DC Day

Adam and I haven’t had the best wedding anniversary celebrations. We went to Azumi for our first anniversary and had a memorably bad experience. We spent our second anniversary in the hospital last year when Maya was sick. The bar was low this year for our third anniversary but I’m happy to report we had an amazing day in DC to celebrate.

We dropped Maya at my in-laws and headed to the Georgetown waterfront where we parked our car for the day (only $13 in a garage). We started our day with brunch at Fiola Mare. After a couple of incredible meals at the original Fiola, we were very excited to try this location. We did the fixed price brunch – three courses + a brunch cocktail + fresh baked croissants. It was more food than necessary but so so good.

I’m not sure what was up but the service was really slow. Like insanely slow – people were complaining (rightly so). But we had nowhere to be and just relaxed and enjoyed.

I had a Bellini and burrata for my first course and Adam had a Bloody Mary and a smoked salmon dish. Then they brought out the croissants, warm, freshly baked with honey in the center. They were probably the best thing I put in my mouth all day and one of the best croissants I’ve ever had.

For our main courses, Adam had the crab spaghetti and I had a succulent crab roll on brioche bread. I wouldn’t expect a restaurant like that to have outstanding baked goods but they do!

By that point we were super full but managed to have a couple bites of dessert: zeppoli with a maple dipping sauce.

After that enormous meal, we needed to walk it off! We strolled through the main drag of Georgetown before walking up 30th Street to Tudor Place. We paid $3 to tour the gardens of the historic home and spent some time walking around the property. Georgetown has so many hidden gems and it was fun to explore the beautiful grounds.

From there we walked down Embassy Row to Dupont and visited the Phillips collection. We arrived at the museum thirty minutes before they closed and were delighted to learn that for the last half hour museum entry is free! We started on the top floor with the visiting Klee exhibit but preferred the impressionists on the second floor. They have some famous paintings (Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party) and some beautiful paintings by Van Gogh, Matisse and Kandinsky.

After plenty of walking and exploring, it was almost time to eat again! We walked through Dupont Circle, popped into Gap and then made our way to Iron Gate for dinner. I had a fantastic whiskey cocktail and we started with the feta chili spread with fennel crackers and an odd selection of crudités.

For out main meal we shared the mixed grill: quail, bison steak, ground lamb, cheese burger and pork sausage with pistachios. The meats were accompanied by smashed potatoes and sweet potatoes with raisins. Everything was delicious and we loved our cozy table in the back room by the fireplace.

After dinner we took a cab back to our car and made our way home after an exhausting but wonderful day in DC!

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Friday Five (Fave Local Meals of 2017)

Not to harp on the fact that we just had a baby, but we did. So 2017 was not a big year for leisurely dinners out with cocktails, wine and many courses. Typically convenience and quality time with babe trumped everything else. We did have a few memorable dinners though and I wanted to share them today….

Samos

Okay, nothing too glamorous to kick off this list, but Samos is delicious and was the last meal we had before becoming a family of three. Friday evening we went out to Samos at McHenry Row and devoured the amazing gyro, rice and Greek salad. By the wee hours of Saturday morning I was in labor and by 5 am we were heading to the hospital! After almost 24 hours of labor and nothing to eat or drink (thanks epidural!), that Samos felt like a way too distant memory. It was also our favorite carry out food to request when our friends generously offered to bring food by when Maya was an infant.

 

Rasika

Adam and I had a belated anniversary celebration with dinner in DC at Rasika. It had been on our list for years but we had somehow never ended up there so we were super excited to try it. We love Tom Sietsema, the Washington Post food critic and so were sure to check out his review before we went. Following Tom’s recommendation, we started with the malai palak – incredibly flavorful and delicious crispy spinach. For our entrees we had the chicken tikka masala and the black cod. The chicken is my go to Indian meal order and it was of course fabulous but the real star was the cod. It. was. so. so. so. good.

 

Peter’s Inn

Currently closed after a late December fire (but with plans to reopen!), Peter’s Inn has been a favorite of Adam’s family for years. We ventured in for a birthday dinner last November and started things off with a tasty ahi tuna and seaweed salad appetizer. For our entrees Adam had the filet with mashed potatoes and root vegetables and I had scallops with butternut squash risotto and applewood smoke bacon. This was such a wonderfully rich dish full of fall flavors. We love that the small menu at Peter’s is always changing but consistently full of creative and appealing options.

 

Jaleo

Another DC standout, I have been going to Jaleo since high school for the amazing Spanish tapas by Chef Jose Andres (my favorite outspoken liberal chef who is working tirelessly to feed the people of Puerto Rico after the hurricane). I shared about our amazing meal at his restaurant The Bazaar in Miami a few years ago. We headed to Jaleo for an early lunch which meant a mimosa and bloody mary were out drinks of choice. We had the patatas bravas because I can’t go to Jaleo and not get these perfectly cooked potatoes with a spicy tomato sauce and aioli. From there we tried several new-to-me dishes: a sandwich of ibérico ham and Manchego cheese, stewed vegetables topped with quail eggs and, per the recommendation of the table next to us, rabbit confit with apricot puree. Everything was fabulous and I might include the egg dish as part of my usual rotation going forward (along with the sauteed spinach and chicken with green sauce).

 

Brendali

My family has a long-lasting tradition of eating Italian food on Christmas Eve. This year we took a walk through the festive holiday market in the Inner Harbor before walking into Fed Hill for an early dinner at Brendali. We knew that this no frills spot would be perfect for dinner out with an eleven month old! We started by splitting a house salad and fried calamari and for my entree I had the fettucine bianco – a filling dish with old bay cream sauce, shrimp and scallops. There were A LOT of leftovers. Maya loved being out for dinner and ate her share of penne with marinara. After dinner we popped into Berries by Quicha for a sweet treat before heading home. It was a great Christmas Eve!

 

Weekend Recap…a little late

Weekend Recap…a little late, but we’re just rolling with it.

man vs pho

Friday: After a week of chilly rain, we were ready to warm up with some pho at Pho Saigon in Catonsville. We are huge fans of the ramen at Mi & Yu, but sometimes we just want the traditional pho and for that we always go to Pho Saigon. We started with summer rolls and then I had a small bowl with tofu and veggies which hit the spot. We spent the rest of the night watching old episodes of the Office (we’re re-watching the series) and I couldn’t stop laughing during “A Benihana Christmas” which is one of my favorite episodes.

Saturday: Nothing like waking up before 6am on Saturday morning. We piled into the car and drove to DC for Race for the Cure with my mom and cousin. Even though we registered ages ago, we never received our race packets which is why I am rocking the vintage shirt in that pic. Like every year, I was wowed by the celebratory nature of the event and the waves of people rocking their pink outfits.

race for the cure 2016

After the race and festivities, we walked up the street for brunch at Old Ebbitt Grill. I branched out and had the corned beef hash cakes with sunny side up eggs and breakfast potatoes with toast on the side. I can’t have gooey eggs without toast! My mom and cousin stuck to their usual orders: the fried oyster eggs benedict and the eggs Chesapeake which is a benedict with a crab cake. Even though we had to wait a longggg time for our food, everything was delicious as always and the potatoes were particularly crispy and fantastic.

Saturday evening we had friends over to watch the Kentucky Derby and we munched on a spread of snacks and sipped mint juleps. After the race and a few more rounds of drinks (and snacks) we walked to the 8×10 to see our friend’s band Slow Lights perform. The band was great and venue is small and bare bones which made for a great show.

slow lights 8x10 baltimore

Sunday: I celebrated Mother’s Day with my mom by getting dim sum at Oriental East down in Silver Spring. If you like dim sum or want to try it for the first time, you definitely should make the trip down for it. We waited an hour and a half for our table and it was well worth it – that’s how good it is! We enjoyed fried taro dumplings, shumai, spare ribs with black bean sauce and several other tasty dishes. The rest of the day was spend in true Sunday fashion – grocery shopping, gym, laundry.

Jack Birthday

And now it’s Tuesday and we’re celebrating our favorite furball’s third birthday. Happy Birthday Jack!!

Weekend Recap: Catching Up

After several busy weekends in a row, it was time for a quiet weekend. An opportunity to catch up on sleep, do chores around the house and get in a little me time. Friday night after work I walked into Fed Hill for a much needed mani/pedi at Light Street Nails. There is something so relaxing about starting the weekend off with a little pampering and a fresh polish. #glamsquad

Mothers Baltimore

 

Post-mani, I met Adam for dinner at Mother’s. I had a shrimp lettuce wrap with sweet potato fries and Adam had a buff chick sammy. We had an early night and did a couple loads of laundry at home before heading to bed.

Saturday morning I woke up early, refreshed and ready for the day! I picked up my mom and drove to DC to cheer on my friend Lindsay who was in town for the Avon Walk to end Breast Cancer. This was Lindsay’s 7th year participating in the event and she walked 39.9 miles over the weekend. Lindsay, her aunt and her dad have raised over $32,000 for breast cancer research and support services since they got involved with the race in 2010. My mom is a breast cancer survivor, so it is a cause near and dear to our hearts. We were excited to meet up with Lindsay around mile 9 and walk with her a little to show our support. Lindsay – you rock! If you would like to donate to Avon through Lindsay’s page click here.

We gave Linz a hug and wished her luck for the next 30 miles(!) of her walk then my mom and I walked back to Teaism for lunch. Teaism is the best fast casual Asian inspired tea house and we’ve been going there since I was in high school. I got my usual chicken bento box and it was amazing as always. The fried chicken comes with an incredible sauce, brown rice, pickled cucumbers and sweet potatoes. My mom had the curry chicken which was also delicious and came with that ridiculous veggie skewer.

Saturday night we had some friends over to watch the Caps game and ordered Maiwand Kabob. Sunday consisted of a super lazy morning, a trip to the gym and some Starbucks. Then Jeanette and I headed to Canton Crossing for some shopping. A few hours and several purchases later we returned home with Samos carry out for dinner. Hello gyro salad, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and snuggling with my favorite fur ball.

 

Weekend = success.

 

Ray’s: the Steaks

A couple of weekends ago we ventured across state lines to Virginia to see family. It was a long(ish) drive but worth it because they bribed us with the promise of a good steal. And they delivered.

I had been to Ray’s: the Classics and to Ray’s Hell Burger, two of the three restaurants originally started by restaurateur Michael Landrum, but had never before ventured to Ray’s: the Steaks. When we arrived, our party of nine was seated at a large table in a private space off the dining room. It was a little warm in there, but otherwise was really nice to have a room to ourselves.

We started with a round of drinks and I shared a bottle of pink cava with my mom and cousin. We were afraid it would be too sweet, but it was perfectly crisp and bubbly. After the important stuff was taken care of, we moved onto salads.

I had the wedge salad because wedge salads are decadent and fantastic and usually all I want at a steak place. This one did not disappoint, it was huge and had a bit of a kick to it which gave it a little something extra. I ended up sharing with my mom because well, look at the size of it.

rays the steaks ny strip

Next it was time for the pièce de résistance, the meat! Most people at the table got the filet (which they said was fab), but I’m not much of a filet girl  and went for the NY Strip. I got the classic cut with none of the offered sauces or preparations (thought I was tempted by the brandy mushroom cream sauce). It. was. delicious. Perfectly cooked and obviously a really high quality cut of meat. Their meals come with mashed potatoes and creamed spinach for the table which is a nice touch since so many steakhouses charge for those a la carte. I ended up bringing home half my steak and the remaining sides and had more than enough food for another meal.

There are plenty of tasty steak places in Baltimore (hello Prime Rib my love), but if you find yourself in Arlington, Ray’s: the Steaks is highly recommended!