Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hey Jealousy...

So, do you remember that song by the Gin Blossoms, Hey Jealousy? When that song was popular in 1992 my niece Clarissa was two and very adorable. She went around singing "Hey Josey" because of her favorite cartoon Josey and the Pussy Cats. This is the version that played in my head as I laid in bed today, very sick, with my best friend telling me about her mid week get away in NYC. Not only is she in my favorite city, in the fall, but she is eating at two of my favorite restaurants. (Yes, since I am quarantined in my DC apartment with no appetite or energy to cook I have to write about another person's life---Sorry folks, that is all I have).

Buddakan is an upscale Asian Fusion restaurant located in the Meat Packing District. Very underrated from the outside but the grand nature of the dining area proves it different on the inside. The last time I was there I had Edamame Dumplings that were AMAZING... The parent
resteraunt is in Philly and I wish the very handsome (and talented) chef, Michael Schulson would concider another in DC... come on Mike, I could do the PR???!!! Or marry you... whatever it takes!

Balthazar is a traditional French bistro that has an energy that cannot be described on words. The hustle and bustle is rejuvenating but you can spend hours talking over lunch or a cappuccino. Co-chefs, Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr have done a fabulous job bringing a taste of Paris to NY. Again...guys, What about DC??? A comparable restaurant I have spoken of is CanCan in Richmond, VA that I believe was an adaptation of this model. Great food and atmosphere anytime of the day.

Jealous or not, I do wish my dear friend a weekday rendezvous full of fantastic memories, fall foliage and fun food...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Free time, favorite friends and fried items

On Sunday I had lunch with one of my favorite DC dining companions after weeks of little contact. The result??? Hours spend driving the Founding Farmers bartender crazy, sore cheeks from laughing and a slight upset stomach from the bad food I am not used to consuming. I cannot believe that in farm to table restaurant we managed to choose such unhealthy options. We had ranch popcorn (trendy appetizer, flavor changes with chef's preference), five dips with homemade chips (yeah, theybring three and we asked for two more types... basically a dip with extra dip and a side of dip). For our entree (like we needed one) we had a gourmet grill cheese
on rye with Gruyere and white cheddar with tomato soup. Seriously, a salad was ordered but since the lettuce was not fried we did not eat it. Days like this remind me to make time for the people that make you laugh, operating without a schedule can bring you the best surprises and everything is a little better dipped in something.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Something Like My Salad...

I taught for six years at two different universities. On the first day of class part of my meet your teacher spill would go something like this:

"Just call me Stacey. Not Ms. Price, that's my mother. Not, Ms. Stacey, that's your kindergarten teacher. I have something like a husband and something like a kid. One I have lived with for ________(fill in blank between 5 and 10 years depending on the semester) and the other is furry with four legs."

Since then there have been many "Something Likes" and I even have found my friends and family using such saying. Borrowed from East Village Kitchen Blog, this is "Something Like My Hot Fall Salad" ... but better. My family is visiting this weekend so their is no room for chaos in the kitchen but Monday, Monday my friends, I will make this salad!

Spiced Pumpkin, Lentil, and Goat Cheese Salad
Borrowed from East Villiage Blog and Bon Appetit, November 2009

3/4 cup French green lentils*
6 cups 1-inch pieces peeled seeded sugar pumpkin or butternut squash(from about one 2-pound whole pumpkin)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika**
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 cups baby arugula
1 cup soft goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

PreparationPlace lentils in small bowl. Cover with cold water and soak 10 minutes; drain.

Cook lentils in boiling salted water until tender but firm, about 30 minutes. Drain lentils. Rinse under cold water, then drain.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place pumpkin in large bowl; toss with 2 tablespoons oil, cumin, paprika, and sea salt. Arrange pumpkin in single layer on baking sheet; roast 20 minutes. Turn pumpkin over. Roast until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool.

Combine lentils, pumpkin, and oil from baking sheet with arugula, half of goat cheese, mint, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among plates; sprinkle remaining goat cheese over.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Chaos and Construction

Yes, it is true... Chaos and Chicken Kitchen is under Construction. I promise this is no excuse (see right) to make up for the fact that I have not been cooking. In fact, I cooked last night (see below) .... but that was before the chaos and the construction and the chiseling.

Apparently there is an ordeal with the kitchen pipes in the old Shormeade building and I came home to a small man chiseling away my wall between my office and kitchen. I say this calmly now but I was far from calm then. Especially since I did not expect to come home to this small man or his jack hammer. Or the plaster dust. Did I mention it was EVERYWHERE? (read in loud frustrated voice). After a rant or two, a walk around the city and a call into my property manager I received the promise the the project would cease next week. So this week, as many in the past, there is only chaos, no chicken with the promise of less construction to come.

To hold you over, here is the recipe for a fun fall salad I created lastnight. It needs a name...any ideas?

Fall Hot Salad (Told you it needs a name)
Sweet Potatoes, cubed and cooked
Beluga Lentils
Spinach, cooked
Dash of salt, cinnamon, curry and red pepper
Teaspoon olive oil
Mix and serve. Preferably without plaster dust. Preferably with wine.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Chaos Goes Capeside...

This weekend I enjoyed a relaxing time waterside in Riverside, Rhode Island (5 miles from Providence). I spent three days with one of my best friends eating, drinking, shopping and exploring the cape. And laughing... laughing oh so much! I came back to the District more clear headed, rejuvenated and optimistic than I have been in a while.

(Me and Jill on the water in downtown Providence, a block from her office at Brown. After a glass of wine at Hemmingways and an afternoon of exploring it is windy and cold and we miss the bus while snapping this picture)

Favorite Rhody Food Spots:
At Olga's Cup and Saucer (right, see owners) I enjoyed a savory veggie sandwich on Sour Dough and a spicy, Chipotle Corn Chowder.

At The BeeHive Cafe (left, see helpful counter gal) in Bristol, for brunch on Sunday I ate a Smoked Salmon BLT that I am still dreaming about. Seriously, I would pay up to $8.42 to eat that sandwich again tonight. Their food was all organic and the pastries in their cases were so hard to resist!

For the majority of meals, J and I cooked at home with lots of Pinot Noir (insert our laughter, story telling and sometimes lyrical dance) ... a night spent with a good friend, good music and good wine are the best ingredients to make for the best restaurant in any town.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Even a Poor Gal Gets Her Coffee...

... okay, I am not poor--- yet but my reserve is dwindling so I am trying to be a little more frugal. Yes, chaos gal can be frugal... she just picks and chooses her frugality.

For instance, I cannot give up good coffee so a frugal gal must rationalize or minimize this expense. I mean, do I need to spend $4 a day on caffeine? Recently I have been accumulating free Starbucks coffees by taking the "Via Taste Test Challenge." Each time you participate you get a free cup of Pikes Place. I have taken the challenge at three different District SBs and two in RI. I know, pathetic, right? I figure I have given this company enough money over the last 10 years that a free coffee here or there does not hurt.

The lesson learned is that a frugal gal does not have to go without the things she loves, she just has to get creative and consume in moderation... a challenge I am up for nearly everyday.

*Via is Starbuck's latest launch of gourmet instant coffee. It is actually quite tasty and is always the stronger on the taste test.*