Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Quick 'n' Easy: Eggs scrambled with harissa and other goodies

Hot, spicy foods are my ticket to warmth on cold days. Today I dreamed up this dish: Eggs scrambled with harissa, fresh spinach, mushroom burger, and seasoned with garlic. At the last minute I threw in 2 heaping tablespoons of tri-color quinoa (already cooked).



Let me tell you! It was one of THE tastiest breakfasts I've ever eaten. Spicy, flavorful goodness. You know which food was the most flavorful and that I enjoyed the most in this dish? The spinach. Next time I will add more. After eating this, I feel full but not weighted down.

Ingredients:
  • Eggs - Egglands best (2 large eggs)
  • Harissa - One teaspoon scrambled into eggs. This is not my favorite harissa (not as complex and flavorful as Cava Mezze harissa)
  • Organic baby spinach - add after eggs are cooked.
  • Garlic powder - to season, I added after spinach.
  • MorningStar Farms Mushroom Lover's Burger - 1 burger, cook it then dice or cut up and add to eggs and spinach.
  • Quinoa - I keep cooked quinoa on hand to eat or add to dishes. 



Give this dish a try for breakfast or brunch. Let me know how you like it.

Chow!
food chick


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

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Meat Week DC 2014

Hello Carnivores!

Today is the first day of Meat Week. Whaa? You heard me... MEAT week. It is a week long food orgy of eating all sorts of meat all over the DC, Maryland, Virginia (DMV) area. The celebration began five years ago, and various cities around the U.S. host their very own meat week by visiting local establishments known for good BBQ, brisket, sausages, pork, or specialty meat dishes.


Meat Week in DC will kickoff today at Urban BBQ (@iLoveUBQ), in Rockville, Maryland at 6:30 pm. (directions).

How can you eat some meat?
Visit DC's Meat Week page for details and just show up. CLICK HERE

"DC Meat Week turns five this year, but we've been celebrating with Urban Bar-B-Que for six! We've been kicking off Meat Week at Urban every year since we got started, and Urban is once again rolling out the red carpet for Meat Weekers."

Now who's ready for some Flintstone sized beef
and Old Bay kielbasa?




Note: Vegetarians don't feel left out. Join in the fun by eating sides--salads, greens, corn, slaw and other offerings vary by restaurant.  

Chow!
food chick


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

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Celebrate National Handwriting Day

"January 23 marks an obscure holiday ...National Handwriting Day. Handwriting Day is not just a holiday dedicated to penmanship. Today is about you, and what makes you you. Your handwriting is unique and it is personal. It is as important and distinctive as your fingerprints. It doesn’t matter if it looks like chicken scratch or like Spencerian script; it is yours and yours alone."  (Read More)

I celebrated National Handwriting Day by handwriting a brief blog post.



Chow!
food chick

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

Quick 'n' Easy: Super Yummy Salmon Sandwich

Just got in from Baltimore. I was starving. I should have stopped for groceries but I didn't. I just wanted to get home.

Once again I created a very, very delicious lunch for myself based on the ingredients I had on hand:

Bacon, Salmon, Spinach and Mushroom sandwich


- Applewood smoked organic bacon (Wegman's)
- Hot-smoked Sockeye Salmon (Taku)
- Fresh baby spinach (Olivia's Organics)
- Sweet onion
- white mushrooms
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Oatnut bread

The meal took no time to prepare.

Cook bacon in microwave. Slice onions and mushrooms, and sauté in olive oil. Caramelize the onions, add mushrooms when almost done. Toast Oatnut bread in oven under broiler (no butter needed). Now, build your sandwich. I made a mixture of mayo & stone ground mustard condiment to put on one slice of the toast so my sandwich wouldn't be completely dry.

Mmm...mmm...mmm...mmm...GOOD!


Chow!
food chick


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

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Rappahannock Oyster Bar

Rappahannock Oyster Bar in Union Market

1309 5th St. N.E., Washington, DC (202)544-4702
www.rroysters.com

Dined on January 12, 2014

My first time visiting Rappahannock Oyster, in Union Market, was deliciously enjoyable. I went around 3:30 pm. That is a good time to dine, at Union Market, because there are no crowds and noise volume is medium. The nice thing about this entire meal is that nothing was salty. Bravo! Most restaurants go overboard with salt (sodium) in their food.


We were seated at the tables and received prompt service. Our waitress was patient as I asked a lot of questions about the items on the menu, and she was knowledgeable.

The Food
1/2 lb spiced shrimp - Shrimp were very large with a lot of Old Bay type-seasoning on top, and the shrimp were fresh and cooked well. The problem is the shrimp had absolutely no shrimp flavor, no flavor at all. I wonder if it was Tiger Shrimp? Tiger shrimp is often flavorless but it looks good.


Oyster chowder with bacon - Great tasting, just the right amount of creamy consistency and not at all salty but it was bacon-y (not a bad thing).

Za'atar Seared Tuna Tataki with tabbouleh salad, and market greens - An excellent grade of tuna, beautifully prepared and OMG delicious. The little bit of relish/sauce served with the tuna took the dynamite dish and made it superb. I really enjoyed the tabbouleh salad, which was not your typical tabbouleh as this had the pleasing addition of quinoa.

Tuna Tataki

Blueberry soda - I don't like soda but this was so good that I bought 2 bottles to go. Not overly carbonated, not sugary sweet but blueberry sweet--true blueberry flavor.

I highly recommend you try the Oyster Chowder, Tuna Tataki, and the blueberry soda. Pass on the shrimp though perhaps on another day it would be better.


Chow!
food chick

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

Monday, January 20, 2014

How to enjoy a hot cup of tea

From the strangely brilliant mind of Dominic Wilcox at Variations on Normal, one of my favorite blogs. Wilcox is a wonderfully creative artist and inventor.

Tea Cup with Cooling Fan

http://variationsonnormal.com/2014/01/16/idea-1-tea-cup-with-cooling-fan/
I do like that his design was done with fine china, it makes tea time even more special.

Chow!
food chick

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

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Pressure to pay: After Dinner

Have you been stuck with more than your fair share of a tab?
How did you handle it?

Thursday evening, I dined with a weekly dinner group that took part in Washington DC Restaurant Week (RW). Restaurant week's happen all over the U.S. in various cities. For those of you that don't know about RW, restaurants participate by offering a fixed price, 3-course dinner menu. This year's price was $35.14 (14 cents symbolizes the year 2014). The dinner group that I joined selected Acadiana (my review). We were a group of five and we expected to have one bill presented to us, and we would pool our funds to cover the bill. Luckily, the waitress offered us separate checks. However, had she not done this we could have had a scene very much like the one in this DC Shorts film--After Dinner. (run time 5m 42sec)


I have heard of dining groups needing to institute strict rules to avoid having to publicly pressure diners into paying for what they ordered. For example: At the end of the meal, a person must write down all that they ordered on a slip of paper, then pass the paper and necessary money to the group host (one at a time) so it can be visibly seen how much money is passed to the group host and counted on the spot. The money needs to match the paper, and that bill reconciled before moving to the next diner.

I have been stuck with more than my share of a tab. I don't dine with these people again. The times that it happened, the people or person was not a good friend and this was a first time dining together. It was a part of my first impressions of them, and not a very good one.

Chow!
food chick

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

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

How much do you love your coffee?

Boyfriend Latte

DCShorts.com film: 6 min | Country of Origin: Canada




Don't you think the boyfriend should have been named Joe, as in "a cup of Joe"?


Chow!
food chick

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

Monday, January 13, 2014

Quick 'n' Easy: Quinoa and Indian spinach

A few nights ago I created such a yummy-licious dish. Again, it was developed based on what I already had on hand and was having a taste for. I had been craving Tandoor Chef Palak Paneer all week. Every time I opened the freezer it called to me. I held off eating it because I didn't want to be bloated from the high sodium content. Yesterday morning I made a pot quinoa to have hand. Quinoa is versatile; it's good for breakfast, as a side dish or in place of rice or pasta. Last night I decided to combine the Palak Paneer and quinoa, and top it off with a sprinkling of Ocean Spray Craisins. Delicious, delicious, delicious!


Try it...let me know how you like it.

Chow!
food chick


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

Sunday, January 12, 2014

"Tea urges tranquility of the soul." --Longfellow

I am sort of a teetotaller. Or perhaps I am more of a tea lover addict. I do not totally abstain from alcohol. I will try the occasional sip of a friend's aromatic beer or once in a blue moon have a 1/4 glass of wine to aid digestion or dull a headache.

The tea I drink most is absent from this tea collage--Yogi Lemon Ginger Tea, which explains why I am out of it.


Chow!
food chick

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

Friday, January 10, 2014

Pressure to workout


I Vibrams

"I succumb to pressure to workout."

Today I missed fitness boot camp for the second time this week.

I headed out of the house this morning for boot camp and nearly fell due to the icy front steps. I wrenched my body just a bit but caught myself and did not fall. Everything was a complete sheet of ice. I skated my way to the car and after opening the door to get in I thought, "It is treacherous out here, I don't want to drive 20 minutes in this." I gathered my things and gingerly made my way back into the house.

I was disappointed because I really did need to work out. I missed fitness boot camp on Wednesday because I had minor oral surgery and was swollen, in pain and out of it. So much so that I slept until noon on Thursday. Then I woke with a lash follicle infection too! Swollen left check, swollen right eye, I was looking ever so perty! I felt like crap, and did not do much of anything on Thursday.

After two days of low activity, I felt the need and the pressure to be active, I wanted to work out. My body craved it.


I was already dressed for a workout so I did just that, I worked out at home.

  • 18 minute run
  • 30 tricep curls, 30 reps each arm
  • plank - 2 rounds: 30 seconds full extension; 30 seconds beginner version
  • wall sit for quads - 1 minute
  • glutes - 1 minute exercise
  • 45 seconds (could not make 1 minute) of hamstring exercise

You'll note the absence of Burpees from today's workout, which are a staple in my formal fitness boot camp workout. I hate those things. They do not feel good to my body and I get dizzy and nauseous doing them.



I feel good! Workout done, energy high.

Chow!
food chick

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

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Quick 'n' Easy: Shrimp, Kale, and Pasta

I whipped up another quick 'n' easy, delicious and beautiful brunch for myself designed around what I already had in my refrigerator/freezer. Not only was it a colorful and aromatic meal, it was quite tasty too!

Shrimp, Lacinato kale, caramelized sweet onion, thin spaghetti, and olive oil.



Prep:
  • Cook thin spaghetti
  • Kale: Cut away the base of the center stalk (the thickest parts). Tear or chop kale into smaller pieces.
  • Thinly slice one small sweet onion
I use Whole Foods Whole Catch peeled and deveined raw shrimp. Put just enough olive oil, in a medium size sauce pan, to cover the bottom of the pan. Heat oil a little (olive oil heats up fast) and caramelize onions in the pan, when done add shrimp and lots of garlic (garlic powder or minced garlic); cook that until done. At the very end add Lacinato kale, toss it around to pick up the oil and flavors. Then with heat on low, add cooked pasta to the rest of the food and pour on about 3/4 TBS of olive oil and more garlic, and toss it all together. Now eat! Yum!

Chow!
food chick

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

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Zest American Bistro

Zest Bistro

735 8th St S.E., Washington, DC 20003 • (202) 544-7171
www.zestbistro.com


Zest Bistro's food was disappointing.

The staff was great. Nice, smiling, friendly hosts greet you. Our waitperson Nicole was super attentive, actually everyone was very attentive--another waitress and the a manager came to my aid when they saw the look of horror on my face when I cut into my eggs and yolk ran everywhere. More on that later.

Zest Bistro does try to take traditional American fare and put an inventive but not over-the-top twist on it. The menu descriptions bear this out, however, the actual food is purely mediocre; nothing special. You can go to dozens of bistro or brunch places serving traditional food and eat a lot better than Zest Bistro.

The food
For beverages my friend dining companion and I ordered coffee. Those came up fast, and it was good coffee with a mild flavor. I prefer a robust coffee for breakfast or brunch nonetheless, this was tasty coffee.

CHESAPEAKE BENEDICT
poached eggs, lump crab cake, toasted sourdough, applewood smoked bacon, basil hollandaise, home-fries

SHORT-RIB HASH
2 eggs over-easy & toast

My friend ordered the Chesapeake Eggs Benedict. It was served on thin halves of sourdough bread, instead of English Muffin. Don't expect traditional sourdough bread, this was cut from a square loaf and seemed too processed. That was different but not horrible. The bad thing is the crab cake was thin and about the size of a half dollar hidden underneath the poached egg. However, my friend said the Hollandaise sauce was very good. I tasted his home-fries; they were very good. I loved the touch of rosemary, that is how I make my breakfast potatoes.

Now about the short-rib hash-- don't get it. I am not sure there was any meat in the hash. It kind of, sort of had short-rib flavor (perhaps short-rib drippings) but mainly the hash tasted like apple vinegar. The dish was very disappointing. Not to mention what you are really getting with this entree is two eggs, toast, and a side of short-rib hash--it should not be called Short rib hash as short-rib hash is not the primary food. The hash doesn't look like typical hash; picture mashed sweet potato with dark bits. The dark flecks, in the mashed potato, almost had a burnt flavor except the vinegar overpowered that flavor.

Service: Fast & Accommodating

My meal was the short-rib hash. I did not read the description well and totally missed that this came with two eggs over-easy. I hate runny eggs, I hate gelatinous egg yolk. Nicole (our waitress) immediately took the eggs back. I told her please keep these eggs, just tell them [the cooks] bust the yolk, fry them hard, burn it, I like my eggs crispy. She laughed and said okay. The eggs were returned to me quickly. The egg white part had a little brown tinge to them, the yolk was clearly busted. However, when I put my fork into the egg, yolk ran everywhere. The yolk was not cooked at all. That is when I guess I look horrified and another waitress passing by rushed over to ask what the matter was and as she was coming to me, a manager behind her was looking my way as well. I explained to the waitress that I had already sent the eggs back once. Please, just cook these exact same eggs, burn the hell out of them, make 'em crispy, no runny yolk. She smiled and said she understood. The manager returned the eggs to me (I am sure this was a new batch of eggs...sorry I was wasteful). The eggs were cooked a lot more but one egg was hard cooked, while the other had gelatinous yolk. I kept this batch and decided to make a sandwich out of my breakfast. I put the eggs on the thin, barely toasted sourdough bread that came with my meal and then put the short-rib hash on top of that. I ate two open-face sandwiches. 

"Zest Bistro is a neighborhood cafe, where the people provide an enjoyable experience even if the food is bleh!... lol. That is quite a feat!"

Chow!
food chick

P.S. Anybody eaten good or great short-rib hash? Where?

* * * * * *

Important Notes:
Note 1: When we were first seated I heard the lady next to me say, this is really vinegary. She gave the guy across from her a bite. He made a face and nodded yes. I had not ordered my food yet so I did not know that it was actually the short-rib hash she was talking about. I thought she had sweet potato.

Note 2: What I did not know until the end of this meal is that my dining companion had eaten at Zest before. He had the steak salad and said it was blah and unforgettable, which is why he had pushed this restaurant out of his mind. He had forgotten he had eaten at Zest until we arrived.
~~:~~
Eat, drink, be merry and validate for parking (TM)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 Dining Trends

Survey says....

Sterling Rice Group [consulting], Boulder Colorado, polled celebrity chefs, product developers, restaurant consultants and grocery store shoppers to determine cutting-edge dining trends for 2014. See infographic below. Click HERE to enlarge. 

My favorite trend is experimenting with tea leaves to enhance flavor of foods in place of butter, bacon or oils. Love this for a few reasons. I love tea, I am a tea addict. There are a gazillion types and varieties of tea, with rich robust flavors, that I can imagine would enliven the flavor of breads, cheese, meat, desserts and more. Plus, the tea trend can counter another trend for 2014, which is restaurants using new fats in our food such as caul fat (a thin membrane of fat covering the intestines of a pig, cow or sheep. The most common type of caul fat used in the culinary arts is pork) and lardo (epicurious.com). Both those sound more fat-inducing and high-calorie to me than butter or olive oil; using tea is far more appealing to me.
 
Source: http://newhope360.com/trends-watch/cutting-edge-dining-trends-2014

Chow!
food chick

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

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Under Pressure

Do you work well under pressure?


I do work very well under pressure. I am lucky that I am always in the mode of thinking of outcomes, I always have a plan B and C. I naturally think in terms of what-if? I believe that this thought process keeps me prepared to act quickly, rationally, and generally with better outcomes in pressure situations.

Now some people may see this "what-if" thinking as promoting anxiety or worrying. Yes, I admit I am a worrier but nothing too extreme. And my "what-if" thinking has done me good professionally. With friends and family, when it comes to road-trips, vacations, outings everyone always looks to me because they know I am well-prepared. Okay, maybe personally it has some drawbacks because EVERYONE looks to me to plan. I don't want everyone always looking to me. I would like the pleasure of nonchalantly showing up some place to enjoy myself, and knowing that everything will be alright.



Chow!
food chick

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