Friday, June 26, 2009

D.C. THIS, New York

I've had quite a few pleasant food experiences over the past month or so, and only now has my life calmed down to such a degree that I can share them with you. The next few posts will probably be a bit random, and we can forget chronological order. I'll just write whatever I'm motivated to write until I run out of things to talk about. I hope everyone feels good about that.

So, let's talk for a second about Washington, D.C. I visited some dear friends from college there last weekend, and that meant a bit of exposure to the food scene in the District (not to mention the drink scene). And before you ask, NO, I did not go to Ben's Chili Bowl, although the bar across from it is quite nice.

A few (some of them sadly nameless) highlights include a delicious wine and cheese bar near the Braddock Road stop on the Yellow Line in Alexandria and an Ethiopian restaurant called Madjet Restaurant located on Avenue U in what I'm told is an area known as "Little Ethiopia" in D.C. My meal at the wine and cheese bar included a delicious sandwich and salad for a pretty reasonable price, as well as some wonderful red wine. I'd never eaten Ethiopian food before, so that was quite a treat. We ordered a beef dish with a veggie sampler, and we were supplied with some sort of bread-like substance (almost like a cross between naan and a pancake) that we used to pinch up the veggies and beef, upside-down-taco-style. Mmm. I'll try to get the name of the wine bar from my friend R and post it in the comments later.

Madjet:



As far as dessert goes, I made sure to hit up Cake Love, a fairly popular cafe where they serve AMAZING cupcakes. The frosting is not my traditional favorite, buttercream, but it's pretty much the best cupcake you could ever imagine eating times infinity. I can't even describe the frosting, it's something you must experience for yourself. The cake is moist, the frosting is great, so it's an all-around winner (as compared to places like Magnolia in NYC, which has great frosting masking an ultra-dry cake). I've been told to try Georgetown Cupcake, but I'm pretty sure it will probably be over-rated the same way Magnolia is, and since I don't get to D.C. that often I would rather not cheat on Cake Love. This time, I got a caramel vanilla version. Mmm, coffee and a cupcake.


The real treat, however, was the D.C. brunch I consumed on Sunday at a place called Acadiana, a Southern restaurant that serves Louisiana-style cuisine. It's located near where New York Avenue and K Street intersect with 9th Street, which was perfect because my bus was transporting me back to New York from 10th Street and Avenue H in Chinatown.

I arrived at the restaurant before my friend J, toting a duffle bag and huffing breathlessly, the very model of a sweaty and harassed tourist. The place was huge and relatively swanky, with a cool vibe. There was a jazz band playing in the back, and the wait staff looked pretty official in their uniforms. However, they were wonderful and courteous and seated me before my friend arrived, which would never, ever happen in New York in a million years. They even offered to store my duffle!

After my friend arrived we decided on the Prix Fixe brunch, a $32 three-course affair that included a free mimosa. We had a choice between many, many options, and eventually my friend J settled on the roasted sweet corn and blue crab soup appetizer, shrimp and grits as her entree, and beignets for dessert. I opted for fried green tomatoes, eggs acadiana (which were described as "two poached eggs, louisiana crawfish crabcakes, tasso ham hollandaise" and also included home fries) and raisin bread pudding. We toasted to our fabulous choices over blood orange mimosas.

Suffice it to say, the food was AMAZING. The fried green tomatoes were about what you might expect, but they were also topped with shrimp in a tangy dipping sauce, which really added a lot to the crispy tomatoes.


I'm not a huge seafood person, so the fact that I adored the crabcakes is pretty important. They were perfectly seasoned, still retaining a seafood taste without being overpowering. Pairing it with the eggs and ham hollaindaise was a really unusual combination, and one I definitely appreciated.



As far as the raisin bread pudding, words simply cannot express the deliciousness of it. Good things I have a photograph:



Another really, really important thing to mention is that the wait staff at Acadiana is SUPERB. Not only is the atmosphere wonderful (jazz band, huge windows, spacious), the waitress was very friendly and attentive. They must have brought out new silverware for every course I had, my water glass was never empty, and she stopped by randomly just to make sure things were going well. The place is huge and very busy, but she never seemed frazzled or annoyed at our requests. She brought us things we didn't ask for (like new silverware) and things we did ask for (more delicious cheese biscuits with a swirled jelly-and-butter sauce) with a smile. They let us stay as long as we liked, even though the place was rapidly filling up.

So basically, I would encourage anyone heading to the D.C. area to try this place, especially if you're in the mood for a super-filling Southern brunch. J and I walked around the area for nearly an hour, and I was still full to bursting when I arrived home in New York seven hours later at 8 p.m. I guess if you're eating for a full day, $32 isn't so bad. It also doesn't hurt that the food was out of this world and the employees were so hospitable. DEFINITELY a great pick by J!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Teaser

So...I've been a little neglectful of SPF lately, and I apologize from the bottom of my food-lovin' heart for that. However, the simple truth of the matter is that I honestly don't have the time to rectify that problem right now.

What I CAN do for you is promise that I will be penning a plethora of posts in the very near future. I have a LOT of food-related fun to share with you all, most notably the Indian food I inhaled on Monday night and a superb brunch I ingested while in D.C. last the weekend. Alas, though the timing is not right at the moment, my devotion to SPF will not, can not, shall not waver.

Don't give up on me, my SPFs!

To be continued...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

BACON

ssssizzle

Thursday, June 18, 2009

poll

So, I guess Queens is going to win the best borough poll. That's cute, guys.

Friday, June 12, 2009

imposter sandwich

this post is about shortcomings. we all know that no one is perfect, so when i decided to recreate curly's santa barbarella sandwich, i knew not to expect the real thing. the approximation, however, was ridiculously good.

it consisted of inglehoffer sweet hot mustard, mesclun mix, monterey jack cheese, morningstar fake bacon, broccoli rabe sprouts, red onion, and tomato all on seeded wheat bread.



i may not have pumpkinseed pesto or whatever other things they use to make their sandwich so delicious, and i may not be able to figure out how to rotate this picture, but this sandwich was pretty good.

*edit* picture rotated

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009

Counter Culture Cuisine

So, those of you acquainted with us in person know that Z and I are among the most subterranean sub-culture people out there. As a testament to this, we have started cooking all kinds of hot soups right when the weather is heating up. Take that you 'normal' cuisinies.

So yeah, Z cooked us another new soup tonight! For those of you thinking, 'gee whiz mwr, Z does an awful lot of cooking for you,' I will say this: thanks for paying attention to my posts.

Anyway, Z and I went through a bunch of soup recipes and picked out ones that sounded interesting, were quick to make, and that pleased the ever credulous internet message boards, and we came up with a list of things to try. This one made the list because it was a black bean soup with feta (though the feta ended up playing a smallish part in the overall soup experience).



As far as evaluation goes, this soup is ALL about the garnish. I started mine cautiously with minimal raw jalapeno and inadequate ciantro. It was okay. The blending gave it a texture thick enough to feel while you ate it without feeling like you're eating hot bean-dip. The carrots and onions, whenever they crept up, added as nice bit of variety to the taste without 'showing off.' I was happy with it.

However, when I added more raw fresh green things and it improved vastly! The jalapeno quickly spread throughout and gave a very mild kick that didn't mask any of the other flavors. The real treat, though, was the cilantro. Now, I am not one of these people born with the alleged cilantro tastes like fetid chum gene, but I do think that it's a bit of a prima donna in most dishes--either demanding to be the star of the dish or fading away into the untastable. I generally try to stay away from it. In this case, though, it remained subtle while still retaining its presence in the dish. This increase in garnish moved this from a sort of standard black bean soup that I wouldn't want to call a standby due to it's lack of corn to a noteworthy and above average treat.

This brings me to another thing worth mentioning: the soup had only one dry spice in it: cumin. Now, sure, some of you read this and think "okay mwr. I get what's going on and don't trust anything you have to say about this soup anymore." You're probably not entirely mistaken in your dismissivness as since the cumin is an obvious presence that I think adds a lot. Still, just one dry spice. That is impressive! I think I am going to try to reduce the number of spices I use while cooking and up the fresh herbs, garnishes, and other things. This should be extra fun since I just tried reducing the sauces I used for in order to focus on dry spices. That turned out to be a blast and helped me make better sauces.

One last note: it didn't make an awful low, so if you're going to make it for guests be sure to increase the quantity or have a hearty side.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Night on Diamond Street

The endless possibilities of food continue to amaze me. Tonight, thanks to part genius and part pure proximity of ingredients, kendall created this wheatthin-with-spaghetti-and-easycheese-ontop. Obviously, it is a beautiful thing!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Soupy summer

Yum guys.


Z made this delicious soup just now (she subbed in chicken stock & olive oil).

I will now list some of the virtues of this soup:
1. It was beautiful to look at; the picture doesn't do it justice. Once K and I made this 'yellow' themed soup to celebrate Lance Armstrong that should have looked like this (which was much more vibrantly yellow). The bits of green and red added a lot of nice color, and the rice & chickpeas gave it a lovely visual texture (even if chick-peas kind of look like butts half the time you're eating them).

1a. Hell, it was sensational on all accounts, the smell, the texture, the sight. I even think I heard the little chick-peas singing a beautiful melody as I ate them.

2. It's a creamy soup, but it's not diary cream. This is particularly rewarding for the less tolerant among us.

3. The taste was the closest to awesome thai's tom kha I've had outside of awesome thai. DO YOU HEAR THAT KENDALL? Seriously, it had so much of that flavor to it. It wasn't 100% there, but it shouldn't have been. Also, the jalapeno added a good kick.

4. It was new. Hooray!

5. It was fast and cheap.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

ladies who lunch later

as part of our concurrent quests to 1) eat every cheese plate in williamsburg and 2) make sure everyone thinks we're lesbians, casey and i went to roebling tea room on roebling and metropolitan.

rtr's cheese plate is modest, but to be fair so is its price. for $10 you receive a bunch of delicious bread, fig paste, capers, and two generous portions of cheese (which i'm assuming are not always the same, but i could be wrong). they also have some sort of weird unadvertised happy hour deal, so i'd ask about that so you don't order the one thing that isn't on it like i did.



deeeeelicious.

I wish I didn't work in the 50s...

This would be so helpful:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/03/dining/03lunch.html?pagewanted=1&hpw