Thursday, April 22, 2010

We Moved!

Hi everyone!  Just wanted to let everyone know that we finally moved our blog over to!  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


*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


*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!