Friday, November 4, 2011

My last experience with pumpkin puree

It’s 9:55 PM on a Sunday and I need to bring a pumpkin dish to work for an office party. Yes, I’ve waited to the last minute.


It’s 3 PM on a Sunday and I need pumpkin puree for some pumpkin muffins I’m making for work tomorrow. I’m excited about a recipe a friend found for me on Baking Bites and feel like it will be fairly simple to pull off. 

It’s 5 PM on a Sunday and I’ve gone to two grocery stores and they’re either sold out or don’t stock it. The parents are swinging by the apartment tonight so I quickly dial up and ask for them to bring over a can (when you’re in a pickle, parents are really great). So we all have dinner and drinks and by the time they’re gone its 9:45.

It’s now 9:45 PM on a Sunday I begin to consult my recipe. It seems easy enough:

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Then I mix together my wet ingredients and sugar:

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup half and half

After I’ve put it all together I think, wait, what am I missing? Oh yeah, the pumpkin puree. Obviously. So I bring out the two cans my parents brought over and examine the top. 


It’s not a pulley. And I have no can opener. 

Crap, I’m gonna be fired.

But Eureka! It's 9:55 and I have a super-fast boyfriend who can run to CVS on the corner.

Then it’s 9:56 and he’s off. Running, running, running, and slam. CVS closes the door in his face. 

Yep, definitely fired.

It’s now past 10 PM on a Sunday and there is NOTHING open. NOTHING. Not even target which I’m surprised about because they always seem to be open when you need them. 

I’m moping on the couch thinking I can’t bring pumpkin-less cupcakes to a pumpkin office party until I see my boyfriend John fumbling in a drawer as he pulls out a hammer and screwdriver. I knew he went to college for something.

He carefully places the screw driver on the edge of the can and WHAM WHAM pries open a hole in my lid.

Eventually the hole is big enough for a spoon so I scoop out the puree and mix it all into one bowl. 

Fast forward to my Monday afternoon office party and the cupcakes are a big hit.

I say nothing about the tools.

So thank you Baking Bites for your fabulous recipe. It wasn’t you, it’s me.

Pumpkin puree, half and half, screwdriver, hammer

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Waldorf Salad

Easy directions from Yumsugar on how to make this fancy salad:

Monday, October 31, 2011

Fall Favorites

Beyond prepackaged candy from CVS (don't worry, I'm not knocking it), there are some real sweet goodies that come around Halloween. A lot of these fall favorites revolve around apples -- apple cider, apple crisp and candy apples. A few friends and I went to Butler's Orchard in Maryland to go apple picking, but unfortunately the lady at the gate told us the season was over (yeah, you'd think we would check on that before driving for an hour). Instead, we got lost in a corn maze, got banged around on the hay ride and waited in line for a few slides -- actually, it was pretty fun.
But one of the foodie highlights was a table full of candied apples: you choose whether you want your apple sliced or on a stick; nuts or sprinkles. Take a look at this one. I had mine on a stick, the traditional way, with nuts on top to be "healthy." Only draw back was that I got the caramel all over my face every time I took a bite. I'm already strategizing for next year...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Classic Lunch

Whenever fall approaches and the weather gets cooler, I get really into soups. This fall I have really started liking Amy's canned vegetarian soups. Today I had Amy's organic chunky tomato bisque, which I like because it's creamy and not too salty. Put it together with some nice grilled cheese on toast and its an instant gourmet classic.

Friday, September 16, 2011

2 things I never want to hear in a restaurant...

Sean Elder, editor in chief of the digital food magazine Real Eats, posted on CNN's Eatocracy this week about the 5 things you never want to hear in a restaurant. Elder explained that his top two things are:

1. “It depends on what you like.” When you ask the waiter for a recommendation, it shouldn’t be a matter for the UN Security Council. As our columnist Michelle Wildgen says, "I don’t expect them to know my taste but I do expect them to know what the kitchen does well."
2. “We have two orders of the [blank] left; if you’re thinking of that I’ll put the order in now.” As in comedy, timing is everything. If it’s 9:30 on a Saturday night and the rack of lamb is flying out of the kitchen, okay: thanks for the heads up. Otherwise, as my wife says, 'Why didn’t you make more?' She, like a lot of people I talked to, don’t like the pressure and want to study the menu in a calm, relaxed state of mind.

I agree with Elder, although those may not be my top two, I definitely have my restaurant pet peeves. Here are the top two things I never want to hear in a restaurant:
Photo by garryknight on Flikr

1. "We don't make substitutions." When I go out to a restaurant I don't want to be told what I can and cannot eat. If I want to make a small substitution for another item that is already on the menu, why not? It's not that hard to swap fries for a salad!

2. “It's about a 20 minute wait.” Hostesses always say 20 minutes when they actually mean 40 minutes, which I know is their little way of keeping customers from walking out the door. However, when the patron gets hungry and ready to bite their waiter's head off (pun intended), it becomes a losing situation for everyone.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chowing down around town

Stuck for a good place to eat? Try one of these:

775 G Street Northwest
(202) 737-7663

15th and H Street NW
(202) 638-4444
 1720 I St NW
(202) 659-0756

1835 18th St NW
(202) 387-0035

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cooking up a storm

Things my mom has made in preparation for the hurricane: 

 Blueberry muffin mix
 Turkey bacon
 Vegetable soup

Ahh,it's good to be home.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Foodie's Emergency Food Supply

Photo by NASA Goddard Photo on Flikr
Hurricane Irene has not only done damage along the coast, but it will also do serious damage to our food supply and my stomach. In preparation for the storm, and loss of power, I've been doing some thinking... what kind of foods will last in this hurricane?

Here are a few good ideas of things to keep around the house, some of which you may have to prepare before losing electricity:

1) Bacon. Fry it up while you still have power and bacon can last for days outside a refrigerator. Use bacon in a BLT (no fridge needed for bread, lettuce or tomatoes) and you can eat like a King.

2) Cheese. Without preservatives, cheese is perfectly fine at room temperature -- just know that it might get a bit sweaty in the heat.

3) Eggs. You may be surprised by this one, but eggs do not actually need to be refrigerated. In fact, in Europe you regularly find eggs on the grocery store shelf far away from a fridge or a cooler. If you're lucky enough to have a gas stove that can light without electricity, feel free to eat eggs fried or scrambled till your heart's content. Otherwise if it's electric, boil eggs ahead of time and keep them in the shell. They'll be fine at room temperature as long as you peel them when you eat them.

4) Iced tea. Boil hot water and steep tea bags while you have power. The tea can cool while you are without electricity. It may also be a good idea to keep some ice in a cooler for whenever and whatever you need it.

5) Peanut butter. If all else fails, slap a scoop of peanut butter on a piece of bread and, "viola!" You just made yourself a 5 year old's regular school lunch! Most kids love it and, in a storm, so will you!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Photo taken by Mr. T in DC and is available on Flikr

For restaurant week, a group of coworkers and I journeyed to Firefly for a price fixed menu at a fancy DC spot. The setting was very cool as there's a tree trunk standing right in the middle of the restaurant. Although the place is dimly lit, the lights on the tables are placed in mason jars giving off a firefly glow -- a look that makes the space feel both outdoorsy and smart.

We all ordered our dishes off the price fixed menu of $35 for an appetizer, entree and dessert. Although our fabulous waitress (she was so friendly!) would honor most of the other plates off the regular menu, the six of us chose dishes that were special for this week. For my starter I ordered a creamy gazpacho soup, which I thought was nothing special despite nearly licking my bowl, while the other girls had beet salads with goat cheese (amazing, although small), a blue cheese wedge salad and the matzo ball soup (random, I know).

For my entree I had the lamb shoulder over pappardelle pasta, which was far too rich for my taste, and the other girls ordered the crispy soft shell crab, pan roasted halibut and the gourmet hamburger with a fried pickle.

What I really liked most about this place was the atmosphere and the great drinks – their cocktails of sparkling cranberry juice and mason jars of mint-juleps were pricey, but definitely the best part. Unfortunately, I thought the food was fairly average and that the appetizers were slightly too small. But if I were to recommend one thing on the menu for visitors not to miss, it would be the French fries fried in truffle oil. I couldn’t keep my hands off those things, and they were on someone else’s plate. They were delicious and I would recommend them to anyone who might want to stop in for a drink or two. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Recipe: Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes

Breakfast is one of those meals where you wake up and know exactly what you want to eat. At lunch or dinner you can hum and haw over a menu indecisively torn between chicken or fish. But no, not at breakfast. You wake up and know exactly if you want eggs, cereal or leftover pizza. 

That's why this morning I woke up and knew exactly what I wanted to make: whole wheat blueberry pancakes. I've been changing the recipe in small ways over the past few years, but this morning I think I finally got down the right ratios. 

2 large eggs
2 cups skim milk
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup white flour
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon (optional)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 box fresh blueberries
In a large bowl I mix together all my dry ingredients (white flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon). I then beat my wet ingredients with a whisk in a separate bowl (eggs, milk, honey and vanilla). After each one is blended, I pour my wet mixture into my bowl of dry flour.

Once it's blended, I add butter to the pan and spoon my pancakes onto the griddle. Using a 1/4 measuring cup they tend to come out the same shape and I can usually fit four on at a time.

CAUTION: Make sure your pan is hot! If it's not hot enough at the start, your first pancakes will come out like a soggy mess.

Once the pancakes start to bubble, add some blueberries to the wet side (you can also add it to the mix if everyone likes them) and flip them over. They should be golden brown when you take them off. Voila!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Beautiful food blogs

I've been reading a number of food blogs recently to gain some inspiration for my own and I have to say, there are some beautiful ones out there with some fantastic photography. Here are a few of my new favorites:
Photo by on Flikr

La Buena Vida -- Beautiful food and landscape photos from a Brooklyn based photographer. Take a look at her fresh produce,flower bouquets and restaurant shoots.

canelle et vanille -- Another talented photographer that recently posted about a summer picnic to inspire anyone wanting a sweet lunch in the outdoors. It's amazing how she can make a simple bowl of fresh berries and yogurt look so good on camera.

Eat Drink Chic -- A professional style blogger (a term I hadn't heard before) shows off her love for pretty designs, pretty foods and pretty things. A recent favorite post of mine is her DIY - Ice Cream Parlor that made me want to create an event just so I could put this on for friends.

Do you have any favorite food bloggers? Feel free to share them below! 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Co-op Produce in Urban D.C.

All that was left for the photo was the label.
Have you ever tried fruit or veggies straight from a farm fresh co-op? Wow, it seems as if that doesn’t exist in cities anymore, so I was incredibly surprised to find farm fresh tomatoes from Lancaster Farm in PA at Whole Foods in D.C. They’re called “Organic Sungold Cherry Tomatoes” so they’re not as red as I’m used to, but don’t let that fool you into thinking they're not sweet and juicy. They are.

The reason you can’t see them in the photo next to this post is because I ate them too fast. In fact, I ate the whole box plain. But as much as I blah blah blah about them, you'll have to go check these out for yourself. And go while their still in season (these are local and don't come year round like the other produce we import)! Scarecrow Hill Organics Sungold Cherry Tomatoes. I know I’m getting these again.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sicilian Wine Tasting and Horseback Riding

Some of the best Italian wines come from Sicily, and one true highlight on my trip was visiting a local vineyard just outside Cefalu. I know I’m no wine expert, in fact, I only made it to the introductory class for the College Wine Tasting Society and never actually made it to the tasting stage. Still, I enjoy a glass or so of the finest Italian wines… who wouldn’t?

One of the organizers of the agency that rented us our apartment suggested we visit Abbazia Santa Anastasia, a rural vineyard near Cefalu that produces organic wines. The vineyard also offered a simple tasting of four traditional wines from Sicily, which we happily tried. The most famous of the four was Nero D’Avola – a deep red color with a berry taste. 

What made this event so memorable was not only the wine, but also how we got there...

The agency set up a horseback riding tour of the vineyard for us, so for a complete hour before wine tasting we trotted, cantered and galloped our way through rows and rows of organic grape vines. It was a beautiful scene and our guide, who spoke only a few words of English, was incredibly friendly and easy going. A true cowboy (he makes an appearance in the pictures below).

If you’re ever interested in this adventure, you can find the vineyard here and you can pair your trip with an hour or two of horseback riding through the hills with Lucciano +39 349 2636932.

But if you just can’t make it all the way to Sicily, Abbazia Santa Anastasia imports some of its wines to the U.S. via Happy tasting!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

New foods (to me) in Sicily

While pizza and pasta may be the most popular Italian foods outside of Italy, I discovered a number of delicious items in Sicily that I had never seen before. Below are a few of my favorites:

Pecorino Sicilliano – a hard cheese with a sharp aftertaste. Similar to Parmesan, but far better for sandwiches.
Arancini – a fried ball of rice filled with meat ragú and peas.

Cannoli – a flakey pastry filled with sweet ricotta. Our guidebook said this dessert was a true peacemaker for the mafia: “Put down the gun and take the cannoli.”

Thursday, July 14, 2011

You Say Tomato, I Say Pomodoro

After spending a total of 10 days in Sicily, I learned that the fresh produce in Southern Europe is by far the best in the world, and not only that, but the "pomodoro" (tomato) is absolutely delicious and wonderfully cheap.

For most of our meals, John and I ate out at restaurants that we chose for their fantastic views over the Mediterranean sea. The food seemed to be delicious everywhere, whether you went to a small restaurant hidden in the winding streets of Palermo or on top of a cliff in the small town of Erice. 

We did have the option of cooking in two of our self-catering flats, which sounded like a great idea ahead of time, but in reality amounted to cooking a grand total of one meal. However without cooking we may not have really understood why the pomodoro is such a vital Italian ingredient -- the fruit is sweet, succulent, and amazingly inexpensive. At our grocery store we found a package of 12 ripe, just-off-the-vine tomatoes costing 95 cents. If only I could find a way to import Sicilian produce to the U.S.! I'd make a fortune and no doubt feed many happy bellies.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Culinary Tour of Sicily

My recent hiatus has been due to a two week culinary tour of Sicily, where I ate, drank and lapped up some of the finest Italian food I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. My boyfriend John and I visited the sites in the capital city of Palermo and in the two smaller beach towns of Cefalù and Castellammare del Golfo. While Sicily is home to miles of vineyards, ancient roman ruins and many members of the American Mafia, the island is also home to delicious produce and fresh Mediterranean seafood.

This culinary paradise was a great source of inspiration for me and therefore, I have decided to dedicate the next few posts to the delicious ingrediants and tastes that I experienced. Excuse my amateur photography, but here goes nothing...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Say Cheese!

My new favorite cheese is the drunken goat cheese from Whole Foods. Mmm... mouth watering goodness. The block is aged in red wine and mild in flavor. Today's craving for this foodie item had me searching for a new recipe and luckily I stumbled upon this one from Whole Foods:

  • 4 flour tortillas
  • 2/3 cup shredded drunken goat cheese
  • 2/3 cup packed baby arugula
  • 1 tomato, very thinly sliced
Predictable ingredients, I know, but yum yum yum... I can't wait to grill that baby up. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Answers to the quiz

Are you still thinking about the answers from yesterday's foodie quiz? Getting nervous? Meh... probably not, but here are the answers anyway: Tortilla, Pierogi, Empanada, Risotto

How did you do?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Not that thing again + QUIZ!

I've begun to notice that foods from around the world are a lot more similar than I had once thought. I see Spanish frittata and think hash browns and eggs... I see English scones and I think southern biscuits! KUMBAYA! WE'RE NOT SO DIFFERENT AFTER ALL! 

To illustrate my point, I've created a little game called, "Name  - that -  food!"  (I can hear the Wheel of Fortune crowd cheering us on).

Check out the pictures below and guess the foodie items:

 Is it...
A) Naan
B) Pita
C) Tortilla

A) Ravioli
B) Pierogi
C) Hot pocket

             A) Empanada
             B) Cornish pasty
             C) Crispy wonton


A) Rice
B) Risotto
C) Grits

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Surf’s Up at Surfside!

Last weekend I went to lunch at Surfside in Glover Park. When you walk into the restaurant you approach a counter with a number of menus to choose from. You then check some boxes deciding if you want a burrito, 2 tacos, or a salad and whatever add-ons or ingredients you want. The good thing about my group was that we all ordered different dishes, which really meant that I got to photograph more items on the menu for my blog. YAY!
I ordered the Maui: Two grilled fish of the day tacos in corn tortillas with black bean and corn salsa, guacamole, cilantro and lime sour cream. I added cheese. Total = $9.95 (I'm in love with their lime sour cream! ANSWER ME: HOW DOES IT NOT CURDLE???)

My bro created his own burrito (it was family day): Warm flour tortilla with yellow rice, grilled steak, black bean & corn, grilled tomato salsa and poblano peppers & red onion. Total = $8.95
My madre had the Nantucket salad (again, with the family day thing): Mixed organic greens with grilled salmon with grilled corn, zucchini, goat cheese, cherry tomato with a tomato basil vinaigrette. Total = $12.95
So if you’re a Californian and miss those classic fish tacos, or if you’re desperate for a good weekend lunch place in D.C., check out Surfside in Glover Park. Or just check out my pictures of the food. I'm working on my food photography skills. What do you think?

Friday, June 10, 2011

There’s a Pret here, and a Pret there, and a Pret everywhere!

Pret A Manger is an ever expanding lunch chain that seems to be on EVERY corner in downtown Washington, D.C. (If you haven’t seen it yet, you live under a rock… that or in the burbs). This lunch chain may be a year or so new to the city, but before it came to the U.S. it was everywhere in London. Now, they are successfully doing the same thing here.

As an avid Pret fan, I don’t mind this expansion so much.  The only thing really frustrating to me is that their selection varies by store. This can be a good thing if you always want to try something new! But when you have only a few minutes off of work and can’t find that same chicken and avocado sandwich you just can’t live without, travelling to four different Prets at lunch time is INCREDIBLY FRUSTRATING (yes, I’m stubborn and have done this on multiple occasions). Please keep my go-to sandwich in stock!

Pret can be DELICIOUS when you order the right thing. Here is what I like best on the menu:

Chicken Avocado: Malted Wholegrain Bread + Chicken Breast + Pret Yoghurt Dressing + Avocado + Whole-Leaf Basil + Salad Leaves (my absolute fave)

British Asparagus & Roasted Peppers on Artisan: Artisan Baguette + Grilled British Asparagus + Soft Cheese + Roasted Red Peppers + Basil Leaves + Seasoning

Pret's Classic Tomato Soup: Tomatoes
+ Onion + White Wine + Olive Oil + Cream + Organic Vegetable Bouillon + Oregano + Parsley + Thyme  (You have to get there early because they are always sold out)

Monday, June 6, 2011


The following sequence of events was entirely spontaneous and unplanned. In fact, the whole evening happened within a matter of hours, from the twitter exchange to dessert. Hands down, it was one of the best foodie adventures I have ever had.

Here’s what happened:

I had heard good things about a new restaurant and bar on the corner of L and 17th called Bar-Code. The place is always overflowing with people and during happy hour the crowd spills out of the restaurant and onto the street. Thinking this would be a great opportunity for my next restaurant review, and a fun evening out with my foodie friend, Carolyn, I tweeted, “Going to @barcodedc tonight and plan on writing a review.”

This set off fireworks at Bar-Code's social media department leading someone to tweet:

(This is sometimes code for a free or discounted meal, which in this case, was the case. Thanks, Bar-Code!)

Um, hello, my name isn’t Foodie for nothing. So I replied:

The place was swanky. It felt a little bit like a club and a lot like a spot-too-cool-for-Washington-D.C. This was exactly what I liked first about the place. The manager led us to our table and suggested a number of appetizers and entrees that we thought sounded delicious.

Out came a plate of freshly grilled calamari with a kick of spice and a slice of lemon. It was the perfect consistency, not too chewy and very light. The second appetizer was baked flat bread still warm from the oven accompanied by a chunky avocado dip with onions, olives and grated Parmesan cheese. It tasted lighter than a traditional Mexican guacamole and we especially liked the crushed chilis on the bread (I might try that one at home)!
For our entrees we shared a flat iron steak topped with a black olive and sundried tomato tapenade and a plate of scallops wrapped in bacon (my kosher friends would be ashamed). The scallops were plated over spinach and drizzled in a light onion and butter sauce that melted in your mouth.

But perhaps the best of ALL was the homemade Greek frozen yogurt and fresh fruit. The yogurt was one of the best frozen yogurts I’ve ever had (my belief that homemade ice cream and yogurt is the only kind worth eating was 100% verified).

Overall, the food at Bar-Code was incredibly impressive. In fact, it was far too good to be in this club-like atmosphere. I’d say the food deserves its own restaurant without the booming base music, glowing lights and bar scene.

So while others may say it’s the new hot summer spot for happy hour, I say go there and try the food. It’s delicious.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Amsterdam at Midnight

After my WAKA kickball game on Thursday night our team went out for drinks in Adams Morgan. The way the league works is that after you play a game you channel your frustration into a splashingly competitive game of “flip cup.” (For those of you over 35 or international, the object of this American collegiate sport is to drink a cup of beer and flip it over till the rim is face down). You may laugh, but a majority of the people in the room took the game so seriously that they celebrated with a victory dance that should NEVER be seen outside the Super Bowl.

A few games of flip cup later, I walked down the street to Amsterdam Falafel. I could instantly see why it’s a hugely popular late-night spot. First off, it has a simple menu that is very easy to read after drinks in Adams Morgan – a major plus. Second, the incredibly nice employees ask you 3 simple questions: “What size? What bread? You want fries with that?” 
Finally, the toppings are up to you, laid out on a buffet style table where you pick and choose from a number of veggie toppings that you pile inside your pita. Although one of the toppings I chose was a neon yellow pickled celery and cauliflower dish that tasted a bit too sour for my taste (not sure if that was intentional, or just left out too long), I especially enjoyed the fresh cabbage and the all you can pump tahini sauce.
I took my sandwich to the outside tables and I have to say, the falafel was fantastic. The fried chickpea mash had the perfect consistency – crispy delight on the outside; soft, but not soggy, on the inside.

I was also impressed by the fries AND the fact that they ask if you want salt or not. Great decision, Amsterdam! Again, leaving it up to the foodie to decide. I say customization is key and they nailed that one.
All in all I would recommend this joint if you’re ever in the area for a late night snack. True, I had had a few beers before… but nothing tastes better than Amsterdam Falafel at midnight.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My taste buds, they are a-changin’

My taste is definitely changing… or evolving… or something like that. I used to not enjoy cheese, but now I love it. I used to love chocolate cake, but now I could go without it. Whether my taste is conscious or not, I’m worried that my buds are maturing less like a fine wine and more like a shriveled up grape (that would be a raisin. Thanks, I got it).

At my recent alumni event for Brandeis University, the group invited psychology and neuroscience professor, Dr. Don Katz. The guy could explain the most complicated electrical signal in the body to a 4 year old. Yes, I exaggerate, but the man is good.

He explained that a lot of our taste comes from experience, condition, and what you are born to like. It’s a combination of many things, he said, and like all scientist, he didn’t have a perfectly clear answer for me.

But he did offer some good examples. Take coffee, he said. It’s bitter and won't taste good black the first time you try it. Give some to a baby and there’s no doubt you’ll see the baby go BLECHHH (go try that one at home). However, as you begin to drink it more and more you start associating the taste with staying awake, and, in turn, you begin to like it.

Same thing goes for beer. The drink is bitter and the first time you try it the only thing stopping you from gagging is your social decency. Naturally you begin to associate beer with pleasure and learn to like the taste (yes, the alcohol also helps).

What I learned here is that your palate is always evolving as you are constantly making new associations with food. I know this answer is only part of the complicated big picture, but I am positively sure that my taste buds are changing. I hope for myself, and for the sake of this blog, that they’re only getting better.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Crabbing about Crabs

The Masthead on Pier Street Marina in Oxford, Maryland serves the classic summer catch: fresh crabs by the dozen. These crabbies are steamy, seasoned in Old Bay and are served with all the fix-ins (vinegar, butter, sea-salt… whatever you want).

For Memorial Day weekend my family and I stopped there for lunch smack dab in the middle of our 16-mile bike ride. Of course we were biking to our next meal. Exercise? Nahhh….We were on our way to lunch!

We ordered a dozen and a half crabs for four people thinking that would be plenty. How easily had I forgotten how little meat you get inside each one.

I think I burned an equal number of finger calories opening the darn things as I did eating the actual crabmeat. I averaged one mouthful of meat per crab. It also didn’t help that I’m a messy crab eater. At number four my hands were salty, wet, pricked and all crabbed out… I realized then why the table next to us ordered hamburgers.

Overall, I give these fresh, quality crabs a shiny 4 stars (a 5 if they had been larger).

I give myself a mercy 1 star for my crab opening skills.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Facebook for Foodies

I have just discovered the Facebook equivalent for foodie bloggers like me. Foodbuzz is a fabulous community that features different recipes and posts from thousands of bloggers. As a new foodie myself I think this site is a great way to get my creative juices flowing. Looks delicious!

Can you say yum?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ben’s Chili… Bowl?

One great thing about going to a ball game is enjoying the ballpark food. In Washington, D.C., Nationals Stadium does a great thing by inviting local D.C. restaurants to serve their food inside the venue. My personal favorite is Ben’s Chili Bowl. You would be hard pressed to find a real Washingtonian who doesn’t know about the original. Located on U Street, this late night chow spot is known for its chili and half-smokes. Their menu at the ballpark serves the highlights.

Like many games I had Ben’s and opted for a bowl of chili. I have to say, the taste lives up to the reputation. It’s not overloaded with beans, not drowned in Tabasco and has some seriously delicious meat.

There was just one problem. Ben’s chili needed a decent bowl.

All good food bloggers know that eating is about the whole experience and a flimsy easy to spill paper plate just didn’t cut it. Something with a lid would have been better.

I spy a friendly bowl!
So I did some research. Apparently Hard Times Café, another local restaurant with a food station in the park, also serves chili and definitely got the bowl thing right.

This really is a lesson for all vendors out there. You may be serving a cheap and delicious dish, but presentation still matters. Speaking from my own experience, I’d like to get the food into my mouth, not down the front of my shirt.

Last but not least, eaters! Top Chef DC had a great episode where contestants had to create a ballpark dish at Nationals Stadium. It's a juicy one. Check it out!