Sunday, September 21, 2014

Chez Dior Senegalese Restaurant

Chez Dior Senegalese Restaurant

5124 Baltimore Avenue, Hyattsville Maryland 20781
Phone (240) 696-5907


Dined on September 18, 2014 (dinner)

Restaurant Chez Dior boasts "African Dining and Catering in an agreeable environment." The environment is very agreeable. You are greeted warmly as you enter and the comfortable decor is rich and vibrant with African art; not at all kitschy.

Succulent, flavorsome foods of Africa

logo from Chez Dior facebook page

For dinner at Chez Dior I ate Thiebou diene with red rice. This is a traditional Senegalese dish with herb stuffed white fish in a tomato stew served with rice ad mix vegetables. This description is direct from the menu but the dish looked nothing like my mind had conjured up. I was expecting much more tomato broth type stew with chopped veggies floating in it. To my great surprise and satisfaction the Thiebou diene as served was nothing like I imagined. (see below). It was truly a stew. The vegetables were crazy delicious--eggplant, carrot, okra, yucca, (something else I've forgotten). The thick and flavorful white fish may have been stuffed with herbs but it was also wrapped in kale, and uniquely flavored. I really, really liked the fish. The mountain of red rice was served with a lime on top and tamarind seasonings bursting with tasty goodness served on the side (It had the actual tamarind seeds in it). The rice was excellent on its own.



Because the portion of rice was so huge, I took most of it home for leftovers. The next  morning I made the delicious breakfast posted here.

Merci beaucoup Restaurant Chez Dior for the delectable dinner and breakfast!


Chow!
food chick


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Friday, September 19, 2014

Breakfast Fusion



Yummy breakfast. Senegalese red rice w/ chopped fried egg and mushroom served with mizuna. So tasty! All flavors compliment each other. Great textures.

Chow!
food chick

~~:~~
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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Happy Sunday

It has been a Happy Sunday. The weather is gorgeous. I've stolen a few minutes for myself to just sit and soak up some sun-rays. That feels sooo very good!

I seriously considered returning to Le Diplomate for brunch but decided to head to MOM's (My Organic Market) instead and pick up stuff to make brunch.

The spread: Edesia's Mimosa small-batch ice cream, Grindstone Neck of Maine smoked mussels, Homestead Farms tomatoes and garlic, Olivia's spinach, Seedlander crisp breads, Applegate uncured Genoa salami, Sartori basil & olive oil asiago cheese.

I dropped by Bowie's Farm Market specifically to get Edesia's small batch ice cream. I was hoping for roasted pistachio ice cream but they did not have it. Instead they had Mimosa ice cream. Even better! Perfect for brunch, right?


Edesia' Mimosa ice cream, fresh sauteed spinach w/ garlic cloves,
grape tomatoes, and smoke mussels.


Chow!
food chick

~~:~~
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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Le Diplomate DC-- Yes, believe the hype

Le Diplomate

1601 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009 (202) 332-3333
lediplomatedc.com


Le Diplomate has been a hot spot in DC since it opened in April 2013, by noted Philadelphia restaurateur Stephen Starr. I have passed the place many times but never had a desire to go in because it was always packed with a sizable crowd outside waiting to be seating inside. Too, Le Diplomate has been seriously hyped by the media and DC foodies. I have been disappointed more often than not by restaurants and eateries that received a lot of hype.

This time around I was not disappointed. I lucked into an 11:45 am, Sunday brunch reservation (next available spot was 2:30 pm) and even found parking quickly just four blocks away.

Food
I ordered the Trout Amandine (sorry no photo), which was probably the most perfectly prepared Trout Amandine I have ever had. The trout was flavorful and perfectly cooked, the green beans tasty and crisp but not hard, and the gazillion almonds on top of the fish were toasted to perfection. So so yummy. I savored every single bite of this dish.

I was torn between ordering the Trout Amandine and the Smoked Salmon Tartine so my dining companion graciously ordered the Smoked Salmon Tartine so that I could taste some. A very smart decision on his part :) . It was beautifully displayed with roe, capers, boiled egg garnish, and crème fraîche on top of a toasted baguette.


The complimentary bread basket had a wonderful and hearty cranberry walnut bread and some equally hearty wheat bread. Both were solid and textured, Le Diplomate does a great job on its breads.

We kept seeing plates of food go by with delicious looking roasted potatoes so we inquired and our waiter said it was Lyonnaise potatoes, so we ordered a side. Mmm. Perfect compliment to both of our meals.

For beverages we both had iced tea, it was weak but still refreshing because it was cold.

Our waiter tempted us into having dessert and we shared the artistically beautiful Baba au Rhum--a yeast cake soaked in rum. It was good, full of rum flavor but not something I would get again.


I am a fan of Le Diplomate and I cannot wait to go back to try some of the other menu items. I especially want to try the mussels mariniere and see if Le Diplomate's version can dethrone Montmartre mussels mariniere, which I think are the best mussels in all of DC.

Chow!
food chick


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Le Diplomate on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Difference A Day Makes

Yesterday I felt a lot like this.

http://www.list.co.uk/article/58952-edinburgh-based-jonathan-owen-exhibits-at-ingleby-gallery/

...Don't know why, I just did.

Today is a different day (thank gawd!). Sunny. Cool, cool breezes...a simply glorious day. And I feel good!

Beautiful Maryland morning.



Chow!
food chick

~~:~~
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Victory's Banner: Good & Healthy in Chicago

Victory's Banner

2100 W Roscoe St., Chicago, IL 60618 (773)665-0227
(Corner of Roscoe & Hoyne Sts.)
victorysbanner.com/

Dined late June 2014

Victory's Banner...Go. You will eat healthy foods, organic foods, and whole foods full of flavor. I was in the area for 5 days and ate here 3 times and got food to go. Yes, I am a fan. I wish it was here in DC area.

The staff is kind and attentive. The restaurant is smallish but they accommodated my party of 10 no problem. Victory Banner always has plenty of patrons seated inside and outside, each of the 3 times I visited I was seated quickly.

The Food

Lemon lentil soup - divine, aromatic, delicious. So good I go it to go on another visit.

Pancakes with yogurt and fresh raspberry and tasty homemade granola - perfect pancakes--light, tasty...good, hearty breakfast.

Omelet: I made my own with spinach and mushrooms. Good omelet. Fabulous breakfast potatoes! Hearty bread served as side was good, it also came with the lentil soup.



What I tasted and looooved:

Breakfast Burrito: A tortilla stuffed with 2 scrambled eggs, mushroom, red onion, red peppers, gouda, black beans and sour cream. Organic salsa & brown rice on the side.

I needed more days in Chicago because on my next visit I was going to order my very own Breakfast Burrito. I had tasted it on one occasion, then shared about 1/3 of one on another visit. They are big and delicious...not salty, you can taste the individual ingredients.

Victory's Banner was recently voted in top 18 of Chicago's best brunch spots, but it often makes #1 on Chicago's best breakfast/brunch lists. The praise and acknowledgements are well deserved, plus Victory's Banner is a great lunch spot, too.

Good eatin'

Chow!
food chick

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Victory's Banner on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 14, 2014

Vietnamese sandwich shop: Banh Mi & Co.

Banh Mi & Co

2057 W. Roscoe St. Chicago, IL 60618 • (773)360-7266
banhmiandco.com



Banh Mi & Co. features Vietnamese sandwiches and soups. According to wikipedia Bánh mì is a Vietnamese term for all kinds of bread.The Roscoe Village location is tiny with two wood tables, each with two chairs, and a walk up counter for ordering. The food is made to order, so you can be seated and your food will be brought to your table. There is also outdoor seating-- sidewalk cafe style. The two ladies working in the shop were happy, friendly, and helpful with answering questions.

The Food

Black Mushroom Vegetarian Soup
Vegetarian stock served with black mushrooms, cabbage, carrots, white and green onion topped with crispy fried onions. Your choice of rice noodles or white rice.

I liked my soup well enough. If there were a Banh Mi & Co. near me I would get this again.


My dining companion had the Pork Rolls Sandwich.
Pork rolls and pate. Served with cucumber, pickled carrots and daikon, cilantro, jalapeno, soy sauce, black pepper and mayo on a fresh baked baguette.

He gives it a 4 out 5 stars, and would order again but not before he tried something else on the menu.


I had a pleasant dining experience at Banh Mi. None of the popular sandwiches appeal to me because they are all meat, mainly pork and a beef and a chicken option. If I had the opportunity I would dine here again to try the spring rolls or some of Bahn Mi's vegan options.

Chow!
food chick

~~:~~
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Banh Mi & Co on Urbanspoon

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Gingered Kale for Breakfast

Breakfast was tasty-licious! 
Gingered Lacinato Kale, Hannah sweet potato, fresh strawberries, multi-grain french toast, applewood-smoked bacon.


  • Veggies and fruit from Mom's Organic Market, all organic.
  • Arnold's multi-grain bread (Wegman's)
  • Wegman's organic uncured applewood-smoked bacon. (Wegman's)
  • The Ginger People organic crystallized ginger. (Mom's Organic Market)



How to prepare the Lacinato Kale


Wash greens. Either cut out thick part of stem, then chop greens or tear leafy greens from the stem. I cooked a bunch of Lacinato Kale, I'm guessing it was about 3 cups chopped.

Chop 6-7 pieces of crystallized ginger.

Pour a little olive oil in a saucepan, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Consider the amount of greens you have; this is a light saute, you don't want oily greens. Add greens.

Heat saucepan with greens on medium-low heat.

Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of Balsamic Fig Vinegar (Sapore Artisanal Oils and Vinegars).

Add not quite a 1/4 of water.

Sprinkle with two (2) teaspoons of ground ginger and one (1) teaspoon of garlic powder.

Toss to combine, and stir as greens cook down.

Toss/stir in crystallized ginger.

Continue to saute until liquid is gone, greens are limp but not mushy.

Chow!
food chick

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hooray, It's Veggie Day!

I am loving my organic vegetables received each week from Homestead Farms--a community supported family farm, in Millington, Maryland.

Let me just say the basil in this week's stash smells sooooo GOOD! I can't quit sniffing it :)

This is not the first time I have bought shares of vegetables from a farm but it is the best experience due to flexibility from the farm, ease of pickup, communication from the farm (email, newsletter), and use of technology to change my membership--size of share, pickup location, cancel if out of town, etc.

I love vegetables and often eat whole vegetarian meals, which makes the veggie CSA program perfect for me. The one bad thing about getting veggies from the CSA is I cook a lot more instead of eating out. After all, I'm food chick... the one who eats out a lot and shares commentary on her dining experience. Truly though, eating out less is a good thing because I save money and trust me I eat a lot healthier and tastier meals when cooking at home.

Being a shareholder in the CSA and receiving my weekly dividend of fresh, intense flavored, organic vegetables feels like I'm getting a wonderful present every week. 

Sunday, my veggie supply is low and I'm itching to know what I'm getting for the new week. I'm excited for Veggie Day!

The week of June 17, 2014 bought me:

Clockwise from the left:
Beet Greens, Fennel, Dandelion Greens, Patty Pan Squash, Romaine Lettuce, Buttercrunch Lettuce, Kale (it is so pretty), uber-fragrant Basil, and Garlic Scapes.


CSA = community supported agriculture


Chow!
food chick

~~:~~
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Friday, June 6, 2014

Stressful Dining: Republic

Republic

6939 Laurel Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912 • 301-270-3000
http://www.republictakoma.com/

Dined here for brunch on May 18, 2014

I should have turned around at the door when I realized I was walking into a children's playground. Waiting to be seated, in front of me were 3 adults with 4 kids all under the age of five. Behind me in line was a couple with a baby in arms and a boy of about 4 years of age. Already seated about the restaurant were four parties (two of them large parties) with lots of kids. The restaurant was not full but it was noisy with kids chirping, babies crying and one screaming parent at the only table that gave a damn about teaching its kids proper restaurant behavior.

No matter where we were seated, in the restaurant, we were going to be a near a party with children unless we sat at the bar or took up one table that seated 4 people. We were seated next to a table with 6 adults and 4 bad-as-hell kids, and a couple with a quiet little boy (3 or 4 years) who never left his chair.

Atmosphere aside the service was good. The menu choices at brunch are few but decent enough I guess. You couldn't dine here often for brunch or you'd get bored.

Food
The quality of our meal was all over the place...very disjointed.

Ancient Grain Salad: Mmm, mmm good! Quinoa, wild rice, pistachios, a hint of mint, tossed in pomegranate vinaigrette (truly it tasted like raspberry vinaigrette), topped with crispy shallots.

Oyster Po' Boy: Oyster sandwich with Lettuce, Pickles, Tartar Sauce and Lemon. My dining companion said the oysters were not great but the stuff put on the sandwich tasted good and therefore made this an okay sandwich.

Roasted potatoes: Good, tasty, nice seasoning; a little oily.

BBQ-Butter Shrimp: read below. Egg with Barbeque Butter-Poached Gulf Shrimp, served with greens on top of herb toast.

The food is where things got very bad for me. My egg was cooked opposite of the way I ordered it, it was barely past being liquid yolk. Disgusting! Especially since the waitress said she could control how the egg was cooked if I explained how I liked it. I said over hard, bust the yolk and cook it solid, make the egg crispy and I'd like it. I could not eat that wet, runny yolk so I gave it to my dining companion.

My meal--the BBQ-Butter Shrimp-- wasn't served hot, it was barely warm. I had a few bites and said, "This might be good if it was hot." Then I tasted a few pieces of shrimp and exclaimed: the shrimp is awful...it is chemically tasting. I began pushing it aside. That's when I realized most of it was not fully cooked, several pieces were primarily translucent. I had not noticed that initially because the shrimp was buried under the sauce and greens. I ate what I could of this entree leaving the shrimp on my plate.

I did show and tell the waitress about the under-cooked shrimp. I told her "I don't want you to do anything about it except tell the cook so that this doesn't happen again, cooked shrimp should not be translucent." The waitress took that plate and said she would tell the chef. Several minutes later she came back, apologized and stated: We can't do anything about this now but we are giving you a serving of the Ancient Grains to go. [Readers: Remember I said I did not expect anything to be done, nothing to be corrected, my request was to tell the cook who she called chef].

I did get the Ancient Grains to go. I enjoyed it immensely later in the day with avocado.

FYI: The brunch items are reasonably priced but the coffee and iced tea are over-priced at $4.25 and $3.25 respectively.

Would I recommend Republic? No
Would I ever go back to Republic? No

Between the so-so food and the rude pre-occuppied with their smart phones parents and their ill-behaved children hanging out in the aisles, tapping my chair, stopping and staring at us while we ate, Republic was a stressful and unpleasant experience.

Chow!
food chick

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Dandelion Greens

Wow you go dandelions.


 "...dandelion greens rank high on the nutritional barometer, surpassing both spinach and broccoli in nutritional value." -- Specialty Store android app. Read more


Last night for dinner I prepared the dandelions greens received from my weekly Homestead Gardens CSA veggie stash. They were simple to prepare but a little more work than most greens that I eat.  My dandelion greens were young and tender with skinny stems most of which were already removed, and the greens were very clean.

Preparation:
Soak for 10 minutes in cold water with 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Drain. Soaking reduces the bitterness of the greens.

Sauteed Dandelion Greens

Cooking:
  • Cut up greens.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil with 1 teaspoon of sea salt. The size of pot and the amount of water depends on the amount greens you have. 
  • Add greens, cook greens 3 to 4 minutes or until tender.
  • Drain, then sit aside to cool.

Cut up white mushrooms (and onion if you have it, I had none unfortunately). Saute mushrooms (low heat) in olive oil and one pat of unsalted butter. When mushroom is cooked, add in dandelions greens, tossing greens around to cover with the olive oil, butter, and mushroom liquid. Then add lots of garlic powder (I was lazy did not feel like peeling and chopping garlic); saute it all together (low heat). Serve as a side dish.

I used my sauteed dandelion greens dish to top tortellini pasta served alongside grilled salmon with Herbs de Provence seasoning. It was such a pretty plate of food, I forgot to get a photo.

The dandelion greens were very good, and tender; not at all bitter. 

I did not find the dandelion greens to be as flavorful as spinach or kale, especially lacinato kale. I was thankful the dandelions were not tough and shockingly bitter as I remembered from my youth when my dad thought it would be a good idea for us to eat dandelions. I don't think I had eaten dandelions since.



Chow!
food chick

~~:~~
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

food chick chatter - May 22

Hey! Good Morning to you.

Last night I met a 6'11" man named Mustafah. My girlfriend is going to make him her "boo" *cracking up*

Also, last night I danced to reggae/dancehall music, I love to dance! And I am a music fanatic. The house reggae band was on break but a DJ was playing great tunes. I had the entire dance floor to my myself and was doin' my thing getting lost in the tunes. A man joined me on the dance floor and began to lead me in Swing dance. I don't really know Swing but I can fake the footwork, I dance Salsa . The fancy arm tricks, and turns are the same in the two dances. It was sooooo much fun Swing/Salsa dancing to reggae, and dancehall. A girl watching from the sidelines saw how much fun we were having and came over, looked at me and said, "I love Swing, can he do two?" I knew what she meant, our male lead didn't hear the question over the loud tunes so I repeated it for him. He smiled and granted our request by leading two ladies simultaneously through spins, turns, passes and more. We danced, spun, twirled, and laughed. Good people, good vibes.

For the last week, a woodpecker has been pecking at my house. It is VERY annoying and drives me CRAZY! He has an entire forest to peck the hell out of, leave my house alone you dumb (but very beautiful) bird! I know him/her pecking at the house means an insect problem for me but I can't deal with that right now. Too much other pressing stuff going on.

I'm craving Rappahanock Oyster's Tuna Tataki.

Oh I made a great tasting salad for breakfast--baby arugula, red and green leaf lettuce, matchstick sweet carrots, and Craisins tossed in a tiny bit of Organicville French Dressing. Arugula and lettuce courtesy of Homestead Farms, Millington, Md. They are supplying my veggies for the spring/summer harvest via this CSA program.

I think I am going to make a bigger effort...well effort, to learn Swing dancing. I looked into it before but my option was to go on a Friday night. That is usually Kizomba night. I really, really miss Latin Hustle lessons. That dance can fit any music and fold into other dances quite well. I just need a good lead who is able to do the fusion dance thing.

You know what I hate? I hate the Arboretum is no longer open every day of the year except Christmas. The National Arboretum is a not only a place of beautiful trees, plants, meadows, and wildlife, it is a wonderful place to bike, picnic, and take long contemplative walks. It's my favorite place to go in DC.

NPR All Songs Considered Question Of The Week: What's Your Go-To Windows-Down Song?
Love Plus One
by Haircut 100. Riding down a country road or on a winding road through a forest, in my road-trip car, this totally rocks!

My mom called. I guess I gotta call her back.

Chow!
food chick

What I'm listening to: Soukous...love it!
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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ugh...Allergies!

This is not the day I had planned. It started off well. I made a fresh pot of coffee--doctored up the icky Zeke's coffee with cardamom and nutmeg to create a tasty cup of coffee. Made myself a yummy breakfast with my veggie stash from Homestead Farms.

The delicious, organic veggie sauté consisted of baby bok choy, tender baby turnips, sweet onion and mushroom. My taste buds were thrilled and my tummy full, so I was all set to start my day. I stepped outside and Wham! I was hit full-force with tickled-scratchy throat, burning nasal passages, eyes that wanted to fall shut, headache; and, the onset of itchy skin. No, no...I cannot take another day of this. About face! I turned and went back into the house.

I have spent the last 40 minutes fixing myself. Rinsed off in the shower to remove allergens; flushed eyes with Alcon Tears Naturale Free; performed a rather lengthy nasal rinse; and, gingerly applied hydrogen peroxide drops to my ears. I don't have an ear infection but since the weekend, one of my nagging allergy symptoms has been a "tickle" feeling in my ears to accompany the tickled nasal passages and throat.


Aren't people supposed to grow out of allergies? I grew into mine and the symptoms get worse every year.

Signed,
Hibernating in spring

food chick


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Super Mario - Food Art by Daryna Kossar

This takes patience.



Chow!
food chick

~~:~~
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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sweet Treats at Union Market

Union Market
1309 5th St NE, Washington, DC 20002
Hours: Tues-Fri 11-8, Sat-Sun 8-8
website: http://unionmarketdc.com/

Co Co Sala Artisanal Chocolates

I stop by Co Co Sala to have the beautifully designed, creamy Pistachio Kulfi. It is the perfect thing to top off lunch. There is a lot of flavor in this little 1-inch square treat--the cardamon taste comes through strong right along with the pistachio flavor.

Last week I tried the Chocolate Enrobed Bacon. Yes BACON enrobed in chocolate. Nomnomnomnomnom! Guess what? The bacon is applewood smoked!



Dolcezza Gelato Factory

My newest pleasure when visiting Union Market is the Dolcezza Gelato Factory, right outside of Union Market. Mmmm...their gelato is creamy, fresh, and just good; not icky sweet. Truly refreshing. I have been to Dolcezza three times in less than one month. There may be a slight addiction happening here. Soon I will try something other than the Salted Caramel Gelato but right now I have a serious love affair with that flavor. Visit Dolcezza Factory website for hours of operation.

550 Penn St. NE., Washington, DC
Dolcezza has a gelato stand inside Union Market as well.


Chow!
food chick

~~:~~
Eat, drink, be merry and validate for parking (TM)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Scenes from Funk Parade DC

Funk Parade was held May 3, 2014, in the Shaw neighborhood of N.W., Washington, DC.

source: funkparade website
funkparade.com


Photos: Washington, DC
I wanted to share these photos first thing Sunday morning but I had major technology problems that prevented me from accessing the photos. I ended up sharing many of the photos on twitter but there are still a few that are only posted here.

Funkateer plays Brazilian Cuica
I had such a good time at DC's U Street neighborhoods inaugural Funk Parade. 

Two words to describe it are: BIG FUN.

Myself and fellow Funkateers were cheering, chanting, and dancing as we marched up Vermont, to V Street and back down Ben Ali way to U street. Music for the parade was provided in many forms: Ballou High School Marching Band, several professional artists played traditional/well-known instruments, various parade participants played spoons, banged on buckets, shook rattles and maracas, and played unique instruments. I enjoyed seeing BicyleSPACE cyclists riding and blasting vintage funk music from a super-duper boom box.








U Street scenes and festivities:
Mural at alley-way where graffiti artists were at work


Graffiti/mural artists in the midst of creating


 Parade spectator with funky shoes


U Street Funkateers playing hard core funk music in the 1300 blk. 
They had massive particles of funk.


 Batala All Women Percussion Band at staging area waiting for Funk Parade to begin.


Ballou High School Marching Band, Washington, DC led the parade.


Everyone came all out for this event. People on roof tops, streets lined with spectators, and plenty of Funkateers marching for "One Love" and community.

 Funkateer

Funkateer in Ben Ali Way shaking an African instrument.


The parade marches down Ben Ali Way in front of the Godfather of Go-Go Chuck Brown mural.

FlashMop getting down and funky.
"FLASH MOP is DC's lean, mean (-- actually, pretty friendly), pop-up, civic clean-machine."


Batala All Women Percussion Band = phenomenal show-stoppers


I don't know how many musicians were in the Batala Band but there were A LOT. As the parade was winding down and Batala DC made it to U Street, the ladies commanded attention as they got down hard & funky playing at the entrance of a U street alley-way. The Batala DC performance caused folks to stop, and gather, and fill U Street! Batala DC are must see performers!


DC folks get funky and fill U Street blocking the westbound lanes, 1300 block U Street, DC.



Funky Divas dance in the westbound lanes of U Street.



I look forward to next year's DC Funk Parade.

The Mothership has landed.
Source: rollingstone.com
Parliament Mothership


Chow!
food chick

~~:~~
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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Romance, The Prom...and fried chicken?

Talk about doing weird $hit with food: the fried chicken corsage...

source: The Thrillist



I really have no other comments.

Chow!
food chick


~~:~~
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Acqua Al 2 Italian Food in DC

Acqua Al 2

212 7th Street Southeast, Washington DC, 20003 • (202) 525-4375
http://acquaal2dc.com/

Dined on April 21, 2014
Total bill for two: 71 USD

I arrived on time for my 5:30 p.m. dinner reservations at Acqua Al 2. There were 3 people at the hostess stand when I arrived. There was a little confusion because no one knew where the hostess was. I waited about 3 minutes while people ran around trying to find the hostess. It was a gorgeous evening so I just stepped outside to the sidewalk cafe dining area while they searched for the hostess. No hostess was found so one of the waitstaff seated me. Ten minutes later there was still confusion at the hostess desk because my guest arrived and someone there told him that I had not arrived! He brushed past them and came into the restaurant and there I was.

Acqua Al 2 is a lovely looking place with rustic, Old World decor. The restaurant is located in the Eastern Market neighborhood, right on 7th Street across from Eastern Market. The location makes the outdoor dining scene one of the best in DC--pretty, lots of foot traffic but very few vehicles.

The Food
The cocktails were delicious. Verdolino-Bubbly gin cooler with fresh cucumber juice and elderflower liquer. Tasty and refreshing. It rivals the Pimm's Cup made at H Street Country Club, which is a real Pimm's and the best I've ever tasted. The non-alcohol cocktail Zenzero Rinfrescante was good because I like ginger beer but that flavor overpowered everything else--Refreshing fruit juices shaken with seasonal herbs and poured over ginger beer. Zenzero is a $6, 6 ounce ginger beer with ice.

Go for the salads. They are big and full of flavor. Insalata Finocchio--Shaved fennel with pine nuts, radicchio, parmigiano olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper. The Rucola e Pere salad was excellent, with dinstinct layers of flavor. Ingredients: Arugula, pear, citrus & Dijon vinaigrette, and Parmesan cheese.

Fennel salad

Main courses and sides. Fussilli Lunghi al Mascarpone e Funghi--Long fussili (cork screw) pasta with porcini mushrooms, mascarpone cheese and parmigiano. I liked this dish more than my own because I love mushrooms and it was very mushroom-y, with a light, light cream sauce. I would order this again. Cannelloni Mascarpone e Funghi--Porcini mushrooms with mascarpone rolled in fresh pasta, baked in a bowl with house-made tomato sauce, béchamel and parmigiano. The mushrooms are lost in this very saucy dish, which is disappointing if you want to taste mushrooms but the dish is still very tasty. Yes, I would order it again but not before I ordered the Fussilli Lunghi al Mascarpone e Funghi. The side of Red Skin Roasted Potatoes with rosemary and garlic was satisfactory. They could have been roasted more, half the order was cooked but not truly roasted.

The Service
Besides the confusion upon arrival at Acqua Al 2 everyone was pleasant. Our waitress was just okay. The server was very good--gracious, mannerly, observant (he should be a waiter); and, he had to act as our waiter a few times because the waitress was a little scarce. There was one other waitperson in the restaurant (in fact he seated me), I could see he was far better at his job than our waitperson.

Plus: All meats are organically raised, hormone and antibiotic free.

Would I go back to Acqua Al 2? Sure, but it is not going to be my go-to Italian food restaurant.

Best Bet: It would be a great place to people-watch, sit, converse and enjoy drinks in the beautiful bar or in the picturesque outdoor cafe.

Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars.


Chow!
food chick

~~:~~
Eat, drink, be merry and validate for parking (TM)


Acqua Al 2 on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Quick 'n' Easy: Naan Pizza

My 'go to' quick pizza made with Tandoori naan. Try it you'll love it!

Tandoor Chef Naan, Applegate Organic Uncured Pepperoni,
fresh spinach, sweet onion, crimini mushroom. Delicious!

Tandoori Naan: Authentic Indian bread, hand-stretched and baked in a traditional Tandoor oven.

Get creative and add your fave ingredients. Tandoor Chef Tandoori naan is delicious, moist and fresh tasting. There is so much you can do with this delicious naan. Create-- sandwich, wrap, 'dough', hors d'oeuvres or snacks.



Keep Tandoori naan on hand for:
  • traditional bread,
  • pizza 'dough',
  • cut it into pieces to use with dipping sauces,
  • create a wrap or open-face sandwich filled with whatever you have a taste for.

I love to make a wrap/sandwich of curry salmon salad adorned with spinach and dried cranberries. I have made breakfasts sandwiches for guests of naan topped with one fried egg, and a piece of ham.


Chow!
food chick

~~:~~
Eat, drink, be merry and validate for parking (TM)