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:

Ingredients:
  • 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

Bar-Code

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.