Saturday, September 26, 2009

How to give yourself a heart attack in 10 minutes

Shortly before my departure for Ghana and the day after Aaron left DC for Pakistan, Shanon and Greg took me on a long bike ride to Alexandria for lunch to cheer me up. Once we made it Alexandria, we dragged our sore butts up King Street looking for a place to eat. We settled on Eamonn's Dublin Chipper because we all agreed that we were in the mood for burgers and fries. The ambiance in the restaurant was great and the owner was extremely welcoming. They sold Strongbow cider which basically gave them four stars in my eyes right then and there. I completely forgot about that 5 mile bike ride back to DC and proceeded to have two Strongbows (which I would regret later).

Everything seemed quite promising until Shanon prepared to order to burger. She (unlike me) actually read the menu fully and I overheard her asking if she could have her burger grilled. It was then that I realized everything on the menu had the words "battered" next to it. My favorite line of the day and perhaps the week was the kind server's reaction: "everything is fried...that is what WE do here." And, the man spoke the truth. Our burgers were delivered to us deep fried in batter and bun-less. Greg made the wise decision to order a fish sandwich which was quite tasty. The fries were delicious and the Strongbow was extremely tasty (as mentioned above). I really could not get over the burger though. Shanon and I both ended up scraping the batter off and just eating the burger but we left to climb back on our bikes, it felt like we had a brick in our stomachs. I would certainly go back to Eamon's but I think I would take the Metro and stick with the fish sandwiches next time.

Eamonn's Dublin Chipper
728 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

Back Again!
















I have not updated the blog in almost four months now which is pretty sad considering how much eating I have been doing. I was away for the summer in Ghana and then vacation in India with friends. The Internet connection did not lend itself well to updates and now I feel too overwhelmed to update much. So, I am taking the lazy way out and presenting you with a montage of my eating adventures over the summer. In sum: Ghana not so great in the food department except for the Jollof Rice; India made me gain 10 lbs.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Success!

During my recent trip home, I made my sister and Dean take at least a dozen photos of me with Lewis on the chance that they would have to post something on their blog: http://lew-bear.blogspot.com/.

I am happy to report that I achieved my goal and was featured on the illustrious blog last week:
http://lew-bear.blogspot.com/2009/05/sarahs-visit.html

I can die happy now :)

The Marx Cafe

I have been MIA from the blog for the past couple weeks, but it was entirely beyond my control. Aaron and I have both been preparing for a summer away for work and keeping hours that are not exactly conducive to hobbies.

At any rate a few weeks ago, Janette joined us for beers and a game of dominoes on a sunny Sunday afternoon. We chose the Marx Cafe because it is one of the few places near us that catches the good afternoon sun. Janette sat down in the sunniest spot possible and curled up like cat in heaven. Janette and Aaron enjoyed the Sunday special on Pabst Blue Ribbon and I splurged a little on Peroni. I lugged my 10 lbs domino set with me and we ended up playing a domino tournament which Aaron won as usual.

I have yet to have any food at the Marx Cafe but it was a great Sunday afternoon spot for having a couple beers and hanging out with friends. During nice weather they open the front windows allowing for fresh breezes and excellent people watching. Rumor also has it that they will be opening a roof deck soon. I would highly recommend Marx Cafe for those with time to kill on the weekend. And don't forgot the dominoes.

The Marx Cafe
3203 Mt. Pleasant Street, NW
Washington, DC 20010
202-518-7600
http://www.marxcafemtp.com/

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Hotel Congress

Mom and I made a little trip down to Tucson to take Jill home and visit Dean and Lewis of the famed Lew-Bear blog (http://lew-bear.blogspot.com/). After a long walk around their neighborhood in Barrio Viejo we decided to take Lewis with us to dinner and headed toward the Cup Cafe at the Hotel Congress in downtown Tucson.

The Hotel Congress gained fame as the site of the Dillinger Gang's arrest in 1934 after the hotel caught fire. Now a days, the Hotel Congress is still an operating hotel with a great bar and restaurant, the Cup Cafe. Mom and I snuck upstairs and wandered around a little bit while we waited for a table. After a couple drinks on the bar's patio, we moved over to the restaurant and enjoyed a really great meal. Jill and Dean have been to the Cup Cafe many times before and seemed to know exactly what they were going to have. It was the Sonoran Crab Cakes (pan-seared blue crab cakes with anaheim, red and jalapeno peppers, bread crumbs and sonoran spices) for Jill and the Rib Eye Au Poivre (pan-seared, thick cut rib eye crusted with black peppercorns served over garlic mash potatoes and seasonal veggies) for Dean.

Mom and I took a little longer to select our dishes but it ended up being Tournedos of Beef for me and the linguine for Mom. The Lindsey Linguine was tossed with fresh basil, fresh tomatoes, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and Parmesan cheese and Mom found it to be a great, light meal for a late spring evening in Arizona. My dish was a little heavier and consisted for grilled medallions of beef, braised red cabbage, whole roasted rosemary potatoes and a Gorgonzola cream sauce. I'm not a huge fan of cabbage, so a great deal of that was left on my plate, but the rest of the meal was fabulous.

The meal was great and I would highly recommend the Hotel Congress and the Cup Cafe to anyone who finds themselves in Tucson. The special treat for us was Lewis and Dean's dog show at the end of the night which can only be described as priceless.

The Hotel Congress
311 East Congress Street
Tucson, AZ 85701
520-622-8848
http://www.hotelcongress.com/

video

Take your daughter to lunch day...

The last time I was home, my dad introduced me to Humble Pie Pizza. I absolutely fell in love with their wood-smoked prosciutto pizza. From the minute I landed in Phoenix on Thursday afternoon, I started talking about Humble Pie. It was not until my last day in town, however, that Dad and I found the time for an early lunch at my favorite pizza place. I should not really call Humble Pie my favorite pizza place because I have only been there twice and only tried one of their pizzas. However, the wood-smoked prosciutto pizza with mozzarella and a sunny-side up egg, is the thing of dreams. The egg is really what does it. That and the fact that they cook the prosciutto to the point that it is practically bacon.

Dad branched out and tried the BLT Pizza which was on special. This proved to be a bit of a mistake. The pizza was basically a prosciutto pizza with a large salad on top of it. Normally, I would think that sounded pretty interesting, but in this case it was basically romaine lettuce covered in a dressing of mayonnaise. This was not appetizing.

So Dad and I order another round of beers and he focused on the pizza under the coleslaw. Humble Pie has Four Peaks Kilt Lifter Scottish Style Ale which is my favorite beer on draft, so that would make up for almost any shortcoming. We did not fit a visit to the Four Peaks Brewery onto the schedule this time around, but if you are ever in AZ, Four Peaks should definitely be a stop on your agenda (http://www.fourpeaks.com/).

The morale of the story is that Humble Pie is still one of my favorite places in AZ, but I would stay away from the pizzas that involve mayonnaise. Unless, of course, you really really like mayonnaise.

Humble Pie Pizza
6149 North Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85250
480-556-9900
http://www.humblepieusa.com/

Off to AZ...


I had the pleasure of going home to Arizona this past week, so the next few posts will be of a slightly different nature. Dad sold a house a few days before I arrived, so he kindly requested that my mom take Jill and I out for a little shopping and lunching. It has been quite awhile since I searched through the sale racks at Anthropologie with my mom and sister, so I was pretty excited. After about three hours, however, I was also pretty hungry and exhausted. The three of us wandered over to the Zinc Bistro in Scottsdale's Kierland Commons. Mom and I had eaten there once before and had vague memories of it being tasty. Plus, it had outdoor seating and on such a nice day it seemed like a crime to sit indoors.

I instantly felt at home in the establishment, because the prices were basically the same as Washington, DC. A disappointing discovery in Arizona. Mimosas were $12 and the burgers were $11 without a side of fries. After I had taken a few minutes to recover from the shock of the prices, I went with a Stella Artois rather than the mimosa and ordered the Basiled Chicken and Brie Sandwich ($10) for my meal. Jill went with the Grilled Curry Chicken Sandwich ($10) with shaved almonds and raisins. I strongly considered the curry sandwich myself, but bad childhood memories involving curry and raisins changed my mind at the last minute. Mom went with the $11 Bacon Blue Cheese Burger. As a table we caved and ordered the House Fries with marjoram and paprika.

Overall, the lunch was great (but that was mostly as a result of the company). The Basiled Chicken Brie Sandwich was tasty but a little too rich for my tastes. I could barely get through half and the family had to help me out with the rest. I tasted Jill's curry chicken sandwich and realized that I was right about the evil raisins. Mom's burger was the winner in my opinion and I got over the fact that we had to pay $5 for fries.

Zinc Bistro is a great place if you have some extra cash to burn, the weather is nice and you like watching all the fabulous Scottsdale women lunching on a Saturday afternoon. Otherwise, you could probably find more affordable and perhaps more interesting food somewhere else.

Zinc Bistro
15034 N. Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85254
480-603-0922
http://www.zincbistroaz.com/index.html


Monday, April 27, 2009

And Sundays just keeping getting better


So, Ardeo Bardeo pretty much put me into a food coma for most of Sunday. It was the kind of food coma that keeps you from cleaning your apartment and working on that paperwork you promised you would conquer over the weekend, but not the kind of food coma that keeps you from going out to have a couple more drinks.

The real achievement on Sunday was that Amy and I were able to tear Aaron away from his papers and finals studies for a late afternoon treat. I had never been to Zaytinya in Chinatown before but Amy was all excited about her recent discovery that they were offering their happy hour on Sunday afternoons from 4:30-6:30 so we decided to give it a shot.

It ended up being quite the afternoon. The bartender and mixologist at Zaytinya were preparing for a special dinner that evening and as some of the few patrons at the bar while she was getting ready, we had the pleasure of being her guinea pigs. Three distinct cocktails followed, the content of which mostly escape me now. The lack of details is really neither here nor there, since they do not offer the drinks on their regular menu, but if you do go ask about their Plymouth vodka and sous vide rhubarb cocktail and see if you get lucky.

In general, the happy hour is well worth it even if you don't have the luck of wandering into a taste test. Yuengling and Almaza Pilsner are $4. A selection of white and red wines are also $4, but the real highlight is the signature cocktail of the the happy hour: the Pom-Fili. Made with white wine, vodka, triple sec and pomegranate juice the Pom-Fili goes down easy and for $4 you won't feel guilty ordering a few.

Zaytinya
701 9th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
202-638-0800
http://www.zaytinya.com/

A brunch that might actually be worth $30...

I am a big fan of brunch. Before moving to DC, it was not something that I did very often. I was a quick study, however, and brunch has now become a regular Sunday morning/afternoon activity for me. Generally, by Sunday morning I am feeling pretty bad about the money I spent on drinks and food Friday and Saturday, so I try to keep brunch prices within reason. This last Sunday, however, Janette and I had been disappointed in our first brunch choice because they no longer served brunch. In our cranky desperation to find food, we decided to splurge and try Ardeo Bardeo in Cleveland Park.

Ardeo Bardeo turned out to be a cornucopia of pleasant surprises. First, it turned out they had a roof top deck which was perfect for the sunny Sunday morning. Second, and most importantly, they offer a $25 Champagne Brunch special. I still consider $25 for brunch to be a pretty hefty fee, but the special included an appetizer, main entree and unlimited mimosas (the waiter explained that the caveat to the "unlimited" mimosas was that they would cut you off around 9 or 10 if you were behaving badly). Since the mimosas were $9 a piece on the regular menu, the special seemed like it would pay for itself pretty quickly.

Janette was showing some self-restraint because she had some lawyer work to do in the afternoon, so she ordered the char broiled natural beef burger with spicy tomato relish, smoked bacon, cheddar cheese and hand cut fries for $12. She skipped the mimosas much to my disappointment. I went with the special and chose the bruschetta with baby egg plant and vidalia onions as my appetizer (regular price $8). For the entree, I went with the Eggs Benedict...perfectly poached eggs on an english muffin with fennel sausage and hollandaise sauce (regular price $12).

Both Janette and I were extremely happy with our choices. I shared the bruschetta because I felt like a bit of a heifer eating two dishes and drinking unlimit
ed mimosas. Janette declared that her burger was one of the better burgers she had ever had. This is major praise from a Texas girl whose father has his own cows. My Eggs Benedict were pretty serious. The fennel sausage was more like two small hamburger patties and to say I was full at the end of brunch would be the understatement of the year.

Basically, the rest of the Sunday consisted of sitting around and maybe drinking a little bit more. I checked in with Janette on Monday and all her efforts to avoid the mimosas seem to have come to naught as her brunch coma had her watching reruns of an unnamed cable show until late in the afternoon.

Ardeo Bardeo may not be the type of place that you can swing every weekend, but for special occasions and days with really nice weather it is hard to beat the Champagne Brunch.

Ardeo Bardeo
3311 Connecticut Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20008
202-244-6750
http://www.ardeorestaurant.com/



Sunday, April 26, 2009

The hot days are back again...

Somehow DC appears to have managed to skip spring. We went from a few nice days mixed in with days that back to winter temps to 90 degree weather in about 12 hours. While it might not seem like the most appropriate thing to do on the first really hot day of the year, Amy and I spent Saturday eating hot Korean soup in a shack with no air conditioning and then walking around a massive park for three hours with no water.


Amy and I have been talking about going to the Korean wholesale market at 4th and Morse Streets in NE for some time. It just so happened that the day we finally decided to go was ridiculously hot. Amy is also on a mission to do all the things there are to do in DC before she leaves us and moves to India, so Saturday's adventure also included the National Arboretum off New York Ave, NE.

Amy and I met in Korea, so Korean food is something of a bond for us and I was very excited about the little restaurant she pulled me into at the Wholesale Market, even if the name of the restaurant was "Deli and Carry-Out." I ordered my stand-by of Mandu Guk (translation dumping soup) and Amy had ordered a spicy beef soup whose official title has already escaped me. We had our standard side dish of kimchi and splurged on Diet Cokes which made a huge difference in the tiny, hot restaurant. We chose a table strategically placed next to the drink cooler so that anytime someone grabbed a drink we got a nice little breeze.

Koreans are firm believers that on hot days you should eat hot food, so that you sweat more and therefore your body cools from the inside out (I think that is the logic, I get confused sometimes). I would have made my Korean host-mother proud on Saturday because I sweated my way through that entire lunch. My Mandu Guk was fantastic with homemade dumplings and lots of duk (Korean rice paddies). I did not get a chance to sample Amy's but she did a very admirable job of packing it away so it must have been good.

After our heavy meals, we purchased Korean ramen noodles in bulk and then drove over to the National Arboretum. Unbeknownst to us, we came during the high weekend for the Azaleas at the Arboretum and it was quite a sight. I felt like the Arboretum was some big secret that people in DC had been keeping from us. It was beautiful with lots of nice shady spots for lounging on hot sunny days. Sadly, Amy and I are not the best planners and failed to bring anything about warm Diet Cokes on our trek. In the future, coolers with cold beverages and a picnic blanket are highly recommended. However, in a tight spot the water from the faucets in the numerous (and very clean) bathrooms is deliciously cold.

For those of you who can get there the Deli and Carry Out at the Korean Wholesale market is a must, especially if you are a fan of Korean food. For those of you a little less adventurous, the Arboretum is a great place to bring a packed lunch and some carefully disguised cold adult beverages. Enjoy the summer time!


Monday, April 20, 2009

Beautiful Weather and Waffles!

This last weekend proved to be one of the best that we have had in a long long time. The sun was out and the temperatures were high. Some of us (meaning almost everyone but me) took advantage of the beautiful weather to go for a run in Rock Creek Park at 8:30 in the morning. I chose to sleep until 9:45 when Avery called me and lulled me out of bed to come and meet them for breakfast. As you can see from the photos I was still a little rough around the edges when I arrived at Dos Gringos in Mt. Pleasant. Bad hair and puffy eyes not withstanding, I was very happy and excited to be up and ordering waffles with fruit on a lovely Saturday morning.

My running friends had been telling me about Dos Gringos since last summer. Aaron and I tried to go once for dinner, but when we found out there was no alcohol we reconsider because we generally have one track minds on Saturday evenings. Saturday morning, however, seemed like the perfect time to enjoy the tasty breakfast treats and the warm sunshine on the porch. Several of the groups members ordered the burrito special of the day with a side of fried plantains. Greg went for the Daily Frittata served with fruit and chipotle roasted potatoes topped with cheese ($6.50). I took Kristin's advice and went for the Belgian Waffles with maple syrup and a side of fresh fruit ($4 for the waffles and an extra $1 for the fruit). For an extra $1.50 you can also get chocolate syrup, whipped cream and nuts on your waffle. Coffees and fresh orange juice were also ordered and after a short altercation with a biking group about the chairs they stole from us, the breakfast was greatly enjoyed. Greg and I took the liberty of ordering cinnamon rolls because they just looked so good in the little display case. The staff put a spoonful of icing on the top and then heated the cinnamon rolls until the frosting melted and the rolls were virtually swimming in icing. They were quite possibly the tastiest things I have had in awhile. So good in fact, that I covertly moved the bowl closer to Kristin so that I could get some help with eating the whole thing and save myself some guilt. The only down side for me was the orange juice. While it said fresh squeezed I have had better quality from the Simple Orange Juice at any local grocery store.

Overall, I think I have found a delicious and indulgent new spot for breakfast...even if, unlike the rest of the runners, I did nothing to earn it.

Dos Gringos
3116 Mt. Pleasant Street, NW
202-462-1159
http://www.dosgringoscafe.com/index.htm

A special thanks for the post also goes out to Shanon. In my just rolled out of bed fogginess, I forgot to bring my camera to breakfast, so Shanon heroically stepped in. She managed to take one of the MOST unattractive photos of me that I have ever seen, but the waffles looked so good I could not resist posting. See below: