Hi Guys, as our fellow Washingtonians know it is HOT outside. This week's temperatures are supposed to be some of the hottest of the summer, and it's so humid you don't know if you're sweating or if it's just the air sticking to you. As much as I love the outdoors, I have decided to force myself to stay inside as much as possible to wait out the duration of this horrendous heat and humidity wave. I figured that since you're all inside you might want to give this really simple recipe a try...
Just because you're stuck in the confines of your own (in our case) tiny apartment it doesn't mean you should be reduced to eating cheese sandwiches. I have found that the days that MUST be spend indoors can be a great time for kitchen experimentation. I have created pretty delicious treats from some of the ingredients in my kitchen. One of my favorites is a pesto made from peas - this is pretty simple and also so refreshing on cold pasta, as a dip if you thicken it up a little, or as a spread on those cheese sandwiches you're eating - all you need:
- 1 bag of frozen peas - thawed
- Olive Oil (to taste - you control the thickness!)
- 1 cup Basil and/or Mint (mint lightens it up just a little more)
- 1/2 cup Parmasean cheese - I like to use the harder version of the cheese instead of grated so it can replace the texture of pinenuts in regular pesto - pinenuts really make me unhappy
- Blend and you are good to go!
Comment or e-mail us some of the things you've whipped up in your kitchen from pantry-found ingredients and we will try and whip it up and let you know how it goes in a post!
I have wandered over to the Sauca (@wheresauca on twitter) truck a few times when it has graced me with its presence, and have always been impressed and very full after my meals. I love the idea using sauces to create unique flavor blends (buffalo pulled pork is one I have put together with great results), and have wanted to head over to the restaurant location. So over the weekend, T and I ventured into Virginia and went to Sauca on Columbia Pike.
The menu is actually about the same as the truck, which was sort of disappointing since we drove all the way out there, but we were still excited to dig into some delicious Sauca creations. We decided to get 3 "Saucas" - we went with the Mumbai Butter Chicken, Pork Banh Mi, and Polpette Marinara.
Pork Manh Mi
Our least favorite was the Italian style dish - not because the rice balls were not delicious, but because we didn't care for the sauce (personally). Neither of us are into olives - I only like them in my martinis and usually when they are stuffed with blue cheese or pimentos (yum!). However, if you are an olive lover I think you may want to check the Polpette Marinara out.
As for the butter chicken and the banh mi we each claimed one as "the best." I love Indian food, I will usually eat any meat as long as it's covered in curry so the butter chicken won my heart. Although I am a huge fan of ultra spicy foods - it's a recessive gene in some I think - my dad and I both claim our best meal ever was a spicy rice dish in Gettysburg, PA with ghost chilis that made us cry - I thought the mild spice of the butter chicken was extremely pleasant and not lacking any additional heat. Plus, it was so large I was able to take in a half for lunch the next day at work...awesome. T favored the pork banh mi, with it's bold flavor and fresh julianned veggies, it was a sensational mix of flavors and textures that was hard not to love. She also was able to bring it in for lunch - 2 meals for the price of one!
I think the last thing to bring up about Sauca was the great quality of the ingredients which made the whole experience really enjoyable. From the complex sauce down to the simple, fresh pita bread, each of our purchases was unique and delicious. Eating in-house was a great experience, but I don't think you need to venture into Virginia (unless you're already there) to experience it. Eating off the Sauca truck will give you the same flavor experience without spending the additional cash on gas.
I'd been wanting to try Sauca for awhile now - they have 5 trucks, which means they're doing something seriously right. The restaurant, for some reason, structurally reminded me of either an old diner or a Sonic - don't take this as a bad thing please! My favorite meal hands down was the Pork Bahn Mi. I'm such a sucker for Asian flavors and this was on par - the meat was sweet and veggies super crisp. The only complaint I could come up with was that when it came to reheating the next day the bread was a little hard and there weren't enough veggies for the leftover meat, however this was after microwaving which really doesn't do anything justice. I'm definitely going to go back and try the Buffalo and Mexican flavors but as E said, I'd probably just to the truck unless I'm feeling adventurous!
Also for your lovebirds out there...you can reserve this table for a romantic evening
Well I'm 10 days into my no-shopping July and home alone with my laptop. I purposely left my wallet in my room so that I wasn't temped to purchase anything, but here are a few things I'm lusting after right now...
Cupcakes are all the rage these days. Thinking of all the different places in DC - Baked&Wired, Georgetown Cupcake, Sprinkles, Hello Cupcake, Red Velvet, just to name a few - is enough to make your head spin. They also run anywhere from $2.50-$5 per cupcake, which is wild since a box of cake mix might be cheaper - and you'd get 24 cupcakes! Although cupcakes are more of a fun novelty than anything - they still rock, and I keep buying them. I needed a pick me up today during work and luckily for me Curbside Cupcakes (www.curbsidecupcakes.com and @CurbsideCupcake on Twitter) had one of their trucks down the street from my office! Their trucks, nicknamed Pinky 1 and Pinky 2 (which I love), are convenient mobile bakeries providing a much needed snack during the slow afternoon. Since it was a little late in the afternoon, the truck was low on flavors; however, I tried the Classic Vanilla which was was pretty good. My co-worker got the Key Lime Pie and said that the cake was okay but the standout was the icing - tangy and sweet with a great cake-to-icing ratio. Curbside cupcake wasn't my absolute favorite - that title may go to Baked&Wired mainly because of their outrageous flavors - but it definitely hit the spot. For $3, it was exactly what I needed in a convenient location - I would absolutely suggest you check them out!
After spending 5 1/2 weeks in Spain last year, I became an even bigger believer in the theory that a good meal can simply consist of appetizers. I LOVE apps. They're the best part of the meal, easily. Spanish tapas, served with small portions in an encouraged family-style sharing atmosphere really does make a meal more enjoyable. I'm also a huge fan of Greek tapas (as featured at Cava Mezze Grill - @cavamezze or @ChefDcava on Twitter). This past Friday BF and I headed out for tapas and sangria to celebrate the upcoming long weekend. After beginning with beers at RFD (810 7th Street NW), we headed down the street to La Tasca (@latascadc on Twitter). It wasn't as crowded as it normally is on a Friday night - I'm attributing this to the fleeing of the natives for the weekend) and we sort of scored prime seats downstairs at the smaller bar. We had to hang out around it for a bit until other people got up, but once they did we had a great time eating $3 tapas plates (I could LIVE on patatas bravas - although it would mean I'd have to spend every other waking moment at the gym!) and $15 pitchers of sangria, which comes in a variety of flavors. My personal favorite is Cava Sangria - a mix of sparkling wine, white grape juice and blueberries. Warning - I tried a blueberry once and it was NOT good. Really sour and hard. We also always get the extra alcohol (called a "booster shot" - extra brandy and triple sec) to throw in there as I really don't find the original to have a lot in it by itself. This time we got the original Sangria Tinta - red wine with apples and oranges, and three different types of tapas. It was the perfect small meal for two.
The seating is a bit of a challenge at La Tasca - definitely get there early if you want to take advantage of their Happy Hour prices (only available at the bar) as it overall is not a cheap dinner. Also, if you want to go for a nice meal I'd recommend choosing your own tapas and avoiding the set tasting menus - its so much nicer to mix and match and ends up being a little bit less, especially if there are only two of you. The other downside - no outdoor seating! The downstairs is very intimate though and really tries to bring Spain to the USA. I'll be going back and dragging E along with me!
Note from E - My little brother and I had the seafood paella at La Tosca when he visited DC. It rocked.
If you met me you probably wouldn't think I am a major fan of British Royalty. As an American patriot (much like Toby Keith) it is almost ironic that I have such affection for the Crown even though this nation was founded on a generally united (shout out to you, Loyalists!) disdain for it. I think it probably began when my mom took me to New York when I was tiny Emma to see Princess Diana. Since I was a little kid, I got up to the front, but my mom did not provide me with flowers to present to the Princess like the little girl next to me had. Princess Diana talked to her (what a bitch - the girl, NOT Diana), but she pretty much ignored me even though I like to pretend we made eye contact and she gave me a look of approval like, "oh hi Emma, I don't need to talk to you because I know you will be fab someday." Maybe that's why I am so awesome - probably not, but maybe.
Anyway, when it was Royal Wedding time I didn't think I would be as obsessed as I was with Ms. Kate Middleton - she had been in the news for years as William's girlfriend so I was sort of over it. When the day came I couldn't help myself, and and I got up to watch the wedding along with the other 2 billion Royal Watchers around the globe. Kate Middleton was gorgeous, and composed, and all of those lovely things, but then something happened for me that sort of made me fall in love with her - when she got out of the coach at Buckingham Palace she thanked the driver and aides who helped her with her dress. Some DC "power players" don't even take time to thank a waiter or their assistants, but for her, it seemed sort of like second nature. Fantastic.
Now she is in Canada - let's get down to it. Her clothes are perfect and she is beautiful (although sorry, Kate, you will never be as fierce as QE2), and although a little on the thin side, she is absolutely wearing the clothes - the clothes aren't wearing her. Let's discuss today's Canada Day outfit - the gorgeous white Reiss Dress (£159 ~$255) and the amazing red hat adorned with maple leaves. Additionally, she has a sparkling maple leaf broach on loan from The Queen. The dress, by the way, is a repeat of the one in her engagement photos, according to the Daily Mail (read more: http://bit.ly/mtCTT5), and it is welcomed back today as she looks appropriate and fabulous on her first official tour. I am so excited to see what she wears the rest of the trip, and I cannot wait until the day the newest royal couple joins us in DC (we got Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall in early May and Prince Edward was also in town recently ps). As much as I hate to admit it, I will probably be joining the masses in the streets just hoping to get a glimpse of them. Until then, I will sign off - well at least until she wears another fab outfit...
God Save the Queen (and the Future Queen)
PS: Harry, for the last time, I am just not in the mood for another trip to Ibiza this weekend. Stop asking, I need to celebrate America.