Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
We checked out the Gallery Place location, which is just off the Chinatown metro stop on the red, green and yellow lines. The first reservation we could get was 9 p.m., but we were willing to wait. Even so, we waited when we got there.
The service was not so attentive. It took us a while to order drinks; we ordered the house white that was pretty tasty but not remarkable. Trying to get a second round was impossible. When it came to the food, we stayed pretty basic. I got the smoked ribs with potato salad (I asked for mashed potatoes, but I didn't get it) and baked beans. Tim got the wild mushroom pasta made with assorted mushrooms, tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. I'd love to tell you more about what was actually in the dishes, but the menus online do not sync with what was on the menus in the restaurant.
Here's the deal with the food -- It was nothing special and the portions were not all that generous. My ribs may look like a lot of food, but there was very little meat. The spices were delicious, but the sauces overwhelmed the smokey flavor and spice rub. And they didn't bring any extra napkins or anything for the ribs. The potato salad was disappointing simply because it wasn't what I ordered. I wanted to tell someone but I couldn't flag down a server. Tim's pasta dish was nicely done and had some tasty elements, but it was under seasoned. It also wasn't enough food for the $15 price tag.
As for the famed atmosphere, I felt like I was eating at a nicely decorated Chili's. The rooms were posh with stained-glass chandeliers, but the area was noisy and the crowd was a mix of people enjoying a nice meal with the family and Halloween party-goers complete with inappropriate costumes. It was just a weird combination of people and not the nice dinner I was expecting.
It also took more than an hour and a half for our simple little meal. We didn't get dessert because it was taking so long and our waitress wasn't even the person who brought us our food, check or anything else. For $60, I think we could have gotten a better meal elsewhere.
I was not pleased overall with the dining experience or the food, but I'm sad to admit I'll probably go back because they have a raw bar that I hear is pretty good. Between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., said raw oysters and clams are half off. I have yet to get raw oysters and really want to give it a try, but only if it's half priced and I don't have to wait an hour. It would be more of a bar experience, which I think they have down to a science. Plus oysters must be served on an iced platter within five minutes of opening them, so I hope to give this place one more time to shine.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
We also tried the champagne brunch at Bread and Chocolate, a Washington brunch favorite. I went there the last time I was at Eastern Market but wasn't hungry enough for the brunch. This time, however, I came prepared. We all got champagne and a beautiful melon cocktails with two types of melon balls soaked in honey and water, then topped with mint sprigs. We got our choice of eggs Benedict with smoked salmon, salmon topped bagels, pancakes, chocolate and banana french toast or a vast assortment of omelette's. I went with the cream cheese and avocado omelet, which was creamy, filling and delicious. By far the best looking dish at our table was the smoked salmon-topped bagel with capers, cream cheese, tomato and onion.
The food was delicious and for as busy as it was, the lined moved pretty quick. I would have liked my check more expediently, but oh well, they were busy.
Here's another slideshow of today's market finds and some of the stuff at Bread and Chocolate.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Also, please check out my latest installment on the Well Fed Network over here.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
To prepare: Heat oil in a skillet (or electric skillet in my case) and place chicken cubes in an even layer on the surface, occasionally turning to cook through for about seven minutes. Remove from heat and place remaining chicken items in the skillet to warm through. Shred chicken into small pieces and return to pan, heating all ingredients together until warm, about two minutes. For the sauce, heat all items together in the microwave in 15-second increments, stirring in between until the sauce is smooth. To assemble, use a lettuce leaf as a cup and layer carrots, sprouts and cucumbers to your taste in the cup. Top with a portion of the warm chicken and drizzle with a half tablespoon of the warm peanut sauce.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Monday, October 8, 2007
Secondly, after much consideration, consulting and pondering, I decided what to do with the 1-pound tomato from Eastern Market. I made a three-course tomato-centric dinner and every bite was delicious.
For a little tasting, I made a simple avocado and tomato salad dressing with lime juice, salt and pepper. When you’re working with quality ingredients, sometimes the simplest preparation is best.
Next, I made bruschetta. I toasted angle-cut pieces of the sourdough baguette I bought using my electric skillet. Then, I rubber a clove of garlic over the toasted surface to get some garlic flavor in there. I topped it with fresh basil leaves cut into little ribbons and more of the tomato, this time chopped.
For the main course, I made my most complicated kitchen-less dish so far. I cooked some whole-wheat spaghetti in the microwave. This required boiling the water in the microwave, then adding the pasta and salt and boiling for about eight minutes longer in the microwave.
The sauce was a simple concoction to let my fresh ingredients shine. I let two cloves of finely diced garlic cook in a tablespoon of olive oil with about a ¼ cup of chopped red onions until the onions were translucent, about three minutes. Then I added the rest of the chopped tomato, probably about ¾ of a pound. I let that bubble away and reduce for about 20 minutes before turning off the heat on the electric skillet and topping the pasta with it, then adding a bit of shredded Parmesan on top, for good measure.
This whole meal could have easily been vegan friendly with the subtraction of the Parmesan. I may have eaten a pound of tomato in this, but it was the best tomato I’ve had in a long time.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
But you'd never know it walking around the streets today. Most of the action has been brought to outdoors stalls, with a building housing meat and cheese vendors indoors. You can buy all kinds of fruits and vegetables here and most are available for tasting as well. We certainly got out five servings per day walking around this place. If I had a working fridge, I would have gone nuts here -- there were strawberries, cheeses and all sorts of goodies that I didn't think could survive at room temperature.
The vendors are also eager to tell you about their products. I learned so much about West Virginia apples and different kinds of pumpkins. This market really is an experience, especially with the music waftering through the basil and tomato-scented air.
I bought a 1-pound tomato, a huge bunch of basil, an ear of fresh white corn and a sour dough bagette. I spent less than $8 and the finds were all fresh and delicious. So what should I do with my softball-sized tomato?
Friday, October 5, 2007
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
In DC, this hasn't been a problem at all. My first day in the newsroom, I wandered around the block to find something tasty for lunch. I didn't get far with my nose was tempted by some fabulous-smelling pizza. The wafting scent had so many notes of cheesy tomato goodness that I just had to go into Cafe Cantina at 1325 G Street NW. The tiny cafe also shares space with Pizza Pino's, who's delicious pizza slices I smelled from outside. They typically have pepperoni, cheese and veggie available by the slice. For a huge slice of cheese pizza and a bottle drink, it was less than $5, which makes it a steal in DC.
And the taste delivered on what the smell promised. It was served piping hot and I dusted it with some Parmesan. The cheese was flavorful and had more than one variety. The crust was homemade in the shop, as I've seen them do many times in my visits since, and was chewy without being stale. It should be, since the pizzas are pumped out fresh. The tomato sauce was flavorful, but the Italian herbs didn't overwhelm the taste of the tomato. Overall, a delicious slice worth being a regular customer for and one slice was plenty.
I love DC.