Fun-loving Friday

This past weekend I introduced Berger cookies to my in-laws, and again, they were accepted with open arms.  No one can deny the power of the Bergers cookies.  And if you want a pie full of them, just get the Baltimore Bomb from Dangerously Delicious Pies, which recently opened on H Street NE.  It was Duff Goldman's guilty pleasure on a recent episode of Best Thing I Ever Ate.

I can't WAIT for this weekend! A lovely friend of ours will be in town this weekend, as well as a set of adorable grandparents.  Makes for quite the fabulous weekend.  But before we can get there, we need to talk about the week.  Let's get into the blogosphere!

I freakin' love these carrot cake whoopie pies (via State Dinner).  I could make them myself thanks to the recipe, but maybe I'll just go ahead and add them to my cart at Trader Joe's. 

Homemade Pop Tarts from Smitten Kitchen.  Sometimes when I'm hungry at work and out of snacks I get Pop Tarts from the vending machine.  Not super filling.

Grilled sandwiches.  Filled with cheese.  Seriously.  eNJoy! brings us to a place that Bobby Flay challenged to a grilled cheese Throwdown--the Pop Shop in Collingswood, NJ.

I'd like to make this cake for J for his birthday, but I'll probably screw it up.  Maybe I can buy it off someone.  Ahem.  (via Eat Run Read)

Loving Cara's photo of the egg dish here--check out the avocado.  Speaking of eggs, I've seen lots of 'em lately.  To be specific, both SK and Cara blogged about shakshouka within a few weeks of each other.  Maybe I should try it.

DCist on Ray's the Steaks at East River.  Sounds delicious (and affordable), but I can't help it--when you say East River, I think East River!

I RSVPed for the Food Blogger Happy Hour, and you should too.  Let's relive a little Restaurant 3, shall we?

Just to share my blog-reading philosophy, I just like to post here about what my friends and I send each other on Google Reader, Twitter, and e-mail.  Some weeks I read a lot of news; this week was NOT one of those weeks! (Although yes - slushies may make you run faster. Too bad I'm not a fan.  If only milkshakes had the same effect...)

NEXT week I'll talk to you about my recent amazingly delicious perfect falafel (and not just because I was positively starving), and some more macarons.  I can't stop.  Have an excellent weekend!  Happy May!!!


Bourbon Steak, Lounge

Fries cooked in duck fat.  The words alone could give you a cardiac arrest.  And yet I've eaten them here, here, and now at Bourbon Steak.  YUM.  This incarnation has three varieties--regular, Old Bay (of course), and white cheddar.  The flavors are subtle, and the accompanying dips are straight up ketchup, bbq sauce, and...the yellow-ish one that was fluffy and I loved it, but I have no idea what it was. Listen, the fries were one cocktail in on an empty stomach, and it was late.

Speaking of cocktails.  J enjoyed the Moscow Mule for the second time (second place, 4th Mule, really). He was only slightly disappointed that it didn't come in the traditional copper mug.  Ginger beer is so awesome.  I first enjoyed the Kerouac Cocktail, a pink (ahem, grapefruit) number that wasn't overly sweet, but just right.  Later I moved to the Pear Brandy Sidecar.  I liked both, but the sugar rim on the PBS was a bit too much for me.  Also, next time I have to try something with an egg white in it.  I love protein in unexpected places.   Oy, and the warm, spiced nuts.  They just kept comin'.

The burger was awesome.  Awesome awesome awesome.  Really juicy, a slight crunch on the outside, a great bun...can't go wrong.  I had the duck lettuce cups, it was my restraint--after all, I don't eat that much red meat, and two big burgers in 7 days is just not going to fly.  But J did share. The lettuce cups were nice, although they weren't what I had in mind--I was imagining shredded saucy duck, but it was cubed.  Loved the Thai flavors.  Very fresh, very delish.  And light--I had room for more cocktails, thank goodness.

Burger is a lil' fuzzy in the low light.

It was actually really cute, for some reason our server thought we were sharing the burger (nice idea!) and brought it split in half on metal skewers.  The guy next to us gasped and said, "That looks awesome."  He was an older guy, professional, wearing a suit.  But I guess that's the only way to describe the scene.
We were supposed to go to Bourbon Steak last year for J's birthday, but ended up canceling our reservation for a very good reason, then never rebooked.  The price tag is steep ($145 6 oz filet, anyone?), but we're suckers for anything Four Seasons-related, and damn do we love a good burger.  The lounge was PERFECT for us.  It's classy enough for a date (and not particularly crowded or loud), the food is awesome, the drinks are great, and you're eating for a fraction of the dining room price.    

Bourbon Steak
Four Seasons Hotel
2800 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Metro: Blue and Orange Lines to Foggy Bottom

Bourbon Steak on Urbanspoon


Supercloudy Saturday

At 9am-ish I saw blue sky and sun, but now it's overcast.  But that won't stop me from a belated Friday Favorites before I head out for some family fun.   P.S., I totally thought last weekend was Maryland day, but I was wrong.  It's today!  I knew all of those tents couldn't have been for the lacrosse game. 

On to the week's food-related news, etc:

You say tobacco, I say tomato: Durham is kicking that bad habit and turning into a place where "it would make more sense for [them] to list the things on the menu that aren’t local."

Great interview with Jamie Oliver about his Food Revolution in WaPo.  Not only is he boyishly adorable, but he really seems to want to change the world('s eating habits).  He ain't in it for the money.

I want pie (even if it's in Gowanus).  You know why.  

Lastly (in news), and this is a serious matter--a mother creates a documentary while grieving with the loss of her teenage daughter, who died from complications due to an eating disorder. This CDC site has important information and resources. 

In recipe news, Cara's Cravings: Adorable Tiny Spoons Aren't Just for Restaurants.  Enough said :) Also, CINNAMON BUNS!  (from Bakerella--I'm happy not only because I love cinnamon rolls, but because I'm kind of cake-popped out.) I'm gonna celebrate with a picture of some cinnamon buns from my past (that I bought...clearly). 

Locally, Tom loved Ethiopic, and I really want to go.  Currently convincing a friend who works near Union Station to meet me there.  Patios are opening left and right, and on a nice day there is no longer an excuse to stay indoors (via @welovedc).  Get some vitamin D, people!  My recommendation (which was supported my many others) did not bomb.  YAY!

Aaaaand last but certainly not least, Modern Domestic tells me that the next Food Blogger Happy Hour is at Restaurant 3 on May 5, 6-8.  Even though I'm a Marylander now, I know my way around the parking situation in Clarendon (which is 297234235 times better than downtown), and I may just get there before everybody leaves.  Also, I dig R3's happy hour


Noshin' Around NYC

Obviously, I can't get enough of New York.  When you grow up living close to NY there is a lot you take for granted, most notably pizza and bagels (although I'll swear up and down that the best bagels are actually in NJ at several establishments).  And even though we've got old favorites, ya gotta try something new every now and again.

So we've gone over and over my love of eggs.  You know the drill by now.  Also: Burgers...or really, one burger in particular.  What do you get when you put an egg ON a burger? 

Pure joy.  This is the very juicy Brunch Burger at Five Napkin Burger in Hell's Kitchen (there's another on the UWS).  I got mine cooked medium, and there were some nice juices running out of it when I cut it.  Juices + egg yolk, and I'm in heaven.

Above and below are some action shots of a very worthy subject--the lamb kofta burger, topped with some awesome tahini sauce and tomato/cucumber/pepper/onion salad.

This burger (and its toppings) was pretty delicious, but we both agreed that the Zola one was better.  But for nearby & a reasonable price, 5NB is a great fit.  AND the fries are hot and crispy.

It's cool that you can make a reservation, especially because this place gets PACKED at night.  Very convenient to the theaters.  Service was great.

Five Napkin Burger
630 9th Avenue @ 45th Street

Five Napkin Burger on Urbanspoon

You can't go to a Broadway show without a snack for intermission.  The chocolate chunk cookie and chocolate macaron from Bouchon Bakery fit the bill perfectly.  We meant to eat breakfast at Bouchon in Las Vegas, but the pasta tasting menu the night before made that unwise.  This Time Warner Center outlet is quite convenient, and ladies let me tell you, the TWC has one of the nicest public bathrooms in Manhattan.  The cookie is top notch.  You can taste the buttery brown sugaryness of it.  It has depth.  Not as in many inches of depth, but flavor depth.  The (big) macaron is divine.   The delicate cookie is light and crisp on the outside, but soft and ganache-y on the inside.  Oh man.  (My love of macarons is well documented.)

Besides delicious pastries of all stripes, you can grab sandwiches like fluffer nutter or grilled cheese (w/tomato soup of course) to go, for one of the free-for-all tables hanging around, OR you can go to the cafe, which has table service!  I was all about the counter service.  I'm on the move, people.  Also, at some point, TWC is super nice and Bouchon is delicious and fancy, but we're in a mall.  Glorified mall, but still.

Extra props to L for saving my arse with some photos when my phone froze for the first (and hopefully last) time.

Bouchon Bakery
10 Columbus Circle, 3d Floor

Bouchon Bakery on Urbanspoon

What in the world is that?  That's what you are thinking.  It's a chocolate cream filled cupcake from Kitchenette.  I thought of it less as a cupcake and more of a Hostess cake.  We also had one filled with peanut butter (that looked almost identical, but the filling was...peanut buttery).  I didn't sink my teeth into either of these until two days after they were purchased.  I'm sure fresh off the rack the cake would have been more moist, but the inside was still quite good.  We ate them out of the fridge, but I would have LOVED if they'd been in the freezer.  Because that's how I am.

At Kitchenette, J enjoyed the Tex-Mex, scrambled eggs, chili, sour cream, and grilled cornbread.  He said the cornbread was the highlight, it was really fluffy.  And he wished for more chili.   [Ed note: he just sent me a photo of the breakfast, and how he did not mention earlier that the eggs and chili were neatly piled atop the cornbread, I have no idea.  ART!]  But the peach iced tea was superb (and served in a mason jar).

Kitchenette Restaurant
156 Chambers Street

 Kitchenette on Urbanspoon

There you go.  More places to eat in NY.  And I wasn't the only one spending the weekend away!
This week flew by waaay too fast, so I think I'll have to Round Up on Saturday instead of Friday!


If you can't make it to Java Green for lunch, then go for dinner.

Recently my frequent dinnermates and I had a strange situation--we could not find any Friday or Saturday night for our monthly gathering.  Even a weekend morning brunch was out--everybody was traveling at all the wrong times.  So we settled on weekday happy hour, which obviously turned into a trip to Java Green.  Speaking of Java Green, Cafe Green recently opened, and it already has some raves (and rants) on Yelp

Back to our dinner.

Here was my line of thinking:  You can't go wrong with an old favorite.  I had the rice and beyond.  The new, updated menu renamed the orange chicken to be "sweet and sour," but I assure you, it's the same.  E was with me on this.  The best part of R&B (not that R&B) is that you get so many different items and (most importantly) textures!  Smooth, rough, gummy, crunchy, sweet, spicy, and I could go on.  It's all there.

Mmmm, "chicken" sandwich.  M's choice.  She seemed to like it, but I was suspicious about the ratio of bread to guts. 

 B had a lot of the same contents as rice and beyond, but also some bulgogi.  And no potsticker/dumpling guy (which I think was missed).  Otherwise, yum yum contents!

C's ramen was pretty good.  It was ramen--it didn't knock my socks off, but it was hot and noodley, and full of veggies.  If that's what you need, it'll deliver. But I'd prefer pho.

Ready for the bummer part?  If it's a nice day, maybe you want to take a little walk for some dessert.  Guess what?  Hello Cupcake closes at 7 Mon-Thurs.  Don't worry, I can bring cupcakes into any conversation.

Java Green
1020 18th St NW
Metro: Orange and Blue Lines to Foggy Bottom or Farragut West; Red Line to Farragut North


Free Stuff Friday

What a week!  Beautiful sunny days (Tuesday, I'm ignoring you), free stuff, and the Caramel Heathbar at Dairy G was particularly full of CH chunks.  That photo is of the spring salad at Clyde's from last weekend's brunch.  Arugula, quinoa, fava beans, radishes, and lemony vinaigrette.  Quite crunchy and yummy, on a picture perfect day.

In the blogosphere:

L sent me this new blog (I assume it's new, because it doesn't have anything before April).  I wouldn't call myself a health nut, but I added it to the GoogRead.  I enjoy a good recipe.

Locally, the fine folks at the GW Hatchet have given Foggy Bottom Grocery the thumbs up.   FoBoGro was a long time coming, and they had some drama last fall with the liquor license, etc.  Town-gown stuff, you know.  I am seriously wanting The Brewster (roast beef + horse radish coleslaw = WHAT'S UP!).  Also, the chicken salad...I'm sort of a connoisseur.

Bourbon Steak has been seriously luring me with its tweets about Pimm's Cup pitchers; I let them inspire me and made a Pimm's concoction for brunch at my place last week. (thanks Dirty Radish!)

I'd like some of these candied lemon peels, but do I have to use them as garnish?  I think they'd make a nice tangy snack.  (via One Bite At A Time).

Interactive farmers market map from the Post is quite handy--times, dates, and everything.  Looking forward to checking out what's available in our new neighborhood.  But you'll always be first in my heart, Courthouse Farmers Market!  

The Baltimore Sun often has headlines that crack me upThis photo gallery is no exception--notice that there aren't particularly descriptive captions for most of these photos.

This is a Times-heavy week.  I'm sorry that they are the best newspaper in the world, but that's just the way it is (even though CONGRATS to the Post for its 4 Pulitzers!)

I totally need to go to this deli in Portland once my cousins move there (which is happening soon, thank goodness).  Thanks NYT.  My favorite quote from that article: "I have a dream of a multiplicity of pastramis."  Go with that dream, sir.  Go with that dream.

Food critic Sam Sifton from The New York Times gives us a sample of his weekly diet--his caloric intake is staggering, despite the pretty significant exercise he does to try to counteract the meals.  He also talked a bit about salad in last weekend's magazine.  Take a look at this (simplistic, but still) calories per day calculator to see what's "normal" for age, weight, and exercise level. 

I love cilantro (in guacamole, in these burgers, etc), but a lot of people don't. It's not your fault that you don't love it, but you can learn to!
All right peeps.  Enjoy Maryland Day, running, or whatever you have on your plate this weekend!!!



Have a car and ye shall travel...through Brooklyn to find the best cupcake!

Why else would you travel?  The below was written by the wonderful and fabulous L--the hands-down coolest person in New York City. When I asked what she was up to on a recent Sunday morning she was all, "You know.  Cupcake tour.  The usual."  Jealous much?  I begged her to document it.

With two of my best gal pals C&E, our mission was clear: find the best cupcake in Brooklyn. E & I have tasted many Manhattan cupcakes and there have been some hits and misses. With C's upcoming bridal shower, E thought we should do a cupcake taste test to inspire the cupcake to have at her shower, only a borough away in Long Island City.

1st Stop: One Girl Cookie, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

Check out the selection!  [Ed: I like how they acknowledge the spikiness.]

We had one of each--carrot cake w/ cream cheese icing, chocolate cupcake w/vanilla "hot pink" frosting...  Carrot cake was by far our favorite, it was a moist cake with a sweet cream cheese icing. We liked the chocolate, but cake was a little too dense--but the frosting was delicious. One Girl Cookie has an adorable decor that just screams "girly" bakery.  Only problem is people set up shop in their seating area like it's a Starbucks!! Really not cool, there might have been 6 mini tables and no one was moving for us, so we took up two stools at the bar. If you're not into cupcakes they have whoopie pies, macaroons, and mini cookies. I tried a mini chocolate chip and mint ganache sandwich cookie...loved both!!

Back to the car...

2nd stop: Baked, Red Hook, Brooklyn

Super excited about this stop...Baked was recently featured on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" for its salty sweet brownie. There was no time for brownies today, we were all about the cupcake. Lucky for us there have a salty sweet cupcake, we also selected their carrot cake cupcake and lemon drop cupcake.

Salty Sweet Cupcake!!! Oh yes, it was a good as expected--chocolate cake, caramel filing, chocolate frosting with sea salt. Best cupcake I've ever had.  The cake was moist and delicious the caramel and salt and chocolate...so hard to describe, but so awesome! Carrot cake cupcake had a true carrot cake feel and taste, very nice but felt like eating a muffin. [Ed: Zing! That's a dis.]  Lemon drop cupcake was so soft it practically melted in our hands, also sweet and very moist!

Baked has a more rustic, almost "manly" feel in its decor. Wood lined the walls, tables and counters, we had a nice seat in the back to take in all the action.

We picked the salty sweet cupcake as our absolute favorite!! Cant wait for C's shower to see which cupcake made the cut!!

Thanks for sharing, L.  Wish we (all) could have been there.  I had a salted caramel cupcake from Georgetown Cupcake this past Saturday and it was flippin' amazing.  Their cupcakes are tiny, but oh so good.  I will definitely bring you some when you come down in May.  If I say it on the internet it must be true. 


Birch & Barley - Brunch

I'm not the first one to blog about dining at Birch & Barley--definitely check out the reviews here, here, here, here, and here.  One major item I'll tell you that's not in the other reviews is this: many of the chairs are clear.  So ladies, don't wear low-rise pants unless you have a long shirt, or diners are going to be treated to a plumber's situation.  Not only unappetizing, but embarrassing!

But I digress.

I've always been a fan of most of what the Neighborhood Restaurant Group puts out there.  We love Evening Star (especially brunch) and Vermilion is one of our favorites for a more special night out. 

On to B&B:  First we shared the sticky bun.  It had been a while since we'd had something similar.  The cream cheesy center and the gooey factor was perfect, and the whole thing wasn't too sweet.  It still felt like breakfast, not dessert.  Next time we'll get the donuts, just to round out the experience!

J loved the chicken and waffles--what a great consistency.  The waffle was crispy and delicious, and the chicken was juicy and had a sweetness in the crunchy outside.  The portion was really generous--it's an entree for a big eater, for sure. 

I had the corned beef hash with duck eggs.  I pretty much love all eggs, I don't discriminate.  I liked my meal, but I think J's was better.  The potatoes were really tiny and they (and my eggs) were a touch too shiny for me--I wanted to blot them with a napkin like I used to do to my pizza as a teenager.  I think I'm turning into a CBH snob

So our food was taking a little while to come out--it was a nice day and we didn't care at all.  But the kitchen cared (which is always nice) and sent us a buffalo chicken flatbread on the house.  This flatbread is delicious; not too spicy, but a little.  Unfortunately, it didn't really go with the flavor profile we had going on for brunch.  Also, our meals came out shortly after it arrived.  So?  I had it for lunch the next day!  YESSSSS!!!!!  Thanks B&B : )   The flatbreads are nicely sized, definitely shareable among a handful of people as an appetizer (everybody gets a slice).

Iced coffee fans:  This isn't a place that has iced coffee hanging out in a pitcher waiting for you, so you won't get refills, and it's not very cold.  Stick to hot coffee--they serve Illy, just like Tallula--sooo delicious.

I'll definitely be back at Birch & Barley.  Great service, yummy food, a ridiculously amazing beer list upstairs, and by the by, brunch is Sunday from 11 til 8pm.  Yes, that is an EIGHT.  Good for them!  And good for us.

Birch & Barley
1337 14th St NW
Metro: It's kind of in between a bunch of stations on all different lines.  We walked from Dupont, so take a look at the map for the station most convenient to you!

Birch & Barley on Urbanspoon


The What Ever Happened To Spring Friday

I know what happened to spring--summer bullied it into disappearing for a week,  but now it's back for a few days.  Phew!

This morning droolfest is brought to you by 2 Amys, the post-Passover edition.  That's a pizza special with sausage, roasted artichoke, and fontina; burrata di bufala (mozzarella and cream, need I say more?); polpettine al forno aka MEATBALLS.

On to my endorsements:

Food truck list, complete with Twitter links.  Be sure to check it out for other cities if you're going to be traveling!

Northside Social is open in Clarendon---a coffee shop, wine bar, cafe, from the Lib Tav folks.  I try not to be a huge grammar snob, but I enjoy a good laugh.  Murky Coffee is it's *fancy* name. Hopefully NS won't endure the same kind of mad dramz.

We can't see him, but we can hear him!  Tom Sietsema, food critic from the Washington Post, on the Kojo Nnamdi show to talk about kids in restaurants---good or bad idea?  Discuss.  Will Artley, exec chef from Evening Star, is also on the show.  YUM!

The New York Times is onto us---People Who Photograph Food And Display The Pictures Online. I don't put up a photo of everything I eat (it would be redundant, boring, and would take up entirely too much of my time), but it turns out some people do. They use it as a check on their diet, they feel accountable to The World.  Whatever works for you!

Sometimes on Twitter people talk about the funny searches that bring people to their blogs.  I'm going to give you a few of my favorites from this week:

is injera kosher for passover:  Hah!  I mentioned both injera and Passover last week.  The answer is probably no. 

why was free cone day 2010 early this year:  Why wasn't it closer to mid-April and Earth Day, it's traditional time?  I know why.  Because instead it was on my birthday.  Have a scoop, on me.

fro yo:   I just like that somebody was looking for some info on the relatively recent craze and ended up here.  WELCOME, FRIENDS!

how much fat is in a java green cookie sandwich:  I see lots of this, but usually for Ray's Hellburger, as in "how many calories are in a rays hellburger," and the answer is you don't want to know.  Seriously, who wants to know?  I'm all about checking nutrition facts online (in fact, that's how I decided to get a triple thick chocolate shake instead of a McFlurry the other day), but for a place like Ray's?  I just enjoy...in moderation.

That's it!  Have a great weekend, I know there's plenty to do.  Apologies to your bellies for making them growl so early; stop glaring at your turkey sandwich, it has feelings too.


Jungle Grille

I may not have easy access to happy hours or food trucks, but I've got a few things.  Namely, Franklin's and Jungle Grille.

I adored the homemade chicken salad on a wrap with sprouts, cucumber, lettuce, and tomato.  Pick all the crunchy toppings you want and make up your own sandwich--I did!  The chicken salad is herby and creamy, and did I mention that it's warm?  Warm (not hot) chicken salad, cool crunchy vegetables, and darn was I a happy gal.  I'm not sure if the photo does justice, but the size of this thing was pretty unbelievable.  I was preparing all day for JG, but I have to be honest--afterward I felt a little remorse for finishing.  Just tooooo full.  The pickle wasn't my favorite.  I rarely find a worth sandwich-side pickle.  Too floppy.

And that's my Nantucket Nectars (Half & Half) in the background, along with a giant cup with ice in it (soo thoughtful, a nice touch!). 

And HOMEMADE potato chips! These suckers are a cross between chip and wedge--they aren't really "crispy," but the opposite of that is NOT soggy, it's potato-ey.  Scientific word, look it up.  I loved these chips (and I'm not the only one).  One order is enough to share, so bring your buddy.

E enjoyed the chicken teriyaki with pineapple--she says it was tasty.  I can't deny or confirm because I didn't taste it, and I didn't even take a picture!  How is that possible!

Jungle Grille is a friendly place with a broad and delicious menu (and fro yo), but if you want, just go back and get the same thing every time.  It's not that they are reinventing the culinary wheel, it's just that in that area, most of the food is barely edible.  And that's why I bring my lunch 99% of the time.

The decor is a little odd, but not everything is about looks.  The soundtrack alone can woo you; we were constantly entertained by the mix of 80's and 90's pop that was played; we actually stopped our conversations and looked around, as in, "Really?  This song?"  Gooses.

Jungle Grille
8145 Baltimore Ave
College Park, MD
Metro: You can Green Line to College Park and take a bus.  Or drive.  It's in a strip mall with lots of other stuff, it took me a few minutes to find it!

Jungle Grille on Urbanspoon