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Twitter

April 14, 2009

My job these days is picking up – so I’ve been Twittering about new DC food and restaurant news, and posting recipes. Follow me on Twitter (www.twitter.com) @kissmygritz – and I’ll come back to Kiss My Grits the blog when I can give you consistant updates. Sign up for the RSS feed, and you’ll get an email when that happens.
Happy eating!

Darlington House

August 15, 2008

When Childe Harold closed, I didn’t really shed any tears.  Although I know it was a favorite for many, it just always seemed unsanitary in there – and it was a shame to waste such an incredible location!  In moved Darlington House, and it’s a great addition to the neighborhood!

Darlington House

The setting:
We decided on the cantina – more for the price than anything else – and headed downstairs to the basement, and area that used to have a constant cloud of smoke before city legislators came to their senses.  They’ve spruced it up with a fresh paint job and a re-done banquet seating.  The pull-down screen of some American Indian headdress covering (I assume) a television was a bit much.  This isn’t the swankiest of locales – at least not the basement, but I didn’t feel like I needed to wash my hands from just entering the place.

There’s also a patio for parties of 2, and the main restaurant upstairs, which I have not been to.

The service:
We had the sweetest server from Romania who had only been in the country 2 months.  He was eager and efficient.

The food:
For a pub menu, it’s pretty great!  For a full sampling, my aunt ordered the rotisserie chicken, Jeanette had the Veg Head flat bread pizza, and I tried the pulled pork sandwich.

   

When Lizzie took the first bite of her chicken, she said, “Oh we don’t have just a cook, we have a chef.”  The pork sandwich was also very good, if slightly dry, but the cucumber slaw and hoisen ginger sauce was awesome.  And the fries…YUM.  Jeanette’s Veg Head pizza was also great.  We litterally ate everything.

The Darlington House is a great addition to the neighborhood and I’ll be back on low-key evenings when I want a little more than Chipotle, but nothing too complicated.

Best for: Good neighborhood food at a good price.

Worst for: Date night – this is a place for hanging out, not making out.

Cruisin’

June 3, 2008

Brian and I went on a little vacay…okay, a big vacay!  We went on a week-long Caribbean cruise to Coco Cay in the Bahamas, St. Thomas USVI, and St. Maarten D/FVI.  As you know, one of the main draws of a cruise for a lot of people is the food: the endless, boundless gluttony of food. 

So here it is: a week’s worth of cruise ship dinners:

Not the main dining room, but the whole crew together beforehand at Vintages, the onboard wine bar

Sunday
Caesar salad.
“Pan-seared” pork medallions with mushroom “ragout” and (nutmeg) mashed potatoes.  And a broccoli.
Low-fat blueberry and peach cobbler with gratis ice cream.
The Caesar salad was pretty good, but my “pan-seared” pork was a little closer to lightly browned and
finished with 400 other pork loins in the massive ship oven.  The mushroom “ragout” was cream of mushroom – they weren’t fooling anyone.  And nutmeg in mashed potatoes…in May…in the Caribbean…was a little off-putting, as was the one limp stalk of broccoli bravely staked out in it’s green stamp.  The low-fat (a description that was emphasized ad nasuem) blueberry and peach cobbler was probably my second favorite dessert of the entire trip, although the added scoop of vanilla ice cream certainly negated any healthful properties that dessert possessed.

Monday
Shrimp cocktail and lobster bisque.
“Filet” of beef with mashed potatoes and 2 mushroom caps.
Grand Marnier/Amaretto souffle with “enough” sauce.
Formal night: creme de la creme.  And I loves me some shrimp cocktail.  And thank God our server (who was already beginning to grate at this point) had the sense NOT to dump the cocktail sauce all over my shrimp, but gave me a glop on the plate beside the shrimp.  And what is it with these people and the nutmeg?  Although it added a nice kick to the bisque. I was looking forward to the filet of beef: the nicely caramelized outside you cut through to a warm and deliciously tender center.  Except this filet was 2 SLICES from a hunk of meat, meaning minimal caramelized outside goodness.  Le sigh.  I also happen to love a souffle, although our waiter seemed to think Grand Marnier and Amaretto were the same things…and proceeded to give me two scoops of sauce, because when
I asked him to stop at one he thought it wasn’t enough.

Tuesday
Risotto with scallops, Caprese salad.
Lamb shank with mashed potatoes, diced potatoes, carrots and celery.
Warm chocolate cake accompanied by a strawberry sundae. 
The risotto was good – but my scallops are better. The Caprese salad was good because Caprese salad is just good.  The entree was also good, but I happen to love lamb and mashed potatoes (sans nutmeg).  And dessert was…meh.  And you can guess why the cake came with a scoop of strawberry ice cream smothered in sugary strawberries.  Because chocolate cake clearly screams for a strawberry sundae accompaniment instead of something like, say, VANILLA ice cream (which is what I asked for, but it was revealed that our server didn’t care to go to the kitchen to get it and just so happened to have the makings of a strawberry sundae nearby.)

Wednesday
Chops night!
Caesar salad spears and a shrimp and crab cake.
6 oz filet with baked potato, creamed spinach, and sauteed mushrooms.
Croissant bread pudding.
The food was clearly the best this night, with the service matching.  I loved the presentation of the Caesar salad spears: long romaine lettuce leaves topped with the dressing, croutons, and cheese.  The filet was fantastic, the sides great, and dessert fabulous!

Thursday
Spinach salad and a crab cake.
Pork loin.
Sugar-free fruit “pillow.”
The crab cake was described perfectly by our table-mate, Diane as “deviled” crab cakes – exactly what they were.  The pork loin was actually pretty good, although the fruit “pillows” totally and completely lame.

Friday
Mushroom puff pastry and Caesar salad.
Lobster.
Another formal night, this time with lobsters (which, incidentally, I just read a hilarious anecdote about in the book Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously.  This book is a food blogger’s hidden dream come true.)  It must be said: this was maybe the worst food of the trip.  You can’t impress me by just flinging down a lobster tail.  I’m not going to ignore the tasteless ice cream scoop mound of rice, underdone broccoli, and blanched baby carrots because you taunt me with a crustaceous vehicle for butter.  At least bring me a baked potato that I can suffocate with various dairy products.  And your flour less chocolate dollop isn’t so decadent that it can tempt me without some beautiful cream to cut it’s richness.  Where do you think we are, CANCUN?!  (yes, Alison…that was soley for you).
I decided against dessert to assert my snobbery and Cancun-i-ness.

Saturday
Caesar salad, spinach dip, and shrimp cocktail.
Turkey with mashed potatoes and stuffing.
Key lime pie.
We were warned by Brian’s dad and stepmother the first night to expect “Tom Turkey” the last night.  But I just so’s happen to love turkey, so I quite enjoyed it and the trimmings (although there wasn’t enough gravy.  There never is…)  And the key lime pie?  Best dessert of the cruise, and fitting since it was the last morsels to leave the proverbial taste in our mouth as we left our cruise.

I am quite happy to report that I only gained 1 pound on the ship.  Of course, this may have something to do with the fact that I am basically a stick of butter and eat so much normally that this was almost par for the course. 

Crispy Shrimp with White Beans and Spinach

April 17, 2008

Day two of my seafood experiment was even easier than the sea scallops, and perfect for an evening watching reality TV. It was an incredible cheap and healthy meal – and the beans were a perfect leftover for a salmon cake lunch at work today.

This is another take on a Real Simple recipe – quick, easy, healthy. And it tastes pretty great too.

Crispy Shrimp with White Beans and Spinach:

I probably should have said in my last post that I cook with 4 ingredients: olive oil, butter, sea salt, and panko breadcrumbs. The crunch is awesome – I’m all about texture.

Preheat the oven to 400. Toss the shrimp (I had 10 medium sized shrimp, purchased at the seafood counter as a “small handful” of peeled and deviened previously frozen shrimp – it came to less than $2) in a decent pour of olive oil. Add enough panko to coat, plus a little extra. Salt and pepper, and toss it all together (be ready to get your hands dirty!) Spread on a cookie sheet and sprinkle whatever breadcrumbs are left over the top. Cook these for about 12 minutes until they are browned.

In the mean time, heat a can of cannellini beans and heat a separate skillet with a small drizzle of olive oil over medium-low heat. Put more baby spinach (I like Earthbound Farms organic) than you think you need in the heated skillet and as it starts wilting, move around in the pan with tongs. When it’s all wilted and dark green, sprinkle on a dab of – you guessed it – sea salt and remove from heat. This whole process takes about 5 minutes, so your beans should be heated through and your shrimp about ready.

Enjoy!

It Runs in the Family…

March 7, 2008

As you know, my sister Alison is a guest-blogger on Kiss My Grits, and our other sister, Jeanette, is also into food.  Alison forwarded me a gchat from Jeanette today.  Please note that she discusses cheese for a full 9 minutes.  Clearly, it runs in the family…

we did just have a pretty fabulous lunch in Buckhead 🙂
  it was sooooooooooooooooooo good
  we had this cheese!
  OMG!
  have you ever had Latur?
  ok
  so you’re not there
4:03 PM that gives me time to do this justice
  it was a combination of sheep’s milk, goat’s milk, and cow’s milk
  it was mild and really creamy
  and they served it with a touch of honey over it
  it was absolutely heavenly
4:04 PM I could feel the endorphins zooming around the moment in hit
my taste buds….
  awww….
  so your assignment for the weekend
  is to go find Latur cheese
  and buy mass quantities of it
4:05 PM and don’t share it with anyone
  😉
  well maybe Matt or Ashley
  if you’re feeling charitable
4:06 PM so beyond the cheese…
  we ordered this antipasta plate
  there was a whole list of veggies, meats, and cheeses…
  we ordered the one where you got 3 veggies, a meat, and a cheese
4:08 PM we got grilled asparagus, marinated Tuscan white beans, and
marinated artichokes, the CHEESE!, and some a cured pork shoulder
sampling
  and got some shrimp on the side 🙂
  then!
  we had gelato
  Laura got pistachio and I had coffee
  they were these little itty bitty waffle cones with maybe 1/3 cup
worth of gelato in them
  and this restaurant was GORGEOUS
4:09 PM it’s called Lola and it’s part of this really hot restaurant
chain that actually is owned by the old head chef from Cherokee
4:10 PM it’s described as a “bellini bar” and it was only after I left
that I realized I didn’t even have brainpower to order a bellini…
  I was so hungry when we got there that it didn’t occur to me…
  oh well
  that just means I’ll have to go back 🙂
4:11 PM ok
  so you’re really not there
  I’m going to go for a walk
  I’m really sore from an exercise ball exercise I did TWO days ago,
but I think the lactic acid might help…
4:12 PM be sure you get some Latur cheese and have a great weekend
(surely the former will ensure the latter)
talk to you later!

Poste

February 12, 2008

In looking for brunch spots convenient to the red line and the orange line, I thought Poste would be a good option.  Perhaps I should expand my search next time.

Poste

The setting:
I like the way Poste looks, and I love the way the Hotel Monaco is decorated.  In walking through the hotel lobby to get to the restroom, you pass vivid green walls, funky couches, and jigsaw piece-shaped mirrors.  The restaurant is more subdued with neutral colors and cushy banquets with throw pillows.  My favorite detail may be the side plates on the set tables that look like they should hold a candle instead of a piece of bread.

The service:
I’m such a sucker for the server who can do the Cocktail pour from a water pitcher.  Our service was attentive and friendly, although there wasn’t a timely check-in after our food was delivered (incorrectly).

The food:
I’ve eaten at Poste before for brunch and recalled that the portions were somewhat small, but delicious.  This time, however, I was disappointed in my selection.  I ordered the “eggs any style” with bacon (natch).  I asked for the eggs scrambled with cheese and truffle fries – a $4 surcharge – instead of the super-garlicky breakfast potatoes.  When my plate arrived the home fries were on the plate instead of the truffle fries, and the eggs seemed rather pale to contain cheese.  The potato problem was corrected immediately, but I took my chances with the eggs, figuring perhaps it was white cheddar.

But the food was just…okay.  Granted, I’m completely spoiled by breakfast because Brian somehow makes the best scrambled eggs known to man, but these had no seasoning and seemed like a folded omelet instead of scrambled.  I also think there is no way I actually had the truffle fries.  If that was fungi on my frites, that pig needs a new job

I also take issue with a $4.50 hot tea.  Come on…  With the surcharge for my “truffle” fries and the hot tea, my mediocre breakfast came to $22 – sans booze.

I think brunch is perhaps not the time to visit Poste, at least not with the expectation of a traditional breakfast.  I’ll be back for a dinner before writing Poste off.

Best for: A Sunday lunch rather than brunch.

Worst for: Big appetites in search of a budget-friendly Sunday morning staple.

Tapioca and Maraschino Cherries

January 23, 2008

Sadly, my grandmother passed away this past Monday and Alison and I will be traveling to Atlanta to be with our family this weekend.  (Alison has decided it would be too le tacky to write a post about Dad’s famous pork butt, but he isn’t very good anyway with relating recipes, just cooking).

My grandmother was a classic Southern woman who believed boys deserved an extra helping and in making pancakes from scratch.  But she always had two things especially for me when I would visit: tapioca pudding (with the folded-in egg whites) and maraschino cherries, which I would eat directly out of the jar with a shrimp fork.

While my only attempt to recreate her tapioca (the only recipe of hers I’ve tried)  ended with a pot scorched beyond repair, I appreciate her for always having my favorites of tapioca and maraschino cherries on hand.

The Trouble with the Cheesecake Factory

January 3, 2008

We went to a family dinner at the Cheesecake Factory Pat and Tara’s last night with us. No one besides Brian and me had been before, and the lure of scores of cheesecakes was enough to have everyone salivating as soon as we walked in and saw the cheesecake display case.

But here’s the trouble with the Cheesecake Factory: it just isn’t very good.

At times I may come across as a bit of a food snob (which I take as a compliment) but I’m certainly not above taking delight in ballpark nachos and Chick-Fil-A (swoon!) Applebee’s has a salad I adore and I think Ruby Tuesdays is pretty darn tasty. But the Cheesecake Factory turns people on with large portions and a 20-page menu that covers everything. They get by on “bigger is better.”

But bigger isn’t better here. As an appetizer we ordered the guacamole. The chips were overcooked and a little stale, and the guac was completely tasteless. I’d rather have crossed the street for the Chipotle green stuff (yum-o!)

I ordered a “small” chopped Cobb salad, and a mammoth pile of green came out. But, that too was completely tasteless and the toppings skimpy and without flavor. I tried a bite of Brian’s chicken piccata, and it was pretty bland too. Jack’s pizza? The frozen stuff is better…

Everyone was crazy about the cheesecake, though. Especially Jack:

Given that I’m not a fan of just any slice of cheesecake, I only had 2 bites. I’d take a small slice of the good stuff any day.