Wednesday, March 31, 2010


*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


*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 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


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, 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


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!