experienced the latter feeling the other night, when we finally made it to Potenza on the corner of 15th and H Street after hearing nothing but rave reviews from a number of friends and Twitter people.  The service was okay, and the dishes were solid, but with the exception of one of our appetizers, nothing we ate was particularly memorable.  I'd go again for a quick and casual dinner (or for happy hour - the bar is gorgeous), but think I'll turn elsewhere if I want great Italian food. 


Click below to see what we ate!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sette Osteria

*Post by Angela.
On the first of the absolutely perfect days this week (weather-wise), our only thoughts were to eat outside.  We didn't care where, we didn't care what, we just wanted to be sitting on a patio somewhere, sipping drinks, eating decent food, and relaxing.  We fully intended to go to Zorba's Cafe right off the Circle (based on the recommendations of Twitter friends @Evan_Halperin and @thriftydccook), but the patio was packed like a can of sardines (ooh, sardines, yum!), so we walked up the street until we got to Sette Osteria, on the corner of Connecticut and R Street. We've eaten at Sette before and thought it was very good, if not outstanding; this visit confirmed our impressions - good pasta, decent pizza, solid service and pretty great prices. 


Click below to see what we ate!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Chicken Breasts with Whole-Grain Mustard Sauce

*Post by Angela.
Right now, I have 5 huge, hard-covered cookbooks on my living room table (plus a handful of cooking magazines).  Every week, Mark and I salivate over the gorgeous photos in these cookbooks, picking out recipes we'd like to make/think we could handle making.  Yet every time I cook, I find myself running to the Internets (all hail the Internets!) to find recipes.  I think it's mostly due to the fact that most recipes I find online (especially those from allrecipes or recipezaar) have suggestions and alterations posted from people who have actually made the recipes; it might also be because I can no longer read anything that isn't on a computer screen.  Whatever the reason, I've decided to make a very, very belated New Year's resolution (maybe an April Fool's Day resolution?  That makes no sense) to use my cookbooks more, and decided to try another recipe from my Williams-Sonoma cookbook - with my own little spin, of course - chicken breasts with whole-grain mustard sauce.  The result was juicy, tender chicken with a pleasantly piquant and creamy sauce that's versatile enough to use on the protein of your choice. 


Click below to get the recipe!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Firefly

*Team post by Angela and Mark.
Due to fate, magic, or some other unknown force, there are a handful of restaurants in the District at which we've attempted to eat multiple times, but something always comes up, e.g., one of us gets sick, friends make last minute plans to hang out, we get sucked into the vortex that is watching (or rewatching, on my part) episodes of The Wire...We finally made it to one of these places this weekend, Firefly, located adjacent to the Hotel Madera on New Hampshire Avenue, just off Dupont Circle.   Normally, Mark and I are pretty much on the same page about a place, but in this instance, we had very differing opinions, particularly about the decor (he didn't like it, I did).  That being said, I think it was a fun place for a bigger party (we had 6, with my out-of-town guests), the service was friendly and efficient, and the food (with just a couple of missteps) was tasty and well-executed.  And I always appreciate a restaurant that commits to using products from local farms and farmers.  I wouldn't mind visiting this cozy restaurant for a laid-back dinner in the future.


Click below to see what we ate!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Eatonville

*Post by Angela.
On our way to yet another show at 9:30, Mark and I strolled around the U Street area and found ourselves at Eatonville, on the corner of 14th and V.  The restaurant, touting Southern cuisine, is named after the first incorporated all African-American town in the country, and the colorful decor is meant to be an ode to Eatonville's most famous resident, writer Zora Neale Hurston.  We had a really fantastic experience here, with great drinks, friendly service, and really good and hearty dishes at a great price.  I would recommend Eatonville for a fun and delicious dinner in a heartbeat. 


Click below to see what we ate!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Brunch at Masa 14

*Team post by Angela and Mark.
I had guests in town this weekend - my sister Pam, my future brother-in-law Jason, and their friend Jessica. and on Saturday, we took advantage of the beautiful weather and took a walk over to Masa 14 for brunch.  Mark and I had been there before for dinner, which was a little hit-or-miss both with dishes and service (they do have a really fantastic black cod dish), but we'd heard some pretty good things about brunch.  While we hoped for a better experience, unfortunately we were met again with hit-or-miss food, as well as more serious service problems.  I hate giving negative reviews, but I think we're just about done with Masa 14 for dining.

Click below to see what we ate!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Buffalo Steaks with Peppercorn Sauce and Roasted Potatoes

*Post by Angela.
The weather last weekend was absolutely gorgeous, so even though I was sick, I took myself over to the Dupont Circle farmers market.  I picked up some buffalo ribeyes from Cibola Farms, and the cutest little red potatoes.  I've never cooked buffalo before, and wanted to do something special with it, so I found this recipe for marinade and peppercorn sauce.  I served it up with some roasted potatoes and a spinach salad (a post for another day), and while I know the photo below looks like a hot mess, it was a delicious and hearty hot mess!  Mark and I polished off this dinner in no time at all.


Click below to get the recipes!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Creme Cafe and Lounge

*Post by Angela.
We were on our way to a concert at the 9:30 Club the other night, and decided to stop by Creme Cafe and Lounge on U Street. I'd heard a couple of good things about Creme's brunch, but not much else.  And even though it played a part in our decision to walk in, it made me a little nervous that Creme had a lot of empty tables when every other restaurant on the strip that we had passed was packed.  Nevertheless, otherwise paralyzed by the number of U Street options, we decided to give it a shot - and were pleasantly surprised.


Click below to see what we ate!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rogue States Burgers

*Post by Mark.
Just when we were all set to crown BGR the best new burger in the circle, Rogue States has to go and get all Kanye on their acceptance speech. As a statement of fact, I've had BGR twice. I've relatively enjoyed my experiences and plan to go back. I'd also like to note that all DC burger debates should start and end with Ray's Hell Burger across the river. It's the unrivaled champion in the DMV area (though as a disclaimer, former Top Chef contestant Spike Mendelsohn's Good Stuff Eatery is still an unchecked box on my to-do list). Unfortunately, this doesn't tell the whole story...  Places like BGR have been adding a little gourmet flair to the District's improving burger scene, but with just a few good-but-not-great options, DC is left a couple fries shy of a combo meal.


Can Rogue States help Ray's push DC to the next level?  Click below to see!

The Quest for the Ghost[face] Peppa

*Guest post by Calypso.
Well, Angela has made it clear to me that if I want to keep creeping around food blogger happy hours on her coat-tails, I had to write something. I could blog about my own culinary experience, but most of my recipes have two ingredients, both of them leftovers, and a decent amount of hot sauce. That said, "Pepperoni pizza stuffed with kung pao chicken" was a great idea (for more information on the difference between "idea" and "actual dish", check out your local library!). My restaurant reviews would mostly be limited to American Pizza (around the corner from my house) and Tsim Yung (a few blocks away). So, instead I'm going to document my "training" for a very exciting dish, which I will be cooking, blogging, tweeting, and most likely regretting all within the next few weeks: Satan's Ashes curry (at the time of posting, that link had no photos because of bandwidth issues, hopefully you can pull up the google cache, as the images are priceless).

Satan's Ashes is touted as the world's hottest curry, largely due to the use of the "Bhut Jolokia" pepper (which is like saying ATM machine, as Jolokia means pepper....sorry to all our Assamese speakers). The Bhut Jolokia, often called the "ghost pepper," rates in at (a world record) million scoville units, which I believe is a measurement of how many kittens could be incapacitated with a single pepper. The same pepper is used in many spicy food challenges, usually to the dismay of Adam Richman. On the plus side, in India the Bhut Jolokia has recently been approved for use as an ingredient. Well, an ingredient in grenades used against insurgents. So, at worst, it's like eating a grenade. So tell Angela to stop worrying.

I ordered the curry spice packet a week ago, but supposedly they're out-of-stock for a few weeks, and they're shipping from Britain, so I have time to "train," which means revisiting the spiciest dishes I can get in DC. Last night was my first night out, and I went to long-time favorite: Spices in Cleveland Park, home of "suicide curry."

Spices' suicide curry, which alone bears the warning "Very spicy" right there next to its title in the menu, is a Thai-style curry. The chicken (or beef or pork, if you haven't been brainwashed by Chik Fil-A commercials) is simmered in coconut milk with "extra large amounts of spices, onions, and chili." The first time I ordered this dish, probably 7 years ago, I ordered it as is on the menu, and it was a good, pleasant spicy. Ever since, I've ordered it "extra extra spicy, as spicy as you can make it" and I've rarely been disappointed.

The curry itself is very tasty, though there's nothing especially new here. If you enjoy coconut milk curries, then you'll like the simple flavors (it really is just broth, chicken, and onion). As far as spice goes, you can see the red specks all over the place in the photo, which should already have you salivating. The chicken doesn't absorb much of the spice, but the curry is thick enough to use the chicken pieces to scoop up decent amounts. Of course, that means I'm using chopsticks to pick up chicken, curl it into a spoon shape, and then use my chopstick-chicken-spoon to eat spicy curry soup. Yeah, that hurt my head as well. There's enough sauce in the dish to completely drench the white rice and then another bowl of the stuff after, while still liberally saucing up each piece of chicken. All in all, the dish was a very tasty, though not especially imaginative, curry. This, to me, is comfort food, and I'll never complain about portion size here. As far as spiciness, I think I'm getting jaded, because I barely broke a sweat eating the whole thing, but it was hot enough to promote pauses between bites. So, in my completely arbitrary and probably use-once-and-dispose rating system:


Taste (from 1 to 10): 8 (Very yummy but not exactly palate-challenging)


Price (from Wimpy to Scrooge McDuck): Somewhere between Snorks and Thundercats. By the way, did you know that James Lipton composed the theme to Thundercats? Yeah, the Actor's Studio guy. Seriously, check imdb! Okay, fine, it was around $10 for the very generous entree and around $6 for the huge can of Sapporo. mmmmm....


Spiciness (from 1, a spicy chili con carne, to 10, which is the horror-that-shall-not-be-named-or-even-imagined-but-it-rhymes-with-"most leper"-and-it's-mentioned-at-the-top-of-this-post): About a 4, I barely broke a forehead sweat and never needed water/milk, but I did take the occasional pause between bites.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Curried Chicken Salad

*Post by Angela.
When Mark lived in Chicago, his favorite restaurant was a tapas place called Cafe Ba Ba Reeba, and his favorite dish there was the chicken & curry salad.  Now, I don't know much about chicken salad.  It was definitely not something we ate at my house growing up, and I've probably eaten it less than a dozen times as an adult.  But I've liked the chicken salad that I have eaten, and I'm intrigued by the combination of flavors and textures.  I've tried making curried chicken salad once in the past, and it turned out okay, but not great.

Because I'm the best girlfriend in the entire world (and because I felt like chicken salad had the kind of consistency that might not offend my very sensitive throat), I had the urge to give it another go with a recipe from Dave Lieberman, the man responsible for my very successful cauliflower soup last week.  The recipe is pretty darned simple, and result was much better this time around, like a piƱata full of yummy flavors and textures in your mouth - I'm starting to think that this Dave Lieberman character might deserve a place on my Food Network all-stars list (along with Tyler Florence and Giada De Laurentiis).


Click below to get the recipe!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tomato Soup with Roasted Garlic and Herbs

Due to the continued swelling of my throat, I'm kind of relegated to soups only for the next couple of days.  But I didn't want just any soup.  I needed a special soup, a magical soup, a soup that could banish the grossness of being sick...at least for a little while.  That's where this recipe from seriouseats comes in.  I love it so much it makes me want to cry hot tears of joy.  The fire-roasted tomatoes and the roasted garlic make the soup explode with flavor, and every time I finish eating a bowl, I immediately want another.  Plus, it's really low calorie and relatively cheap!  I'd even go so far as to say it's my favorite tomato soup recipe of all-time (okay, or maybe this one, but it's really close).


Click below to get the recipe!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cioppino

So I thought I was getting better, but I was wrong.  Yesterday, my cough decided to mutate, turning into some sort of infection - my throat is currently swollen up so much (think X-Men villain Mojo) that it's hard to swallow.  I spent the day lounging the house, hanging out with my friend Nick (Calypso to those who have met him at Food Blogger happy hours).  Given my pitiful state, I decided to try to cheer myself up by making cioppino, a fish stew for which San Francisco is famous.  The rich broth of the cioppino soothed my throat and made my stomach very happy.  I also now have enough leftovers to feed myself for a few days without having to leave the house, so I don't have to change out of my pajamas anytime in the immediate future.


Click below to get the recipe!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bistrot du Coin

Mark and I continued our tour of rarely-eaten (by us!) European cuisine tonight with a trip to Bistrot du Coin, located just off Dupont Circle at 1738 Connecticut.  I'd always read and heard great things about this place, including raves from one of my favorite D.C. blogs, The Bitten Word, but because neither Mark nor I typically ever crave French food, it'd gone by the wayside.  Somehow, though, the beautiful weather put me in the mood for some French bistro food, and Bistrot du Coin fit the bill perfectly.  The food was all very good (with a couple of stand-outs), the service was friendly and attentive, and the atmosphere was warm and welcoming.  Another great neighborhood find!


Click below to see what we ate!

Irish Soda Bread, Colcannon, and Corned Beef

*Team post by Angela and Mark.
I started out kidding, a little.  

Me: "Hey, babe, whaddya say to corned beef and cabbage on St. Paddy's Day?"  

Mark: "I'm pretty sure that's not actually traditional Irish food.  I think it's more Irish-American.  I think we can do better than that.  Also, since I'm actually the Irish one... maybe I should try to make something?"

Me: "...I'm okay with that."

A day later, and the menu for St. Patrick's Day dinner had gone from, "let's maybe cook something Irish-y" to Irish soda bread (by Mark), corned beef (by me, because I love me some corned beef regardless of its origins), and colcannon, a traditional Irish dish made with potatoes, cabbage (or kale), and ham (or Irish bacon).  I've never made any sort of Irish dish before, so I turned to two of my trustiest culinary guides: for the corned beef, Elise at simplyrecipes.com, and for the colcannon, Tyler Florence (while I'm not sure Mr. Florence is Irish, I've never had a "Tyler's Ultimates" recipe let me down).  While the corned beef turned out pretty dry, I was really pleased with my first attempt at colcannon.  And Mark's bread was the star of the meal - I'm really starting to think he should take over the cooking...


Click below to get the recipes!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Silky Cauliflower Soup

Today I'm still recovering from being sick, so my stomach is a little unsure of itself.  For dinner, I really just wanted soup, and a light soup at that.  And nothing that would take forever to make.  Dave Lieberman had the perfect cure for me, a recipe that fit the bill, cost almost nothing to make, and also satisfied my recent cauliflower obsession. 


Click below to get the recipe!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Willow

Last night, we took another rare trip to Virginia for a friend's birthday party (drinks and board games!), and decided to hit up another of Washingtonian's Top 100, Willow, about a block and a half off the Ballston metro stop.  Being a District snob, I wasn't expecting to be wowed, despite the restaurant's high placement on the top 100. But holy hell, was I wrong.  Willow definitely earns its No. 39 spot on the list.  Every dish we ordered demonstrated the great level of care taken by Chef Tracy O'Grady and her staff, and if you haven't been, I suggest you take yourself over there post-haste!

Click below to see what we ate!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Red Rocks Firebrick Pizzeria

*Post by Mark.
Ever the pizza fan, I've been trying to keep up with the best pizzas in and around the District.  Conversations involving both DC and Pizza typically revolve around any combination of 2 Amy's, Pizzeria Paradiso, Pete's Apizza, Comet Ping Pong and one additional place that I've never been able to visit. That place is called Red Rocks and serves up Firebrick Pizzas in the middle of a quiet residential neighborhood near Columbia Heights.


(Click Read More below to see how Red Rocks stacks up)

Gorgonzola Pear Pasta

I'm currently dying.  Well, okay, not dying, but very, very uncomfortable - right now, I'm sick, with a cough so bad that it makes me feel like my ribs are breaking with each fit.  But I still have to eat, right (and um, Mark does, too)? Luckily, I found this quick and delicious dish from allrecipes. And man, talk about easy - I'm not sure you can get much easier than this.  This vegetarian dish is worth putting in your weekday dinner line-up.  


Click below to get the recipe!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Oyamel's Lunch Tasting Menu

*Guest post by Mark.
We've been to Oyamel on other occasions, so it was one of the first places that sprang to mind when taking an out-of-town friend out for lunch.  What better way than to showcase DC than with a trip to one of the offerings of the DC's most celebrated chefs (and GQ's 2009 Chef of the Year ) Jose Andres.  For lunch, the  restaurant offers a 'tasting menu' for twenty dollars per person in which you get two antojitos (think small, tapas-style, street foods) and a taco of your choice.  The menu was somewhat limited, but a nice way to enjoy some ambitious Margaritas and top-notch Mexican food on a spring afternoon where the thermometer pushed into the 60s.


Check out what we ate.  Click READ MORE below

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Honey-Glazed Ribs

After our Ping Pong Dim Sum outing the other night, I got it in my head to try to make a version of the dish Mark liked so much, the honey-glazed ribs (true story, I made Mark Chinese spareribs for our first date).  I found this recipe at allrecipes, and while it's not really that similar to the Ping Pong dish, I thought it might fit the bill.  As it worked out, I actually preferred my version, hearty and bursting with flavor.  Mark's reaction to the dish?  To ask for seconds.


Click below to get the recipe!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Artichoke and Spinach Dip

I headed to my friend Annie's place for Oscar watching last night, and while I wanted to be really creative and make appetizers to match each Best Picture nominee, I was just way too lazy (see endlesssimmer for more of an effort).  Instead, I decided to go with a tried and true artichoke and spinach dip, with some of my expected modifications.  The result?  A really quick and easy recipe you can take to any future shin-dig!

Click below to get the recipe!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ping Pong Dim Sum

I really love dim sum.  For the uninitiated, dim sum refers to a Southern Chinese style of dining where servers roam about the restaurant with carts piled high with bamboo steamer baskets and small plates, and customers help themselves to the dishes they want.  Traditional dim sum consists of a variety of steamed buns, dumplings, fried rolls, rice noodle dishes, and other small plates of vegetables and roasted meats.  I generally don't get to have it very often, as D.C. doesn't have a whole lot of dim sum options.  Mark has never had it at all, so this Friday night, I thought I'd ease him into the cuisine at Ping Pong Dim Sum, a UK-based chain version (I was inspired by fellow D.C. food blogger strawberry basil's recent post).  I'd heard mixed reviews about newly opened (as of December 2009) Chinatown eatery, and so I kept my expectations low, but we walked out pleasantly surprised and satisfied.  While it's definitely not representative of your traditional dim sum experience (no deep fried chicken feet?!!), the dishes we had were well-executed and tasty.  I would definitely recommend Ping Pong for a low-key, pre-movie dinner, or a fun group outing. 

Click below to see what we ate!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Poste Moderne Brasserie

Last night was date night for me and Mark, so we planned a whole dinner/movie combo (Shutter Island, which was very good) and decided to check off one more of the restaurants from Washingtonian's 100 Best Restaurants list, Poste Moderne Brasserie.  I'd previously been to the restaurant, which is set in the original 1841 General Post Office (adjacent to the Hotel Monaco, right by the Verizon Center), for drinks in the summer, but had never eaten there despite hearing numerous rave reviews.  Poste is a beautiful space, and while there were some flaws in the service, the staff was absolutely on top of them, and made every effort to make amends.  More importantly, while not all elements of the food quite lived up to expectations, we had a very nice, solidly executed and creative meal - I saw enough potential in what we ate that I'd be willing to come back for one of Chef Robert Weland's special offerings, like the Poste Roasts offered last summer, or his Market-to-Market dinners. 

Click below to see what we ate!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tandoori Chicken with Basmati Rice and Indian Dahl with Spinach

As you may have guessed from my recent posts, I haven't done much cooking lately - I've either been too busy/tired/lazy, or I've been out of town.  But the other day, I felt an undeniable itch to get back in the kitchen and make myself a nice, well-balanced, healthy-ish home-cooked meal.  As I've made a pledge to try to cook "outside the box" more, I decided to try out Indian (a cuisine I rarely eat, much less cook, but generally enjoy) with Tandoori-Style Chicken and Indian Dahl (for all you vegetarians out there!).  The recipe for the chicken I got from my Williams-Sonoma cookbook; then it was just a matter of finding a vegetable side dish to complement it.  I found this one at allrecipes, and the best part is that it called only for spices I already had (with the exception of the garam masala)!  Strangely, my vegetarian "side" dish turned out a lot better than my chicken entree, but I think with some practice in cooking Indian cusine, I can turn out tastier dishes in the future.


Click below to get the recipes!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New Haven: Frank Pepe Pizzeria

This past weekend, Mark and I had a wedding to go to just outside of New Haven, Connecticut.  After spending 16 hours of traveling from San Diego to Chicago to D.C. to New Haven (in one day!), we decided to reward ourselves on Saturday before the wedding with some New Haven-style pizza, courtesy of the legendary Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana.  New Haven-style pizza, known as "apizza," is a style of Neopolitan pizza characterized most popularly by its thin crust.  I'd heard others wax poetic about the superiority of New Haven-style pizza, and had eaten one of D.C.'s top New Haven-style pizza offerings at Pete's Apizza (which is good), but was excited to have a pizza directly from the source - the apizza was invented by Frank Pepe on Wooster Street in the early 1920's, and the pizzeria has been dishing it out to locals and tourists alike ever since.  Did the pizza live up to expectations?  Um, the only answer to that is a resounding "hell yes!"


Click below to see what we ate!

San Diego: Luche Libre Gourmet Taco Shop

*Post by Mark.
After the fish tacos, the next San Diego staple of foodie-lore was the San Diego-style burrito. Seemingly a  contentious issue amongst locals, their burritos are made the "proper way," unlike some other *cough* *Chipotle* *cough* places that have set up shop in town. While most Americans are familiar with burritos that are served with beans and rice, the San Diego purists will tell you that's just not how it's done. After having tried a Classic Carne Asada Burrito from Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop in Mission Hills, I'm not ready to burn Chipotle to the ground, but I do think these crazy Southern Californians are onto something...


Plus, they could throw a stone and pretty much hit Mexico... so they probably know what they're talking about.

Click Read More below to see how the San Diego Burrito stacks up!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

San Diego: Grant Grill

On our last night in San Diego, we headed out to San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter for dinner at Grant Grill, located in the lobby of the US Grant Hotel in the Gaslamp District.  I think, if we hadn't had an amazing dinner at whisknladle the night before, we probably both would have been slightly happier with the meal.  As it was, dinner at Grant Grill was...fine, but definitely suffered by comparison to whisknladle with regard to the food, service and price.

 
Lobby of the US Grant Hotel

Click below to see what we ate!

San Diego: Whisknladle Bistro & Bar

On our second evening in San Diego, Mark and I took a short drive over to gorgeous La Jolla to dine at whisknladle.  We sort of picked the self-proclaimed "neighborhood bistro & bar" on a whim, and man, I am ridiculously glad we did.  Whisknladle was recently chosen by Conde Nast as one of the top new restaurants worldwide, an honor I can wholeheartedly get behind.  

 

Click below to see what we ate!

San Diego: South Beach Bar & Grille

This past week, Mark and I traveled cross country to San Diego, one of my very favorite cities in the entire world.  We had one very good meal, one mind-blowing meal, and one so-so meal.  The first of these was South Beach Bar & Grille, a place for which we got two separate and independent recommendations solely on the basis of their tacos.  The bar & grille, located right on the Pacific in Ocean Beach, completely lived up to expectations, as far as the fish tacos were concerned. 


 Click below to see what we ate!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pizzeria Paradiso

Last night, Mark and I decided to take a break from cooking.  We didn't really have a sense of exactly what we wanted to eat; we just started walking and found ourselves in front of Pizzeria Paradiso, at 2003 P Street (right off Dupont Circle).*  We've eaten pizza from Pizzeria Paradiso a couple of times before and haven't been too impressed by the pizza, but each time, we like it a little better.  We decided to give it another chance tonight, and aside from the wait, I'm glad we did!

Click below to see what we ate!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lamb Chops, Cauliflower & Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears w/ Goat Cheese

*Post by Mark.
Angela can be a busy young lady. When she's not working, marathon training, sleep-walking (oh, you have NO idea), or keeping up with an intense weekly DVR regiment (apparently Bones is 'must-watch TV'), she's usually cooking some extravagant meal for this guy's exclusive benefit. Now, I'm no stranger to the kitchen, but I usually step aside when it comes to the kitchen... no, I literally step aside. The kitchen comfortably fits 1/2 a normal sized person, which means it fits one Angela comfortably (Also, she's a total control-freak).

With her upcoming birthday and a strenuous recent workload and my fear of gradually becoming an easily replaceable component in this relationship, I decided tonight would be a good opportunity to nudge her aside, squeeze into the close-but-foreign quarters of the kitchen and make myself useful. Perhaps my apron-wearing hiatus made me antsy to push my culinary ventures, or perhaps I had a lot of reciprocating to do, but I settled on a menu that given my talents limitations, may have been a little... ambitious.


Click READ MORE to see what Mark cooked for Angela.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Saigon Bistro

Last night, Mark and I were just looking for a place for a quick, cheap dinner (we had been planning to go to Busboys & Poets, but found ourselves too cold and too lazy to venture that far) - and found it at Saigon Bistro, at 2153 P Street, just off Dupont Circle.  The eatery was clean and bright, the service was fast and efficient, and we had a solid, inexpensive meal in under 45 minutes.  I would definitely go back in the future for a hassle-free, satisfying meal.


Click below to see what we ate!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pasta Bolognese

After two nights of quick and easy meals, I woke up yesterday to an incredibly frigid morning with only one thought sounding through my head.  Bolognese.  Bolognese is a thick, full-bodied meat sauce originating in northern Italy's Bologna.  I've made countless Bolognese recipes, some incredible and some so-so, but this recipe from Emeril, which I've adapted just slightly, is one of my favorites.  I'll warn you now: the list of ingredients for this recipe is relatively extensive, and it takes about 2 hours of simmering (I had a lot of work to do tonight, and Mark wasn't going to be home until very late, so it worked out for me - you may need to wait until the weekend).  But the complexity, richness, and depth of flavor of the resulting sauce is well worth it.   


Click below to see the recipe!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Duck Tacos

I love the process of cooking.  I love slow-cooked or roasted dinners, complicated dishes, meals that require overnight brining or marinating...most times, I feel like the longer a meal takes, the better it tastes; the more work a dish requires, the more love I put into it.  Unfortunately, like most working adults, my schedule doesn't really allow me to make time- and work-intensive meals, other than on the weekends or holidays (or snow days!!).  So, throughout my very short cooking career, I've tried to build a repertoire of simple and quick meals that are delicious and filling.  I've just added another one to the list: duck tacos from fellow DC food blogger, My Husband Cooks.  I decided not to make the accompanying corn salsa (although it looks delicious) because it would have required another trip to the store - I already had flour tortillas, shredded Mexican cheese, guacamole and a tomato.  The result was a go-to dinner that I will be dreaming about all week.


Click below to see the recipe!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sake-Steamed Sea Bass with Ginger and Green Onions

Mark had to work for Valentine's Day, and I had a lot of work to get caught up on at home, so I wanted to make a quick but tasty dinner for one.  I tend to hit the seafood aisle at Whole Foods the minute Mark walks out the door, and this weekend was no different.  I decided to make one of my favorites, a sake-steamed sea bass dish that is light and healthy, yet yummy enough to crave.  I adapted this Epicurious recipe just slightly, and the result is this almost-too-easy-to-be-believed, wonderfully flavorful dish.


Click below to get the recipe!

Ceiba

Last night, Mark and I celebrated an early Valentine's Day dinner at Ceiba, a contemporary Latin American restaurant at 14th and G Street.  Ceiba is part of the Passion Foods group of restaurants, which includes TenPenh, DC Coast, Acadiana, and PassionFish (in Reston Town Center).  I've been wanting to try one of these restaurants for sometime, as they have a great reputation around town, and Valentine's Day dinner was as good an excuse as any.  Did Ceiba live up to the hype?  Sort of.  The food was very good, but in my opinion, the decor and service left a little to be desired.  Taking everything into consideration, dining at Ceiba was a nice enough experience that I'd be more than willing to give the other Passion Foods restaurants a try.  

Click below to see what we ate!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca

Yesterday we celebrated Mark's birthday at Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca, an Italian restaurant downtown, about 12th and H.  Bibiana recently made its debut on Washingtonian's 100 Best Restaurants list (for 2010) at No. 99, and as Mark loves Italian food, I thought we could give it a try.  We arrived at the restaurant at around 6 (we were meeting friends afterwards for drinks at Cure Bar & Bistro) and were seated immediately in the mostly empty, but beautiful 120-seat dining room.  We had a great time - while the dishes were a little hit-or-miss, the service was friendly and attentive, and we were together and in a birthday-celebrating mood!


Click below to see what we ate!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Chicken Piccata

I was...sort of limited with the ingredients at my house, given I bought the very last package of chicken available at Soviet Safeway.  It was this:


I decided to try to make chicken piccata, throwing together all of the appropriate dried herbs that I had in my pantry.  All told, the meal worked out incredibly well.

Click below for the recipe!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Chicken Arroz Caldo

Another icy day, another opportunity to make one of my mom's comforting Filipino dishes.  Since I had a little extra time this evening, and I had all the ingredients I needed at home, I decided to make chicken arroz caldo.  Should last me at least a couple of days.  One of my fellow D.C. Filipino food bloggers has a great entry on the background of the dish here.  As with all Filipino dishes, everyone has a different version of this dish, but they're all filling, flavorful, and delicious. 


Click below to see the recipe!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Rosa Mexicano

While today I'm dealing with the headaches (literally and figuratively) of Snowpocalypse: The Aftermath, yesterday was an outstandingly perfect snow day: first, a lazy morning oohing and aahing over the snowfall, then off to the Verizon Center to watch Georgetown knock down #2 Villanova, and a late lunch afterwards at Rosa Mexicano.  We warmed up in the sunny, colorful and vast dining room of the upscale Mexican chain restaurant.

We started out with the wonderful Guacamole en Molcajete, prepared table-side with avocado, tomato, onion, jalepenos and cilantro.  The guac was really excellent, chunky with a nice bite to it.


Click below to see what else we ate!

Cannellini Bean Spread

I'm watching the Super Bowl at my friends' place, one of whom is a vegetarian.  So I decided to bring one of my favorites, a cannellini bean spread from Steamy Kitchen.  It's fast and simple, and the resulting spread is luscious and satisfying.  For a vegetarian recipe, that is. 

Click below to get the recipe!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Pork Sinigang...kind of.

I stood in the Snowpocalypse-panic induced lines at both Whole Foods and Safeway, just so I could bring you this post.  Or, you know, I decided I didn't feel like braving the weather to make my reservation at Oyamel tonight.  In any event, the snow gave me the perfect opportunity to cook my all-time favorite dish from childhood, my mom's Americanized version of sinigang.   Any Filipinos reading this will immediately protest, "That is not sinigang."*  To them I say this:  shut it.  It's my blog, and this is the sinigang I grew up with.  And it is delicious.  Even better, it's simple (although a little time-consuming) and the perfect dish for a snowy night in.


Click to see the recipe!