unrequited narcissism

Archives: food
Archives: food
August 27, 2006
August 27, 2006
gas+bbq atlanta  - food

as i've driven around various parts of atlanta, stopping at various gas stations to fill up, i've noticed what seems - to me- a weird trend. many - a majority, i'd say, at least in southeast atlanta - of the gas stations have...barbeque joints attached to them. like, trailers, or tiny shacks, adjacent to or in the parking lot of these gas stations. it's not restricted by gas station type, either - i've seen 'em at new BP stations, at old texaco ones, all over the place.

and of course, because i am yuppified and condescending, i am POSITIVE that each of these places is a little down-home honest-to-god bbq gem. but, i am terrified to go in them because they do look exceedingly sketchy.

does anyone know anything about any of these places? how they got started? why they got started? what exactly about gas stations screams "must also open up bbq shack" to somebody? i promised myself to try at least a couple of them before i left atlanta, so i'll make sure to report back.

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August 14, 2006
August 14, 2006
my faux food snobbery rears its uninformed head D.C.  - food

the washington post best bets contest proves itself to be a fraud in every way year after year (starbucks?! fuddruckers?!? FRONT PAGE?! [the caps for front page are done in mock rage as we all now wearily expect that drool bucket of interns to win, like, everything]). but the way the list reveals itself to be most terrible is by having the best italian restaurant be maggiano's. christ almighty. the EVEN WORSE part? the truly best italian restaurant in the city, obelisk, doesn't even make the top ten. if you want a delicious - but pretty expensive - meal, head on over there. it gets the zunta five star rating.

UPDATE: with his usual aplomb, the dceiver takes down the best bets list. i lie not when i say some coffee spray made its way onto my keyboard this morning. i cannot wait to see SOaP with this man.

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July 19, 2006
July 19, 2006
hungry? food  - italy

oh, man. the porcini chronicles has a recipe for steak tar tar - also known as basically raw hamburger. tommy and i ate this a couple of times while in italy on wine trips with adolfo - and while the first time i took the plunge i was terrified and repulsed, it was actually incredibly delicious. if you've got a hankering for some raw meat, i suggest you give her recipe a try.

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June 27, 2006
June 27, 2006
so very wrong food

chipotle beerGaze upon this bottle, ye blog readers, and despair. Chipotle beer. Yes. That's right. Chipotle. You thought that it was just getting into your ketchup, and mayo, and tortilla chips, but you were wrong. It's everywhere. Doctors are now warning pregnant women not to eat fish because of dangerously escalating oceanic chipotle levels.

I really, really don't understand the appeal. Jalapeno peppers have a perfectly nice taste when they're unsmoked. Smoke does not immediately make things taste better. Sure, it works well with meat and a few other things. But it's a great way to ruin perfectly good cheese, and when applied to vegetables it tends to completely overwhelm them. Plus it's somewhat bad for you.

The other lesson, aside from the seeming inevitability of a chipotle stripe being added to boxes of neopolitan ice cream, is that Rogue brand beer is terrible. You can't trust those people. I've seen them put chocolate — actual bittersweet chocolate — into perfectly innocent stouts (I know, other people do this too, but they're no less dangerously insane). Beware the beer iconoclast: he doesn't have your best interests in mind. He's just trying to look cool in front of his brewer friends.

Still, in my mind Rogue is only the second-most objectionable beer company. Worst of all is Dogfish Head. This is thanks to their Chickory Stout, which I had the misfortune of sampling some years back. I'm not sure what chickory is — I think people used to eat it during the Civil War, possibly to distract themselves from the pain of battlefield limb amputation — but I know it's terrible, and should never, ever enter a human mouth. That was far and away the worst beer I've ever tasted. And I've consumed entire glasses of skittlebraü (tip: drink it quickly, while it's still clear and delightfully rainbow-colored, rather than thick, chalky and brown).

comments [16] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
May 08, 2006
May 08, 2006
the bowl D.C.  - food

npr's weekend edition has a piece up where two gourmet food writers go to ben's chili bowl. it's actually kind of poorly paced and boring, but, it's ben's! and there's this great exchange:

npr lady: "i'm listening to you order, and you've ordered a substantial amount of food..."
male food writer: "...and we've only had four meals today..."
npr lady: "is there...some secret to your digestive system?"
male food writer: "oh, here come the cakes and pies."

they also address the problem they had of finding a d.c. local food speciality, and agree it's the half-smoke.

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May 02, 2006
May 02, 2006
back fat is delicious! food

daily candy chicago starts off a post today about a new european market by bemoaning the evils of lard. but if you read this delicious piece on lardo di colonnata (really, just pig's back fat), soon it's all you'll want to be eating. via megnut.

comments [12] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
April 17, 2006
April 17, 2006
yum food

dinnertime, y'all!

the bottle of rum in the background is the second course.

just kidding! but this plate of butter will be eaten in one form or another. in fact, i magicked it up into cupcake icing for a classmate's birthday tomorrow. i nailed the cakelove icing - totally disgusting and buttery, but somehow delicious at the same time.

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February 27, 2006
February 27, 2006
weekend recommendations: d.c. style! (aka, why i get fatter every time i see tommy) D.C.  - food  - personal  - weekend report

back and not really refreshed from a wonderful weekend in d.c. my flight left the district at 6:30 this morning, and as soon as i landed i headed to the newsroom for some fun and fabulous journalism work. as i'm sitting here brainstorming and tapping away, i had to take a blogging break to talk about what went on:

thursday night: unbuckled. dc9. olivia mancini and the housemates; the hard tomorrows. you saw the pictures here.

friday night: tommy and i decided kind of last minute to head to coppi's, a pizza and italian joint on U street. though dcist reviewed it back in november, we had never been there and in fact hadn't heard much about it otherwise. walking in at 7:30 on a friday night without a reservation, we weren't surprised at being sat at the bar, which turned out to be nice and cozy, with an excellent view of the wood-burning oven, and an attentive bartendress. we started off with some excellent calamari, a bottle of red and then two small pizzas - i forget what was on tommy's, but mine was prosciutto and funghi. though the crust was a little iffy, we both thought their pizza could easily place a very close 3rd in district pies, after two amy's and pizzeria paradiso. i can't believe we'd never dined there before. fairly reasonable, as well. (though that's always easy for me to say when tommy foots the bill, as he almost always insists on doing.) 1414 U street.

saturday: i hit up the glorious, glorious tyson's mall with my family. we ate at brio, which, for a chain restaurant in a mall, was actually pretty decent. then my mom bought me a pair of editors pants at express. discuss: editors pants from express, best pants ever? i own like six pairs.

for dinner that night, tommy and i went to queen of sheba, a recently-opened ethiopian restaurant. pluses: a block from the apartment; nice space; pretty great ethiopian food. minuses: no liquor license (though hardly their fault); about, oh, a FIVE HOUR WAIT for food. well, more like 40 minutes, which struck us as pretty ridiculous seeing that the restaurant wasn't even half full. maybe they're still just working out service kinks, but until they start getting their food out in a timely manner, i'd go to sodere or dukem.

UPDATE: man, MT fucked up the rest of this entry. i talked about the rest of saturday night and EVEN sunday, too, but it somehow ate it. quick recap: ellington party, fries at the saloon, sunday lunch at saint-ex, and attempting to convert tommy and charles to grey's anatom. which i don't think worked.

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February 24, 2006
February 24, 2006
a plea food

food network: please stop making your female tv cooks, especially the barefoot contessa and giada de lalalawhatever, make sit down meals where they have to eat with their husbands. it is weird, and painful, and ugh. for all i know, the barefoot contessa likes to do this, because as charles and tommy and i have long speculated, her marriage has gone down the crapper and she keeps trying to lure her husband back in with food and prove to the world that they are rilly in luv. but it does not work! you could take the two most in love people in the world, sit them down with some delicious food, yell action, and all you'd get is 60 unnatural, awkward seconds of the woman laughing too hard at unfunny things her tv-shy husband burbles up, and lots of awkward silences, and the husband unconvincingly mmm-ing really hard. just make it stop.

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February 21, 2006
February 21, 2006
get a piece chicago  - food

our lovely legal instructor loves us all so much that as we're all desperately struggling to finish our terrible 1200-word articles, she ordered us lunch - pizza from piece (her husband is an investor there). unfortunately for me, it's located somewhere in wicker park and not really accessible to my 'hood, but i'd highly recommended it. yummy thin crust.

comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
February 11, 2006
February 11, 2006
cafe time chicago  - food

please, do me a favor: if you live in the lakeview area, stop in at cafe latakia at 3204 belmont. it is my favorite little wifi coffee shop in the world, and yet, i am generally almost always THE ONLY PERSON IN HERE and i'm terrified it will go under if the owner doesn't start getting some business soon.

the place is a charmer. it's beautifully decorated, with plenty of small tables, comfy chairs and sage-green paint on the walls. the owner is middle eastern or eastern european - somehow i haven't quite figured that out yet - so he's always got delicious mediterranean pastries in his glass counter. you can get delicious turkish coffee, or a wonderful affogato (vanilla ice cream drowned in espresso), and when it gets warmer, he'll have a selection of ice cream and gelato available. the rest of the coffee choices are pretty basic, and not any cheaper than starbucks, but it is illy coffee, and therefore pure goodness. plus free wifi abounds, and the owner is just the nicest man ever. usually i am a mean, rushed, cynical person - i hate exchanging pleasantries with anyone outside of friends or people i am sucking up to - but somehow i don't mind having a 5-10 minute chat with him every time i come in and get settled down at my table to work. he remembers everything about me - asks how tommy is doing, asks how northwestern is treating me, asks jokingly if i've scored a job at the washington post yet.

there are a few drawbacks - the owner is the only employee, and can often take an agonizingly long time to make your drink if you order anything more complicated than a basic cup of coffee. the bathroom is weird and behind the counter, through the dank, messy back room and is very small and kind of creepy. but i figure that's just a result of the rehabbing process not being done yet.

anyway, i just learned today that his one-year anniversary of owning the cafe is coming up, and i would LOVE to start seeing more people in here. (i may be making this sound more dire than it is; i only come here on saturday mornings and the occasional weeknight, and he probably does better at different times of the week). so, all three-to-four of my chicago readers, i command you: come visit cafe latakia, near broadway and belmont. you'll enjoy it, i promise!

UPDATE: of course, in the process of writing this entry like 10 people have come in. he's fine. but still, come on by! it's a delightful little place.

comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
February 04, 2006
February 04, 2006
weekends with adolfo food  - italy

sigh. i am sick, it is flurrying here in chicago, and i'm feeling a bit of travel wanderlust (or, more accurately, extreme nostalgia for italy) that i get from time to time. reading this post article on searching for truffles at restaurants in alba didn't help too much.

the post is doing a rather good job of informing readers about the magic of the piemonte region, the part of italy where turin is located and where the 2006 winter olympics will be taking place. they've got a blog going, and have had several articles and chats about the area. though piemonte is a fairly overlooked region amongst italy fanatics, it is one of the places not to be missed for food and wine, as i discovered during my year in milan through adolfo, the former librarian at the american school of milan.

ahh, adolfo. how to describe. physically, the best way i can think to conjure him up is have you picture bilbo baggins from the lord of the rings movie, except darker, with a round belly the size of a volkswagen beetle and an odd, hurky-jerky style of walking on his pencil-thin legs that was the result of serious back problems and some sort of disability. he was also perpetually cranky, with good due - he had been pushed out of his job as the school librarian by caroline, a perky-yet-psychotically-terrifying blond-frosted woman from arizona whose favorite thing to hiss was "AH-TEN-SHEE-OWN-AY" and "SEE-LENS-EE-OH, PER FAH-VOR-AY" to terrified children who spoke above a whisper while reading books. adolfo became the school's printer, responsible for making stacks of copies of lesson plans and math homework. his small, cramped printing room was in the hallway adjacent to the library, and always smelled faintly of cigar smoke. everybody, except caroline, who constantly looked at him as if he might off her one day with his cane (with good reason), adored adolfo.

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February 03, 2006
February 03, 2006
friday recipe food

if you've got a bunch of overripe bananas lying around for some reason, like i did, give this banana bread one a try. it's a winner!

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
January 31, 2006
January 31, 2006
le superbowle food

tyler florence, i kinda somehow love you even though technically you also make my skin crawl, but this has got to be the most ridiculous super bowl menu i've ever seen:

Charred Tomatillo Guacamole
Habanero Chile Salsa
Portuguese-Style Salt Cod Fritters with Lemon and Olives
Grilled Fat Pieces of Squid
Barcelona-Style Rice

i'm sorry, is that a super bowl, or a PRISSY BOWL?

comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
January 30, 2006
January 30, 2006
weekend recommendations 2.0 chicago  - food  - personal  - weekend report

last weekend's.

this weekend was more low-key, but i can still recommend the following:

the freaks and geeks dvd. tommy got me this for christmas, and i've been too busy to watch it until now but have spent a large chunk of saturday and sunday racing through. it's certainly charming, although i'm not sure why it inspired such cultlike devotion - it hasn't totally grabbed me in that way. but still very enjoyable, and i am now also in love with linda cardellini.

el tapatio on ashland. you know the night's going right when a) your supposed 45-minute wait to eat at a restaurant turns into 15 minutes b) the restaurant lets you sneak in your beers from the bar across the street that you were waiting at c) along with your pitcher of margaritas the waiter scores you each an extra glass full and d) even though your "burrito grandioso" weighs approximately four pounds, it's so good that you eat the entire thing.

guthries. we were supposed to hit up this bar on saturday night, but it turned out to be too crowded to stay there. but it looked adorable - small, cozy, with a fireplace and stacks of boardgames that people were playing at every table. perfect for a rainy night. if our group had been smaller, i would have been content to snag a table and hit up some monopoly. as it was, we headed to the first bar we came across on southport - cullen's, which was basically your typical faux-irish pub but was still fun. they actually had a decent cover band that played everything from radiohead to gin blossoms.

fudgy chocolate-raspberry bars. though fresh raspberries obviously aren't in season, the bars were still delicious and elicited raves from a dinner i went to sunday night. i was glad, because only god in heaven knows what a trial it is to bake in my postage-sized kitchen. my kitchenaid mixer? has to go ON THE FLOOR IN MY BEDROOM BECAUSE THERE IS NO WHERE ELSE TO PUT IT/PLUG IT IN.

not recommended: lazing out on your weekend run of 8 miles such that you have to do it monday morning before your 2 p.m. class, and now it's flurrying. sigh.

comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
January 23, 2006
January 23, 2006
some weekend recommendations chicago  - food

friday night - gingerman tavern: a friend held her birthday party here, and it was a thoroughly adorable place. tiny, cramped yet cozy front room and an expansive backroom with a few pool tables and plenty of room to mill about. all sorts of people - yuppies, hipsters, plenty of medill graduate students - hanging out in perfect harmony. and extremely attractive male and female bartenders. probably a good place to get a drink before a show at the metro.

saturday afternoon - the chicago lakefront path: despite it having snowed a few inches the night before, the lakefront path was cleared and, refreshingly, empty. i had a great seven-mile run from the belmont harbor almost down to navy pier and back. the snow stretching to the lake was beautiful to look at and the weather was sunny and crisp. i thought i was being all hardcore, running out saturday in the cold, but while running i noticed a dude KAYAKING IN THE LAKE. that, my friends, is hardcore.

saturday night - mama desta's red sea: hooray, good ethiopian food! in september i had gone to some place called ethiopian diamond and found it truly lacking. i went on to assume in my haughty manner that no decent ethiopian food could be found outside of d.c. well, i was proved wrong when i went out to mama desta's with some friends. i should have gone earlier - it's just a few blocks up from my apartment, and is super delicious and mostly affordable. good honey wine, friendly service, jolly little atmosphere. no awesome singing and dancing a la dukem, but that's okay.

sunday night - peter's lasagna and viewings of west wing + grey's anatomy: you probably can't get your hands on the lasagna part (though i think this was the recipe he used), but i was totally excited to sit down for two hours last night and watch these shows. i haven't seen west wing in, oh, approximately a billion years, but i thought last night's episode was really good. of course, just as it starts getting decent again, it gets canceled. le sigh. as for grey's anatomy, well, that show just gives me the warm fuzzies. i don't think i've laughed so hard in a long time as i did at the hot dog eating scene. but that may have just been the five glasses of wine.

comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
January 16, 2006
January 16, 2006
lakeview eating chicago  - food  - personal

sigh. well, tommy is back safe and sound in d.c., and i just went on an hour and a half cleaning spree to keep the bad sad feelings at bay. still, though, we had a pretty great weekend. it followed the trend of us being ENORMOUS GLUTTONS every time we spend any time together since i moved to chicago. we like to eat out a lot, so when we have the chance, i guess we just go on an enormous eating out binge to make up for all the other times i, as a poor graduate student and he, as a tired web programmer, end up eating lousy dinners at the end of the day. mmm, mac n cheese!

luckily my neighborhood gives us a lot of delicious eating options. i imagine my following recommendations are old hat to anyone who's lived in chicago for a decent amount of time, but if you're new to the area, maybe they'll help you out. you can find addresses and more info at metromix.com.

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December 30, 2005
December 30, 2005
yuck food

We've got a ton of holiday chocolate lying around the house. Through no fault of the considerate chocolate-givers, some of it is white chocolate. Which, I feel compelled to point out, is gross. It's just cocoa butter and sugar, people. The white chocolate bon-bons are particularly horrifying: fat and sugar flavored with fake butter. Ugh.

On the other hand, those little Ghirardelli squares? Pretty great. And I'm not quite sure how Cadbury defeated his snobby continental artisan peers, but god damn if the English haven't got a solid lock on milk chocolate technology.

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
December 15, 2005
December 15, 2005
thinking food

has anyone else noticed that rachael ray of the food network seems to have...created her own personalized sign language? i always thought she used her hands excessively when she spoke, but things have gotten totally out of control.

comments [9] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
December 08, 2005
December 08, 2005
mulled crap food

can somebody point me towards a direction for mulled wine that's not absolutely awful? i made it for our holiday part last christmas, and this is vaguely how the entire process went:

two hours before party: catherine gets excited, dumps shitload of wine, cinnamon, and various other ingredients in big old vat on stove to simmer.

directly before party: catherine tastes her sure-to-be-marvelous creation.
catherine: "holy crap."
pukes.

at party: catherine reluctantly leaves mulled wine as imbibing option for partygoers because, hey, alcohol. general reaction: much shying away from stove with askance looks at catherine. an hour into the party, jeff nye the alcohol guy tinkers with the wine, doing some chemical engineer i don't know what sort of stuff, which also includes pouring, literally, an entire pound of pure sugar into the mix. mulled wine is magically good. jeff receives much patting on the back and is carried around the party victorious on mulled wine drinkers shoulders. catherine sulks in corner, mutters incomprehensibly about the cinnamon.

don't worry, i'm not going to reattempt the disastrous mulled wine for this year's party. but i have heard, on occasion, that it can be a good thing, if done properly. so, show me how!

comments [10] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
October 30, 2005
October 30, 2005
pumpkin pie food

I seem to be incapable of accoplishing much of anything today besides blogging. So here's some more of it. Besides, it's been a while since Catherine's put up one of her baked masterpieces.

Most guys have a some sort of culinary specialty. Sometimes it's pathetic, along the lines of this guy. Sometimes it's useful, like Kriston's famed breakfast tacos. I suppose my specialty is pumpkin pie. It doesn't really hit the masculine or practical notes that I'd prefer, but it's damn tasty. And I only have to make it once or twice a year.

Mom's recipe and associated pics below the cut.

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comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
October 23, 2005
October 23, 2005
vegetate D.C.  - food

This evening I headed over to Vegetate, the new vegetarian restaurant that's opened up around the block from here. There'll be a real review up on DCist later this week (by someone else — probably Hemal), but my quick impression: not that great.

The four of us split two appetizers, which were quite good, although the roasted vegetable appetizer was ridiculously tiny. For the entree, I got the jerked tempeh. I hadn't had tempeh before — turns out it's kind of unpleasant. But even ignoring that, the jerk sauce was weirdly creamy, not at all spicy, and not particularly appealing. The potato latke and greens that came with it were nice, but making fried potato delicious is easy. I also had a glass of lemonade, which was small but tasty. For some reason they provide straws that I'm pretty sure are intended to be used as drink stirrers (seriously). They look pretty and nicely match the tiny glass, but they're extremely irritating to use.

Entree, half an appetizer, a glass of juice and tip set me back $30. Given the small portion sizes and the fact that vegetarian cuisine represents comparatively little ingredient cost, this is kind of a ripoff. Let's compare: add costs for meat and the booze that the restaurant can't yet serve and I'd guess that you're looking at about $50 a plate. You can eat much better than this for that amount of money.

Speaking for the defense: they've just opened, they're just around the corner, the space is beautiful, and their staff was very pleasant. If they become a little more generous and proficient in the kitchen, this place could really take off.

And it's hard not to sympatize with the owners: Shiloh Baptist Church has given them a very hard time. We spoke with a manager/owner after eating and he said that the church has actually been chartering buses to get people to the ABC hearings to oppose the restaurant's license application — yet Shiloh has refused to answer the requests for meetings or discussions made by the restaurant. Shiloh is acting in bad faith, imposing the will of a congregation that primarily lives in Maryland onto a street that badly needs revitalization. This isn't just a difference of opinions — Shiloh's members really ought to be ashamed of themselves. Vegetate didn't impress me, but they deserve the chance to try to impress others.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
September 17, 2005
September 17, 2005
such a product does not exist, sir; i think you must have dreamed it chicago  - food

I was a little underwhelmed by Treasure Island, Catherine's local and self-proclaimedly eurocentric grocery store (which has no website!). But I do have to say, the fact that they carry the product pictured below is a huge mark in their favor:

popnots!

Although I may not have consciously formulated the desire, I think I've been yearning for this snack food ever since reaching the bottom of my first bowl of popcorn. Now to find a PopNots! distributor in the DC area...

Those with port 8090 blocked (and who consequently can't see the image): click here.

UPDATE: Naturally, there's a website. These people are serious about half-popped popcorn (appropriately so). Apparently "Smoothie Time" is the nearest store that carries the product. And yes, I am aware that this is intensely uninteresting to just about everybody but me.

comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
September 16, 2005
September 16, 2005
cupcake battles chicago  - food  - photos

everybody in d.c. knows about cakelove, and everybody in d.c. has an opinion on it. the bakery specializes in gourmet cakes and particularly cupcakes, both of which will run you a pretty penny. personally, i agree with many others that the cupcakes are entirely overrated (can't speak as to the cakes) - the cake is dry, the icing is a cold slab of butter, and you generally feel like you've been ripped off $3. but some people love 'em. those people are crazy.

well, when i was out running errands today i decided to try out another gourmet cupcake shop that's at the end of my street. it's called cupcakes, and it's run by some physicist-turned-baker chick. it's a postage-stamp-sized bit of a store, decorated with clouds and white tile and other cutesiness. the cupcakes are also $3, and you've got the same variety of traditional+wacky flavors that cakelove has. i chose the double chocolate and the red velvet; they were packed up in cute little boxes and i came home to eat them as my afternoon snack and part of my apparent general plan to get extraordinarily fat in chicago.

well, yum. these cupcakes take the cake. hahahaha. no, seriously, they were stupendous. they're not refrigerated, so the icing isn't rock-hard when you eat it. it's the same type of icing as the cakelove cupcakes - italian buttercream - but it's much more flavorful and smoother. the cake part of the concoction is also moist and delish. overall they're smaller than the cakelove cupcakes, but of much higher quality. so suck on that, warren brown.

comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
September 06, 2005
September 06, 2005
for the meat lovers food

neat tip on how to clean a gunky bbq grill.

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
sigh D.C.  - food

sorry for the relative lack of blogging. i've been too busy throwing up about my rapidly impending move to chicago (four days or so to go). the bedroom's a mess, half of my stuff isn't packed, i have two shirts and one pair of shorts to wear for the next six days because what is packed is most of my clothes, and i'm stressing about not wanting to give my dad a heart attack when we move since we'll be the only two doing it in chicago and i have about three thousand pounds of stuff. i've also been doing a lot of retail therapy, which i'm sure filene's basement appreciates ($600 wool coat from barney's marked down like a billion percent! cheap pointy leather and suede shoes from kenneth cole and bcbg's!) but which my already rapidly dwindling student loans don't. yes, they're already rapidly dwindling even though i haven't yet received them. they are very sensitive.

anyway, stuff i've been enjoying lately that's helped the stress:

  • eating my way through the city. good lord, i'm fat. d.c.'s determined to make its mark on me before i hightail it out of here, and that mark is being made on my enormous ass. in the past couple of weeks i've eaten at: al crostino (see my DCist review here); oohs and ahhs; amsterdam falafel in adams morgan (i thought this was yummy, but not the mindblowingly good drunk food i'd been led to believe it was. but damn, that garlic sauce is addictive); matchbox pizza (pleasantly surprised by this place down on H street in chinatown. nice, thin crispy pizza with pretty good toppings and a good ambience); and a final ethiopian meal at dukem (does chicago even HAVE ethiopian? probably. hell, they seem to have everything). tomorrow i'm going for one last sausage sandwich at the galileo grill (i know everybody says this, but please believe me that you MUST GO TO THE GRILL at least once), lunch with a former coworker at thai chef in dupont on thursday, and dinner with tommy at obelisk on friday. good lord.

  • biking the capital crescent trail. so, was this weekend incredibly gorgeous or what? tommy and i tore ourselves away from our computer screens and got on our bikes on this path that is parallel to the C&O canal (but the CC trail is better cause it's paved). i recommend stopping at the fletcher's boat house, getting a gatorade, and sitting on the rocks in front of the potomac river. it was achingly beautiful. it looked like you could rent canoes from the boat house, and i have to imagine that if you have any sort of coordination at all, unlike me, it'd be a blast.

  • finishing off my doing d.c. list. i went and saw the exorcist stairs in georgetown sometime last week. and you know what? they are BORING. they are just stairs. oh well. but i walked up foxhall to check out a big field with an abandoned train track over it. you can see a picture here - it's the field where my brother and i used to run down to, cut through and go to the C&O canal, just steps from our old house. pretty nice. memories...happy golden memories...

    i also did the asylum 25 cent beer happy hour, and let me tell you: that shit is awesome. everyone's all, "let me get this round! no, me! c'mon!" and the waitress is all, "your total for eleventeen beers is 1.75." sweetness. despite the fact that i went home and passed out by 10pm.

    unfortunately, i'm not sure i'll have time to do eastern market and the byzantine monastery in brookland, though i plan on trying my best. i know, i've failed you. but i'll give it a valiant attempt! and if i can't get them now, i'll get them when i come back to d.c. because i am. you can't stop me, suckers.

  • comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    September 02, 2005
    September 02, 2005
    attention foodie friends food

    I don't know if it's just their Friday sale, or a new habit — either way, I'd jump on the fact that Amazon is selling Calphalon hard-anodized pots for ridiculously low prices. Like $20 apiece low. These things usually go for over $150 a pop.

    I picked up a sauce pan and a crepe pan, despite only having a vague idea of what a crepe is.

    comments [9] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    August 31, 2005
    August 31, 2005
    oohs and ahhs food  - photos

    oohsandahhs
    Originally uploaded by CatherineA.
    susan did the right thing when she picked oohs and aahs as her last american meal before heading out to georgia. tommy and i picked up some takeout tonight, and, as usual, it was delicious. their mac and cheese cannot be recommended highly enough. check it out on 10th and U streets NW.
    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 24, 2005
    August 24, 2005
    TJ - the other one food

    a blog that tracks my favorite grocery store: trader joe's. it's what we all needed. i'm just happy to be within a few miles of one in chicago, instead of the 25 minute drive to the 'burbs one must do now.

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 10, 2005
    August 10, 2005
    tipping point food

    some steven a. shaw argues in the times that tipping should be abolished (as it will soon be at fancy nyc eatery per se) in favor of a set percentage added to the bill. waiter rant responds.

    what do you think? i have to say, i enormously enjoyed the lack of tips when i lived in italy, but then again, i've never waited tables.

    comments [18] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 05, 2005
    August 05, 2005
    dinner at DC Coast food

    last night tommy and i dined at DC Coast, my second (and last) restaurant week meal. i had high expectations for dcc, mostly because it is owned by restaurant guru/chef jeff tunks, who also owns ten penh (asian fusion) and ceiba (modern latin american). we went to ceiba for restaurant week last january and had our best RW experience ever, so i thought DC Coast would hold up about as well. overall, it wasn't as amazing as ceiba, and the RW menu was a little more limited, but it was pretty darn tasty and we had a fine time.

    MORE...
    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 04, 2005
    August 04, 2005
    a brave new menu food

    turning the blog into a truly influential experience...any suggestions as to what i should have for dinner tonight?

    comments [7] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    italiano food

    continuing in the week's foodie theme...a couple of days ago newish food blog metrocurean had the scoop on al crostino, an italian place on U street that replaced kuna. then the esteemed susan had a glowing first-person email review that makes me want to go even more:

    It's a new Italian place on U St. (it opened sunday) and we had a fantastic time. It's really small and cozy, our waiter was really nice and enthusiastic and warm, the prices were totally reasonable, and they did like this amazing presentation on Kriston's antipasti sea scallops which cost all of $7. The pasta dishes were very simple and they were good without being totally amazing, but the price was right, atmosphere was good, etc. The chef was walking around kissing people and made sure to wish us a good night when we left. Definitely left us with a good feeling. It's not super-fancy dining or anything but a very nice meal for a good price (and they did awesome crostini thingies with yummy toppings). You guys should try it!

    straight from the source. that is not me. that is another blogger whose email i'm cutting and pasting. but sounds good, eh?

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 03, 2005
    August 03, 2005
    dinner at zola food

    well, just came back from a d.c. restaurant week at zola with several DCists (rob, kanishka, martin, becca, and scott, hemal and sommer WHO ARE PERSONAL-BLOGLESS, THE SHAME, YOU ARE ONLY HALF A PERSON IF YOU WRITE FOR LESS THAN TWO BLOGS), and i figured i may as well write it up while it's fresh in my mind. for the short, snappy summary-inclined: FABULOUS service, good drinks, great decor, beautiful bathrooms, and pretty good food.

    MORE...
    comments [8] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 01, 2005
    August 01, 2005
    dino food

    well, i promised you reviews of my week of foodieness, and i'm gonna deliver. saturday night tommy, charles, charles' parents and i all went out to dinner at dino in cleveland park, and here follows my report. if you're not interested in reading the full thing, here's a summary: pretty good food, but nothing mindblowing; terrible decor; fairly bad service; great wine prices and selection.

    okay, now i'm going to get all dcfoodies on your ass.

    MORE...
    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 12, 2005
    July 12, 2005
    yum food  - music

    anybody looking for a good, moderately-priced olive oil should try trader joe's extra virgin california estate olive oil. tommy bought a bottle the other day on one of our semi-frequent trips to the suburbs, and it is delicious! personally, it is the best olive oil i've had outside of italy. (imagine i just said that last sentence in a truly obnoxious, high-pitched voice.)

    speaking of italy, and, er, stuff, i've been meaning to write more about the cooking class at galileo. it was pretty great, and the pasta we "made" for lunch was amazing. but the best part happened like this: when we are all sitting around before the class started, a youngish, very indie-looking guy (be-bearded, wearing a canyon tshirt (somewhat popular d.c. band that broke up a year or two ago), etc) came in and sat down next to us. throughout the entire class, we all chatted, but no one introduced themselves or said what they did or anything. that came later on, as we were eating. tommy and i were chatting with indie guy dave, and earthy motorcycle-riding nasa-worker andy (i think that was his name), and since we were about, oh, SEVENTEEN glasses of wine in at this point, everybod was a bit talky. we asked dave what he did, and he said he was in a band. (of COURSE he is, i judged mentally.) andy asked what kind of music they played, and he said, oh, kinda country-rock. what band, i, vaguely curious, wondered.

    oh, he said, son volt.

    oh, i said, and went back to gorging myself on pasta.

    then i looked up. excuse me, what did you say the name of your band was, i asked again.

    son volt.

    i looked over at tommy and, i hate to say this, but i kind of snorted. not because i wanted to be rude - not at all - but because, um, holy hell, son volt! what the fuck, band dude, what...er, the fuck. craziness.

    have you heard of us? dave asked us.

    dur. no. i have been living in a black hole void of outerspace since i was 11 and am allergic to music. of course i have heard of son volt! anyone with even a PASSING interest in alt-rock has heard of son volt. DUDE. SON VOLT!

    turns out dave is in the reformed, new-member version of son volt, since they broke up a while back and everything. but DROWN! and JAY FARRAR! the album drops today, it turns out. i have no idea if it's any good, but i'm pasta-friends with DAVE. drummer dave! who was very nice, to boot. so now i have a responsibility to check it out.

    (additionally, dave was wearing that canyon t-shirt and everything, so i took a stab in the dark and asked if he used to be in canyon. the way he explained why he was wearing his old band's tshirt: uh, i got stuck with all the merchandise after we broke up, so, you know...uh huh, drummer dave, uh huh. in his defense, he WAS going to a cooking class, so he could have reasonably expected the average age to be 7900 and no one would have inquisitioned him about his band. i know i thought the whole class would be full of old people putting pasta dough in their hair. but rock n roll people like to cook too!)

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 11, 2005
    July 11, 2005
    free slurpee day food

    It's July 11th -- go get your free 7.11 ounces of frozen goodness. But remember: no jerky with that Diet Pepsi slurpee, if you want to stay kosher. That particular taste sensation is reserved for gentiles like myself.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    July 08, 2005
    July 08, 2005
    fat and happy food

    I'll let Catherine fill you in on all of the details, but right now she's napping: we just got back from a cooking class at Galileo. Between the two of us that's about 9 hours and 3 bottles of wine. Chef Roberto Donna does these classes focusing on a theme -- today's was pasta. We made yards and yards, then ate it and staggered home. You can look forward to wildly optimistic posts about future homemade pasta odysseys, promptly followed by oddly brief or entirely nonexistent updates brimming with unspoken recriminations.

    Aside from that inevitable unpleasantness, I highly recommend the experience. You know those celebrity fantasy basketball camps that rich middle aged guys go to, at which they jockey with one another to receive compliments from Michael Jordan (or whoever) like "nice bounce pass!" and other phrases not ending with the word "jerk"? It was like that.

    Did you roll that gnocchi yourself? Very impressive! The way you almost knocked over your wine but didn't? You looked like a pro! And I couldn't help but notice that you failed to burn yourself. You know, I've been looking for someone to head up the kitchen at our new location...

    Yeah, I lapped it up.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    July 07, 2005
    July 07, 2005
    the hate, it goes on food

    pros of staying home after surgery: getting to watch the food network the rest of the day.

    cons: listening to giada mispronounce "pancetta" over and over again. it's panCHET AH, biatch, not panCHIT AH. oi vey. did my earlier blog post teach you nothing?

    your mixed berry soup with "gee lah toe" does look pretty awesome, though.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 06, 2005
    July 06, 2005
    food fight food

    man. my opinion of tom sietsema just dropped several notches. for the record, i read several food blogs, almost all of which i find to be a) more entertaining b) more informative and c) more accessible than most of the stuff he writes.

    Washington, D.C.: Tom,

    Wanted to know your opinions on the proliferation of online "foodie" blogs. It seems that there is little sense of journalistic objectivity in some of these; whereas you are required to fact check your articles, anyone with a computer can post with no filter.

    The other day one dc foodie (hint hint) blog writer even wrote that "you don't have to try something to know what it tastes like." I don't know about you, but I've had some great food that looked terrible?

    Does the same go for food blogs - is there less or more than meets the eye?

    Tom Sietsema: The proliferation of food blogs -- everyone really CAN be a critic these days -- only makes journalists at subscription-paid newspapers and magazines more important. I know that sounds self-serving, but who would you rather get your information from: JudyLikes2Eat or (insert name of serious publication here)?

    Don't get me wrong. There are some smart online foodies out there -- but there are also a lot of whiners and crabs and people who wish they could be in these jobs and hate us because they can't be. They don't have the "cred."

    I could write an essay about this, but I won't right now.

    "only makes journalists at subscription-paid newspapers and magazines more important. I know that sounds self-serving, but who would you rather get your information from: JudyLikes2Eat or (insert name of serious publication here)?"

    whiny whiny whiny. it's exactly this sort of sentiment that ensures i'm going to read less of the post and more of the bloggers.

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 04, 2005
    July 04, 2005
    team kitchenaid food

    things i've made with my awesome kitchenaid standalone mixer this weekend:

    double chocolate mousse torte with berries.

    (with tommy) attemps at a french baguette.


    the torte recipe can be found here.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    June 29, 2005
    June 29, 2005
    awesome food

    take a look at this woman:

    eateateat

    i want you all to take guesses in the comments as to why she's notorious before i reveal the stunning truth behind the cut.

    MORE...
    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    June 28, 2005
    June 28, 2005
    the future, my ass food

    one other thing from the ball games that bothered me as i wandered drunkenly through the seats and walkways of RFK, searching in vain for ATMs and sausages: why the fuck do dippin' dots still exist? they're being sold all over the stadium. tons of fatty children are eating them instead of the nutty buddies or fudgsicles they should be devouring. it's A WORLD GONE MAD.

    if you've never heard of dippin' dots, consider yourself lucky that you don't know about this ice cream abortion. it bills itself as "the ice cream of the future" (though if i recall correctly, i first became aware of its existence in the mid90s), and the "ice cream" is comprised of tiny little balls that are somehow "flash-freezed" in order to make "an enormous globule of sucktardedness." i seriously can't fathom the continued popularity of a cup of tiny, half-formed beads of ice cream that are the size of an ant's butt. i hadn't seen them since the games at RFK and i really thought the franchise had deservingly withered away. i mean, the whole thing really makes me mad. i can get dippin dots all over the freaking country, but no one has the business sense to start up a good GELATO FRANCHISE? COME ON, america. we're land of the free, home of the fat. at least give us some good ice cream to nosh on.

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    June 22, 2005
    June 22, 2005
    it takes the cupcake food

    for those who are interested in my maniacal baking, my DCist Baking In (cakelove cupcake style) is now up. yummy:

    cupcakes 011.jpg

    other dessert recipes from zee blog:
    -chocolate zabaglione
    -hazelnut chocolate torte with raspberry filling
    -serious chocolate chip cookies
    -honey ricotta lemon cheesecake with a ginger crust (this is the infamous 'michael chiarello' post)
    -hazelnut cookies

    comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    June 16, 2005
    June 16, 2005
    yucca food  - photos

    yucca

    This unpleasant looking root is a yucca. Well, not really -- it's a manioc, but everyone calls it yucca, despite yucca actually being something that's not only completely different, but also inedible.

    At any rate, this weekend I think I'm going to try to fry up a few of these suckers ala Crisp & Juicy. But the internet is oddly silent on how to go about this. Everyone seems to agree that I should peel it, but I could pretty well figure that out on my own. There's a fibrous inner core that some sites say to remove and about which others say nothing; some folks say to boil it before frying, others seem to think you can plop it right in the oil.

    In fact, the only clear information I can find is Google's persistent suggestion that I "oven fry" it. I won't dignify that with a response.

    So the pictured vegetable is an experimental root. I'll let you know how it goes.

    comments [10] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    June 14, 2005
    June 14, 2005
    disturbing food

    remember my design to replicate cakelove greatness? well, i started getting down to it on sunday. the cake part of the cupcake i've got - well, at least the consistency (which, because i am a shameless hussy, i think is better and moister than that of cakelove) - however, i do need to make it a bit more chocolate-y.

    but icing was eluding me. i mishmashed a few recipes and threw together a mixture of butter, vanilla extract, confectioner's sugar, and milk. it turned out to be good, but way too sweet and a little too runny. not cakelove icing quality at all.

    so tonight, i took on the icing. i downed a glass of wine, slammed a bowl and wooden spoon down on the counter, and it was ON. and by it being on, i mean i mixed a stick of butter with A TINY TINY DASH OF SUGAR AND EXTRACT. like, miniscule.

    and you know what? it tasted a LOT like cakelove icing. i didn't know whether to be disgusted or, you know, devour the entire thing. anyway, beware: cakelove icing has 63 billion grams of fat and seems to be made of entirely buttery goodness.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    June 07, 2005
    June 07, 2005
    cupcakearama food

    so, i've gots a question.

    do you ever read those eating in articles on DCist, written and cooked admirably by scott reitz? i tell you, the recipes always look fantastically delicious (though i've never gotten past my laziness to make one) and everybody loves them.

    anyway, i was talking with kanishka and scott and they suggested that one day i should do a baking in, since i do love the baking. it took me a while to come up with a semi-well-known D.C. dessert, but then it came to me: i should take on the cupcakes from cakelove!

    for those who don't know of cakelove, it's about a five year old enterprise. a lawyer quit his job to open a bakery, bought a store on U street, made great cakes and cupcakes, etc etc, and everybody raves over the baked goods. a few years back he was named one of the most fascinating entrepreneurs by inc.com.

    so i went in there the other day to test these things out for myself. and don't get me wrong - they're pretty good. but they're also $3 a pop. for a $3 cupcake i better be getting, like, an eyebrow wax, silk pajamas and a puppy. additionally - i just tasted a cupcake again (the research is demanding), and it had been in the fridge, and the icing - the icing was literally like a slab of butter smeared on top of the chocolate. i can't necessarily say that this is a bad thing. but the cupcakes, for the money, i just don't know.

    anyway, i've never made cupcakes outside of a mix box, so the attempt to make cakelove quality ones should be interesting. but i'm pretty sure that as long has i have several slabs of butter on hand, i should be okay.

    comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    May 23, 2005
    May 23, 2005
    half price half smoke D.C.  - food

    Wandering around the internet last night, desperate for something cheap and/or electronic on which to waste money, I came across this intriguing offer. Restaurant.com lets you buy certificates to a variety of eateries for less than their face value. Their DC list is mostly uninspiring... but wait! Ben's?!

    Yup. I was amazed when Catherine pointed out that the place featured online ordering. But apparently the Chili Bowl's online strategy goes even further than that. You can get $10 certificates to Ben's for $3 per. The catch is that they're only good after 5pm and the minimum purchase for your order is $15. But that's not bad -- for just 8 bucks you get $15 worth of deliciously blistered sausage and transcendently bad chili (also available by the gallon, by the way). That makes these certificates worth ordering and keeping folded up in your wallet, I think.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    May 14, 2005
    May 14, 2005
    dinner at spezie food

    tommy and i decided to go out for dinner last night at spezie, mostly because we hadn't seen too much of each other all week due to his crazy-ass work, and also because we apparently did not get enough italian food during the 375 meals we had while in italy. also my italian food experience in DC is limited to sette up in dupont (update: this is actually a lie. tommy just reminded me that i have been to, like, every italian restaurant in the city, including galileo, goldoni's and obelisk, which was my favorite. scusi the premature alzheimers), and while they have good pizza, the other stuff is just okay, i had heard amazing things about spezie and wanted to see if we could actually get great italian food outside of, you know, italy.

    spezie is located down around 18th and L, and it's a cute spot with a nice interior and spacious seating. the service was excellent throughout the entire meal. things started off well with a bread basket + this olive paste that was delicious, and we ordered two glasses of a sicilian red that the waiter recommended. since neither of us were extremely hungry, we decided to forgo a secondi and just get antipasti and pasta dishes. tommy's antipasto was fabulous - it was roasted peppers in a sauce of truffle oil and gorgonzola. mmmm. only drawback was that he smelled like truffles well into the next morning. ewww. my antipasto was good as well but i thought the serving size was way too large; i had a huge pile of prosciutto di parma with mozzarella di bufala. i just felt like something about it was a bit off - it lacked a little bit of flavor and could have used an extra drizzle of olive oil.

    the pasta, however - oi vey. well, actually tommy liked his pasta but didn't think it was the best thing ever eaten. he had the bucatini all’amatriciana, which is thick, long tubes of pasta with pancetta and tomato sauce. it was good but he said there was way too much pancetta in the sauce and so it was uber salty. i, on the other hand, had the ravioli porcini and pistacchio - ravioli stuffed with porcini mushrooms and served in a pistachio sauce. man, i love italian food - they use pistachios in everything from pasta sauces to gelato and it is DELICIOUS. that cream sauce, i could have eaten it with a spoon, and the ravioli was perfectly cooked. it was probably some of the best pasta i'd had since the pear pasta i had in florence that i raved about. i guess i'm a fan of slightly sweet pasta.

    then it was on to dessert, and this is where i became SEVERELY disappointed. the menu advertisted gelati della casa, and i was like, wahey, gelato! but then i thought about it and every american italian restaurant i've been that's claimed to have gelato just turned out to serve ice cream and it is for crap. but i ordered it here anyway, and, guess what - it was just ice cream! don't get me wrong - it was EXCELLENT ice cream. but why can't real italian restaurants serve real gelato? why, actually, can't you get real gelato in the u.s. ANYWHERE?! this is something that always eludes me. everyone i've ever known who's been to italy comes back raving, justifiably, about the gelato. if anyone ever opened a real gelato store here they would make a shitload of money. so why don't they?! answer me that, bloggers.

    anyway, overall i'd definitely recommend spezie, especially the pasta. i think it'd be a nice spot for lunch as the lunch menu is a bit cheaper than the dinner one and you can sit at the bar in the front and watch the crazy L street people go by.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    May 09, 2005
    May 09, 2005
    world's best restaurants food

    A moment ago NPR's The World featured an interview with an editor of Restaurant Magazine, which has just published their annual list of the 50 best restaurants in the world.

    Obviously I can't offer much genuinely informed comment -- none of the restaurants are in DC, and the closest I've come to eating in any of them is walking by Chez Panisse. But, I do have to say that the rationale provided for listing Britain's The Fat Duck as the best in the world seems a bit lame. Making ill-advised ice creams and sorbets out of savory ingredients -- wasn't that whimsical and innovative when we saw it on Iron Chef, say, five years ago? Sigh. Despite their staggeringly high output of good rock & roll per capita, I guess there's no avoiding the occasional British tendency to be wildly impressed with essentially stupid ideas.

    Of course, there's nothing wrong with falling for superficial novelty. I do it all the time, after all, so it must be okay. But aren't foams supposed to be the dumb food fad of the moment? Get with the times, guys. Sardine ice cream is so over.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    May 02, 2005
    May 02, 2005
    where to eat in italy food  - italy  - travel

    i already posted about several of my meals, but i'm going to go into a more extensive description here. prepare yourself for a post that ruminates on the philosophical beauty of italian pizza or the truth revealed by a perfect plate of pasta!

    UPDATE: i just finished writing the post, and rereading it, it's terribly boring and more of me saying, "this restaurant was good, and so was this one. and THAT restaurant - OHMIGOD, so good!" so forgive the repetitive nature. i guess i intend it to serve as a guide for anyone searching around the internets for italian restaurant advice, especially of the cortona variety.

    coming later: my impressions of cortona and our villa, next to a monastery built in 1211 and owned by a couple who delivered us fresh eggs every day. i HATED it!

    MORE...
    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    April 20, 2005
    April 20, 2005
    i guess i like her better than michael chiarello food

    skinny bird neck food network woman giada de laurentiis is given the treatment in the post today.

    i have to admit, i'm coming around to giada, especially since we made her recipe for chocolate zabaglione. but her strained smile still freaks me out to no end.

    the post includes recipes for her "torta di pasta," an orechiette dish and a vodka sauce.

    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    April 10, 2005
    April 10, 2005
    nocciolo food

    what a beautiful weekend! from vodka tasting to a bbq at kriston and matt's to attending the soft opening of avenue, to biking rock creek parkway with tommy and checking out the FREAKY FREAKY fish at the zoo's amazonia house, it was packed full o' fun. i'll try to write about it more tomorrow ("major league" is on and apparently i should devote my full attention to it) but for now i'll leave you with a recipe i found this weekend for a cookie that's turned out to be one of my favorites - hazelnut cookies. add a bit of extra orange zest and vanilla for super yumminess (and double the recipe because it doesn't make as nearly as many cookies as it says it does).

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    March 19, 2005
    March 19, 2005
    "hate is hard to fix" food

    a comment received on this post last night:

    IP Address: 68.166.220.77
    Name: M. Chiarello
    Email Address: michael@napastyle.com
    URL: http://www.napastyle.com

    Comments:

    I really appreciate all your honesty....love to hear how you think my show can improve...hate is hard to fix but a few constructive thoughts can go a long way. I try to cook dishes that are simple...ingredients avail. at an Piggly Wiggly but feel an obligation to encourage all to use best possible when possible.

    Lets hear your thoughts

    M. Chiarello

    my original post reads:

    i got inspired last weekend by watching my usual hungover sunday morning foodtv lineup of everyday italian, barefoot contessa, and easy entertaining with michael chiarello. these people are all fancy bitches who are constantly rambling on about how their recipes and entertaining methods are going to make your life SO MUCH easier, when really it's only easy for them because they a) live on tv b) have two billion dollars c) have a staff of minions that actually do everything for them so they DO make it look easy....(by the way, i just have to bitch about this: i CANNOT STAND when these "italian" cooks on food tv like giada and michael chiarello, who probably grew up in long island or something and can barely sneeze out a proper-sounding "buongiorno", insist on pronouncing absolutely every italian ingredient in faux-authentic-italian. like, mozzarella. i fancy myself able to speak italian, and when i'm IN ITALY, i say mozzarella with the correct pronunciation. but i don't go prancing about saying MOE-ZAH-RRRRE-LLAH with extremely enunciated syllables EVERY OTHER SECOND. JESUS! you're not fooling anybody! and if you've pissed me off with your pretentiousness, you must be WAY GONE.)

    i am a terrible person who is going to hell. michael chiarello spent his friday night reading that i hate him. i feel SO BAD. i'm watching his show right now and i can't even look him in the eyes.

    michael, darling, i'm sorry. fly me out to napa for a chat. we can fix this hate, i swear.

    comments [7] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    March 18, 2005
    March 18, 2005
    pizza burn food

    yet another tale of fire tragedy: alberto's pizza on P street, one of my favorite lunchtime spots, apparently burned down yesterday. goddammit. where else am i going to get a huge, $3 slice of thincrust cheese pizza that i actually want to eat while sober?

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    March 14, 2005
    March 14, 2005
    chocolate heaven food

    so for the past few days i've been sick (headachey, sore throat, cough), and continue to be so. blogging will probably be a little light from my side. but i wanted to do you a foodie favor while i'm out of commission. tommy and i, as much as we may dislike her and her skinny chicken neck, have discovered that giadia de laurentiis of "everyday italian" has a can't-beat recipe for chocolate zabaglione. it's, like, five ingredients total, takes about 15 minutes to whip up, and, when spooned over strawberries, is absolute heaven.

    check it out. guar-ahn-teeed to get you laid!

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    March 06, 2005
    March 06, 2005
    hazelnut chocolate torte food
    hazelnuttorte.jpg

    for charles' birthday, and really, because i'm happy to bake at a drop of a hat, i made a hazelnut chocolate torte this evening. the recipe was from epicurious.com, which i only recently discovered and which is also the Best Food Web Site Ever. check it out. recipe, minorly adjusted from the epicurious one, is behind the cut.
    definitely recommended, especially for lovers of Baci, aka Your Supreme Chocolate Overlord.

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    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    February 16, 2005
    February 16, 2005
    true love is a big raw piece of meat food  - photos

    i forgot to post this earlier, but for valentine's day, instead of joining the d.c. ratrace to obtain an exclusive table at a high-class restaurant, tommy and i cooked our own little slice of heaven right here on O street. on the menu? salad with red onion, feta, mandarin oranges, and almonds; rosemary and garlic roast lamb; polenta with gorgonzola; and strawberries with chocolate zabaglione. photos of our attempts at culinary greatness follow.

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    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 30, 2005
    January 30, 2005
    freedom cookies food  - photos

    in honor of the iraqi elections today, i made my patented Middle Eastern Freedom Chip Cookies. just kidding. i actually made them for a smoked meat bbq at kriston's tonight, pre-arcade fire show, but i figured they could commemorate the elections as well.

    recipe behind the cut. slightly modified and adapted from the famous neiman-marcus chocolate chip cookies.

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    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 29, 2005
    January 29, 2005
    honey ricotta lemon cheesecake food  - photos

    so, last night i baked a cheesecake. this is the story of that cheesecake and its birth.

    i got inspired last weekend by watching my usual hungover sunday morning foodtv lineup of everyday italian, barefoot contessa, and easy entertaining with michael chiarello. these people are all fancy bitches who are constantly rambling on about how their recipes and entertaining methods are going to make your life SO MUCH easier, when really it's only easy for them because they a) live on tv b) have two billion dollars c) have a staff of minions that actually do everything for them so they DO make it look easy. then you are inspired, and think you can host a dinner party for 12, and the next thing you know you're drunk off the cooking wine and have exploded a bowl of melted butter all over your face.

    i speak from experience.

    anyway, i risked doing an everyday italian recipe this time around, because it was for cheesecake, which i adore, and the skinny pinched bitch giada made it look so damn easy. so i took a chance on a cheesecake.

    (by the way, i just have to bitch about this: i CANNOT STAND when these "italian" cooks on food tv like giada and michael chiarello, who probably grew up in long island or something and can barely sneeze out a proper-sounding "buongiorno", insist on pronouncing absolutely every italian ingredient in faux-authentic-italian. like, mozzarella. i fancy myself able to speak italian, and when i'm IN ITALY, i say mozzarella with the correct pronunciation. but i don't go prancing about saying MOE-ZAH-RRRRE-LLAH with extremely enunciated syllables EVERY OTHER SECOND. JESUS! you're not fooling anybody! and if you've pissed me off with your pretentiousness, you must be WAY GONE.)

    anyway. this time around, i decided to modify the recipe. now, you have to know that modifying a recipe is A Big Deal for me and my obsessive type A control freak personality; normally i follow everything absolutely to the letter. that's why i like baking so much better than cooking; baking is pretty and neat and precise; cooking leads to melted butter exploding on face, etc.

    anyway, giada's recipe called for a crushed biscotti crust and orange zest. hmm, i thought. that sounds gross. i made some lemon cream cheese bars with a ginger base a while ago that were pretty good. so this time around i decided to take trader joe's excellent triple ginger snaps, crush them, and use them for the cheesecake crust instead of the biscottit that giada uses, and i mixed in lemon flavoring in zest instead of the oranges. i have to say, i think it turned out yummy. pictures and recipe are behind the cut (my recipe is basically the food tv one, cut and pasted, but with my minor changes).

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    comments [12] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 25, 2005
    January 25, 2005
    making gristle into food food

    I've barely noticed, what with dreams of next September already dancing through my head, but the Superbowl is almost upon us. Will it be the patrician fans of the personality-free Patriots that'll be cheering come February seventh, or the criminals and blowhards that make up the Philly fanbase? More to the point, who cares? The Redskins' NFC East rivalry with the Eagles should help me enjoy the proficient steamrolling that I expect to see from the Pats, but I can't get too excited about it.

    The Superbowl as a ritual, though -- now that I can enjoy. Get some friends over, turn on the TV and start making quiet promises to your vascular system about how things are gonna be different soon, baby, it's just cause you love it so much that it makes you crazy sometimes. Then, with the help of a variety of simple carbohydrates, consume half a liter of peanut oil.

    Although I usually leave the football staples -- pizza and Helluva Good dip (aka sour cream and onion powder) -- to third parties, I do like to try making something for the game. Usually that something is buffalo wings. The recipe is simple: fry the hell out of some wings, then coat with a 1:1 mixture of pleasantly-cheap Texas Pete hot sauce and butter. Gotta keep things healthy and avoid those trans-fats!

    The trick, of course, is the actual frying process -- I've tried it with both a Fry Daddy Jr. and just a Big Pot of Oil, and the only difference is that the Fry Daddy Jr. only works in irritatingly small batches. With either solution and despite knowing better I always put in too many ice-encrusted frozen chicken wings at once, creating a roiling eruption of oil and steam that coats every surface in the kitchen.

    That end result, though: mighty tasty! And you can hardly put a price on the quality-of-life improvement you'll enjoy as you glide effortlessly across your kitchen's freshly oiled floor. So who's coming over for Superbowl Sunday, and do any of you know how to treat burns?

    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    January 18, 2005
    January 18, 2005
    baby, it's cold outside food  - music  - photos  - weekend report

    so. it's been cold outside, huh? the kind of cold that freezes the interior contents of your nose into a crystallized fountain pouring down your upper lip; the kind of cold that makes you tear up, except you don't know you've teared up, because the liquid your eyes are emanating in response to the extreme polar weather has actually glued your eyelids together; the kind of cold that causes somebody who has never in fact lived above the mason-dixon line to whine unendingly on her blog.

    and it was during the first real cold weekend of the year that i had an altogether wonderful time, despite the fact that i had to wear, like, sneakers and sweaters and scarves instead of flipflops and the slutty tank tops that i like to characterize my days off work. ah well. we all make sacrifices.

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    comments [2] trackBack [1] posted by catherine - link
    December 16, 2004
    December 16, 2004
    but i don't *like* finding bits of things in opaque beverages food

    I was all set to make fun of DCist's bubble tea post -- it was going to go something like this: "Seriously, who gives a shit?" -- but amazingly it's turned into a pretty popular thread, with lots of folks sharing their recommendations for the best place to get this horrible treat.

    This seems strange to me. For one thing, is this bubble tea junk really such a new phenomenon? I remember Asian student groups setting up tables on the Lawn in Charlottesville, hawking bubble tea with a cheery fervor matched only by the creepy Falun Gong adherents who'd occasionally wander around the Rotunda. I don't think it was a fundraising drive. I think they just really, really liked the crap.

    Why is completely beyond me. In every formulation I've encountered, bubble tea is simply disgusting sweet tea with the addition of some milk and choking hazards. The tapioca is flavorless and chewy, and the tea is disconcertingly orange. I can appreciate bubble tea as an impressive engineering feat -- the precisely sized straw, the hermetically sealed cups, the little robot box in that Berkeley store that quietly hummed as it laid its tapioca eggs. But you know, Frankenstein was also well-engineered. Still an abomination, though.

    So okay, tastes differ, but why the strange zeal for this particular product? It's not like Asia suddenly needs to make a contribution to world cuisine -- they invented General Tso's, for God's sake -- candied fried chicken! It's perhaps the greatest culinary innovation of all time (I anxiously await chocolate french fries)! Seriously guys, take my advice: learn to rest on your laurels till you've got another winner.

    comments [14] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
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