Christmas Goose!

Ha, I wish.  I’m on the phone with my mother now, and we’ve planned Christmas dinner:

Green Beans and feta

Cider braised Collards

Mustard and sugar glazed ham

This recipe, but with lamb, and altered somewhat

Macaroni and Cheese

Creamed Potatoes

Bo-ring.  I would also like to point out that I asked for pomegranate and lamb, and my mtoher told me no one (ie my grandparents) would eat it.  Then my sister found the recipe above, which bears a striking resemblance to the one I originally had in mind.  And suddenly, we’re having lamb!

Sigh.

Thankfully, I’ve started planning my new year’s/football watching menu- i will be holed up in Baltimore with Lou, drinking and watching football.  I think New Year’s Day will be this.

Advertisements

taco bell, and a small digression into bbq


Taco Bell is one of my dirty little secrets. It’s terrible for you, not very tasty, full of salt, and generally is just awful. But it reminds me of my childhood. Fast food was a rare treat with my mom, so with my grandparents, we did what any normal children would do and gorged ourselves. On the weekends we stayed with them, my grandmother, tired of my and my grandfather’s ham-fisted attempts at cooking (the chicken grease muffins are a story for a later date,) would send him out to get something for dinner. My sister and I, being about 7 and 9 at the time, alternated between Taco Bell and Pizza Hut (with an occasional McDonald’s cinnamon roll thrown in for breakfast on Sunday.)

I explained this to VT and he pointed out that when I get stressed or grumpy, I have a tendency to hit Taco Bell. Point taken. As a result, I limit my Taco Bell intake to once every three months.

I broke that rule last night.

Some time ago, I received an e-mail from VT:
“i trust you will be joining me at this event?”

with the following attached:

My response?
“holy shit! i am SO there. if this is a joke, I’m going to be pissed beyond belief.”

So, yesterday, I met VT outside of Cannon, and we walked with another one of his coworkers into the Rayburn cafeteria for free Taco Bell.

I have never worked on the Hill in the classic sense. I worked for a non-profit that’s located on the Hill, but I have never worked in a Senate, House or Committee office, and I have NO intention of ever doing so. Yesterday, i was dressed for work in a denim jacket, tank top, and bubble skirt. That is basically the highest level of formality my job requires. I was wearing flip flops, but in a concession to the occasion, switched to flats. Things like that don’t work on the Hill.

I do LOVE Hill receptions though, which is why I’m glad VT (for the time being) works there. Free beer. Free taco bell. Did I mention the free beer?


I got into an argument with one of VT’s coworkers, a Grade-A bullshitter who tried to convince me that barbecue had originated in Vermont. “We use artisanal pigs,” he said.

“You can use artisanal pigs for barbecue. It’s made from hogs,” I replied.

This led to a discussion of the major fault lines in barbecue- wet vs. dry, pork vs. beef, and most importantly, ketchup vs. vinegar. I, being from NC, come down on the wet, porky, vinegary side. I also might have referenced this map of SC barbecue.

I later resumed this discussion with a friend from Texas, who clearly came down on the exact oppossite side. Poor saps. They don’t know what they’re missing down there.

thursday funday: virginia is for lovers.

For some fathomless reason, I found myself in Virginia again last night.

Actually, that’s a lie. Lala got off work early and wanted to go see Gina, so off we went. It kept me from going to Target 2 days in a row, which is probably a good thing. Seeing as we had to cross the river, we decided we were “on vacation.” We headed over to EatBar, and I waded a bit deeper into their pork-y goodness- in this case, bacon wrapped figs with marscapone,

Delicious no?

followed by mini burgers (they were too big to be sliders) with red onion relish/compote and mac and cheese.

Lala also ordered a side of wild mushrooms, which she combined with the mac and cheese, thus ruining it in my eyes. Worked for her though.
We indulged in some cocktails too- the Alchemist (St. Germaine, rye, Cointreau and lemon) for Lala
and Gnome’s Water (Hendrick’s, Cucumber, and Lavender) for me. Drinking something called “Gnome’s Water” reminds me of my childhood- specifically the part where my aunt used to tell my sister that her cup of water was actually monkey breath water.

(I also had a Miller High Life, because it’s the champagne of beers)

Gina + gnome= instant fun

Gina finished her shift early, and we went to the LA Bar and Grill. What. a. place. It was like being in my pothead friend’s attic in 8th grade. All that was missing was the blacklight mushroom poster on the wall. Seriously.

That being said, we did have a rip-roarin’ good time. ThursdayFunday/vacation did involve almost being hit by a swarthy asshole in a Benz, while crossing IN THE CROSS WALK WITH THE LIGHT, who then got upset and honked at us when I stood in front of his car, pointed to the “walk” sign, and then flicked him off.

Lala and I, back when we were neighbors would regularly engage in “SundayFunday” where we’d go to brunch, drink for the next 12-14 hours, and stumble home. I had a terrible job then and it helped take the edge off Mondays. Now that 1) we’re no longer neighbors and 2) football season is over, our SundayFundays have become few and far between. Last night, however, we decided that not only is Thursday the new Friday, but it shall henceforth be known as ThursdayFunday. Seeing as my last 2 Thursdays involved 1) six hours of drinking at Saint-Ex and 2) a night with theblondebombshell at Indebleu that ended with me waking up Friday morning hungover with my bedroom floor covered in mulch, I think “ThursdayFunday” is an appropriate designation.

weekend eating overload, i solve my egg issue

I did a LOT of eating this weekend. Which really, isn’t different from most weekends. Only this time I checked out a couple of new places. I’ve already filled you in on on Friday, so let’s skip to Saturday.

After hunting around most of the day and coming up with zilch for my sister’s birthday present, I went to Momo’s sports bar (above Cafe Nema) with Shmee to watch the end of the Duke-NC State game. I had no intention of watching this game, as I thought it would be an easy win for Duke. Then my almost-8-year-old cousin, daughter of a NC State alum, called to trash talk me. So I decided I’d better watch. Momo’s food was unremarkable- Shmee and I split spinach dip, and I had a chicken quesadilla. Shmee, however, in her confirming her status as the world’s most easy-to-eat-with vegetarian, had a “burger.”



Yes, that’s right. There is no meat between those buns. Only onion rings and burger fixin’s. This is why I love her. (Apologies for the poor photo quality.)

Saturday night, we planned to take in the hockey game (seems fitting, no?) but through a series of minor issues, Shmee ended up going, while I was left with a few hours to kill before she and I met up at Marvin. I decided to bite the bullet, and head on out to Clarendon to see Gina. Since her (in my humble opinon) rather ignominious dismissal from Rasika, she’s been at Eatbar/Tallula in Clarendon. Swallowing my IMMENSE disdain for suburbs in general, and NoVa in particular, I headed out to sample the wares.

The place was PACKED. Sadly, it was packed full of what I consider a stereotypical NoVa crowd- lots of button down shirts, 99.9% white, and overall, not very interesting or friendly. Gina was behind the bar with three other guys- Brian, and two others whose names escape me- they were all quite amicable, and popped down to my end of the bar to check on me often, despite being 4-5 deep in some places. (And it wasn’t just me, I watched them do this up and down the bar.) The food was delicious. Mini burgers (too big to be sliders, too small for a regular burger), a risotto fritter with some sort of spicy green pesto, mac and cheese with poblano peppers, another pepper stuffed with chorizo and goat cheese, as well as large plates with things like pork cheek and cheese grits. EatBar also offers a pasta of the day, soup of the day, and…..BACON OF THE DAY. That’s right.

BACON. OF. THE. DAY.

I didn’t try it, but I cannot wait to go back and sample. Any place with a bacon of the day can’t be half bad. Overall, I think my impression is best summed up by the text I sent a friend as I left: “I love this place…minus the clientele.” I’ll also be back to try the red wine brownie.

Went to Marvin, afterwards, Solly’s, and Ooh’s and Aahs. I just drank though, so I won’t bore you with the details. That brings me to Sunday afternoon.

After missing the farmer’s/farmers’ market (oops) I emerged from my house in the mood to re-cap my evening with Shmee (who left me unsupervised at Marvin to go home….never a good idea) over Sunday brunch, SATC-style. Since she is the world’s best vegetarian, I let her pick wherever she wanted to go, and we ended up at Ulah Bistro on U, right by the 13th street Metro exit.

Shmee went with chocolate chip pancakes, and I had Eggs Chesapeake. “belmontmedina, you hate eggs! Why would you order that?!,” you may ask.

Well. I solved my egg issue, at least for brunch. I had Eggs Chesapeake (English muffin, crab, hollandaise, poached egg) without the eggs! All the good, none of the ew! Shmee pointed out that hollandaise is pretty much egg sauce. I pointed out that even though she couldn’t eat French Toast, because it had eggs, she was eating pancakes, which also contain eggs. We then agreed to not discuss our weird food preferences.

Ulah wasn’t very crowded, and the service was attentive without being overbearing. Furthermore, for coffee, diet Coke, juice, pancakes, Eggs Chesapeake and 2 orders of home fries (TO DIE FOR), our tab was only $40, including tax and tip. I might have to make it my new Sunday brunch spot, if only for those potatoes.

That wraps up my weekend. I didn’t make the red velvet cake, but as today is my grandfather’s birthday, I will be headed out IMMEDIATELY after work to make him lasagna, salad, and red velvet cake.

Wednesday Food Round-up

Frank Bruni gives Central Michel Richard some love [New York Times]
I have a crippling meatball obsession. This recipe will not help [New York Times]
A memoir about English food? Sounds better than you’d think. [New York Times]
Georgetown Cupcake…they’re right, Cakelove’s cupcakes are dry [Washington Post]
D’Vine Bakery in Shaw…”lemony sweet potato pie” baked by a woman from South Carolina? Count me in. [Washington Post]
Day of the Pig! [San Francisco Chronicle]
Am I the only one in the world who LOVES beans? Guess not. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Also, this is enough to make you lose your appetite. Boy, we are a fat, fat country.

why didn’t you call me: german edition

Okay, so this isn’t really “why didn’t you call me?” Mainly because (being the good friend he is) VT actually invited me over for dinner.

A bit of background- his mom is from Germany, (Berlin, I believe) and as such, he’s fluent in German, and has a distinct love (read: obsession) with German food, German soccer, German/German-speaking girls, etc. In another bit of trivia, as it turns out, my mom, aunt, and uncle grew up in Germany, a result of my grandfather’s army post there. As a result, I grew up noshing on German food, thanks to my mom and grandmother. In fact, I distinctly remember a 2 week period of my life where I came home from AM kindergarten and my grandmother made me schnitzel every day for lunch. After 2 weeks of that, she rebelled, not that I blame her.

Back to the story. I showed up at VT’s condo (blessedly only a few blocks from my abode) with a bottle of Riesling and some Russian black rye bread in tow. Not that we needed wine. I got a Hefeweizen out of the fridge, plopped on the couch, and let him go to work.

The results? DELICIOUS
We had the bread, and some half pork-half veal sausages known colloquially in Berlin as currywurst. Traditionally, the sausages are served with some sort of cumin/chili spiked ketchup, which VT attempted to recreate. I was not impressed, but only because I loathe ketchup. He really came through on the spicy horseradish mustard though…

(Apologies for the poor photo quality, all I had was my camera phone.) When that says “extra hot,” Inglehoffer is NOT lying. I think we were both coughing and possibly tearing a little through dinner. (Although in my case, it might have had something to do with the fact that Duke lost to Miami and the game was NOWHERE to be found, because we had to watch a vomiting VA Tech team beat the Terps instead. But I digress)

Clearly we’re going to have to break out the schnitzel-pounding mallet for the next round.

Urbana

I used to work on the corner of 22nd and P (no, NOT at the Fireplace). As such, I wandered around that bit of Dupont quite often- Alberto’s for lunch, Soho Tea and Coffee, Naan and Beyond (although the L Street location, close to my office now, is much better- apparently we can’t relocate unless it’s within a one block distance of Naan and Beyond.) I made it a point to hit the happy hour at Urbana, the restaurant attached to the Hotel Palomar.

I remember Palomar and Urbana when they were the Hotel Radisson and Gabriel, respectively. This came up in conversation with VT and LB over dinner at Urbana last night. After an absolutely HORRID day at work (although, it’s taken me six monthes to have my first truly bad day, so I suppose I ought not complain) I went over to PS7 for several glasses of champagne. (Worth noting- PS7 has happy hour from 5 until 7 with a couple of $4 wines along with discounted prices on the signature cocktails and bar snacks, including the first and only hot dog I’ve eaten since I was about 6 years old) While I made friends at the bar, LB, who has also been having a terrible time at work, made her way in from Virgina to meet me, and we ended up at Urbana with VT. Several years ago, I dragged LB and a few of my other friends to Gabriel for dinner. I think they were ready to kill me by the time it was over- The food was TERRIBLE and overpriced, although I very much enjoyed my “Mexican pizza.”

Thankfully, Urbana has none of these problems. They have a lovely happy hour that I used to hit quite often with Ace after work- cheap wines by the the glass, pizza and cocktails at the bar. Last night, I settled on swiss chard and ricotta ravioli with bacon and a glass of one of my favorite wines, a Costamolina Vermentino. VT and LB both opted for a pizza with Pecorino Romano, prosciutto, and arugula (most of which i picked of VT’s pizza and ate.) I tend to forget about Urbana, because it’s kind of tucked in on a part of P street I don’t frequent too often. I’m glad I did last night. We skipped dessert, and after I beat MP# at a game of rock paper scissors (the best way to make all decisions in life) we went to the Big Hunt for some beer.

In other news, I’ll be here on January 29th, if you’re looking for me. I might even take my mom.